C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Assault on naib court: Lawyers move anticipatory bail plea
HC directs Registrar to prepare fact-finding report
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
Apprehending arrest, all 11 advocates, accused of assaulting the police constable posted as a naib court in the district courts last Saturday, moved an anticipatory bail plea in the court today. The bail applications will come up for hearing tomorrow in the district courts.

Meanwhile, Judicial Magistrate Parvinder Singh, in whose courtroom the naib court was assaulted before being dragged outside, apprised the Punjab and Haryana High Court of the incident through a report today. The High Court has directed the Registrar to prepare a fact-finding report in this regard.

The accused advocates, who moved the bail plea include Parminder Singh, Gaurav Kathuria, Malkit Jandiala, Vipin Negi, Baljit Singh, alias Balli, Gaggan Aggarwal, Ashok Chauhan, Harinder Thakur, Satinder Passia, Manish Chaudhary and Ajay Sood. They have been booked under various Sections including rioting, criminal intimidation and obstructing public servant from discharge of duties.

The advocates had on May 14 barged into the courtroom and assaulted naib court Ram Karan avenging an attack on their colleague Harinder Singh in Mauli Jagran. The advocates had bashed up Ram Karan as he came out of the courtroom in police security in full public view.

The police had registered a case of rioting, criminal intimidation, obstructing government servant from discharge of duties under various Sections of the IPC in the Sector 17 police station. No arrests have been made so far.

Police sources said they would strongly oppose the anticipatory bail plea in court tomorrow.

Besides, various rounds of meeting were held with bar association members and advocates.

Some of the senior advocates also met with Judicial Magistrate (First Class) Parvinder Singh and District and Sessions judge SK Goel in connection with this matter.



Proposed course of canal to be realigned
Removing hurdles facing other projects
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune news service

Mohali, May 16
In a significant development the Punjab government has decided to realign the proposed course of the virtually defunct Dasmesh canal project, the delay in implementing which was impeding the urban planning process in Mohali. The immediate beneficiary of the move would be 44 residential plot holders in Sector 80 who had been earlier asked to look for alternative sites by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) as their plots were coming in the way of the land reserved for the canal.

The decision will also have ramifications on other projects, both government and private, coming around the land reserved for the project that is being executed by the state irrigation department. Sources close to the Punjab government said the decision to realign the canal course was taken by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal at a recent meeting.

GMADA estate officer Mohali Balbir Singh said the government’s decision had been conveyed to the irrigation department. Presently the stretch of the proposed course passing through Sector 80 is being realigned as some of the allottees of residential plots who had already commenced construction work were told to opt for alternative sites. The affected allottees have accused GMADA officials of “harassing” them.

The sources said it was not only the case of Sector 80, but the land reserved for the canal had also disturbed the planning of the Aerocity project. A 100-foot wide strip of land acquired for the canal by the irrigation department passes through various sectors of the greater Mohali area, including Sectors 80 and 81. It had interfered with the planning of Knowledge City in Sector 81 and GMADA had to reallot the land to the Indian School of Business in that prestigious project. The canal has also upset the planning of a number of mega projects envisaged in the Mohali master plan in Sectors 82, 85, 86, 97, 106 and 109. The canal’s alignment is also coming in the way of the Chandigarh-Morinda rail track. Irrigation department officials said any government agency undertaking planning in the area acquired for the canal is asked to keep in mind the latter’s alignment. Rather, other government departments are asked to remove encroachments on the canal land, they added.



Truck driver’s body found
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
The body of a 28-year-old truck driver was recovered under mysterious circumstances from a truck parked at Mandi Ground near the transit camp in Ram Darbar in Sector 31 this afternoon.

The victim’s purse, mobile phone and watch were found to be missing from near his body. The body was found spattered in blood and there were injury marks on head, hands and right eye. The police is yet to register a case of murder and said the picture would be clear only after the postmortem report.

The victim has been identified as Rakesh Kumar, a resident of Kangra in Himachal Pradesh. The body was identified on the basis of the driving licence recovered from his pocket. Police said he was unmarried and is survived by his parents.

Investigations revealed that Rakesh Kumar had arrived in the city from Jalandhar last night after dropping off a consignment.

His body was noticed lying in the truck by the truck owner, Raj Kumar, a Mohali resident, in the afternoon. Raj Kumar told the police that Rakesh was working with him for the last three months.

He further told the police that he spoke to Rakesh last night and ever since his mobile was found to be switched off. He then started a search for him when he saw his truck in the Mandi Ground and was shocked to see the blood-spattered body of Rakesh lying in it. He then called the police.

The police said the body appeared to be eight hours old, which means he had died late last night.

The body has been kept at the mortuary of Government Multi-Speciality Hospital in Sector 16 and the post mortem would be conducted tomorrow.



PEC ‘cream’ faces peculiar situation
Attendance shortage blocks entry to IIMs
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
Missing classes to crack the challenging common admission test (CAT) and appearing for admission to the prestigious Indian Institutes of Managements (IIMs) has cost the prestigious electronics branch students of the local PEC University of Technology dear.

Out of the 66 students of the electronics department of PEC, 60 have failed to meet the minimum criteria of 55 per cent attendance in their laboratory, according to the first list of such candidates released by the department. In addition, 29 students of the same batch have failed to meet the attendance criteria in the computer architecture subject.

Students who have got admission in top B-schools of the country, including the prestigious IIMs, are now facing a peculiar situation - uncertainty over whether they would be passed in their final semester exam by the PEC authorities in the wake of their attendance shortage.

Unwilling to be quoted out of fear of facing action against their children, certain “angered” parents claim that the authorities must not be “rigid” in dealing with students who have shown excellent performance and have got admission in top B-Schools. PEC officials, on the other hand, say that rules cannot be bent to accommodate students.

Even as the PEC electronics department today accepted interview letters of nearly 30 students who missed classes because of MBA interviews, students and their parents continue to remain tense ahead of the release of the final list scheduled for release on Tuesday by the department.

“From 8:30 am until 5 pm, students were seen running from pillar to post to get medical certificates to account for their lecture shortage. It is difficult to understand this strange attitude by PEC when these students have already brought laurels to the institute. These students will eventually end up getting stressed and tense. Who would be responsible?” asked a worried parent.

“We have pleaded to the teachers to hold extra classes for us or give us more assignments to help us compensate for the missed lectures. The condition of our laboratory is so bad that even the teachers do not sit there. It is extremely hot inside and there is no proper infrastructure,” said a student, who got admission into 
an IIM.

“Students got panicky when the first and tentative list was released. The final official list will be put up on Tuesday.

Although the department is cooperating with students within the framework of PEC rules, students are still panicky as only 50 per cent students could manage to clear 
their case today,” said a student of the final semester batch.



Bid to block highway
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 16
High drama was witnessed at the Housing Board Chowk late in the evening here today when about two dozen persons belonging to a community tried to block the Chandigarh-Shimla highway in protest against the arrest of a member of their community.

However, a posse of policemen immediately reached the site and thwarted their attempt to block the road.

According to information, the Mani Majra police had arrested one Shahnawaj for forcibly occupying a shop.

A case in this regard was registered by the police on the complaint of the owner of the shop.

Irked over the police action, about 25 members of the community tried to block the road in protest against the arrest of Shahnawaz.



86.43 pc literacy rate in Chandigarh

Chandigarh has a literacy rate of 86.43 pc. In 2001, it was 81.9 pc and the city has now slipped from the sixth position to the eighth at the national level. Other Union Territories besides Chandigarh in literacy rate, Lakshwadeep (92.28 pc), Daman and Diu (87.07 per cent) and Puducherry (86.55 pc).

The 2011 census figures put the figure of male and female literacy at 90.54 pc and 81.38 per cent, respectively, which is in contrast to 86.1 pc male literacy and 76.5 per cent female literacy recorded in the 2001 census.


Rotary function

The Rotary Club of Chandigarh on Monday felicitated former world president of Rotary International Rajendra K. Saboo on completing 50 years of service to humanity. He is credited with having started numerous service projects within the city, including donation of a funeral van to the city Red Cross way back in 70s and a blood donation van to the PGI, building of the Rotary PGI serai, setting up of an international dolls museum in Bal Bhavan, Rotary Vocational Training Centre, to name a few. One of the major projects initiated locally in 1998 was the “Gift of Life” under the project free heart surgery is provided to children from economically backward background. The Rotary Club released a commemorative volume “Reflections” on this occasion that contained messages of the senior Rotarians from across the world.


Five persons were arrested for consuming liquor in Sector 8 market. The police arrested five persons for consuming liquor at public place from Sector 8 market on Sunday night. A case section 68-1-14 of the Excise Act has been registered at the Sector 3 police station. Those arrested have been identified as Gujraj, resident of Shivalik Enclave, Kansal, Moti Ram, Munshi Lal and Pappu Pal, all residents of Kaimbwala village, Chandigarh.


Two unidentified youths on a scooter snatched a gold chain from a Sector 40 resident today. The victim, Usha Rani, told the police that occupants of a scooter sped away after snatching her gold chain with locket while she was standing near her house. The registration number of the scooter could not be noted down. In the second incident, a group of unidentified persons assaulted a Jharkhand resident and escaped with his mobile phone. Baleshwar Bharti, was allegedly attacked by around six persons near Sukhna Bridge in Hallo Majra. They fled after snatching his mobile. The police was informed and the victim was rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital in Sector 32. The police is clueless in both the cases.


As many as 40 stray dogs were vaccinated and those who were suffering from skin diseases, were given immediate treatment at the anti-rabies free camp. The camp was organised by the Municipal Corporation along with NGOs, including Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, People for Animals in Sector 19 in order to make the city rabies free and to implement the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001. At the camp those dogs who required to be treated in hospital were taken by the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Hospital for treatment.

Joint replacement unit goes hi-tech

The joint replacement unit of the Fortis Hospital, Mohali, has gone hi-tech.“Technology plus surgical expertise is the future for innovation in joint replacements,” says Dr Manuj Wadhwa, director and head of the unit. “Today a combination of technology, expertise, sterile and well-monitored environment as well as customised physiotherapy can give accurate and long lasting results,” he added.

The hospital has recently acquired the “fourth generation computer assisted surgery (CAS) machine” with the latest software, which will be utilised for computer-aided surgery, which has the proven benefits of faster and more accurate surgical technique.

Dr Manuj Wadhwa said, “This technology coupled with high performance instrumentation helps to virtually eliminate chances of implant misalignments, results in more accurate bone cuts and reduces blood loss, therefore, significantly reducing overall surgical time and post-operative recovery period. It also helps to create a 3-D image of the joint, which helps in better soft tissue balancing and resulting in better alignment and therefore increased life of the implant. All this translates into higher flexion (like squatting and sitting cross legged), which are essential parts of the lifestyle of Indian patients.”


Gian Jyoti Public School, Phase 2, Mohali, organised a seminar on “Power Saving Awareness” in the school auditorium with celebration with Punjab State power Corporation, Mohali Unit. Speaking on the occasion a senior official from the Punjab State power Corporation Ishar Singh said, “We are celebrating “Energy conservation fortnight from May 2 to May 18 and we have come to the school to make students aware about power saving.”

Shifting of school site

The Punjab government has decided to shift the site of Government Elementary School from Phase 3 A to Madanpur village. Sharing the information, a former senior vice -president of the Mohali civic body Harmanpreet Singh Prince said as a tempoarry arrangement, 300 students of the school had been given two rooms at the Mandir in Manadpur village. Free books and stationery were distributed free to the students.

Yoga camps

Three yoga camps will be organised by Patanjali Yog Samiti, Panchkula, from May 18 to 22 opposite H.No. 342, Sector 8 stadium in V. Raipur Rani and opposite house no 669 Sector 10 from May 19 to 23. Trained yoga teachers will hold 5-day camps and the timings will be from 5am to 6.30 am.


BB Kochar, of the Sector 7 market association has been appointed as the chairman of the District Panchkula Beopar Mandal. Hailing his appointment the members of various market committees and the Beopar Mandal thanked Bajrang Dass Garg, chairman, Confed and Haryana Pradesh Beopar Mandal.



Classical dancers mesmerise audience
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, May 16
Well-known bharatanatyam exponent Suchitra Mitra led her 35 old and new disciples of Padam Institute for a captivating dancing spell at the Randhwa auditorium here today. The programme was inaugurated by Sameer Mathur, Home Secretary, Haryana, which commenced with a Ganesh Stuti, followed by Todayam, an invocatory dance performed by her senior disciples.

Young dancers, Vrinda, Radha, Fizaa and Shivangi performed Allarippu and Jatiswaram, as Sumita, Ishika and Shruti, along with Suchitra paid obeisance to Lord Vishnu in “Jai Janaki Ramana” by delineating all avtars. A new and vibrant choreography “Jai Mahesh” by Suchitra, performed by Sumita and Shruti won applause. Suchitra, however, was at her best in abhinaya item portraying Vipralabhdha Nayaka, besides scintillating dance number Tillana. Sameer Mathur honoured the artistes.



Kitchen budget goes for a toss
With an increase in the prices of almost all essential commodities, including milk, pulses, vegetables and fruits, managing the kitchen budget has become a daunting task for housewives
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
In the last one year, an average increase of 25 to 35 per cent in the kitchen budget of an average household has been witnessed, which includes services charges of maidservants. An interaction with a few homemakers revealed that there was a sense of helplessness and anguish among them on the issue of price hike, particularly when it has started affecting essential commodities like vegetables, sugar, pulses and now milk.

Fruit, say most housewives, has become luxury now with their escalating prices. Hike of Rs 2 per litre in the price of milk has increased the kitchen budget by Rs 150-Rs 200 per month for an average household.

A spiralling effect is expected in the prices of milk products following a modest hike in milk prices.

Some respondents said even the cost of tiffin, which is available on order and is supplied by some housewives from home, has shot up from Rs 25 to 35 per meal.

“Milk and fruit are two essential things that cannot be removed from diet. There is no substitute for both. For a housewife, it has become a wonder how to run the kitchen. Earlier, it was a common practice to cook a dal for dinner, but now with the escalating prices of pulses and other items, one would think twice before preparing a meal. What could be a worse situation to run a kitchen?” questioned Sippy, a homemaker and a resident of Sector 21.

Experts say that prices of most brands of refined oil have shot up by Rs 5 per litre two months ago, butter is expensive by Rs 10 per kg and price of domestic LPG cylinder, which has been Rs 355 for a year, is likely to go up in a few days. 

Difficult to manage

“Be it milk, sugar, rice, vegetables or fruits, prices of every kitchen item has increased in last one year. It has become difficult to manage the kitchen budget. The service charges of maids have also doubled. Even prices of pulses have increased. How can one replace pulses in the diet? Hike in milk prices has pinched the common man the most. With children in almost every household, one cannot do without milk. As if this was not enough, the government is likely to increase the prices of LPG , which would further burn a hole in the pocket of the common man. With the hike in petrol prices, even the three-wheelers and rickshaw pullers will increase their charges. Is there any end to the monstrous price rise? — Gagan, a homemaker, Sector 44

No compromise

“As a homemaker, I felt extremely disturbed over the hike in milk price. It is very hard to alter your kitchen budget every month. The upper middle class or even the middle class can still cope with this hike. But what about the lower middle class? How are they expected to survive in this scenario? One cannot compromise on the quality food products. The price rise is not only affecting the kitchen budget, it is hampering our children’s growth. The service charges of maids have also increased from Rs 300 to Rs 500 per month.

— Jyotishna, homemaker, Phase VII, Mohali



speak Out
Petrol price hike not justified 

Residents have flayed the government for enforcing a steep hike of ` 5 on petrol price. Venting their ire against the authorities, they said this would upset their monthly budget at the time when prices of essential commodities are already hitting the roof. Akash Ghai and lensman Manoj Mahajan met a cross section of people for their reaction. 

“The recent hike of Rs 5 in petrol price is a blow to the common man. It’s tough to cope with the situation as every second day you see increase in petrol prices. I am a small-time businessman and my work depends on my scooter largely. With the petrol at Rs 65 per litre now, I find it very difficult to run my business smoothly.”

Chanderpal Singh Rawat, a businessman

“You can see my I am riding a Bullet motorcycle today. And two days ago, I used to drive my Honda City, but I had to make a switch over following hike in petrol prices. If there were another hike, I would have to switch over to scooty. Bet me, I am not the solitary case of this kind. A hike of Rs 5 is hitting and the common man.”

Kuldeep Singh, a city-based businessman

“The hike in the petrol price defies logic at a time when the international oil prices have stabilised. Commuting has become difficult for the common man. It appears that politicians and bureaucrats, who use official vehicles, are least bothered about the burden of oil price hike on the common man.”

Dr Ranjay Vardhan,senior lecturer, Government College for Girls, Sector 42

“I am already spending around Rs 100 daily for commuting to university. I meet this expense out of my pocket money that my parents give me every month. Now, I will have less to spend on other things and will have to cut corners elsewhere.”

Seema Pahwa, a BA-III student of MCM College

“Like many people, I also feel helpless. We all are fed up with the increase of petrol prices every now and then. I use to drive my car for my job, but today I parked it the Sector 17 bus stand and come by bus to Industrial Area for my work. What else should we do, we have to survive.”

Sanjiv Arora, pharmacist

“The hike criminal. If it was necessary, it should have an increase of 50 paise or Re 1. But the hike of Rs 5 is unjustified. Apart from my business requirements, I also use my motorbike to pick up and drop my children to their school.

Amit Chauhan, a shopkeeper at Mauli Jagran

“The hike will impact the household budget as you cannot do away with your day-to-day domestic commitments like going to the market and dropping kids to school and co-curricular activities.

The hike will add to the woes of the already burdened salaried class.

Neetu Kumar, a housewife



City petrol dealers also feel the pinch
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
The steep hike in petrol price has not only left the common man fuming but even local petrol dealers are feeling adversely affected.“We are losing business drastically. A dip of around 40 per cent was witnessed in sale of petrol after a day the hike,” said Amanpreet Singh, owner of a petrol pump in Sector 28.

If compared to this year’s sale of petrol in Chandigarh with that of last year, there is an approximately 30 per cent dip in sale, claimed Amanpreet Singh, who is also the general secretary of the Chandigarh Petrol Dealers’ Association.

“Every hike in the rates has resulted in a dip in sales,” he said adding, “The price of petrol was Rs 47 in February last year. Today it costs Rs 64.17 a litre.”

With the recent hike, the rate of one tanker of fuel is said to have increased by Rs 1 lakh. “This means our investments have increased whereas the margins have remained the same as per quantity of the product. With the dip in sale, our rate of margin has also fallen,” said Arjan Singh, president of the association. Besides, he said, the cost of lubricants has also increased by Rs 18 per litre. “Our commissions are fixed. Hence, the hike is unwelcome by the dealers every time,” said both 
the dealers. 



MC to crack whip against private slaughterhouses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
Cracking a whip against private slaughterhouses in the city, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has decided to shutdown all of them in the coming week.This was decided at the Finance and Contracts Committee meeting held here today under the chairmanship of Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh.

Nominated councillor Dr AP Sanwaria raised the issue that for proper implementation of meat bylaws in the city, it is required that all private slaughterhouses be closed down so that they come to the MC slaughterhouse to cull birds and animals.

Congress councillor Chander Mukhi Sharma questioned as to why the authorities had not constructed a modern bird slaughterhouse, which was approved eight years ago by the General House before implementing the meat bylaws. He said when no hi-tech facilities were available in the existing slaughterhouse located in the Industrial Area, Phase I, why the authorities were forcing the shopkeepers to slaughter animals there. Officials assured the committee that soon private slaughterhouses would be closed down and report about the status of modern slaughterhouse would be submitted.

The issue of misuse of vehicles by MC officials was also raised at the meeting. Members inquired how the MC Commissioner, who was repatriated on April 15, had been using official vehicles till date. Members asked the officials to submit a detailed report on the number of vehicles and about their allotment to officials.

The committee also approved rough cost estimate for providing and fixing interlocking paver blocks on V-6 road in Sector 4, re-carpeting of V-5 road in Sector 22-D, 21-C and V-6 road in Sector 21-D, providing and fixing multi-play system and new design multi-play equipment in various parks in Sector 20 and 45. The committee has also decided to install LED streetlights in future. 



Provide security to witness in kickback case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
Punjab Governor UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil today ordered the IGP to provide security to Municipal Corporation SDO AK Dadwal, prime witness in the infamous engineering department kickback case.

The order came after Dadwal’s father, GC Dadwal, sought protection for his son at the public hearing session on the plea that he was still being threatened for exposing the engineering department corruption case.

Dadwal had deposed in the court against former UT Chief Engineer KK Jerath, former SE KB Sharma, XEN Harsh Kumar and SDO Gurpreet Singh and three middlemen allegedly named in the engineering department scam. As a fallout of his exposure, Dadwal was allegedly trapped by the CBI while allegedly accepting a bribe from a contractor in May 2008. Patil listened to 24 complainants in today's session. Bhupinder Singh, a resident of Sector 19, urged the Administrator to regularise the rear gate of Plot No. 1-B, Sector 19-A, and also complained about the encroachment of rag pickers in the sector gardens and in front of Kali Mata Temple. The Administrator ordered the Deputy Commissioner to look into the matter and find out a solution.

Anupama of Sector 20-A urged the Administrator for a job on compassionate grounds after the death of her husband . The Administrator asked the Home Secretary to help the widow and provide her a job at the earliest. President, Gurdwara Gurmat Sewa Sabha, Sector 45, Chandigarh, met the Administrator in connection with the demolition of the gurdwara and demanded for the land for the same. The Administrator said the matter regarding the allotment of land for religious purpose was in the Supreme Court and the same could be allotted only after the decision of the court. 



Draw for Wembley co-op housing flats stayed
Tribune News Service

The Wembley Cooperative House Building Society in Sector 91, Mohali.
The Wembley Cooperative House Building Society in Sector 91, Mohali. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, May 16
The additional registrar of the Punjab cooperatives department, Chandigarh, has granted interim stay on holding the draw of lots for 62 apartments in the Wembley Cooperative House Building Society, Sector 91.

While granting the stay on an application moved by two flat allottees, Darbara Singh and Sandeep Singh, the additional registrar directed the society’s managing committee as well as the complainants to appear in court before him on May 26.

The complainants had stated that though they were eligible members of the housing society and had already paid Rs 20 lakh within the stipulated time limit, the society had not included their names in the list of eligible members. Hence the society was restrained from holding the draw of lots for flats during the pendency of arbitration proceedings.

On the other hand, the society’s president, Sandeep Singh, asserted the members’ claims were “totally false”. “We’ll produce the records before the registrar”, he said. 



Recreational park project likely to hit roadblock
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 16
The recreational park project of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) is likely to hit a road block as hundreds of illegal houses have come up in Manav Colony in Sector 1, Mansa Devi Complex (MDC), near here.

Violation: A view of the Illegal construction works going on in full swing at Manav Colony in Mansa Devi Complex in Panchkula. Tribune photos: Nitin Mittal

According to sources in HUDA, the authorities have now urged the high court to grant permission to acquire vacant land in the area so that recreational park can be developed in the sector. The phase II park, adjacent to Saketri village, was to be developed like the Fun City near Sector 28, Panchkula, with fun games and a camping site in about 140 acres of land.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had order status quo after about eight to 10 persons, who had constructed houses in Manav colony, had moved the court against the project to be set up under the Mata Mansa Devi Urban Complex Development Plan.

But now 100 illegal odd houses have already come up, and a few are under construction. According to the sources, six marla plots have been carved out by one of the property dealers in the area and was selling these to ignorant persons at the a rate of Rs 3 lakh per marla. As the property rates in the main sectors of the city have seen considerable rise during the past couple of years, people are trying to purchase the plots at cheaper rates to build their dream houses. The plots are being sold through the general power of attorney.

The sources further said that the District Town and Planning (DTP) Department had now started issuing notices to the residents of the colony for violation of the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act, 1952. “In case the occupants fail to move within the stipulated time frame, illegal structures will be demolished”, said a senior HUDA official.

HUDA Administrator RK Kataria said that they had approached the high court to allow them to acquire the vacant land in Phase I and II of Sector 1, MDC, so that compensation could be paid to farmers. He said once they got the permission in this regard, illegal structures would be demolished in order to set up the recreational park.

The Phase I, spread over an area of around 250 acres, would be developed as jogger’s park. The area is located near the regulator end of the Sukhna lake of Chandigarh and will be one of the biggest in Haryana. There will be a special track for the joggers, different areas for sitting and amusement section. In phase II, a number of green belts, water bodies and a special forest area will also be developed in Phase II. 



Ex-minister’s fondness for health portfolio evident
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 16
Even before senior BJP leader Laxmi Kanta Chawla took oath as the Punjab Social Security Minister, her fondness for “health portfolio” was too evident on Sunday. Though she was allocated the Social Security portfolio in the reshuffle on Sunday, she and her supporters organised a get together at the auditorium of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation in Phase VI here.

This is despite the fact that she, along with other BJP ministers and chief parliamentary secretaries, had already put in her papers from the Parkash Singh Badal Government a few days back. However, her rendezvous with the Health Ministry continued even after her swearing
in as the Social Security Minister.

Though no official of the corporation was ready to come on record, sources said her supporters from Amritsar had organised a felicitation ceremony in anticipation of her getting the health portfolio again.

How the premises of the corporation came to be used was still a mystery. Chawla had already gone on record saying that she would not accept the new portfolio and was interested only in the Health Ministry.



PSPCL found guilty of unfair trade practice
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 16
Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has been found guilty of unfair trade practice for harassing a power consumer of Manauli village here on account of theft of electricity after tampering with the metre. The PSPCL’s findings of the theft of electricity by the consumer were found to be baseless. The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum comprising BS Mehandiratta, president, Dr SS Dhaliwal and H Ghuman, both members, also held the corporation responsible for deficiency in services.

Consumer Paramjit Singh, a resident of Manauli village, Mohali, stated that he was paying the consumption bills regularly. On January 7, he received an order under Section 135 of the Electricity Act, 2003, by the PSPCL stating that his meter had been checked and as per the test report of the laboratory, both seals of the meter were found tempered with and thus he had committed theft of electricity. Therefore, he was directed to pay penalty for theft to the tune of Rs 28,729 and compounding charges of Rs 15,000. The consumer, however, contested the notice.

He further stated that the meter had earlier been shifted by the PSPCL from within his house and installed outside his house and at that time also a penalty of Rs.22,250 was imposed on him and which he paid on February 22 under compulsion. A second meter was also removed by the corporation without any reason and without any intimation to him and the new meter was again installed outside his house without his information and thereafter the provisional order was issued. He claimed that he never tampered with the meter in question. He said he was not asked to join by the officials at the time of removal of meter and also at the time of its installation.

Alleging deficiency in service and unfair trade practice, the consumer sought direction to them not to recover the amount of Rs.43,729 demanded vide provisional order of assessment Ex.C-1 and not to disconnect his electricity connection.

The PSPCL in its statement pleaded that the complainant has not approached this forum with clean hands. They have pleaded that the meter of the complainant was sent for checking in the ME Lab, Ropar. and after checking, it was found tampered with. The corporation contested all claims of the consumer.

After hearing both the parties, the forum observed that the impunged provisional order of PSPCL was illegal and it was set aside. Apart from ordering the corporation not to charge the penalty of Rs 28,729 and compounding charges of Rs.15,000, the forum also directed that electricity connection of the consumer may not be disconnected.



‘Gap between practical, theoretical training in schools’
This is the biggest reason for deteriorating quality of education and must be reduced at all costs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
With the coming up of smart classrooms and change in the attitude of tech-savvy students towards schooling, there is also a visible change in the quality of school education in the city. 

The approach with which teachers now handle students has also changed and so has students’ mode of expressing themselves. Neha Miglani spoke to a cross section of educationists like Rakesh Sachdeva, principal, DAV Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 15, Chandigarh, and Dr Harsh Batra, principal, BEd College, Sector 20, Chandigarh, to find out what is lacking and what more can be done to improve the quality of education in schools.



speaking out
‘Ethics among students declining’

School education has undergone metamorphosis over the past decade Quality and quantity of school education not only in this city but throughout the country has undergone a total metamorphosis over the past decade. Holistic development has become the keyword. Syllabus has now become child-friendly. Stress is more on gaining knowledge rather than simple rote learning. Marks have given way to grades and thus have been able to minimise the cut-throat competition among the children in a big way. School is now more of fun, rather than a place of forceful learning. And today’s teacher is more of a facilitator, playing a multifaceted role in the making of each and every individual child bestowed under her care.

— Soma Mukhopadhyay,teacher, Bhavan Vidyalaya, Chandigarh

The curriculum in the city schools has been ideally designed to impart quality education to students. But a lot depend on the role of teachers. To make students fully developed in all aspects of life, city schools are continuously striving not only to make them academically strong but also taking care of their psychological side and their healthy growth. In most schools, they are focusing on overall development of the students rather than being just subject teachers.

— Shangrila Dubey, counsellor, Delhi Public School

Chandigarh is a hub of good educational institutions with a world-class infrastructure, excellent teaching faculty and is catering to the needs of three states- Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab. However, Chandigarh is not getting due recognition in this field. If you look at the top rankings of schools, colleges in India, Chandigarh is hardly on the top. As far as quality education is concerned, it is there but is hardly being publicised. If the quality was not good, there would not have been so many students clearing IIT, IIM and even civil service exams. Media has an important role in highlighting the quality of education being given in the city.

Raina, a parent

A lot needs to be done in the field of education, be it school or higher education. We are good at patronising the learning. While in the age of knowledge, we required to create a generation that can generate knowledge. What to talk of challenging the intelligence of students to help them grow, at times teachers fail to draw the attention of a student in a classroom. See the effort put in to draw attention for a 10-second advertisement and the effort put in by teacher to draw attention for 60 minutes!

— KK Garg,a parent and professor, PEC University of Technology

Education is making a tremendous progress. Today a 15-year-old student would get up in the morning with a ring tone of his cell phone and sleeps at night while listening to music on his MP3. He is not limited to classroom teaching, but is acquainted with SMS, MMS, etc. The face of classroom teaching is changing rapidly and introduction of smart classrooms has been a real change. But what is declining is basic values of humanity in students, their moral values, ethics, tolerance and decency.

— Andrew J Gosain,chairman, St Xavier’s Schools, Chandigarh, Panchkula, Mohali


‘Smaller class size, solution to deteriorating quality of education’

Rakesh Sachdeva, principal, DAV-15

DAV Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 15, runs a Diploma in Education (DCEd) formerly called the Nursery Teacher’s Training (NTT)

What factors contribute in ensuring quality education in educational institutions?

Quality of education being provided in schools has got much to do with the quality of teachers being prepared these days. The gap between theory and practical learning needs to be reduced in all curriculum for teachers training. This gap is the biggest reason for deteriorating quality of education and must be reduced at all costs. This is why the curriculum being offered for the nursery teachers in our school has been re-designed to suit the needs of present times.

What are the challenges that institutions confront in training teachers for this profession?

Values are decreasing and awareness is increasing among students. Teaching itself has become the biggest challenge now. Such is the level of awareness and intolerance among students, that teachers cannot say anything to the students at all. In such a scenario, the role of parents also becomes important. If the teachers tell something to students, but they go home and see exactly the opposite thing, will they be able to absorb what is being taught? Or if the parents constantly negate what is being taught in classrooms, will it work out for students? In such cases, what quality are we talking about?

What according to you is the solution to this situation? How can the quality of education be improved in our schools?

How can we talk of improving quality of education in schools when the class size is of 60 students? Smaller class size ensures that teachers get to spend ample quality time with each student, which is impossible in a class with large number of students. This must be implemented strictly in all schools. Additionally, the teachers must not be given any other duty except teaching or research related work. If the teachers are put on duty for frivolous jobs, do you think they will be able to deliver their 100 per cent?

Apart from changes required at an administrative level, any remedy for teachers to improve the quality of teaching?

Firstly, enough faith must be reposed in a teacher by the school. A teacher must be given the liberty to assess the situation and judge as well as guide the student. An equally important factor is constant interaction between the teachers and parents. Meetings between teachers and parents must be more frequent.

Over the years, has there been any decline in the quality of students who seek admission in your diploma programme for teaching?

The course is being run in this school for the last 20 years and in the last few years, I have not seen any drastic change in the quality of students who get enrolled in this diploma.

However, I think that students who get enrolled in this programme after passing Class XII can understand and learn this curriculum better once they graduate.

Although the course work being offered in DCEd is far more comprehensive and upgraded than what is being taught in BEd colleges.

‘Teachers must be regular, punctual’

— Dr Harsh Batra, principal, BEd College, Sector 20

Do you feel that the quality of education has declined in educational institutes, particularly schools?

I would like to put it this way that there is a gap between practical and theoretical training in schools, which needs to be plugged. We realised that unless this gap is filled in colleges that train teachers, there cannot be a solution to this problem. Understanding this need, we have introduced mentoring sessions in our college. Each subject being taught to students is followed by practical and mentoring sessions. We even have a full time counsellor in college to guide the teachers-in-making to help them find solutions to their problems.

What other factors do you think are contributing to an overall decline in quality of education, be it government or private schools?

There is a major attitude problem that we are confronting with students enrolling for BEd course. They want to do everything at the last minute and right at the deadline hour. Also there is an inherent casual approach that we are noticing in students who enroll. On the last date of submission, one would find students lining up to get their files checked from teachers. If these students are not punctual, what will they teach students in schools? Perhaps it is a reflection of certain changes in society. But because of this change, educational institutes like ours have to work hard on students, who are the future teachers. Punctuality, which is the most important quality of a teacher, has become our biggest concern.

Do you think that increasing impatience and intolerance among students in schools, which perhaps even distracts them from the learning process, is much to do with grooming of teachers?

A teacher who has two qualities - regularity and punctuality - will never have any problem with students. No student will disregard such a teacher or dare to do anything insensible in front of her or him. We tell our students that you are back in school now. Be it responsibility or taking their work seriously, we are strict in dealing with them because the foundation of education starts from here. No student is allowed to leave the college premises before 1 pm and the environment here is different from other educational institutes. Increasing intolerance among students can be attributed to the erosion of values in society in general as well.

What do you have to say about lack of communication skills, both verbal and written, of students?

It is firstly important to see what kind of communication skills the teachers, who teach these students, posses. We have been holding regular workshops and training sessions for students who get enrolled in our college through a centralised admission process conducted by Panjab University. They come from all over North India and academically they are the best students. But when it comes to communication skills, it needs polishing. Even the courses being run on communication skills in other educational institutes need serious introspection. Rather than just being certificate programmes, these must be exhaustive and meaningful.

Is something being done to prepare students for practical challenges of teaching?

There is a basic faith and confidence that the teachers need to develop in their students. Why is there a need to punish a child at all? We read about deteriorating teacher-student relationship in newspapers. But why is there a need for teacher to get harsh at all? Such incidents must be studied in depth. To prepare teachers for practical challenges, we give them case studies to analyse the situation. In these, students are required to find a solution to a given problematic situation and write about it. We are also preparing the teachers to teach in smart classrooms now. If the schools in which they would teach in future have smart classrooms, they must have training in such classes too. We are giving all our teachers laptops and the whole campus has wireless connectivity. 



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