C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Drunk drivers made to stand in court for the day
A first in city; 6 offenders later released after paying stiff fines
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
In an exemplary mode of punishment meant to deter drunk driving, six city residents whom the traffic police had ‘challaned’ (fined) for driving under the influence were on Monday made to stand in a court “till the rising of court” in the evening.

The special traffic court of Deepak Raj Garg “imprisoned” the six men “till the rising of court”. The punishment, said to be the first such instance in the city’s history, was ordered after the traffic cops contested the fines for drunk driving in the court and prayed for the “imprisonment” of those found heavily intoxicated while driving vehicles. Besides, the traffic police have also recommended suspension of driver’s licenses of all the six offenders to the UT registering & licensing authority.

All the six men who were found driving under the influence stood in the court for the entire day and were let off only in evening “till the rising of court”. Traffic police officials said this was just the beginning of the initiative. “In the coming days the police would seek stricter punishment from courts for drunk drivers to curb the menace, following which the drunk drivers may have to spend days behind bars too”, they added.

The six have been identified as Bhagwat Prasad, a Sector 29 resident, Bhanu Pratap, a Dhanas resident, Umedh Singh, a Sector 45 resident, Priya Rajan, a resident of Zirakpur, Ashwini Kumar, a resident of Sector 23 and Vipin Barwal, a resident of Sector 24. They were issued traffic tickets during the past week and had come to get their ‘challans’ released from court on Monday when the judge ordered their “imprisonment till rising of court” and also imposed fines on them.

Deputy police superintendent (traffic) Vijay Kumar said all six were found with high concentration of alcohol in their blood, much above the Motor Vehicle Act norm of 30mg/100 ml, when they were fined.

The initiative by the traffic police to seek imprisonment of drunk drivers has been mooted by inspector general of police PK Srivastava on the lines of the Delhi police, which has already imprisoned 1,300 drunk drivers during the past one year.

Till date this year the city’s traffic cops issued about 1,853 ‘challans’ for drunk driving including 369 in May and 483 in June.

Permissible blood alcohol content limit

According to Section 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act, anyone found driving or attempting to drive a vehicle above the permissible limit of alcohol in the blood (30mg/100 ml) faces imprisonment up to six months or a fine of Rs 2,000 or both. Repeat offenders can be fined Rs 3,000 or jailed up to two years



Sec 28 mishap: Bus driver jailed till July 4
No one came forward to act as surety to get him bail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
The bus driver accused of killing three persons in an accident in Sector 28 on Saturday night has been jailed till July 4, as the UT police strongly opposed his bail application and no person stood surety for him while he was furnishing bail bonds in court today. The bail application of Sunil Kumar, the driver of the ill-fated private bus, was hence rejected.

Sunil Kumar had hit a scooter, resulting in the death of three of its occupants, including a 12-year-old child, besides injuring seven members of a religious procession that night.

Three families have been shattered after the mishap, as a woman Anita, her nephew Jatin and a youth Mandeep were killed in the accident, following which an infuriated mob had set the bus on fire at the spot.

Sunil was booked for causing death due to negligence under Section 304-A of the IPC, which is a bailable offence. However, no person was willing to stand as surety for him today, and the accused was sent to the Burail jail by the court today. “We strongly opposed his bail application as he had killed three persons owing to his negligence. The driver was sent to 14 days’ judicial custody as no one stood surety for him,” said sub-inspector Dharamvir Singh of the Industrial Area police station.



Greater Mohali Region
GMADA to outsource planning job at taxpayers’ expense
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 20
In a virtual admission that the government’s own battery of town planners and engineers cannot deliver, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has decided to “outsource” the job of planning and executing development works in the upcoming five urban estates in Chandigarh’s periphery.

For the job that could have been done by the Department of Country and Town Planning, a wing of the Punjab Housing and Urban Development Department in a few lakhs, the government would be spending the taxpayers’ money in crores.

Last time, the government paid around Rs 8 crore to Singapore-based consultant Jurong Limited to prepare master plans of six towns in the Greater Mohali region. Justifying the logic of inviting private participation, officials point out that private participation would encourage competition.

Sources said a decision in this regard had been taken at a recently held executive committee meeting of GMADA. The decision would be put to test in the upcoming urban estate at Mullanpur and IT city. Private consultants would be engaged to draft ‘‘request for proposal’’ (RFP) document and bid process management.

While the town planners opined that they had ample knowhow to plan urban estates in line with changing trends, officials in the Housing and Urban Planning Department maintain that urban designing should match with the requirements of the public and there was need to compete with the private sector. The planning by an outside agency would not only teach the department something new but would also ensure that no unused areas were left in the sectors.

Chief Administrator of GMADA Saravjit Singh said the issue was being deliberated upon. “Private participation can result in better utilisation of resources and better planning,” he said.

Regarding the execution of development works, it has been said that the job would be undertaken on a turn-key basis by a single company that would develop roads, sewerage, water supply, storm water disposal, electricity lines and landscaping. Presently the execution of development works by different agencies leads to time delays, resulting in poor fund flow for GMADA.



I-T watchdog releases Rs 1.4 cr disputed tax refunds
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
The northwest region office of the income tax ombudsman has released disputed tax refunds amounting to Rs 1.4 crore to taxpayers for the 2010-11 assessment year. According to officials, of the total 358 complaints received by the ombudsman in that year, 328 pertained to refunds. The number of complaints for refunds was higher than the figure of 251 in the preceding fiscal when Rs 1.53 crore was released.

Officials said 14 of the refund cases were in the slab of above Rs 50,000. Refunds were also issued to 16 tax assessees in the slab of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 3 lakh while eight refunds were given in the Rs 5 lakh to Rs 23 lakh slab.

Income tax ombudsman PK Chopra, who is a former I-T chief commissioner, told The Tribune that among the many cases that he settled one pertained to release of jewellery seized by the income tax department eight years ago. Admitting there had been an increase in the number of complaints for refunds, he claimed his office had been effectively intervening in such claim disputes and had been effectively resolving them.

Chopra said one of the main reasons for the higher number of complaints was the “ease” with which anyone with a grievance could approach the ombudsman. “Most complaints are received through letters, sometimes even through handwritten notes. The complainants need not visit the ombudsman’s office”, he stated, adding on receipt of any such letter his office takes up the matter with the department and resolves it in the shortest time possible.

Chopra admitted most taxpayers were still not aware of the ombudsman institution and the role it could play.

Seized jewellery returned after over a decade

For eight long years Asho Arora, a taxpayer, kept running from pillar to post at income tax department offices to reclaim his jewellery valued at Rs 2.54 lakh that was seized during search and seizure operations in 1989. A decision in his favor by the income tax appellate tribunal in 2002 did not help in getting his valuables back. He then approached the ombudsman in 2009 and the income tax department released his jewellery in 2010.



Boy hoodwinks car owner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
A bag containing Rs 3.5 lakh in cash was found stolen from a Maruti car at a petrol station in Sector 31 on Monday. The suspect, a juvenile who appeared to be about 12 years old, fled with the money after fooling the car owner into believing oil was leaking from the vehicle’s engine.

The incident occurred at about 10:30 am when Sardari Lal, a resident of Zirakpur who works in the finance department of a firm, Lider Sanitations, had come to the petrol pump to get his car refuelled. A small boy soon approached him and told him oil was leaking from the vehicle’s engine. Lal stepped out of the car and opened the hood, finding some drops of oil had trickled down. He then went to call a mechanic at the petrol pump. Within seconds, the boy fled with the bag containing the cash kept on the car’s rear seat.

“I went to call a mechanic on finding some drops of oil under the car’s hood as the boy had told me. The bag containing cash was placed on the rear seat and the kid fled with it in no time. He wasn’t more than 12”, said Lal. The police arrived at the scene and found the oil was in fact poured by the suspect . “It seems to be the work of a gang active in the area. We’ve filed a case of theft and are investigating,” said Sector 31 police station inspector SHO Jaspal Singh.


Discrepancies in biometric survey
Name figures in survey for rehabilitation of colony residents, no records in computer
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
A delegation of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by former Union Minister Harmohan Dhawan met the UT Deputy Commissioner and apprised him of the problems being faced by residents during the survey conducted by officials of the Estate Office for rehabilitation of colony residents.

The delegation brought to the notice of the Deputy Commissioner that there were several cases where the name of the person appeared in the biometric survey conducted by the UT Administration in 2006 but there was no record in the computer. These persons are having receipt of biometric survey. Some persons were included in the biometric survey in 2006. At that time, their names were in the voters list. During 2009, their names were deleted from the voters list without any knowledge of residents.

In the voters list of 2010 again, their names were included. In some cases, the persons whose names were included in the biometric survey of 2006 were not having their name in the voters list of 2006, but their names were included in the voters list of 2009 and 2010. In several cases, residents were having all the required documents.

The name of the head of the family and members are correct but the photograph does not match. Several cases were rejected just because of difference in actual age and the age recorded in official record of the department, the deputation added.

Some persons were refused just because of error in the name of father whereas all other particulars matched with the record. Several people were rejected due to mistake in the surname whereas it was the mistake of the persons deputed for entering the data.

The Deputy Commissioner assured the delegation that he would look into the matter, according to a press note.



Admn yet to notify malba bylaws
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
In a typical case of “MC proposes, UT Administration disposes”, the latter continues to drags its feet on the notification of the malba bylaws for the city.

Though the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) approved the malba bylaws about 10 months ago, its notification is stuck up in the administrative rigmarole.

While the notification of the malba bylaws continues to hang fire, the residents are at the receiving end of the haphazard storage of the construction material on roadsides and open spaces.

“With heaps of debris dotting the city, we are put to a lot of inconvenience with authorities looking the other way,” alleged Abhilash Sharma, a resident of Sector 21.

In August/September last year, the MC had forwarded the draft bylaws for notification to the UT Administration. In the bylaws, the MC had proposed a fine of Rs 1,500 on the offenders. Subsequent offences would have invited a fine of Rs 5,000. It had further been recommended that the construction waste should not be removed by non-motorised vehicles. It had also been recommended that the civic body should have a call centre where residents could call in case they have problems with the construction waste.

The need for bylaws was felt to deal with heaps of construction waste in many sectors.



Regulatory end water gates of Sukhna lifted to plug leakage
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
The engineering department of the Chandigarh Administration has lifted water gates at the regulatory end of the Sukhna Lake in an effort to plug leakage, particularly during monsoon.

The plugging of gates had commenced following an order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in response to a public interest litigation (PIL).

The administration has been asked to make necessary amends before the onset of monsoon and the project report was to be submitted to the court at the next date of hearing on July 7.

Special teams are replacing the worn out rubber inserted in the holes to plug leakage. Talking to The Tribune, a senior official said: “The rubber seals on the gate near the Garden of Silence had developed cracks resulting in leakage.”

These days, the affected portion of the lake is comparatively dry so the engineering department has been able to raise the existing structure using cranes, which has felicitated the plugging job.



2 hurt as govt car rams into bike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
Two persons were injured after a car belonging to the department of legal affairs of the Punjab government hit them at the Sector 29 light point here this 

The incident took place when Balwinder Singh was driving the official car and he rammed into a stationary motorcycle at the light point. The victims, Puspinder Singh and Maurik Singh, suffered minor injures.

Both the victims are from Sangrur and are in city for B.Tech training. Balwinder Singh told the police that he was going to Sector 48 motor market. No police case was registered as both the parties entered into a compromise.



High humidity spurs fungal infections
Cases of prickly heat, sunburn also on the rise in hospitals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
The recent spell of rain along with sweltering heat in the region has led to the rush of patients in the city hospitals with complaints of fungal infections, prickly heat and sunburn.

The number of such patients during the last couple of weeks has swelled to five times in the Government Multi-specialty Hospital, Sector 16, said dermatologist Dr Swami Dass Mehta.

With the increase in humidity, people, particularly children, are prone to the prickly heat whenever they lack in care of their skin, he said. Sweat depositing on the skin blocks the sweat glands aggravating the condition, he said. People are advised to wear lose cotton clothes and take proper bath twice a day, said Dr Mehta.

To avoid fungal infection, wear clothes, which do not have moisture, he added. Use of helmet, caps and sunscreen are advised for protection against sunburn, he said. Moreover, consuming lemon water mixed with salt is helpful in compensating the loss of salts in the body and a protection against dehydration, added Dr Mehta.

Rainy season can cause problem to one’s skin making it look oily, patchy and also making it prone to fungal infections, said Dr Vikas Sharma, head of dermatology at National Skin Hospital, Panchkula.

There has been a massive rise in patients with complaints of skin darkening, hair loss, flare ups of acne, fungal infections over groins, thighs, worsening of flexural psoriasis, atopic dermatitis and bacterial skin infections. This is mainly due to the high humidity in the atmosphere and uneven distribution of moisture and poor cell turnover.

Follow a regular routine of cleansing, toning and moisturising the skin. It is best to use a gentle non-drying soap and splash plain water several times a day on the face. It is best to follow up this treatment with use an exfoliating face scrub to remove dead cells and increase collagen production. An ideal scrub could consist of oatmeal and fruit extracts, suggests Dr Vikas.

One may notice pimples, and breakouts on the skin, which is mainly due to dirt and pollutants attracted by the sweat. When out at work, one can easily carry wet wipes to wipe face and avoid accumulation of sweat and dust, said the doctor.


  • Use anti-fungal talcum powder to protect your skin from fungal infection
  • Do not stay in wet clothes for too long
  • Drink plenty of limewater mixed with salt as high humidity levels tend to damage the skin
  • Wear cotton clothes and loose clothes to keep your body well ventilated
  • Follow a regular routine of cleansing, toning and moisturising the skin



Golden Forest head seeks protection
Apprehends threat to life, moves HC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
Apprehending threat to his life from people selling Golden Forest properties after dubbing themselves as owners, Nikhil Kant Syal of Panchkula today moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court for protection.

Nikhil is currently handling the company after his father RK Syal, the managing director of Golden Forest India Limited, died. As his petition seeking protection filed through counsel Jasjit Bedi came up for hearing this morning, the vacation Bench of Justice Rajesh Bindal issued notice of motion to the state of Haryana and other respondents for July 6. Panchkula Superintendent of Police was also asked to look into his complaint and assess threat perception.

Arguing on his behalf, Bedi asserted that Nikhil was receiving threats ever since he started getting the fictitious sale deeds cancelled. He added on June 9, his house was even vandalised. The police was approached for protection on June 13 but nothing concrete came out of it, he said.

This is not the first time that Nikhil has moved the High Court. In January 2004, he had filed a petition seeking police protection.

In his petition against the states of Punjab and Haryana, besides other respondents, Nikhil had then also sought security cover for him and his sister.

Claiming that his life and liberty was in danger, he had asserted that the Chandigarh Police had caught a gang planning to kidnap him. Giving details, he had then asserted that the investigations had revealed that a conspiracy had been hatched to kidnap the petitioner because of the general impression that his father had a lot of money.

Facing trial in approximately a dozen cases, his father had died due to prolonged illness on April 6. A special committee appointed by the apex court had calculated and evaluated the assets of Golden Forest at more than Rs 5,000 crore in 2007.



Less than half EWS families get apartments
HUDA draws flak from political parties
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 20
Display of only 829 beneficiaries for the apartments built for the economically weaker sections (EWS) by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has drawn flak from various political parties.

State BJP treasurer Gyan Chand Gupta, while talking to the media here today, said HUDA should have allotted all 2,072 houses and displayed the names of the beneficiaries who had applied for the same after depositing their ration cards and other proofs. He alleged that the administration was not serious about rehabilitating people living in various slums of the town.

Notably, 2,072 apartments were built as part of HUDA’s ‘Aashiyana’ scheme floated under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Rural Renewal Mission for rehabilitation of slum dwellers. Under the scheme about 7,294 flats were proposed to be built for the poor living in Azad Colony, slums in Ramgarh, Sector 21 and nearby areas.

So far 2,072 flats were constructed and the HUDA had invited applications from families for rehabilitation in flats that had two rooms, a kitchen and a toilet. The Central Government gave Rs 65 crore for construction of these flats while HUDA provided land free of cost.

Gupta said as per the survey conducted by the administration in 2009, about 1,477 families lived in slum colonies in the town. He demanded that apartments should be allotted to those families whose names did not figure in the list. A party meeting would be held on July 24 to discuss the problems being faced by slum dwellers.

INLD leader Vijay Kumar Bansal said only 829 families were being rehabilitated even though the Punjab and Haryana High Court had on April 26, 1999, directed to allot quarters to all slum dwellers in the town. He said 2,072 flats had already been constructed and there should have been no problem for the authorities to declare the list of all beneficiaries who had submitted the proofs.

Bansal said they would be forced to launch an agitation if the administration failed to allot the apartments to all slum dwellers in the town.



Ban on polythene bags
Not a single violator challaned since May
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, June 20
Even though almost a month has lapsed since the Punjab Government had announced a ban on the use of polythene bags in the state, the Zirakpur Municipal Council is yet to implement the prohibitory orders.

The council has not even procured a micron meter to determine the thickness of plastic carry bags being used throughout the town.

As per the guidelines issued by the Mohali District Administration, polythene bags, less than 30 microns, would not be used by shopkeepers and vendors.

In the absence of the micron meter, the Municipal Council has not issued a single challan to any violator. An MC official stated that the department concerned had been asked to purchase the micron meter.

Despite a statewide ban on the use of polythene bags, shopkeepers and vendors in Zirakpur are using them without any check. Shopkeepers claimed that nobody from the MC’s office had informed them about the ban on using polythene bags of less than 30 microns.

They alleged that neither any Municipal Council official had suggested some alternative solution of the problem, nor informed about the place from where good quality polythene bags could be purchased.

The Punjab Government decided on April 15 to strictly implement the Punjab Plastic Bags (Manufacture, Usage and Disposal) Control Act, prohibiting the manufacture, disposal and use of polythene bags from May 1.

Mohali Deputy Commissioner Varun Roozam said “We are calling a review meeting next week regarding the implementation of the ban on polythene bags where all civic bodies of Mohali district would submit their reports.”



Kisan Bhawan inaugurated at Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 20
Kisan Bhawan, spread over an area of around three-and-a-half acre, was dedicated to farmers by Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in Sector 14 here today.

Apart from providing accommodation to farmers and other agriculture professionals, this well equipped modern facility would help in providing training to farmers and staff of the marketing board.

Having total covered areas of 7,319.65 sq metre the Kisan Bhawan has a conventional centre, a conference room, a VVIP room, one food court with a canteen, a lobby and a waiting room on the ground floor.

The first floor has 13 faculty rooms, two lecture halls, a library, one computer room, a manager room, an administration room and a record room. The second floor has 15 rooms, one dormitory, a store room and a waiting area while the third floor has 8 rooms and a dormitory.

The farmers could call the toll free number 1800-180-2060 and get necessary information for marketing their farm produces. The call centre would also help farmers in coordinating with major agro-chains for sale of their produce.

At present video conferencing had been connected with Karnal grain market in the first phase and would be connected to divisional headquarters and other grain markets in the second phase.

Giving details, the state Agriculture Minister said that through video conferencing farmers and arhtias could interact with each other to redress their grievances, enable direct interaction with regional offices for efficient management of grain markets and agriculture marketing infrastructure and to coordinate between farmers and major agro-chains for better price for their produce. The building had been outsourced to a private firm for its housekeeping and allied services, he added.

Chief Parliamentary Secretary Ramkisan Gujjar, Panchkula MLA DK Bansal, Panchkula Municipal President Ravinder Rawal, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Chhatar Singh, Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary, Agriculture, Roshan Lal and Chief Administrator of Haryana State Agricultural Marketing Board TVSN Prasad were among those present on the occasion.



PGI to set up dialysis station
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
Patients suffering from renal problems can expect better services at the PGI as the authorities have decided to set up a new dialysis system accommodating up to 40 patients in a single session.

At present, the PGI can accommodate only 25 patients due to want of technicians. The institute already has 12 dialysis stations at the department of nephrology.

With nearly 170 renal transplants annually, the PGI allows dialysis to patients with acute problem or who are to go for renal transplant at the institute. Patients in the need of maintenance dialysis are not entertained at the PGI, said Dr H S Kohli, professor of nephrology. “We will not be able to consider such patients in near future as well due to the long waiting list of patients requiring kidney transplant, he said. There is a waiting period of up to four months for kidney transplant at the PGI.

The PGI receives nearly 125 renal failure patients who need dialysis every week but only 10 of them on the emergency basis get the facility. In the absence of regular a dialysis facility for maintenance usage, renal patients are forced to approach private hospitals and pay anything between Rs 1,300-1,500 for each session. At the PGI, the same treatment costs between Rs 350-400.



Water pipeline bursts, hits supply in Sector 50
Tribune News Service

A portion of a road caved in at Sector 50 near the BSNL Society in Chandigarh
A portion of a road caved in at Sector 50 near the BSNL Society in Chandigarh. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, June 20
The bursting of a water pipeline resulted in water shortage at Sector 50 here today. The pipeline that burst two days ago led to low water pressure in the residential area.

Residents made frantic attempts to contact officials of the public health department, municipal corporation, for getting the fault rectified.

While those residing at ground floors complained of low water pressure, those on the first and second floors were the worst hit. To solve the problem, the department arranged water tankers.

The MC officials said since the pipeline was very old, it had developed cracks. Our men are already on job and the replacement of the pipe would take another two to three hours. Water supply would be restored by tomorrow, they added.

“Till noon, we were left to fend for ourselves. Some borrowed water from the ones residing at ground floors while others were forced to get water from the adjoining sectors,” said Santosh Modgil of Sector 50, a resident.



Maintenance of six gardens
MC to purchase mowers, tillers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
To strengthen the infrastructure at six big gardens, which were recently transferred to the municipal corporation (MC) by the UT administration, the civic body authorities have decided to purchase 10 power lawn mowers, four power tillers with lawn movers, nine shrub masters and five tractors.

This was decided at the Finance and Contract Committee meeting held under the chairmanship of Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh here today.

As the civic body did not get any machines for the maintenance of the gardens, it was forced upon to take the decision.

Officials of the municipal corporation had informed the UT horticulture department that it would need tractors, grass cutters, leaves collectors, pest spray, pest drill and spray pump, as nothing had been transferred by the UT administration to the MC. The staff is facing a great difficulty in managing the day-to-day work.

It was decided that cracker stalls would be shifted from Sector 22 to circus ground in Sector 17 from this Divali onwards.

The committee also instructed the officials to speed up the construction work of taxi stand booths at allotted sites of the corporation.

The committee deferred the issue of giving permission to ‘golgappa’ sellers from 9 am to 9 pm. Members stated that the timings would be changed only after drafting a fresh policy.

Meanwhile, the committee gave its approval for the purchase of two Swaraj Mazda chassis and fabrication of two refrigerated meat vans for slaughter house, rough cost estimate for widening of V-5 road in Sector 56 and improvement of streetlights at the rear side of showrooms in Sector 22.



house agenda through emails
Civic body jumps deadline
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
Another deadline set for sending agenda of the Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) to seven councillors, who are members of the committee, has been jumped by the municipal corporation. The authorities have not even made the official email ID of any of the councillors till date.

In March, the councillors had pointed out in the General House meeting that as the authorities had issued laptops to all councillors, they should have sent the agenda through emails which would have saved paper.

This led to a controversy among some councillors, as most of them said they were not tech savvy.

Following which MC Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh told the officials that as a pilot project they should send the agenda through emails as well as printed copies to all councillors for a few months. It was also decided that all members of the F&CC would get agenda of the meeting on their email accounts from May onwards.

The MC officials said in order to check the response to the exercise, the department had started a pilot project by sending the agenda to members of the F&CC.

The department has not started the process of sending house agenda to councillors through emails as it a lengthy document which cannot be downloaded in one go. The fact is that a majority of the councillors are not tech savvy and they may encounter problems while going through the agenda online.

Nominated councillor Dr A P Sanwaria, who is also member of the F&CC, said nobody from the IT section of the civic body had approached him for making official email IDs. So far all members of the F&CC are getting hard copies of the agenda. Sources in the corporation said former MC Joint Commissioner had launched the project, but due to his repatriation last month, nobody had bothered to work on the project. 



tricity scan

Protest by Dadu Majra residents

Members of the Dadu Majra Residents Welfare Association staged a demonstration and blocked traffic on the road leading to Sector 40 on Monday. They were protesting as the problems in their area had not been addressed. Traffic was blocked for more than an hour, causing inconvenience to commuters. The rally was addressed by Tarsem Rana, a former sarpanch, and Narender Chaudhary, a BJP leader.

Orphans adopted

The Director Social Welfare, Varsha Khangwal, along with Snehalaya’s honorary director, Father Sebastian Jose, on Monday adopted three children of Jhanduram, a resident of Vikas Nagar, who died on Sunday. They are Laxmi (19), Prem Pal (12) and Poonam (7). Their mother had died a few months back. Their uncle expressed his inability to look after them owing to his limited resources. They were rehabilitated to Snehalaya at Maloya.

Dogs vaccinated

A total of 37 stray dogs were vaccinated and those suffering from skin diseases and wounds given treatment at an anti-rabies camp organised at Sector 21 on Monday. The camp was organised by the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the People for Animals and the municipal corporation. Dogs which needed hospital care were taken for treatment. Material was made available to the public for awareness.

Registration for BCom

Online registration for admission to BCom in all Panjab University affiliated colleges in the city will end at 3 pm on Tuesday. University computer centre officials have said applications, duly filled in, must be submitted before the deadline. Even if a student has created a login ID on the website, but has not completed the form, his or her application will not be accepted.

MSc in instrumentation

The University Centre for Instrumentation and Microelectronics, Panjab University, is running a course in MSc (instrumentation). The eligibility for the course is BSc with physics, electronics, instrumentation science, computer science, vocational physics or electronics or BE (E&TC or instrumentation) with 50 per cent aggregate marks. The admission will be made on the basis of academic weightage of the eligibility qualification. The last date for submission of complete forms is July 4. For further details of the course, candidates can visit www.pu.ac.in or write to rsic@pu.ac.in.

Roadside workers

A delegation of the Chandigarh Manch, led by Chander Shekhar, organising secretary, and JS Kang, a councillor, met Home Secretary Ram Niwas on Monday and demanded official recognition of working rights of roadside vendors and service providers. According to a press note, a survey report had said the city had 1.2 lakh workers in the unorganised sector, but no concrete action had been initiated by the UT administration on the national policy for the rehabilitation of the unorganised sector.

PTU’s distance learning centres

The focus of distance learning centres of the Punjab Technical University (PTU) will be on placement of students in 2011-12 so that a strong foundation is laid for the career of the students. This was the consensus arrived at during the annual PTU distance learning centres meet on Monday. Delegates from over 100 centres from Haryana, Chandigarh and Mohali and Ropar districts participated in the meet.

Light musical show today

The Indian Council for Cultural Relations, in collaboration with the North Zone Cultural Centre, will organise a light musical show (Sufiana kalam) by BS Balli at Kalagram on Tuesday. Balli and his group are based in Jalandhar and he is associated with the Patiala gharana.

Rahul Gandhi’s b’day celebrated

Congress workers of Mohali district, led by Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu, celebrated the 41st birthday of Rahul Gandhi at Balongi village by distributing cake, sweets, tea and ‘pakoras’. Newly elected District Congress Committee president Rajinder Singh Rana was honoured on the occasion.

Membership drive

Punjab Youth Congress president and MP Ravneet Singh Bittu said on Monday that the party’s membership drive would continue till 8 pm on June 24, after which no form would be accepted by the Election Commission. He put to rest all speculation of the membership drive being extended.

Guest lecture on microprocessor

The Quest Group of Institutions organised a guest lecture on microprocessor for electronics and communication and computer engineering students. Manish Dev Sharma, assistant professor at Panjab University, apprised the students of various versions of microprocessor. He explained that a microprocessor was the heart of any computer, whether it was a desktop, a server or a laptop. — TNS



Over 12,000 register for admission to Class XI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
Over 12,000 students have so far registered for admission to 11,000 seats in various streams in Class XI at 37 government schools.

Around 2,019 admission forms were submitted on the last day at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 10, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 19, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 21, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 40, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 46, and Government Model Senior Secondary School, Modern Complex, Mani Majra, taking the total number of registrations to 12,426.

An overwhelming response to government schools has left the education department elated.

“Even our non-model schools and rural schools have left many private schools behind as far as pass percentage is concerned and this result has made the difference. For the first time in the past five years, we have got this kind of response,” said DPI (S) Sunil Bhatia.

Interestingly, while it was just 12,000 forms which were sold last year, the figure stood at 14,000 this year.

Last year, only 11,000 students had registered for admission and many government schools were left with vacant seats, which may not be the case this year, as the number of applicants have outnumbered seats by almost 1,600.



PU a hit with science students
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
Despite witnessing a 20 to 30 per cent dropout rate in courses offered by Panjab University’s science departments, the university continues to be the top choice of students aiming for a career in science.

Admitted through Common Entrance Test (CET) conducted by PU itself, an array of specialisations in physics, chemistry, botany, environment sciences, biochemistry, bio informatics, biotechnology, anthropology, microbiology and instrumentation are offered by the university depending on a student’s non-medical or medical background in classes XI and XII.

The most recent specialisations added by the university are nano-science, nano-technology, stem cells and tissue culture, quality assurance, microbial biotechnology, petroleum geology, forensic science and criminology.

The university has also started BSc and MSc in physics and electronics with 23 seats available in both courses. Postgraduation in zoology, bio informatics, physics, chemistry and botany is also being offered by certain colleges in the city.

Past trends: Low merit witnessed for CET

Although PU enjoys the status of being an institute with potential for excellence in biomedical sciences, in the past three years, a considerable fall has been witnessed in the merit of CET in science stream as per university records. All students aiming for honour school courses at PU are admitted through the CET exam. The university is also required to send the CET score of first and the last admitted candidate to the University Grants Commission (UGC) for each course.

Low inclination to science subjects

Citing reasons for declining interest of students in science subjects, a senior faculty member of the university said, “The trend of society is such that commerce stream assures better employability, but if one closely observes the quality of jobs, it is not great.”

Reasons cited for declining interest in science

  • Employability scope perceived to be low
  • Stringent internal marking in science subjects
  • 55 per cent marks in final year-a criteria for NET

No. of seats in MSc at PU

Biochemistry (11), biophysics (7), bioinformatics (15), environment science (20), human genomics (17), nuclear medicine (8), system biology and bioinformatics (13), microbial biotechnology (20), medical physics (8), biotechnology (7), botany (29), chemistry (15), physics (45) and zoology (14).



New vocational courses draw a blank
No takers among private schools; government ones ahead already
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
When it comes to redefining senior secondary education, the city’s ‘modern’ private schools are surely not sport.

In what comes as a serious blow to the utopian idea of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to make school education employable, none of the city’s private schools has come forward to opt for an array of new vocational courses starting this year.

The CBSE has introduced geospatial technology, food production (hospitality and tourism), food and beverage services (hospitality and tourism), mass media studies and media production and body science (fitness, aerobics and health) for classes XI and XII for the 2011-12 session. It had invited applications from the schools interested in starting these courses.

While many schools across the country showed enthusiasm, private schools of the city with the third-highest literacy rate chose to confine themselves to the usual arts, commerce and science streams.

“Vocational courses are the future and will make our education more job-oriented. Private schools in the union territory have abundant resources, but seem to be scared to be a part of change. City schools claim to be at a par with their metro counterparts, but when it comes to modernising education, they are miles behind others,” said a CBSE official. To begin with, the media studies course would be started in 10 schools in

Delhi, six in Mumbai and four in Pune. The geospatial course, that would focus mainly on cartograpgy and GIS-based mapping, would be available in nine schools in Delhi, three in Kolkata and one in Mumbai. Schools in the city considered the lack of faculty as the key reason behind it.

“What is the fun of starting courses without skilled faculty or laboratories? They talk of subjects like geospatial technology, but who should we get to teach those, regular science teachers or university professors? We cannot start experimenting with students in class XI as it may ruin their career. A majority of colleges do not give much importance to vocational courses, so what is the fun of these courses when they hamper admission,” asked a member of the Independent Schools Association.

In an important lesson for their private counterparts, government schools in the city were already offering 23 vocational courses.

What made the CBSE look up and laud government schools was the fact that the courses were being run successfully and many students were entering the market, realising the aim of the CBSE to make school education employable.

“We are undergoing an education renaissance. In a country where job forms the ultimate goal of education for many, the education system right from schools has to be job-oriented. Chandigarh government schools, openly criticised for infrastructure and academic standards, have been better at vocational education than private schools. What makes their success commendable is the fact that these schools are not offering these courses just for name, but are ensuring placement as well,” said CBSE Regional Director RJ Khanderao.

“Government schools cater to different strata. There are many students who do not enrol at colleges and drop out after class XII. Such courses ensure that not pursuing education does not hamper their job prospects or employability. They are a great tool of self-reliance,” stated DPI(S) Sandeep Hans.

The vocational courses available at government schools include ophthalmic techniques, medical laboratory technology, auxiliary nursing and midwifery (for girls), health care and beauty culture, health care sciences, X-rays techniques, stenography and computer application (English), stenography and computer application (Hindi), marketing and salesmanship, accountancy and auditing, financial market management, fashion designing and clothing construction, textile design, dyeing and printing, food service and management, hotel management and catering technology, bakery and confectionery, tourism and travel, electrical technology, electronics technology, automobile technology, airconditioning and refrigeration technology, structure and fabrication technology, life insurance and information technology.



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