C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


3 more fall victim to ATM card cloning
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 16
In what has raised alarm bells, at least three more incidents of State Bank of Patiala ATM cards being cloned were reported here today. With at least seven such cases - all pertaining to the same bank - reported during the past two days officials have warned there was every likelihood of the number going up as most of the bank’s customers were yet to check their accounts.

The three complainants who approached State Bank of Patiala officials on Tuesday are Ramesh Kumar of Global Big Centre, Kakkar Majra, Satyawan and Jagjit Rai Jindal.

The CCTV footage recorded at one of the bank’s ATMs shows a man in a white shirt and jeans and wearing a helmet had first withdrawn money from 7:37 am to 7:45 am and then returned again to withdraw cash from 8:02 am to 8:23 am. The suspect reportedly used about ten cloned cards to withdraw cash from as many different accounts.

The CCTV footage also showed the suspect collecting the receipt for the balance amount after withdrawing the money and putting it into his bag without checking the former. After he was through the suspect picked up all the receipts from the top of the machine, thrust them into his shirt pocket and left the ATM. Another customer could be seen waiting for about two to three minutes as the suspect kept on using the different cloned ATMs.

However, even 37 hours after the incident, the State Bank of Patiala branch here is yet to file a complaint with the police regarding withdrawal of Rs 167,200 from its ATM located in Sectors 4 and 20 here on Sunday morning. The bank’s general manager, HQ (operations) Patiala, Prakash Kanthad, today visited the bank’s branch in Sector 4 and inquired about the matter from the staff there. Bank officials could be seen guiding their staff to ask the aggrieved customers to file a complaint with the police.

The bank’s chief manager (administration) Gurjit Singh Mann said the suspect had possibly withdrawn the money by using cloned ATM cards. “The suspect, who appears to be in his thirties, was wearing a helmet to hide his identity”, he added. Commenting on the absence of security guards at the bank’s ATMs he said a proposal in this regard would be soon sent to senior bank officials.

In his complaint to the Chandigarh police yesterday, Jasbir Singh, one of the aggrieved customers, said he had a savings account in State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur and used to withdraw his pension funds through an ATM. “When I went to withdraw Rs 2,000 from the bank’s ATM in Sector 20 on November 12 I was shocked to find out there weren’t sufficient funds in my account. The balance statement said there was only Rs 23 left in it”, he added.

Jasbir said further enquiries revealed the suspect had withdrawn Rs 20,000 and Rs 6,500 vide transaction numbers 5222 and 5223 from State Bank of Patiala’s branch in Mani Majra on November 14. ‘The suspect had first used the bank’s sector 20 ATM for cloning ATM cards and then withdrew the money from other ATMs”, he alleged.



Land allotment runs into rough weather
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service


  • Large-scale substitution among members discovered
  • Land to be allotted only to original members
  • GMADA to allow substitution in case of inheritance and transfer within a family
  • Land to be allotted to 13 cooperative housing societies

Online applications

GMADA has decided to adopt the system of inviting online applications for the upcoming Mullanpur urban estate to facilitate the applicants. GMADA would tie-up with banks to enable submitting of online applications. GMADA Chief Administrator VP Singh said on the basis of computer generated application form, the applicants would be able to deposit the earnest money with banks. This would save a lot of manpower that goes in to managing the process of inviting the application forms. All those who have got plots in Sectors 76 to 80 and in Aerocity would be barred from applying in the Mullanpur urban estate. 

Mohali, November 16
About 1,000 aspirants seeking an apartment in Mohali are in a fix as the Greater Mohali Development Authority (GMADA) today decided to review its offer to allot land to 13 cooperative house building societies after it found that the societies had indulged in a large-scale substitution of members, ranging from 20 to 60 per cent.

Prime real estate of 21 acres in Sectors 76, 79 and 80 had recently been offered to the housing societies at a rate of Rs 12,000 per sq yard.

In a meeting of the Board of Directors of GMADA, chaired by the Punjab Chief Minister today, it was decided to withdraw a chunk of land offered to these societies for indulging in large-scale substitution of members. “This is in violation of the terms and condition of the allocation letters. It has been noticed that soon after the decision to allot the land was taken, a number of society members sold their membership at a premium,” said a GMADA official.

It was decided that substitution would be allowed in two cases - one, in inheritance cases and the second, substitution within a family. GMADA also decided not to allow any other category of substitution. However, the cooperative societies have been stating that the substitution was legal as per the Cooperative Act.

GMADA Chief Administrator VP Singh said the authority would stick to the list of original members as per the terms and condition in the agreement signed with the housing societies. The land would accordingly be offered only to the original members. This means that in some of the cases, the societies would lose part of the previously earmarked land.

As per the zoning in the new master plan, 35 dwelling units have been allowed per acre. For 21.24 acres allotted to 13 societies, the allowed density per acre is 175 persons. Each society has been allotted land varying between 1 and 2.25 acres. Seventy-eight dwelling units are allowed for 2.25 acres. Similarly, for another society, 43 dwelling units were allowed on 1.23 acres. However, the number of members exceeded the permissible number of dwelling units, said sources.

Sources said that in the case of ACC Members Cooperative Society, 25 members had changed and a new list of members had touched 100 against the original of 67. Similarly, in the case of Golden Tone Cooperative House Building Society, 42 members had been substituted. In the case of Sahibzada Cooperative House Building Society, the list of members had increased from 62 to 102, while in Youth Club Cooperative House Building Society, 36 out of 63 had been substituted. In Aggarsen Cooperative House Building Society, and Swastic RBI Staff Cooperative, 11 members each had been substituted.



Housing Scheme for UT Employees
Admn may allot more land
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
Caught in a tricky situation over the self-financing housing scheme for UT employees, the Chandigarh administration may release an additional 60 acres of land for to accommodate applicants who have been left out.

In the recently held draw of lots for the scheme, which was floated by the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) in 2008, ‘B’ category employees are facing opposition for being allowed to apply under category ‘C’. They now feel their chances of getting a house allotted in the draw have dimmed considerably.

Talking to The Tribune, UT finance secretary Sanjay Kumar said: “There’s no formal proposal for transfer of land to CHB right now. However, the union territory has in principle enough land to spare for additional housing premises for administration employees. The required 60 acres of land could be provided in the concerned category from an existing quota of 80 acres”.

However, CHB chairman Mohanjit Singh refused to comment on the issue, only saying that “additional land to the board was a proposal worth consideration”.

Sources close to the administration said the union territory had enough land in Sectors 53, 54 and 55 to spare for additional housing.

The trouble began after CHB permitted candidates in category C to apply for 168 flats in category B, which was originally meant for only 328 employees. The issue of shifting the category of applicants arose after the payscales of category C employees were revised. While the number of applicants rose to 708 the number of flats remained the same.

In all 567 applications were received for 252 flats in category A, 708 for 168 flats in category B (including those which came from category C), 6,045 for 3,066 flats in category C and 883 for 444 flats in category D.

Groups of category B and C employees are now meeting administration officials separately to make their points on the issue.



Bank clerk held for Rs 18-lakh fraud
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
The police today arrested a local bank employee for embezzling of funds amounting to lakhs of rupees by forging entries in the bank’s ledger account. The suspect, Jaswinder Singh, a senior clerk at the Sector 26 branch of Chandigarh State Cooperative Bank, reportedly siphoned off Rs 18,47,316 into his and his relatives’ accounts.

The matter came to light when the bank’s general manager, Sukhchain Singh, who filed the complaint with the police, checked the banks’ records on August 3 and found several false and forged entries in the general ledger which did not match with day book entries. “After calculations we found Jaswinder had made forged entries for Rs 2,64,197 in the ledger and the day book,” he alleged in his complaint.

After detecting the fraud the bank officials also checked the records of the Burail branch where Jaswinder was posted for four years from 2002 to 2006. The officials reportedly found forged and false entries for ` 5,85,033 there also.

The total amount of funds allegedly embezzled by Jaswinder was found to be Rs 18,47,230, which the officials asked him to deposit with the bank. However, he has reportedly deposited only Rs 8,49,230.

The police apprehended the suspect on Monday in from Sector 17 and has registered a case under sections 409, 420, 467, 468 & 471 of the IPC at the Sector 26 police station.



PU Violence
Absconding PUSU leaders arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
The Chandigarh Police today arrested absconding Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) leaders Udey Singh Wirring and Arshvir Singh Johal on the PU Campus. The police would produce Wirring and Johal along with three other members of PUSU before a court on Wednesday.

The student leaders were booked last week for indulging in violence on the PU campus and injuring policemen and students. The tiff, which was due to an internal rift between PUSU members, eventually resulted in a patch up of senior PUSU leaders and the office-bearers of the student organisation.

“We got a tip-off about Udey and Johal’s presence on the campus today evening and immediately swung into action and sent a team to arrest them. The student leaders who were booked for violence on the campus would be produced in a court tomorrow,” said SHO Sukhpal Rana.



Cut-off bar relaxed to accommodate all
All farmers who opted for land pooling to get plots
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Fund for free health care to poor

The Punjab Government would create a fund for providing free medical treatment and health care facilities to the BPL families of the state in private super-speciality hospitals.

A decision to this effect was taken by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in the 8th meeting of the Board of Directors of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) here. Expressing concern over the plight of poor patients, the CM said getting medical facilities in private super-speciality hospitals was beyond the reach of poor people these days.

He also approved in principal that GMADA would contribute to the fund 20 per cent of the amount it earned from the auction of land to private players for establishing such hospitals.

Mohali, November 16
In a decision having political implications, the Punjab Government today decided to accommodate all landowners who opted for the land-pooling scheme for Aerocity, irrespective of the cut-off date to apply for the scheme.

Earlier, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) had rejected the claim of about 56 applicants who had applied after the cut-off date. In a meeting held today, it was decided that to popularise the scheme, all applicants should be allowed the benefit of having commercial and residential plots.

The beneficiaries, numbering around 100 would be given two options to get the benefit. Against the initial criterion of offering a two-kanal residential plot, the landowners would be offered 975 sq yd or 950 sq yd land, divided into different sizes of residential plots.

The plots would be spread out in different parts of Aerocity. The residential plot is in addition to the commercial plot of 121 sq yd. The total land required to accommodate all applicants was around 140 acre.

The issue came up in the authority meeting of GAMADA after landowners petitioned to the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. There are cases in which landowners had opted for partial land compensation component (Rs 1.5 crore per acre) and pooling scheme for the remaining land. About 55 applications were received after the cut-off date in May, against about 50 received before the last date.

Under the land-pooling scheme, the landowners, whose land was acquired for the project, were entitled to a 930 sq yd residential plot and a 121 sq yd commercial site.


City Budget
Rs 500-cr bonanza for city likely
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Why Chandigarh maange more?

  • To upgrade existing infrastructure
  • Acquisition of land for slum rehabilitation project
  • For paying salary and perks to UT staff
  • To put slum rehabilitation project back on track

Chandigarh, November 16
Chandigarh is expecting a Rs 500-crore bonanza from the central government during the current session of Parliament. The expectation stems from positive indications during a meeting chaired by Union Expenditure Secretary Sushma Nath and attended by UT Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar in New Delhi on November 12.

While the UT administration had put forth a demand of additional budget of Rs 1,034 crore — Rs 204 cr for plan budget and Rs 830 crore for non-plan budget — sanction of an outlay of at least Rs 500 crore is being considered as reasonable.

Sanjay Kumar said the Centre had been apprised of the Union Territory’s needs and the union finance ministry had to take the call on hike in the plan and non-plan outlays. Since Parliament is in session, the nod for enhanced budget may come in the current session, sources said.

With major projects aimed at upgrading the urban infrastructure under way, the finance ministry may sanction at least Rs 500 crore to the Union Territory.

“Since Chandigarh MP Pawan Bansal is also the union parliamentary affairs minister, he will expedite the passage of enhanced budget outlay for Chandigarh,” sources said.

A lion’s share of Rs 158 crore from Rs 204 crore had been sought for the fund-starved Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), primarily for its flagship slum rehabilitation project to resettle around 25,000 families of squatters as part of administration’s social commitment.

A sum of Rs 10 crore each is being sought for health and education.

While presenting the Union Budget for 2010-11, the union finance minister had pegged Chandigarh’s plan and non-plan budgets at Rs 450.91 crore and Rs 1,468 crore, respectively.

In fact, the non-plan outlay for 2010-11 had showed a decline of Rs 10.68 crore from Rs 1478.68 crore to Rs 1,468 crore than the last financial year, while the plan outlay registered a marginal increase of Rs 69 lakh from Rs 449.22 crore to Rs 450.91 crore.

However, in a subsequent meeting at New Delhi in July, 2010, Chandigarh’s plan budget went up by Rs 234 crore (around 52 per cent increase) and was pegged at Rs 684.91 crore.

Observers said with anti-incumbency factor staring the ruling Congress and Bansal in the face in the forthcoming elections to the municipal corporation, the MP will go all out to get more grants for the city.



VAT cut in Punjab
UT admn may follow suit
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
Following a cut in percentage of VAT (value added tax) on food grain, including wheat products like “maida”, “suji” and pulses from 4 per cent to 1 per cent in the neighbouring Punjab, the UT administration may also follow suit.

However, officials maintain they are yet to receive notification from Punjab. Administration officials are yet to decide on tax reduction.

“We have not received the notification from the Punjab government on the reduction. Nevertheless, we will first analyse the revenue that is received on this account and will see if we the targets for this year are yet to be achieved. Then only can anything be decided on the tax,” said a senior official of UT administration.

Recently, the Punjab government reduced VAT on food grain from existing five per cent to one per cent. A delegation of the Beopar Mandal met with UT officials, seeking reduction in tax on Punjab pattern.

The delegation claimed that the since the UT followed the Punjab Sales Tax Act, it should reduce the tax.

The delegation said the reduction in tax would lend a much-needed breather to both consumers as well as traders.

Food and civil supplies, weight and measures sub-committee chairman and adviser to Beopar Mandal Ravi Prakash Kansal, who along with other members met with Deputy Commissioner Brijendera Singh recently, said neither was the city getting any benefit of following the Punjab Sales Tax Act nor was it benefiting from its Union Territory status.

“Delhi has no tax on food grain at all. So why not Chandigarh follow the same? At least the burden on traders and consumers can be reduced this way.”

The administration is currently levying tax on branded food grain and other wheat products, while non-branded ones are exempt from the tax.



GMADA begins refunding of earnest money
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 16
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) today began the process of refunding the earnest money to unsuccessful applicants. Today, GMADA transferred Rs 2,396 crore to the banks for refunding the amount to the unsuccessful applicants. About Rs 8,500 crore is to be refunded to about three lakh unsuccessful applicants.

“Once GMADA transfers the money to the banks, the financial institutions can start refunding them from November 18. This will enable the banks to refund a portion of interest charged on the financed earnest money”, said a GMADA official.

As per the schedule drawn by the GMADA authorities, the refund will be made on phases that will end by the first week of December. Ideally, the unsuccessful applicants will get at least one-month refund amount from the banks that financed their applications. For those who had applied along with the earnest money, the refund would mean saving up on the interest part.

An applicant of a 500-sq yard plot (who got his application financed from a bank) can hope of getting a refund of around Rs 4,000. In case of a 200-sq yard, the unsuccessful applicant (who got his application financed from a bank) would get around Rs 1,500 as the refund. The interest part can vary as the interest is chargeable on a daily basis as per the RBI guidelines”, said an official of GMADA. The banks on their part stated that the moment the money was transferred in to their accounts, they were bound to refund the money.



Study Tour
Councillors must monitor segregation of garbage: Report
Tribune News Service

The recommendations

  • Area councillors must supervise segregation and collection of garbage
  • Officials must review installation of laser musical fountain in Sec 17 for Rs 3 cr
  • Discussion and participation of public must be ensured before chalking out any project

Chandigarh, November 16
The councillors who had recently been on a study tour of Cochin and Thiruvananthapuram have suggested the supervision of the task of managing segregation and collection of garbage of each sector by the area councillor of the ward.

The councillors, in their study tour report submitted to the municipal corporation authorities today, said in spite of a garbage processing plant in the city, the problem persisted due to non-segregation of garbage and faulty collection system.

Referring to the garbage collection systems in the two cities, the report said for better execution, councillors should ensure that non-segregated residential garbage was not accepted by the door-to-door collectors in their areas.

Councillors in Cochin ensured that only segregated garbage was sent to the plant, it stated.

The report stated that the city also had a similar system but it was not being executed properly, leading to problems.

The report also asked the authorities concerned to review the installation of a laser musical fountain in Sector 17 at the cost of around Rs 3 crore.

They reported that a similar project in Thiruvananthapuram had been executed by the science and research technology museum at the cost of just Rs 59 lakh.

The Cochin MC had introduced a novel concept of inviting discussion and participation of public before chalking out any project for the city, it stated.

The manager of each project invited suggestions and objections before finalising it for the city. Such a procedure should also be adopted in Chandigarh as well, the report suggested.

The councillors also asked the officials concerned to prepare an action report on the study tour, which would be tabled in the next House meeting of the Chandigarh municipal corporation for discussion.



Goat gets dearer this Eid
Tribune News Service

Namaz timings

The namaz will be offered at the Jama Masjid in Sector 20 A at 9 am; Noorani Masjid, Sector 26, at 8.45 am; Mani Majra Idgah at 9 am; Idgah in Burail at 8.45 am; Madina Masjid, Sector 29 at 8.15; Jama Masjid, Lalru, at 9 am; Mauza Kot, Panchkula, at 9.30 am; and Sabri Masjid, Sector 45, at 9.15 am, according to a press note issued here today.

Chandigarh, November 16
With only a few hours left for the festival of Eid-ul-Zuha (Bakr Eid), one can spot a variety of goats up for sale in various markets. Though the excitement is somewhat dampened among buyers, given the high prices of goats, buyers can still be seen thronging places where goats are being sold.

In fact, despite the rise in prices, there is a marked increase in the number of goats being put on sale.

The main places where goats for sacrifice are being sold, including Mani Majra, Sector 26; Mohali, Mullanpur and Zirakpur, are witnessing a heavy rush of buyers. Hectic negotiations for rates can be seen between goat-sellers and buyers at these places.

An average healthy goat can fetch anything between Rs 5,000 and Rs 8,000. And, yet there is no upper limit on the price of the animal.

“It has been going on for almost a fortnight now,” said Mohammed Hamid, a businessman. Hamid said buying a “khassi” or ram is the first thing one does in the run-up to the festival.

“Goats this year have been slightly costlier than last year. I bought two for Rs 8,000,” he added.

Generally, there are no guidelines set for the prices of the animal as they are generally dependent on the local market conditions and negotiation skills.

Most buyers prefer to buy goats from rural areas on the outskirts of the city and other places. Goats are generally sold at lesser prices in these markets.

The crowded roads in Mani Majra and Sector 45 wore a festive look today even as hordes of people swarmed the bylanes to complete their last-minute shopping for Bakr Id that falls on Wednesday.

Apart from meat markets, clothes and jewellery outlets in some areas also do brisk business this season. Like any other Indian festival, food is a major ingredient of the festivities.

So, people get ready to prepare the usual sumptuous “biryani” laden with traditional spices and “sewaiyan” to lend the occasion its sweet quotient.

Nisar Khan, owner of a sweet shop in Sector 45, says shops compete with each other to make the best “sewaiyan”.

Meanwhile, Sadiq, who sells goats nearby, agrees that business is brisk this season. Prices of meat are up, too, this year.



Cloudy day ahead in city, rain likely
Anil Jerath/TNS

Chandigarh, November 16
The city remained cloudy throughout the day today and the weatherman has forecast showers and a cloudy day ahead. “The skies will remain partly cloudy and there will be light drizzle and thundery developments on Wednesday in some parts of the city,” an official of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

He said the cloudy weather was due to the low pressure building up over southern Rajasthan, southern Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh and it was gradually moving towards northeastern parts of the region.

Though, the Met department maintained that there were still two weeks left for the real winter to begin - officially the winter doesn't begin until December - the city had begun to feel the chill. The minimum temperature on Wednesday was 12.6 degree Celsius, whereas on this day last year, the minimum temperature was four degrees more at 16.8 degree Celsius. While last year, at this point of time, the minimum temperatures hovered around 15 degree Celsius, this year they hovered around 10.2-to12.8 degree Celsius.

The Met department maintained that excessive rains this monsoon was the reason for the low-minimum temperatures this year, says Surender Paul, director, IMD. “There is also no way to tell if the winter this year is going to be more cold than the winter last year. The forecast system at IMD can at the moment only make predictions for the next one week and not beyond that, he added."

There is also no concrete forecast on fog, however, with declining minimum temperatures the Met officials believe that foggy days are round the corner. The maximum temperature on Wednesday was 28.6 degree Celsius - one degree below normal. The maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to be 28 and 13 degrees Celsius respectively.



Zirakpur-Chandigarh road
Strewn sand a threat to commuters
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, November 16
Two-wheeler drivers are having a tough time while travelling on a stretch on the Zirakpur-Chandigarh road near flyover as huge lumps of sand are lying there from the past few months.

Residents alleged the sand spread over the stretch of road was causing inconvenience to commuters. They demanded that the authorities concerned should look into the problem and get the highway cleaned properly.

Mohan Lal, a vendor, said minor accidents were a routine affair on this stretch. He said sand was accumulated and spilled over the road. This led to congestion, as the motorists tried to avoid the stretch covered with sand.



LPG cylinder distributor’s godown raided
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
An inspection was conducted at a local distributor of LPG cylinders in Sector 42 B. Joint Director, food & supplies and consumer affairs, and SDM (south) Abhishek Dev inspected the premises of M/s Super Gas Service, Bharat Gas distributor, and found that six filled domestic LPG cylinders of 14.2 kg were short in the godown of the dealer.

It was also found that the dealer was not maintaining the record of the receipt and distribution of LPG cylinders, as required under the provisions of the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Regulation of Supply and Distribution) Order, 2000.

The consumer data of the dealer was also checked and random door-to-door checking also revealed that though delivery of cylinders had taken place at the address, the particular consumers were not residing there.

The department has referred the matter to Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd, Chandigarh, for taking action against the LPG dealer.



HS reviews construction work at ICA
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
Ram Niwas, Home Secretary-cum-Director, today visited the Institute of Correctional Administration (ICA), Sector 26, to review the ongoing civil works being carried out by the engineering department and department of urban planning and town planning of the Chandigarh Administration.

The Home Secretary took a round of the premises of the ICA to see the status of the ongoing works and asked the engineering department to improve the quality of work.

The public health department was also directed by the Home Secretary to take steps to stop the seepage in the entire building of the ICA.

During the meeting it was decided to upgrade six rooms in the institute and make them on par with the rooms in the UT guest house.



Abhishek Dev gets charge of Joint Secy (Home)

Chandigarh, November 16
The Chandigarh administration today effected a reshuffle in the wake of Joint Secretary (Home) Prerna Puri proceeding on leave from November 15 to June 10 next year.

SDM (East) Abhishek Dev has been given the additional charge of Joint Secretary (Home). Similarly, Kavle V Parashuram, who joined the administration as the SDM (South) recently, will look after the charge of adult education for continuing education programme, Joint Director, food and supplies, Secretary, Red Cross, and Registering and Licensing Authority, relieving Abhishek Dev of these charges. Jasvinder Kaur working as the Additional Director (Administration), Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, will look after the charge of the post of the Chief Executive Officer, Chandigarh Housing Board, in addition to her own duties. — TNS



Rs 5 lakh sought through anonymous letter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
Maj Gen PPS Mohindra (retd), a local resident, has approached the police claiming to have received a an anonymous letter demanding Rs 5 lakh from him.

The hand-written letter without any name on it was received by the complainant on November 13. Police station-17 SHO Jaswinder Singh said it could be mischief as it was an anonymous letter. “We are investigating the case,” he added while ruling out any terrorism angle. A case under Section 387, IPC, has been registered at the police station-17.



Monkey menace at Chhatbir zoo
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur (Chhatbir), November 16
Two wild monkeys, who had entered Mahendra Choudhary Chhatbir Zoological Park a few days ago, have become a cause of nuisance. However, zoo officials claimed that they were able to nab a male monkey.

According to sources, a few days ago, the monkeys had entered the zoo and had allegedly attacked some visitors. An official of the zoo said the matter was in his knowledge. The problem would be sorted out soon, the official claimed.



Admn chalks out admission process
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
Thousands of students belonging to the economically weaker sections (EWS) have a reason to smile, as the UT administration has finally chalked out the admission procedure for EWS reservation.

A day after issuing instructions to city schools on implementing 25 per cent reservation under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, the education department has also directed them to provide reservation of about 15 per cent for children belonging to EWS, which they had been evading for long.

The reservation clause that has long been a bone of contention between city private schools and education department states that 15 per cent of the total number of students to be admitted to each class in a year.

However, this reservation will be a part of 25 per cent of the reservation demanded under the RTE. “We have sent the instructions and admission process to all schools. By coupling it with the RTE, we mean that out of 25 per cent of the students admitted to a class, the UT will bear specified charges of only 10 per cent, while the remaining 15 per cent will be considered under the EWS reservation,” clarified DPI (S) PK Sharma.

The schools, however, are up in arms against the move as Independent School Association president HS Mamik said, “The issue of EWS reservation is subjoined and UT cannot pass any instructions in this regard till the court decides on it. I am amazed that though they have failed to clear our doubts in the court, they have come up with this policy. How can we run schools by admitting 25 children and getting minimal payment for only 10? We will not accept it.”

EWS Reservation Policy


  • Children residing in the city for a minimum period of three years, immediately preceding April 1 of the academic year are eligible to apply

Residence proof

  • Ration card, voter I-card, electricity bill, water bill, gas connection, driving licence, etc.
  • The annual family income of the applicant should not exceed Rs 1,50,000 per annum or as altered by UT administration from time to time.

Mandatory documents

  • Attested copy of family income certificates issued by the sub-divisional magistrate
  • Attested copy of birth certificate or any other document prescribed by UT administration
  • Residence proof

Application process

  • Applications are to be forwarded to schools concerned, which shall not charge any money for admission forms or prospectus

Admission procedure

  • In case the number of applicants exceed quota seats in any school, the admission from pre-nursery to Class VIII shall be made by way of draw of lots in the presence of parents concerned (optional) and representative of DPI (S). Admission to Class IX and above will be done on the basis of an entrance test and applicants will secure seats in the order of merit. Parents will be informed about the draw and entrance test dates on the application day. Schools will put up notice about the number of seats and admission procedure on the notice boards and advertise it in at least two local newspapers by February 15

Fee and other charges

  • No academic fee/fund will be levied from students admitted under this quota. However, students admitted in Class IX and above will be liable to pay fee in accordance to fee structure of corresponding class in government model schools


  • Students will be admitted in regular classes and no segregation will be allowed for the purpose of social assimilation. There shall be no separate sections for these students

Grievance redressal

  • Complaints regarding non-acceptance of application or selection process can forward a complaint to the district education officer



Reservation violates school’s right to administer

Chandigarh, November 16
St Xavier’s School in a reply to a public interest litigation (PIL) on the quota for economically weaker sections (EWS) here said, “25 per cent reservation amounts to the school being deprived of a large amount of money.”

School principal M West in his reply has said, “Illegal and forced reservation of any kind by the state violates the core of the school’s Right to Administer, enshrined in Article 30 (1) of the Constitution of India.”

The school has also contended that it was a minority school and was entitled to protection under Article 30.

The principal in his reply filed in the court of Anshul Berry on PIL filed by Advocate Pankaj Chandgothia termed the petition as “frivolous and wastage of precious time of the court.”

The petitioner expressed dissatisfaction over the reply and said the school was absolving of its social responsibility by issuing negative statements and the principal did not appear alive to his social responsibility.

Chandgothia sought permission from the court to file a rejoinder to the reply by St Xavier’s, upon which the court adjourned the matter to November 23. The administration and DPI (S) also sought further time to frame and implement the guidelines under the Right to Education Act. The petitioner has also filed a case on the same lines in the Panchkula court. — TNS



Seats for EWS students
Pvt schools get court notices
Sanjay Bumbroo/TNS

Panchkula, November 16
Notices issued by the district court has given jitters to private schools in the city that were now initiating steps to compile data to file reply about children of the economically weaker sections (EWS) under the RTE Act.

According to sources, with the passing of the RTE Act by Union government in April most private educational institutions in the city had not admitted any children from the EWS of the society.

However, some of the schools had completed the formality by admitting their wards of their Class IV employees, including peons and gardeners.

Principal of Bhavan Vidyalaya, Sector 15, Shashi Banerjee, said they had received the notice only yesterday and added that they had admitted the children of the EWS as per the RTE ACT.

District education officer Nalini Mimani was not available for comments.

It is worth mentioning that district court, on November 13, had issued notice to the Panchkula district administration and six private schools on a petition seeking immediate framing of guidelines for implementing the Right of Children To Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.

Advocate Pankaj Chandgothia and his wife Sangeeta, who filed the petition, said tension was multiplied when the administration puts up road-blocks in the admission policy of the schools, by way of making certain rules and regulations that are ambiguous, thereby adding more confusion to the admission processes.

Some principals said the government should formulate a policy so that there was no extra financial burden on schools.



‘Jyotirgmaya’ goes on air
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
Panjab University’s community radio, “Jyotirgmaya” (91.2 FM), which is being hosted by the School of Communication Studies (SCS) was finally on air today.

On the day of its commencement, students from various departments across the campus organised news bulletin of the campus news, a panel discussion on “media and education” and a chat show with students.

Although the formal inauguration of the community radio is expected to take place in December as per the agreement with the Union Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD), the radio was to go on air within three months of signing the contract, which was done on August 19.

Describing the preparations done by the department, students and faculty, SCS chairperson Mohanmeet Khosla said, “There was a mix bag of news, panel discussion and chat show today. The students from various departments, including UILS, UIET, education department, school of blind, evening studies and certain NGO’s, have already recorded interviews with psychologists, etc. As a part of the initiative taken by PU of adopting villages, we also have an interview with a doctor in Khuda Lahora village, telling about herbs and ayurveda.”

“Through Jyotirgmaya, the focus is being laid on education, social issues, songs and copy writing,” she added.

As an extension to this campaign, SCS is also hosting an awareness workshop about the community radio, in which delegates from northwestern parts of India have been invited, along with officials of the Union ministries. The workshop would take place from November 19-21.



5-day theatre fest gets going
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 16
The five-day national theatre festival, being jointly organised by the North Zone Cultural Centre (NZCC), Patiala, and Punjabi University’s theatre and television department got underway with Rakesh Bedi’s enacted monologue, “Message” at Kala Bhawan in university, here last evening.

Written by Vijay Tendulkar in Marathi, the play has been adapted by Rakesh Bedi, with music rendered by Kuldip Singh and directed by Harbansh Singh.

The play tries to peep into the underbelly of today’s society through the escapades of the protagonist, Happy Kumar, who comes to join the film industry to become an actor, but unfortunately becomes the fourth assistant director of a film-maker.

With Happy’s sensitivity gone for a toss, he experiences several ups and downs in life and finally lands up in a ladies gym. The play shows that Happy meets several interesting characters, including a cunning lawyer, a ruthless politician and the woman of his life, who, too, leaves him worn out and disillusioned.

Rakesh plays all 24 characters in the play deftly in his inimitable comic style. Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Dr Jaspal Singh appreciated the dexterous and adroit performance of Rakesh.



PU teachers get arrears
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
Panjab University Teachers’ Association (PUTA) president Jaspal Kaur Kang said Panjab University teachers had received the leftover arrears, which were pending following the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission from April 2006.

“The teachers had been eagerly awaiting to receive their arrears and the teachers’ union congratulated the PU authorities for fulfilling their pledge,” said Kang.

PUTA general secretary MC Sidhi added that the PU Vice-Chancellor had committed the release of arrears on November 15 that was eventually fulfilled.



From Schools & Colleges


Students take part in a painting competition at Moti Ram Arya School, Sector 27, Chandigarh
Students take part in a painting competition at Moti Ram Arya School, Sector 27, Chandigarh, on Tuesday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

CHANDIGARH: A team of 50 students from 10 schools of the city visited the dumping ground at Dadu Majra. These students visited ragpickers, scrap dealers, waste collection centres in various sectors and dumping ground to suggest solutions for waste management in the city. The visit was organised by Yuvsatta, Sohanjana Eco Club of GMSSS-46-D, TERI, New Delhi, and Tetrapak as a part of the project “Search”. The project is aimed at creating awareness among schoolchildren and teachers about the problem and encouraging the habit of recycling, reducing and reusing. The visit was followed by an interactive session with Chander Mukhi Sharma, a councillor, Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, who apprised the students of the grave problem of ever increasing garbage in the city.

Science congress

Students of Delhi Public School participated in the state-level Children’s Science Congress held at the Commonwealth Youth Programme Asia Centre, Chandigarh. A team comprising Taksh, Devika, Pranav, Prateek and Rishab, students of Class X, has been selected for a presentation at the national level to be held in December in Chennai. They presented a project, “Recycle and reuse to reduce landfills”. Similarly, the junior group comprising Khushboo, Harshita, Pranav, Abhishek and Nilesh, students of Classes VII and VIII, has qualified for the young environmentalists’ meet to be held in January in Delhi.


The Environment Society of India on Tuesday organised a presentation on “Land resources: Use of prosperity, save for posterity” at the Commonwealth Youth Centre, Sector 12, here. Various schools from the city participated in the presentation on different subjects. Before making the presentation, schoolchildren made questionnaires to be filled by city residents.

Space science education

Students of Saupin’s School, Sector 32, participated enthusiastically in Inizio Space School Programme held at Kennedy Space Centre (KSC), NASA, from October 18 to 23. Inizio Edutech Pvt Ltd, an organisation involved in providing space science education through various national and international programmes, organised it. During this weeklong programme, students interacted with astronauts and eminent scientists, who guided them in various projects and astronaut training facility.

Blood donation camp

The Government Polytechnic for Women, Sector 10, in collaboration with the blood transfusion department, Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16, jointly organised a blood donation camp on Tuesday. More than 100 volunteers donated blood.

Eid celebrated

Students of the MCM DAV College for Women, Sector 36, celebrated Eid on Tuesday with traditional fervour and festivity. The celebrations emphasised on the message of oneness in the culture. They also prayed for universal peace and well being through the festival. College principal, Dr Puneet Bedi gave her blessings to the students and stressed upon the significance of universal brotherhood and peace.


The Commerce Club of GGDSD College, Sector 32, organised a seminar on “Banking and its facets in the current scenario” on Tuesday. The seminar, which was conducted for students of BCom, had VK Gupta, a retired official from the State Bank of India, as the key speaker. Gupta discussed in details about public sector banking, private sector banking, universal and narrow banking, RTSG and NEFT mode. Sharing his experiences, he also threw light on the emerging scenario of banking sector and job opportunities available for students.


The Gender Equity and Promotion of Culture and Heritage Society of PGGC-46 organised a talk on “Health and herbal plants”. College principal, Dr JS Raghu, welcomed the key speaker, Dr Sangeeta Nehra, assistant director ayurveda, department of Ayush, Haryana. Dr Nehra conducted an interactive session with the students on how to make life easy and how thinking leads to reactions in the body. Shashi Wahi, a member of the society, highlighted the importance of herbal care in the modern stressful life. — TNS



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