C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Educity to go the medicity way?
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
Close on the heels of the UT Administration scrapping the controversial medicity project, the administration is now set to scrap the educity project. For, after cancelling the inclusion of four prominent educational institutes, the administration has recommended the cancellation of two more institutes — Hitabhilashi Institute and Maya Academy.

Sources claim that Hitabhilashi Institute had given conditional acceptance to the terms and conditions of the MoU while the eligibility of Maya Institute, whose name has changed, requires to be re-checked.

Although the administration is yet to formally scrap the project, questions are being raised on the viability of educity with hardly any institute left in the fray for the project.

The administration has already cancelled the names of the New Delhi-based DAV College Management Committee, and Fortis Health Care Ltd, Pune-based Tech Mahindra Ltd and Thapar Institute in Patiala.

The administration had also decided not to budge on its pre-laid terms for those institutes that had been allotted plots in educity.

Officials had even sent letters to these institutes, clarifying that they can either accept the terms and conditions as they are or withdraw. These institutes include Shri Vile Parle Kelvani Mandal (NMIMS), Mumbai, the Indian Express and the Chitkara Educational Trust.

“Since no communication has been received from these institutes it is assumed that the institutes have accepted our terms and conditions. They have three years to start their institutes,” a UT administration official stated.

The move comes after the institutes were pressing the administration for relaxing the terms. While Narsimonji had sought permission to run more than one course, two others -- Indian Express and Chitkara -- had asked the administration to give them some more time to deposit the license fee of Rs 90 lakh. Sources say this may lead to the exit of the remaining contenders and shelving of the project.

Interestingly, the administration was itself in doubt as the MoU signed initially fails to specify the type of courses that the institutes are allowed to conduct. The biggest roadblock in the project is the fact that it is impossible for any institute to earn or retrieve the license fee by running a single course in a year.



Contract Woes
Rs 2 increment in 5 years!
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
Strange as it may sound but an operating theatre assistant employed on contract with the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital (GMSH) in Sector 16 has received an increment of a “princely” amount of Rs 2 in five years between 2004 and 2009. On February 26, 2004, Sonu joined the hospital at a monthly salary of Rs 4,020, which in 2009 had risen to Rs 4,022. His salary, however, was raised by Rs 678 to Rs 4,700 within the next one year, marking an increase of a total of Rs 680 after working less than seven years at the hospital.

Sonu is not the only example of what contractual workers term as sheer exploitation at the hands of contractors even as the principal employer, the UT Administration, looks the other way.

A total of 346 employees at the PGI who embarked upon an agitation after one of their female colleagues had allegedly been slapped by a security officer for protesting against the delay in disbursal of salary, still do not know the fate of the lakhs of rupees that had been deducted from their salaries by the contractor against contribution to their provident fund and the Employees Service Insurance Corporation. “A total of Rs 570 has been deducted from my salary as provident fund contribution over the last two years. The contractor informed that my money is lying in my PF account. On checking with the authorities at the provident fund office, I was told that a mere Rs 45 had been deposited,” alleged Sukhwinder, a driver with the GMSH.

There are thousands of employees who have been working at the PGI, GMSH and GMCH and had resorted to frequent protests on these counts. Still, the administration failed to take any steps to redress their grievances. Queries by journalists at the time of protests had evoked the stock reply “that they are employees of the contractor.”

There has been sheer exploitation of workers since long, agrees an official with an agency entrusted with finding employees for multiple jobs on contract at the GMSH.

There was a flaw in the laws for contractual employees and it was for the administration to look into the welfare of the employees, said IP Singh, manager of Good Housekeeping, a company employing nearly 1,200 workers as doctors, staff nurses, other paramedical staff, drivers and nurses.

There is no provision of leave or any other perk for such employees in rules, he said. Moreover, salaries of many of these categories remain static for years. Many doctors had been working for Rs 10,000 for the last five years, he said.

A safai karamchari on contract draws a salary of Rs 5,250 with the minimum wages having been recently increased by the Deputy Commissioner. In contrast, a staff nurse on contract earns Rs 5,000.

Singh said they had submitted a proposal to the administration last year, pointing out that contractual employees were underpaid and that their salaries required to be increased. But there had been no outcome.

Efforts to contact UT Health Secretary Ram Niwas proved futile.

Asked about the grievances of employees regarding exploitation, Assistant Labour Commissioner Mohinder Kaur said they took action whenever a complaint was lodged. She, however, declined to reveal any details about the complaints received.



Early winter chill sets in, Met sounds fog alert
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
Winters has finally arrived in the city and neighbouring states as day temperatures plummeted with fog enveloping the region and disrupting normal life today.

People shivered in the cold conditions prevailing in many areas of the region as the mercury fell following fresh snowfall in Jammu & Kashmir and in some parts of Himachal Pradesh on Friday. The pale yellow sun, peeping through the skies occasionally, offered little warmth.

A thick cover of fog reduced the normal visibility range to about 500 metres, with foggy conditions persisting till 11 am. “Visibility was affected till 11 am due to this,” a senior meteorology department official said.

Temperatures remained low in the city and the plains in Punjab and Haryana. Cold surface winds blew across the city where the maximum temperature dipped to 20 degrees Celsius from Thursday’s 22 degrees, three degrees below normal. However, the minimum temperature rose marginally to 10.5 as compared to 9.7 degrees recorded on Thursday.

The weatherman attributed these conditions to northern and northwestern winds that had occurred due to snowfall in the northern areas of the country.

The met department said the mercury will continue to fall in the region. It predicted a cloudy sky along with foggy conditions during the next couple of days, but with a “progressive decrease” in intensity and duration. The maximum and minimum temperatures for Saturday are expected to be around 20 and 9 degrees Celsius, respectively.

All flights cancelled due to fog

There were no flight operations today at the Chandigarh airport due to the dense fog since early hours of the morning. According to sources close to the Airports Authority of India, the thick cover of fog made it impossible for any flights to land or take off today. They added last night the city remained engulfed by thick fog, which reduced visibility to zero for aircraft landings.

Jet Airways cancelled its flights to and from Chandigarh, while all incoming and outgoing flights of Kingfisher Airlines, GoAir Airlines and Indian Airlines from the city were also cancelled in the afternoon.

Train traffic was also affected. The Unchahar Express running between Allahabad and Chandigarh, which was scheduled to reach the city at 10 am, arrived late by 5 hours at about 3 pm.

Reports said vehicular traffic along the national and state highways was also thrown out of gear due to poor visibility. Most vehicles were seen with their headlights on in the morning.



Natty car packaging to woo buyers
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
There is good news for customers. Companies manufacturing cars are competing among themselves to woo customers by way of heavy discounts and offers on accessories, tours and servicing. As the year draws to an end, the discount offers vary between Rs 10,000 and Rs 50,000 on different models of various companies.

Maruti Suzuki is offering a concession on a majority of its makes, except Swift, ranging between Rs 10,000 and Rs 25,000. It is also offering trips to Thailand on the sale of one of its models.

Chevrolet is offering a discount of Rs 50,000 on Spark and Tata Motors has made interesting offers of “get a car free every day” based on a lucky draw. Customers have been offered a gift cheque for Rs 1 lakh or free accessories. These are in addition to the offer of “cash benefits up to Rs 50,000”.

Ashok Sharma, chief operating officer at Joshi Auto Zone, said: “Car companies in the Indian market have been able to capture different segments as the range available for a buyer has grown tremendously. Companies are trying new ways to draw buyers to showrooms.”

Vijay Kanwar, sales manager with Chandigarh Berkeley Automobiles, however, feels that the offers were merely a customer attraction plan. Concession on ground only translates to projection. “A bloated price is shown to have been reduced by inserting a cutting on printed advertisements. The concession amount is used for insurance and other related aspects and would certainly not leave the customer’s pocket substantially light.”

Sharma said: “Manufacturers are under pressure to woo customers. The market has expanded and a customer can exercise greater choice. A buyer has access to information from all quarters, unlike earlier when he had limited options of only two or three companies.”

He has a point because instead of a talk about straight cash concessions at the showroom, a customer is given a leaflet of models with columns of “car models, type, ex-showroom price with three-year extended warranty, insurance, and optional fourth-year extended warranty”, besides several others. “It is confusing and not the way it was shown in the advertisement,” Zail Singh, a customer, remarked, adding that “New Year means new models in the market, which means paying more money. There are many like me who would like to save some money.”



BJP rural unit chief booked for rape
Our Correspondent

Ambala, December 10
The Naggal police has booked the BJP’s district rural unit president, Sanjay Sharma, for rape of an Ambala City woman, Amardeep Kaur, who had filed a complaint against him three days ago. She had met with the Ambala SP in this regard this morning.

The middle-aged married woman had accused Sharma of sexually exploiting her and taking ` 3.2 lakh by assuring her a government job.

Three days ago, she had filed an application with the Naggal police in this regard but the next day a joint affidavit was filed in the police station in which it was stated that the dispute between the two parties had been settled amicably and that they did not want the pursue the matter further.

However, yesterday the woman briefed mediapersons that she had been forced to sign on the documents at gunpoint.

She also met Haryana Chief Minister in Delhi and demanded the arrest of the BJP leader in her memorandum.

On the other hand, Sanjay Sharma refuted the charges and said a political conspiracy had been hatched against him to defame him. He said the affidavit had been filed with mutual consent. He said he was ready to face any probe in the matter.

The police has booked Sharma under Sections 376 (rape), 420 (cheating), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt).


UT to have transport policy
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
The UT administration has chalked out a multi-pronged strategy to check the use of personal transport in the city in the backdrop of Chandigarh having the highest vehicular density in India, resulting in chaos on city roads.

As a first step, the administration has decided to hike the registration charges on cars being registered in the city. Besides, the public transport, including the bus transport, taxi and auto service is being strengthened to discourage the use of the private vehicles in the city.

As a long-term solution, the mass rapid transport system, including metro, is being planned in collaboration with the neighbouring states. These suggestions form part of the proposed transport policy of the Chandigarh administration.

Official sources said the need to have an efficient and affordable public transport system had been felt in the wake of high percentage of cars per persons (82 per 1,000 in Chandigarh as compared to 54 in New Delhi).

With highest per capita income in the country, city residents take fancy for the new models of the cars, resulting in traffic chaos, besides causing environmental pollution. An efficient public transport is the best antidote to the ever-increasing vehicular traffic. With this in mind, the metro project is being envisaged as the long-term solution to residents’ commuting problems, sources said.

However, as a short-term measure, autos run on the diesel/petrol will be switched to the LPG. The taxi service will be improved and new AC buses will be introduced to cater to the needs of commuters.

The number of city residents using the public transport, which was currently about 14 per cent, will be increased in a phased manner.

Metro, a panacea for traffic woes

Officials admitted that the proposed metro was the only panacea for the commuting problems of residents of the city and neighbouring towns. With the comprehensive mobility plan (CMP) of the metro being approved by stakeholders, the detailed project report (DPR) will be completed by next year. Since a substantial number of vehicles enter the city from the neighbouring towns, their percentage will come down once the metro service is started. As a large number of residents also use their personal vehicles for commuting to neighbouring towns, metro will also be beneficial to them. 



MC clears new security gate
69 to be installed across Mohali by January 31
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, December 10
The sample of a new security gate put up in Sector 70 here has been approved by the municipal council president, who has directed the contractor concerned to replace all old gates by January 31.

The inspection was carried out yesterday by Rajinder Singh Rana, who was accompanied by Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu and assistant municipal engineer NS Dalam.

Rana said minor shortcomings were noticed in the sample gate and the contractor was asked to remove these before going ahead with the replacement of other gates.

The contractor was asked to raise the height of the beat box, plug the open area around the gate, slightly change the design of the upper portion of the gate and make provision for putting up two locks. He said the new gates were stronger than the ones installed earlier.

As many as 69 new security gates will be put up in various parts of the town by January 31. The contractor had agreed to put up another five gates if the need arose, added Rana.

According to a council official, the pillars of the new gate had now been strengthened. The weight of earlier pillars was around 20 kg, which had now been increased to 350 kg. Brickwork would be done around the pillars, which would also have glazed tiles.

All 39 security gates installed by the civic body around a year ago will now be replaced with the new ones. Councillors had alleged that the gates installed earlier were of substandard material and poorly designed.

The gates were not only of poor quality but also remained unguarded at night, defeating the very purpose for which they had been put up.

The contractor had even failed to properly implement the terms and conditions of the agreement, as house numbers and names of councillors living in that area were not mentioned on those gates.

He was finally asked to remove advertisements put up on these structures.

Amendment was later carried out to the terms and conditions of the agreement with the contractor who had then been asked to arrange security guards and improve the design of the gates as well.

The plan to put up security gates was drawn by former SSP of Mohali Jatinder Singh Aulakh and discussed at a meeting that was attended among others by former SP (city) Varinder Pal Singh, council president Rajinder Singh Rana and former senior vice-president of the civic body Rishiv Jain.

As per the plan, the gates were to be closed at night, leaving one gate open and was to be manned by a security guard who was supposed to log the names of those entering the particular area once the gates were closed.

The security guards were to be deployed after carrying out police verification.



Library in name only
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, December 10
In a town proposed to be another Singapore by the ruling SAD-BJP government, its sole municipal library fails to inspire much confidence of readers. For it does not have even a single member or a board showing its existence.

Readers visit the library only to rifle through newspapers and some magazines. They complain that there are very few books and these, too, are not of reputed authors.

Books for the library are purchased by the civic body and most of these are of a publishing house based in Mansa.

The library presents a picture of neglect, as it is not being maintained properly. All it offers is dusty bookshelves and reading tables to readers. The floor remains dirty and is cleaned just once a week.

Also, there is no provision of drinking water or standby arrangement in case of a power failure.

Out of around 1,000 books available, nearly 150 have been donated by booklovers. Twenty-six magazines and 17 newspapers are provided by the civic body.

On an average, just 15 persons visit the library every day only to read newspapers and magazines. Of these, most are senior citizens.

An NRI, Chaman Luthra, who donated books to the library and visited it recently, said the premises gave the impression of a bookstore rather than that of a library.

Councillor Amteshwar Kaur, who is an avid reader, says 80 per cent books are useless and most of these are old editions.

The library has little to offer to students as it is devoid of books pertaining to competitive examinations or on subjects like history, general knowledge and computers.

She says the library must stock books of celebrated writers besides expensive ones that are out of the reach of the common man.

The municipal council has deputed four employees - two junior assistants, a peon and a safai sewak - to run the library. However, none of them has acquired any training in this regard.

Amna Kumar Goyal, executive officer, admitted that the library was not being managed properly. He had little to say on the disappearance of the board showing the existence of the library. He, however, said more books would be purchased for the library, which would also be equipped with a computer.

Journey so far

A private party began running the library from a building constructed by the civic body in Silvi Park, Phase X, in 2005. It, however, terminated its operations on June 30, 2007, after elected representatives of the civic body started demanding free membership. The general house then decided to run the library on its own during a monthly meeting in June, 2007. The council later took over the charge of the building and posted a peon and a clerk there.



MC staff opposes draft hiring, promotion norms
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
The municipal corporation’s ongoing efforts to frame a recruitment and promotion policy after 13 years are proving to be an uphill task with most employees finding flaws in the rules being drafted on promotion of existing staff. The employees’ objections will be tabled at the meeting of the committee, which was set up by the MC house for this purpose last September, scheduled to be held on December 14.

According to MC records, there are 1,200 posts lying vacant in the civic body. Employees have pointed out the proposed policy is silent on reemploying retired civic officials even though retirees have held important positions in various department in the past.

Underlining the drawbacks in the draft policy the employees said MC officials had not included any clause in the promotion policy for officers who were holding the current duty charge in various departments as to whether they would be eligible for promotion under the new norms.

MC records show ten SDOs in the public health and road departments have been holding current duty charge for over five years as no other staff was available for these positions.

The employees have also suggested the civic body should increase the promotion quota from 40 to 50 percent as no promotion has taken place during the past 14 years in any department due to the absence of a policy.

The employees have said a provision should be made in the policy that the cadre of employees would not be changed. Department records show seven enforcement inspectors are posted in the wing, out of which three were transferred in 2006 from the engineering department and one was a junior assistant, two employees were shifted from the medical health officer’s department in 2008 and one was appointed on contract basis in 2007.

The employees have also objected to the posting of retired officials in the civic body in senior positions. The proposed policy has not clarified whether retirees would be reemployed.

Vacant posts

There are 97 posts lying vacant in the MC commissioner’s office, including the suboffice in Manimajra, 118 in the public health department, 158 in the road wing, 107 in the horticulture department, 44 in the electrical department and 371 in the medical health officer’s department.



Encroachments in motor market removed

Chandigarh, December 10
The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation enforcement department vacated around two acres of land at the Mani Majra motor market under a special anti-encroachment drive today.

The enforcement team removed dumped vehicles of mechanics and tools from the parking lot of the market during the drive. The drive was carried out under the supervision of enforcement inspector KD Sharma, along with the supporting staff of the enforcement and engineering wing of the MC.

Official said warnings were issued to shopkeepers two days back to remove encroachment from the MC land. Official said the action was taken against those who failed to remove their material from the parking area. — TNS



Experts dwell on haemorrhagic stroke
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
The Indo-US programme on Comprehensive Stroke Centre Training started off yesterday with a symposium on the evaluation and management of haemorrhagic stroke.

Dr Rohit Bhatia from the All-India Institue of Medical Sciences spoke on emergency department evaluation while Dr Vineeta Singh from the US elaborated on ICU care of stroke patients.

Dr SK Gupta from the PGI discussed various surgical options and Dr Aneesh Singhal from the US highlighted recent advances in haemorrhagic stroke care.

This was followed by a talk on the basic aspects of transcranial doppler imaging by Dr Andrei Alexandrov. Hands-on training was made available for delegates under supervision of Dr Andrei, Dr Anne Alexandrov and Dr Dheeraj Khurana.

The afternoon session dealt with stroke characteristics of India, with Dr Shyamal K Das highlighting differences from the West.

Dr Subash Kaul and Dr Jeyaraj Pandian discussed the current status and future outlook of comprehensive stroke centre care and stroke programmes in India. The programme was followed by a cultural event by the Abhinava dance group from Bangalore.



Sikh clergy prevents holding of
ritual at marriage palace

Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, December 10
A group of Sikh clergy prevented the holding of “anandkaraj” ceremony at Chimney Heights Resort, where a wedding function had been organised, terming it sacrilegious.

They also objected to the bringing of “parkash” of Guru Granth Sahib to the venue.

The ceremony later took place at Gurdwara Nabha Sahib, near Zirakpur, after both families of bride and groom agreed to it.

Several prominent figures, including a former DGP, witnessed the wedding.

According to sources, the function was going on in the resort when Gurmat Chetna Talmel Committee president Jatinder Kathgarh, Baoli Sahib Gurdwara committee president Jagdev Dhakola and Nabha Sahib Gurdwara manager Gurbaksh along with others reached the resort and objected to its location.

They produced a copy of an edict after which both families and their relatives agreed to solemnising “anandkaraj” at Nabha Sahib.

A committee member said on March 16, 1998, the SGPC had issued an edict and prohibited “parkash” of Guru Granth Sahib and performance of “anandkaraj” in marriage palaces.

Meanwhile, after proper religious procedures, the holy book was departed after performing “ardaas” by granthis, sources added.



Recounting freedom movement
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
The archives department, Haryana government, in collaboration with the Chandigarh administration and Uttar Pradesh State Archives, Lucknow, has organised an exhibition of rare documents and photographs on “Glimpses of Freedom Movement”.

The exhibition was inaugurated by DR Chaudhary, member, Administrative Reforms Commission, Haryana, at Exhibition Hall, Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10, today.

Rajwanti Mann, deputy director, Archives, Haryana State Archive, Om Prakash Srivastava, deputy director, UP State Archives, Lucknow, PC Sharma, officer in charge, Government Museum and Art Gallery, AD Ahluwalia, professor emeritus, department of geology, Panjab University, were present on the occasion.

Photographs and copies of original documents depicting various events that occurred in Northern India during the Freedom Movement of India are being displayed.

Mann said the exhibition aims at creating awareness about the heritage of the state preserved in this department in the form of records among the public in general and students in particular.

The main exhibits displayed are telegram dated May 10, 1857, reporting about the state of 60th and 5th Regiments and letter dated October 2, 1857, depicting that Rao Tula Ram took his stand in a small fort at Rampoora (Rewari) and collected Ranghars against the British, Formation of Independent Government in Oudh, July, 1857, letter written by Walidad Khan to the Emperor of Delhi, death of English Army officers in Lucknow, announcement of cash prize of Rs 50,000 for the arrest of Nana Saheb, martyrdom of Rani Laxmi Bai of Jhansi departure of Begum Hazrat Mahal to Nepal, arrest of Tantiya Tope, hanging of Lala Hukam Chand Jain, trial and hanging of Raja Nahar Singh of Ballabhgarh, first session of the Indian National Congress, arrest of Mahatma Gandhi at Palwal, a note on Sir Chhotu Ram, resignation of Pt Moti Lal Nehru from the Legislative Council, Kakori conspiracy case, reaction of incidents of Chauri Chaura in Benaras, Unnao, Farrukhabad, Saharanpur, Dehradun and Azamgarh, a letter of Chandra Shekhar Azad, Satyagrah News, “Civil Disobedience” exhortative speech delivered by Pt Ram Sharma, celebration of 26th January, 1930, Arrest of Pt Neki Ram Sharma, death warrant of Sardar Bhagat Singh and formation of “Provincial Government of Azad Hind” by Subhash Chandra Bose on October 21, 1943.

Besides, rare books and manuscripts have also been displayed at the exhibition. Some rare photographs of great Indian leaders, a book on Mahatma Gandhi and a small time piece with the photographs of freedom fighters, private collection of director of the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh, NPS Randhawa are the main attractions of the exhibition. The exhibition will remain open till December 12.



Crime on rise in city: BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
President of the local unit of the BJP Sanjay Tandon today alleged that cases of snatching, kidnapping, burglary and murders were on the rise in the city.

Addressing a press conference here today, Tandon alleged that the police system seemed to have collapsed in the city, leaving the residents at the mercy of anti-social elements. Former Union Minister Harmohan Dhawan and national in charge of the BJP’s legal cell Satya Pal Jain were also present on the occasion.

Tandon said recurrence of such incidents indicates that the police was doing nothing except making fake claims of maintaining law and order in the city.

Besides, the role of the traffic police in maintaining smooth flow of traffic leaves much to be desired, he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Dhawan said though the Chandigarh Police was well-equipped and had all the latest facilities, the law and order situation was deteriorating in the city.



294 vehicles challaned in November
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
To curb the public tendency of plying overloaded vehicles, unauthorised vehicles or those with incomplete documents, the local State Transport Authority (STA) has challaned 294 vehicles in November.

More than 1,000 transport vehicles were checked, offenders were challaned, their vehicles were impounded and certain were issued notices.

Providing details in a press note, the STA said 17 buses and stage carriage vehicles were challaned and two impounded on account of different offences.

A total of 52 trucks were challaned and 105 impounded, 56 autos were challaned and 12 impounded, seven taxis were challaned and five tractors were impounded.

An amount of Rs 14,72,600 was paid by offenders to the state exchequer as fine. STA secretary Mahvir Kaushik advised people to ensure that they carried all documents before venturing on city roads.



Thieves strike at wedding functions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
Three incidents of thefts in wedding functions have come to light in the city.

Shyam Sunder Vaid, a resident of Hoshiarpur, complained that while he was attending a wedding function at Balmiki Bhavan in Sector 24 last evening, two smartly dressed girls, aged between 15 and 21 years, allegedly decamped with his bag containing Rs 70,000 and a gold ring. The girls hanged around till late night before eloping with the bag.

In another incident, one Promila complained that while she was attending a wedding at a dharamshala in Sector 37, someone took away her bag containing Rs 7,000 and other valuables.

In yet another case, Grish Thakur, who was staying at Himachal Bhavan in Sector 28, complained that someone took his bag containing Rs 3000, a diamond ring and some other valuables.



Van donated

Chandigarh, December 10
The State Bank of India, Chandigarh Circle, today unveiled and handed over the keys of a Tata Magic Ace Van to Col Shailesh Sati, Commanding Officer of the 6 Battalion, Sikh Regiment in the presence of a large gathering of ex-servicemen, war widows and serving personnel.

The regiment is celebrating the Unit Battle Honour Day “Defence of Poonch” which is in consonance with the achievement of victory in the Indo-Pak War of 1971.

The vehicle will be used to provide transportation services to the ex-servicemen, war widows, serving personnel and their families to get medical facilities at Chandimandir Command Hospital. — TNS



Tenants’ body protests

Chandigarh, December 10
The Chandigarh Industrial Area Tenants’ Association today held a protest in support of their demands on the World Human Rights’ Day.

According to a press note, the main demands of the protesters included rehabilitation of tenants in the upcoming Phase III of the Industrial Area, preservation of the heritage status of the Industrial Area as per Le Corbusier’s design and an end to the misuse notices till the rehabilitation process is completed. — TNS



Introduction of Chinese
Non-availability of staff dampens CBSE’s plans
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
Non-availability of staff and a few takers seem to have dampened the Central Board of Secondary Education’s plans to introduce Mandarin as a language in the Class VI syllabus. Despite the board’s much publicised declaration, a majority of the city schools may not be able to introduce Chinese language as an option due to shortage of certified Mandarin teachers.

“The idea seems to be interesting, but it’s not practical. We want students to speak the language fluently,” said a city school principal.

After the board’s declaration, a couple of applications were received, but nobody could be shortlisted, as most of the applicants had done a one-year course in the language, the principal added.

“Given to the fact that there will just be a handful of people well versed in the language, we may not be able to keep a track of the progress of the class and end up leaving everything subjected to whims and fancies of a teacher. Moreover, not many students are interested in taking up the language so there is no point taking the hassle for one or two students,” added another.

“We do realise the problems, but the attitude of city principals is disheartening. The progress in education comes with its own hiccups and such an attitude is the biggest hindrance,” said a senior CBSE official.

According to sources, the board has been apprised of staff crunch and is planning to train teachers before initiating the course. A committee of experts, formed in November, has designed the curriculum.



Discipline puts off dental students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
Disciplinary measures or what is termed unreasonable strict regulations at PU Dental College, Sector 25, is the latest issue that has caught the fancy of student groups.

Expressing concern for hundreds of dental students, the Panjab University Student Union (PUSU) has objected to the Dental College’s policy of sticking to a specified time schedule and submitted a memorandum in this regard to the PU authorities today.

According to the memorandum, rule specifying that a student entering the college after 9 am will not be marked present for any lecture and similarly no student will be allowed to leave before 5 pm, was unreasonable.

The memorandum also demanded parking facility at the college.

The university is not a school or a jail. Present rules of the BDS department are not acceptable. These are not reasonable enough and play no role towards the development of students and hinder their morale. Even the university rules prescribe the minimum limit of attendance as 75 per cent in a session to appear for examination, so why insist on 100 per cent attendance everyday?”

— Sukhjit Singh Brar, working president, PUSU

Not even a single student of my college was part of the protest and students’ representatives have denied being informed of any such demand by students. It’s shocking that they are protesting against discipline and demanding that college be transformed into a garden where students can come and go whenever they wish. This is a professional institute and students have to deal with patients. We cannot teach our doctors to keep patients waiting. Moreover, these parties have no right to raise such demands, if they have to say anything, they should approach us through a proper channel.

— Dr Gaba, director, Dental Institute




Mohali, December 10
Students of the Gian Jyoti Institute of Management and Technology organised a seminar on “Human Rights Day” on the college premises here today.

The theme of the seminar was “human rights awareness”. The seminar began with multimedia presentation highlighting the inception of universal declaration of human rights. To mark the day, a panel discussion on “Importance of Human Rights” was also organised. — OC



PU notes
Human Rights Week

Chandigarh: The Centre for Human Rights and Duties of University Institute of Emerging Areas in Social Sciences (UIEASS), Panjab University, celebrated the Human Rights Week today to commemorate the International Human Rights Day. Theme of the week coincides with the UN theme of the Day, “Speak up Stop Discrimination: Human Rights Defenders Who Act To End Discrimination.”

The first day of the week-long celebrations organised at the centre witnessed a talk by Professor Pam Rajput, fellow and dean, faculty of arts, on the issue of gender discrimination and the role being played by the defenders of the women’s human rights. Earlier Dr Swarnjit Kaur, coordinator, Centre for Human Rights and Duties, highlighted the role played by Vice-Chancellor Professor RC Sobti in introducing masters’ course in human rights.


The University School of Open Learning and political science department organised a national seminar-cum-workshop on “The Role of Teacher in Knowledge Society” on the Panjab University campus here on Friday.

Sponsored by “The Salvation Army, India” Northern Territory, New Delhi, about 45 participants from Kolkata, Moradabad, Delhi, Braeilly, Gurdaspur and Batala participated in the seminar. Prof. AS Ahluwalia, dean, faculty of sciences was the chief guest. He defined the role of teacher in society.

Dr. Jasvir Kaur Chahal, dean, faculty of education, in her keynote address, pondered over the problems of the modern education system. She said that 21st century was a “knowledge age” and the role of teacher in this knowledge age was under debate. — TNS



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