C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Laptops+Councillors= Error
MC endeavour to get elected representatives online fails to click Rs 80 lakh spent on machines goes down the drain
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
The supposed "empowerment" of the city's councillors through information technology in order to reach out to residents is proving to be a damp squib, thanks to their continued apathy in using the laptops that the Municipal Corporation provided to them.

Even after spending about ` 80 lakh to procure laptops for the 26 elected and nine nominated councillors to increase interaction with the public, MC officials said the devices are not being used. The reason: No councillor has sought a revival of his official email account, which became defunct owing to the non-use after being assigned in 2007.

With none of the councillors having their respective email IDs listed on the civic body's official website, city residents are left with no option but to waste their time in visiting the MC's office in Sector 17 to submit their suggestions rather than mailing them to their councillors.

Last year the MC's general house approved laptops for all councillors to facilitate their being in continuous touch with residents of their respective wards. In addition to increasing interaction between councillors and residents, the facility was also aimed at obviating the need for the public to meet councillors in person.

Said BJP councillor Ram Lal: "In any case, my hectic schedule allows me to access my personal email account only once a week and that too to check my private mails sent by friends and relatives".

Senior deputy mayor Kuldeep Singh said he did not have any official email account for the public to contact him online. "City residents prefer to meet me in my office or at my residence instead of sending emails on any problems in their locality", he averred.

Sources close to the MC said officials were not to be blamed. "No councillor has approached the IT department in the past two months for either reviving their old official email accounts or being assigned new ones", they added.

The apathy of the councillors for technology is evident from their attendance record at a month long special computer training session held for all 35 councillors held in 2009. Only five councillors turned up for this training programme, organised at considerable expense, to train them to be computer literate.

It is not only the councillors who are not tech savvy, even MC officials suffer from the same deficiency. On a number of occasions, councillors have accused senior MC officials of not checking complaints emailed by residents. The councillors say residents have been complaining their emails have not been eliciting any response. They have also been complaining that MC officials have not been responding to emails sent from their personal email accounts.

MC joint commissioner Kamlesh said: "Our department will again organize a computer training programme shortly for all councillors so as to familiarise them with the latest in Internet technology".



Mice ‘get hitched’ to breed for research
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
Marriage may be a big gamble for human beings but for mice at Panjab University’s animal house appears to be a lifelong alliance without involving any deception. For 25 years mice from countries like Denmark, the United States and Canada have gotten “permanently wedded” at the animal house.

Currently 70 trios of mice (one male and two females) are married to each other and live together for the purpose of reproduction. The young ones of these ‘married trios’ are then assigned to research scholars and faculty members for conducting scientific and medical experiments.

Experiments to cure cancer through consumption of neem and tomato extracts and studying effects of smoking and pollution on living beings are some of the few important research projects being undertaken at the animal house. Studying peculiar behavioural patterns of rats, mice and rabbits is another interesting study being conducted by PU research scholars.

“The centre has been taking care of the health of these mice, rats and rabbits since 1986. Research scholars have been able to take up crucial research work with the assistance of the animal house and because of ample funds,” said AR Rao, coordinator of the PU animal house.

Elaborating on the behaviour of mice, Dr NK Taneja, veterinary officer at the animal house, said: “Female mice have been found to be extremely loyal to their partners and averse to accepting other males for mating. In case a female mouse dies the other female takes care of the babies of the former. This is the reason for getting one male and two females married.”

Each female reproduces to give eight to ten babies in a single go. These mice, with an average life span of two years, indulge in breeding for nine months.

“Hamster, a rat like animal that is brown in colour, is another peculiar species in which the female eats the male partner after mating. To get nutrition during pregnancy the female hamster, which is heavier and bigger in size than the male, devours its partner. A small hole is kept in their cage for the male to escape after mating. Presently the animal house doesn’t have hamsters although they are widely used for research purposes,” said Taneja.

However, for the rats in PU’s animal house, a “harem system” has been adopted. Two males and eight females are kept together in the same cage. Once a female conceives it is separated till it delivers babies. Later it is returned to the same “harem” for mating.

“For research purposes the PU animal ethics committee decides on providing animals for conducting constructive research work beneficial for the animal kingdom and mankind. We strictly follow the guidelines laid down by the Indian government’s Committee for Purpose of Control & Supervision of Experimentation on Animals (CPCSEA)”, Taneja added.



5 juveniles held for stabbing vendor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
The Chandigarh Police today arrested five juveniles for robbing and stabbing a vegetable vendor on February 10 this year.

The five, all of whom are between 14 and 15 years of age, had robbed a vegetable vendor of ` 1,800 and some documents after stabbing him. All five have been sent to a juvenile home after being produced in a court earlier today. The mastermind is still at large and is believed to have fled to his native place in Chennai, the police said.

Sub-inspector Baldev Singh, in charge of the Maloya police post, said the accused were nabbed following a tip-off. The oldest of the five is 15-year-old and is a school dropout.

All five had attacked vegetable vendor, Kamlesh Kumar, near Sector 39 and robbed him of his possessions. The police said the juveniles had been absconding ever since and were nabbed when they returned to their residences in Madrasi Colony, located behind Industrial Area Phase-I, yesterday.

An identification parade of the juvenile suspects was conducted and the victim, Kamlesh, identified all of them. They have been booked for robbery and voluntarily causing hurt under Section 394 of the IPC, the police said. 



Caught on the wrong side of the law
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
The arrest of the five juveniles in the case of robbery and stabbing brings to light a grim reality - crime by juveniles and vandalism by minors appears to be on a steady rise with reports of an increasing number of minors taking crime into their hands.

The police is already suspecting the involvement of juveniles, four of whom are still at large, in the case of a horrific daylight stabbing of Feroz Khan, a senior secondary student, in the principal’s office in Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 45.

Juveniles, most of them residing in slums and colonies, are increasingly figuring in heinous crimes such as murders and kidnappings and petty crimes such as thefts and snatchings.

In the last four years, nearly 500 juveniles have been arrested following over 370 cases registered against them for their alleged involvement in a range of crimes. More than 200 of them have been involved in theft cases alone.

While 62 juveniles were arrested for thefts in 2007, another 75 were arrested in 2008. In 2009, a total 53 juveniles were sent to juvenile home for theft cases. An equal number were arrested in theft cases in 2010.

Besides, 10 juveniles were arrested in snatching incidents last year. Six juveniles had also been booked in robbery cases in the past two years. Police officials attribute the increasing involvement of juveniles in crime to rising unemployment, addiction to drugs and illiteracy.

Earlier incidents

February 19, 2011: Two juveniles in Mani Majra were arrested for stealing a purse containing ` 3,500 and some documents from Shakuntla Devi, a resident of Sector 18, Panchkula

February 8, 2011: One of the four arrested for kidnapping of five-year-old Prince of Bapu Dham Colony for ransom money turned out to be a juvenile

December 14, 2010: A juvenile was arrested for theft of jewellery during a wedding in Hotel Shivalik View

November 12, 2010: Two juveniles were arrested for murdering an auto-rickshaw driver after robbing him of ` 600 on Diwali Day

September 17, 2010: The son of a UT Police inspector, a juvenile, was involved in an incident of road rage. The juvenile, along with three others, had assaulted the 20-year-old son of a senior Haryana Congress leader

September 2006: A 15-year-old boy was among three arrested for raping and brutally murdering a 71-year-old woman in Sector 15 The minor, lodged in a juvenile home at present, had allegedly committed the act under the influence of drugs 



11-year-old tigress dies at Chhatbir zoo
Tribune News Service

Banur, February 21
An eleven-year-old tigress died at the Chhatbir zoological park near here on Sunday night. According to zoo officials, the big cat was suffering from a chronic degenerative bone disease for a long time and was being treated by doctors stationed at the zoo premises.

A team of doctors from the Guru Angad Dev Veterinary & Animal Sciences University), Ludhiana had examined the tigress, named Pammi, four times during the past two months. She had not been eating for the past one month and survived on fluid and supportive therapy at the zoo’s intensive care unit.

The officials said experts from the veterinary institute in Bareilly had also been involved in treating the animal.

A panel of three doctors conducted the post-mortem examination on the tigress’s body and its vital organs have been sent for a histopathological examination to the university.

The zoo is now left with nine tigers including six males. 

Ailing big cats

A 12-year-old hybrid lioness, Divya, had died at the Chhatbir zoo last month. Divya, too, was suffering from congenital bone disease due to inbreeding. She was brought from the Renukaji Lion Safari in Sirmour district of Himachal Pradesh. Besides doctors deployed at the zoo hospital, doctors at GADVASU also examined Divya. She was declared dead in GADVASU last month. 


Facing parking blues on the doorstep
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
The haphazard parking of vehicles in front of the houses of those living in the back lanes of the markets along the Madhya Marg in Sectors 8 and 9 has left the residents fuming.

In spite of adopting all possible measures, the affected residents have failed to prevent visitors from creating nuisance by parking their vehicles in front of their houses in an effort to avoid a parking ticket.

“We are fed up with this nuisance,” echo the residents while talking to the TNS on the problem.

“Many a time, people go away after parking their vehicles in front of the main gate of the houses without giving a thought about the inconvenience caused to the occupants of the houses. And the matter often ends in heated arguments or quarrels,” says Tirlok Singh, a resident living in the back lane of the Sector-9 market.

Baljinder Singh, another resident, says several people in the neighbourhood have even hired private security to check the nuisance.

“We have complained to the authorities several times but to no avail. Even when the guards stop people from parking their vehicles on the road, many of them argue that the place belongs to the government and that they have an equal right to use it,” he adds.

“When our guests visit our place, they seldom get space to park their vehicles at our house, forcing them to park these elsewhere,” he rues.

Many residents have put up boards on the main gate, warning people against parking their vehicles in front of their houses.

Jeet Singh, contractor of the Sector 9 market parking lot, says he has asked the authorities concerned to allow him to use the open area in the back lane of the market (excluded the road in front of the houses).

“We will depute our staff to manage the parking there. In fact, people park their vehicles on the road as the space in the parking lot is not enough to meet the rush of vehicles coming to the market during peak hours,” he adds.

While several residents accuse the authorities of inaction, many residents are not even ready to talk about the issue, saying they see no solution to the problem.

Driven to the brink

Many a time, people go away leaving their vehicles in front of the main gate of houses in the back lanes of markets in Sectors 8 and 9. The matter often ends in heated arguments or quarrels



3 UT officials await posting orders
While others handle multiple tasks
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
While certain UT officials continue to groan under overwork, the UT administration is yet to issue posting orders of three officials — two PCS and one HCS — who joined the administration several days ago.

In a development that bodes ill for the development of the city, the administration, which had been reeling under “officer crunch” till recently, is yet to find time for the postings of Ritu Chaudhary, an HCS officer, Saudagar Singh and Rahul Gupta, both PCS officers.

While Saudagar Singh and Rahul Gupta joined the administration only last week, Chaudhary had been waiting for the posting orders for the past one month.

With the new officers keeping their fingers crossed about the new departments, current officers are forced to discharge multifarious activities.

While the charges — ADC and SDM (central) — held by Shergill are being discharged by ML Sharma, director transport-cum-sports, the charge of DPI (schools) is being handled by Director Higher Education and Special Secretary (finance) Ajoy Sharma.

The post of Director, Government Museum, and Art Gallery, vacated by NPS Randhawa, is being held by MM Sabharwal, Secretary of the Chandigarh Housing Board.

The city, which HCS/PCS officers looked upon as an ‘El Dorado’ in the past, has suddenly become an undesirable posting in the past couple of years in the backdrop of the controversy surrounding the “mega projects”.

It was after several requests for sending panels to the Punjab and Haryana governments that the administration got panels for the key positions in the administration.

Sources said the posting of the new officers had been held up for a variety of reasons.

In fact, the portfolios to the new officers will be distributed when the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Shivraj Patil, who also holds the additional charge of Rajasthan Governor, returns to the city on February 23, a senior officer informed.

Sans portfolio

The UT administration, which has been reeling under “officer crunch” till recently, is yet to find time for the postings of Ritu Chaudhary, an HCS officer, Saudagar Singh and Rahul Gupta, both PCS officers



Yet again, MC staff lose out to deputationists 
2 admn employees given charge of JE
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
The municipal corporation authorities are apparently ignoring their own employees by preferring deputationists while filling posts lying vacant in various departments.

In a latest case, two employees of the UT administration, who were appointed as mortar mates two years ago, have been allowed to officiate as junior engineers (JEs) in the corporation even as 10 employees in the MC’s road wing have been awaiting promotions for the past 22 years.

Sources say on January 28, a meeting of the departmental promotion committee of the corporation was held in which cases of the 10 eligible employees of the corporation and two deputationists were tabled.

The members decided in favour of the two UT employees for the posts of JE and declined to promote their own employees.

Even the post of draftsman has been lying vacant for the past three years after the incumbent employee failed to join the office without informing the authorities.

Records show that the corporation has requisitioned the services of two mortar mates from the UT administration, three JEs from Himachal Pradesh and one from Punjab to fill the posts of JE in the MC’s road wing.

This, despite numerous assurances by MC Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria during house meetings of giving preference to eligible department employees, if available, rather than seeking the services of deputationists from other states.

Going by the records of the past four years, there has been no promotion in the road wing of the corporation even as employees in the department are eligible for it.

Of the 11 employees fulfilling the criteria for promotion to a junior engineer, four have obtained the National Trade Certification, mandatory for promotion to the post.

Of the 30 posts of junior engineer, five each have been filled by deputationists from the UT administration, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh and five by direct recruitment. The rest are lying vacant.

Under the promotion and recruitment rules, notified in 1988, any employee having 12 years of experience has to be considered a diploma holder, making him eligible for promotion.

All 11 employees have completed almost 20 years of service but their case is yet to be taken up by the department.

Patil’s orders flouted

UT Administrator Shivraj Patil had recently instructed the administration to promote its own employees instead of seeking deputationists from other states if the department concerned had eligible employees for the vacant posts 



MC, residents need to clean up their act
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
Residents of Sector 27-C are having a tough time, courtesy a marriage held at a park in the sector on Saturday.

While Municipal Corporation rented out the park for a function, it never bothered to get the park cleaned afterwards, leaving residents fuming over the leftover food and plastic litter.

“We have been waiting for two days now, but so far no one has cared to clean the park. Those at the function surely lacked civic sense, but even the MC never cared to get the mess cleaned,” said Rattan Sharma, a resident.

As per MC norms, it’s the responsibility of the allottees to get the rented premises cleaned after using it, but corporation’s failure to monitor it leads to similar situations several times.

“We have asked sweepers to clean the park by taking extra charges, but they have refused. We also contacted the sanitation wing of the MC, but were asked to meet the officials concerned for renting out the park. With no one paying a heed to our woes, we are running from pillar to the post. If the MC cannot get it cleaned then why rent it,” questioned another resident Kamla Devi.



Protest by 200 contract workers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
Over 200 workers employed on contract basis through different agencies at the PGI, the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, and the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, along with contractual workers of Punjab Engineering College staged a protest march here today.

Coming together under the banner of the All-India Central Council of Trade Union, the workers gathered at Sector 23 to start their march to the office of Chandigarh Home Secretary in Sector 9.

Their demands included regularisation of job, implementation of labour laws and equal pay, equal work.

They also alleged that the contractors were not providing them with the details of their contribution towards the employees provident fund and Employees Service Insurance Corporation (ESIC) deducted from their salaries.

The police, however, intercepted them in Sector 17 but allowed their representatives to meet with the Home Secretary.

The Home Secretary directed the officials concerned to redress their grievances, said the union leaders.



Election Row
Mayor’s plea rejected
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
The UT Deputy Commissioner today rejected the application filed by Municipal Corporation Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh praying that the notice issued to him regarding the mayoral election petition was not under the MC Act.

The court directed the counsel for the Mayor to file a reply to the notice issue to him on the next hearing scheduled for March 3.

During the hearing, Mayor’s counsel had pleaded that Section 18 of the Punjab Municipal Act, 1976 did not cover the mayoral elections clause under which the notice had been issued to the Mayor.

The petition challenging the recently held election had been filed by MC independent mayoral candidate Jagjit Singh Kang. Kang’s counsel had pleaded that it was under the MC Act.

Kang had challenged the election of Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh on the grounds that the Congress councillors had been asked by union minister of parliamentary affairs Pawan Kumar Bansal to take the photograph of their ballot papers after casting there ballot in favour of the Congress candidate.



Level crossing opens to traffic
Tribune New Service

Zirakpur, February 21
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has thrown the railway level crossing on the Zirakpur-Kalka highway open to the vehicular traffic, providing much relief to commuters on this segment as they were forced to cover an extra 12 km to reach their destinations due to the closure of the road for vehicles.

Though the work of the ROB would be completed in the next two months, the Zirakpur-Pinjore stretch would be thrown open to traffic by April end.

The road was closed on January 16 for the vehicles as the construction company had taken permission from the railway authorities for setting up of girders on the ROB. Due to this blockade, more than 10,000 residents of 20 colonies faced inconvenience while commuting on the stretch.

During the construction work, traffic was diverted through alternative routes to avoid snarl-ups.

NHAI project director Anil Dahia confirmed that the traffic movement was resumed on the railway level crossing today. He added that the stretch would be thrown open for traffic in April after the completion of the RoB. He claimed that as per the new deadline, the Zirakpur-Parwanoo four-laning project would be completed by December.



Punjab pensioners to hold protest on March 9
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 21
A general body meeting of the Punjab State Pensioners Association was held here today, where the union flayed the government for its alleged anti-pensioner policies. It also chalked out the future course of action to press for their demands.

Pensioners said the state government was meting out “step-motherly treatment” to its pensioners as it had not considered its genuine demand for releasing arrears of 43 months in one go.

The general body demanded the revision of the fixed medical allowance from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 in view of the rising cost of medicines.

“The Fifth Pay Commission has recommended that the Punjab Government should appoint a panel of medical institutes where free medical treatment should be available to the pensioners and these institutes should get reimbursement from the government directly,” said Mohan Singh, general secretary of the association.

The pensioners also demanded 10 per cent increase in pension at attaining the age of 70 and 15 per cent at the age of 75 and commutation be restored after 12 years 
of retirement instead of 15 years.

It has also come to the notice of the association that the government was unnecessarily delaying the clarification sought by certain banks for the payment of arrears of travel concession to the pensioners on the revised pension.

Pensioners also sought the HRA on the pattern of serving employees and commutation arrears of pension to those who retired between July 29, 2003, and October 31, 2006.

To highlight their demands, they have decided to hold a protest on March 9 near the SAS Nagar DC’s office at 10.30 am.

Among others the meeting was addressed by association chairman Raghbir Singh Sandhu, president Karam Singh Dhanoa, senior vice-president Sudagar Singh Grewal and general secretary of the association Mohan Singh.



Book of one-act plays released
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 21
“Soya hua Shehar”, a book of one-act plays authored by noted playwright, actor, director and short story writer Kumar Sharma Anil was released under the aegis of Srijan at Shivalik Public School here yesterday.

Six times winner of the Haryana Sahitya Akademi award, author of four books Kumar Sharma Anil has given a new dimension to playwriting and direction to the writers through his latest book, said Dr Mahendra, former chairperson.

Theatre is the powerful medium of expression that involves people directly, making them debate issues of individual and societal concern, opined Anil.

Presiding over the ceremony, Dr DS Gupta emphasised that plays with a blend of traditional and modern thought content could be a symbol of powerful expression of social evils.

Noted scholars Radhe Shyam Sharma, Chaman Lal Sharma, Dr Subhash Rastogi Vijay Kapoor and Rajesh Pankaj expressed their views on the book and the versatility of Kumar Sharma Anil.



Sale of drugs on the rise
Memo submitted to DC
Our Correspondent

Bassi Pathana, February 21
Activists of the Human Rights Manch, Punjab, held a meeting here today and expressed concern over the rising sale of drugs and female foeticide cases particularly in rural areas.

The members decided unanimously to organise seminars and workshops in rural areas.

Jaswant Singh Khera, national president, told the mediapersons that his organisation has submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner and urged him to take steps to control this menace soon.

He said youths of the state were becoming drug addicts as the intoxicants were easily available in rural areas. 



‘Encroachment goes unabated’

Zirakpur, February 21
The residents of Green City, Mamta Enclave, Lakshmi Enclave and Shanti Enclave formed a joint coordination committee for welfare and development of this area yesterday. They demanded that the local administration and the Municipal Council should solve their grievances on priority basis.

The committee members alleged that the court had banned the construction work near Singhnullah, but some unidentified persons were trying to construct illegal buildings near the nullah. The members further alleged that these persons were also encroaching railway land.The members also alleged that the waiters of the marriage palaces also threw waste material and garbage in the Singhnullah. — TNS



UBS chairperson resumes charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
University Business School (UBS) chairperson Dinesh K Gupta, who resigned from professorship last week, today resumed the charge. He had resigned to express dissent on the manner in which Panjab University has tackled certain MCom students of UBS, who were protesting against him.

“I was under a lot of pressure from my faculty and certain old students of the UBS, who had been fervently asking me to resume the charge. It is out of love for my work and students that I returned,” said Gupta.

Amidst high drama for the fourth consecutive day, UBS faculty members today visited Gupta’s residence and insisted him to resume his duties. UBS students and non-teaching staff followed next, who also persuaded him to join back. Gupta’s return was also triggered by intervention of Ashok Goyal, a PU Senate member, to whose lobby Gupta belongs.

In the absence of the Vice-Chancellor, dean student welfare (DSW) Naval Kishore today asked Gupta to resume his charge since UBS was virtually headless in his absence. PU Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti had earlier rejected his resignation.

The issue had evoked resentment among teachers’ lobby in PU, who claimed that dignity of teachers was being compromised due to student protests on frivolous issues, which were politically motivated. Before Gupta, Dr Krishan Gauba, director-principal of Dr HSJ Institute of Dental Sciences and Hospital, quit his post in the face of students’ protest.

Meanwhile, UBS faculty members were today spotted sharing light moments in the chairperson’s office after his return. “We are so relieved and happy that he is back. All of us and particularly Dinesh has worked tirelessly to uplift this department. During the placements’ week, we used to go back home at 1.30 am and 2 am and he used to be here all the time to support the students,” said a UBS faculty member.

Teachers hail Gupta’s return

We had requested Dinesh to join back. We had passed a resolution at the executive body meeting of the Panjab University Teachers’ Association (PUTA), in which we have formally appealed to him to come back. We feel grateful to him to accept our appeal.

— MC Sidhu, general secretary, PUTA

The entire teacher fraternity welcomes Gupta’s resumption of duties. It is high time that even Manoj Kumar, UBS faculty member, who was sent to the department of evening studies on the plea of altering data, must be asked to come back. The charges against him were never proved.

— Manjit Singh, executive body member, PUTA

Alumni support on Facebook

Upset by the resignation of their department’s chairperson Dinesh Gupta, a large number of UBS alumni urged him to join back though a popular social networking website, Facebook. Certain other alumni thronged Gupta’s residence today to plead him to resume his charge as the chairperson. “It is because of his untiring efforts that UBS has achieved new heights and we could get placements in top companies at the best packages,” said an alumnus of the 2007-2009 batch.



Few takers for CBSE ‘skip boards option’
10,000 city students to sit for boards, while 4,000 for school exams 
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
The Central Board of Secondary Education’s (CBSE) ambitious initiative of making Class X boards optional has failed to click with city students with a few takers for the “skip boards’ option”.

While over 10, 000 city students have opted for the boards-conducted Class X examinations, it’s only 4,000, who have decided to skip it and go with school examinations.

Interestingly, even schools seem to be following the suit, as despite being given a choice to frame their own question papers, a majority have settled for safe option of using the question papers to be provided by the CBSE.

“People are still not sure of ‘safety’ in skipping the boards, so a majority of the students have decided to take them. The main reason behind it is confusion. We have for long assured the parents that there will be no difference either in certificate or weightage of performance, but the majority has stuck to the tried and tested boards. Even in case of the schools, barring a few like ours, the majority has taken their papers from the CBSE. Vivek High has framed their own papers and sent for approval, but have not received them so far. Anyways, the boards have not fizzed out as yet,” said Independent School Association president HS Mamik.

However, according to CBSE regional director RJ Khanderao, it’s the initial hiccup.

“The day we introduced the continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CCE), there were not many takers initially, but it picked up eventually. It’s the first year, things will improve eventually,” he said.

February, a different month

After being dubbed as a month of examinations stress, anxiety and panic attacks for decades now, February is different for Class X students now.

All thanks to reduced syllabus and grading system that Class X students are more chilled out. “I have been the CBSE counsellor for many years now and it’s the first time that we are not getting many stress calls from Class X students. In fact it’s the parents, who are worried about “lack of seriousness”. The CBSE has achieved its aim of de-stressing the students,” said Madhu Bahal, master trainer CBSE and principal KB DAV, Sector 7.



Dept finally wakes up to need of counselling
Sumedha Sharma/TNS

Chandigarh, February 21
Following an inexplicable delay, the UT education department has finally woken up, barely a week before the Central Board of Education (CBSE) exams, to the need for providing counselling to Classes X and XII students.

Contrary to the CBSE’s act of starting the counselling almost a fortnight ago, the department has decided to “give guidance to these students and release the examination related stress and strain from their minds”, which may not be of much help now.

“It’s not just about stress, but even guidance regarding various subjects. In fact the maximum number of calls, which we get at the CBSE helpline number, are related to queries about specific subjects, lessons, fortnight study plans, etc. What relevance will the advice of subject experts have now when the students are already on with the last minute revision? As far as mental stress is concerned, it’s not just the last week but the entire month when we need to deal with the children’s stress ” said a local counsellor of the CBSE helpline.

While official sources said it was sudden exit of former education secretary Ram Niwas and former DPI (S) PK Sharma, which delayed the entire thing, education department officials, however, deny it. “Last year, too, we started the counselling on February 20. The counselling makes more sense now because it’s at the last minute when the students face maximum stress and subject doubts,” said an official on the condition of anonymity.

Missing counsellors

Despite of hiring around 150 school counsellors, education department forgot to put them on board examinations counselling panel meant to help students deal with stress and anxiety.

The UT education department helpline will be operational from February 22 to 
March 31 between 2 pm to 7.30 pm.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |