C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Punctuality: Who cares?
MC, DC office staff habitual latecomers
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
“Is it a public holiday today?” this reporter asked a peon after seeing the vacant hall of the horticulture branch of the Municipal Corporation (MC) at 9 am today. He smiled sheepishly and said that except for a handful staff, a majority turns up a little before 10 am everyday.

Interestingly, even the complaint centre had no one to attend to the written complaint. The scene was not unique to one branch of the MC but the entire spread of offices of the MC and Deputy Commissioner Office had a similar situation.

Time: 9 am

Location: MC building

Scene 1: Except peons and sweepers, no head or subordinate staff of any wing arrived in the morning at 9 am (the office hours of the MC). Interestingly, the peons who have been assigned duties with the top brass officials also did not turn up. Peons busy in cleaning desks in various wings grumbled “why should we also come to office on time when other officials do not care to follow this norm”.

Time: 9.20

Scene 2: In wings including horticulture, road division II, house allotment, estate office and booking and complaint centre attendance of the staff was nil. While in remaining MC offices, only one or two employees were present on their seats in their respective wings. In case of any emergency, 10 minutes are given as grace period to each employee during the opening of the office. But the employees have to inform their respective heads. “Whom should the employees of the branch inform when the heads were not on time in any wing” said an employee present in the enforcement wing.


On August 25, the UT Admn had issued a circular to all offices, boards, corporations and institutions that it had been observed that employees were not maintaining punctuality in attending the office. Orders had been issued that every government servant had to attend office from 9 am to 5 pm with lunch break from 1 pm to 1:30 pm. There will be a grace period of 10 minutes during the morning hours subject to the satisfaction of the branch in charge. 

The punctual one

MC Chief Engineer SS Bidda reached his office at 9:05. He was the first in the top brass who was on time even though his two juniors Superintendent Engineer (B&R) and Public health were not present in the office



Reaching late a normal practice
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Location: UT deputy commissioner’s office
Time: 9 am
Scene 1: A sweeper was cleaning the room of the district revenue assistant (DRA) branch, situated on the first floor of the office building. The story was not different on the second and third floors where the cleaning job was still on at 9:05 am.

Scene 2: Most of the desks in all the branches of the office were found to be vacant till 9:10 am. It may be mentioned that despite the ten-minute “grace” period for clocking in most of the branch heads had not arrived by that time. “Senior officials should set an example in punctuality by reaching the office right on time, but this sadly isn’t case,” said an employee on condition of anonymity who arrived at the office before 9 am.

Time: 9:20 am

DRA branch: Only one employee in the room.

EA (establishment assistant) branch (2nd floor): Again, only one person present.

MA (miscellaneous assistants) branch: Only one staffer at his desk.

Time 9:22 am

Commercial branch: Three desks occupied with the others still vacant.

Establishment branch: Only two staffers present in the room.

Time 9:25 am

Motor market branch (3rd floor): Not even a single employee found at his/her desk.

Land acquisition branch: Only one official present in the room.

Time 9:27 am

Periphery branch: The room was empty.

Colony allotment branch: Only two employees present in the room.

Not caring two hoots about the UT administration’s instructions issued recently to employees on maintaining punctuality in office attendance, several staffers of various branches were seen arriving at the offices between 9:30 am and 10 am instead of the stipulated 9:00 am, apparent without any fear of the consequences.

“This (late attendance) has become a routine affair. Many of the staffers here have gotten into the habit of coming late,” said an employee at the deputy commissioner’s office, requesting anonymity.

It may be recalled that UT home secretary Ram Niwas had conducted a surprise check at the office on June 13 and was visibly miffed after finding some staffers absent from their desks.

Later, he got two officials suspended for dereliction of duty. Despite repeated attempts UT deputy commissioner-cum-estate officer Brijendra Singh could not be contacted for his comment.

Checks on staff attendance

Interestingly a team led by superintendent (administration) was seen checking employee attendance at the office at around 9:30 am. “This step (checking the attendance) is just to maintain discipline and punctuality among the staff,” said a member of the team. When asked what action would be taken against latecomers, he replied the team would send a list of those clocking in late to the authorities.



UT Admn fails to implement Act
Regulating private healthcare delivery system
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
It’s been over a year since the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010, was passed by Parliament with the objective of regulating and controlling the healthcare delivery system in the private sector by making the registration of all clinics and hospitals mandatory.

The UT Administration is, however, yet to enforce the same for want of a copy of the notification.

The Act of Parliament received the assent of the President of India on August 18 last year and was promptly notified a day later on August 19, 2010, but the UT Health Department has been waiting for all this long for a copy of the notification. Confirming this to Chandigarh Tribune, Dr Soma, nodal officer of the programme, said, “We have written to the health ministry for a copy of the notification and we will move ahead only after receiving the same.” She said a committee, comprising the Deputy Commissioner and Director, Health Services, had been finalised for the implementation of the Act.

Surprisingly, while it has taken the UT Administration over 365 days (and it is still counting) to get a copy of the notification, a PDF copy of the Gazette Notification, issued by the Legislative Department, is available on the link of Law Ministry website (lawmin.nic.in <http://lawmin.nic.in/>) for anyone to see. It took precisely 25 minutes for this correspondent to Google the copy of the notification, a task that the UT health department has failed to do all this long.

The Act, an apparent fallout of a 1989 Supreme Court directive that emergency care cannot be denied to victims under any circumstances, aims to regulate health care in the private sector, which is witnessing an unbridled growth in India. Under the Act, all clinics must have a mandatory registration so as to categorise them on the basis of the facilities provided in accordance with the standards set under the Act. The Act says that no person will be allowed to run a clinical establishment unless it has been duly registered in accordance with the provisions of the Act. For registration and continuation, every clinical establishment shall fulfill the minimum standards of facilities and services, trained staff, as prescribed under the Act. The Act also provides for stringent penalties as its violation prescribes punishment with a heavy fines up to Rs 5 lakh.

While the Act by all means is public spirited as it aims to make clinical establishments accountable to patients, the UT Administration’s unnecessary delay in implementing the same highlights its indifference towards the common man, who is often duped and sometimes denied quality health care by private sector hospitals and clinics.



Property dealer brutally murdered
Tribune News Service

Nayagoan, September 6
A 48-year-old Nayagoan-based property dealer, Chote Lal, was found brutally murdered at his house in Safeda Colony here this evening.

The victim’s body with a slit throat and at least five deep wounds, apparently inflicted by a dagger, was found lying on the floor in a bedroom of his two-storeyed house.

Though married, he was living with another woman Rama Kumari, as his wife and three daughters were living in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh. At the time of the incident, Rama Kumari was not at home, but was first to notice the body.

Inquiries in the locality revealed that Chote Lal was into the business of earning commission from the sale and purchase of plots in Janta Colony and Safeda Colony.

Sources in the police did not rule out the possibility of an enmity over some property transaction. From the circumstantial evidence, it appeared that the assailants (suspected to be at least two) had gained a “friendly” entry to the house and killed the victim after an altercation. There were ample signs of struggle between the victim and the assailants. However, no one in his neighbourhood heard any altercation and no one saw anyone entering or leaving the house. The police recovered two blood-soaked shirts and an undershirt of an assailant, indicating that there was a prolonged struggle between them and the victim.

While the handle of the dagger was broken in the assault, its remaining part was still in the victim’s body. “The assailants left behind their clothes apparently to avoid being caught while they were fleeing from the spot,” said a police official. The victim was wearing shoes and about to leave his house when the assailants came.

A gold necklace of the victim was found missing and some property papers were strewn all over. A case of murder has been registered at the Nayagaon police station and hunt was on to identify the assailants. A dog squad of the police lost scent of the assailants due to rain.

The woman living with the victim reportedly told the police that she had identified the clothes left behind by the assailants. 

Mentor had committed suicide

Police sources revealed that Gopal Singh, a resident of Nayagoan, who had employed the victim and later brought him into the business of property dealing, had committed suicide 12 years ago and his body was found 40 days later at Ropar.



Rs 91 lakh wasted on surplus school uniforms
CAG slams UT education dept for miscalculating cloth requirement
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 6
The education department of the Chandigarh administration certainly needs to brush up its basic calculation skills. Why else would its district education officer (DEO) end up wasting as much as Rs 90.71 lakh of taxpayers’ money by making a wrong assessment of the quantity of cloth required to stitch uniforms for students of local “non model” government schools?

An interesting audit inquiry into the functioning of various UT departments (including education) has revealed not only did the DEO concerned purchase an excess quantity of cloth and jerseys for students but he later supervised the distribution of these uniforms to ineligible students simply to do away with the surplus stock.

Even more interesting are the reasons to which the comptroller & auditor general (CAG), in his report submitted to Parliament on Tuesday, attributed to these lapses on the part of the Chandigarh education department.

"The excess purchases (of cloth) were due to three reasons - counting 7,212 “scheduled caste” students twice in the enrollment leading to an Rs 19.15 lakh burden on the state exchequer; purchase of double the quantity of cloth valued at Rs 36.10 lakh for uniforms required for female students of classes 1 through 8 and purchase of excess quantity of cloth costing Rs 35.46 lakh for male students of classes 1 and 2 due to mistakes in calculation," the CAG stated in its report. It added the matter was reported to the UT education secretary in November 2008 and November 2009 and to the central home secretary in January 2010, but both had not bothered to reply as of March 2011.

The matter pertains to a scheme of the Chandigarh administration wherein all class 1 to 8 students of government-run “ordinary” (“non model”) schools were to be provided free uniforms in 2006 and 2007. The requirement of cloth and jerseys for the beneficiaries - 45,730 students enrolled - was worked out to 126,508 metres and 45,730 jerseys for the 2006-07 academic year. Later the placement of order was delayed and the department finally made it in December 2006. This time it ordered 314,816 metres of cloth and 52,942 jerseys and ended up purchasing extra cloth to the extent of 188,308 metres and 7,212 extra jerseys valued at an additional Rs 90.71 lakh.

A test check of DEO's records for February 2008 revealed 7,212 “scheduled caste” students had been counted twice, double the quantity of cloth actually required for girls of classes 1 through 8 was actually bought and, likewise, excess purchase of cloth was made for uniforms required for boys in classes 1 and 2.

And, despite all this wastage, the CAG found the lots of cloth were received only between January and August 2007 and stitched between 2007 and 2008, leaving the scheme’s beneficiaries uncovered in the intended period of 2006-2007.

To make matters worse, the UT education department conveniently changed the colour of the uniform for 2008-09 and bought fresh stocks of uniforms from a Bombay based firm without taking note of the old piled up stocks that had cost the state exchequer lakhs of rupees.

"In February 2008 the DEO placed the new order for the uniforms with a Bombay firm and distributed them among students of classes 1 through 8 in “non model” government schools. Simultaneously the department also distributed the old uniforms among the same students (who had already received new uniforms) as well as among students of ineligible schools of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan scheme to exhaust surplus stocks. In fact the DEO at times distributed uniforms twice and even thrice to the same set of students in “non model” government schools and further to students of the ineligible schools. In doing so, he deviated from the norms fixed by the UT administration," the CAG said.

The auditor slammed the department for changing the colour of the uniform without taking into cognizance the stocks in hand. “The recent distribution of new uniforms for the 2008-09 academic year indicates total disregard of the canons of financial propriety with regard to spending of government money”, he observed.


CHB drags feet on holding final draw
Interest on loan piles up for applicants
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The monopolistic construction arm of the UT Administration, the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), continues to give a raw deal to the allottees of its Sector 51-A housing scheme.

Even nine months after the preliminary draw of lots, the board is yet to hold the final draw of lots for the allotment of floors in the upcoming housing project.

With the final draw of lots getting delayed, the hopes of applicants, who deposited lakhs of rupees each with the Chandigarh Housing Board, for getting the possession by the promised time — June 2012 — have been dashed to the ground.

While the Chandigarh Housing Board authorities drag their feet on the final draw, allottees are facing a huge financial loss, as the interest on the amount financed is piling up.

In a representation, the aggrieved allottees alleged that after three months of availing of the loan from Axis Bank, the only authorised bank for the scheme, in June, the bank sent letters to the allottees threatening legal action for not repaying their loans.

However, the bank later asked the applicants to pay Rs 12,000 each for three months (June to August).

The promised date of the final draw was quoted as July.

Now panic has spread among the allottees as there is still no clue to the draw of lots.

In the meantime, Axis Bank is again sending letters to the allottees to pay Rs 12,000 as interest for another three months, with the final draw nowhere in sight.

Last year, the scheme was in the eye of the storm for being “overpriced” with the average price for the ground floor being put at Rs 50 lakh.

Even the brochure of the scheme was priced at Rs 1,000 as against Rs 100 for the earlier Chandigarh Housing Board housing schemes.



Shopkeepers, local leaders stop razing of illegal shops in P’kula
Say notice not issued before drive
Tribune news service

Panchkula, September 6
High drama was witnessed during the anti-encroachment drive of Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) in Old Panchkula today. HUDA officials had reached Old Panchkula along with JCB machines to demolish illegal shops constructed on HUDA land but shopkeepers with the support of local leaders did not allow HUDA to carry out the anti-encroachment drive. Finally, HUDA officials returned empty handed.

Recently, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had vacated the stay order thereafter HUDA had decided to start an anti-encroachment drive.

The HUDA officials said that this land belonged to HUDA and they had the high court orders yet these local leaders were supporting the shopkeepers, who had encroached upon HUDA’s land.

Senior officials of the district administration and the police reached the spot and finally controlled the situation.

HUDA estate officer Ashwini Kumar said that now they would inform the senior HUDA officials about the situation.

Whereas local MLA DK Bansal, HJC leader Shashi Sharma and INLD leaders Manoj Aggarwal and Seema Chaudhary were there in support of the shopkeepers. The leaders alleged that HUDA had not issued any notice to the shopkeepers before the drive.



Get mobile traffic alerts from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The Chandigarh Traffic Police is all set to launch its SMS service from tomorrow. The service will formally be launched by Inspector General of Police PK Srivastava at the Traffic Lines in Sector 29 in the afternoon.

Residents can avail of the service by sending “JOIN CHTP” to 09219592195 from their mobiles. Commuters will be able to get round-the-clock traffic alerts on their mobile phones for just 6 paise. Taking a step towards modernisation, the Chandigarh Traffic Police is initiating the SMS service on the lines of the Delhi Traffic Police. A team of six traffic police personnel has been designated for the job.

The step is being taken as part of yet another initiative to minimise the ever-increasing traffic congestion on the city roads.

Once subscribed to, the SMS service will help commuters get traffic updates on their mobile phones at regular intervals throughout the day.

Moreover, information on seminars, traffic awareness programmes and routes to be avoided will also be sent.

Recently, the police had set up a Facebook page that had caught on with city residents. Residents post pictures of traffic violations on the web page for further action. The police has issued over 600 challans on the basis of the page.



Exhibition on road safety
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The Chandigarh traffic police organised a road safety exhibition at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16, here today. Over 300 students took part in the workshop.

In his address, DIG Alok Kumar emphasied the importance of following road safety procedures.

He said the traffic police was spreading awareness on road safety through their Facebook page, FM stations, a local cable channel and advertisements in newspapers.

He added that around 1.25 lakh lives were lost every year in road accidents across the country. The total loss of productivity due to road accidents was estimated at 3 per cent of the country’s GDP.

The programme was attended by school principal Anujit Kaur and other staff. Over 2,000 pamphlets on road safety were distributed among the students.



Police opposes bail plea of accused
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune news service

Panchkula, September 6
The Panchkula police today opposed the bail application filed by Sahil Puri, an accused, in the Panchkula gangrape case. In this case, a 15-year-old student of class X of a private school in Panchkula was allegedly kidnapped and gangraped by two youths in June.

The police in its reply stated that the investigation of the case was at a very crucial stage and bail to the accused would ultimately hamper the probe.

On the complaint of the victim’s family, the Panchkula Police on June 28 had arrested Sahil Puri, a resident of Sector 2, and a mechanical engineering student in a Baddi-based private university, and Marshal Arora of NAC, Mani Majra, and a BA student of a private college in Chandigarh.

An FIR has been lodged under Section 363 (kidnapping), 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her into marriage) and 376-G (gangrape) against both the accused at the Sector 5 police station.

The father of the victim said the accused were known to his son and often used to visit their house. He said on June 26 he had gone out for some work and when he returned his daughter was missing. He said after looking for her for some time, he informed the police and soon the two accused threw her near the gate and fled in a car.

As the girl was in a semi-conscious state they could not get any information from her. He said her daughter narrated the whole incident to them on June 27 and thereafter they lodged a complaint with the Sector 5 police station.



Beneficiaries suffer as Fortis empanelment hangs fire
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Call it bureaucratic wrangling or sheer apathy of those at the helm, the issue of CGHS empanelment of Fortis Hospital continues to hang fire for the past eight months, much to the discomfort of thousands of beneficiaries of the central government scheme as they continue to be denied quality healthcare in the private sector due to the delay.

Significantly, no major private specialty hospital in the region is on the CGHS empanelment list, forcing beneficiaries, serving and retired central government employees and their families, from the region to look to Delhi for specialised healthcare. As per figures, there are almost 10,000 CGHS beneficiaries in the region.

Though eight months have passed since the empanelment of Fortis was cleared in principle, the notification has been held back as the hospital rates have not been approved. Things haven’t moved in these eight months things and the settlement of rates still hangs fire.

Chander Kanta, a 79-year-old beneficiary of the CGHS scheme, who has already spent thousands of rupees from her pocket on the heart treatment of her husband at Fortis, has been delaying a minor heart surgery for the adjustment of her defibrillator (cardiac implant) for the past five months in the hope that she won’t have to shell out more money once the empanelment happens.

“I have checked with the authorities several times and each time have been told that the process in under way”, she said.

YP Toshi, general secretary, Association of Retired Officers of Indian Audit and Accounts Department, said both the CGHS and the hospital should resolve the issue in the interest of beneficiaries.

“Why should we be denied the facilities over trivial issues that can be sorted out with ease,” said Toshi.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, CGHS joint director SC Anand confirmed that the ministry was yet to finalise the rates, as Fortis was demanding parity with the rates approved for their Delhi hospitals.

On the other hand, Fortis officials claimed that the rates that were being offered to them were very low and unreasonable.

Sources in Fortis claimed that the CGHS was offering them old rates that were almost 50 per cent of what was being paid by the CGHS to other specialised hospitals in Delhi.

“For a peripheral nerve surgery, the CGHS has offered us the old rate of Rs 14,000, whereas they are paying Rs 70,000 to hospitals like ours in Delhi,” said the official, adding that the rate was even lower than Rs 16,000 being paid to non-National Accreditation Board Hospitals (NABH).

Sources said the CGHS had divided hospitals into three categories — National Accreditation Board Hospitals (NABH), non-NABH and super-speciality hospitals — and fixed their rates accordingly.

While the new rates were released in August, 2010, Fortis has been given rates of under the non-NABH category.

Amidst these developments, the CGHS has empanelled another eye hospital — Grover Eye Hospital, in Sector 35. Grewal Eye Centre in Sector 9 was the only empanelled hospital hitherto.

Dr Anand said three other hospitals in Mohali — Indus hospital, Ivy hospital and Amar hospital — had applied for empanelment. Only Mukut and Silver Oak hospitals are so far empanelled with the CGHS.



Pvt co. gets outstanding entrepreneur award
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 6
Tynor Orthotics (P) Limited has received the outstanding entrepreneur of the country award under the National Awards 2010 Scheme for MSMEs.

Pushvinderjit Singh, vice-president of the Mohali Industries Association( MIA) and managing director of Tynor Orthotics (P) Limited received the award from President of India Pratibha Devisingh Patil at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, on September 2. The award comprises a cash award of Rs 1 lakh, a certificate and a trophy.

KS Mahal, president, MIA, said the selection process involved an audit on about 30 key parameters of performance of the industrial unit.

More than 2,000 companies from the entire country contested for this award and it was for the first time that a company from Punjab had received the award.

It was a rare achievement by a first generation entrepreneur. 



Students literally pass through hell
Garbage collection centre is located few metres away from St Soldier school
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 6
A number of residents, shopkeepers and students of St Soldier Public School in Phase 7, are being forced to inhale foul smell emanating from a garbage collection centre, located few metres away from the school. Repeated representation to the Deputy Commissioner, Chief Administrator of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority and the Commissioner of the Mohali Municipal Corporation to shift the garbage collection centre have fallen on deaf years.

The situation has become so bad that students in the school are facing health problems due to the foul smell. While coming to the school, the students have to cover their nose with a mask to avoid being affected by the nauseating smell. The shopkeepers lament that the contractor engaged to collect the garbage neither cleans the collection centre nor fumigates the place.



Need to plug loopholes in Indian admn: US prof
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Appreciating the phenomenal growth of India over the last decade, Professor Bhaskar Chakravorti, Senior Associate Dean for International Business and Finance, The Fletcher School, Tufts University, asserted that competency drawbacks and gaps in the system need to be plugged for sustainance of the growth.

Chakravorti is actively involved in the Indian School of Business (ISB) Hyderabad's ties with The Fletcher School, the oldest exclusively graduate school for international affairs in the US. He is also actively involved in setting up of the Bharti Institute of Public Policy at the ISB's campus at Mohali. Spelling out the drawbacks in the Indian system, he said these were most visible in the areas of infrastructure, manufacturing, healthcare and public policy, which the campus at Mohali sought to address by opening up schools of excellence in these areas.

He said the public sector, like the government, has a major role to play in any economy, whether developed or developing, and therein lies the importance of the public policy. Chakravorti said it was the tale of passe when talented people considered it their pride to delve in public policy.



Newly wed couple seeks police security
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune news service

Panchkula, September 6
Feeling threatened by their families after their inter-caste marriage, two newlyweds — Dinesh Singh (29) and Anshu(19) — approached the district court for protection.

District and Sessions Judge Manjit Singh directed the police to provide security to them till September 15.

Sources said Dinesh belonged to a Rajput family and Anshu was from khatri caste. Dinesh is a resident of Kalka and Ashu hails from Yamunanagar. They were now residing in Panchkula.

The couple produced all the certificates pertaining to their marriage, photographs of the marriage, residence proof, along with proofs of the witnesses who had testified their marriage. The couple had attached all the important documents along with their protection application before the court. After going through all the documents, Panchkula court awarded police protection to them. Court further directed the Panchkula SP to ensure life and liberty to the couple, as there was threat to their lives.

Sources added that it was a love marriage and before marrying both had informed their parents about their wish to tie the knot. But as both were from different castes, their families did not agree to the marriage.

Their counsel said that the two wanted to tie the knot but since their parents objected, they got married in Yamunanagar on September 5.

He stated that the two began getting threat calls from their relatives after the marriage was solemnised.



Chandigarh Scan

60 challaned

In a major anti-encroachment drive on Tuesday, the Municipal Corporation impounded four trucks, 11 cars and lifted scrap of vehicles (mainly tyres) from Mani Majra. As many as 60 defaulters were challaned. The drive was supervised by enforcement inspector Kashmira Singh.

Project sanctioned

Prof C. Nirmala, department of botany, Panjab University, has been sanctioned a project titled “Development of processing techniques for preserving juvenile shoots of Nutritionally rich edible bamboos of the Sub Himalayan and North-Eastern region of India from the Ministry of Food Processing Industries,” by the Government of India

500 pledge eyes

An eye donation camp was held on Tuesday at GGDSD College, Sector 32, in coordination with the GMCH-32. The GMCH-32 team comprised of Dr Archana Malik, Dr Pratik Topiwala and Mr. RK Rai. The camp saw more than 500 students and members of the faculty pledge their eyes for the noble cause. Ashima Dhir, co-ordinator of the programme in the college, said that the camp was part of the endeavour of the college to provide a humane outlook to students.

Public hearing rescheduled

The Public hearing session slated for September 12 has now been rescheduled for September 15, due to some prior engagements of Punjab Governor and Administrator Chandigarh, Shivraj V. Patil, an official press note issued here said on Tuesday. — TNS



Believe it or not — these are UT schools
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Though the school authorities cry hoarse about lack of furniture, hundreds of broken benches are stacked in classrooms.
Though the school authorities cry hoarse about lack of furniture, hundreds of broken benches are stacked in classrooms. tribune photo manoj mahajan

With overcrowded classrooms, courtyard and corridors, those in the evening shift arriving early are forced to sit in the ground, waiting for their turn to get some space.
With overcrowded classrooms, courtyard and corridors, those in the evening shift arriving early are forced to sit in the ground, waiting for their turn to get some space. tribune photo manoj mahajan

Chandigarh, September 6
Housed in one of the top 10 education centres in the country, schools at villages and colonies in the city are mini-exhibits of schools in far-flung areas of Haryana and Punjab.

Riding high on the wave of optimism and approved plans, DPI(S) Sandeep Hans was taken by shock at the sight of hundreds of students packed in rooms, overflowing toilets and broken benches in three rural schools he inspected today.

Rather than the usual skewed teacher-student ratio, student-classroom ratio and pending construction by the engineering department, it was the lackadaisical attitude of the school authorities which left him fuming.

Be it the Government High School at Mauli Jagran, the Government Middle School at Indira Colony or the Government High School at Hallo Majra, lack of furniture, fans, tubelights, staff, cleanliness, discipline and proper toilets was a common sight.

What was the most striking similarity was the fact that all that the authorities at all three schools had done was writing letters to the education department.




Government High School, Mauli Jagran

Making a mockery of the specified student-classroom ratio, over 500 students are bundled together in the courtyard and corridors of the Government High School at Mauli Jagran.
Making a mockery of the specified student-classroom ratio, over 500 students are bundled together in the courtyard and corridors of the Government High School at Mauli Jagran. tribune photo manoj mahajan

Confusion and chaos define this school’s environs. The courtyard houses over 500 students, who belong to different grades and sections, but still sit together.

As a result, while a chorus of the table of six is going on on one side, a teacher is shouting the parts of the digestive system on the other.

Students are running helter skelter. A jumble of mathematics, science and English greets you here.

Six sections of class V sit together in a single hall, where one teacher looks after two sections, each with over 150 students. 

What has irked officials is the continuous stench from the overflowing toilets situated next to the hall.

The school, which has two storeys, has a similar story on the upper floor, where classes are held in corridors.

The lucky few who are sitting on benches in classrooms struggle with lack of tubelights and fans. Blackboards are dirty and dustbins absent.




Government Middle School, Indira Colony

Benches continue to be a rare luxury at the Government Middle School in Indira Colony, where a majority of students are forced to sit on dirty ‘durees’ and ‘taats’.
Benches continue to be a rare luxury at the Government Middle School in Indira Colony, where a majority of students are forced to sit on dirty ‘durees’ and ‘taats’. tribune photo manoj mahajan

Rather than looking like a school, the place resembles a makeshift arrangement at a refugee colony, where students sit on ‘taats’ under tin sheets. Currently struggling with a massive staff crunch, mid-day meal workers substitute for teachers many a time to control and even teach students. The moment the DPI(S) entered the school premises, the principal went into a frenzy to get toilets cleaned. What left the official perturbed was the dirty ‘durees’ and dusty classrooms, some of which were also the store for broken furniture. While none of the classrooms had dustbins, many were stacked in the staff room, which was a store for broken chairs, band drums and sewing machines.




Government High School, Hallo Majra

With a block under construction and the other overcrowded, over 200 students of class I study English on the temple premises at the Government High School in Hallo Majra.
With a block under construction and the other overcrowded, over 200 students of class I study English on the temple premises at the Government High School in Hallo Majra. tribune photo manoj mahajan

Having been known as a key exhibition of the poor state of UT schools, the situation has worsened, with construction going on on the school premises. Chaos rules here as neither teachers, nor students seem to be aware of who is supposed to teach and what is supposed to be learnt. Students are running in the corridors, fighting and screaming, while a handful of teachers are either taking classes or sitting at the defunct science laboratory, which has been converted into a makeshift staff room. What is the most perturbing is that a section of class XII, which sits in the corridor, does not have a teacher till date and runs on the mercy of a class monitor or some teacher who is free. On the other side, two teachers struggle to teach alphabets to over 200 students of class I at the temple.



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