C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Hypnotised boy gives away jewellery, Rs. 6 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Two unidentified men tricked a gullible 12-year-old boy, a resident of Sector 22, into handing them 500 grams of gold ornaments worth about Rs 10 lakh as well as Rs 6 lakh in cash after allegedly “hypnotising” him on Sunday.

The conmen reportedly convinced the child his family members had come under the “spell of an evil power” and goaded him to bring them valuables lying in his house to help avoid a “calamity”.

The police has registered a case of cheating against the two men who are said to be in their early twenties, on a complaint filed by the child’s father, Vimal Kumar Gupta, a lecturer at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 32. Gupta’s father owns a jewellery shop in Sector 22 and had kept the gold and cash at home.

Though the cops prepared a sketch of the suspects it did not match their faces, according to the victim.

Narrating the incident at his home, Saurabh, a class 8 student of a private school in Sector 21C, said he was cycling to the Sector 22 market on Sunday at about 5 pm when a man signaled to him to stop. He (Saurabh) said when he did not alight from his bicycle, the man began walking with him. “He told me my family members were facing troublesome times and he had a remedy to sort out their problems”, he added.

Though Saurabh kept on cycling, the conman who was after him won over his trust after a while. He told the a child a “witch was residing” in his house and his family members could only “get rid” of it by parting with the gold and cash lying at their house.

Saurabh said meanwhile another man, who said his name was Rahul, joined them and the man who was walking with him repeated the same thing to Rahul. They instructed Saurabh not to disclose anything about their conversation to any one for three days saying he was going to Haridwar where he would pray for his family.

A “hypnotized” Saurabh returned home, emptied his satchel and went to the room where a safe was kept. He sent his grandmother to another room on some pretext and opened the safe and emptied its contents into his satchel. He returned to one of the two conmen waiting near a dispensary and handed over the bag to him. ‘Rahul’ also arrived there and the swindlers made away with the bag after checking its contents.

After a while Saurabh realised that he had been cheated and went back home crying. He narrated the entire episode to his parents.

His family members rushed to the spot where the boy had handed his satchel to the cheats but did not find any sign of them. The matter was reported the police, which reached their home conducted an inspection of the spot and also questioned some bystanders before registering a case.



Bulbul Case
2 GMSH docs nailed for destroying evidence
Admn okays filing of criminal cases
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
After conducting a series of meticulous inquiries, UT administrator Shivraj V Patil has finally held two doctors of the Government Multispecialty Hospital, Sector 16 guilty of destruction of evidence in the infamous Bulbul case that hit the headlines three months ago.

It may be recalled that on July 21 Bulbul, a poor woman from Bihar, was forced to move about in the hospital’s gynaecology ward during labour. She delivered her baby near the OPD counter and the baby’s head reportedly hit the floor, causing instant death.

Dr Veena Sarna, head of the hospital’s gynaecology department, and Dr Deepak Thakur, a DNB student, for destroying and tampering with the material evidence in the form of Bulbul’s missing registration card and medical records, respectively. Patil has approved registration of criminal cases against the two under respective sections of the Indian Penal Code.

In addition, a hospital security guard appointed on contract, Maya Devi, and an OPD attendant, Dharma Devi, will also face charges of criminal negligence in performance of their moral and medical duties, which led to death of Bulbul’s baby.

The administrator has also approved departmental proceedings against Dr Usha Bansal and Dr Praveena Dhiman, with the matter to be taken up with their parent state of Punjab. Both doctors are currently on deputation from that state. In all likelihood the two, besides facing disciplinary proceedings, will be repatriated to their parent state.

With this at least half a dozen doctors face departmental action for medical negligence in this case and would be issued “show cause” notices as well. They include Dr Paramjit Singh, Dr Ranjit Kaur, Dr Ashok Saini, Dr Neeraj Dhawan, Dr Dimple Dhaliwal Srivastava, Dr Jagrity Bahuguna Trigathia and Dr Parveena Dhiman who have been accused of failing to personally attend to newborn babies in the labour room.

The UT administration has also asked GMSH officials to terminate the services of security guard Maya. Administration officials have also asked the hospital administration to engage a new security agency at the premises.

Besides, administration officials have also issued certain guidelines to hospital officials on improving the hospital administration including pictorial signage in addition to signage in all three languages indicating the labour room, gynaecology OPD, lab, registration, consultations rooms, etc. In addition the officials have suggested to the hospital to depute a female medical social welfare worker with a distinct uniform to guide patients.



Exam Fraud
Four get police remand
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
A special CBI court today remanded four accused involved in the CTU conductor examination fraud in one-day police custody while sending another three accused arrested in the case to judicial custody.

The CBI today produced the seven accused in court and obtained police custody of Newton, Rajiv, Rishi and Sonu. The court remanded Amit, Sandeep and Gajendra in judicial custody.

Seeking the police remand of the accused, the public prosecutor pleaded that the investigator had to probe the impersonators, hailing from Bihar, who appeared in place of the candidates in the written examination.

The CBI had recovered rubber stamps from the residence of one of the accused during raids and wanted to trace its source.

The CBI and the Chandigarh police registered cases on October 3 when the fraud was detected following information that fake candidates were appearing in the examination in place of original candidates at various centres in the city.



CBI team visits MC’s fire dept
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The CBI perused documents pertaining to the recruitment of firemen by the municipal corporation here today.

Refusing to give details, CBI officials said a routine visit was made to the fire department in Sector 17 and it was too early to make an official statement.

Last week the fire department had come under scanner following a complaint of paper leakage.

No official of the MC was ready to comment on the matter. The CBI had, in the recent past, made revelation of wrongdoings at the PGI and the CTU, besides the MC.



BTech student jumps into Sukhna, dies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Mohit, a 17-year-old BTech student from Ambala, allegedly committed suicide by jumping into Sukhna Lake on Sunday. He went missing from his house yesterday and his body was recovered from the lake this morning.

The in charge of the lake police post, Sub-Inspector Vishal Kumar said in the absence of any suicide note they were yet to ascertain the exact cause behind the death.

Even his family failed to shed any light on the reason leading to the youth taking such an extreme step.

The police said a wallet, mobile phone and shoes were found near the regulator-end of the lake. The police found a mobile bill and traced the family, who said the shoes and wallet belonged to Mohit. His parents reached the lake this morning and requested the police to press in divers, suspecting that he might have jumped into the lake.

A diver managed to fish out the body, which was taken to the Sector 16 GMSH. The body was kept in the morgue and a postmortem would be conducted tomorrow.

Mohit’s relatives said he had gone for tuitions yesterday and later went missing. His mobile phone was also switched off. They said he was an introvert and studious and they were clueless about what made him end his life. 


Badal not discharged yet
Recovery from injury satisfactory, say authorities
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Even five days after being admitted to the PGI here, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was not discharged by doctors today.

Though the PGI authorities claimed that his recovery from injury was satisfactory, he remained under observation and could not be sent back home.

Badal was admitted to the hospital on Thursday morning after he slipped from the stairs of his official residence while going for a morning walk and was injured.

Meanwhile, people from different parts of the state, including panches and sarpanches, were reaching the PGI to enquire about the well-being of the Chief Minister.

Throughout the day, the road in front of the ward where Badal was admitted was choked with vehicles with red beacons and small buses and Gypsies manned by armed security guards of the Punjab police, creating traffic bottlenecks.

Though PGI guards could be seen requesting the gun-wielding personnel of the Punjab police time and again, their requests were seldom heeded to, putting other visitors to the hospital to inconvenience.



Admission scam puts PGI students on defensive
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The arrest of two junior resident doctors by the CBI last week in the case of fraudulent admissions at PGI has come as a shock to other students, who now often have to answer unwelcome questions about the two who had been studying with them. They are feeling cheated by their own colleagues whose role in the scam has put a question mark on their own credibility.

“We feel people think every one here has gained admission through the backdoor”, a doctor quipped, requesting anonymity.

“The incident has come as a surprise to all other students who have come from different parts of the country”, said Dr Puneet Dhamija, pursuing his DM at PGI’s pharmacology department.

One of those arrested in the case, Dr Amit Musale, belongs to the same department. “He had been with us since he joined came here last January and we had been spending most of our free time together. In fact, the department is like a family and every one interacts with one another”, said Dhamija.

“However, the scam has put us in a spot where others tend to question our credibility. Every one in our contact including friends and relatives have questions and we have had to explain to them as if one of our family members had done something wrong. They find it hard to believe such a kind of thing happened at PGI, an institute known for its high professional standards. There was no reason to suspect anything amiss in the admission process”, Dhamija added.

“Even if a student gets into PGI by using unfair means he would find it tough to deal with its high academic standards. A student who is lazy and cannot meet certain parameters is bound to drop out before he completes his course”, says Sujit Rajagopalan another pharmacolgy who will be completing his MD this year.



Act of faith keeps them going
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Ramlila may just be a 10-day affair for most, but there are some who have been taking part in this event for decades. One such family, the Bhardwajs, has seen its three generations perform on stage.

Jyoti Bhardwaj and Chirayu Bhardwaj, who have been performing at a Ramlila run by OCF Sanskritik Manch in Sector 29, say: “We grew up watching our father play different roles and direct Ramlila here for over 25 years.”

“We have been performing the roles of Lord Ram and Laxman, respectively, for the past eight years,” they add.

In the era of satellite television, Ramlila, the story of victory of good over evil continues to retain its magic on both the performers as well as the audience.

A survey of various Ramlilas suggests that resource crunch has failed to deter religious-minded persons and committees from staging Ramlilas.

“Despite the problem of collections, we have been able to run the show,” says Munish Sharma, office secretary of the manch.

Devotion and acting have been driving almost all actors to rehearse for at least one month prior to Ramlila each year.

“It is a hobby coming directly out of devotion to Lord Ram,” says Prashant and Goldie, who perform the roles of Hanuman and Ravan, respectively, at the Sector-29 Ramlila.

The Ramlila organised by the manch has a revolving stage, enabling them to enact four scenes without any breaks.

“Youngsters come not only to watch the performance but also to be part of the stage. Others help out backstage,” says Munish, office secretary of the Ordinance Cable Factory Sanskriti Manch.

With Ramlilas kicking off in various parts of the city, makeup artistes can be seen giving final touches to the faces of various characters every evening.

“The Sector-27 ground was the first place in the city to have been chosen exclusively for Ramlila according to the Chandigarh master plan,” claims Dharam Pal Bansal of the Shri Ramlila Committee, Sector 27. “All our artistes come from Vrindaban for this stage show,” he adds.

Ramlilas have been able to draw people, especially women and children, in droves to venues all across the city. With venues buzzing with activity, vendors selling “golgappas” et al do brisk business.

Some sectors have been staging more than one Ramlilas. In Sector 22, Ramlilas are being organised by the Ramlila Committee and the Garhwal Sanskritik Mandal.

“We have some very entertaining features as fillers when the scene changes,” says a member of a Ramlila committee.

The police has made special security arrangements at all venues. Volunteers at different venues have been asked to wear IDs issued to them by various Ramlila committees.



‘Treat architectural journalism as novel discipline’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The First Friday Forum at its annual oration function organised a symposium on architecture, journalism and architectural journalism.

Dr SS Bhatti, founder of the forum, delivered the theme oration and brought out the fundamental affinities of three disciplines. In his thought-provoking exposition of the symposium theme, the speaker delved with new insights into the relationship that architecture had with journalism and architectural journalism.

Prof Pradeep Bhagat, principal, Chandigarh College of Architecture, delivered the welcome address and Chandigarh Chief Architect Sumit Kaur introduced the oration theme.

Veteran journalist Swaraaj Chauhan said, “India has been passing through a transition phase from the state control to open market for the past two decades. Indian media, especially regional media, has grown exponentially and is showing signs of great vibrancy. This is an encouraging sign for the growth of healthy and vital journalism in India.”

Prof SS Behl, former head, department of architecture, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, exposed the gathering to his special view of architecture unfolding new vistas of experiencing it in day-to-day life.

A Bangalore-based freelance architectural journalist, Apurva Bose Dutta made an impassioned plea to treat architectural journalism as a novel discipline. Lucknow-based national award-winning architect DS Bhui was the chief guest. He said, “A sustained effort is needed by the Indian architects, journalists and architectural journalists to awake in order to establish a new architecture based on different forms of geometry, mathematics, language and sustainability.”

As many as 10 professionals, Amar Chandel (journalism), RK Kohli (environment), Sangeet Sharma (architectural authorship), Harish Bhatia (Indian theatre), Apurva Bose Dutta (architectural journalism), Renu Khanna (architecture), Harjit Purewal (painting), Balvinder Singh (conservation), Ustad Neelay Khan (qawwali), and Azad Gurdaspuri (Urdu poetry) were honoured by the forum for their contribution to society.



Vaalivadham brings alive slice of history 
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 11
The week-long festival of traditions organised by the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi in collaboration with the Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi, concluded with the staging of Yakshagana, Vaalivadham in traditional form of Karnataka.

Presented by the Sri Idagunji Mahaganapati Yakshgana Mandali under the direction of Shivananda Hegde, Vaalivadham, the absorbing dance drama, depicted the killing of King Vaali after establishment of an alliance between Lord Rama and Sugreeva.

The actors with suggestive costumes and make-up enacted the dance drama to perfection bringing alive a slice of history from the epic Ramayana. Director Shivananda Hegde excelled in the role of Rama while Sanjay Beleu played Vaali. Sadashiva portrayed the character of Laxmana and Uday Hugde played the role of Hanuman with Sita Ram Hegde playing the role of Sugreeva.

On the grand success of the week-long festival of traditions, the Chairman CSNA, Kamal Tewari said that the Akademi had attempted to showcase the theatre traditions of four regions with the support of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi. It was encouraging to see the response the art lovers of the city who had shown interest to know about the Indian rich cultural traditions, some of which are on the verge of extinction



Snaverjit’s songs enliven Sham-e-Mousiqi 
SD Sharma

Singer Snavarjit Kammeyana performs at Pracheen Kala Kendra on Monday.
Singer Snavarjit Kammeyana performs at Pracheen Kala Kendra on Monday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Chandigrh, October 11
An amalgamation of melody, diction, cadence, rhythm and andaaz-e-byan made Sham-e-Mousiqi a memorable experience at the Pracheen Kala Kendra here today.

The young Patiala-based noted music genius, Snavarjit Kammeyana, who has mastery over classical and light classical genre of music, including Thumri, ghazals, sufi and bhajans enthralled the audience. He took to music under the guidance of his poet father Dharam Kamyana. Snaverjit is presently pursuing masters degree in English at Mohindra College, Patiala. He has brought laurels by winning many music competitions.

Snavarjit began with Baba Bulle Shah’s famous Multani kaafi “Aayo ni sayio” delineating the spirit of mysticism.

He established a romantic aura with rendition of Bashir Badr’s classic qalaam “Jo kisi per fida nahi hota…” followed by intoxicating poetic composition of Parvez Mehdi “Nigahen churakar oh jane wale….” in his resonant voice.

Then Snavarjit moved on to recite lyrical Punjabi song “Uss nu apni bana vi na sakeya….” which cast a magical spell on the audience. On persistent demand of the audience, Snavarjit doled out more songs and ghazals. He concluded his recital with favourite bandish of Ustad Salamat Ali Khan “Sanwal mor moharan…” amidst repeated applause.

He was accompanied by Vijay Yamla on Tabla while Karan Yadav provided admirable support on the guitar. Haryana Punjabi Sahit Akademi director CR Moudgil and Kendra registrar Shobha Koser honoured the artistes.



Monkey menace helpline nos.
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
To tackle the monkey menace being faced by city residents, the Chandigarh administration has started a telephone service to register complaints.

The residents can use the hotline number 4639999 to register their complaints.

Complaints can be forwarded to the range officer, wildlife squad, at 9417216520, forest wildlife squad at 9914220550, forest guard wildlife squad at 9855594003/9872851011.

Residents can use numbers 0172-2700284 and 2700217 during working hours.



Yogesh Kumar gets charge of IT
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Almost five months after the repatriation of MS Brar to Punjab, the Chandigarh Administration has been able to find an incumbent for the sensitive post of IT Director.

Yogesh Kumar, an HCS officer, who recently joined the administration, has been entrusted with the responsibility of the IT Director, a sensitive post in the backdrop of controversies surrounding the allotment of land to IT majors at the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP).

Yogesh Kumar will also hold the charges of Director Public Relations (DPR) and Director Science and Technology. The post of IT Director had been a hot potato for the administration for the past several months as it had not been able to appoint a full-fledged officer even in the recent major reshuffle.

Sandeep Hans, joint Secretary (Finance) had been handling the charge. With land acquisition in the IT park and its subsequent allotment to IT firms at “throwaway prices” under the scanner of the ministry of home affairs (MHA), the post of IT Director was not exactly a bed of roses. The special audit report of the MHA had rapped the administration for virtually “gifting” the prime land to the IT companies for a song.

Former IT Director Vivek Atray had been booked by the CBI for irregularities in the allotment of land for another mega project, the theme-cum-amusement park. With allegations of renting out space to non-IT firms by the DLF in the IT park rampant, the IT Director is the coordinating officer for action against the erring firms along with the estate office.

Other changes Joint Secretary (Home) Prerna Puri will look after the additional charges of Director Higher Education and Special Secretary (Health). Joint Secretary (Finance) Sandeep Hans will look after the charge of Special Secretary (Finance) in addition to his own duties. Kavle V Parshuram, an IAS officer, will be the new SDM (South).



Councillors go ga-ga over Gangtok
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The 14-member delegation of councillors of the municipal corporation (MC) who recently returned form Gangtok after a study tour was impressed by arrangements of sanitation and door-to-door garbage collection there.

The councillors, along with two executive officials of the MC, visited Gangtok and Kolkata from October 2 to 10.

The councillors would submit their suggestions to Mayor Anu Chatrath and a detailed report would be prepared on the study tour.

The councillors stated that Chandigarh had a similar system for garbage collection, but had some loopholes in its functioning.

A majority of councillors opined that they would suggest that the authorities take concrete steps by to streamline the system for betterment of the city.

The councillors also found that Gangtok was an encroachment-free city and no hawkers were allowed on the roadside or on market pavements.

Suggestions would be made by the group of councillors that the authorities make stringent rules to check encroachment in the city.

The councillors also studied the functioning of the civic bodies department and the implementation of the 74th Amendment in Kolkata.

The councillors found that the state had implemented the 74th Amendment, under which the Mayor-in-council which comprises 141 members, had been divided into 15 groups, which have special powers.

They would suggest that the Mayor be empowered further and the executive body be under the Mayor’s supervision.



‘Sting operations shouldn’t infringe upon privacy’
Saurabh Malik/TNS

Amarjit Singh
Amarjit Singh

Chandigarh, October 11
The Law Commission of India is balancing the scales of justice between the “Right to Know” and the “Right to Privacy” by zooming in on sting operations. The commission is also bringing under its scanner sensitive issues such as honour killings, dowry harassment, land acquisition and even poverty eradication.

The recommendations in this regard are expected to be made before the commencement of Parliament’s winter session. For the purpose, the commission is already gathering feedback from several quarters.

In Chandigarh as a part of the feedback operation, commission member Amarjit Singh says: “I personally believe sting operations are not objectionable, as long as these serve some public purpose and not infringe upon the right to privacy of people”. He asserts: “Some balance has to drawn between the two rights ”.

On the issue of curbing honour killings, he says they are currently touring this part of the region for understanding in details the genesis of the problem and preventive measures that can be undertaken. Easy and expeditious registration of marriages and reduction in the marriageable age are some of the measures he is not averse to.

He says currently Section 498-A of the IPC, dealing with subjecting a married woman to cruelty, is non-bailable and non-compoundable offence. “But we are looking deep into the provisions to see what can be done to prevent its misuse”.

On the Land Acquisition Act, Amarjit says the commission is in the favour of more than just suitable compensation.

“The need of the hour is to evolve some kind of a mechanism to ensure livelihood for generations to come,” he says, adding that this could be done by giving them preference in the projects set up on the acquired land. He says, “They should be accorded top priority while allocating accommodation in housing projects set up on the acquired land, or be given some preference in the educational institute set up on it”.



Fire brigade ill-equipped for emergencies
Kulwinder Sangha

New vehicles inducted into the fire department at Mohali.
New vehicles inducted into the fire department at Mohali. A Tribune photograph 

Mohali, October 11
Inadequate staff and lack of equipment to fight fires in high-rise buildings have hit the preparedness of the Mohali fire brigade to tackle emergencies during the festive season.

The number of incidents of fire tends to go up around Dasehra and Diwali and full preparedness is expected during this festive period. Around 10 to 15 calls were received around Diwali, said Shyam Lal, Additional Divisional Fire Officer (ADFO).

All that the fire brigade authorities can now do is to decline leave to its handful of employees during the festive season and request the administration to allow the sale of crackers only in open areas instead of congested markets.

Last year fire had broken out in a printing press in the industrial area, Phase I, because of a burnt cracker. Large quantity of paper was destroyed in the incident. Fire had also broken out on October 7 in Apna Bazar in Phase II last year destroying goods worth lakhs of rupees.

Around Diwali in 2008, fire had broken out in a Bata showroom in Phase III-B2 where shoes and other items worth about Rs 35 lakh were destroyed. It was suspected that the fire had resulted due to a burning firecracker which had fallen in the open courtyard at the back of the shop where some disposable material was lying. Calls linked with fires from burnt crackers were also received from the rural areas.

Though four new vehicles were recently given to the fire brigade, repeated requests over the years to provide more staff have fallen on deaf ears. The town which is fast expanding and where many high-rise buildings are coming up does not have a hydraulic platform to tackle fire in such buildings. The cost of the machine is about Rs 6 crore and GMADA was asked to purchase it for the local fire brigade.

The fire brigade at present has five fire engines, one mini fire engine, one water bouser and two fire jeeps. But the irony of the whole situation is there are not that many drivers to run these additional vehicles. There are only four drivers for round-the-clock duty linked with these nine vehicles.

As each of them has to give eight-hour duty, only one driver is available at a time. One is reserved as a “rest keeper”.

Station fire officers have to themselves drive vehicles in case of emergency. The civic body authorities have repeatedly requested the director, local government, Punjab, to give permission for recruiting at least 20 firemen and four drivers to properly run the fire brigade, but to no avail.

The local fire brigade has only one leading fireman against the requirement of 12 and has only four drivers against the need of 12. Against the sanctioned strength of 46 firemen, the fire brigade only has two of them working on a regular basis. Nine firemen had been employed on contract. 



Mansa Devi to get touch screen
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 11
In order to account for the material offerings by the devotees, Shri Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board (SMMDSB) would install touch screen computers at the main door of the temple and these offerings could be distributed to the devotees on the spot.

This process would be started after the Navratras were over as it was not possible to start the same in view of the large number of devotees visiting the shrine during the 9-day Navratra fair.

Rakesh Jogpal, City Magistrate, on behalf of Deputy Commissioner Ashima Brar, said earlier the material offerings, including fresh fruits and dry fruits, made by the devotees were stored and distributed after few days.

He said the fresh fruits got rotten during the process, but now the priests would distribute the same among the devotees immediately after making an entry by touching the screen of the computer, which would be connected to the main server.

Jogpal said the services offered by devotees during the Navratra fair would also be accounted for after they got themselves registered for the same. He said this would further help in smooth conduct of the fair in which lakhs of devotees pay obeisance at the temple.



Zirakpur autos barred from entering P’kula
Tribune News Service

Sher-e-Punjab Auto Union activists stop a haryan auto-rickshaw on the Zirakpur-Kalka highway on Monday.
Sher-e-Punjab Auto Union activists stop a haryan auto-rickshaw on the Zirakpur-Kalka highway on Monday. A Tribune photograph

Zirakpur, October 11
Hundreds of commuters faced inconvenience as officials from the Haryana transport department did not let the auto-rickshaws from Zirakpur enter Panchkula here today.

The president of Sher-e-Punjab Auto Union, while terming the Haryana transport department unfair, alleged that the traffic police did this so that the Haryana roadways buses could ferry passengers during the ongoing Navratra festival. He claimed that more than 20 auto-rickshaws had been impounded and challaned.

Zirakpur auto-rickshaw drivers threatened to block highway if their auto-rickshaws were not allowed to enter Panchkula. According to Rajmeir Singh, president of Shere Punjab Auto Union, around 300 auto-rickshaws operate in Zirakpur serving the common people.

He said from the past three days, the Haryana transport department had been deliberately stopping and challaning their auto-rickshaws. He alleged, however, the auto-rickshaws from Panchkula were plying easily in Zirakpur. He said the Haryana transport department had deployed officials at Zirakpur bus stop to keep a vigil on the Zirakpur auto-rickshaws.

Hundreds of commuters, including schoolchildren, were left high and dry throughout the day in the absence of any alternative mode of transport. With the public transport system in Zirakpur in a shambles, the commuters found it hard to reach their destinations.

Talking to The Tribune SDM, Dera Bassi, Puneet Goyal stated that the matter was in his knowledge and he would discuss the matter with officials concerned tomorrow. He assured that the problem would be solved on priority basis.



Cosmetic dermatitis cases on the rise
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 11
Incidents of cosmetic dermatitis are on the a rise in the tricity and with the onset of the festival season youngsters and middle-aged persons, specially women are opting for various cosmetic procedures without having any awareness about the precautions to be taken or the side effects.

Dr Vikas Sharma, dermato-laser surgeon at National Skin Hospital, Mansa Devi Complex, said daily 15 to 25 cases of cosmetic dermatitis, irritant contact dermatitis, allergic urticaria, contact dermatitis to various cosmetics, peeling agents, powerful bleaching agents, hair colours, etc., are being reported.

Dr Sharma said they would soon be conducting a special cosmetic dermatology camp to create awareness regarding corrective methods.



Illegal construction picks up at Sohana
Tribune News Service

Unauthorised construction activity goes on at Akal Ashram Colony in Sohana on Monday.
Unauthorised construction activity goes on at Akal Ashram Colony in Sohana on Monday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, October 11
With development activity being carried out in the peripheral sectors of Mohali, unauthorised construction activity in Akal Ashram Colony, Sohana, has also picked up. From the past few days, construction of at least three houses in the colony is going on full swing.

The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has not regularised the constructions on the prime land. Additional Chief Administrator Balwinder Singh Multani said neither the colony had been regularised nor the land had been exempted from the Periphery Act.

The occupants of plots have long been contesting their case with the Punjab Government over regularisation of their structures. They contest that while government had exempted land for the Judges Society, they had been denied the benefit.

Today, it was found that construction was going on at various sites near Sohana Eye Hospital. A visit to pockets of Akal Ashram Colony showed that labourers were busy in carrying out construction work at the site.

Bricks and sand were still lying near the house wall. GMADA officials said holders were raising structures at their own risk. The new structures would be demolished. 



Pass new Land Acquisition Bill, says BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The BJP today demanded the passage of the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, 2007, and the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy, 2007, in the Winter Session of the Parliament.

A BJP delegation led by its Kisan Morcha chief OP Dhankar submitted a memorandum to Chandigarh DC Brijendra Singh.

“A judicial authority be constituted at the district, state and national level to see whether the acquisition specified its objectives, including land quantum, land type, land use conversion, land restoration and rehabilitation of affected persons,” the memorandum read.

Demanding rehabilitation of farmers before their land acquisition, the party asked for payment of actual market rate to farmers for acquired land all over the country

Alleging that the current Land Acquisition Act, 1894, was not equipped to do justice to the farming community, the memorandum said the Land Acquisition Act should be made for the security requirements and the creation of the infrastructural facilities and not for the profitable ventures of the private sector.



Candidates get basic answers wrong, Senators disturbed
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Panjab University Senators expressed displeasure at a meeting at the below par response of candidates to questions asked during the admission process for the MBA course. Senators quoted incidents as the take-off point to show the falling academic standards.

During the admission process in a business school of the university, basic questions put forth by the selection committee members were answered incorrectly.

Students, who opted for finance as a major subject, did not know the “difference between a draft and a cheque”. Similarly, a student could not answer how did a cheque bounce. A senior fellow, who was part of the selection committee, said a girl candidate attempted the question and responded: “Insufficient funds lead to cheque bounce”. Asked if the cheque bounced in any other situation, the candidate could not answer.

Candidates also did not know who was the finance minister of the country. One of them replied it was Dr Manmohan Singh.

All the candidates had cleared an aptitude test conducted by the PU and were shortlisted on the basis of merit. The interview was for 10 marks.

At the senate meeting held on Sunday, the Vice-Chancellor said the academic standards must not be lowered. The issue was raised in the house when a fellow made a point about making mathematics being mandatory for certain courses over which a debate began. 



No decision yet on exams by affiliated colleges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The issue of conducting examination by affiliated colleges ignited a heated debate at the Panjab University senate meeting on Sunday, but the deadlock continues.

The VC urged colleges to take responsibility for the examination while representatives of certain colleges expressed their inability to do so. In a suggestion floated by a fellow, it was proposed that autonomy be given to colleges to run add-on courses. If it worked, the colleges could take up the responsibility of conducting the exams for first year graduation classes. The PU’s examination branch has been conducting examinations for nearly 2.5 lakh students annually. It also evaluates answersheets.

The VC, RC Sobti, had proposed that the university should prepare the question papers and the colleges could conduct the exams. In case of add-on courses, the colleges could take full responsibility and award certificates. Fellows, however, differed on the issue of certificates and it was decided that an agenda would be tabled in this regard at the next meeting with details of the case and the modalities.



‘No errands for teachers during school hours’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Going by the latest directive of UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas that under no circumstances will a teacher be assigned any errand during school hours.

The declaration comes after a surprise inspection of Government High School, Sector 42, Attawa village, where Niwas was left annoyed at the fact that one of the teachers of social science had been deputed by the school principal to do some bank work and another teacher having no knowledge of the subject was taking their class.

Following this Ram Niwas clarified that studies of students should no be compromised at any cost. Teaching should be the foremost responsibility of all teachers. Any other function should be discharged only after the school hours.

He also inspected the science lab and asked the principal to provide telescopes and microscopes as desired by the science teacher for practicals. He also tasted the midday meal being supplied to the students.



Seminar on teacher-student relationship

Chandigarh, October 11
The Education Department of the Chandigarh Administration organised a seminar on teacher-student relationship at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Karsan, which witnessed two slapping incidents recently.

The seminar was organised to bridge gap between teachers, students, parents and the community. Nearly 125 parents, panchayat members of Karsan village, representatives of local NGOs, staff and students from Class VI to XII participated in the seminar. — TNS



‘Training workshops sharpen skills of teachers’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
A basic training workshop on “Quantitative Methods and Techniques in Social Science Research” organised by the ICSSR North-Western Regional Centre, began with a keynote address by Sucha Singh Gill, Director-General, Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development, Chandigarh, at the ICSSR Complex. Nearly 55 teachers and research scholars from all over the North- West India are participating in the workshop.

Bhupinder Brar, honorary director of the Regional Centre, welcomed the chief guest and the participants. He highlighted the importance of such training workshops, which provided opportunities to young teachers and research scholars to enhance and sharpen their research skills. Brar stated that keeping in view the high demand of these training workshops the Regional Centre had expanded its workshop activity by organising at least two workshops in a year on qualitative and quantitative research methods.

Pampa Mukherjee and Kailash KK, the coordinators of the programme, provided a detailed overview and description of the course, including its content and format.

Sucha Singh Gill, presented a broad overview of empirical research in social sciences. Bhupinder Brar while speaking on “Saving Quantitative Social Science from its Critics” dealt in detail and talked about the relationship between science and social science and the philosophical foundations that govern approach to reality.

Krishna Mohan from the Department of Geography spoke on “The Nature and Purpose of Quantitative Inquiry”.

PK Saini, Deputy Director of the ICSSR, North-Western Regional Centre, presented the vote of Thanks. He hoped that the course coordinators would come up to the expectations of the participants.



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