C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Day after dressing-down
Protests on, teaching off till February 7
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Students of the HSJ Institute of Dental Sciences and Hospital, Panjab University (PU), organised a rally, followed by protests, here today to express dissent over the ‘misbehaviour’ of director-principal GK Gauba with a female intern.

Members of the Panjab University Students Union sit on hunger strike outside the Vice-Chancellor’s office in Chandigarh on Wednesday.
Members of the Panjab University Students Union sit on hunger strike outside the Vice-Chancellor’s office in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

The protests were followed by an official announcement of the PU authorities to suspend teaching at the dental college till February 7.

Taking cognisance of a complaint by the intern’s parents, the PU authorities today formed a five-member committee, consisting of teachers Renu Vij, Jaspal Kaur Kaang, Sangeeta Bhalla, Rajesh Gill and PU Dean (Sciences) AS Ahluwalia, to probe the allegations of misconduct.

A letter issued by PU Vice-Chancellor (VC) RC Sobti today mentioned that the committee was formed on the complaint of Gulshan Ahuja, the intern’s father. The inquiry report would be submitted by 5 pm on February 4, the letter stated.

While leaving the VC’s office today, the intern’s mother told this correspondent that they would not take their complaint back and the university should take firm action.

Asking what was objectionable on the T-shirt worn by his daughter, the intern’s father was today showing the T-shirt to university officials at the VC’s office.

Earlier in the day, dental college students raised slogans against the PU authorities and the dental college director-principal. They marched towards the chemistry department, where a meeting of dental college interns was scheduled with the VC. Unrest continued among students even after this meeting and they demanded immediate action.

Certain student leaders blocked the road where the VC’s car was parked and stopped him from leaving the place, eventually forcing him to walk to his office.

The dental college students pledged a ‘mass bunk’ from their classes, though certain final-year students were divided on the issue of boycotting classes till the PU authorities took some action.

Certain student representatives of the Panjab University Students Union also blocked the gate outside the VC’s office and despite repeated assurances by the Dean Student Welfare, Naval Kishore, continued protesting. Three of its members said they would sit on a hunger strike till the PU authorities took a decision.


* Teaching suspended at dental college till Monday; clinics to remain functional, says VC

* Intern’s mother refuses to take written complaint back, says PU must take firm action

* Five-member committee formed to look into charges of misconduct

* Director-principal restrained from speaking to department students till completion of inquiry

* Students stage rally; assurances by PU authorities fail to convince them

* Dental college OPD resumed, fewer patients turn up

* PUSU members declare hunger strike till matter is resolved



Norms flouted under DC’s nose
Domestic LPG cylinder in use at office pantry
Aarti Kapur/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
In a clear violation of norms, the office of the UT Deputy Commissioner (DC) is using a domestic LPG cylinder for the preparation of tea and coffee for guests of the DC.

More importantly, the DC is the Director, Food and Supply and Consumer Affairs, which is the implementing agency of these norms, which clearly state that nobody can use domestic LPG cylinders in the pantry of an office building.

A domestic LPG cylinder being used in the pantry of the UT Deputy Commissioner’s office at Sector 17 in Chandigarh.
A domestic LPG cylinder being used in the pantry of the UT Deputy Commissioner’s office at Sector 17 in Chandigarh. A Tribune photograph

As per guidelines, canteens located in any government or private building can use only commercial LPG cylinders for routine use and not domestic cylinders.

During a visit to the estate office, it has been found that the pantry opposite the DC’s room has a domestic LPG cylinder and the gas is used by the staff for preparing tea and coffee.

Certain other officers are enjoying the facility of a separate pantry, adjoining their rooms, for their share of refreshment.

SDM (South) Kavle V Parshuram claimed that no officer in the city was using a domestic LPG cylinder in his office as permission had not been granted to any officer by the food and supply department in this regard.

In fact, there was no provision for such permission in guidelines of the department, he said. Asked if the DC had permission to use a domestic LPG cylinder, he said no department had been give suchn permission.

Employees of the UT deluxe building, which did not have a canteen, were using heaters of between 1,000 and 2,000 watts, in their cabins for their tea and coffee. Requesting anonymity, an employee said, “For the past one year, the authorities are being requested to open a canteen in the new building, but to no avail.”



Gang promising ‘easy’ loans busted, 4 held
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 2
With the arrest four suspects, including one from Mohali and another from Kharar, the Khanna police today claimed to have pulled the lid off a multicrore rupee financial scam here today. According to the cops, the fraudsters had conned thousands of people, especially those from south India, on the pretext of providing them “easy” loans at low interest rates.

The suspects, identified as Ashwani Kumar, a resident of Sunny Enclave near Jyoti Chowk in Kharar, Narinder Kumar of Dashmesh Enclave, near Dhakoli, Mohali, Amit Sachhar of Quilla Mohalla, Jalandhar, and Ajay Kumar Khurana of Ludhiana, were nabbed following a tipoff by the Khanna police.

Giving details about the arrests, Khanna SSP DP Singh said the suspects were operating from Punjab and Haryana and having “offices” in Panchkula, Zirakpur, Ambala City, Manimajra, Mohali and Khanna.

The suspects have reportedly duped several thousand people in Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Gujarat. Ashwani and Sachar, both close friends, were said to be the gang’s kingpins.

"Their modus operandi was simple - they used to place an ad in local vernacular newspapers luring people on the pretext of providing them easy loans at low interest rates," said Singh.

According to the police, the suspects used to charge a “processing fee” of Rs 750 for a loan of less than Rs 10 lakh and Rs 1,500 for that of over Rs 15 lakh. Not only that, they also charged victims a “legal advisor’s fee” ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000, following which the suspects issued them a fake “sanction letter” after taking 10 per cent in “margin money” on the bogus sum assured in advance.

Singh said the entire process used to take nearly three moths. The fraud came to the fore after the victims visited banks to encash the cheques for the loans. “The preferred prey was people from down south as they used to visit their “offices” once in a month to get their files processed. Besides the suspects had launched several websites to lure people seeking soft loans”, he added.

The suspects, who were booked under sections 406,420, 467, 468, 471 & 120(b) of the IPC for committing fraud and duping innocent people, were produced in a court that sent them to remand. “More skeletons are expected to tumble out of the closet during the course of our investigations”, said Singh.

Bogus companies

l Mahajan Credit & Finance, Sec 10, Panchkula

l KJS Financial Service Pvt Ltd, Zirakpur

l Blackbull Fincom Pvt Ltd, Ambala

l PGH Financial Services Pvt Ltd, SCO #447, Motor Market, Mani Majra

l Blackbull Fincom Pvt Ltd, Mohali

l Lifeneed Associates, Grewal Complex, Khanna

l Amittva Management, Landra Rd, Kharar

l PGH Financial Services, Rajpura



Saving lives, working in UT for peanuts
Contractual doctors worse off than Class IV staff
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Doctors working on contract with the UT health department are not being treated better than Class III and Class IV employees as far as their pay scales are concerned.

While Class III and Class IV employees get at least Rs 15,000 per month after the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations, contractual doctors are paid a fixed salary of Rs 10,000 per month.

Enquiries have revealed that a sweeper on a regular post is drawing over Rs 15,000 and a ward attendant is paid nearly Rs 20,000 while the salary of many gardeners in Chandigarh is more than Rs 20,000.

And now, fed up with their exploitation, these doctors are not interested in continuing with their jobs, which will adversely affect the doctor-patient ratio.

In fact, other medicos working with the department since the past over a decade are not getting more than Rs 22,000.

The root cause of the malaise afflicting the department seems to be no regular recruitment of doctors by the Chandigarh Administration since 1991.

This exploitation, coupled with long working hours, has led to an exodus of doctors. Three doctors recruited under the National Rural Health Mission in 2007 have left as their hopes of getting any improvement in their package or conditions have been dashed.

To top it all, there is no provision of leave or any other perk for such employees in rules. They are not even entitled to medical facility in their own department.

One of the doctors had to move court for availing herself of maternity leave. She was refused maternity benefits on the birth of her second child, which she got through court.

Beat that!

While contractual doctors are paid a monthly salary of Rs 10,000, a sweeper working with the UT health department is paid Rs 15,000. These doctors do not get any perks and leave which regular employees are entitled to.



‘I was duty bound to implement RTI Act’
Pvt schools have no reason to crib, says Ram Niwas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
The UT administration’s move to relieve Ram Niwas as education secretary has been seen as a fallout of the latter’s conflict with the city’s privately run schools, whose ire he earned for “pushing them against the wall” on various issues, particularly implementation of provisions of the Right to Education (RTE) Act. In an interaction with the Chandigarh Tribune he put across his point of view on the sundry controversies that have dogged his tenure.

Q: You have been accused of steamrollering all privately run schools into implementing the reservation of 25 per cent of seats for “economically weaker sections” (EWS) of the population without taking them into confidence and not accepting their genuine demands including compensating them for all the seats to be reserved.

A: The schools are reacting as if I drafted and passed the Act. I was only doing my duty - to implement the provisions of a central act. As far as the number of seats in the reserved quota for which the schools had demanded compensation, they have no reason to grumble because they were allotted land at hugely concessional prices.

Q: Schools have alleged you resorted to harassment of selected institutions including the Vivek High, Strawberry Fields, St Johns and Sacred Heart.

A: These accusations are baseless. The report in the case of Ruchika, who was allegedly molested by SPS Rathore, a former DGP of Haryana, was prepared after the complainant, Anand Prakash, had approached the UT administration. The inquiry was conducted by Prerna Puri, an SDM. It is pertinent to mention here that even CBSE upheld the administration’s inquiry report. The case of Strawberry Fields is being pursued by the CBI. I had absolutely no role in the case. I’d like to clarify not just a couple but at least 14 schools have been served notices for similar reasons as for those issued to the ones that were making noises.

Q: You were only focusing on private schools to improve education, it appears. Government run schools show no noticeable difference in academics, it has been alleged.

A: I don’t have to make any comments on the issue because the facts speak for themselves. The Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) expenditure in the UT was stagnant at 61 per cent for a long time before I joined in 2008. The share of education rose to 74 per cent in 2009-10 and the figures are expected to be even higher this year. The number of innovative alternate education centres increased from 150 to 199 during my tenure.

Chandigarh has gained four ranks in the educational development index (EDI) in elementary schooling at the national level during my tenure as education secretary. The UT was ranked sixth in 2009-10, up from tenth position in 2008-09. The administration has received a special commendation from the central government for providing quality midday meals to at least 75,000 children.

Q: It has been alleged you had interacted with Jolly, the prime suspect in the scam involving recruitment of teachers. You had even marked his tourism project papers and sent him to Samwarthak Singh, a former DPI (schools).

A: I never knew any Jolly. I may have met him, like I do hundreds of others. I never recommended his name for receiving any favour. The scam had been brought to my notice by PS Shergill, a former ADC who claimed Jolly had approached a relative of his (Shergill) for a job in return for Rs 4 lakh. I signed the order for tapping the suspects’ phones and they were eventually arrested.



PU to confer PhD in literature on Khushwant Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Panjab University is all set to confer an honorary PhD in literature on celebrated author and former journalist Khushwant Singh.

Interestingly, the degree will not be conferred at the University’s 60th Annual Convocation scheduled for February 14, but will be given at Khushwant Singh’s residence on a date to be decided later.

According to the university officials, the provision has been made keeping in view Khushwant Singh’s age who may not be able to travel to Chandigarh.

In addition, the university will confer a PhD in law on former Lok Sabha Speaker Som Nath Chatterjee.

Similarly, Prof Shenggen Fan, director-general, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington DC (USA), Prof CNR Rao, national research professor, and president and professor Linus Pauling, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (Bangalore), will be presented Doctor of science (DSc) degree.

Prof AK Sood of the department of physics, Indian Institute of Science, will be given Vigyan Rattan Award.


Underage, Drunken Driving
Police directed to carry out effective monitoring
Saurabh Malik/TNS

Chandigarh, February 2
For applying brakes to the menace of underage, drunken and dangerous driving in the city, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the top brass of the Chandigarh Police to carry out effective monitoring.

An overview of a traffic jam on the road separating Sectors 18 and 19 in Chandigarh on Wednesday.
An overview of a traffic jam on the road separating Sectors 18 and 19 in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

The directions come at a time when accident cases in the city continue to be a matter of concern. In 2006, 521 mishaps were reported to the police followed by 536 the next year. In 2008, 477 accident cases came to the knowledge of the police, followed by 424 the next year. In 2010, 456 cases were reported and in January alone, 24 cases were brought to notice of the police.

The High Court directions came on a petition filed Hari Chand Arora. Taking up the petition filed in public interest, the Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Augustine George Masih asserted: “This public interest litigation has been filed seeking appropriate directions from the court for conducting regular check-up of vehicles to detect instances of over speeding and driving under the influence of liquor. Pursuant to the order dated October 25, 2010, passed by the court, an affidavit of HS Doon, Senior Superintendent of Police (Traffic), has been filed on behalf of the UT Administration, disclosing the total number of cases of underage driving, dangerous driving, drunken driving and over speeding. In the affidavit, it has been further stated that Chandigarh Traffic Police is making all efforts in this regard by taking different steps. We are of the view that this PIL should be disposed of with the direction to the Senior Superintendent of Police (Traffic), Union Territory, Chandigarh, to ensure that effective monitoring of instances of underage driving, dangerous driving, drunken driving and over speeding be continued and cases as and when detected be dealt with in accordance with law so as to ensure that the roads of Chandigarh are free from any such dangerous portents.”

Zirakpur MC told to file reply

Taking a serious note of traffic problems in the vicinity, another Bench of the High Court directed the Zirakpur Municipal Committee to file its reply on allowing construction of hotels, resorts and shops within the controlled area of the national highway. Justice Rajive Bhalla also asked the committee to give details of how it proposes to regulate the access to and from these buildings to the national highway. Justice Bhalla also directed the Municipal Committee and the Deputy Commissioner to ensure that unauthorised buildings do not come up with the controlled area on the side of the national and the state highways.

The directions were also issued to the Mohali Deputy Commissioner to file a reply to explain the circumstances under which a number of encroachments and access points against the law were allowed on the sides of national highway. He has been asked to fix the responsibility. Justice Bhalla directed to the Municipal Committees of Zirakpur, Dera Bassi and Lalru to place building plans for structures abutting the national highway before the National Highways Authority of India before passing these.

Justice Bhalla said the Chandigarh Police, too, had failed to do the needful as the public at large was still refusing to obey traffic rules. The administration has been asked to consider a proposal for a substantial enhancement of fines for traffic offences within 15 days. 



Pollution-free N-choe by August-end: MC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Nearly a year after The Tribune raised a storm over sanitation concerns going down the drain, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation today assured the Punjab and Haryana High Court that a Rs 562.85-lakh project to make N-choe pollution-free would be completed by August-end.
A file photo of pollution in the N-choe.
A file photo of pollution in the N-choe.

An affidavit giving details of the progress made so far on the project was placed before the Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Augustine George Masih this morning during the hearing of a suo-motu case based on a Tribune report. MC superintending engineer RK Goyal submitted the status report in the form of an affidavit.

The affidavit said the entire operation to stop wastewater from entering N-choe was divided into two parts. The first part involved laying of sewer parallel to N-choe and construction of pump chamber near Sectors 52 and 53. It also involved laying of a gravity sewer in Sectors 50 and 51.

The official said necessary approval to the project had been accorded by the MC and the work on part one of the project was expected to be completed by August 31.

He added that the site for the construction of pump chamber near Sectors 52 and 53 was being finalised and the work would be completed within six months from the finalisation of the site.

Taking the affidavit on record, the Bench asked the MC and the authorities concerned in Mohali to ensure periodical cleaning of the choe in their areas till the completion of the project. The case will now come up for further hearing on September 28.

The report in these columns was earlier directed to be treated as a public interest litigation. The then Chief Justice, Justice Mukul Mudgal, had observed: “Le Corbusier, who planned the City Beautiful, wanted to retain the water body to keep the residents of the city in contact with nature. The choe is a seasonal rivulet and the water flowing through it without there being rains for long makes one curious about the origin of water flowing through it.” 



PGI OT technicians on strike from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Patients to be operated upon in the PGI are in for tough time as the Operation Theatre Technical Staff Association has decided to go on a three-day mass casual leave from tomorrow.

This will paralyse the services at all the operation theatres at the PGI, including the Nehru Hospital, Advanced Paediatric Centre, Advanced Cardiac Care Centre, and Advanced Eye Centre. Around 250 surgeries are conducted at the PGI everyday.

However, the PGI authorities claim that they were prepared to deal with the situation. The nursing staff would work as OT technician during the strike, said the PGI spokesperson.

General secretary of association Manoj Kumar said 10 technicians would remain on duty in the emergency ward tomorrow so that patients needing emergency surgery do not suffer. However, these will also join the strike from Friday, he said. After three days, the association will take stock of situation before deciding the future course of action, he added. There were two rounds of negotiations between the authorities and union leaders but no breakthrough could be achieved. First PGI Director Professor KK Talwar, along with officiating deputy director Dr Surjit Singh, financial adviser Ritu Dhillon and Professor Jyotsna Wig, head anaesthesia, tried to convince the union leaders that their demands were under consideration of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the issue was being taken up with the Finance Ministry. The leaders on the other hand sought a written assurance with a time limit. The talks failed in the second round when the DDA told them that the matter pertains to the ministry and local authorities did not have any jurisdiction over it.

GMSH staff stir

Contractual employees of the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, will go on a three-hour strike on Thursday. The union leaders served a notice to the hospital administration on Wednesday evening that all the nursing staff, sweepers, ward attendants, drivers and other employees working on contract would not attend duties against the termination of services of four nurses by the contractor. Manager of the outsourcing agency IP Singh said four nurses were dismissed as their behaviour was not found friendly with patients.



Police buildings to go solar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
In order to save on cost and energy, the Chandigarh Police is considering a proposal to install solar system in all police buildings in the city.

As part of the modernisation plans to save on electricity cost, the police is presently holding a survey of all its police stations, units, specialised wings and the police headquarters to study how the solar system can be best made use of in these buildings.

The survey of all police buildings is being conducted by the Punjab Energy Development agency (PEDA). “PEDA is at present conducting a survey on our request and will send us a proposal for installation of solar system in all police stations and other units as per its findings. It s basically being done to encourage energy efficiency and save on cost in all the buildings of Chandigarh Police,” said Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG) Alok Kumar, adding that they would be sending them the cost estimates.



R-Day Parade
Dancers from city win cultural trophy
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, February 2
Around 168 bhangra dancers trained by NZCC at Kalagram have brought laurels to the city and Mohali by winning coveted cultural contingent trophy. The dancers participated in the Republic Day parade at New Delhi.

“It is for the first time in the past 25 years that the children trained by NZCC have won the first prize,” said DS Saroya, the spirit behind the project. The trophy was presented to Saroya by AK Antony, Defence Minister of India, at a special ceremony on January 31.

The participating school students of GMSSS, Sectors 10, 15, 16, 30 and Paragon School, Mohali, in the age group of 7 to 17 years were trained by SP Singh, choreographer of international repute. They will be felicitated at a colourful function.

Acclaimed choreographer SP Singh, who has led state contingents at the Republic Day parade a dozen times, shared the success mantra as meticulous selection, rigorous training, maintaining required energy level and above all motivational motto “ Chakk de Chandigarh.”



‘Will change political map of Punjab’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
In a face-to-face interaction with the general public at Panjab University’s English auditorium, former Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal today pledged to uproot corruption and drug-addiction from the state.

Amidst a jam-packed audience, Manpreet said a mass pledge was being organised at freedom fighter Bhagat Singh’s hometown KhatkarKalan in Nawanshahr, on March 23.

The interaction today was organised by three voluntary groups, including the Voices of Civil Society: Critique and Education Watch.

In his poetic slang, Manpreet further talked about his vision for Punjab and said within 10 months the fate of this state would be decided.

Assuring all that he would change the political map of Punjab, he said he had joined politics to serve people and not out of any financial consideration or compulsion.

He added that as a finance minister of the state he could have enjoyed his term, but he chose to raise voice against corruption.

“If changes are not brought in Punjab and the states remains the way it is, the youth of the state will soon have to turn to states like Bihar to seek employment. The people of Punjab are not the ones who will walk the middle path. The state will either turn into Japan or Afghanistan,” he said.



No loudspeakers from 10 pm to 6 am
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 2
A ban has been imposed on the use of loudspeakers from 10 pm to 6 am. Amit Talwar, SDM , said at a meeting here today that despite the ban orders, music was being played at a high pitch at marriage palaces and even at private functions like ‘jagratas’

He said that students, whose examinations were nearing were getting disturbed and their parents were repeatedly sending complaints in this regard. Action would be taken against all those persons who violated the ban orders



Handing over maintenance of parks to MC
GMADA sets April 1 deadline
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, February 2
Even as the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) today set April 1 as the deadline for taking over the maintenance of parks by the Municipal Corporation, the civic body plans to involve welfare associations in the maintenance work in order to reduce the number of complaints.

A meeting was held in the office of the Chief Administrator (CA), GMADA, VP Singh, to discuss the handing over of the parks to the civic body. The proposal sent by the civic body in this regard was discussed at length and GMADA officials gave their views on the matter. The meeting was attended among others by corporation commissioner Parveen Kumar, Additional Chief Administrator (HQ) Manjit Singh Brar, two executive officers of the civic body, chief engineer, superintending engineer and divisional engineer of GMADA.

Sources said that GMADA wanted that the work of maintaining parks should be taken over by the corporation by April 1. The CA had suggested that the parks could be handed over to the civic body and a maintenance allowance at the rate Rs 1.30 per sq yd be given as was being done in the case of welfare associations which had taken over the maintenance of certain parks. The civic body, however, refused to take 70 employees of GMADA, which were working on a permanent basis for maintaining these parks.

The corporation wanted that GMADA should provide funds for sinking shallow tubewells in the parks for irrigation purposes. GMADA agreed to the proposal and said that this could be done only in big parks but the maintenance of these tubewells would have to be done by the civic body.

The sources further said that the corporation had demanded Rs 2. 5 crore for constructing weather shelters and putting up more benches and recreation items for children in various parks of the town. But GMADA decided to carry out a survey of the parks at its own level to study the available infrastructure and see whether the additional items were required in the parks and if it was so how many of these were needed before releasing funds in this regard.

The commissioner said that the proposal prepared by the civic body was discussed with GMADA officials. Funds will be taken from GMADA for improving the condition of parks after which the help of welfare associations will be sought for maintaining these. The civic body will want to hand over the maintenance work of most of the parks, especially the small ones, to welfare bodies. 



159 get jobs on compassionate grounds
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 2
As many as 159 persons were given letters of appointment on compassionate grounds by Punjab Education Minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan at a function held on the premises of the Punjab School Education Board here today.

People look at their employment letters in a function at the Punjab Education Board office in Mohali on Wednesday.
People look at their employment letters in a function at the Punjab Education Board office in Mohali on Wednesday. A Tribune photograph

Family members of these persons, who worked in the Education Department, had lost their lives while in the job. They were given jobs according to their qualifications. The appointment letters were given to 26 persons for the job of masters and PTI, 4 clerks, 4 restorers, 62 class IV employees and 63 others.

While talking to mediapersons, Sekhwan said that the world had become a global village and there was a need to bring about a change in the syllabus accordingly. A committee, headed by the Chairman of the Punjab School Education Board, Dr Dalbir Singh Dhillon, had been constituted to change the syllabus wherever required. Teachers from the primary level and up to the university level were included in the committee, which would submit its report within six months.

The syllabus of the education board would also be changed according to international standards, added the minister. 



Haryana power board staff strike work
Seek regularisation of daily wage workers
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 2
On a call given by the joint action committee the members of the Haryana State Electricity Board Employees Union (HSEBEU) today went on a strike at the power station in Industrial Area Phase II, here today.

Members of the HSEB Workers Union protest at Industrial Area, Phase-2, Panchkula, on Wednesday.
Members of the HSEB Workers Union protest at Industrial Area, Phase-2, Panchkula, on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Bhagirath Kataith, president, HSEBEU, talking to mediapersons said that their main demand was the regularisation of daily wage workers, bonus equal to one month salary to all employees, regularisation of services of workers engaged by the board on DC rate basis besides fixing Rs 12,000 as their salary.

Kataith said that the government should provide jobs to the dependents of those employees who died during service as per the 1995 service rule. He said all the employees who had been recruited after 2006 should be given pension facility.

He warned the government that they would be forced to intensify their stir if the government failed to fulfill their demands. He said the board should avoid distribution of franchise to Panipat-based firm as this would result in huge losses to the state exchequer. 



CHB employees’ stir enters Day 2 
Residents visiting board office face inconvenience
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Strike by employees of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) entered the second day today with more employees joining in. Work remained suspended for the second consecutive day even as employees threatened to continue with their strike until their demand of implementing pension scheme was met.

The protesting employees were extended support by several employees of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) besides employees from other departments of the UT Administration. Resident welfare associations of different sectors have also extended their support to the protesting employees.

Meanwhile, with working of the board coming to a standstill, residents of the city visiting the CHB office in Sector 9 faced harassment.

Members of the Chandigarh Housing Board Employees Coordination Committee have reiterated that a pension scheme on the pattern of other autonomous bodies like the municipal corporation, HUDA, the PGIMER and Panjab University should be implemented for them.

The agitating employees claimed that the board of directors of the CHB had approved the pension scheme on the basis of exclusion granted by Regional Provident Fund Commissioner from the deposit of the EOF Contribution with the EPFO.



Sitar wizard casts spell
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, February 2
With his cultivated technique of planting musical notes, technical virtuosity and adroit mastery over sur, laya and tal, acclaimed Sitar wizard Padmabhushan Debu Choudhary created a spell in a musical soiree at the CSIO auditorium here today.

Pt. Debu Choudhary performs at the CSIO auditorium in Chandigarh on Wednesday.
Pt. Debu Choudhary performs at the CSIO auditorium in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu 

The event was organised by the Spic-Macay and ICCR as part of their ongoing two-week long Indian cultural heritage festival-2011 in memory of Bharat Ratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi.

Acclaimed Sitar maestro Pandit Debu Choudhury, a foremost proponent of Senia gharana commenced the concert with the delineation of raga “Kalyani Bilawal”, one among the eight ragas invented by the maestro. He brought alive the raga character in the absorbing alaap before presenting it in Vilambat and later drut Teen Tal with Ustad Akram Khan on tabla. Since it was his own creation, Pandit Debu tried to put his life long expertise to embellish the raga. The audience relished the next raga “Maru Behag” better though he played a gat only. But the Sitar wizard was at his best with explanation and delineation of compositions in raga Bhairavi like “Babul mora naihar”, “Heer Waris Shah..” and more. He virtually mesmerised the large and intrusive audience . In an interaction with the intrusive audience, he professed that the old melodies would appear again in a new avatar. He was very ably accompanied by Ustad Akram Khan and Sapatrishi Mandal.

Artistes and organisers paid floral tributes to Pandit Bhimsen Joshi. 



Exploitation of women laid bare
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, February 2
The third annual edition of Katha Manchan-3, a theatre festival celebrating the magic of women theatre directors, commenced with the staging of a Punjabi play “Firangiyan di Noonh” at the Randhawa auditorium here today.

Artistes stage “Firangiyan di Noonh” at Randhawa auditorium in Chandigarh on Wednesday.
Artistes stage “Firangiyan di Noonh” at Randhawa auditorium in Chandigarh on Wednesday. A Tribune photograph

The event is being organised by the Mask Theatre group based on a story by Veena Verma. Sangeeta Gupta directed the play for her Rupak Kal and Welfare Society, Mohali.

The play which was dedicated to the womanhood in all its manifestations started with a poem by Pal Kaur.

The poem gave an index of the thematic content of the play right from exploitation of women to their secondary status in society. The play resolved around the life of Shanti, a simple and a faithful woman neglected by her NRI husband.

She wrote her own destiny and made history.

Noted actor director Sangeeta played the protagonist Shanti while Malvika Bhasker played Shanti in her younger years. The artistes were Charu Gupta, Sumandeep Kaur, Sudhiksha and Lovleen Kaur on music and Mandeep Kaur on lights. Festival director Vijay Machal said Hindi play “Kadli Phal” would be presented by Rang Virasat group tomorrow.



Teachers voice anger over non-payment of salary
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 2
Expressing anger over the non-payment of salaries, a large number of teachers staged a protest against the government at the District Elementary Education Office (DEEO), Sector 7, here today.
Teachers stage a protest outside the DEO’s office at Sector 7, Panchkula,on Wednesday.
Teachers stage a protest outside the DEO’s office at Sector 7, Panchkula,on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

One of the protesting teachers Rakesh Kumar, a resident of Ambala, alleged that even though they had approached the higher authorities in this regard, the government had failed to release their salaries.

Another protester Surinder said the government had also failed to give due promotions to teachers and added that it had become difficult to make both ends meet as there was a steep rise in the prices of essential commodities.

District Elementary Education Officer SP Singh said the department was reeling under financial crunch. He said they had already communicated to the higher authorities in this regard, but had not received any reply from their side. He said they would again approach the directorate office in order to resolve the issue at the earliest.

Meanwhile, newly recruited Category VI teachers who had come to the city to deposit identification proof under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan also protested near the office of District Education Officer in Sector 7.

These teachers had come to the office of DEO at about 9 am but after finding no official there for about two hours they raised slogans against the DEO. They alleged that no official was present there to receive the identity cards from them.



Traders up in arms against Sector-17 flyover
Term it wastage of public money
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
In a development that bodes ill for the construction of second flyover in Sector 17 from Hotel Taj to the local head office of the State Bank of India (SBI), the traders are up in arms against the project and term it “wastage of public money”.

Close on the heels of the UT Chief Architect’s office approving the flyover plan, Sector 17 traders at a meeting here today took potshots at the authorities concerned alleging that the flyover plan was never discussed with stakeholders, including traders doing business for the past several decades in one of the most neglected areas of Sector 17.

“Traders of Sector 17-A and B have invested heavily for running their establishments and the flyover would adversely affect their business,” Kamaljit Panchhi, president of the Traders Association, Sector 17(A and B), alleged.

The House of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) passed the flyover, which is conceived as part of the master plan of Chandigarh, on March 20, 2010. It is expected that it will ensure smooth flow of traffic on the busy road.

However, traders had been opposing the proposal from the very start. A representation was sent to the Financial Secretary in November 2010 to consider the viewpoint of the trading community. But the administration did not take feedback from traders.

“Besides seriously affecting business activity, the flyover would lead to environmental degradation as over 50 fully grown trees would face the axe,” alleged JPS Kalra of the Chandigarh Business Council.

Traders alleged that the authorities seemed to be having misplaced priorities. While the area around the proposed flyover in Sector 17 (A, B and E) is crying for attention, huge funds are being spent on the flyover. The administration should rather spare a thought for the major commercial centre in the city which has fallen on bad days, they demanded.


“The proposed flyover is according to the master plan of Chandigarh and will go a long way in ensuring smooth flow of traffic on the busy road. The elected representatives in the MC have approved it.”

A senior UT official

“It is sheer wastage of money and will adversely affect business along the flyover. The administration is least bothered about other public-friendly projects in the master plan.” — Neeraj Bajaj, a trader

What traders want?

The huge amount to be spent on the flyover should be spent on the overall development Sector 17 as two shopping malls-cum-multiplexes are coming up in the area. All sub-sectors of Sector 17 such as Sector 17-A, B, C, D and E should be connected as per the master plan. The areas such as Sector 17 (A, B and E), which had neglected in the past, should get a priority to exploit its tourist potential.



From Schools & Colleges
Wetland day

Chandigarh:The Environment Society of India celebrated International World Wetland Day at Sukhna Lake today. Around 100 students of Shastri Model School, Mohali (Punjab), Moti Ram Arya Senior Secondary School, Sector 7, Panchkula (Haryana), and Government High School, Sector 11, Chandigarh, participated in the poster-making competition. Dr RC Mishra, DIG, Haryana, was the chief guest. While Dr Rajinder Singh Baidwan, former wildlife officer, Haryana, presided over. Dr Mishra advised students to know about migratory birds and make efforts to protect them. In poster-making competition, while Shanu Raman of Moti Ram Arya School, Sector 7, Panchkula, bagged the first prize, Palvi of Shastri Model School, Mohali, stood second and Namrata Rayat of same school stood third.


A two-day grooming, resume writing and interview skills workshop was organised by the placement cell of Government College of Education, Sector 20. Shivinder Kang, soft skills professional, assistant course coordinator, Regional Institute of English, and Parveen Kumar, employment officer, Regional Employment Exchange, presided over the workshop on second day. Shivinder Kang, spoke on conception and production of an effective resume writing. Citing numerous examples and illustrations, the speaker covered all aspects of resume creation like purpose, thought organisation, specificity and clarity, effective titles and appropriate qualifications and students were involved in the feedback and production of resumes. Parveen Kumar during the third technical session deliberated upon the fact that there was no dearth of employment opportunities but there existed a mismatch between the opportunities and the manpower supply. Communication skills, confidence, details of websites and mandatory qualifications for various jobs were also discussed. Detailed addresses of educational institutes and foreign as well as Indian website addresses were exchanged with the audience. The future teachers were given tips on career guidance. — TNS



PU Notes

Chandigarh: Dr Bhupinder Singh Bhoop, professor at University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UIPS), and Dean, alumni relations, Panjab University, has been invited to deliver a keynote address at an international conference on “Pharmaceutics and Novel Drug Delivery Systems” being organised by the OMICS publishing group in June 2011 at Las Vegas, CA, the USA. He will speak on “Optimised drug delivery using designed experiments”.

Clinics to remain open

PU officials today announced that teaching at Dr Harbans Singh Judge Institute of Dental Sciences and Hospital at Panjab University, Sector 25 (south campus), will remain suspended till February 7. However, the clinics of the hospital will continue to function. — TNS 



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