C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Gang rivalry claims life
Over dozen criminal cases pending against victim
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
In an incident of inter-gang rivalry, 35-year-old Rajesh Kala was shot dead by unknown assailants at Mauli Jagran here this evening. Kala had himself been accused of two murders, including that of his wife. He had more than a dozen other criminal cases pending against him in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.

A junk dealer, Kala was leaning on his chair near his shop around 9.15 pm when three countrymade pistol-yielding assailants came to the spot. He got up and ran, but was shot at in the back. The assailants came near him and shot at him from point-blank range, following which he fell in a puddle.

Hari Kumar, an eyewitness, said, “I was cooking chicken on my ‘rehri’ when I heard screams of Kala. When I ran towards the assailants and shouted ‘Hari bhai ko maar diya’, they ran away after after firing a shot in the air.”

An assailant dropped one of his slippers near the site of the shootout.

Kala was shot critically in the chest, which was virtually split open. He was rushed to the emergency of the General Hospital at Panchkula, where he was pronounced dead.

He sustained four bullet injuries. Surinder Singh, an autorickshaw driver, too, sustained a bullet injury.

There was heavy police deployment, with a dog squad, in the area to avoid any clash among residents of Rajiv Colony and Mauli Jagran because of the old rivalry, police sources said.

Kala’s brother Ranjeet was taken to the police station after the incident.

Talking to this correspondent, he said, “We know these gansgters were from Indira Colony. We will soon get them out of hiding.”

DSP Jagbir Singh said, “We have got vital leads and will get the guilty behind bars soon.”

Hari Kumar said, “The three boys were wearing vests, one being yellow and another red. I saw them firing from behind Kala and then chasing him, before he slipped and fell in the puddle.”

Kala had reportedly returned from the Patiala jail recently, where he was a proclaimed offender. He was attacked with swords about two months back. Criminal cases were pending against him in Chandigarh and neighbouring towns of Punjab and Haryana.



Misuse of MC staff car by low-rung employees
Happened after MC Commissioner demitted office
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
A recent report prepared by the Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) has revealed that officials in the offices of the Mayor, the MC Commissioner and in the caretaker branch misused an official car (an Ambassador CH 01 G 0900) for private use on six occasions between April and May.

The report tabled in the F&CC meeting here today revealed that this misuse had occurred on five Saturdays and one Sunday (all of which are official holidays) between April 16 and May 16 this year which coincided with the period when former Municipal Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria had demitted office following his repatriation to Punjab and Deputy Commissioner Brijendra Singh was officiating as the Commissioner. The car, which had been designated as a general pool vehicle at the disposal of the MC top brass for official use, seemingly was in the control of the low-rung staff in the absence of any supervision. In all, the staff of these three offices had ended up expending 240 litres of petrol at a cost of Rs 14,880 to the state exchequer. However, the report did not contain details of the six days in question.

The break up of the misuse, as contained in the report, reveals that the MC Commissioner’s personal assistant used the vehicle on April 16, a day after Sunkaria was relieved and two days before Brijendra Singh was handed over additional charge.

On May 15, which was Sunday, the general pool vehicle was used by the staff of the Mayor. Records of the corporation show that there was no official event scheduled on all these six days, giving no reason for the staff to be using the car.

Interestingly, the report does not mention the purpose of the usage of the vehicle by the staff on holidays. The report is also quiet about whether these employees had taken prior permission from the authorities to use the vehicle.

Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh said the committee had asked MC officials to fix responsibility on those who had used the vehicle without providing any reason. The committee has also asked the MC officials to clarify if the caretaker and the staff of the Commissioner are competent to fill the logbook of vehicles.

Congress councillor Chander Mukhi Sharma pointed out in the meeting that in 2005 a councillor, Pushpa Sharma, who was the then fire committee chairperson, had asked MC officials to provide her the general pool vehicle to attend a committee meeting. She was denied the vehicle on the ground that it could not be used for personal work.



Ferrying Students
High Court wants rules on safety
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Taking cognisance of the stuffing of schoolchildren in transport vehicles like sardines in a can, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has opened a new chapter in safety by directing the Chandigarh administration to set down rules for regulating the number of students that can be ferried in cycle-rickshaws and three-wheelers. Similar directions have been issued to the states of Punjab and Haryana.

As the traffic regulation and pollution control case came up for resumed hearing, Justice Rajive Bhalla observed: “It has been brought to the notice of this court that cycle-rickshaws and three-wheelers that transport schoolchildren, more often than not, are overloaded and on occasions, more than a dozen children are seen sitting in cycle-rickshaws and three-wheelers”.

Making it clear that the “safety of children is of paramount importance”, Justice Bhalla said the issue “cannot be left in the hands of mercenary schools and mercenary transporters”.

Justice Bhalla noted: “The UT, along with Punjab and Haryana, shall issue directions to the authorities concerned to set down rules regulating the number of schoolchildren that may be allowed in cycle-rickshaws or three-wheelers and prescribe punishment for violators”. The Judge fixed July 21 as the next date of hearing.

Contempt-of-court notice

Justice Bhalla also directed the issuance of a notice under the Contempt of Courts Act to the Zirakpur municipal council executive officer and the management of Hotel Chandigarh Ashoka.

The directions were issued after the court observed: “Despite orders by this court and an undertaking by the executive officer and the hotel management, the boundary of the service lane has been demolished at two places to provide vehicles access to the hotel.”



Pure sciences new flavour this season
Cutoffs for BSc courses in city colleges go through roof
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
In a complete reversal of the prevailing trend in college admissions, the demand for the BSc (bachelor of science) course has shot up this year at government and privately run colleges alike, which has led to a higher cutoff that now varies between 70 to 80 percent.

Not having anticipated the increased interest in pure sciences, most colleges had earlier filled up vacant seats on a first-come first-serve basis. Class 12 students with higher marks had to be refused admission after the seats got full and the cutoff was unpredictably raised.

“All the 240 seats in the first-year BSc course in our college are now full. We’re now receiving several queries from students who wish to enroll for the course and secured good marks in the class 12 exam in the nonmedical group,” said KC Jain, dean of admissions at DAV College, Sector 10.

Citing reasons for the bigger demand for science courses, educationists say that anticipating better opportunities after completing their masters with specialization in disciplines like biotechnology, chemistry and physics, students are opting for nonmedical or biotechnology specialization in BSc rather than seeking admission to a BTech course in a private institute with lesser market visibility and higher fee structure.

Citing reasons for this trend, Jain added: “Students clearly look for a course that promises better job opportunities. In the past few years placements of students who completed MSc in chemistry, physics and biotech were promising.

These students either got placed in various labs or pharmaceutical firms or opted for a career in teaching. Additionally, privately run colleges offering BTech degrees seldom guarantee a good job. Hence the drift towards the pure sciences is obvious.”

The cutoff for the BSc course, which five years ago was only 55 per cent even in the more sought after colleges in the city, has now gone through the roof, touching 80 per cent at the Post Graduate Government College for girls, Sector 42 and 70 per cent at DAV College, Sector 10.



Nascent GMCH journal indisposed
Faculty members unhappy with choice of editor, editorial board
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Just one edition old, the much-touted Journal of Medical College Chandigarh, brought out by the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, is heading for a closure, at least in its present form.

The row between the faculty and Director-Principal Dr Raj Bahadur over the selection of “non-MBBS and non-clinical” editor and editorial board for the magazine, coupled with allegations of references used from unscientific literature in the editorial of the first issue (Vol. I), has forced the GMCH authorities to rethink on the future of the journal. And going by insiders, Dr Bahadur has agreed to reconstitute the editorial board and appoint an “MBBS and clinical” editor to spearhead the journal.

The journal was hit by controversy right at the time of inception when faculty members of the institute expressed their resentment on the selection of the editor and editorial committee of the journal.

The erstwhile Faculty Welfare Body (FWB) had, in fact, met with Dr Bahadur way back in January and categorically objected to the selection of the editor and the board on the grounds that they were “non-MBBS and non-clinical”, as they were “only” MSc and Phd holders.

The basic premise of the objection was that an editor with non-clinical background was not competent enough to assess medical articles.

It was felt that since the GMCH was a clinical institute and most articles were related to patient care and clinical procedure, the editorial team should be headed by a clinician. Faculty members claimed that Dr Bahadur had assured the FWB of not only making changes in the entire editorial team but also putting in place a transparent system for the selection process - by inviting biodata of the faculty members with special reference to “Previous editorial experience, number of publication in peer reviewed journals, research done, and thesis guided, etc.”.

However, Vol. I of the journal was published without effecting any changes, alleged sources in the faculty.

Subsequently, a letter purportedly written by Dr RK Sharma was emailed to all faculty members alleging that the editorial on “plagiarism” had five references, out of which four were from unscientific literature taken from websites like Wikipedia and the fifth from the Indian Journal of Pharmacology.

Sources in the faculty said there were 869 papers on plagiarism but the editor did not cite even a single one from the international scientific literature.

The journal’s editor, Dr CS Gautam, responded to the email saying: “The word ‘plagiarism’ is bound not only in the scientific field, its ramifications are far-reaching almost in every field today. Moreover, the learned friend has raised an issue which reflects that the faculty welfare body is far superior than the administration”.

Dubbing the controversy “an arm-twisting tactic” of some faculty members, Gautam said: “Editorials are the viewpoints of the editor, based upon logical, just, fair, reasonable available literature in the field and due care was taken to prepare the manuscript. It is the prerogative of the editor what to omit or add.... If my learned friends have to say anything, it could have been done amicably... without washing the linen in public.”

Director-Principal justifies selection

GMCH Director-Principal Dr Raj Bahadur admitted to the plans to reconstitute the editorial board of the journal but defended their earlier decision on the inclusion of “non-MBBS and non-clinical” members to the editorial board on the grounds they had relevant experience of printing journals



Axe falls on 3 poultry farms in Raipur Rani area
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 18
Getting tough with poultry farms with insanitary conditions, the district administration today decided to shut down three poultry farms, besides registering cases against four other poultry farm owners in the Barwala-Raipur Rani area of this district, which incidentally is one of the largest poultry farm belts in Asia.

The administration took this decision in response to complaints from residents that the poultry farms were responsible for insanitary conditions in the area. The poultry farm owners have been booked under Section 133 of the CrPC for creating conditions proving hazardous to the health of the public.

A team of officials, including health experts, visited the poultry farms in the area, said Panchkula Sub-divisional Magistrate (SDM) Kulwant Kalson. It was decided to seal Sonu Poultry Farm, Friends Poultry Farm and Suraj Poultry Farm following a report prepared by the team.

Thousands of residents of the area have been facing health hazards ever since the area attracted poultry farm owners for investment about two decades ago. Over 150 poultry farms located in this area house nearly one crore birds. The excreta and feed of the birds provide favourable conditions, particularly in rainy season, for the breeding of larvae due to which the houses in the area swarm with flies.

“No place in our house is safe from flies and many times these are found in our food,” said Risal Singh, a resident of Mouli village near Raipur Rani.

Keeping in mind the interests of farm owners as well as local residents, the district administration has decided to adopt a long-term strategy to tackle the fly menace, said Kalson.

For immediate relief, the administration had decided to increase the frequency of sprays to control the menace. As a mid-term measure, it would be ensured that the poultry farm managements strictly complied with norms. The services of private consultancy firms would be sought to find out which medicines could prove effective in controlling flies in the area, he added.

As there are no rules and regulations to regulate the working of poultry farms in the state, the district administration would write to the state government to enact an Act in this regard for a long-term solution.

Haryana Poultry Association secretary Devender Ahlawat said the association would extend its support to tackle the menace.

Residents oppose upcoming poultry farm

Residents of Fatehpur village of Raipur Rani area have requested Sub-divisional Magistrate Kulwant Kalson to prevent the construction of an upcoming poultry farm near their village while pleading that the presence of another poultry farm in the area would further complicate matters. Kalson said he could not halt the construction, but said he would look into the matter.



MC poll in December
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The elections to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) will be held either on December 17 or 18. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting between Adviser to the UT Administrator KK Sharma and State Election Commissioner for Delhi and Chandigarh Rakesh Mehta. A final date will be decided depending on the availability of schools, official sources said.

However, no final decision on the increase in the number of wards from the current 26 could be taken. Also there was no decision on the delimitation of wards. These issues will be taken up after the UT Administration receives data on the Scheduled Caste population in the city.

Earlier, the election commission had mooted October/November as the tentative time for the elections to the civic body on the plea that schools would not be available in December due to examinations.



Home buyers left in the lurch
Builders fail to give possession of homes in stipulated period
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Rising cost of construction material, sky rocketing interest rates on realtors and for home loans and a cautious approach by banks to finance these projects is keeping hundreds of prospective buyers from getting possession of their ‘dream homes’.

Contrary to the general opinion being created by the realtors about a new boom in the market, The Tribune has found that the genuine home buyers in this region have been hit hard by the lull in the real estate market. With most of the builders failing to give them possession of their homes, these buyers have been burdened with escalating home loan rates. On the other hand, most of the realtors, having made their profits by selling anything between 30-50 per cent of the project at exorbitant rates, have stopped construction at these project sites and re-invested the money in either enhancing their land banks, or ploughed money collected from one project into another.

Be it in Zirakpur, located on the outskirts of Chandigarh, or the financial capital of Punjab, Ludhiana, the slump in the real estate sector has started taking its toll. At most of these project sites, one is greeted by rows of unfinished concrete structures. In some projects, the external development work has just begun to take off, though the projects were announced and bookings were made almost four to five years back.

The Tribune has learnt that almost 40 per cent of projects in Zirakpur have put their construction on hold because of a cash crunch (mainly because funds from these projects have been diverted to buying land to launch the next phase of the project), and 90 per cent of those projects where construction is still on, are working on extended time lines.

Top executive with a leading multi-national company Dheeraj Gupta, who was supposed to get the possession of his apartment in Zirakpur in March this year, informed The Tribune that he was now feeling the pinch of paying a higher EMI instalment, even though he has not got possession of his apartment. “When I booked this apartment, I went into an agreement with the developer, according to which the developer is liable to pay me a penalty of Rs 5 per square feet (for the total area of the flat) in case he failed to give me possession in the time frame that was promised. I had already sold off the flat where I was living earlier and have now been forced to live on rent as I have not got the possession of the flat. This is not just true in my case, but for a large number of home buyers in Zirakpur, VIP Road, Peer Machalla, Dhakaula and Dhakoli, where possession has been delayed. A number of people have also taken these developers to the consumer court for failing to deliver the services,” he said.

In Ludhiana, the realtors have failed to give possession of the land/villas/ apartments in a majority of the projects that took off since 2005. Those in the real estate sector allege that many of these top real estate companies that launched housing projects at the peak of the boom have collected money from the investors here, but diverted it to their under-construction projects in bigger cities.

In Bathinda, which is the emerging boom town of Malwa region, illegal colonies have mushroomed and many people have invested their hard-earned money in buying land there, only to be deprived of electricity and water connections as these colonies have not been approved by the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA).



PU’s constituent colleges to open next month
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Come August and the Panjab University will open doors of its first set of constituent colleges set up recently in Balachaur, Nihal Singh Mula, Guru Harsahai, and Singhwala.

Following footsteps of the Delhi University, the PU has set up these four colleges which will be different from conventional affiliated colleges, as they will be under the direct control of the university which will be responsible for their day-to-day working. The colleges have been set up under a special project spearheaded by the University Grant Commission (UGC) and aimed at upgrading the higher education in the rural Punjab.

“The colleges will be functional from August. We have already hired the non-teaching staff and most of the faculty positions have also been filled. The admissions are already on for these colleges. The university so far only had affiliated colleges on its board, but it is for the first time we will be having our own constituent colleges. The very nature of the PU will undergo major transformation,” said PU registrar AK Bhandari.

The colleges with an estimated capacity of about 1,000 students each will be granted an annual sum of about Rs 1.35 crore by the UGC and 1.50 crore by the Punjab Government.

Each college will offer BA (200 seats), BCom (50), BCA (40) program, though pure sciences and BBA will be introduced over the years. “The colleges will offer basic courses like BA, BCom and BCA in the beginning, but will eventually upgrade its courses. We have installed best infrastructure and got best faculty available, but what makes these colleges unique is the fact that the fee will be on a par with the government-run colleges in the rural Punjab which is way less than the Chandigarh colleges,” added Bhandari.



Wards of court employees eligible for quota, feels HC

Chandigarh, July 18
The wards of the Punjab and Haryana HC employees are eligible for reservation meant for the children of the Punjab and Haryana state employees, the HC believes.

Justice Rajiv Bhalla asserted: “I am, prima facie, satisfied that as the employees of the Punjab and Haryana HC are discharging the duties in connection with the affairs of Punjab and Haryana, their wards shall, therefore, be entitled to be considered against any quota reserved for the wards of the employees for Punjab and Haryana.”

The assertion came on a petition filed by Kanchan Sindhu. In her petition placed before Justice Bhalla, Sindhu had asserted that she was denied admission to first year of integrated BA LLB (honours) course in Kurukshetra University, even though her father was an employee of the Punjab and Haryana HC. The reason behind denial was “she cannot be considered against a quota reserved for the wards of the employees of the State of Haryana,” he counsel NC Kinra told the court. The case will now come up for further hearing tomorrow. — TNS


Fire breaks out in PGI flat, room gutted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
A fire, apparently caused by a short-circuit, broke out in the residence of a doctor-couple, Dr Rohit Manoj (cardiologist) and his wife Dr Anju (paediatrician), at the PGI’s teachers’ flats this morning. Though no one was injured in the incident, one of the two bedrooms in the flat was gutted and household goods, including a laptop and a desktop computer, were destroyed in the fire.

It took almost 45 minutes for the firemen to control the fire from spreading to other parts of the flat.

This is the third such mishap in the PGI in the past one month — the first of the two fires occurred in the Emergency Ward, in which a patient, Ghinder Singh, succumbed to the injuries sustained in the fire on June 17.

Dr Manoj said: “My wife and I had left for work at 8.30 am and we received a call around 10 am from our neighbours informing that our flat was engulfed in smoke.”

They rushed home and found thick smoke billowing from the flat.

Dr Manoj said his children were away to school when the mishap occurred.

By the time he reached home, the fire brigade had arrived and were dousing the flames.

According to PGI fire officer Rajesh Kumar, he received at least five phone calls around 10 am informing him of the incident.

“The fire brigade reached the scene soon after and quelled the fire within 45 minutes,” he said.

Kumar said the fire was apparently caused by a short-circuit.

He said a double bed, a laptop, a desktop, a wooden book shelf and clothes lying in the room were destroyed.

The firemen moved two LPG cylinders lying in the house to safety.

A neighbour said a major tragedy could have occurred had the fire not been noticed in time.



Consumer courts
Pandhi Hospital penalised Rs 5 lakh
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
In a case of wrong medication, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed Sector 36-based Pandhi Hospital to pay Rs 5 lakh in compensation to the complainant besides Rs 10,000 as cost of litigation.

The commission consisting of its president Justice Sham Sunder and members Neena Sandhu and Jagroop Singh Mahal had observed that the treatment for which the complainant had approached the hospital was not accorded to him.

Due to the negligence, the complainant developed septal perforation, due to which he was permanently disabled from getting the commercial pilot’s licence.

The complainant had also remained under physical and mental stress during the period as his condition had aggravated.

The counsel for the complainant submitted that that his client had applied for conversion of his commercial pilot licence issued in the USA to an Indian licence and was declared temporarily unfit for eight weeks on account of bilateral max sinusitis and was advised to undergo FESS by the medical examiner at the AFCME, New Delhi.

However, instead of giving FESS, the doctor performed the septoplasty open LA and discharged the complainant in the evening.

However, 10 days later, the patient was informed by the doctor that due to the operation, septal perforation had occurred in his nose due to which he could be declared permanently unfit for getting an Indian licence for commercial pilot and further expressed their inability to treat the complainant.

Thereafter, the complainant approached the PGI, Chandigarh, Ganga Ram Hospital and Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, but he was told that the required operation of FESS was not done and despite their best efforts the perforation could not be covered up. However, the counsel for the hospital and the doctor denied that the complainant told his doctor that he needed treatment of bilateral max sinusitis for conversion of licence.



Arunachal Pradesh on her mind
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 18
“Since childhood I have always dreamt about India and felt being in Arunachal Pradesh,” said a French poetess and painter Martine Le Cam while interacting with prominent persons at Sarang Lok, Sector 65, here last evening.

The poetess’ visit to India is a part of her research work. While welcoming the guest, Mahinder Singh, an artist, said a unique aspect about Martine was that her paintings spoke poetry and her poetry painted a picture in the minds of her listeners.

Rama Rattan of Sarang Lok said Martine was so impressed by Arunachal Pradesh that she added prefix Aruna to her name. For the audience, her five poems in French were read during the interaction programme.



Abandoned bag causes a flutter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
A bag was found abandoned near the Passport Office in Sector 34, causing panic among people this afternoon.

As soon as the red-colour bag was found lying in the corridor in front of a shop, people ran helter-skelter and evacuated the area.

A police team along with bomb disposal and dog squads arrived at the scene soon after.

However, the owner of the bag also appeared and told the police that he had gone to a nearby shop to get some documents xeroxed.

“There was nothing in the bag except some documents”, said the person, a resident of Sector 8.

The police later returned the bag to its owner after examining the bag.



‘Plot’ for 500 sq yards at Aerocity thickens
After losing out on first plea, complainant at it again
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 18
The allotment of 500-sq-yd plot in Aerocity under the reserved category for the physically handicapped by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has raked up a controversy, with a prospective allottee alleging that the eligibility criteria have not been adhered to while deciding on the claim of the plot under the reserved category.

Acting on the complaint of Kiran Bala, a resident of Sunam in Sangrur district, the prospective allottee, who figures on top in the waiting list in the reserved category, GMADA Chief Administrator Sarvjit Singh today directed the GMADA estate officer not to issue the letter of intent (LoI) to successful applicant Brij Mohan Verma till the complaint was verified.

A special committee of GMADA officials, constituted to hear the cases withheld in reserved categories, during its meeting on June 26, decided in favour of Verma after hearing complainant Kiran Bala, who had contested that Verma was not a resident of Punjab.

Before deciding upon the case, the committee, headed by the GMADA Additional Chief Administrator, went through documents produced by both parties.

When contacted, Verma said the complainant had been raking up a controversy unnecessarily. “I produced all relevant documents, but have not received any communication from the estate officer,” he said.

GMADA estate officer Balbir Singh said the committee had decided in favour of Verma after going through domicile documents produced by him.

He said the reserved-category certificate of being physically handicapped, that had been issue by the Medical Superintendent, Safdarjang Hospital, New Delhi, was valid.

On the other hand, the complainant had contested that the domicile documents and certificate given by the other party were not as per instructions issued in the Aerocity brochure.



Ban on construction near Sukhna choe
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, July 18
The Punjab drainage department has banned all construction activity on uncultivable land in Sukhna choe at Baltana. The department had issued notification regarding this and asked the Zirakpur Municipal Council not to give permission for constructing any building on various khasra numbers issued by the department. The department had declared the under constructed structures and a Baltana police chowki illegal.

Sources said the Zirakpur Municipal Council was likely to take decision about shifting of Baltana police chowki from Sukhna choe to another place tomorrow in the monthly meeting.

Divulging information, SDO, drainage department, Kuljeet Singh stated that the department had issued notification to around 80 khasra numbers around Sukhna choe and banned the construction activity on it.

He said a notification copy had been sent to the Deputy Commissioner, Mohali, SDM, Dera Bassi, Zirakpur Municipal Council and various other departments. He said at places where parts of choe bed were owned by some private persons, construction could be carried out only after a no objection certificate was procured from the drainage department.

An official of the Zirakpur MC stated that the building department got a copy of notification and no building maps would get approval on the choe bed. The Tribune had earlier highlighted the encroachment by builders in the Sukhna choe area of Baltana village.



6 structures razed at Lambian village
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 18
The demolition staff of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) razed six illegal structures in Lambian village here today.

Soon after the drive started, shopkeepers of the village started protesting against the GMADA officials.

Few days ago, officials of GMADA had visited the village and asked shopkeepers to vacate the area by Monday after which a demolition drive would be carried out. The drive created panic among shopkeepers.

Estate Officer Balbir Singh also reached the spot and pacified the shopkeepers. He said only the illegal structures would be demolished.



Protest by residents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Dadu Majra residents gheraoed MC Chief Engineer SS Bidda during his visit to monitor the status of works in the area today.

The residents accused the contractor of using substandard raw material while recarpeting roads in the area. As a result, most of the roads had suffered damage in a single spell of rain.



Tricity scan
Plantation drive

Herbal Plantation Day was observed in a number of schools on Monday as part of ‘vanamahotsava’, being organised by the Department of Forests and Wildlife. Ceremonial plantation was organised at the Institute of Blind, Sector 26, in collaboration with ‘Deeksha’, an NGO. ‘Dhanwantri’, the eco-club of Government High School, Sector 32, also organised a plantation drive. The drive was also organised at Government High School in Sarangpur, with principal Raj Krishan and sarpanch Dharam Kaur planting saplings of herbal plants.

French dictation

Pooja Sawhney, a BCom-III student of GGDSD College, Sector 32, has won the first prize in the French dictation competition ‘Allonsen France’, organised by the French Embassy in India at Alliance Francaise, Sector 36. The prize includes a 10-day trip to Paris. Students have been selected for this trip from across 80 countries and she is the sole candidate selected from Chandigarh.

Sikh identity

Prof Nikki Guninder Singh from the Colby College in the US spoke during a seminar organised by the Institute of Sikh Studies here on Sunday. Daughter of the late Dr Harbans Singh, author of the Sikh encyclopaedia, she spoke on the Sikh identity. Scholars from various institutes attended the seminar.

Workshop ends

With a view to bring about efficiency and promote team spirit in state government offices, the Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration, Punjab, organised a five-day training workshop, which concluded on Monday. Institute director-general BK Srivastava emphasised the need to update knowledge and skill development. Special Secretary, Personnel, Punjab, Shiv Dular Singh Dhillon, spoke on self-motivation and values.

Vend opposed

Residents of Milk Colony, Dhanas, have written to the UT Administrator, seeking the removal of the liquor vend coming up near the village gurdwara in violation of excise and taxation rules. They claim that the Chandigarh administration has flouted rules which prohibit wine shops near schools, hospitals and religious institutions.

Blood donated

A total of 50 units of blood were collected during a blood donation camp organised by the Central Administrative Tribunal, Chandigarh Bench, and the CAT Bar Association, Chandigarh, at Sector 17 on Monday. A team of doctors from the department of blood transfusion, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, conducted the camp.

Kang in SAD

Independent councillor Jagjit Singh Kang joined the Shiromani Akali Dal on Monday. The party honoured him during a function at the Tagore Theatre. Kang said he was fed up with the dictatorship in the Congress.

Saplings planted

St Xavier’s School, Sector 20, organised a sapling plantation drive at the dispensary in Sector 20 here on Monday. Students of the school participated in the drive.

Tribune Reporters



Exam cheating cases at PU hit 3-year high
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The number of cases involving use of “unfair means” in examinations at Panjab University this year has been the highest recorded in the past three years, with over 300 cases being registered during the recently concluded exam session. What has left varsity officials perturbed is the nature of such cases, most of which are “serious” and “backed by evidence”.

Ninety per cent of the “unfair means cases” have been reported from PU affiliated colleges in Punjab with Guru Nanak College, Ferozepur topping the list with about 150 such cases.

Interestingly, it is the popular ‘chits’ or ‘furras’ that have yet again emerged as the most preferred cheating option followed by exchange of answer sheets and use of cellphones.

“The number of unfair means cases registered in 2011 is the highest recorded in the past three years. Thanks to our improvised and strict examination system, we managed to ensure cheating free examinations were conducted at many notorious exam centres in Punjab, though we weren’t able to catch so many culprits. The inspection teams made daily visits to all the sensitive centres. For the time being the Ferozepur College has been barred from being an exam centre and an enquiry into the matter is still on,” said PU controller of examinations AK Bhandari.

All unfair means cases will be dealt with two high-powered committees - one headed by justice (retired) Verma and the second by justice (retired) MS Gujral, both of whom have accepted this assignment as part of their civic duty and will not be taking any stipend for the task. Members of each of the panels will include a bureaucrat as well as PU officials.

PU to employ metal detectors

Though not many cases of “unfair means” in examinations involving the use of mobile phones to cheat have been registered, Panjab University is all set to buy metal detectors to trace cellphones hidden by students, primarily under turbans, shirts, belts, etc. Asserting this was the “need of the hour, PU controller of examinations AK Bhandari said: “Though we don’t check turbans in deference to the sentiments of a section of the students. This leniency is unfortunately being misused by some who hide mobiles there. Such cases are usually not detected. So we will now be providing our inspection teams with metal detectors to find hidden cellphones.”



Josan case
PU to take legal opinion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
With the Punjab and Haryana High Court having left it to Panjab University (PU) to pass orders on BC Josan’s suspension as principal of DAV College, Sector 10, the PU has decided to seek legal opinion in this regard.

Claiming to have got Josan’s application, requesting the PU Registrar to revoke his suspension, the authorities have sought the charge sheet filed by the management.

“We are studying the judgement and have asked the management to furnish details. The PU will decide after getting legal opinion on powers of Registrar, enormity of charges against Josan and welfare of the college,” said a PU official.

Josan was likely to meet the Federation of Principals of PU-Affiliated Colleges tomorrow and plead his case with the university authorities.



Health Promoting School kicks off
20 schools accredited for first phase
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The Health Promoting School (HPS) project finally took off, with the accreditation process starting today.

Twenty government and private schools were accredited for pilot testing of the project, aimed to promote health habits among schoolchildren.

A brainchild of Dr JS Thakur of School of Public Health, all city schools would be covered in three years.

Schools would be covered under various categories, bronze, silver, gold and platinum, depending upon the goals achieved.

The framework involved coordinated action between the three components, curriculum, teaching and learning; school ethos and environment; and partnerships and services.



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