C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Not a bright future for kids in these dingy classrooms
Poor hygiene n Kids sit on ‘taats’
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
A dark and dingy room 10 feet by 12 feet, with broken windows and doors, accommodates 60-odd nursery students, who crouch on jute “taats” to attend their class. A rough blackboard, that has literally turned white, and the absence of tubelights add to the misery of the five-year-olds, who simply cannot figure out symbols scribbled on the blackboard.

(1) School and shops go together. The Government Primary School No. 1, Mani Majra, is marked by a major encroachment just outside its entrance by vendors while the UT Administration chooses to remain oblivious; (2) Jam packed room of students without any provision of electricity in the Housing Board accommodation rented to the school management at Government Primary School, Maouli Complex, Chandigarh; (3) Wooden plans nailed to the frame of a broken window of a classroom in the Government Primary School No. 1, Mani Majra. Tribune photos: Manoj Mahajan

The description is not of a classroom at a government school in some remote area of Punjab. It is reflective of the sorry state of affairs in at least six primary schools located in the peripheral villages and colonies of the union territory, which boasts of the country’s eighth highest literacy and which is never tired to make tall claims of improving educational facilities in primary schools.

A visit to schools in colonies depicts that they even lack basic facilities like furniture, proper classrooms, clean drinking water, hygienic toilets and tubelights. The schools are without these basic amenities even as the UT education department has been trying to implement the much-hyped Right to Education (RTE) Act.

Surprisingly, a majority of government primary schools continue to run from rented buildings for more than a decade. A number of reminders have been given to the authorities about the requirement for new buildings for the schools following an increase in the intake of students, but all in vain.

The Government Primary School Number 1 of Manimajra, constructed over a decade ago, has only 10 classrooms against a requirement of 25 as per guidelines laid down by the RTE Act. As a result, most classrooms are jam-packed with students.

Since the ceilings of all classrooms leak during rain, major cracks have appeared in some of the rooms of the building. There is just a solitary functional tap for students to quench their thirst. This tap is also used by sweepers to wash their brooms. Adding to the woes of the students is the encroachment by shopkeepers, who have placed their wares at the entrance to the school.

The Government Primary School Number 2 of Manimajra, with a strength of more than 300 students, is functioning from an unauthorised building, comprising just two rooms for over 15 years. To accommodate the second-shift students, school authorities have hired 10 rooms of a private school nearby at a monthly rent of Rs 5,000 while also sharing 50 per cent of the electricity and water bills.

Similar is the story of the Government Primary School, Mauli Complex, where over 400 students study in just five rooms. Even the furniture provided to the teachers of the school is in a very shabby condition.

The school, started in 1994, in an accommodation allotted under the Ambedkar Awas Yojna, with a promise from the authorities that within a year, a proper building will be provided to them. But till date, nothing has been done despite repeated reminders.

However, a majority of schools located in the colonies are sailing in the same boat and are facing similar problems of broken and shabby infrastructure even after acquainting the authorities with their difficulties.

Schools hopeful

With seven schools in the periphery having recently been transferred to the municipal corporation, the school managements are hopeful that the authorities will soon renovate their infrastructure. MC Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria is reported to have directed the school authorities to prepare a demand for infrastructure required by these schools. School officials say though a survey had been conducted by the MC engineering department for upgrading the infrastructure, a similar exercise undertaken by the department a number of times earlier has been an exercise in vain.

Salary blues

School officials say the staff of seven schools transferred to the MC have not received their salary for the month of March so far. Officials said a similar problem had arisen in February, when they received their salary on February 14 due to some technical problem. Acknowledging that there had been some delay in the disbursement in salaries in the past due to the end of the financial year, administration officials say everything will be settled in the next two days.

Rs 1 cr allocated

The MC has allocated a sum of Rs 1 crore in the current financial year’s budget for upgrading infrastructure of seven schools located in periphery of the city.



Minister, BJP leaders stranded in new lift
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 7
Punjab local bodies minister Manoranjan Kalia and three senior BJP leaders accompanying him had a taste of the “hospitality” of the state forest department when they ended up spending 20 anxious minutes stranded in a lift at the Punjab forest complex building in Sector 68 here on Thursday afternoon.

The partially complete building, which is being constructed at a cost of Rs 53 crore, was inaugurated with much fanfare almost exactly a year ago (April 24, 2010) by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. Interestingly, the lift had also created problems on that occasion.

Visibly shaken after the incident, Kalia, who only months ago escaped death in a helicopter crash, noted it was “very surprising” that a newly installed lift in a newly built building had malfunctioned. “It raises questions about the soundness of the lift’s machinery”, he said.

The incident took place when the cabinet minister along with state BJP president Ashwani Sharma, chief parliamentary secretary and MLA from Mukerian Arunesh Shakhar and eight others boarded the lift to attend the formal induction ceremony of BJP leader Rajinder Bitta, who has been nominated vice-chairman of the Punjab State Forest Development Corp (PSFDC) and who, incidentally, was also accompanying the minister in the lift.

As a result of the incident not only was the ceremony delayed by an hour but the lift had to be brought down manually to the basement to evacuate those trapped inside. The lift’s operator was also stranded along with the visiting dignitaries. “It was very difficult to spend 20 minutes in the lift, which had fewer people than its carrying capacity”, Sharma remarked.

The incident raises questions about the quality of work on the government’s self-acclaimed “modern green” building, which houses PSFDC offices.

Luxury scores over necessity

When Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal laid the foundation stone of the complex consisting of five oval shaped towers on October 7, 2008, the estimated cost of constructing it was pegged at Rs 38 crore. However, 18 months later the figure stands revised at Rs 53 crore. Sources said inclusion of 900 “nonscheduled” items had pushed up the cost. To raise funds for the building the Punjab State Forest Development Corp (PSFDC) got its memorandum and articles of association amended by the registrar of companies to raise a loan of Rs 20 crore from the Housing & Urban Development Corp (HUDCO). Otherwise, the objectives defined by the corporation do not allow raising loans for such activities. Another Rs 3 crore was also given by PSFDC. The remaining amount of Rs 30 crore came from the state government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency. Explaining the reason for the cost overrun, officials said initially three towers were to be built but Punjab Engineering College, which had been appointed as the quantity control agency, advised construction of two more towers to ensure “structural safety”.



Theme-cum-Amusement Park ‘irregularities’
CBI questions UT ex-adviser Lalit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Former UT Adviser Lalit Sharma was summoned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials today and questioned for over three hours in connection with an FIR registered against him for alleged irregularities in the multi-crore mega project - the Theme-cum-Amusement Park.

Sharma, a retired 1971-batch IAS officer, was questioned in the CBI headquarters in Sector 30 by a team headed by an SP-rank official. Sources said the former Adviser is likely to be summoned again by the CBI for further questioning. Sharma is learnt to have recorded his statements in writing during the questioning.

The CBI had in October 2010 registered an FIR against Sharma, former UT Home Secretary Krishan Mohan, a Haryana-cadre IAS officer, former UT Director (Tourism) Vivek Atray, a Haryana Civil Service officer, and Unitech Builders.

The case was registered under provisions of the (Prevention) of Corruption Act, violation of norms, procedural irregularities and misuse of official position following a year-long inquiry conducted by the CBI.

The Theme-cum-Amusement Park project was scrapped on three counts (a) the builder did not fulfil the financial obligations as he never deposited any instalment beyond the first one since he was allotted the project; (b) the builder did not obtain environmental clearance for the execution of the project and (c) for violation of various financial obligations mentioned in the terms and conditions of the agreement.

It was also alleged that the UT Administration ignored the General Financial Rules (GFR) while inviting tenders; in short-listing companies; and for ignoring the highest bidder at the last moment while allotting the project. All charges have been refuted by the officials.

The construction work on the proposed Theme-cum-Amusement Park in Chandigarh was to start in September 2007. The 73-acre project, which was supposed to be the first of its kind in the country, was awarded in December 2006 to Unitech Ltd for development in Sarangpur.



Metro well on track in Chandigarh
Trams are only one of the MRTS options
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The Chandigarh Metro is on track. Though the introduction of trams, as mentioned in an affidavit submitted by the UT administration in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, is also under consideration, Metro is still the preferred choice for solving commuting problems of the administration.

In fact, recent approval of the terms reference proposed by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) by the stakeholders, Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, have put the Metro project on the fast track.

The UT affidavit, mentioning the tram system as one of the proposals to ease traffic woes, in no way means that the Metro proposal had been abandoned, a senior official said here today.

Sources said after the approval of the terms of reference of DMRC on January 14 by the stakeholers, the DMRC would be in a position to prepare the DPR, which would see the feasibility of Metro for the region for taking care of commuting needs of the people.

Based on the DPR, the stakeholders would be in position to formulate plans for mopping up resources for the ambitious project.

Since the Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP) had already been cleared by the stakeholders, the project was making steady progress. In the CMP, RITES had proposed a mass rapid transport system (MRTS) comprising the Metro system (52.4 km), bus rapid transport (BRT) system (190.5 km) and commuter rail service (195 km) to be completed in three phases by 2030-31.

Under the first phase, which is to be completed by 2014-15 and estimated to cost Rs 10,765 crore, two corridors are being laid for the tricity. While one corridor will connect the Punjab and Haryana Civil Secretariat with Sector 75 of Mohali, another corridor will connect Sarangpur with Sector 15 of Panchkula.

The underground system is likely to cost around Rs 320 crore per km, whereas surface alignment is likely to cost Rs 140 crore per km.

There will be around 50 stations, each after approximately 1 km. To begin with, the frequency has been proposed every 10 minutes, which can be reduced to three minutes with the passage of time.

MRTS proposals over the years

n Monorail: A few years back, the administration toyed with the idea of monorail, a rail-based transportation system based on a single rail across the city on elevated platforms.

n The administration revived the Metro project for Chandigarh. The Metro system, set to cost a whopping Rs 15,000 crore and to be operational by 2030, will take care of commuting woes of Chandigarh and its peripheral towns.

n The tram is kind of streetcar running on tracks in streets. Trams are usually lighter and shorter than conventional trains and rapid transit trains. The administration revived trams as the way of MRTS in an undertaking in the high court recently.



‘My Lords’ symbol of slavery, judges to be
addressed as ‘sir’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
“My Lords” will soon be a thing of the past, if a resolution passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association this afternoon is implemented “in letter and in spirit”. In lieu, they will be referred to as “sir”.

The association has already asked its members to comply with the resolution in letter and in spirit. It has also warned members of “strict action” in case of non-compliance.

The decision was taken during “an emergent meeting of the General House of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association”.

The meeting was called at 1:00 pm; and it was unanimously resolved “to drop the long-pending symbol of slavery of the British Rule and colonial legacy to address the honourable Judges as My Lord, or My Lordship or your Lord or your Lordship and resolves henceforth to address the Honourable Judges, in accordance with the values of our republican constitution, as sir”.

The association also came out in support of the tirade launched by Anna Hazare. Another resolution read: “The Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association, Chandigarh, appreciates the timely and much required step taken by Anna Hazare, noted social activist against corruption.

“We are a privileged association who for the first time raised the issues of nepotism, favouritism and corruption in higher judiciary. We whole-heartedly support the movement launched by Hazare. We demand and expect from the Central Government and the state governments to consider and act upon the demand/suggestion of Anna Hazare in toto so as to save the precious life of the great son of India”.


Support grows for Hazare in tricity
Tribune News Service

Rallies today

Panjab University students have geared up to organise a bigger peace march on Friday to support Anna Hazare inside the campus at 6 pm. Yet another candlelight march will be staged in the Sector 17 plaza in the evening.

Chandigarh, April 7
Expressing solidarity with social activist Anna Hazare, who is on a fast till death for getting the Lokpal Bill passed in Parliament, tricity residents today joined his anti-corruption movement by organising peace marches are various places.

A cross-section of residents, including professionals, students, teachers and social activists, today staged candlelight marches and some even went on a chain hunger strike.

Even during the peak examination time of the year, nearly 150 youngsters from the tricity held a candlelight march in Sector 17 plaza. Yet another cadre of youngsters, along with Panjab University teachers, staged a peace march from Gandhi Bhawan, supporting Hazare in passing the Bill.

In addition to the youth, various non-government organisations and social groups participated. At Mohali, organisations, including Sochna Adhikar Manch, Punjab Human Rights Organisation, Bar Association of Mohali and NGO Disha, submitted a memorandum to the District Commissioner, supporting the Bill, and urged him to forward it to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The movement was today also joint by PGI’s faculty association, whose president said the faculty would fully support the cause raised by Hazare. An MA (II) student of Panjab University, who attended the march at Sector 17 plaza organised by an international youth group called Yes!+, said, “We will continue to create awareness about the cause and will go to every class on campus and in colleges to ask students across the city to join the movement.”



Bhatti to join the cause
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Widely acclaimed for his puckish satires, Jaspal Bhatti, the ace comedian, will tomorrow stage a ‘dharna’ in New Delhi. He will be staging a ‘dharna’ in favour of the tainted officers and politicians whom the famed social activist Anna Hazare wants to be brought under the purview of the Lokpal Bill.

Supporting the Hazare movement in his own style, he will work for a temple for corruption near the site where Hazare was fasting when he reaches Delhi tomorrow.

“Activists like Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Swami Agnivesh are working for honest people who are in absolute minority these days. I prefer to support the majority who are corrupt now. They are the power and definitely the future. The temple of corruption will be a place of worship equally sacred for those who are greenhorns in the field of corruption and are caught. A special place will be accorded to the veterans, who have billions stashed away in Swiss banks,” Bhatti said.

He has appealed to leading artists in the city to give him images of corruption that he would install in the temple. He got the Rock Garden creator Nek Chand to make the beginning by giving him a “God of illegal money.”

It may be remembered that in July 1993, Bhatti’s Nonsense Club called upon the parliamentarians to drop the no-confidence motion against Narasimha Rao Government and instead work together to get “save the corrupt” bill enacted.

In November 1999, Bhatti setup a “Diwali Bribery Shop” at Bengali Market, Delhi. In January, 2002, he launched the “Punjab Suitcase party.” The party slogan was “Suitcase ki sarkar- chobis ghantey khulla darbar” and “Suitcase lao, kaam karvao” (Bring you suitcase stuffed with notes, Get your work done in a minute.)

He also lampooned the government on the Commonwealth Games.



Social bodies, too, join
Our Correspondent

Ambala, April 7
A number of social and religious organisations of Ambala have come together to support Anna Hazare, who has begun fast unto death for the rollout of Lokpal Bill in New Delhi.

The activists of Art of Living Patanjali Yog Peeth, Uttam Hindu Sena, Sargodha Biradari, Siddh Kirana Samiti, Swadeshi Jagran Manch, Vishwkarma Sabha, Sanatan Dharam Sabha, Digamber Jain Sabha, Ayodha Ram Katha Prachar Mandal and Society of the People offered their support to Anna Hazare.

These activists organised a peaceful dharna at Gaindamal Dharamshala Chowk.

Social activists Harinder Choudhary and Sandeep Sachdeva appealed the Union government to except the demand of Anna.



Candle march against corruption
Tribune News Service

Ambala, April 7
A large number of members of various social welfare organisations of the town led by the All-India Anti-Crime and Anti-Corruption Organisation held a candle light march on the main markets of the town, including Sadar Bazar at Ambala Cantonment last night, in support of Anna Hazare’s protest at New Delhi.

A meeting of senior citizens was also organised by organisation’s vice-president Charanjit Singh Anand, who decided to offer full support to Anna Hazare to end corruption.

Meanwhile, BJP chief in Haryana Assembly Anil Vij has also expressed his support against corruption in the state and in the Centre.



Excise policy
Liquor vends on MC lands on their way out
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune New Service


n Premises must for submitting a tender for the allotment of liquor vend
n Most of the liquor vends on MC land face closure
n The last day for receiving the tenders is April 22
n Bid to be opened on April 25 at 10 am in the Tagore Theatre

Will liquor mafia stage comeback?

With the UT Administration introducing tender system for the allotment of the liquor vends, apprehensions about the return of the liquor mafia from the neighbouring states cannot be ruled out.With per capita consumption of liquor in city one of the highest in the country, liquor trade in Chandigarh is a lucrative business.

Chandigarh, April 7
The Chandigarh Administration’s new excise policy is set to take its toll on the temporary liquor vends functioning from the municipal land in the city.

In fact, a new condition of having an assured space for starting liquor trade in the city will automatically “disqualify a majority of the liquor vend owners for applying for the licence under the new tender system”.

“The successful allottees in respect of the pre-fabricated temporary structures will have to execute rent deed with or obtain no objection certificate from the land owning agency/owner. The licences will be granted only to those successful tenderers/allottees, who have the space in possession and control from where they can start the liquor vend,” official sources said here today.

If the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) does not renew the rent deed or allow the liquor vends to function from its land, the Excise and Taxation Department will not accept the tenders from the prospective liquor vend owners.

In October 2010, the MC General House had unanimously decided to suspend the allotment of all wine shops on its land from the next financial year. Former Mayor Anu Chatrath had asked MC officials to inform the UT Administration that from the next financial year, the MC would not permit liquor vends on its land in the city.

Current Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh had already gone on record that he would take up the issue of allowing the liquor vends on the municipal land at the new House meeting.



Thyroid test at GMSH? No kit, keep waiting!
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Patients suffer while the authorities remain ignorant at the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH) at Sector 16 here. Even as kits for the thyroid diagnostic test have been out of stock at the laboratory of the hospital since last week, the hospital authorities seem to be in no mood to take any remedial measures.

Over a hundred patients had already been turned back till today by the staff, having been told that there was no kit at the hospital. The situation was set to worsen as enquires at the hospital revealed that the kits would not reach the hospital before April 15.

The test is suggested to the patients suffering from medical complications, including thyroid, obesity, infertility, hypertension, blood pressure, metabolic disorders, goitre, hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

In fact, a majority of patients from the poor category and government servants in the city rely on this hospital.

While private laboratories charge up to Rs 750 for such tests, these are available at a price of Rs 225 at the GMSH.

For employees of the union territory and their dependants, the charges are completely waived.

The official spokesman of the GMSH, Dr G Diwan, when contacted, said he had just taken over after the former spokesman, Dr MP Singh, retired on March 31, and could not comment on the issue without enquiring into the matter. He would look into the matter tomorrow morning, he added.



‘Act now for disease-free future’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Interaction between clinician and microbiologist can help in prescribing specific antibiotic to patients, which will give better results.

This was discussed by experts on the occasion of World Health Day at a symposium organised by the department of microbiology, Government Medical College Hospital, Sector 32, here today. A total of 110 delegates, including residents and faculty members of the hospital were present.

Emphasising on the theme of the programme: “Antimicrobial Resistance “No action today: no cure tomorrow,” Prof and head of microbiology department Dr Jagdish Chander, said there was a need for better interaction between clinicians and microbiologists so as to prescribe specific antibiotic to the patient.

The right medicine with right duration will not only help the patient recover fast, it will also save money being spent on costly antibiotics, he added.

He gave brief account of new antibiotic policy, wherein the antibiotics will be available only on the basis of authentic prescriptions.

Dr Madhur Gupta, WHO consultant from New Delhi, gave a presentation on the emergence of widespread antimicrobial resistance.

She explained how the resistance to antibiotics develops in bacteria with special emphasis on inappropriate use of drugs and rationality of availability of over the counter (OTC) drugs.

She also stressed upon the presence of multi-drug resistant (MDR) and extensively drug resistant (XDR) tuberculosis and resistant malaria in India. She told the audience that antimicrobial resistance had already been declared as a global threat to health security.

Meanwhile, National Institute of Nursing Education celebrated World Health Day in collaboration with the Indian Public Health Association, PGI, by organising a poster-making contest on the theme.

A total of 24 students participated. The three winners were awarded with prizes. A seminar on the theme was also organised.

Causes of child deaths discussed

“Pneumonia and Diarrhoea are the leading causes of child deaths across the world and such deaths can be reduced by washing hands regularly.” This was stated by Dr Anita Sharma, the keynote speaker at a workshop on “Current Paradigms in Hand Hygiene” organised by Fortis Hospital, Mohali, at Kajehri village today.

More than 60 persons attended the workshop, including aanganwadi workers, helpers and village residents. Nearly 600 students of Sikhya School- which caters to the underprivileged children, Sector 46, Chandigarh, were also addressed.



Training juniors? IGP, DIG need revision
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 7
UT Inspector General of Police PK Srivastava and DIG Alok Kumar had to face embarrassment when both of them failed to handle the machine meant to train their juniors at a driving school here yesterday.

All this happened in the presence of the junior staff members. The red-faced officials, however, preferred to leave their driving seat on the simulator at the driving school immediately.

Last evening both of them reached the driving school being run with the collaboration of an auto dealer at Industrial area to present the certificates to the second batch of police officials, who had passed out the training at the school.

Meanwhile, the IG was offered to have the feel of simulator being used to train the police officials. Srivastava, who hit one of the pedestrians as soon as taking his seat preferred to leave the simulator, but not before asking his subordinate Alok to try his hands on the machine, who also hit two of the pedestrians. Both the officials, however, had all praises for the machine and the training being provided to the police officials.



Increase in Prices of Raw Material
Mohali development projects to
miss completion deadline
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 7
Various time-bound development projects worth crores of rupee in Mohali are set to miss their schedule of completion, owing to increasing prices of raw material.

As a result, the pace of ongoing development works across the city has slowed down and the contractors are finding it hard to procure the raw material such as gravel, sand, bricks, cement and steel at the common schedule of rates (CSR) offered by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) while floating tenders. “We have no option but to slow down the pace of work as it is impossible to work at unrealistic rates”, confided a contractor engaged in the road-widening project.

Quoting the CSR rates, sources said while the market rate of sand was around Rs 13 cubic ft, the CSR rate being offered by GMADA was around Rs 6 cubic ft. Similarly gravel was available for around Rs 23 cubic ft against the CSR rate of Rs 20 cubic ft. A bag of cement was available for Rs 300 whereas Rs 255 was being offered by GMADA as per the CSR rates. GSV, a material used in road compacting was selling at Rs 23 cubic ft where as Rs 18 cubic ft was the rate being offered by GMADA.

Presently, work on laying of 200-ft wide Aerocity road, widening of Balongi- PCL and Franco- Industrial Area Phase 7 roads allotted by GMADA is under progress. The tenders to lay premix in Sectors 67 to 69 and re-carpeting of roads and mini sports complexes have also been floated by GMADA.

The shortage of raw material has further compounded the problem for officials as Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal while speaking at a public rallies have been repeatedly stressing on completion of the works in a time bound manner. “ No senior official is ready to revise the CSR rates as per the existing market prices as it can land the official in trouble. It is better to stick to the official rates than face inquiries”, said a technocrat.

Now works are being allotted over and above the scheduled rates: NK Sharma

“In the wake of price rise, the tenders allotted through e tendering are being allotted at 2.5 per cent above the schedule rates and carriage is also being offered. Earlier, the contractors offered to work at 10 per cent to 15 per cent less than the schedules rates. There is no reason for the contractors to cry foul as tenders are now being offered at higher rates that are enough to compensate for the price rise”. NK Sharma, Chairman of the District Planning Board.



Memorable rendezvous with poet Neeraj
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, April 7
The city art lovers were treated to a rare spell of exquisite and delicately perfumed verses, weaved with wealth of meaning in a specially designed memorable rendezvous with the celebrated poet and film lyricist Dr Gopal Das “Neeraj” (87) in a specially designed Kavya Sandhya at the Haryana Niwas here today.

The programme organized by the Haryana Sahitya Akademy and Department of Public Relations and Cultural Relations Haryana witnessed a spontaneous flow of poetic gems of romance, reverie, pathos, humanism and patriotism in the mellifluous voice of wizard poet Neeraj.

A lyrical poet of astounding merit with real vision and originality doled out couplets and poems on the depraving ethics in the political socio-cultural life fanning religious bigotry, caste prejudices, corruption but with suggestive measures to build an ideal society.

He won applause for his words of wisdom in couplets like “Raj satta to veshya hai kal uski thi aaj iski hai”, “Murda jal mein tairta, jinda jaata doob” and “Bulbul bhooli ghazal, aag lagana yaad rha aur aag bujhana bhool gaye”.



DC: Parking, encroachment issues to be tackled soon

Mohali, April 7
Mohali Deputy Commissioner Varun Roozam today said the issue of parking problem and encroachments would be tackled soon. He said the development works in the city were being taken up forcefully.

While interacting with mediapersons at his office here this evening, the DC urged the mediapersons to work in coordination with the administration. He said the problems being faced by members of the public could be brought to the notice of the administration. — TNS



Recreation room for PU drivers

Chandigarh, April 7
Panjab University officials inaugurated a recreation room for members of the PU Drivers’ Association for resting between duty shifts.

The recreation room located near the Aruna Chandra Hall would serve as a resting place for the university drivers and would also have provision for indoor games.

PU Staff Association (PUSA) president Gurdeep Singh said: “The VC has given instructions to its staff to modernise the interiors of the room. At the advent of the summers, the recreation room would be a boon for the varsity drivers who are also a part of the PU’s non-teaching federation.” — TNS



PU students’ charge against professor
‘We were deliberately failed in history exam’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Having got a re-appear in the same subject twice, nearly 25 MA students of the department of history at Panjab University have submitted a formal complaint against Professor Surinder Singh, a senior teacher of their department, for deliberately failing them in the exam.

Singh has, however, categorically denied the charge.

The students had given a formal complaint to Dean University Instructions (DUI) BS Brar, who is officiating as the Vice-Chancellor in the absence of RC Sobti, claiming that Singh had intentionally failed them in the subject “Medieval India-political processes”.

Following a clarification sought from Singh by the DUI, the former had at first cast doubts over the authenticity of the signatures, saying the complaints were not genuine. This afternoon, the DUI summoned the students to his office and specifically asked them to bring along their identity cards. He then asked the students to write a fresh letter and place their signatures on it in his presence.

When the DUI confronted Singh with the fresh set of representation, Singh dismissed the claims, saying there was no way a teacher could single out any answer book since there are secret codes on these.

Initial investigations reveal that university officials have found the signatures to be the same as those in the earlier compliant. “Instructions have been issued to get the papers re-evaluated. We are likely to get the result within 10 days. When I inquired from the teacher, he said he felt hurt and recommended that the papers be checked by another teacher,” said Brar.

“If too much variation is found in the marks after re-evaluation, necessary action would be taken,” said Brar who declined to specify the ‘action’ “But if the variation is not substantial, we need to seriously consider the teacher’s plea. There could be few students who hardly attend classes and it was possible that they failed twice,” he added.

University sources reveal that there was an attempt by certain student leaders to politicise the issue and get papers checked quickly. However, the officials said although the answer sheets would be re-evaluated on a priority basis, they declined to give a deadline.

Impossible to identify any paper: Teacher

“I evaluate hundreds of papers each year. How do I know which answers sheets belong to these students? The system of checking is foolproof and there is no way how students can point a finger at a particular teacher. It is impossible to know whose paper is whose. This is no way of seeking redress of a grievance. The students can apply for re-evaluation or they can appeal to the board of studies. My comments were sought by the DUI. I have replied in detail and am hopeful that he will take the right decision.

— Surinder Singh, former chairperson and senior faculty member of department of history, PU



PUSU protest on hostel problems
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
In what appears to be a close contest among various student organisations on the Panjab University campus to raise problems of hostel residents, the Panjab University Student Union (Sukhjit faction) supporters today staged yet another protest outside the Vice-Chancellor’s office.

PUSU supporters, led by president Sukhjit Singh Brar, raised slogans, pleading that the university authorities should act on hostel-related problems of students.

“We have been demanding for long that the charges imposed on the girls residing in the hostels for not having lunch or dinner in hostel mess must be scrapped. No fine should be imposed on girls on frivolous issues. We have been told by the Dean Students Welfare (DSW) that our demand has been met,” said Brar.

PUSU supporters also highlighted the problem of leakage in the newly constructed bathrooms and toilets in some boys’ hostels.

Another PUSU leader Cherry Brar objected to the police being called by PU officials to end their protest. “We were holding a peaceful dharna and there is no need for the university officials to call the police to end the protest,”said Brar.



Students protest against ‘faulty’ results
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 7
Hundreds of polytechnic students from various parts of the state reached here to protest against the alleged mistakes in their semester results announced a fortnight ago.

Addressing the students in front of office of director, Technical Education, Haryana, SFI state secretary Vinod Deswal alleged that technical board results of the last three semesters were declared inappropriate.

In the recent semester results, topper students of last year were given zero in several subjects and those students who appeared in exams were marked as “non-appeared” in results.

All these blunders were happening only because the technical board didn’t have any proper infrastructure for as many as 51,000 polytechnic students, he alleged.

Later, a press release by the SFI stated that authorities concerned had agreed to look into the matter.



Students say no to junk food
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
“Eat healthy say no to junk food,” was the motto of the day at Saupin’s School, Sector 32 here.

Dr Sanjay Jain, a paediatrician, briefed the parents about the importance of a balanced diet and good eating habits among children.

He also emphasised upon the importance of proper sleeping patterns and daily routine among children.

He spoke about the harmful effects of junk food that causes obesity and laid stress on importance of outdoor activities. Various queries put forward by parents were answered by the doctor. He briefed the parents about how important it was to understand the psychology of a child.



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