C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Admn blinks at illegal construction in city’s fringe
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
In blatant violation of the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act, several acres of agricultural land in Khuda Ali Sher village on the Nayagaon-Kaimbwala Road are being misused for commercial and residential purposes. The land is located on the foothills of the Shivalik range and is not far from the city’s elite Sector 1 that houses the Punjab & Haryana Civil Secretariat and the Chandigarh Club.

Several shops located along the road in front of Khuda Ali Sher and a housing colony, comprising about 75 houses - either built or under construction, outside the village’s ‘lal dora’ stand testimony to the relevant regulations being openly flouted. Existing rules forbid concrete construction - residential as well as commercial - on agricultural land located outside the ‘lal dora’. Only a tin shed is allowed to be built on this land and for that too official permission is required.

It is not that the UT administration is unaware of this “development.” Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, the UT land acquisition officer, Tilak Raj, stated notices had been served to the owners of around 75 houses that have either been constructed or are still under construction on agricultural land in Madho colony in Khuda Ali Sher as also to the owners of shops, either constructed or being built.

“The authorities have initiated appropriate action under the law. On completion of the notice period the next line of action would be taken against the violators,” he added.

About 100 families, mostly those of migrants, are residing in the area. When the Tribune team, posing as customers, called up at the number displayed on a board in the colony, the person at the other end claimed water and electricity connections were being provided there by government agencies. However, he conceded the site was outside the ‘lal dora’ and had no approval from the authorities concerned.

When asked whether administration officials had served any notices to the house and shop owners, he replied the latter had no need to fear. “Notice taan aande jaande rehnde hain (notices keep getting served in routine). If you want to invest here come to my place to talk about it,” he said, while quoting the land price at Rs 3 lakh per ‘marla’ (30.25 square yards).

Even though local residents said they had complained to the authorities concerned on several occasions no action on the matter has been taken so far.



Politicos jostle for attention at PU memorial lecture
Tribune News Service

President’s visit: Roads choked

Traffic chaos was witnessed on the route where the President’s cavalcade passed through the city today. The traffic police had a tough time managing the heavy rush of vehicles. Traffic snarls were witnessed for a brief period at 11 am at the Hallo Majra lights, Tribune roundabout, transport lights, golf club road and the road leading to the PGI and Panjab University. Traffic jams were witnessed again on the route at 12.30 pm when the cavalcade made its way to the airport. A senior police official said they kept opening traffic on roads where the cavalcade had passed and the jams were only for a brief period.

Officials’ ‘receiving’ end

While most of the senior officials in the UT estate office were away to receive President Pratibha Patil, many visitors were seen having a harrowing time in the complex. “We came from Ropar to meet the Additional Deputy Commissioner for official work. We were told that he was away to receive the President. We have no option but to wait for him,” said a couple sitting outside the ADC’s office. Another woman, who had come from Ludhiana to meet the Deputy Commissioner, was seen lamenting: “It’s very difficult for people like me who come from far-flung places to get their work done. It’s difficult for me to come again, but I will have to”.

Chandigarh, March 17
Though the venue was the Panjab University campus and the speaker who delivered the Dr VN Tewari memorial lecture on Thursday, President Pratibha D Patil, a former academic, but the audience consisted more of Congress party activists than of scholars. The former clearly outnumbered students in the jampacked varsity auditorium. They were seen occupying seats in the hall only to keep vacate them on the arrival of “influential” people.

The presence of a large number of politicians saw many Congressmen present fawning on senior party leaders or those perceived to be influential. Many, for example, took the opportunity to inform top politicians, particularly Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Hooda and Congress spokesman Manish Tewari and his mother Amrit Tiwari, son and wife, respectively, of VN Tewari, a former PU professor who was gunned down by terrorists in 1884.

Although hesitant to reveal their names, some Congress youth activists had only come to the lecture with the specific objective to meet up with top politicians.

“I’ve come especially from Ludhiana to give a report of the work I’ve done for the party,” said a local representative of the Congress’ youth wing. Yet another activist, also a resident of Ludhiana, added: “We’ve been invited here by our local MP (Manish Tewari) and I’ve been travelling since 4 am to get to the PU campus on time.”

In what also was at odds with the spirit of the event today was that some female faculty members of the varsity had a tough time exiting the auditorium that appeared to have a primarily male audience. Ironically, the topic of Patil’s talk today was on ‘Women as drivers of a rising India’.

A representative of a women’s forum based in Punjab said she was not permitted to enter the hall. A security official present at the gate, however, dismissed her claim, saying all those who had an invitation card were allowed to go in.

When quizzed on the matter, PU Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti said: “Certain people were invited by the important guests and speakers who attended the lecture, while some others, including PU teachers and students, were invited by the university. The invitation was extended to all campus students interested in attending the lecture.”



SSA Budget
School infrastructure projects hanging fire
l Education dept continues to seek and surrender major chunk of capital budget l Education Department blames chief engineer’s office
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service


n All students belonging to the Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes and Below Poverty Line (BPL) will be getting one set of free school uniforms. Budget: Rs 3.22 crore
n Two new schools to be constructed. Budget: Rs 13 crore
n Free textbooks for over 74,000 students. Budget: Rs 1.39 crore
n Innovative Education. Budget: Rs 10 crore

No resource person

“There are cases where the construction of a single toilet has taken up to five years. The reason is lack of a single resource person. The proposal is put up to an official who is replaced within months and then the project is left midway. We will soon hold a meeting with the engineering department to sort out the issue.”

— A UT Education Department official

Chandigarh, March 17
Even as the UT Chief Engineer is making little progress on several key school infrastructure projects, such as construction of toilets and repairing classrooms, the UT Education Department continues to seek and yet surrender a major chunk of the capital budget provided under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA) year after year.

Days after surrendering over Rs 2.64 crore for incomplete infrastructure projects, the Union Ministry of Human Resource and Development has sanctioned almost the same amount as last year for completing these spill over projects this year.

The spill over projects include repair of classrooms, construction of additional classrooms and toilets for disabled, which have been lingering for almost two years now.

Declared amidst a huge fanfare, the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan unit of the UT Education Department has planned to construct toilets for disabled in all schools, starting with first five toilets as a pilot project. Although Rs 3 lakh was sanctioned in the last year’s budget for the same, it was returned with the comment that the matter was with the civil engineering department.

Interestingly, while the UT government schools continue to deal with high classroom-student ratio ranging up to 1:70 in many cases, the UT Education Department was forced to return Rs 2.45 crore sanctioned for constructing additional classrooms and Rs 16 lakh sanctioned for repairing classrooms as projects were listed as “pending” with the civil engineering department.



City IT bubble bursts
Least-preferred destination for professionals
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service


n Seven out of 10 IT students prefer Bangalore
n Less than 1 per cent people from southern India prefer a first job in bigger cities in the north
n Overwhelming response to metro cities
n Smaller cities like Chandigarh, Mysore and Coimbatore, preferred by only about 8 per cent of students

Study in contrast

Chandigarh may be one of the least preferred destinations for fresh entrants into the IT profession, but it has the second highest per capital income after Goa. The per capita income has been recorded as Rs 1,20,912 for Chandigarh and Rs 1,32,719 for Goa in 2010. The higher per capita income is on account of a strong presence of the service sector in the city.

Chandigarh, March 17
Chandigarh’s IT bubble seems to have burst even before it has taken off in full measure. Despite boasting of a state-of-the-art Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP), the city remains the least preferred destination for young information technology (IT) professionals and engineers looking for their “first job”.

While seven out of every 10 IT professionals prefer Bangalore within India, smaller cities, including Chandigarh, Mysore and Coimbatore, were preferred by only about 8 per cent of students, states a survey conducted by Aspiring Minds Research Cell, an employability measurement and recruitment firm. A sample size of 19,381 candidates was taken for the survey. The question was open-ended and allowed students to specify up to three cities that they preferred.

Bangalore was followed by New Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune and Chennai. Interestingly, Mumbai, the financial capital of the country, figured sixth on the list. While 72 per cent of the respondents chose Bangalore, 32 per cent chose New Delhi and 30 per cent Hyderabad.

Pune figured number four with 30 per cent respondents voting for the city. This was followed by Chennai, a favourite with 23 per cent students. There is an overwhelming preference for any metro city across all four regions, the survey showed.

Observers said the ongoing controversies surrounding the allotment of land to IT firms may be one of the reasons behind the low preference of young IT professionals for Chandigarh. Instead of competing with Bangalore, which is considered to have excellent IT infrastructure, the UT Administration should rededicate its efforts in retaining Chandigarh as the world heritage city, said Ajay Jagga, an advocate.


Golf club pays up dues
Water connection to be restored today
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
Within hours of disconnecting the tertiary water connection to the Chandigarh Golf Club over the non-payment of dues amounting to Rs 6.42 lakh, the club management deposited the dues with the Municipal Corporation today.

Confirming the payment of the dues, Chief Engineer SS Bidda said the water supply would be restored tomorrow. Earlier in the day, the MC had disconnected the tertiary water supply to the club for failing to deposit water tariff arrears amounting to Rs 6.42 lakh for the last five years. MC Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria had ordered the disconnection of the water supply to the club.

Sources in the MC revealed that instead of Rs 6.42 lakh, the actual dues were Rs 4.97 lakh as it was later found that the club had paid a bill amounting to Rs 1.32 lakh and that it had been erroneously added to the dues.

Terming it unfair on part of the MC to demand the dues, the club president BS Gill said he would lodge a protest against the bill with the MC Commissioner and Chief Engineer. He complained that the MC had not been fixing leakages in water pipelines due to which the club was not getting regular water supply and that they were still being asked to pay charges for the services.

Gill said the club had been depositing Rs 1.32 lakh every month as water bill with the MC for using tertiary water to irrigate 75 acres of the club’s land. In 2004, the MC had revised the commercial water tariff rates from Rs 250 to Rs 500 per acre which almost doubled the amount of water bill of the club. He said the club had asked the MC to reconsider its decision but no action had been taken so far.



PGI technicians call off strike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
Services at the PGI operating theatres (OT) returned to normalcy after technicians called off their strike here today. The technicians decided to join work after they were told that their demand for pay scales on a par with AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) had been approved by the union ministry of health and family welfare.

However, their dispute with the PGI administration over the alleged insult at the hands of Dr Jyotsna Wig, head of the department of anaesthesia, will be discussed at a meeting between officials of the Chandigarh labour department, PGI officials and representatives of the OT associations, said Naresh Gautam, joint secretary of the association. After getting a copy of the orders from the PGI, members of the association organised a rally in Sector 25 and decided to join their duty immediately.



GMCH gets one post of professor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
The Union Ministry of Health has sanctioned one post of professor for the department of orthopaedics at Government Medical College, Sector 32.

With this, the GMCH will now have eight faculty members with two professors, two associate professors and four assistant professors.

Professor Raj Bahadur, director-principal, GMCH, said the number of patients visiting the department of orthopedics has increased manifold over the years. The number of patients in OPD has increased from 48,275 in 2008 to 55,431 in 2010. Similarly, 2,947 patients were admitted in 2008, which increased to 3,416 in 2010.

At the emergency, the inflow of patients increased by 20 per cent. Against 10,009 patients in 2008, a total of 12,053 reached hospital emergency ward last year.

With the creation of an additional post of professor, the department will be able to start two PG units now. This will result in the enhancement of the PG seats in the department, said Dr Raj Bahadur.



Holi colours can trigger asthma attack: Docs
Tribune News Service


l Wear clothes that cover maximum part of your body
l Apply cold cream/oil on exposed parts of the body and follow it up with sunscreen, preferably waterproof
l For hair, use oil or gel to counter the harmful effects of colours
l Colours cause skin dryness, petroleum jelly should be applied on nails, soles, elbows and other dry areas of the body
l Use dental caps to save your teeth from any unwarranted stains
l Use sunglasses to protect your eyes from darts or water jets
l Avoid dry colour if you are asthmatic
l People with complaint of asthma should avoid colour on face

Chandigarh, March 17
The festival of colours, Holi, infusing fun and excitement in our lives could pose a threat for a few suffering from asthma. The colours used during the festival could trigger asthma attack.

This was stated by Dr SK Jindal, head, department of pulmonary and medicine, and Dr Meenu Singh, assistant professor, Advanced Paediatric Centre, PGI, here today.

Interacting with audience at “Breathefree”, a public service initiative from Cipla in order to create awareness on asthma among children, the doctors said: “If you have asthma, it is important to take regular medication and understand the triggers and avoid them.”

The colours laced with chemicals or kerosene can trigger the attack of asthma in patients, said the doctors. “So, it is advised to avoid dry colours and use wet colours of good quality in a moderate quantity. The colours should not be applied on face,” they said.

Paediatrician Dr Meenu Singh said: “It is possible to lead a normal life with asthma if you adhere to the prescribed treatment.”

Advising about the best treatment to control asthma, Dr Jindal said: “Inhalation therapy is the best, effective and affordable way to keep asthma under control.”

Dermatologists also have a word of caution for Holi. “Skin pigmentation, rashes and eczema are some of the after effects of synthetic colours,” said Dr Vikas Sharma, chief consultant, National Skin Hospital, Mansa Devi Complex.

Chemicals used in Holi colours consist of synthetic dyes and in many cases mica dust too that can cause major skin allergies.

He added that one should be extra careful for children, especially infants, as they have every sensitive skin.



Punjab Youth Cong rally turns violent, over 50 hurt
Ravneet Bittu, 29 others booked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
More than 50 persons were injured, including Congress workers and Chandigarh policemen, during a rally by the Punjab Youth Congress near the Beant Singh memorial in Sector 42 here today. The UT police resorted to canecharge and used tear gas shells to disperse the agitating mob.

Tension prevailed amid high drama when workers as well as policemen pelted stones at each other following which 18 cops and over 30 party men sustained injuries. All of them have been admitted to the PGI as well as Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16.

The police has also booked 30 persons, including Punjab Youth Congress President Ravneet Singh Bittu, in a case of rioting, assault on public servant and attempt to murder under Sections 147,148, 149, 353, 307 of the IPC.

The incident took place around noon when thousands of workers of the Punjab Youth Congress amassed at the Beant Singh Memorial Complex in Sector 42 and began their march on the Sectors 41/42 dividing road. They were protesting against the drug menace and rising corruption in Punjab “under the Akali government”.

As the workers were adamant to proceed towards the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, the police stopped them from entering the prohibited area. But when the workers did not relent, the police used water cannons to disperse the mob. The workers then pelted stones and boulders at cops, injuring 18 of them.

To avenge the attack, the police damaged vehicles of party men, including six tractors and jeeps. As the Congress men ran for cover, the police chased them and apprehended all those responsible for the violence. Over 30 workers were injured in the aggression that had ensued.

Rabjir Singh Padiala, a Congress leader, who also received injuries and has been admitted to the Phase 6 Civil Hospital, alleged that the police damaged their number of vehicles.

Among Congress workers who were injured were Kartik Vadera, Ashwini, Davinder, Sunny, Harpal, Nirpal, Malkit Singh, Amandeep, Amarjinder Singh and Lakhwinder Lakhi.



Student, IAF man commit suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
A day after a woman committed suicide by jumping into the Sukhna Lake, two more suicides were reported in the city today. In the first incident, a teenaged girl committed suicide by hanging herself at her house in Maloya village.

Seventeen-year-old Jyoti, a student of class XII, was found hanging by her mother. The incident took place in the afternoon and the victim was alone at home when she took this extreme step.

The police rushed the victim to the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital in Sector 16 where doctors declared her brought dead. No suicide note was found at the spot.

According to the police, the victim’s father is a ragpicker. He told the police that his daughter had failed twice in class XII and was worried that she might not be able to clear the examinations this year too. She was going to appear in the exams as a private candidate.

In another case, a 40-year-old Indian Air Force (IAF) official committed suicide by hanging himself at his house in Sector 31.

The incident came to light around 4 pm when Shakuntala, wife of Sajan Yadav, found him hanging from a fan. The deceased was posted as a sergeant at 3 BRD in Chandigarh.

The police rushed the victim to Government Multi-Speciality Hospital where the victim was declared brought dead. No suicide note was found. His family said he was suffering from extreme depression. The victim was also alone at home when he hanged himself. His wife had gone to a temple in the area and their two children were also not at home at the time of the incident.



A day after murder, police identifies victim
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
The police has identified the youth who was found murdered near the Sukhna Lake yesterday as 24-year-old Akashdeep Malhotra, a resident of Hoshiarpur. He was working in a call centre and was living in Mohali as a paying guest.

Acquaintances of the victim in the city saw photographs of the youth in newspapers today and informed his family in Hoshiarpur. Akashdeep’s father, a former Army officer, died some years ago. Investigations also revealed that Akashdeep was booked in a case of vehicle theft in 2009 and a case of theft was also registered against him last year in the Sector 36 police station.

The body of the victim was found with multiple stab injuries and his throat was slit with a sharp-edged weapon. His right arm had the word Akash tattooed on it.

After his mother got to know about the incident, she came rushing to the city and identified the body kept in the Sector-16 hospital mortuary.

The police is now trying to ascertain the motive behind his death.



Gold chains snatched

Chandigarh, March 17
Unidentified motorcycle-borne youths snatched gold chains in two separate incidents today.

Sangeeta Bhatia, a resident of Mani Majra, reported to the police that two miscreants on a bike fled with her gold chain in the residential area of Mani Majra. She failed to note down the registration number of the bike.

In another incident, Santosh Kumari, a resident of Maloya village, alleged that motorcycle-borne youths fled after snatching her gold chain from near a temple in Maloya village. — TNS



Home Secy meets admn officials

Chandigarh, March 17
The Home Secretary convened a meeting with the administrative secretaries and HoDs to discuss the pending proposal in respect of departmental promotion committee, deputation, recruitment rules and direct rules with the UPSC on the basis of list supplied to the HoDs.

The HoDs concerned were asked to get the matter expedited regarding the finalisation of recruitment as well as filling of vacant posts in their respective departments. — TNS



Residents complain of contamination
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, March 17
Residents of Pabhat village in Zirakpur today complained of contaminated water being supplied to the locality for the past two months. They complained that water provided by the water supply department here was impure and emitted foul smell.

They were suffering from stomach infection due to the water, residents alleged. They complained to the municipal council and the water supply department, but no action had been taken.

Sarbjit Kaur, Gyan Kaur, Amarjit Kaur, Rinku and other residents rued that they were drinking impure water. They claimed that supply was resumed after three days, but that smelt foul.

One of the residents alleged that the water was getting mixed with drain water and water samples should be sent for testing.

“It is a serious matter and the authorities concerned should solve the problem on a priority basis,” he added.

The councillor from the area stated that the water pipeline was damaged and repair work had been started. He claimed that the problem would be solved soon.

The SDO, water supply and sewerage board, Mahesh Chawla, said the pipeline supplying water to Pabhat village had eroded over the years and required to be replaced.

He added that the water supply line was running from under the nullah and as such, the possibility of contamination could not be ruled out.

Chawla added that the process of replacing the water pipe was in progress and would be completed within a week.



PGI fares well in provision of hand washing facilities
Tribune News Service

The study findings

Of the 211 rooms surveyed at the hospital, the handwashing facility was available in 209 (99.05 per cent) of them. Among these, 206 (98.56 per cent) of the sinks were easily accessible and were placed close to users. Almost all sinks (99.5 per cent) had hand-operated faucets

Chandigarh, March 17
PGI administrative officials have reason to cheer: In a one of-its-kind study conducted on “hand washing facilities” in its outpatient department, north India’s premier health institution has fared better even than some hospitals in the developed countries including Britain. The study’s findings would imply patients visiting the PGI are less prone to the risk of hospital-associated infections.

The study, carried out by a team of the PGI’s hospital administration department led by Dr Mahesh Devnani along with Drs Rajiv Kumar, Rakesh K. Sharma and Anil K Gupta, found that of the 211 rooms surveyed at the hospital a facility for washing one’s hands was available in 209 (99.05 per cent) of them. Among these, 206 (98.56 per cent) of the sinks were easily accessible and were placed close to users. Almost all sinks (99.5 per cent) had hand operated faucets.

Interestingly the study claimed in one of three studies conducted in other countries, including those of elderly care wards in seven British hospitals, it was found that 11 per cent of sinks were inaccessible. In PGI this figure stands at a low 1.44 per cent.

The study stated even then everything concerning hygiene at the PGI was not in good shape. “We conducted this study to evaluate the availability and accessibility of hand washing facilities and supplies of hand washing agents in the hospital’s outpatient department wings that have an annual patient inflow of about 1.4 million with a daily average of 4,000-4,500”, said Devnani, the lead investigator.

“The shortcomings found were tackled immediately after the study was conducted last year”, he added.

The study detected 35 five (16.75 per cent) sinks had no soap stand and at 21 (10.5 per cent) these were found broken. At 14 (6.70 per cent) sinks soap bars were not available, while an antiseptic agent was available at only six (2.87 per cent). Four (1.91 per cent) sinks had no towel stand, at 43 (20.57 per cent) no towel was available and at 23 (11 per cent) the towels provided were dirty.

It has been observed most infections are transmitted by the hands of healthcare workers and washing one’s hands significantly reduces such infections. However inadequate hand washing facilities have been a major barrier. The problem of hospital-associated infections in India has been poorly documented with the Hospital Infection Society of India estimating the incidence in the country’s healthcare institutions ranging from five to 30 per cent. When compared to conditions in British hospitals, almost all sinks (99.5 per cent) at the PGI had hand-operated taps whereas in the UK this figure was only 39 per cent. A striking observation of the PGI study was that, despite the lack of soap stands, the availability of cleansing agents was high as only 6.7 per cent sinks were without soaps as compared to 12.1 per cent in British hospitals.



Zoo director transferred
Tribune News Service

Chhat (Banur), March 17
Churchil Kumar, field director at Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park, has been transferred to the tourism department, Punjab.

Though Churchil Kumar received his relieving orders on Tuesday, no appointment has been made to the post so far.

Confirming this, Chief Wildlife Warden, Punjab, Gurbaz Singh said the state government had transferred the field director and a decision on further appointment was yet to be taken.

Though Churchil Kumar could not be contacted for comments, his close associates said Churchil had been seeking deputation for some time. He had served as zoo field director for just nine months.

His predecessor Tushar Kanti Bahera, too, was transferred to Chandigarh headquarters of the forest department within eight months of his appointment.

Visitors, bird lovers and employees at the zoological park said frequent transfers were not good for animals.

“It takes a while for a field director to get a hang of the zoo. By the time he gets acquainted with the functioning, he is transferred,” said a retired forest department official.



Farmers stage dharna

Mohali, March 17
Commuters on the road separating Sectors 51 and 52 were a harassed lot as hundreds of members of the Punjab Bhartiya Kisan Union (Sidhupur) staged a dharna on the Chandigarh-Mohali barrier here today. After gathering at the Amb Sahib gurdwara, the farmers walked towards the YPS roundabout.

They dispersed after submitting a memorandum of their demands. — TNS



150 take part in public relations conclave

Chandigarh, March 17
A two-day Global Public Relations Conclave began here on Thursday. More than 150 communication practitioners from India and abroad are participating in the conclave.

The fifth conclave, being organised by the Public Relations Council of India (PRCI), was inaugurated by Education Minister of Punjab Sewa Singh Sekhwan.

Raj Chengappa, Editor-in-Chief, The Tribune Group, delivered the keynote address on “PR in Challenging Times of Today”. Scott Slessor, Consul General of Canada, was the guest of honour.

Industrialist and former world president of Rotary International Rajendra K Saboo was given the Corporate Citizen of the Year Award for his contribution to society and raising the image of the country by taking various medical missions abroad.

Additional principal secretary to Haryana CM and principal secretary for information and PR KK Khandelwal was honoured with Chanakya Award for “Good Governance and Public Administration”.

Noted speakers included Mathew Hibbert,

University of Stirling, Scotland, Yogesh Joshi, communication head of Tata Steels, Deepak Jolly, Coca Cola’s vice-president, and Renuka Kakkar, communications head, Apeejay. — TNS



Law Commission touring region
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 17
Members of the Law Commission of India have started touring Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh in the northern zone to speed up the process of legal reforms, said Amarjit Singh, a member of the commission.

He said the commission would interact with legal experts to reform the justice delivery system so that people got justice. It would listen to complaints of the public and look for solutions, he said.

The responsibility of the administration and other law reform agencies would be ensured, he added. He stated that the motor vehicle Act and the land acquisition Act required attention.



Magical notes by Pandit Bhatt
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, March 17
Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt performed two concerts organised by SPICMACAY at the Government PG College, Sector 11, and Bhargava auditorium in the PGI here today.

In the first recital, the Mohan Veena wizard brought alive the melody of ‘raaga Madhuwanti’. The audience also had a lively interaction with him.

In the second soiree, he presented ‘raaga Sham Kalyan’ in its complete manifestation. He made the audience sing along with him in a Rajasthani ‘maand’.

The Grammy Award winner and Padmashri awardee was accompanied on the tabla by Himanshu Mahant.



CBSE bans sale of books, uniforms in schools
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
In a bid to put an end to commercialisation in schools, the Central Board of Secondary Education has banned the sale of books, uniforms and other articles in its affiliated schools.

In its latest circular issued on February 21, the board stated that none of the CBSE affiliated schools could indulge in any commercial activities.

They have been barred from renting out school premises for functions like marriages, etc. However, the board has also directed all its schools to follow a prescribed fee structure.

Now, schools cannot charge hefty fee, as the board has prohibited collection of capitation fee and donation.

Taking a serious note of the violation, the board which has for long supported the freedom of schools, now feels the need to tighten the noose.

“In several schools, books are not prescribed on a merit basis. School managements aim at making a quick buck. These schools tend to misuse their freedom in deciding fee and fine and end up charging exorbitant fee, demanding donation and going for unjustified hikes. Under no circumstances will a school be allowed to compromise on students’ welfare,” stated the board.

Schools have been directed to display a list of prescribed books and uniforms on notice boards. Interestingly, the sale of books in schools was banned by the UT education department a year ago.

“My daughter is just a year younger to my son. Despite having books which can be reused, we are forced to buy books. What irks us the most is that we are forced to buy stationary from schools,” said Purva Ahuja, a resident of Sector 44. Many parents, however, feel that this circular might aggravate their woes.

“After the education department’s last year’s orders, schools started displaying a list of books and publishers. It is such a pain to run from one shop to another to collect these books,” said Rajbir Sidhu, a resident of Sector 22.



‘Fake’ Employer
PU to tread with caution
n To verify credentials of every company before permitting executives to enter campus n Bring uniformity in criteria
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
Panjab University is all set to bring uniformity in its criteria for verifying credentials of companies that recruit students during placement drives.

Each department follows a different criterion for inviting companies to interview students. A separate list will be prepared by the university’s placement committee to describe mandatory requirements for a company interested in recruiting PU students. The list will also include the do’s and don’ts for the departments to invite companies at their own level.

Despite a joint placement fair this year for all the university departments, several departments conducted placements individually.

A day after the case of fraudulent recruitments at the School of Communication Studies (SCS), Panjab University, surfaced; the university officials said stricter parameters would be set for companies to interview students in future. SCS officials have reportedly informed the university security to ban this private firm, which was found fake by the department, from entering the campus.

“Credentials of every company will be verified before their executives are permitted to enter the campus. We will ensure that precautions are taken,” said Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti. However, he added, “I cannot comment on the status of the SCS recruitment in particular.” On Wednesday, the SCS officials said resumes of students were taken back from the company whose official address was found fake. Students have also been prohibited from joining this firm. The placement committee officials today said students of several PU arts departments did not turn up at the combined job fair and were adamant to conduct their fest individually. “There were certain leading companies which were offering a monthly salary of Rs 25,000. Despite publicity, certain departments did not join the effort to call companies under the joint banner of PU,” said a member of the committee.



Moot Court: UILS team emerges victorious

Chandigarh, March 17
The team from University Institute of Legal Studies, (UILS), Panjab University, comprising Raashi Ahluwalia, Shivani Kapur and Pallavi Pahwa won the B Krishna Memorial National IPR Moot Court Competition held on March 12 and 13. The event was organised by Krishna and Saurashtri, IPR associates at Symbiosis Law School, Pune. Ahluwalia also won the best student advocate award.

In Louis M Boun International Client Counselling Competition 2011, the team from UILS comprising Navratan Singh and Ajiteshwar Singh won the North and Northeastern regional rounds. The event was organised by National Law University, Delhi, on March 12. — TNS



Institute told to compensate complainant
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 17
Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM), Industrial Area, Phase VIII, has been penalised by the Mohali Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum for resorting to unfair trade practices and harassing a Ludhiana-based student who had enrolled in a two-year full-time postgraduate programme in MBA.

The complainant, Ramji Dass, a Ludhiana-based resident, had approached the forum stating that his son had enrolled in the institute for MBA programme and had deposited Rs 35,000 as fee. On realising that the institute was not UGC recognised, he sought refund, along with interest. A legal notice was also served on the institute, but to no avail.

After being summoned by the forum headed by BS Mehandiratta, chairman, Dr SS Dhaliwal and HK Ghuman, both members, the forum refunded Rs 34,000 out of the total Rs 35,000.

Pronouncing the judgment, the forum directed the institute to refund the remaining fee amount of Rs 1,000 with 9 per cent interest per annum with effect from May 27, 2010, till the date of payment. The institute has also been directed to pay interest to the complainant on the remaining amount of Rs 34,000 from May 27, 2010, till February 21, 2011, along with Rs 15,000 as compensation.

The complainant stated that after depositing Rs 35,000 as advance fee for the course, the institute had allowed him to deposit the remaining amount after getting loan from his employer. He alleged that the institute kept him in dark regarding its recognition by the UGC.

The institute stated that that it never promoted itself as a UGC-recognised institution. Rather it informed the complainant that it would provide a UGC-recognised degree for a two-year full-time postgraduate programme in MBA from MS University, Tamil Nadu, which is UGC recognised.

The forum observed that false representation clearly amounted to deficiency in service on part of the institute.



Farewell Party
MCM students have a ball
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
MCM DAV College organised a farewell party for its outgoing students today. The evening witnessed a cultural extravaganza, where college principal Dr Puneet Bedi encouraged students to bring laurels to their alma mater.

Around 40 students participated in a ramp walk session. Madhu Khanna, Additional Civil Judge, Senior Division, Sonipat, Rashmi Bindra, a renowned fashion designer of the region, and Gurpreet Aulukh, second runner-up of Miss World Punjaban, adjudged students.

Gurleen won the undergraduate title of MCM Queen, while Prabhnoon won the MCM Queen postgraduate title.



From Schools and Colleges
Holi celebrated

Chandigarh: The department of environment and Sohanjana Eco Club of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 46-D, celebrated “Eco friendly Tilak Holi” during a glittering function organised in front of Herbal Garden at

GMSSS, Sector 46-D. VK Singh, IAS, Finance Secretary-cum-Secretary Environment, Chandigarh administration, was the chief guest. Santosh Kumar, IFS, director (environment), lauded the efforts of schools and requested them to motivate children for celebrating “Tilak Holi”.


Ambala: A state-level chemistry exhibition was organised at SD College, Ambala Cantt, on Thursday. The event was sponsored by the University Grants Commission, New Delhi. Dr Desh Bandhu, principal of the college, welcomed chief guest Dr CK Yadav, principal of DAV College, Ambala City. Around 20 teams participated in the exhibition. Dr M Yusuf from the department of chemistry, Punjabi University, Patiala, delivered an extension lecture on “Chemistry In Our Lives”. Working and non-working models of chemistry were displayed by students.


Ambala: Kidzee Elnino organised its annual fest at BPS Planetorium on Wednesday. Ashok Mehta, former Information Commissioner, and vice-president of the Haryana Olympic Association, was the chief guest. A fashion show was held


Fatehgarh Sahib: Peter Robertson delivered a lecture at Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College on Thursday. Robertson is a professor at a college in Canada. He interacted with students and answered their queries. — TNS



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