C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Ram Niwas loses education 
...Yet gets key posts as Finance Secretary is disempowered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
The ongoing slugfest between the UT administration’s education department and privately run schools over implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act has appeared to have taken its toll on education secretary Ram Niwas, who has been accused of being “arrogant” and “rigid”. The administration today decided to divest him of the charge and hand it over to finance secretary VK Singh.

Niwas’ transfer from the education department seems to be an upshot of his “mishandling” of implementation of the RTE Act and his insistence on private schools complying with the controversial 15 per cent quota set aside for economically weaker students. The latter had cried foul at the “lopsided” manner of implementation while the administration was still to gear up for implementing it in government run schools.

Yet, at the same time, Niwas, a Haryana cadre IAS officer, has been empowered with urban planning and housing secretary and chief administrator (capital projects), all of which VK Singh was divested of in a bid to placate Niwas and maintain “balance of power”.

Niwas will hear appeals on estate matters, including resumption proceedings of private schools. With certain CHB schemes at implementation stage, he will wield considerable influence.

Apart from holding charge of technical education, VK Singh, who assumed charge as finance secretary on January 14, will remain in charge of planning, information technology, public relations, planning, treasury and accounts, agriculture and animal husbandry, environment and forests, excise and taxation, statistical cell and printing and stationery.

End of autocracy, says UT official

“He may have been brilliant, but he was very autocratic and egoist. He had his own set of favourites in the department who would be entrusted with all important works. He was open to ideas, but not to those with whom he differed on a point of view. Having everything right from minor recruitment to constructing schools under his thumb, he preferred to have a strong hold on everything. Unfortunately, many ended up being scapegoats when his plans backfired. We look forward to a more open working environment now and free from any fear.”

— A senior UT Education Department official requesting anonymity

...But more trouble for pvt schools?

The happiness presumably felt by the city’s privately run schools may be shortlived. As Chief Administrator (capital project), he will now hear all appeals related to resumption proceedings related to building bylaw violations. With a majority of private schools being recipients of notices for such violations, they could find themselves facing a more belligerent Niwas, who would be feeling miffed at being divested of the important portfolio of education.

Private schools relieved, hopeful

“The UT Administration has, in fact, taken its first concrete step towards the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act by removing the charge of education from Ram Niwas. He was always at loggerheads with private schools in particular and even adopted vindictive measures against many. He kept on blaming us for failure of several projects, including implementation of the Act. To tell you the truth, his adamant attitude was the key reason why we have not even made a beginning. He never heard the schools, except once. As Education Secretary, he favoured a few by nominating them to the deliberation committee to air his voice. Schools, till date, had no say in related affairs and were forced to follow arbitrary instructions. We look forward to better communication with the administration henceforth.”

— HS Mamik, president, Independent Schools Association

“With the change in leadership, we look forward to a more productive partnership with the UT Administration. No offence, but, during the reign of Ram Niwas, minority schools were handpicked and victimised. The UT Administration forgot to respect the freedom granted to us by the Constitution and meddled with our day-to-day functioning. No one can ever forget the fiasco created by arbitrary orders regarding nursery admissions issued at the last moment. We are excited to work under the new leadership and expect a changed perspective.

— Kavita Das, principal, St John’s School

“The key agenda of Ram Niwas looked like only showing that he was the boss. Be it issues related to admissions, school buildings, uniforms or anything that suited his fancy, he loved to have put his hands everywhere. When decisions backfired, he blamed the schools. Many schools lived under the constant threat of de-recognition. We always lived under the threat of being singled out by the autocrat anytime. We expect things to improve now.”

— Principal of a private school who requested anonymity



Controversial tenure
Cash-for-job scam

September 5, 2009: The Chandigarh police arrested two persons accused of indulging in a cash-for-job racket. A vigilance team arrested Jolly, a local resident, for promising a teacher’s post to Kamalpreet Kaur in return for a payment of ` 4 lakh. Samwarthak Singh, then DPI (Schools), who was repatriated to Haryana, significantly said Jolly had met him in context of a project on tourism on Ram Niwas’ recommendation

EWS quota muddle

April 2010: The UT sent notices to certain private schools saying they would be resumed if they did not implement 15 per cent reservation for children belonging to economically weaker sections (EWS). Certain recognitions were taken away, following which schools rushed to the court. Schools argued that 15 per cent reservation was for only those who were allotted land after 1996 under a special notification. There is still no clarity on EWS quota seats.

Pick-and-choose policy

Ram Niwas targeted schools not following “expected” norms. Strawberry Fields was singled out for allegedly violating building norms even as government schools and many private schools were overlooked. St John’s School was targeted for a controversy involving an Arts teacher and later over implementation of the RTE Act. Sacred Heart School was controversially declared guilty for unfair treatment to Ruchika, a victim of molestation by former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore.

RTE Act controversy

He wanted hasty implementation of the RTE Act, which the schools cried was being done without taking them into confidence. He wanted implementation of 25 per cent quota with the diktat that the cost for 15 per cent seats should be borne by private schools. Schools said it was not stipulated. Two rounds of discussions were held with schools in December 2010. Ram Niwas skipped the second round. He controversially invited activists Pankaj Chandgothia and Hemant Goswami in the deliberations.

Arrogant behaviour

December 21, 2010: Principals had a taste of Ram Niwas’ arrogance at a meeting on the RTE Act draft in his oft-used line “I am the Education Secretary and I know it better than you”. Evading controversial questions, he said, “Don’t talk individual cases with me’. He even went to the extent of saying “restrict your questions to the Act and don’t speak on anyone’s behalf”.



MC House
Rs 27 cr & 42 projects in 60 min
Rs 45 lakh per minute-and-a-half
Aarti Kapur/TNS

Chandigarh, January 28
Can you take a decision to spend about Rs 45 lakh public money in one-and-a-half minutes? The answer may appear to be in the negative but the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) today performed just this feat.

Setting new benchmarks in “efficiency”, the MCC House today took just an hour to approve 42 development projects amounting to a whopping Rs 27 crore.

The councillors were in such a hurry to undertake “development” that they do not even allow MC Secretary Lalit Siwach to read the entire agenda before approving it.

Not even a single agenda item was discussed in detail by the councillors in the House as they asserted that they had themselves suggested the work in their areas concerned and they were aware of the details.

Yet surprisingly, an hour-long discussion was done by the councillors on the installation of laser show fountain in Sector 17, which was not even part of the agenda.

Nominated councilor Brig Kuldeep Singh Chandpuri (retd) did object to the tabling of supplementary agenda items of Rs 14 crore and of Rs 9 crore in the House. He said as per rules, supplementary agenda was prepared by the authorities incase of any emergency. Clarifying on this, Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh said all agenda items were prepared on the recommendations of councillors concerned.

However, BJP councillor Anil Kumar Dubey alleged that agenda of his wards, proposed almost three years ago, had not been tabled in the House till date. How had fresh agendas been tabled in the House, he asked.

Nominated councillor Pallav Mukherjee tried to intervene regularly to raise objections on the agenda being passed by House without any discussion. However, the Mayor did not allow him to make his point.

Fathom This
Agenda Cost

Paver blocks Rs 9.89 crore

Fountains Rs 1.94 crore

Tubewells Rs 8.17 crore


The General House has decided that no fee will be charged from families below the poverty line on the marriage of girl child at MC community centres

Newly designed multi-play equipment will be installed in all green belts

The Mayor has constituted a review committee on the schedule of posts, which will submit its report within a fortnight to MC Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria



House needs language lessons
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
The use of unparliamentary language on frivolous issues by both the ruling Congress and the Opposition councillors dominated the proceedings of MC House for over an hour-and-a-half in the run-up to the election of the five-member Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC).

Heated exchanges and sloganeering between the ruling and the Opposition members marred the meeting when the Opposition demanded that MC Secretary Lalit Siwach should not be allowed to conduct F&CC committee elections because of his alleged partisan role.

Objecting to the usage of abusive language against him and the demand for his withdrawal from the post of secretary, Siwach stated that only the appropriate authority had the right to ask him to withdraw. He refuted allegations of partisanship in issuing forms for making passes for visitors gallery.

Earlier, the issue of the closure of entry gates and demand for issuing of more passes for visitors gallery passes by the councillors sparked off war of works between the Opposition and Congress councillors with the former taking potshots at the Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh and the MC Secretary.

High drama was witnessed from the start of the House meeting when Independent candidate Jagjit Singh Kang opposed the locking of two alternative entry doors to the MC buildings.

Kang got support from the Opposition and certain nominated councillors who wanted to know on whose order the doors had been locked.

The Mayor clarified that UT SSP UT had been requested to make security arrangements during F&CC elections to avoid any untoward incident.

Officials to complain

Senior officials of the MC, requesting anonymity, said they would make a formal complaint of misbehaviour and using abusive language to the Secretary, Home-cum-Local Government.

Commissioner enjoyed

MC Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria showed no inclination to defuse the situation as he seemed to be enjoying the “whole drama” for the about two hours, alleged nominated councillor Pallav Mukherjee.



Mayor announces 5 F&CC members 
Councillors go berserk
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
There was chaos at the general house of the municipal corporation after Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh (Pali) announced names of five members of the Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC).

All opposition councillors alleged that till the confirmation of the meeting of the last house in which mayoral election was approved, was shown in the house, the Mayor could not conduct the committee elections.

Referring to the procedure, councillors of the opposition argued that as per Section 10, the Mayor could not conduct elections in the house till the minutes of the last meeting were approved.

The councillors said as the confirmation of the last meeting had not been tabled in the house, the committee elections could not be conducted by the present Mayor.

Ignoring these objections, the Mayor conducted election proceedings by asking the councillors to raise their hands if they were in favour of the F&CC poll. Two third members of the house raised their hands, but members of the opposition and a few nominated councillors objected to it. Following which the Mayor called the marshal to get the well of the house vacated and adjourned the house for half-an-hour.

As a mark of protest, SAD councillor Harjinder Kaur and independent candidate Jagjit Singh Kang withdrew their names from the election. Mayor Pali immediately announced rest of the five councillors as members of the F&CC.

The elected members are Chander Mukhi Sharma, Vijay Singh Rana, BJP councillor Sarita Devi and two nominated councillors Dr Neelam Malik and Dr AP Sanwaria.



24-yr-old girl found dumped naked near road
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 28
In a bizarre incident, a 24-year-old girl, said by the police to be “mentally challenged”, was allegedly found dumped near near National Highway 22 in a nude condition by some unidentified people in the vicinity of Maheshpur village in Sector 4 today morning. The girl, who was later identified as Harmanjit Kaur, a resident of Amritsar, reportedly lay in the same position for over about half an hour. However, a female passerby gave her some clothes that were lying nearby to put on and called up the police.

A PCR van stationed in the sector immediately arrived at the scene. Police officials found the girl standing in a semiconscious state leaning against a white Suzuki Swift car parked nearby. The cops later chased the car’s owner, who had gone to a nearby shop in Maheshpur village, after he drove away in the vehicle. The owner, who identified himself as Pyare Lal and an employee of HUDA, told the police he had nothing to do with the incident as he had gone to his friend’s shop near the highway.

However, as the car’s number plate bore a Himachal registration the police took the vehicle documents with them but returned them later..

Later the girl was sent to the Sector 2 police post. A police official offered his own tiffin to the girl.

Harmanjit, who seemed to be in a state of shock, later told reporters she had gone to Simla and on her return trip one of the suspects, whom she identified as ‘Honey’, had given her a lift in his car. She said the suspect had offered her tea mixed with some intoxicants, adding she soon fell unconscious and did not know what happened with her. She alleged the suspect(s) might have raped her as she found her clothes removed. She said she could not recount how many people were in the car.

Ajay Disodia, in charge of the Sector 2 police post, did not respond to the calls. Earlier the police official who had tried to get Harmanjit’s statement, said she was unable to say anything clearly as she was “mentally challenged”.

“Our first priority will be to search for her parents as she has not been able to give us her address in Amritsar”, he added. When contacted superintendent of police Maneesh Chaudhary feigned ignorance about the incident.



No sterilisation, no surgery
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
Setting their house in order seems to be the last word in the dictionary of the authorities at the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16.

In a reflection of the state of affairs in the running of the hospital, over a dozen patients had a taste of the “far-sightedness” of the authorities when pre-scheduled surgeries were postponed without any prior notice to the patients.

There was no sterilised surgical equipment available for surgery as the machine developed a snag due to non-maintenance, said sources.

Ironically, the authorities forgot to renew the annual maintenance contract of the machine, which had expired last year. “Since the machine was not being checked regularly, it was bound to go out of order,” said an operation theatre technician. The Medical Superintendent of the GMSH, Dr Rajiv Vadhera, when contacted, said the matter would be inquired into and responsibility would be fixed.

“He was informed of the fault at 9.35 am. Orders to get the equipment sterilised at the Community Health Centres in Manimajra and Sector 22 were issued,” he said.

The machine was made functional by the afternoon, he added. “We have proposed that in order to overcome such emergencies, a new machine be installed at a separate health centre,” he said.


Villagers complain of rising pollution
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
Residents of Raipur Khurd and Makhan Majra villages have alleged that certain people have been violating norms and creating pollution in the vicinity of the two villages.

In a written complaint to the Chandigarh Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the municipal corporation (MC), the residents alleged that for the last several years, certain ‘kabaris’ were scattering various types of waste material on the outskirts of the villages, adding that tyres of cars and scooters often got punctured due to nails scattered along the roads.

In the strongly worded complaint, copies of which were sent to the CPCB Chairman and the MC Commissioner, the residents also alleged that due to the burning of electricity cables, poisonous gases and unpleasant odour had spread in the area, but the CPCB seemed to be sleeping over the matter.

As the wind direction here was mostly from north to south, the unpleasant odour spread towards residential areas. Complaints of choking odour from the burning of rubber were also being received.

Scores of labourers and scrap dealers worked in the area, creating insanitary conditions. In the absence of water supply and a sewage disposal system, filthy conditions prevailed in the area. Several thefts had taken place, making the area unsafe. Tarlochan Singh of the Pind Sudhar Sabha complained that the pungent smell was more dominant during night hours.

The issue was taken up at the meeting of representatives of gram panchayats with the CPCB Executive Engineer. Enquiries revealed that more than 30 illegal ‘kabariwalas’ had encroached upon government and agricultural land, causing air pollution.

The representatives lamented that in spite of several representations to officials concerned, nothing had been done to remove the illegal squatters. 



Aerocity, Mullanpur
Impact on environment to be studied
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 28
Three months after concluding the draw of lots for plots in Aerocity, the Union Ministry of Environment has directed the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) to conduct an environment impact assessment study of the much-hyped urban estate, indicating that nod to start development work at the site will come by June.

“Once the ministry gives terms of reference, clearance for a project normally takes three or four months,” say GMADA officials. Not only Aerocity, the ministry has also okayed terms of reference for conducting an environment impact assessment study for the Mullanpur urban estate.

The terms of reference include various aspects of urbanisation, that have to be taken into account for the project in question. For perusing the matter, a team of GMADA officials has been holding parleys with ministry officials in Delhi.

GMADA Chief Administrator VP Singh has said, “We hope to start work at the Aerocity site by June. We will also be starting work at Mullanpur after getting the ministry’s nod.”

While the Aerocity project is free from legal encumbrances as far as land acquisition is involved, certain landowners at Mullanpur have gone to court against acquisition. The notice under Section 9 of the Land Acquisition Act has been issued before the landowners’ action.

As per the new environment impact assessment notification, starting the development of any township or group housing project covering an area of 124 acres or more has to seek environmental clearance. Though GMADA has applied, clearance is awaited.

Letters of intent likely next month

After an inordinate delay in the issuance of letters of intent to successful allottees, GMADA is gearing up to issue those in the first week of February. The office of the land acquisition collector is in the process of finalising details of beneficiaries under the land-pooling scheme.



Residents don’t want cops as neighbours
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 28
The allotment of a one-kanal plot in a residential area of Phase 9 by the Greater Area Mohali Development Authority (GMADA) to the Punjab Police intelligence wing for constructing a safe house has led to protest by residents of the area.

Under the banner of the Leisure Valley Enclave Society, the residents have shot off a letter to the Punjab Police DGP and GMADA officials, stating that the allotment of the plot will meet to nuisance as the place will be used for interrogating suspects.

The residents have threatened to launch an agitation if the allotment is not cancelled by GMADA. It has been pointed out that a plot for such an activity should never be allotted in a residential area due to security reasons.

The residents apprehend that the movement of police officials at the designated place will disturb their peace. They have pointed out that instead of plot number 68, GMADA should relocate the safe house to Sector 77, where the department has been allotted a large site.



Crime busters to work in harmony
Will set up joint interrogation teams to crack major cases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
The UT police is all set to tie up with the police of other states and set up joint interrogation teams to investigate major and sensational crime cases. The decision was taken at a coordination meeting held here today.

Learning a lesson from Khushpreet’s murder where lack of coordination with the Mohali police resulted in the case getting botched up, it was decided that the police would work in harmony.

Emphasis was laid on setting up special barriers lining the city’s periphery and on better management of toll barriers. It was also decided that the police would exchange information pertaining to any incident immediately on the Internet with the police of other states.

During the meeting, it was decided that information about crime and criminals would be shared at the initial stage.

It was also decided that joint raids would be conducted and joint teams would interrogate the accused involving in inter-state crime.

List of criminals and proclaimed offenders was also exchanged during the meeting. Modes operandi of criminals and difficulties being faced at border belts were also discussed. Various decisions like sharing of information of criminals particularly released persons from jail, verification of information sheets on a priority basis and holding of regular meetings at various levels were taken.

The meeting was held for better coordination between different police agencies and sharing of information to prevent and detect the crime and to keep a check on the anti-social elements.

UT Inspector-General of Police PK Srivastava chaired the meeting.

Deputy Director, Intelligence Bureau, and officers from the Intelligence Units of Punjab and Haryana also attended the meeting.

Representatives of the state police from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, J&K, Delhi and Uttarakhand attended the meeting. Representatives from Mohali, Panchkula, Solan, Baddi, Ambala, Ropar, Fatehgarh Sahib and Patiala were also present.



Deputationists’ delight no more
Patil gets cracking on period of stay with UT Admn
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
Known to be a deputationists’ paradise for bureaucrats from Punjab and Haryana, many of whom have been overstaying with the UT Administration by seeking extensions, UT Administrator Shivraj Patil is finally putting a stop to this trend.

UT Administration sources have revealed that when it comes to officers from neighbouring states, the UT Administrator had long clarified that rules would be followed strictly as far as their period of stay was concerned. Current rules stipulate that an officer on deputation can stay for a period of three years.

The UT Administrator’s strictness on deputationists explains why, despite the upheaval in the UT education department and its direct conflict with some prominent private schools in the city over the implementation of the RTE (Right to Education) Act, DPI (Schools) PK Sharma was repatriated to his parent state of Haryana. He was involved with the implementation of RTE, but the UT Administration could not seek his extension.

Sources in the Administration reveal that Sharma’s repatriation orders were issued three months ago.

The next to be repatriated is municipal corporation Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria, who will complete his term in March-end. Similar is the case with Chandigarh Housing Board Chairman Mohanjit Singh, who is scheduled to be repatriated by March-end after earlier managing to get a year’s extension on compassionate grounds. Sources claim that the UT Administrator has already decided on their repatriation.

For over two decades, the UT Administration has been witnessing a trend wherein officers on deputation have not only been overstaying, but even picking up time-bound promotions and getting elevated. A few have retired while being on deputation.

RK Rao, a Haryana Civil Service officer, who joined the UT Administration in the early 1990s, was later promoted to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). He spent almost two decades with the UT Administration in various posts, including municipal corporation Assistant Commissioner, Assistant Estate Officer, CITCO Chief General Manager and Deputy Commissioner.

Krishna Mohan, a Haryana-cadre IAS officer, had first served as Deputy Commissioner for five years and later as UT Home Secretary, spending eight years with the UT Administration.

IS Sandhu, a PCS officer, Vivek Atray, an HCS officer, and Gaurav Yadav, a Punjab-cadre IPS officer and former SSP, are three other officers who hav served tenures of over five years with the UT Administration.



What is in a nose?
They will reply — mental health!
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 28
Abnormality in nose shape may lead to psychiatric problems. Sounds bizarre, but it is true. Two such cases have been reported at a private hospital in Sector 21 here recently.

Middle-aged Prakash (name changed) and 23-year-old Rajni (name changed) have been getting psychiatric treatment at the hospital as they have a very adverse self-image in view of the shape of their nose.

During psychological evaluation, it was revealed that the abnormal nose shape had adversely affected their psychological well-being.

Prakash said he had a distorted nose due to an accident and had undergone electric shock treatment. The surgery had changed his life and he was leading a normal life. Rajni was previously under treatment for depression due to a negative self-image on account of her bulky nose tip.

Dr Harpreet Bakshi, plastic surgeon at the hospital, told the Chandigarh Tribune here that both patients were operated upon following medical advice and this completely transformed their lives. He said rhinoplasty surgery, which involved correction of bony framework of nose, lasted two hours and changed their facial features.

He said nose was the central focus of the face and profound dissatisfaction with it could have a negative effect on self-image, emotional development and psychological well-being. The operation was often regarded as the most difficult of all aesthetic procedures performed by plastic surgeons, but results were remarkable, Dr Bakshi added.



Police, MC to instal CCTVs in Zirakpur 
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, January 28
Taking a step towards better policing and to keep a tab on the movements of anti-social elements, the Zirakpur municipal council and the police have collectively planned to instal closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras all across the town.

The purpose of installing these cameras is primarily for security point of view and to effectively regulate traffic flow at the congested sections on the highway.

According to sources, the CCTV cameras would be installed in the town with the help of the municipal council and the proposal has been sent for approval to the higher authorities.

Sources revealed that the CCTV cameras, equipped with latest technology, would be installed at more than 20 sensitive points in the town by March-end.

A private company would be appointed to instal the cameras and funds would be spent by the police department as well as the municipal council, sources added.

A control room would be set up at the Zirakpur police station and its working would be monitored by the Station House Officer. The cameras would also have a system to save two-month backup for record.

The cameras would be installed at the Zirakpur-Kalka chowk, Zirakpur-Patiala chowk, Pabhat road, godown area, Dhillon factory point, flyover take off point from Chandigarh side, near Kohinoor Dhaba, VIP road, Baltana chowk, Gulmohar Trends, MS Enclave, near K-Area, Comfort marriage palace T-point, Sigma city, VIP road, Baltana chowk, Saini Vihar, Yamuna enclave, flyover take off point from Dera Bassi side, T-point of Swami Enclave, opposite Whispering Willows, Lohgarh turn on Zirakpur-Patiala highway, railway crossing Harmilap Nagar and Baltana turn near Kalgidhar market.

The SHO stated that the entire highway would be under the surveillance once the cameras became operational. Two CCTV cameras installed in Zirakpur, more two years back, would also be replaced, he added.

Recently, a meeting of builders, jewellers, bank officials and wine shop owners was called and they were asked to instal CCTV cameras in their premises, he said.



GMADA to hire cityscape, traffic experts
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 28
After hiring horticulture and town planning consultants, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) will now hire cityscape and traffic experts to change the face of Mohali, dubbed the future city of Punjab by the Akali government.

The experts, being hired on contract for a five-year term, will guide the authority on issues relating to landscaping of open spaces along roads, re-designing of roads and utilisation of open spaces.

Not just Mohali, the experts are being hired by the authorities of Ludhiana, Amritsar, Patiala, Bathinda and Jalandhar.

The approval to this effect was granted at a recent meeting of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA).

In all, four landscape architects, six cityscape experts and six traffic experts are being hired by the authority.

Sources in GMADA said as part of the ambitious plan to beautify the town, the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) had hired a private consultant, Dickson Rothschild India Pvt Ltd, to beautify and widen the roads.

However, the project hit a roadblock after certain objections were raised by GMADA over the practicality of the proposals.

The private consultant had been appointed by the PIDB for five towns in Punjab, including Mohali, where special beautification of roads had to be undertaken with landscaping features and facilities for pedestrians.

A mid-term report in this regard was presented to the GMADA authorities.

Different departments concerned of GMADA were of the view that the consultant had not taken the ground situation into account while preparing the drawings.

An official of the engineering wing said the suggestion to replan the PCA was not practical. Similarly, suggestions to regulate traffic at the traffic junction of Phases III and V could not be implemented due to paucity of space.

Regarding another proposal to make the arterial road, passing through Phases IV, V, III-B1, III-B2 and VII one way, the engineering department had been asked to give suggestions.

In support of the proposal, a GMADA official said the idea behind the beautification project was to create material palette for the future and a new urban corridor for newly developing sectors to the south of the existing area.

Under the proposal, seven roads would be covered. These are shopping centre road, NIPER road, roads dividing Phases IX and X, X and XI, III and VII, YPS road and the PCL-Madanpur road.

The roads are to be widened and designated a public transport corridor. Also, traffic control points and public domains will be upgraded, pedestrian pathways created and landscaping done.

“Now the government will hire experts, the cost of which will be borne by the state exchequer. All that the government needs now was a practical approach to the existing problems,” observed an official.

Beautification Plan
What needs to be done

  Replanning of the PCA stadium traffic junction

Implementation of proposal to regulate traffic at the traffic junction of Phases III and V

Ease traffic on the arterial road passing through Phases IV, V, III-B1, III-B2 and VII



R-Day Camp
Region’s NCC directorate among top 3
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
The Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Chandigarh NCC Directorate was adjudged second runners-up in the national-level Republic Day Camp held at New Delhi. The directorate, for the second consecutive year, has been placed among the top three among 17 directorates.

As many as 155 cadets from the region attended the camp. These included a 44-cadet band from Sainik School, Kapurthala. They competed in events like drill, firing, aero and ship modelling, and equestrian contests. The directorate was adjudged the best in horse show and was also awarded the best rider, best tent-pegger and best jumper.

It also won gold medals in aero and ship modelling competitions. It stood first in Air Wing competitions and second in drill during the selection of cadets for the marching contingent on Rajpath. Cadet Laxmi Bishnoi from this directorate was selected to lead the NCC girls contingent on Rajpath. NCC Additional Director General, Maj Gen Mohabbat Virk, congratulated the cadets for their performance and urged them to strive for excellence in life. 



Treat for classical lovers
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, January 28
Dr Karan Singh, former Union minister, and president, Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR), was the chief guest at a classical dance programme organised by the regional chapter of ICCR and Punjab Sangeet Natak Akademy at Randhawa auditorium here today.

City-based Bharatnatyam exponent Suchitra Mitra and her disciples gave an impressive classical dance recital in a special programme.

Commencing with traditional ‘Pushpanjali’, an invocatory recital “Moshika Vahana..” in raga Natai was presented by Sumita, Shivangi and Fizaa.

Attired in dazzling costume, Suchitra Mitra offered Saraswati stuti “Verr veena mrithu vaani..” which was followed by Shiv stuti by young danseuse Sumita. Later, Suchitra presented a choreography on two Meera bhajans “Mein Haricharnan ki daasi” and “ Pagg ghungroo..”. The concluding Thillana, however, drew genial applause which was based on a German folk song, eulogising the beauty of fisherwomen. ICCR regional officer Nalini Singhal and Punjab Arts Council’s chairperson Harjinder Kaur welcomed the chief guest.



National Girl Child Day observed'
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, January 28
A function was organised at Sekhpur Kalan village to mark the National Girl Child Day.

Child development project officer Inderjeet Kaur called upon the people to assemble and spread awareness against the social evils like female foeticide.

She said women must be aware of their rights. Circle supervisor Parmjeet Kaur said it was a duty of every mother to provide better environment to girl child for developing.

Children presented cultural items against social evils like female foeticide on the occasion. CDPP Inderjeet Kaur honoured the participants. 



Uterus weighing 2 kg removed

Mohali, January 28
Doctors of the Mohali Civil Hospital today successfully removed a big uterus, weighing about 2 kg, during a surgery carried out on a 52-year-old patient suffering from excessive menstrual bleeding for the past two years.

The doctors detected through USG an abnormally big size of uterus, involving half of the abdomen, resembling a seven-month pregnancy. The patient’s abdomen was growing over the past two months.

It was diagnosed to be a very big-sized fibroid. The patient was prepared for the surgery, which was done by a team of doctors, comprising Dr Neera Verma and Dr Tamanna as surgeons and Dr Paramjeet Singh and Dr Deepak Berry as anaesthetists. This is one of the rare surgeries conducted in the hospital. — OC



‘Self-help groups can empower women’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
Postgraduate Government College for Girls, Sector 42, Chandigarh, today organised a national seminar on “Women Empowerment in Socio-Cultural Context: Issues and Concerns”.

The event was sponsored by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Rajesh Gill, chairperson, department of sociology and women’s studies and development, Panjab University, Chandigarh, said an increased participation of women in decision making in both public and private domains was required for empowerment in the real sense.

Mani Bedi, principal of the host college, said women should have the courage to question the injustice and inequalities existing in society.

She said microfinance and self-help groups could empower women. About 46 delegates from different colleges and universities all over India presented papers in five different technical sessions. Dr Manjit Kaur introduced the theme and stressed on the need to find different answers for women in the context of their difference socio-cultural backgrounds. Prof Reicha Tanwar, director, Women Studies and Development, Kurukshetra University, chaired the session titled “Women Development in Multiple Spheres” whereas Prof Malkit Kaur, department of sociology and social anthropology, took up the problems faced by rural women.



Students air grievances at PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
Replicating the “Reach out programme” launched by the Students Council at Panjab University last year, members of the Panjab University Campus Students Council (PUCSC) have initiated a “Speak to the council” programme in all university hostels.

From deteriorating food quality on the campus to scarcity of water in university hostels, students are complaining against various problems, said the council members.

“These issues will be discussed with the Dean Student Welfare (DSW) at a meeting with student representatives soon,” said a member of the PUCSC here today.

During the programme, students of the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET) highlighted the problem being faced by them while commuting between the South campus and the library every day.

Commenting on the bus service for students on the campus, Naval Kishore, DSW, said: “We are planning for a bus service within the campus at a nominal rate of Rs 100 annually from next year. For the shuttle service this year, a circular has already been sent to the departments concerned today stating that students interested in availing the bus service from South to North campus may deposit Rs 200 per month.

The bus will commute thrice a day, during morning, afternoon and evening hours for the convenience of students.” 



‘Consider English as another language’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
On the first day of the Chandigarh Festival of Letters, held at Panjab University today, Dr Karan Singh, member of the Rajya Sabha and president, Indian Council for Cultural Relations, said consider English as another Indian language contributing equally to the richness of the Indian ethos.

“We have to preserve our literature and culture no matter whatever happens,” he said, elaborating further by referring to books as “More precious than gems.”

The festival has been organised under the aegis of the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi (CSA) in collaboration with the Panjab University.

Prof Meera Kishwar said the fact that English had become our language of intimacy even though it’s a language that a majority of Indians are not comfortable with.

She stressed upon the necessity of communication skills. The first day also saw sessions on creative writing and book readings by two upcoming novelists Manjul Bajaj and Amandeep Sandhu with Prof Mehndiratta, former chairperson, CSA.

According to Prof Manju Jaidka, chairperson, CSA, this being the centenary year of three stalwarts of Hindi writing, the second day of the festival will focus on Agyeya, Nagarjuna and Shamsher Bahadur through discourses by the eminent academicians like Prof Nand Kishore Acharya and Lal Chand Gupt Mangal, as also through presentation of papers by PU lecturers.



Seminar on challenges for India
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
A national seminar on “Challenges of Inclusive Development in North-West India: Sites, Strategies and Possibilities” began at Panjab University here today. The seminar was organised jointly by the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy (CSSEIP) and the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla.

Manjit Singh, director, CSSEIP, highlighted a series of studies launched by the CSSEIP on people belonging to the weaker sections of society. Avtar Singh, chief administrator, Mandi Board, Haryana, pointed out that in the UK there were only 400 laws, whereas in India there are more than 4,000 laws, but we have failed to achieve social justice for the poor because of lack of implementation of laws. “Workers in mines are working under adverse conditions and they hardly live beyond 40 years,” said Avtar Singh. The main culprit for this unequal development in India is “educational apartheid”.



3,000 students attend management fest

Chandigarh, January 28
More than 3,000 students from various colleges from across the tricity participated in the two-day annual management festival being organised by GGDSD College, Sector 32. The fest, along with an MBA fair, is being organised by the BBA Club of the college in collaboration with Bulls Eye, an MBA coaching institute.

Besides an inter-college general quiz and painting contest, in which students from different colleges participated and displayed their arts skills on themes of social concerns, students also got an opportunity to interact with the representatives of the various business schools that will be putting up their stalls in the two-day festival. College principal AC Vaid said: “Such festivals are a platform for students, who are aspiring for a career in management to have one-to-one interaction with B-school representatives.” — TNS




Chandigarh: Postgraduate Government College, Sector 46, has started free coaching classes for students belonging to SC/ST/OBC/minorities/physically challenged categories for competitive exams of civil services and bank recruitments. Principal of the college Sham Lata motivated the college students to become more career conscious. She said regular maths, reasoning, general studies and English classes would be taken.


The department of Gandhian studies of Panjab University is organising a special lecture on the martyrdom day of Mahatma Gandhi on January 30.

The lecture will be on “Gandhi, Environmental Crisis and Sustainable Development”. Dr AD Mishra, former director, Gandhi National Museum, Rajghat, New Delhi. would be the speaker.

Roll numbers dispatched

PU controller of examination today notified that all roll numbers (admit cards) of MD/MS entrance test-2011 to be conducted by Panjab University on February 6 (Sunday) for Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh, have been dispatched to eligible candidates. Students who do not receive the admit cards by February 3, may get duplicate admit cards from the university’s office (CET Cell, Aruna Ranjit Chandra Hall near Post Office) on February 4 (Friday) from 9 am to 4 pm after completing pre-requisite instructions given in para 31 on page 8 of the MD/MS prospectus.


Michael Krausz, professor of philosophy at Bryn Mawr College, California (USA), will deliver a talk during a seminar on “Dialogue on Relativism, Absolutism, and Beyond” at the department of philosophy, Panjab University, on January 31 (Monday) at 3 pm.

Professor Krausz has paid visits to Georgetown University, Oxford University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, American University in Cairo, University of Nairobi, Indian Institute of Advanced Study and University of Ulm. Science congress

The third Chandigarh Social Science Congress will be held at Panjab University on February 24 and 25. 



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