C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Inadequate infrastructure, admission compliance order
Govt schools find it hard to fit in students
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The already overburdened infrastructure in government schools needs to be upgraded to house more students. With the UT Education Department directing all schools to admit deserving applicants from their sectors and adjoining areas, if seats are left, a majority of schools, ailing from skewed teacher-student and classroom-pupil ratio, are bound to have a tough time.

Despite its four-month-old promise of review and immediate upgradation of infrastructure and staff strength before making admissions for the session 2011-12, the education department has directed schools to start admissions to ensure the “compliance of the RTE”.

The decision, which was communicated to city principals today, has left a majority of them cribbing about the decision.

“It was in December last year that they asked us to submit our infrastructure requirements. Government schools are already staggering under the pressure of extra number of students and our infrastructure has been pushed to limits. The department promised to provide extra rooms in some schools and teachers before the commencement of this session. We submitted complete details of the number of applicants from our sectors, adjoining sectors, EWS categories etc. The department took almost a week to give a green light to admissions. The sudden directive to start admissions is a shock,” said principal of one of the model schools.

“We are taking over 80 students in one classroom and cannot house more. Students from our own village and nearby areas throng us. And if we are to consider just our sector, we will have more than 100 new students in all. Where will we house them?

The department says we cannot deny admission under the RTE Act but doesn’t the Act say anything about infrastructure,” added another principal of a rural school.

‘Things set to improve’

A senior UT official said infrastructure upgradation takes time and we cannot stop admitting children till then. New plans are on their way. New teachers will come in after June after the teacher eligibility test. Funds have been sanctioned for getting additional rooms etc. Things will improve within two months.



Students bear brunt of govt school teachers’ stir
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 18
Hundreds of students studying in the over 150 government elementary schools in the district run under the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) are being deprived of the benefits of better educational aids and other schemes under the Sarva Shiksha Abhyan (SSA) with teachers having undertaken a “noncooperation movement” against the district education department. The teachers, working under ‘zila parishads’, have been on demanding permanent absorption in the department.

This has resulted in poor implementation and lack of monitoring of various SSA schemes. Of the total 425 elementary schools the ‘zila parishad’ is running 157 schools under the Punjab rural development & ‘panchayats’ department.

Due to the noncooperation of teachers, the PRI schools are not lifting the educational materials that is productive for students under the SSA. The state government spends lakhs of rupees on printing the textbooks and other material for the students.

Not only this, since December none of the school heads have submitted details on utilization of various grants. Education department officials pointed out they had no idea about the performance of the students and teachers as the PRI schools had not forwarded the pertinent information to them.

Specific instances have been quoted when education department officials have been denied cooperation during school inspections. “The SSA mentions evaluation of performance level of the students and teachers. But in the absence of inflow of information, the education department finds it difficult to monitor the schools,” said a senior department official.

The issue has been repeatedly brought to the notice of ‘zila parishad’ officials. At a recent meeting of the centrally sponsored schemes, district education officer (elementary) Surjit Kaur pointed to the anomaly before the Anandpur Sahib MP Ravneet Singh Bittu and Mohali deputy commissioner Varun Roozam.

The ‘zila parishad’ secretary and block development officers were told that since July 2010 schools heads in Kharar and Majri block were not cooperating. The utilization details of the midday meals, cooking cost and honorarium to the cooks were not sent to the education department, resulting in lesser allocation of funds and foodgrains to the district.

Significantly, the state government recently decided to give teachers of PRI schools the option to get transferred to the education department. The ‘zila parishad’ would conduct fresh recruitments to fill posts that fall vacant.

Textbooks unutilised

Under the central government’s Sarva Shiksha Abhyan programme teachers of schools run under the Panchayati Raj Institutions are not utilizing educational materials given to the districts for distribution among schools. According to reports, the schools had not yet lifted the materials, defeating the scheme’s purpose. 



Mystery shrouds student’s fall from school building
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Mystery shrouded the fall of Jahnvi, a class X student of St Xavier's School, Sector 44, here from the third floor of the school's building at around 1.30 pm today.

Jahnvi, whose condition is said to be stable, was admitted to Fortis Hospital, Mohali. She received multiple fractures in the incident.

While her parents made a complaint to the Chandigarh Police alleging that the school's principal had pushed her from the third floor from the school building, the school authorities maintained that she fell accidently.

Tilak Raj, father of Jahnvi, alleged that his daughter was humiliated by the principal over a minor issue before the incident. "Following that, the enraged principal took her to the third floor of the building and pushed her," alleged the father. On the other hand, refuting the charges, the school authorities maintained that Jahnvi went to drink water from a cooler, installed on the third floor. From there she slipped by chance and fell.

Meanwhile, the police it would initiate action only after recording the statement of the girl. "She is not fit to give statement right now. Only after recording her statement, we will start action," said Kirpal Singh, SHO of the Sector 34 police station.

The incident took place just before the closing time of the school. 



Rabid dog bite cases on rise in city
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The stray dog menace continues to stalk city residents with about 40 cases of dog bites reported on an average every day to the local anti-rabies department.

According to sources, instances of stray dogs, many infected with rabies, biting people are steadily increasing. About 70 per cent of the cases that come to the anti-rabies clinic in Sector 19 and the Sector 16 hospital are from the city with the rest from Punjab and Haryana. Department records reveal in 2007 about 30 dog bite cases were reported every month, rising to 40 cases a day now.

Residents are not safe from stray dogs, whose population has increased manifold after the last survey was conducted in 2007 by the animal husbandry department, which pegged their number at 5,400. The municipal corporation appears to have shirked its responsibility by claiming its accountability is only limited to sterilizing stray dogs.

MC medical health officer BK Salwan said the health department had made arrangements for picking and leaving stray dogs at the same point after sterilizing them but had no provision to catch them. “Till date about one-fifth of the city’s stray dogs have been revaccinated under a special campaign”, he claimed.

According to civic body records, the health department had proposed to set up a dog pound on over half an acre of land allotted in Dhanas. The purpose of the pound was to serve as a temporary shelter for ferocious dogs as well as potentially rabid and critically sick dogs. However, the proposal has not yet been cleared by the UT chief architect.

Saddled with the critical problem of managing stray dogs, the UT animal husbandry department has now proposed to set up a full-fledged animal birth control hospital in the city during 11th five-year plan. The idea is to have adequate arrangements for sterilization and vaccination of stray dogs that often pose a serious public health hazard.

Anti-rabies vaccination

During the last two years the number of stray dogs in the city has increased manifold despite the municipal corporation’s claims that they were administered anti-rabies vaccine at the clinic run by the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in Sector 38 West, after paying the charges of Rs 775 per dog.



GMADA chief engineer eased out over stalled projects
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 18
With an eye on the approaching elections, the Punjab chief minister’s public expressions of “disappointment” over the tardy progress of development projects in Mohali claimed the first casualty when the chief engineer of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA), Rajiv Moudgil, was given marching orders on Monday. He has been transferred to the Greater Ludhiana Development Authority.

Only last January the authority’s chief administrator at the time, VP Singh, a Punjab-cadre IAS officer, was transferred out after Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal reportedly voiced his annoyance over the progress of development projects in Mohali. The public announcements made by the chief minister and deputy CM about time bound projects not having been completed resulted in infuriating the implementing agency’s top brass.

District planning board chairman NK Sharma said the “nonperformers” had to go. “Those who aren’t delivering will face the music and bureaucratic red tape won’t be tolerated”, he asserted.

The immediate provocation behind the GMADA chief engineer’s transfer is said to the case of widening a 3.5 km long arterial road (referred to as Mohali’s commercial street). After Sukhbir Badal, Sharma and GMADA chief administrator Saravjit Singh inspected the road, a go-ahead was given to the project. However, certain statements made earlier by Moudgil regarding the project’s nonfeasibility annoyed the top bosses. Lt Gen BS Dhaliwal, technical advisor to the chief minister, also made certain adverse observations regarding the project’s viability.

Against the earlier plan of widening the existing road, the chief administrator, on the basis of the engineering department’s report, proposed a dual carriageway without disturbing the essential services and the tree cover to a certain extent. 

Swapping positions

While Rajiv Moudgil has been shifted as GMADA chief engineer in addition to looking after work the work of development authorities in Jalandhar and Amritsar, Tarlochan Singh, chief administrator of PUDA, has replaced him. Greater Ludhiana Development Authority chief engineer HS Sodhi has been appointed PUDA chief administrator in Tarlochan’s place.



185 traffic challans issued
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
In its special drive to check violations of traffic rules and regulations in streets of the city sectors, the UT Traffic Police today issued 185 challans and impounded four vehicles.

Giving details, DSP (Traffic) Vijay Kumar said a fine amounting to Rs 16,100 was collected on the spot from the offenders.

“Six nakas were laid in the three sub-divisions from 11 am to 2 pm following several complaints from residents about violations of traffic rules, especially by two-wheeler riders, in streets of various sectors. We issued 63 without-helmet challans, while 33 challans were issued for using mobile phones while driving. The other 53 challans were given for not using seat belt, while 36 cars were found using black film on window panes,” said Vijay Kumar.

The drive would continue in the coming days. For such complaints, the residents can contact the UT Traffic Police helpline, 1073, added the DSP.



Bravehearts honoured by police
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The UT Police today honoured the girls and a boy who showed exemplary bravery in catching a snatcher in Sector 29 here yesterday. UT Inspector General of Police Pardeep Kumar Srivastva gave Rs 1,000 and commendation certificates each to Roomnika Hooda, a resident of Sector 4, Panchkula, Neha Singla, a resident of Sector 12, Panchkula, and Parminder Jaiswal, a resident of Sector 37.

Last evening, Roomnika Hooda and Neha Singla were on their way to Panchkula on their scooter when Gaurav Sharma snatched the purse of Hooda and sped away. Hooda and Neha chased the miscreant and nabbed him with the help of a passerby Parminder Singh.


MC’s Hallmark: Shoddy work, poor planning
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
While the municipal corporation is spending crores of rupees on laying pavement blocks and widening roads annually in the city, it is “clueless” about the quality control, with no policy in place to monitor the work.

The authorities have been frittering away public money in the absence of proper planning or close coordination among its various wings.

This is evident from the fact that in Sector 34, the road wing of the MC has dug the same road four times in the past two months for widening and laying of pavement blocks. The work has still not been completed.

Even the tiles laid along the road two days ago have developed cracks.

Also, the work is being carried out in the most irresponsible manner as labourers have damaged underground electricity cables during digging, leaving them exposed near the internal park. This has resulted in resentment among residents as children play there regularly.

The grills put up on the boundary of the park have also been damaged during the digging work.

UT former chief engineer JS Kohli alleges that the quality of work in various parts of the city indicates the absence of quality check by the authorities.

A majority of private contractors who have been allotted the work have been using raw material of poor quality.

Pointing out the lack of coordination among the various departments of the corporation, he says the work that should have been completed within a fortnight has been lingering on for over two months.

During the general house meeting of the corporation, Chief Engineer SS Bidda had claimed that random checks to monitor the quality of work at project sites were being carried out by the authorities.

While the residents have no objection to the work, they are infuriated at the callousness of the construction officials and workers who have been causing them undue problems.

They lament that while digging the ground in front of the entrance to their houses, the workers had promised to make some temporary arrangements for their smooth passage. However, they have left without keeping their “word”.



Issue of sweeping machines to rock MC House meet 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The issue of paying extra amount of Rs 32 lakh for the purchase of three sweeping machines is likely to rock the General House meeting of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation on April 21, as the authorities have failed to give a satisfactory explanation to the sanitation committee during a special meeting held here today.

The burning issue was that how the department could pay extra amount to the company without taking prior permission from the MC House.

Meanwhile, the MC authorities today clarified that they had recovered Rs 14 lakh from the company this year out of the Rs 5.42 crore paid by the MC. Resultantly, the three machines cost the MC Rs 5.27 crore.

The medical health officer purchased three road sweeping machines through a single tender in 2008 by paying Rs 32 lakh extra to the while ignoring the total sanctioned amount Rs 5.10 crore by the MC house. Members of the committee inquired why after two years the authorities were seeking approval for paying the extra amount of Rs 32 lakh. They don’t have powers to approve the amount over Rs 15 lakh, said the members. 



Reduction in building map fee proposed
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, April 18
The Zirakpur Municipal Council has recommended reduction in building map fee and has sent a proposal to the local bodies for approval.

Earlier, the council had increased the fee of building map for commercial and residential sites from March 1. This was stated by Zirakpur MC president Narinder Kumar Sharma at a council meeting here today.

The other agendas had been passed and forwarded for approval. During the meeting, NK Sharma said the civic body had hiked the building map fee in March this year as per the orders of the local government.

After increasing the charges, less number of people had come forward for the approval of building map fee affecting the revenue of the council.

Sharma said, now the council had decided to charge Rs 700 per sq yard for commercial sites instead of Rs 2,800 sq yard and increase 20 per cent rates in last year charges for residential sites.

From March 1, the building map approval fee for residential sites has been increased to Rs 323 per sq yard for plots of all sizes.

For commercial sites, the rate has been increased from Rs 350 per sq yard to Rs 2,815 per sq yard.

The council also sent a proposal to start e-governance for better services. Describing the benefits of the e-governance, Sharma said the project was aimed to bring large scale improvement in the delivery of services benefiting the citizens. He said the e-governance will have single window solution for citizens and 8 am to 8 pm service on all days expect Sundays.

The council has decided to charge Rs 2.50 paise per sq yard, as building map fee for religious structures in the area. To meet the demand of water supply, the council is also planning to instal three new tubewells at Harmilap Nagar and Pabhat and six new generators for tubewells. 



Adviser wants to replicate Delhi’s ‘Bhagidari’ in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
With a view to put an institutional mechanism to redress people’s grievances in place, Adviser to the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator KK Sharma wants to replicate Delhi government’s much-touted citizen-government partnership initiative - the Bhagidari system - in Chandigarh.

In an informal chat with The Tribune, Sharma said here today the feedback received from general public could go a long way in implementing various projects.

The Public Works Department (PWD), of which Sharma was the Principal Secretary before his posting here, was one of the pioneers of promoting a meaningful partnership between the government and the public for provision of civic services.

Various issues, including the preservation and maintenance of heritage buildings in Chandigarh, tackling traffic woes, environmental concerns and providing efficient and affordable public transport, could be tackled in a better way through administration-public interface, he said.

Meanwhile, PC Sanghi, chairman of the Federation of Sector

Welfare Associations, an apex body of the residents welfare association, who met Sharma today, said the new Adviser was “favourably inclined” to people’s participation in decision-making. 



Far from Singapore dreams, residents stay in filthy conditions
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, April 18
Sanitation is in a bad state here much to the annoyance of residents, who have been shown dreams by the SAD-BJP government of making the town into another Singapore. Heaps of garbage, dry leaves and garden waste is a common sight in the town. Even the footpaths, along the main roads can be seen strewn with filth and polythene bags. Unhygienic conditions prevail near garbage collection points in various parts of the town.

Garbage was seen lying along the main road next to the mango garden on the road leading from Franco hotel towards Phase IV, on the road separating Phase III B 1 and Phase VII. The condition of the footpath outside the Rose Garden in Phase III B 1 and Bougainvillea Garden in Phase IV was in pathetic state, as the area was littered with polythene bags and filth.

Phool Raj Singh, former municipal councillor living in Phase VII, said: “Nothing in the name of sanitation existed in the town.” Sweeping by safai workers was done once a week even when this work was to be carried out on a daily basis as per the contract. Requests had to be made to get the locality cleaned. Garbage was often seen scattered near the dumping points. Curb channels were filled with wild growth. The sanitation was so poor, as there was no supervision by the authorities concerned.

On April 13, a former municipal councillor Kuljit Singh Bedi, in a letter to the Commissioner, stated that safai workers were not seen for the past 10 to 15 days in various localities.

When they tried to clean certain areas they collected heaps of dried leaves and set them on fire violating the norms.

This lead to pollution all around thereby affecting the health of the residents.

Bedi had urged the Commissioner to strictly direct contractors concerned to improve the state of sanitation in the next 10 days, failing which he would be compelled to stage a dharna, along with residents.

Former municipal councillors had been making a hue and cry about the state of sanitation in the town at almost every monthly meeting of the council, but not much improvement was brought about.

After the civic body was given the status of a corporation, former councillors had brought to the notice of all the three commissioners appointed in the past, about the fact that sanitation was in a state of neglect in the town from the past three months.

Meanwhile, the executive officer in charge of sanitation work was not available for comments.

The work of sanitation, which was divided into two parts for bringing about an improvement, has been allotted to three contractors for Rs 2.27 crore. While the first part of the contract includes cleaning the town, including the curb channels, the second one is related to lifting of garbage from collection points.

The town had been divided in four zones for cleaning purposes. Zone one includes Phases I, II, III, IV and VI, zone two of Phases III A, III B 1, III B 2 , VII and VIII, Zone three will have Phases IX to XI , Sector 48-C and Industrial Area Phase IX. Sectors 70, 71, Phase V and Industrial Area Phases VII and VIII will be under Zone four.



Nagla becoming more of tourist hot spot, courtesy Avtar Singh
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, April 18
The remote hamlet of Nagla, some two kilometers away from Zirakpur, is turning out to be a tourist hot spot. And, the man who has made all this happen is Avtar Singh Nagla.

The self-styled politician, who lost the Punjab Vidhan Sabha polls 4 years back, is perched on a tree for the fourth consecutive day now. He is demanding action on his complaints in the land sale matter. From day one Nagla has made it clear that he would climb down the tree only after having face-to-face dialogue with the Punjab Chief Minster Parkash Singh Badal.

A visibly distraught Nagla says he has lost trust in the administrative machinery and is not even waiting for the Chief Minister to come now. “I will descend once my demands are met”, asserts Nagla.

His “comfort zone” is attracting visitors from all over, including Panchkula, Chandigarh, and near by areas. Not wanting to miss the “history in making”, people also drove in their cars. The windows were rolled down for felicitating the little ones to see the action. Among the visitors are school children for them seeing Nagla atop the tree is nothing less than picnic. Cashing in on the situation are vendors. As the crowd is swelling by the day, ice cream vendors have found a place for themselves in the vicinity.

Looking after his own comforts, Nagla today called for a mosquito repellant coil. He continuous to enjoy his healthy appetite and in the morning, he had stuffed pranaths along with fruits.

The day also saw supporters raising slogans against Punjab government and the local administration. Some of the supporters are contemplating holding of a community kitchen tomorrow.

The former Akali leader has been atop the tree since Friday morning protesting against the administration. Though the administration did turn up at the spot this did not dishearten Nagla. In the evening, SDM Puneet Goyal and the Tehsildar visited the spot where they offered Nagla to have a talk with Mohali DC Varun Runjam who persuaded him to come down and end his protest as they would arrange time for his meeting with the Chief Minister but Avtar remained adamant.

Claims Anna Hazare’s team contacted him

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Avtar Singh Nagla claims that after reading the news about his protest, team members of Anna Hazare talked to him over the phone. He claims that a team from Delhi is likely to visit him on Tuesday and he will discuss his issues with them.



Farmers block Barwala-P’kula NH
Demand solution to tension between two warring groups at Bataud village
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 18
Farmers unions supporting Dalits of Bataud today blocked the Barwala-Panchkula national highway No 73 in protest against the indifferent attitude of the district administration.

SDM KK Kalson and the Deputy Superintendent of Police (HQ) rushed to the village to defuse the situation. They assured the protestors that meeting in this regard was being held to resolve the prevailing tension between the two warring groups in Bataud village near Barwala. The officers told them to maintain calm till a solution was found to the contentious issues.

Farmers were agitated over the way the issue was being dealt by the district administration. They wanted the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police to visit the village and listen to the grievances of the aggrieved Dalit community of the village.

The farmers lifted the blockade after the officials told them that it would be a futile exercise on the part of the authorities if they visited the village without any possible solution to the contentious issue.

It is notable here that even though the district administration had formed a five-member committee under the chairmanship of Kalson but the Dalits in the village were dissatisfied over its functioning. Local MLA DK Bansal had also visited the village yesterday assuring his full support to their cause and further assured them that he would take up the matter with Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda to resolve the issue.

The Dalits of Bataur village had been complaining that the majority community of the village were terrorising them.

They said that their children have been forced to stay indoors during evening hours fearing violence. 



Unhygienic conditions ail P’kula dispensaries
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 18
Lack of space and unhygienic conditions in the two out of the 11 dispensaries in Panchkula speaks volumes of the healthcare facilities here.

The situation has gone from bad to worse as the food and drug controller office is also running from the dispensary in Sector 20. Piles of files could be seen stored in the corridors of the dispensary, including the passage to the stinking washrooms in the complex.

The passage to the medicine storeroom in the dispensary is through the record room of the food and drug controller office and the authorities in the dispensary face problem in getting the medicine as the room is closed on Saturday.

What to speak of safe drinking water, there is no water available in the washrooms in the dispensary as the overhead tanks are damaged and need replacement. The power points in the hospital are out of order and the authorities have to make arrangement for providing power supply to the machines with the help of extension cables or by seeking the services of the electricians on their own.

Besides, wastewater from the neighbouring Fatehpur village also flows through the dispensary area as he boundary wall is damaged. The windowpanes are also broken as the children trespass on the dispensary premises to play cricket. Sources said they had taken up the matter with the higher authorities, but to no avail.

When contacted, Civil Surgeon VK Bansal said the matter was in his knowledge and he had already taken up the matter with PWD officials. He said the renovation work would start as soon as the files are cleared. He said the food and drug control office is likely to be shifted from the dispensary soon.

Similar is the situation in the Sector 11 dispensary where stinking washrooms, stray cattle and dogs greet visitors.

While there are around 11 dispensaries in Sectors 4, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12-A, 20, 21, 25, Mansa Devi Complex and Mata Mansa Devi Shrine, there is only one dispensary (Sector 25) for seven Sectors and many villages and police lines across Ghaggar river. Most of the old sectors in the first phase of the city, including Sectors 6, 9, 18, 12, 16 and 17 also don’t have healthcare facility. Each sector has about 1,500 houses with a total population of 2.1 lakh.



Nanakpur health centre cries for staff 
Hemant Kumar

Kalka, April 18
The Nanakpur Primary Health Centre (PHC) in the Pinjore block is facing acute shortage of staff.

Official sources confirmed that the posts of staff nurse, two ANMs, a sweeper and health supervisors (male and female) have been lying vacant since long. Repeated reminders to the health department authorities have also fallen on deaf ears.

INLD leader Advocate Vijay Bansal said that against the sanctioned strength of two doctors, the PHC has only one doctor. He said the lone doctor is not sufficient to handle rush of patients visiting the PHC, which caters to more than 30,000 villagers of 45 panchayats of the Pinjore block and some of the adjoining villages of Himachal Pradesh. Before the opening of the Nanakpur PHC, villagers had to go to Kalka or Pinjore for medical aid.

Bansal alleged that there was no lady doctor in the PHC. The Haryana Health Department had recently provided the rural health centres with delivery huts, but the Nanakpur PHC is deprived of delivery equipments.

Three sub-centres of Madhanwala, Karanpur and Basaulan are working under the Nanakpur PHC. The Nanakpur PHC was to be equipped with latest health equipment and facilities. The PHC has a sanctioned strength two doctors, including a lady doctor, a dental surgeon, an ayurvedic doctor, three female multipurpose health workers (MPHW), three male multipurpose health supervisor (MPHS), a lab technician, a pharmacist, a staff nurse, two class IV employees and two sweepers.



‘Bholaram Ka Jeev’ staged to perfection
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, April 18
Two stories authored by eminent writers, titled “Dou Kahanian” with a theme of socio-cultural relevance were staged by a group of young actors under the aegis of CEVA at the Randhawa Auditorium here today.

Conceptualised, designed and directed by Parveen Jaggi, the opening story “Bholaram Ka Jeev” by Harishankar Parsai documented the rampant corruption in every sphere of life, society or governance.

The writer had borrowed the mythological characters to juxtapose the evils and explosive truths in a lighter vein, but with serious intentions.

It depicted the plight of rampant corruption through the story of a dead clerk Bholaram running from pillar to post even after his death- a symbolic of the unabated and incurable curse.

The other story “Kufr Ki Mohr” by Mohinder Singh Sarna was very serious and dealt with a sensitive issue of religious bigotry and crass Communalism in the backdrop of haunting pangs of the Partition.

The story nicely enacted presented the catastrophic quandaries of Bakar Hussain and his wife Zeenath, who are representatives of the entire generation lost to the gory cataclysm of the Partition.

Young actors, especially versatile Shiva Sihag brought alive the character of a mother and Zeenat to perfection in both stories. Rajneesh Sharma, Ishwer Thakur Jatin Monga and Vivek Saini played other roles.

Actors made instantaneous shifts to diverse characters. At times, the loud music, which, otherwise, was soothing, eclipsed the dialogues.

Thespians GS Channi and Amrik Gill graced the programme and lauded the efforts of director Parveen Jaggi and actors.



Snake greets new City Magistrate

Panchkula, April 18
A snake strayed into the office of the City Magistrate who took charge today. It was around 11.30am when one of the staff members sighted the snake in the retiring room attached to the office and raised an alarm.

City Magistrate Aurbind Sharma and other staff members came out of the office and the district wildlife staff was called, they reached the spot after an hour. Wildlife official Rakesh Kumar said that the snake was non-poisonous. The incident created panic among the staff members who remained on their toes for over two hours. — TNS



Exam Reforms at PU
Students to get access to answersheets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Taking a cue from the recent incidents of students accusing teachers of intentionally failing them, Panjab University has decided to facilitate showing of answersheets to students of all departments, excluding the department of law.

In what comes to fore as a revolutionary step in PU’s examination system rendering it an altogether new height of transparency, the PU Vice-Chancellor has extended this facility, available in science departments, to all departments now.

“We have nothing to hide and I think students will now be able to appreciate teacher’s judgment better. We cannot do it for the law department for professional regulations preventing the same. It will also bring a steep decrease in re-evaluation cases, as the students will be in a better position to decide whether or not to go in for the re-evaluation,” said Sobti.

Addressing the problem of delayed results in some subjects, the VC also declared that the semester results would be declared by July 31 and December 31 and would be displayed on respective department’s notice boards.

The university has also decided to grant a complete autonomy to its departments to set their own datesheets.

“With more and more professional courses coming in, the academic calendar stands different for everybody. The departments are best judges to decide about examinations keeping in view the placement and training months so we have now given them the power to decide,” added Sobti.

Two UMC committees have also been formed, one will be headed by Justice (retd) Verma and the second will be headed by Justice (retd) MS Gujral, both of whom have accepted this assignment as a part of their civic duty and will not be taking any stipend for the same.



PU to waive prospectus fee for poor students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Following the Chandigarh Tribune’s report highlighting the plight of poor applicants facing the brunt of costly admission process at Panjab University, the authorities have decided to waive the price of prospectus for poor and deserving students.

Addressing a press conference organised by Panjab University Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti, dean student welfare (DSW) Naval Kishore announced that the cost of the form would be adjusted in the first semester fee after their admissions.

“We have priced our CET forms at Rs 1,800 as it includes charges for counselling, entrance test, printing, setting and evaluation. Other universities have lower prices because they charge separately for all these services. As regards to our open courses, the forms for these are available online free of cost. The university also goes out of its way to help the needy students in continuing with their education,” said RC Sobti.

The Vice-Chancellor also claimed that though PU was providing good facilities to students, it had not raised its tuition fee in the last four years, though it has been decided to affect a 10 per cent increase in the fee structure as per the government regulations.

It was brought to fore that the PU’s prospectus and admission process was probably the costliest in the entire region, the authorities, however, asserted that no such comparisons should be drawn.



Ru-ba-Ru on April 23
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
In a unique endeavour, nine first year students from the PEC University of Technology have decided to organise an interactive session with prospective admission seekers to PEC and various other engineering colleges.

The session named “Ru-ba-Ru” will be held on April 23 at Raffles Millennium, Sector 25, at 11 am. The session aims at helping students attempting various competitive exams highlighting the need of balanced mindset and right attitude. The group had earlier conducted a mock AIEEE in four major cities of Punjab (Chandigarh, Patiala, Bhatinda and Hoshiarpur).



School adopts 17 slum children
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
As a part of its corporate social responsibility, Gurukul Vidyapeeth today adopted 17 students of the Theatre Age, an NGO working for the upliftment of slum children.

At a function organised at Government High School, Sector 24, DPI (Schools) Sandeep Hans felicitated the students, who appeared in Class X examinations in the academic session 2010-11.

Manmohan Garg, CEO of Gurukul Vidyapeeth, said the students had been adopted for professional courses run by the institute under its flagship “Each one teach one” programme. He appealed to society to recommend the poor but brilliant students to Gurukul Vidyapeeth for free education.

Theatre Age president Zulfiqar Khan said the Theatre Age had been working for the upliftment of needy children for the past about 18 years. Every year these students had shown good results in the board examinations with the assistance of teachers and professionals from other walks of life.



From Schools

Religion’s week
Staff and students of Satluj Public School celebrated the religion’s week to mark various festivals and religious ceremonies during the week. Starting the week with Aasthmi Pooja, an assembly was held to mark Ram Naumi to inform the significance of Navratras to students. Similarly, an assembly was held on the eve of Baisakhi and Dr Ambedkar Jayanti. The celebrations of Mahavir Jayanti culminated the religious week, the release said.

Ramp walk: Special functions, including a ramp walk, for students and their parents was organised at Sky School on Monday. Directors Manu Bhandari and Amit Sihag and principal Sunita Kaul also spoke on the occasion.

Competitions: The 147th birth anniversary of Mahatma Hansraj was celebrated at Hansraj Public School in which more than 300 students from different schools of the tricity participated in various competitions organised here on Monday. A series of competitions such as veda mantra uccharan, bhajan, hawan, declamation, quiz, essay writing and painting were held on the occasion keeping with the Mahatma’s philosophy of all-round development. The overall trophy was bagged by DAV Public School, Surajpur. Regional director, Dr Puneet Bedi, who presided over the function, appreciated the efforts put by the students in organising the function. Principal Jaya Bhardwaj also lauded the efforts of the children.

Students gaze at stars; Zirakpur: A total of 150 students of Dikshant International School here today got an opportunity to go on the Students of Dikshant International School watch star-studded sky with a high-powered telescope at Zirakpur terrace of the school to see the star-studded sky. The sky gazing night was organised by the International Space Society in association with Pushpa Gujral Science City, Jalandhar. A team of experts from International Space Society and Pushpa Gujral Science City organised the “Night Sky” tour through high powered telescopes for students from Class IVth to Xth. Students found the star studded sky not only beautiful but also bewildering. — TNS
Students of Dikshant International School watch star-studded sky with a high-powered telescope at Zirakpur on Monday. A Tribune photograph



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