C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Admissions: Surprise checks in schools
Pressure tactics, allege principals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
The ongoing tiff between the Independent School Association and the UT education department is all set to intensify with the department pinning down three most active members of the association on flouting the UT directive on nursery admissions.

The development followed a surprise inspection in over 10 schools here today. The inspection at New Public School, Sector 18, found the authorities guilty of selling admission forms for Rs 250 each which was more than double the amount of Rs 100 prescribed by the Administration. Inquiries have been marked against Vivek High School, Sector 38, and St Kabir School, Sector 26, for defying the Act and screening students for nursery admissions against the ban. At the same time, seven schools have been given a clean chit.

A senior official of the education department said the inquiries against Vivek High School and St Kabir School had been marked on the basis of a written complaint received against them. “We got several complaints from parents, alleging that both schools had interviewed children and parents. In case of New Public School, we found it selling forms for Rs 250. There is no singling out. They are most vocal and the biggest culprits,” he said. 

Schools given clean chit
St John’s School, Sector 26 
Sacred Heart School, Sector 26 
Strawberry Fields School, Sector 26 
Bal Niketan School, Sector 37 
Bhavan Vidyalya, Sector 27 
St Stephen’s School, Sector 45 
St Anne’s, Sector 32.

Show-cause notice
New Public School, Sector 18 
Reason: Selling admission forms for Rs 250. 

Inquiry against
Vivek High School, Sector 38 
St Kabir School, Sector 26 
Reason: Screening parents and children for nursery admissions

No to camera 
The education department’s idea of carrying a video camera along for inspection faced resistance from several school authorities that did not allow camera on the campus. Vivek High School turned the cameramen out. Officials had to “question” Strawberry Field authorities from outside the school gate.

‘Inspection a farce’ 
The Administration is just trying to take attention off its evident incompetence. As usual, it has pinned the schools, which dare to differ. UT officials seem to be unaware of the difference between school prospectus and forms as New Public School was selling its form for Rs 100 and prospectus for Rs 250. What kind of inspection is this when they put questions standing outside the gates? Inquiry has been marked for having a screening process, but the official who visited us did not mention a word about it. She just asked me the age of students being admitted to nursery. — HS Mamik, president, Independent School Association 



Blame game evident in probe report
Aneesha Sareen/TNS

Chandigarh, January 21
Lack of coordination among police officials within a police subdivision is reflected in the magisterial inquiry into the Khushpreet murder case. Contradictions, claims and counter-claims and passing the buck on one another were the hallmark of the statements made to the inquiry officer by three police officials.

Equally responsible for taking the Khushpreet case lightly since day one, DSP Vijay Kumar, the Station House Officer (SHO) of the Sector 34 police station Inspector Uday Pal Singh and the Burail post in charge Inspector Narinder Singh Patial, shifted the blame on one another, resulting in gross negligence that led to one of the biggest police failures in the recent past.

While Vijay Kumar was quoted saying that the SHO kept him in the dark about the case in the beginning, Uday Pal Singh claimed that the in charge of the Burail police post delayed the registration of the FIR and failed to provide any feedback to him. Inspector Patial, in his statements, stated that the SHO ignored the ransom calls.

More contradictions

Khushpreet’s father Lakhbir Singh has stated that the first ransom call was received when he was at the police post on December 21. This has been denied by investigating officer Sub-Inspector Balraj, who said that the Inspector at the police post in Burail was at the police post from 5 pm. He said he was not in a position to explain why Patial did not get the FIR registered earlier.

Excerpts from cops’ statements 

‘SHO responsible’
Inspector Narinder Singh Patial I came to know about the kidnapping at 3.30 pm on December 21. I met the uncle of the victim, Sukhvinder Singh, at the police post at 6.45 pm.

I informed the SHO at 7.14 pm and acting on his directions, got the FIR registered at 10 pm. I reached the police post at 10.30 am the next day(December 22). Uday Pal Singh was to leave for the police headquarters and as he was leaving, another ransom call was received, which he ignored. I called Uday Pal Singh to the police post at 2.10 pm.

Inspector Narinder Singh Patial (suspended)

‘Inspector to blame’
Inspector Uday Pal Singh I came to know of the kidnapping from Inspector Patial at 7.15 pm on December 21. I asked Patial to take it seriously. He did not register the FIR. I informed the DSP at 9.30 pm on December 21 about the kidnapping and further directions were given to Patial. I did not go to the police post at Sector 45 as I had full faith in Inspector Patial who is a competent officer and of equivalent rank. I did not receive any feedback from the field from Patial.

Inspector Uday Pal Singh (suspended)

‘SHO failed’
Vijay Kumar, DSP I came to know about the kidnapping from Uday Pal Singh at 10.25 pm on December 21. He told me that the ransom call seemed to be a mischief and it was a simple case of a missing child. The SHO kept me and other senior officers in the dark. At 8 am the next day, I asked Uday Pal about the case and he was blank. I directed him to look into the case personally. At 2.20 pm, I directed the SHO to keep the family at the police post. When I reached the police post the family had already left to pay the ransom. Uday Pal did not take it seriously and left the trap operation on parties without even making elementary preparations. He should have headed the trap parties.

Vijay Kumar, DSP (transferred to HQ)



Tanishq dacoity accused attempts suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
An accused in the Tanishq dacoity case allegedly attempted suicide in the police lockup at Mani Majra late last night. Bhura Qureshi banged his head into an iron grill of the jail and suffered head injuries. He was taken to the Civil Dispensary at Mani Majra and his condition is stated to be stable.

Kureshi is one of the nine accused arrested in the sensational dacoity case. The police said he was behaving strangely since the first of day of his arrest and after his suicide attempt he was lodged separately in another lockup under tight police vigil.

The police has subsequently booked him in a case of attempt to suicide under Section 309 of the IPC.

Kureshi was the first accused who was arrested as part of a joint operation by the Delhi and Chandigarh police on January 15 and subsequently other accused were arrested. Kureshi has also been facing charges of murder, attempt to murder, daocity in UP, Delhi and other states. Kureshi is a native of Murad Nagar in Gaziabad, is in police custody till January 24 along with other eight accused.



‘0001’ goes for Rs 6 lakh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 21
Breaking previous records, the start of the new “M” series saw the VIP number “0001” going under the hammer for Rs 6 lakh during the auction of fancy registration numbers at the office of the district transport officer (DTO) here today.

MLAs not behind

While Kharar Congress MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu paid Rs 1 lakh for the number “ PB-65-M-2222” against a reserve price of Rs 1,000 for his new Toyota Fortuner, SAD Morinda MLA Ujjar Singh Wadali bought number “ PB-65-M-0040” for his Mahindra Scorpio for Rs 3,500 against a reserve price of Rs 3,000

Since it the first month of the year, cash-rich farmers, realtors and politicians are keenly bidding for fancy registration numbers for their high-end luxury Sedans and SUVs. Officials said the high land compensation awarded to landowners in Mohali’s periphery in the last few months had led to high bidding compared to last year’s auction when the number “0001” went for Rs 3.26 lakh.

In the daylong auction held in the cramped office, the district transport department earned Rs 51,38,500 from auction of 145 numbers against a collective reserved price of Rs 44,20,000.

Mohali DTO Karan Singh said the VIP number “PB-65-M-0001” went for Rs 6 lakh. Gurpreet Singh, a resident of Sector 71, bought the number for his Chevrolet Captiva SUV. The next number to fetch the second highest was “0007” which was fetched for Rs 3.05 lakh. The other numbers which fetched Rs 2.25 lakh each were “ 0003” and “0013”. Another number “0005” went for Rs 2 lakh.


5 outreach centres coming up at police stations
Single-window service for public queries
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, January 21
In order to project a friendly image, the Mohali police is setting up five outreach centres in different parts of the town for the convenience of residents. These centres, which will be linked online, will provide an instant feedback on various enquiries through a single window.

Information in connection with FIRs, various forms of verification, untraced cases, etc. will be readily available at a single counter and residents will not have to run from one place to another to seek police help once these centres become functional.

The construction work on the four outreach centres, which started in December, is in progress and likely to be completed by the end of the month.

However, the work on the fifth centre, to come up in Sohana, has been delayed due to some land dispute.

The matter has now been sorted out and the police will pay Rs 1.39 lakh to the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority for the additional land that is being given to the police station in the village.

These centres are being set up under the community policing scheme at police stations in Phases I, VIII, XI, Matour and Sohana.

The Punjab Police Housing Corporation is constructing these centres at a cost of Rs 5 lakh each with a covered area of 25’x27’.

The design of all five outreach centres is the same and each will have an independent entry, a reception, a record room and a waiting area where chairs will be put up for visitors.

A progress report on the project is being sent to the higher authorities periodically.

The outreach centre at the police station in Phase I has been registered under the Societies Registration Act ( XXI of 1860) and amended by the Punjab Amendment Act, 1957.

SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar said the centres would become functional by March 31. Information about public-related matters would be available at these centres.

Twenty policewomen, who had been provided with the requisite computer training, would manage these centres along with additional employees arranged at the local level, he added.

Bhullar said the inauguration of such centres, which were being constructed throughout the state, would be done by Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Apart from the outreach centres, the Mohali police is also setting up suvidha centres at Kharar and Dera Bassi at a cost of Rs 10 lakh each.

The district-level suvidha centre was already functioning from the district administrative complex in Phase I. 



P’kula MC Case
SC notice to BJP councillor
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 21
A Division Bench of the Supreme Court issued a notice to BJP councillor VK Sood and others over the status of Panchkula municipal corporation after the case came up for hearing in New Delhi today.

The apex court directed Sood and other councillors to file their reply within a month.

The BJP councillors had failed to file a caveat petition before the apex court after the Punjab and Haryana High Court quashed the Haryana government’s notification to upgrade Panchkula as a municipal corporation, besides merging the municipal committees of Kalka and Pinjore on March 17 last year.

The Division Bench comprising Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Deepak Verma will hear the petitions filed by the Haryana government and Kalka residents.

The Haryana government had moved the Supreme Court against the High Court order on October 29.

Vijay Bansal, a lawyer, and VK Kapoor, Panchkula councillor, had then filed caveat petitions before the apex court.

After the High Court order, Haryana urban local bodies secretary Raj Kumar wrote to state advocate general Hawa Singh Hooda stating that the quashing of the Haryana government’s notification by the High Court could affect the fate of other municipal corporations in the state.



Assn for raising old age pension
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 21
The Federation of Senior Citizen (Fedsen), North Zone, has urged the central government to enhance the old age pension above the age of 65 besides initiating steps to implement the Senior Citizen Act, 2007.

Representatives of the constituent states, including Punjab Chandigarh, Haryana Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, who were in the town to attend the governing body meeting of Fedsen, also urged the government to strictly implement the national policy for the welfare of the elderly initiated in 1999.

Fedsen patron Wg Cdr HL Ratta (retd) on Sunday said senior citizens were under severe stress these days and the era of development would add to the number of these citizens. “As the family system gets disintegrated because of the mobility of the younger generation, these venerable seniors will increasingly look to the state or society for their survival as well as welfare.”

Colonel Ratta said all states should start healthcare centres for senior citizens not only at the district level but also at the sub-division level to provide better healthcare facilities to them.

He added that the government should introduce the social security Act for older persons in the urban areas.

The government should also ensure financial security for the senior citizens living in the rural belts of the country, he added.



Parliamentary debate gets under way
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 21
A three-day first Asia Parliamentary Debate Championship “The Pitch-2011” started at the Army Institute of Law here today. The event witnessed the participation of more than 44 teams from some of the most prestigious colleges and universities like National Law School of India University, Amity Law School, Indian Institute of Technology (Bombay), Symbiosis Law School, Indian Institute of Technology (Delhi), Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, National Law University (Jodhpur).

Chief guest for the inaugural function was Justice Ajay Tiwari, Punjab and Haryana High Court. He encouraged students to participate in such activities and utilise their potential by voicing their opinion on current issues. He said, “The youth must participate in the democratic process for the development of India.”

He said the Parliament played a pivotal role in maintaining the rule of law and providing the necessary legal infrastructure. Preliminary rounds for the competition were held today where students discussed and debated a plethora of current issues.



Patil gives 26 complaints a hearing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil, while giving a sympathetic hearing to 26 complainants, who appeared in a public hearing session, took serious note on the demand of Manjit Singh for facilities provided to physically challenged persons.

Patil asked the Health Secretary to take action to facilitate people living with disability. The Health Secretary replied that the administration was working hard to facilitate the disabled and regular camps were being organised from time to time by the health department.

In another grievance, Vijay Kumar complained that the administration had taken eight months to fix rates for sites of booths and shops at the Motor Market. The DC responded by saying the matter had already been taken up with the Finance Secretary.

Ashwani Kumar, a resident of Sector 47, complained of a Rs 10 lakh fraud against travelling agents Ramji and KK Agarwal. The IGP stated that there was inadequate documentary evidence against the accused. DR Suman, president of Sri Guru Ravi Dass Gurdwara Prabandhak Sabha, Sector 30-A, requested the Administrator for the allotment of additional land, measuring 1,000 square yards, for the sabha. 



MC fetches Rs 30.25 lakh

Chandigarh, January 21
The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation collected Rs 30.25 lakh from the auction of two paid parking lots today.

The parking lot located at Fun Republic, Mani Majra, and Tourist Buses Parking, Mani Majra, whose reserved price was fixed at Rs 16.79 lakh, was auctioned for Rs 19 lakh and another parking lot at Sector 9 was auctioned for Rs 11.25 lakh against a reserved price of Rs 7.69 lakh. Both the parking lots are without semi-automatic system.

The auction was held under the chairmanship of MC Additional Commissioner-I, TPS Phoolka, in the presence of councillors Bhupinder Singh and Anil Kumar Dubey. — TNS



A musical treat

Panchkula, January 21
Saraswati Kala Sangam presented a cultural programme“Sangeet Utsav” in collaboration with the Haryana Sarv Vikas Foundation at Parade Ground here last evening.

The musical soiree, a veritable mix of Indian classical, ghazal and folk music, featured leading young vocalists Uma Patial, Amanpreet Singh, Azad Bahot and others.

President of the sangam Col IJ Ahluwalia (retd) inaugurated the programme with an invocatory Ganesh Vandana. — OC



Syndicate Meeting
Good news for students
To be refunded for re-evaluation forms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
Panjab University students will now be refunded the cost of re-evaluation forms if their marks increase by 15 per cent. They will also be paid back the examination fee. The decision was taken at a meeting of Syndicate members held today.

Presently, the cost of a re-evaluation form is Rs 350 for postgraduate courses and Rs 300 for undergraduate courses. Certain student leaders raised the issue of alleged hike in the cost of these re-evaluation forms for graduate and postgraduate classes a few days ago on the university campus. Today, the Syndicate gave some relief to students seeking re-evaluation by deciding to return the cost of a form, although the case of hike in the cost of forms was not discussed.

The issue of removing associate dean college development council (ADCDC) Keshav Malhotra was also raised by certain Syndicate members during the meeting. Earlier, principals of various affiliated colleges of PU had sought Malhotrah’s resignation due to his alleged apathetic towards certain colleges.

Responding to the query at today’s meeting, PU Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti said the selection process was in progress for certain posts and more time would be required to take appropriate action.

Additionally, the Syndicate members today authorised the VC to form committees required for various activities.



Semester system to be implemented in colleges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
Panjab University authorities have directed its affiliated colleges to implement semester system in all undergraduate courses from the 2011-2012 session starting in July this year.

The announcement was made at a meeting of PU officials and college principals held on the campus today.

Nearly 12 college principals attended the meeting and were asked by PU Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti to coordinate among themselves and work out the modalities for implementing the semester system.

The VC said implementing the system was a part of the University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines and Panjab University had to become a model university.

University sources said the PU authorities wanted affiliated colleges to conduct the first and second year examination.

However, the final year examination would be conducted by the university.

“Questions such as-who will set the question paper and the break up of syllabi will have to be addressed and sorted out if the implementation of the semester system is to be done,” said a college principal.



UIET students’ robot stands out
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
Blending their creativity, skills and academic knowledge to create a fighter-robot called “Blade-4”, six budding engineers of University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET), Panjab University, defeated the best brains from across South Asian colleges in the “War of Robots” held at Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay.

“PU junkies”, as they are popularly called, have stood first in the robot-war event during the technology fest.

A number of teams from engineering colleges across India and South Asia participated in the contest.

This is the eighth victory in succession for the UIET students in robotics events organised by professional colleges across the country, including the PEC fest.

Putting their theoretical knowledge to practical use by creating this robot, these students owe their success to teamwork, better coordination and a focused vision.

Yajur, Nitesh Parmar, Aggyapal Singh, Ravinder Singh, Sukhdeep and Gurwinder Singh, all students of third year, mechanical branch, UIET, played the roles assigned to them independently.

“We did not interfere in the work that was allotted to each of the team member. The person, who was supposed to operate the robot during the actual war of robots, was not pressurised by others to perform better. We had left the situation to that person totally without making him tensed,” said Nitesh, who was handling batteries.

“Blade-4”, is an upgraded version of “Blade-1, 2 and 3”, all created earlier by these students in the last three years. “Our robot used blades to fight the other robots in the contest, while other robots had sharp-edged weapons like hammers, flippers, cutters, etc. Although the fourth blade was badly damaged after the war and it had cost us nearly Rs 1.4 lakh, we are glad that we could make our university proud,” said Yajur, a member of “PU junkies”.

“There was an internal competition between three teams in the UIET, which we won. It is after that we could participate in the IIT fest since one team could bid from one college,” said Aggyapal Singh.

On being questioned if funds were sought from PU to create the robot, the students said because of procedural delays, hardly any student could apply for sponsorship from the university authorities, although raising such a huge amount was an arduous task for them, they confessed. 



Admission Criteria
Parents threaten to move court
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
Controversy surrounding the age eligibility criteria in four private schools of the city brewed further with parents threatening to move court within next two days.

UT education department’s meeting with the principals of St John’s School, Sector 26, St Annes, Sector 32, Sacred Heart School, Sector 26, and Carmel Convent, Sector 9, failed to achieve a breakthrough, as the principals refused to accept the age criteria being demanded by parents.

While parents initially tried to corner the DPI in his office, they eventually proceeded to the Home Secretary’s office. Sensing trouble, the UT officials called the police following which parents dispersed threatening to move the court.

“Our demand is justified. These schools have over the years stuck to September 2006 to October 2007 criteria. While a lot of children who tried last year will get another chance, many of our children may not even get a chance next year also. We have given them two days and if they do not concede to out demands, we will move the court,” said one of the parents.

“Is it a joke that we keep on changing the criteria? We adopted the March 2006 to April 2007 criteria keeping in view the forthcoming implementation of the RTE. We cannot keep on changing it at whims and fancies of either the administration or parents. They want children born till October 2007 to be given a chance. What if another group starts demanding allowing children born in November? We have asked them to wait till next year and their wards will get a fair chance and even the DPI has agreed to it,” said Kavita Das, principal, St John’s School, Sector 26.

“Parents need not feel insecure, as their children will get a fair chance,” added DPI (S) PK Sharma.



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