C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Property market set to hot up
23 residential, 92 commercial sites to go under hammer
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
With the UT estate office set to put 23 residential and 92 commercial sites under the block early next year the property scene in the region, particularly the tricity, will hot up ahead of the new fiscal.

While the administration hopes to make a killing post recession, observers said property prices in the city will soar if past auctions are any indication. In the December 2009 auction the average price per square yard of residential property was pegged at Rs 74,820 - up from Rs 55,299 in 2008. Similarly, commercial property fetched a price of Rs  2.74 lakh per square yard. In fact, a 5 marla plot sold for Rs 1.4 crore at a whopping price of Rs 1.06 lakh per square yard. And, the launch of ` 50 lakh two bedroom flats by the Chandigarh Housing Board is set to make freehold property out of the reach of the common man. “With Chandigarh being the most livable city in the country, the average prices of land may well touch Rs 1 lakh per square yard,” averred Tarlochan Singh Bittu, chairman of the Property Consultants Association, Chandigarh.

Official sources said there would be rise of at least ten per cent in the reserve prices of residential and commercial property. This is being done as there was a huge difference between the reserve price and the price at which the property was ultimately sold in an auction.

In fact, the upcoming auction holds interest for another reason. It would be for the first time that it would be held after the upward revision of collector rates for residential property from Rs 24,960 in 2007 to Rs 39,936 per square yard in June this year.

The new collector rates for commercial property, which the administration notified last June, varied between Rs 1.24 lakh to Rs 3.49 lakh per square yard as compared to the previous rates ranging from ` 93,000 to Rs 1.56 lakh per square yard. This revision will bring more revenues to the administration.

A senior official said the administration would come out with a substantial number of residential and commercial plots in the city’s southern sectors as part of its strategy to promote the phase II and phase III sectors (from Sector 30 onwards).



MC to put commercial sites on block soon
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
The municipal corporation plans to publicly auction its vacant commercial plots in Manimajra and Mauli Jagran as well as in Sectors 17, 22C, 36D, 38C & D and 39D after the UT estate office decided to put its residential and commercial plots on the block by the yearend According to MC records, there are over such 200 sites at prominent locations in the city for which the civic body had twice held public auctions. The auction for seven booths in Sector 39, eight in Mauli Jagran and 39 sites in Mani Majra was conducted in 2005 and January 2008, respectively. However, the civic body had withdrew the auction of six sites in Mauli Jagran as these were under litigation.

In June a proposal was tabled in the MC’s finance and contract committee to auction vacant commercial sites, which include six shop-cum-offices (SCOs), 17 booths and two shop-cum-flats (SCFs) in Manimajra, nine shops located in subways in Sectors 17 and 22, four sites in Buterala and five shops in Badheri village

However, the move was deferred as the committee felt commercial property prices were not high enough and the corporation would incur losses if it went ahead with auctioning these sites.

“After the estate office auctions its plots, the MC will seek the finance & contracts committee’s approval for putting its sites on the block”, said MC additional commissioner TPS Phoolka. “As commercial property is an asset the MC will decide on holding the auction only after it is convinced real estate prices have gone up”, he added.

The auction held last year was not successful due to prohibition on reselling properties for 15 years from the date of allotment, according to the Estate Rules of 2007. However, the UT administration has now relaxed this norm, a move that will boost property values.

‘Costly Call’

Ajay Jagga, president of the local unit of the Janata Party, requested the Chandigarh administration to intervene. He said he was also filing his objection with the UT Administrator, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Consumer Affairs. He said the CHB was selling the brochure and application form for ` 1,000. “The Consumer Protection Act is also being violated. GMADA sold such forms for ` 100. The Delhi Development Authority has priced forms at ` 105. Its brochure is available free of cost online,” he said.



Only 70 housing scheme forms sold on Day 1
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
With only 70 forms being sold, the opening day of the latest housing scheme of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) got a dull response.

Nothing better was expected, with total confusion regarding the bank from where they could procure their forms.

After being told that only Axis Bank had been marked for the sale of forms, residents were for another unpleasant situation when they were told by Axis Bank representatives that forms were not available.

“There was a slight confusion in the morning, but all that was taken care of. All four branches will get forms by tomorrow,” said CHB chairman Mohanjit Singh.

Initially, the CHB had shortlisted three banks, but later, it was decided that only Axis Bank would provide forms in the tricity. The CHB, which had recently announced the scheme, had drawn flak from all quarters over the pricing of the proposed flats in Sector 51.

The CHB was scheduled to construct 160 two-bedroom flats in Sector 51, with those on the ground floor priced at Rs 50 lakh and the rest at Rs 47 lakh.

The CHB was also criticised for pricing forms at Rs 1,000. What made this housing scheme different was that there was no restriction on the number of applications by an individual.

A resident of Chandigarh could fill in as many application forms as he desired. If successful in getting more than one flat, he would have to surrender the second one.

Ten per cent of the houses, 16 in number, placed in the assured category, would be priced after taking the average of all bids.

Money Bound

To come out of a financial crunch, CHB officials left for Delhi today to seek the third instalment of Rs 160 crore under the additional Central assistance scheme from the Central Sanctioning and Monetary Committee. The CHB had received two instalments for the construction of 25,728 flats under the Slum Rehabilitation Scheme over last two years. With two consecutive awards from the same ministry under its belt for being the best city in implementing the slum rehabilitation scheme, presenting its case would be a cakewalk for the CHB



Shivaliks under threat again
Farmhouses come up, courtesy confusion over demarcation
Rajmeet Singh/TNS

Tanda (Mohali), December 13
Taking advantage of the confusion over demarcation of hundreds of acres denotified under the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA), 1900, influential landowners have again started cutting the eco-fragile Shivalik Hills at Nada, Karoran, Perch and Jayanti Majri to develop farmhouses in the northwest periphery of Chandigarh.

While insisting that the hillocks being targeted by the landowners are still locked under the PLPA, the Forest Conservation Act and the Indian Forest Act, forest officials are going after the violators, but due to absence of physical demarcation in the villages, landowners are countering the claims of the forest department. Taking cognisance of the issue, the Punjab forest department today wrote to the Punjab Director-General of Police, the Mohali Deputy Commissioner and the Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), stating that due to lack of cooperation from police officials of the respective areas, they faced problems in checking the ongoing violation.

“While the violators are confident, forest officials are feeling threatened,” Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Ropar, Vishal Sharma, stated in the official communication.

Quoting specific examples, the DFO stated that on November 13, certain persons at a farmhouse in Tanda village forcibly detained the vehicle of the forest department when the official had gone to check a complaint of theft of stone crates of the department.

Till date, the police had not registered a case on a complaint lodged by the department. Similarly, in a case of alleged levelling of hillocks at Tanda village on December 7, the DFO had, in the official note, claimed that the police had not taken action against the violators.

When this correspondent visited the site of the alleged violation at Tanda village, Tarsem Lal, who claimed to be the owner of the land, said the land was not under the PLPA. He added that forest officials were harassing him and had implicated in a false case. He had sought an inquiry into the FIR registered against him on November 11.

Contradicting the claim of the forest department, Mohali SSP GPS Bhullar said the police had always acted on complaints forwarded by the department. Quoting cases, he said there were clear-cut instructions to police officials to take necessary action.

Conservator of Forests, Shivalik Hills, Parveen Kumar, said the department was collecting revenue records for legal status of the land. He said demarcation of the land denotified under the PLPA was in progress and the name of offenders would be clear soon.

Sandhu: Why me?

Col BS Sandhu, CMD of WWICS, said his name had been dragged without verification of facts and revenue records. “I am neither the owner of the land, nor have I any association with the case,” he wrote to police and senior forest officials.



Mercury dips, so does school attendance 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13 
Early chill has taken its toll on attendance in city school with most of the schools registering an average turnout of around 30 per cent since last four days. Things are worse in the pre-primary section.

“Our pre-primary classes start at around 8:30 am, but it’s very cold at that time so not many students are coming to school. The winter break starts from December 22, but if things don’t improve we will have to declare holidays for pre-primary and primary section in advance,” said the principal of a Sector 26 school.

“It’s not just tiny tots, but the attendance in Classes IX and X has also dropped. It is exam time for all other classes but students of Classes IX and X are supposed to come for extra practical lessons for their forthcoming exams. However, not many of them are coming to school. Toady, it was only three students of a particular section of Class X who attended school,” said the principal of a government school.

Declaring holidays or postponing school’s opening seems to be an obvious solution, but schools find it difficult given the workload prescribed by the continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CCE).

“My school is in a better position but as far as some other schools are concerned, reducing academic hours can be big problem. As most of the schools are closing by December 25 for the Christmas break, it will be difficult to complete syllabus, projects, assignments specified under the CCE, not to mention the latest directive asking devotion of one hour daily to sports. Schools can though be shut for primary classes, but it cannot be done for senior classes. Parents need to make their children tough,” said HS Mamik, president of the Independent School Association.



It’s back to school for PU teachers 
Sumedha Sharma/TNS

Chandigarh, December 13
It’s ‘back to school’ for the teaching fraternity of Panjab University (PU) and its affiliated colleges, particularly those who matriculated without Hindi or Punjabi as a subject.

This will particularly affect those coming from non-Hindi/Punjabi speaking states or getting appointments through the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

In a major decision taken at the Panjab University Syndicate meeting held today, all the teachers to be appointed in PU affiliated colleges and PU Regional Centres in Punjab will be required to qualify Punjabi language up to matriculation necessarily. And in case of appointments made in Chandigarh, he or she will have to qualify Hindi or Punjabi compulsorily.

In case of the candidates without the requisite qualification at the time of appointment, they will be required to qualify the language within in two years, failing which he or she will not be confirmed.

The decision will also extend to the teachers currently working in colleges affiliated to Panjab University and PU Regional Centres.

They will be required to acquire a certificate of required language within a period of three years.

Interestingly, the university will not only be arranging special classes for the teachers concerned, but will also conduct its own examination and issue certificates.

The decision has educed huge resentment amongst the teaching fertinity as according to one of the syndics: “In the era of globalisation, we are erecting linguistic barriers. In advanced courses like geology or biotechnology, we get applicants from various non-Hindi speaking southern states. These candidate who have not studied these languages since a young age, will either have to cram to pass or forgo the PU dream.”

“I had Sanskrit as my language in Class X and today after three years of service in my college, I will have qualify a Class X-level exam of Punjabi to prove my worth. And why should the PU take the exam and give certificate? How will it ensure that these certificates are not acquired through influence rather than on merit?” questioned a lecturer.

Significant Decision

The decision is quite relevant as a faculty member needs to have basic knowledge of the specified languages. It has a major role to play in paper evaluation. How will a teacher not well versed with Punjabi be checking the papers of students who have opted it as the medium.”

— Prof RC Sobti, Vice-Chancellor



Cops out with measuring tape 
The body of an accident victim kept lying unattended for over an hour near Fun Republic as police personnel from Panchkula and Chandigarh fought over jurisdiction 
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 13 
This case may sound bizarre, but it is a common practice for police personnel of the tricity to decide the jurisdiction of a case even at the cost of delaying justice.

A cruel face of the men in khaki was exposed this morning when a cyclist was killed in an accident while policemen from Chandigarh and Panchkula argued with each other over the issue of jurisdiction near Fun Republic, Mani Majra. 

The accident took place around 9.30 am on the road between Fun Republic and Naugaja Pir, near Mansa Devi temple road T-point. The cyclist, identified as Surinder Gupta (40), a resident of Sector 10, Panchkula, was killed after being hit by a motorcycle being recklessly driven by two unidentified youths. 

One of the eyewitnesses, who misjudged the location of the site, informed the Chandigarh PCR which arrived at the scene of the incident immediately. However, instead of taking any action, it informed the Panchkula police control room about the incident as the area purportedly fell under the latter’s jurisdiction. After reaching the spot, the PCR team from Panchkula, however, indulged in an argument with the Chandigarh Police over the jurisdiction. The PCR teams from Chandigarh and Panchkula informed their seniors and subsequently the SHOs of the Mani Majra police station and the Sector 5, Panchkula, police station reached the spot.

Leaving the body of the victim uncared for, the two kept on arguing over the jurisdiction for about an hour. The SHO of the Panchkula police said it was the duty of the Chandigarh Police to take care of the victim as it had reached the site first while DSP, Mani Majra, Roshan Lal said since they had informed their counterparts about the incident and the jurisdiction, it was, therefore, their duty to handle the case. The body was later taken to the General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, for the post-mortem.



Ex-MLA’s grandson booked
Country-made pistol, 3 live cartridges recovered 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13 
The Chandigarh Police today booked a grandson of a former Tarn Taran MLA for possessing a .32-bore country-made pistol, three live cartridges and for driving a car with fake registration number.

The accused, identified as Naginder Singh, alias Bhullar, a resident of Sector 40, was intercepted at a joint naka near the IT Park.

Mani Majra SHO Rajesh Shukla said a joint naka by the PCR and Mani Majra police was laid near the IT park around 4.30 pm. A Lancer car bearing the Punjab registration number stopped. The driver, however, failed to produce the driving licence and the registration certificate, said the SHO. Bhullar also confessed that the registration number was fake, the SHO said. 

He said a .32-bore country-made pistol and three live cartridges were also recovered from his possession. A case has been registered against the accused, the SHO added.


2 quintal of polished pulses destroyed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
In a significant development, the UT food and supplies department, along with officials of the UT administration, today raided two grocery stores at Dadu Majra colony and destroyed over two quintal of different varieties of polished pulses.

Two teams led by ADC PS Shergill destroyed one quintal of ‘masoor’, one quintal of ‘arhar’, 10 kg of ‘moong’, 15 kg of ‘gur’ and 10 kg of red chili powder. While the pulses were polished with non-edible polish, chilli powder and ‘gur’ were adulterated.

A sample of mustard oil was taken from Banwari store as it was being sold loose. Officials issued a challan to the owner under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act.

The officials stated that the department had received complaints from residents about the two shops selling adulterated food articles and polished pulses.



UT to get 20-MW power from NTPC 
Average requirement in city around 50 lakh units per day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
In order to meet with the power demand of the city, Home Secretary-cum-Secretary Engineering Ram Niwas has signed four agreements with the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) for the purchase of 20 MW of power.

The power will be available from the Tanda Thermal Power Project Stage-II, Tapovan Vishnugad Hydropower Station, Rupsiyabagar Khasiabara Hydroelectric Project and Singrauli Super Thermal Power Station Stage-III, according to a press note issued here today.

Chandigarh has no power generation of its own and to meet with the requirements of power, the same is being purchased from the BBMB, NTPC, NHPC and the NPCIL.

The power requirement in the city has risen to the extent that the average requirement has touched 50 lakh units (LU) per day and the peak demand has been recorded at 323 MW against the total allocation/availability of 270 MW. Anticipated demand by 2014-15 has been worked out at 422 MW, the press note added.



Road repair work gets under way
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 13
The municipal council has started the repair of parking areas in various markets of the town at a cost of around Rs 2 crore. The parking lots have remained in neglect for years.

The work started near the traffic lights of Phase VII here today and will slowly cover all other markets.

Council president Rajinder Singh Rana said an estimate of Rs 12 lakh was prepared for the repair of one part of the Phase VII market, while another Rs 35 lakh would be spent on repairing the main portion of the market.

If the weather conditions remained favourable, the work related to parking areas would be completed soon, he added.

However, councillor Phool Raj Singh, who lives in Phase VII, said with chill around, the weather was not suitable for laying a premix carpet.

He said repair carried out under low temperature would not last long.

Parking lots in almost all markets of the town are in a state of neglect, causing inconvenience to shoppers who frequent these areas.

Most parking areas have ample potholes or other damaged portions and require re-carpeting. These areas have not been repaired for years.

Estimates worth around Rs 2 crore were prepared by council officials in December last year for providing a premix carpet in these areas. However, the work has started after one year.

Around two years ago, the council had cleared a proposal of handing over the parking areas to private parties for maintenance and were in turn allowed to display their advertisements.

The proposal, however, could not be implemented. Tenders were invited for the work but suitable parties failed to respond.

Shoddy Job?

As the municipal council undertook the recarpeting of a road in Phase VII market, shopkeepers lamented that the road was not properly cleaned of dust and muck before laying the layer of premix. “Since the road had been damaged at different points, it should have been repaired before being recarpeted,” said a shopkeeper of the area. Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu said the quality of work would be ensured.



BJP seeks white paper from Hooda Government
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 13
The local unit of the BJP has demanded a white paper on the recruitment carried out in government departments during the past five years by the Hooda government, alleging widespread corruption in the state bureaucracy.

Addressing mediapersons here today, BJP state unit president Krishanpal Gujjar said the state government should do away with interviews during selection process as meritorious students were not selected.

He said appointments for government jobs should purely be done on merit and the government should appoint experts from other states on interview panel.

Gujjar said the state had overtaken Bihar in terms of law and order situation as the crime rate in the state had increased manifold.

He said the government was not concerned about the safety of life and property of residents in the state and alleged that Chief Minister was only interested in filling his coffers by safeguarding the interest of land mafia.

He claimed that if investigated, it would turn out to be one of the biggest scams in the country, surpassing the 2G spectrum scam.

Lashing out at the Congress-led UPA government, Gujjar said the union government had failed to punish those responsible for the attack on Parliament nine years ago. Even though the families of jawans killed in the attack had returned medals, the government had not hanged the main accused who was sentenced to death by the apex court, he added.

On alliance with the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), Gujjar said his party did not have any plans in this regard and was currently concentrating on strengthening the party at grass-roots level.

Bhartiya Janata Maha Mazdoor Sangh president Prahlad Patel said he was in the state to identify the kind of labour people were doing.

They had launched a programme from the North-East and it would be completed by January 30, he said.

Labour-friendly schemes were launched in the organised sector during the reign of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and since then nothing had been done to save the interest of workers in the unorganised sector.



Violators take traffic police for a ride
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, December 13
The “intensive” challaning drives by the Mohali traffic police from time to time seem to have had a little impact on traffic violators.

Data on traffic violations during the past one year shows the traffic police filled its coffers by going overboard in penalising traffic violators but the drive hardly acted as a deterrent to the violators.

However, traffic violators are least bothered about traffic police challaning them for their offence. Risking their own and others’ lives, these habitual violators can often be seen driving rashly, without proper headgear and many a time seating beyond the prescribed number of riders.

Ironically, all this is happening right under the nose of the traffic police. In spite of issuing challans on numerous occasions, they feel helpless in curbing the growing graph of traffic rule violations in the town. The police has seen a surge in both the number of traffic rule violations and the amount recovered as fine during the past few months.

Sources revealed that 4,886 vehicles were challaned in the town from January 1 to December 10, 2010 and around Rs 14 lakh was recovered as penalty by the traffic police. In 2009, 2,684 vehicles were challaned. The figures indicate an increase in traffic violations this year as compared to the previous year.

The offences include wrong entry, riding without headgear, seating beyond the prescribed number of riders, leaving vehicles in the “no parking” zones, driving without wearing seatbelt, drunk driven, driving without documents and violations under the Motor Vehicles Act. This year, the local traffic police challaned 2,245 riders for riding without headgear. The official figures are, however, not the true indicator of the menace. At least 451 auto-rickshaws were challaned for overloading, while 126 challans were issued for wrong parking and 135 vehicles were impounded under Section 207 of the Motor Vehicles Act.

Another 703 persons were challaned for using mobile phone while driving.

Another violation included use of pressure horns and blue beacon. Use of pressure horns, tinted glasses, besides drunk driving and driving without documents also led to issuance of challans, the sources added.

Mohali DSP (traffic) Darshan Singh Mann said to curb violations, the traffic police has been asked to raise awareness on traffic rules in schools, truck and tempo unions, etc. through social organisations.

“Challaning drivers is the next option to check rampant violations”, he added.

He claimed that he had written to the higher authorities to recruit 16 new ASIs, 32 head constables and 40 constables in the district traffic police.

Rs 14 lakh recovered

4,886 vehicles were challaned in the town from January 1 to December 10, 2010, and around `14 lakh was recovered as penalty by the traffic police. In 2009, 2,684 vehicles were challaned

Traffic challans issued

2010 2009 2008

4,886 2,684 3,030

Challans from Jan 1 to Dec 10, 2010

Without helmet 2,245

Talking on Mobile phones 703

Overloaded auto-rickshaws 45



Commonwealth youth leaders’ meet begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
The Commonwealth Youth Leaders’ Conference commenced in city today with about 40 delegates from across the globe gathered to elect their new leadership.

Administrator of Chandigarh Shivraj Patil inaugurated the conference and emphasised upon the importance of international gatherings in creating understanding between the hearts and minds of the people.

“Present is a gift of the past. If current generation resents bad in the past, it should strive to carry forward good things it has inherited. Wealth enjoyed today and probably in the future would not necessarily bring happiness. Future generations would need to develop a mind that understands the meaning of justice, equity and love, not only competition, profit and exploitation,” said Patil.

The delegates will cast their vote’s tomorrow and elect the chair and deputy chair of the Pan Commonwealth Youth Caucus. 



Season’s coldestday in city at 5.8° C
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
City residents experienced the coldest day of the season today with the meteorological office recording the minimum temperature at 5.8 degrees Celsius and the maximum at 24.6 degrees.

Though the morning was sunny a cold wave made its presence felt towards the evening, not only affecting business activity but also resulting in thin traffic on the streets. Those moving on motorcycles and scooters had to cover themselves with an extra layer of woollens. The worst affected were the daily wage earners and roadside vendors.

Meteorological department director Surinder Pal Singh said this year the temperature had dipped by three degrees from the normal recorded in the month of December. “The cold wave conditions are likely to continue over the next few days in the city”, he added.

A Met official said that the temperature dropped as the fog had cleared up in the early hours, adding the clear skies meant more cold in the evening.

“During the next three to four days the fog will lift; however, the possibility of a cloud cover is there. Cold wave conditions will continue and the fog is likely to return”, the official added.

“It’s really cold and commuting on two-wheelers is very painful. But we can’t do much as these classes will surely have an impact on our boards results,” said Priya, a resident of Sector 15.

Employees in offices huddled around heaters or blowers as rounds of tea followed. Due to the intense cold wave, markets were deserted during the evening, hitting business. Shopkeepers selling jackets, sweaters, blowers, geysers and heat radiators reported brisk sales.

However, for the poor in the city there was no respite from the cold. Rickshaw pullers, slum dwellers and labourers waiting for jobs at roundabouts and dressed in their meagre woollens shivered throughout the day. For the women and children living in slums and colonies the day was spent in collecting dry leaves and wood from the roadsides and parks to be used for burning fire at night, when the temperature is likely to drop further.



Patil visits Art Gallery
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil today visited the Museum and Art Gallery and asked officials to focus on cleanliness and maintenance of buildings.

Patil showed keen interest on the 12th century AD statue of Padamavati, the Jaina Goddess and also appreciated the painting of Sri Guru Nanak Dev by Sobha Singh.

Navjot Randhawa, director, Museum and Art Gallery, explained every section of the Museum and Art Gallery to him and assured the Administrator that they would work as per his expectations.

Adviser to the UT Administrator Pradip Mehra, Home Secretary Ram Niwas, and UT Chief Architect Sumit Kaur were also present.



Greenbelt inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
Chandigarh Municipal Corporation Mayor Anu Chatrath today inaugurated the newly developed greenbelt in Sector 2. Addressing the gathering, the Mayor lauded the development works done by the MC by developing green parks. People know Chandigarh as the ‘City Beautiful’, but now it will be known as the ‘Green City’, said the Mayor.

The greenbelt has been developed on 1.26 acres with proper grassing, plantation of various shrubs, benches, huts and footpath. Area councillor Chandermukhi Sharma and Chief Engineer SS Bidda along with and other councillors and officials of the MC were present.



PGI docs honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
Dr Anil Bhansali, professor and head, Department of Endocrinology, PGI, has been elected national president of the Endocrine Society of India, at the 40th Annual Conference of Endocrine Society of India at Vellore.

According to a press note, he had earlier been awarded the MN Sen Oration Award by the ICMR, the Novo Nordesk Lifetime Achievement Award, the NNF Gold Medal, the Shurveer Singh Trust Award and the Dr PN Shah Memorial Oration.

Dr Sanjay Bhadada, assistant professor in the same department, was awarded the PN Shah Memorial Oration by the Endocrine Society of India. He was elected joint secretary of the society. He had earlier been awarded the Young Investigator Award by the Indian Society of Bone and Mineral Research India.



Felicitating ‘71 war hero

Apropos the news item “PVC awardee Khetarpal’s statue to be installed today” that appeared in the Chandigarh Tribune on December 3. We are talking of a battle that happened 39 years back and Arun Khetarpal’s brother cannot surely be the present Commandant of Poona Horse. The words “who is”, which has been inserted in the story, portrays it differently. The Western Army Commander, Lt-Gen SR Ghosh, is from the same course as Lt Khetarpal. How could one have a brother some 25 years junior? The line “After Arun’s officers’ course had been terminated” does not give the intended and factual picture and importance of it being terminated after just three days. It was also written in the article that the statue will be unveiled by Lt Khetarpal’s mother, whereas she unveiled the bust and not the statue. Also, it is either 17 Horse or Poona Horse and certainly not 17 Poona House.

Col BN Bhatia, Phase XI, Mohali



PU redefines English teaching in colleges
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
With a clear objective of redefining teaching of English (compulsory paper) in more than 150 affiliated colleges of Panjab University, the Board of Studies and Faculty of Languages have made teaching in the subject language oriented to underline subject proficiency rather stressing on the aspect of literature.

Language proficiency has been identified as the most important component of the subject teaching in the compulsory category of undergraduate classes.

It has been pointed out that language proficiency better suited the academic and professional requirements of students, so the teaching method needed a change. Literature would form a part of the elective paper and those opting for honours.

The change in syllabus means a definite change in the exercise of teaching, examination and evaluation pattern, too.

A significant fall out of the decision affecting thousands will be that the university printed textbooks will no longer be used. The faculty has decided on introduction of Macmillan, Oxford University Press and Orient Black Swan books.

The university, meanwhile, will be looking into finalising its syllabi independently.

There is an underlined component of activity-based teaching under the new pattern. The teaching system has, accordingly, been worked on for a specified pre-reading and post reading tasks.

The development is significant because it would mean a goodbye to prominent help books (guides) available in the market, which were thought to be “more than sufficient” to pass the university examination.

The activity-based classes will mean a different teaching pattern. “At least till the time the help books and guides made innovations to suit the changed pattern as was typical to our teaching system,” a senior professor said.

Confirming the development, Professor Rana Nayar, chairperson of the department of English and cultural studies, said, “The entire details of the new syllabus have been worked out and it has also got an approval of the faculty. It only needs a formal approval of the university Senate.”

Giving details, Prof Nayar further added, “The subject syllabi had not been updated since ages and did not suit the students’ interest at all. An undergraduate in the compulsory subject only needed proficiency. The syllabus has been drafted with special stress on improving grammar of students and teaching them the finer nuances of the language. Those going in for elective English can be taught some portions of literature, whereas pure literature would be taught to the students opting for honours in the subject.”

The new syllabi will mean no more predictable questions on “summaries and central ideas” of the chapters or others on the same line. The syllabi details will provide a detailed note on the pattern of the questions, which will be based on an in-depth understanding of the chapter and not predictable questions.

The question papers will be in the pattern of one-line answers, two three-sentence answers and certain long answers (20-30 sentences.)



Recruitment interviews
PU evaluation powers restricted
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
Reacting to the repeated complaints of Panjab University Senators allegedly using their influence to get recruitments done in its aided colleges, the UT department of higher education has restricted the evaluation powers of Panjab University in recruitment interviews.

In a proposed recruitment policy for all aided colleges, the department has not only decided to reduce the weightage of interview scores in comparison to academic performance but will also ensure that officials nominated as PU representatives will not be entitled to mark a candidate for more than 15 per cent of the total score.

“In the past, we have seen that though the selection committee for lecturers have eight to 10 members, including DHE (Director Higher Education), nominee and college management committee expert, the real powers rested with the PU subject expert and VC representative, who were the key evaluators. As per the new policy, if the interview is of 30 marks, then members from PU, irrespective of their number, will be entitled to score candidate out of 10. Similarly, the DHE nominee will evaluate the candidate out of 10, similarly for the college management representative,” said a senior official of the higher education department.

In addition to this, a candidate will not be awarded an overall score but a complete score sheet with details of his evaluation result on the basis of criteria like subject knowledge, presentation, communication, personality traits, etc.

Similarly, the academic achievements of a candidate will not be marked on cut off basis but on specified tabulated criteria.

“In the past, it has been a cut off based system like any candidate securing above 60 per cent would get eight on scale of 10. With this a candidate with 61 per cent stood at par with one with 80 per cent, which is unjustified. The new system will have definite slabs to give due credit to candidate’s academic achievements,” 
added the official.

The policy to be finalised within a week aims at making recruitments more transparent and influence free.

Postulates of policy

n Reducing weightage of interview

n Only 10 per cent of total evaluation powers rest with nominees of PU

n DHE nominee to have evaluation powers

n Complete break up of marks to be provided on score sheets of candidate



Degrees conferred on 1,500 students 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
Around 1,500 students of the long distance education programme of Punjab Technical University (PTU) were conferred degrees at the annual convocation held at Tagore Theatre today.

The students came from 87 learning centres across the region, wherein 28 centres of the Chandigarh zone are managed by GCS Computer Tech Pvt Limited, while 59 from Haryana zone are managed by Bhupindra Society.

AR Talwar, Principal Secretary, Home Affairs and Justice, Punjab, was chief guest, while Dr NP Singh, Dean (DEP), PTU, RPS Bedi, Controller of Examinations, PTU, and JB Goel, member, Distance Education Council, PTU, were the guests of honour.

AR Talwar emphasised on role of distance education in the growth of the country. He said: “This form of education has firmly established itself in terms of offering quality education as well expanding its reach through affordable education across the nation covering urban area as well as remote destinations that were lacking in opportunities for higher education. These degrees are not only a testimony of your competence and compatibility with the latest syllabus based on industry demands and specifications, but a real asset in enhancing your expertise, knowledge and information in diverse.”



First semester result out

Mohali, December 13
The Punjab School Education Board today declared the result of class XII first semester exam conducted in September for the first time under the newly-introduced semester system. The detailed result can be seen on the board’s website <http://www.pseb.ac.in> tomorrow from 6 am onwards.

An official communication said of the total 2,79,503 candidates who appeared in the exam, 2,02,224 were declared successful, taking the pass percentage to 72.35. For the failed and re-appear candidates the board has fixed December 30 as the last date (without late fee), Rs 500 with late fee (up to January 6) and Rs 1,000 with late fee (up to January 13). — TNS



Result declared

CHANDIGARH: The result of the CSIR UGC NET mock test (sciences) conducted by Panjab University on November 28 was declared on Monday. The result can be checked on the website www.iasc.puchd.ac.in. The mock test, a brainchild of Vice-Chancellor, Prof RC Sobti, was conducted for the first time to give NET aspirants an experience of a real test situation. The university had also conducted the UGC NET mock test (humanities) on November 21.


Professor RC Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, was honoured with Professor Pran Nath Mehra Memorial Trust Award to acknowledge his distinguished contributions in various areas of scientific research and academic distinctions on Monday. Dr SS Bir, professor emeritus in botany, Punjabi University, Patiala, who is a founder head of the botany department of Punjabi University, Patiala, and a renowned botanist, was also honoured with the award for his excellence in the field of botany and distinguished research in cytogenetics, while Dr Rakesh Tuli, executive director, National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute, was honoured with the award for his notable contribution in agricultural research particularly for developing insect resistant genes in plants. Professor RP Bambah, former Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University and trustee of Prof Pran Nath Mehra Memorial Trust, presented the award.


A regional workshop on water availability and management in Punjab was held in Panjab University on Monday. Chief guest PU Vice-Chancellor, Professor RC Sobti, called upon hydrologists and scientists concerned with the water management to find out measures to tackle the growing water scarcity problem. — TNS




CHANDIGARH: More than 500 students of Bhavan Vidyalaya mesmerised audience, as they displayed repository of hidden talent during the annual function “Kindermusik 2010” held at Moti Ram Arya School auditorium recently. The children put up a remarkable spectacle of dance, music and action packed sequences. The ideal life is to attain harmony between man and nature and this was clearly shown by students of Class III in a play “Prakriti ke Rang”. A dance drama “Nanhe Shanti Doot” by Class II conveyed the message of how children are instrumental in bridging the gap in society and bringing people together. The children of Class V impressed one and all with the swirls and twirls, razzle and dazzle and vigour and vitality of the fusion dance, which they performed on medley of catchy numbers. Chief guest PK Srivastava, IGP, Chandigarh, gave away the prizes to the students.

‘Guru ka Langar’

Mohali: Besides pomp and gaiety, religious faith matters in equal measure, showing the same devotion towards the Almighty, director Jasmine Kalra, headmistress Meena Batra and staff members organised recital of Sukhmani path followed by “Guru ka Langar” at AKSIPS-65. The headmistress, AKSIPS-45, graced the occasion. Jasdeep Kalra motivated and extended his best wishes to the children of Class X.

Annual day

The Heritage Public School, Jagatpura, near Sector 48, celebrated its annual day on Sunday. Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu presided over the function as the chief guest. School director Preeti Sandhu welcomed the guests and apprised them of the progress the school had made. The tiny tots of the pre-nursery and nursery sashayed down the ramp showcasing the fashion trends in India from the pre-historic era to the modern day. The guest of honour, Maj Gen Kuldip Singh Bajwa addressed the gathering and lauded the efforts of the school in taking education to the masses. The chairman of Avtar Education Trust (AET) under which the school is run, Brig Jagdev Singh (retd), announced scholarship for the needy children.


Static electricity made salt and pepper fly and created jumping frogs at the fun corner of the two-day annual science exhibition that concluded at Smart Wonders School, Sector 71, Mohali, here today. School director Sandeep Singh said through this exhibition, the school inculcated scientific temper and provided students a platform to express their curiosity, model-making skills, to understand basic concepts of science and help them with disciplined approach to study and application of these concepts. The students prepared working models and charts on an array of topics like environmental issues, global warming, depletion of ozone layer, greenhouse effect, etc. — TNS



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