C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


CTU mismanages its drivers
Despite staff crunch, diverts them for driving official cars
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
While the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) is desperate to get drivers for its buses, at least a dozen of its drivers have been diverted to driving UT Administration officials or cars belonging to the CTU.

The diversion is not without a cost and, resultantly, loss to the state exchequer. A bus plying on a long route daily earns an average Rs 20,000. On local routes, the daily income works out to be approximately Rs 9,000. The daily ‘loss’ hence works out to be Rs 2.40 lakh had these drivers been plying buses on long routes and Rs 1.08 lakh had they been plying on local routes.

The CTU has a fleet of 80 buses lying unused due to staff shortage. The Government Transport Workers Union has demanded at least 270 new drivers (and 400 conductors) to meet the current requirements. The CTU currently has nearly 825 drivers on its rolls and has been deploying many of them on double shifts to make up for shortages.

Till about a couple of years ago, the UT recruited a separate batch of drivers for light vehicles and would never have compromised with the force of regular bus drivers. The “deputation” of bus drivers besides the financial loss to the department, also means a daily denial of services to hundreds of commuters, conceded a CTU official.

“While on the one hand, the administration claims to be strengthening its public transport system, on the other hand it is using the workforce of bus drivers on minor jobs,” said CTU Union general secretary Raj Kumar.

Official cars being driven by CTU bus drivers

n CH01-G-0007 : UT Finance Secretary
n CH01-G1-3078: UT Joint Secretary (Finance)
n CH01-G-0009: UT Additional Deputy Commissioner
n CH01-G-1-3206: UT Secretariat pool
n CH01-G-3347 and CH01-G-1 0808: Burail Jail



Trying to ape action hero, 11-yr-old boy dies
Family members donate his eyes to GMCH
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
An 11-year-old boy died at his residence in Sector 21 here today trying to ape an action hero and attempting to perform a stunt with a string tied around his neck.

Saurabh Sharma, son of a Punjab Police Inspector, was strangulated to death on the spot. He was a Class VI student of Manav Mangal School in Sector 21.

His family members later donated the child’s eyes to Government Medical College and Hospital Sector 32.

The incident occurred in the afternoon when Saurabh was playing on the terrace while his brother, 12-year-old Gaurav, was studying. Police investigations revealed that Saurabh went to the store on the terrace and bolted the door from inside. Fascinated by an action hero on television, he attempted to perform a stunt like him. The child pulled one side of a string meant to dry clothes and wrapped it around his neck. He then stood on an elevated platform and jumped to the other side along with the rope. Tragically, the child slipped. As a result, the rope strangulated his neck, killing him within minutes.

Some time later, his brother Gaurav knocked repeatedly on the door. On finding no response, he went downstairs to call his mother and grandfather. They had to break the door only to discover to their horror the lifeless body of the child. The police was then called.

Saurabh was declared brought dead at Government Medical College and Hospital in Sector 32. The child’s father, Inspector Rajesh Sharma, is posted in the traffic wing at Ropar. The police initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 CrPC.

‘He was fond of action heroes’

Trying to get to terms with the reality, 12-year-old Gaurav Sharma, who studies in Class VII in Manav Mangal School, appeared traumatised at the loss of his only brother. “It all occurred so suddenly. He was very fond of action heroes and often used to perform stunts like them,” he said.

Pall of gloom

A pall of gloom descended on the Sector 21 residence of Saurabh with shocked family members and friends pouring in large numbers on receiving the news of the child’s sudden death. “He was very bright and active. We are shocked,” said one of their neighbours.



Woman faces snatching horror in car
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
A 50-year-old woman, Meena Sharma, faced a horrifying experience when she suffered an injury after a snatcher pulled her gold chain while she was seated on the front seat of her Honda City car.

The incident occurred in Sector 51 here when she was talking to her friend seated in the car. The woman, who was visibly shaken by the incident, has since locked herself indoors.

Meena, a resident of Janta Enclave in Sector 51, had gone to meet her friend yesterday. “My friend had come to see me off outside. We both sat in the car and continued conversing when suddenly two boys in their early 20s on a bike came and parked by our side. One of the youths then approached us on foot and put his hand on my neck. He first scared me and then tried to press my neck. He then took out a cutter, cut my chain and pulled it away. I suffered an injury on my neck and cried for help. But all in vain,” she said. The snatcher then fled with his accomplice who was waiting on the bike. The police has registered a case at the Sector 34 police station.

130 incidents, only 30 pc solved

Even as the city continues to witness incidents of snatchings on a near daily basis, the UT police has been unable to curb the crime. The first eight months of the year have witnessed over 130 incidents of snatchings. But only 30 per cent of these have been solved. The police says most snatchers are drug addicts and those caught usually get bailed out within a few weeks.



Thieves drive off in Porsche, Mercedes; dump latter
Also take away laptop, iPad after breaking into Sector-7 house
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 22
It was a dream walk for the thieves who perpetrated this crime. They walked up to the gate of a palatial house in Sector 7 by using a duplicate key, made use of a gas cutter to cut the wire mesh of the guest bedroom located on the ground floor in a corner of the house, then entered the main hall and walked up the stairs to the first floor bedroom of house owner Chander Verma’s daughter before lifting a laptop and an iPad.

The thieves then walked down, picked the keys of 10 cars parked in the compound, made a selection of four before exiting the house. The thieves, whose number could not be ascertained, then drove away in a Mercedes and a Porsche. However, after driving just 250 yards, the thieves had a change of mind as they abandoned the Mercedes car and took off in the Porsche Cayenne car (see cutout), worth around Rs 80 lakh.

The incident came to light at 4 am when Verma’s 17-year-old daughter Riya discovered that her laptop and iPad had gone missing. “After my daughter informed me that her gadgets had gone missing from her room, I went upstairs to check other rooms. I was shocked to discover that my expensive cars were not there,” said a visibly shocked Verma, a businessman and resident of house No. 44 in Sector 7.

“I immediately went to my nephew’s room since he (Sahil) had earlier parked all 10 cars owned by our joint family. I went to ask if he had parked all cars and when he confirmed this, I realised that my cars had been stolen. I then called the police and informed them about the theft,” said Verma.

Panchkula SP Maneesh Chaudhary said they had already informed their counterparts in Chandigarh and Mohali about the car theft. The police also flashed the car number to all nearby toll plazas, he added.

The police is also investigating if the thieves were aware that nobody was sleeping in the guest bedroom, as they chose the room to enter the house. The police is checking the records of drivers and servants of the house.

Chandigarh link

Close to the abandoned Mercedes car, the police discovered another abandoned car, a Toyota Corolla. Sources in the Panchkula police said the car was the same that had been robbed from Sector 11 in Chandigarh on Wednesday morning. They added that the thieves who had taken away the Porsche car had driven to Panchkula in the stolen Corolla car. After the crime, the perpetrators dumped both the Corolla and the Mercedes cars. The sources said after recovering the Corolla car, the UT police informed the Panchkula police that they would show the car in their recovery, whereas the Panchkula police claimed that it was their case property as the car was found in Panchkula. On Wednesday morning, a snatcher on foot had snatched the chain of a senior citizen in Sector 11, Chandigarh, and fled with her car parked in her house.

Faulty 100
After discovering the theft at 4 am, Chander Verma, the victim, dialed 100 to reach the Panchkula police control room. However, the call reached the Chandigarh police control room. The Chandigarh police then further informed their counterparts in Panchkula about the crime.


MC General House deferred till September 28
Cong senses trouble over garbage mess, ‘buys time’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The General House of the municipal corporation, scheduled for tomorrow, has been postponed in an apparent bid to avoid an unsavoury situation arising out of the garbage processing plant issue. Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh has now rescheduled the meeting for September 28.

Sources in the corporation said the decision had been taken after sensing the mood of opposition councillors during a pre-house meeting. Opposition coucillors were planning to corner the Congress over its senior leader’s suggestion of shutting down the plant when the party itself had proposed and set up the plant during its tenure.

Opposition councillors were also looking to question the ruling party over keeping mum on the issue for the past four years, in spite of years of suffering of residents of Dadu Majra and their attempts to seek a permanent solution to the problem.

However, the ruling party maintained that the meeting had been postponed as they had asked the authorities to prepare a detailed report on the status of the garbage processing plant and dumping ground.

Sources said the Mayor had asked MC Commissioner Prerna Puri to prepare details of all reports prepared so far on the plant by the UT administration, the Chandigarh Pollution Control Board and the corporation and table it in the House for discussion.

Dubbing it a political gimmick, nominated councillor Dr AP Sawanria said: “What is the need to postpone a scheduled meeting when there is a provision in the MC Act for convening a special meeting, on any issue, by the Mayor?”

On the preparation of report, he said ruling party councillors had admitted many a time in the House that the House could do little on the issue when the executive powers were in the hands of the MC Commissioner.

Questioning the intentions of former Mayor Kamlesh, who is also a Congress councillor, nominated councillor MPS Chawla said she could have raised the issue of foul smell emanating from the plant and protested any time during the past four years if she was so keen on resolving the issue.

He said though several major decisions had been taken by the House in the past four years, their implementation depended on the whims and fancies of MC officials.

He said the consolidated report won’t make much difference when it was tabled in the House in the next meeting.



hs Repatriation
Vesting FS with all charges may cause protocol issues
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The handing over of the additional charge of the post of Home Secretary to Finance Secretary VK Singh may pose protocol problems for the UT administration. This stems from the fact that VK Singh is a 1990-batch IAS officer of Punjab cadre, while Chandigarh Housing Board Chairman Satya Gopal is a 1988-batch IAS officer of the AGMUT cadre.

“If VK Singh is given the charge of Home Secretary by superceding Satya Gopal, it can pose serious protocol problems for the administration,” sources said here today.

In 2008, Sanjay Kumar, an IAS officer of 1988 cadre, held the additional charge of the post of Home Secretary for around six months. However, at that time, Sanjay Kumar was the senior-most officer after the then Adviser to the UT Administrator Pradip Mehra. At that time, the CHB chairman Mohanjit Singh was junior to Sanjay Kumar.

The sources said since the Home Secretary also held the charge of Secretary (Housing), the handing over of the charge to VK Singh would pose problems. In that case, the CHB chairman would have to report to a junior officer — VK Singh.

With a view to avoiding such a situation, the top brass of the UT administration is mulling the division of departments held by the Home Secretary between Satya Gopal and VK Singh.

It is being discussed that this division may avoid the unsavoury situation emerging out of giving charges of all departments held by the Home Secretary to the Finance Secretary. The Home Secretary heads around 30 departments, while over 20 departments are headed by the Finance Secretary.

HS to relinquish charge today

Home Secretary Ram Niwas will relinquish charge on Friday. He is expected to join his parent state, Haryana, in the afternoon itself as September 24 is a holiday



sgpc poll
Rebel spoils SAD party
Hardeep defeats Jatinder Pal by 366 votes
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 22
The win of Independent candidate Hardeep Singh, a rebel Akali, over the joint candidate of the SAD and Sant Samaj, Jatinder Pal Singh, in the SGPC elections from the Mohali constituency is being seen as setback for the SAD in light of the forthcoming Vidhan Sabha elections.

The victory of Hardeep Singh, though by a thin margin of 366 votes, assumes significance as Mohali has always been considered a citadel of Akalis and senior SAD leaders, including SAD joint secretary NK Sharma, had thrown their weight behind party’s official candidate who lost more due to stiff resistance of leaders within the party and low acceptance in the urban areas.

An analysis of the polling pattern reflects that the official candidate, JP Singh, fared badly in the urban segment compared to the winning candidate.

On the other hand, he polled more votes in the rural areas but lost out due to poor lead in the urban areas. Of the 37,000 votes in the Mohali constituency, over 22,000 were in the urban areas alone.

Interestingly, the woman seat from Mohali constituency has been won by SAD candidate Paramjit Kaur Landran, who defeated Independent candidate and former councillor Harvinder Kaur Landran by a margin of 3,182 votes, indicating that many voters who had cast their ballot in favour of Paramjit Kaur did not favour JP Singh. Another point that favoured Hardeep Singh was that he had been an SGPC member for the past two consecutive terms since 1996.



Harjinder proves her mettle with 1,266-vote win
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Riding high on her performance as the three-time councillor of the municipal corporation, former Mayor Harjinder Kaur entered the SGPC with an impressive win of 1,266 votes here today.

Harjinder Kaur, who banked on her performance as the councillor and and close rapport with the Sikh community, defeated her nearest political rival Gurnam Singh Sidhu, who polled 3,232 votes as against 4,498 votes polled by her.

In fact, it was not a smooth sailing for Harjinder Kaur, who contested the general seat and was nominated by the SAD ahead of the senior Akali leaders, including sitting SGPC member and former SAD local unit chief Gurpartap Singh Riar.

Spurned by the SAD for a renomination from the Chandigarh seat, Harjinder Kaur’s bête noire and former SGPC member Gurpartap Singh Riar had withdrawn from the contest. In fact, it was only at the fag end of the campaigning that Riar rejoined the SAD and threw in his lot with official candidate. Talking about her priorities, Harjinder Kaur said serving the Sikh community in particular and society in general was high on her agenda. Education and a campaign against social evils and imbibing a spirit of entrepreneurship among the Sikh community, were some of my priorities, she added.

With this win, Harjinder Kaur seems to have emerged as the leader to be reckoned with in the Sikh community ahead of the municipal corporation elections in December this year. The win will put her in a commanding position vis-à-vis the alliance partner of the Akali Dal — the BJP. Though the SAD has always been a junior partner to the BJP, the win will be a morale booster for Harjinder Kaur in the forthcoming elections in relation to the BJP and various factions in the SAD.



BPL figures ‘belie’ city’s living standards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The revised criteria of the Planning Commision for identifying people living below poverty line (BPL), which puts the per head expenditure at Rs 32 per day, is irrational and illogical, feels a cross-section of city’s population.

“With a comparatively higher expenditure on items of daily use in a modern city like Chandigarh, the new criteria is far removed from reality and an instance of wishful thinking by Planning Commission babus”, says advertising professional Anup Sharma. Chhotu Ram, a rickshaw-puller, says the per person expenditure in his family of four per day ranged between Rs 70 and Rs 90, including the rentals. “We are hardly able to make both ends meet and there is hardly any scope for savings,” he rues. The commission had yesterday put a daily expenditure ceiling at Rs 26 in the rural areas and Rs 32 in the urban areas. It put the monthly expenditure ceiling for a family of five at Rs 3,905 (rural) and Rs 4,824 (urban).

No one is poor in UT

If the expenditure ceiling fixed by the Planning Commission is taken into account, there are no poor people in Chandigarh. An overwhelming majority of people spend much more than the ceiling of Rs 965 fixed by the commission for food in the urban areas.

‘Farfetched figures’

It seems the Planning Commision officials are far removed from reality in their calculation of the expenditure level in the urban areas. How can they compare a small town in UP with Chandigarh in identifying the BPL persons? The criteria for the expenditure level should be area-specific and take care of ground realities.
— Manmohan Garg, chartered accountant-turned-educationist



Bovine menace at its worst here
Bus service, roads need attention; HUDA officials not bothered
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

A damaged streetlight junction box; (right) Poles without streetlights on a road.
A damaged streetlight junction box; (right) Poles without streetlights on a road.

Panchkula, September 22
Stray cattle, bumpy roads and lack of public transport plague Sector 26 here. While the stray cattle menace has made life hell, the absence of a developed market and an effective public transport has left people high and dry.

Though the stray cattle menace is being faced by residents all over the town in general, it has become a nightmare for the residents of Sector 26, says Rajesh Kumar, a local resident.

One cannot take the risk of leaving the main gate of the house open as stray cattle will not take any time in entering the house and damaging windowpanes, he adds.

While many roads have been damaged due to the ongoing construction, HUDA officials have not bothered to get these repaired, says Aneesh, another local resident. Rain has washed away parts of roads, causing a bumpy ride, he adds.

residents speak
Residents are waiting for the inauguration of the newly constructed hospital building. The only small market in the area becomes a restricted area at night as lights are not functional.

Suresh Paul, shopkeeper

The area remains cut off from the rest of the town most of the time. As the bus service has an interval of at least an hour, it becomes difficult for women and the elderly to move out.

Purnendu, student

Stray cattle have made life hell here. Nothing has been done by the authorities despite repeated requests.

Ravinder Malik, local resident.

Roads as well as parks in the sector are a shambles, but who bothers?

Kapil Sabharwal, local resident



Iffco Tokio ordered to pay accident claim
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed Iffco Tokio General Insurance Company Limited to pay a compensation of Rs 50,000, along with 18 per cent as interest, to a Sector-35 resident for deficiency in service.

The forum, comprising president Lakshman Sharma and members Madhu Mutneja and Jaswinder Singh Sidhu, has also directed the company to refund Rs 2,34,581 to the complainant, along with 18 per cent per annum as penal interest, besides Rs 7,000 as costs of litigation.

The forum observed that the insurance company should have verified facts before the issuance of the policy. It could not take the stand of incorrect information at the time of indemnification of loss, it added.

If the complainant had furnished wrong information, the vehicle should not have been insured and the premium should have been returned, it noted.

Complainant Anurag Sharma said he purchased a Ford Fiesta car on April 16, 2008, and got it insured from M/s Bajaj Allianz Insurance Company Limited for one year.

He added that he shifted to Karnal later and could not get the insurance policy renewed in time. He further said he got the car insured from Iffco Tokio for a year on November 24, 2009, and paid a premium of Rs 15,804.

He stated that his car met with an accident near Mullanpur on December 14, 2009, and he informed the insurance company immediately, following which he took the vehicle to Saluja Motors at Mohali for repairs.

He further said the surveyor appointed by the company surveyed the vehicle and Sharma paid Rs 2,34,581 to Saluja Motors after the company told him that he should get the vehicle released from the workshop after paying the bill, which would be reimbursed, as there was no facility for cashless claim settlement.

To his surprise, after he submitted relevant documents, he received a letter from the company, repudiating his claim on the ground that he had submitted wrong particulars regarding the previous insurance policy, the complainant asserted.

The counsel for the insurance company averred that the complainant had submitted a cover note at the time of issuance of its cover note, stating that the car had been insured with Reliance Insurance Company Limited for the previous year.

He said the complainant did not disclose correct particulars and it was a well-settled proposition of the law that insurance contract, like any other contract, was based on good faith and therefore, the claim deserved dismissal.



Bear hike in charges, builder told
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 22
The Mohali District Consumer Redressal Forum has directed M/s Industrial Cables, builders of Ivory Towers at Sector 70 here, to pay Rs 1.81 lakh, the difference in cost of stamp duty and registration charges applicable on Tuesday and prior to 2008. The orders have been passed on a complaint filed by Madhu Banati and DS Basanti.

The complainants stated that they were allotted flats in January, 2001, and March, 2002, respectively, and possession was granted in February, 2001, and September, 2001, respectively.

They added that the conveyance deeds were not registered by builder as the land allotted by PUDA could not be registered in the name of the builder till March, 2009, on account of some outstanding payment.

They further said the collector rates had been enhanced substantially in 2008, causing a financial loss of about Rs 1.71 lakh, apart from Rs 10,000 as interest on account of enhanced registration charges, for no fault of theirs.

According to the complainants, some residents who had been pressurising the builder for early registration of conveyance deeds of their flats had got this done at the enhanced collector rates for fear of resumption by banks.

After hearing the arguments of both parties, the forum ordered that the builder would have to get the conveyance deeds registered within one month of the receipt of the judgement and bear the difference in cost due to enhanced stamp duty and registration charges.



Andhra Bank penalised Rs 38,300
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed Andhra Bank to pay Rs 38,300 to a Sector 22-B resident for its failure to forward the premium amount to an insurance company, besides levying Rs 5,000 as cost of litigation.

The district forum, comprising its president Lakshman Sharma, and members Madhu Mutneja and Jaswinder Singh Sidhu, in its order stated that the bank could recover the amount from the official(s) concerned, if the management so desired, by following proper rules.

The complainant, Shyam Lal Gupta, had pleaded that United India Insurance Company had floated “AB-Arogyadan” mediclaim policy for account holders and as he had an account with the bank, he opted for the mediclaim policy.

He said even though he had verbally directed the official concerned to debit the premium amount for the renewal of the policy on June 18, 2006 besides filling a renewal authorisation letter sent by the insurance company, the opposite party debited the amount on July 12 by which time the policy had expired.

Meanwhile, his wife was admitted to a private eye hospital for operation of the right eye. He said when he sent the request for pre-authorisation to Good Health Plan Ltd for cashless treatment, the same was declined on grounds that there was a 23-day break in the renewal of the policy, which was treated as a fresh policy, and one-year exclusion was applicable as per insurance norms.

As a result, he had to pay Rs 38,000 from his own pocket towards the medical treatment of his wife.

The counsel for the opposite party argued that as per terms and conditions of the policy, the complainant was supposed to deposit the cheque/DD with the bank for collecting the applicable premium for debiting the same to the insurance company.

The complainants had also failed to mention their account number maintained with the bank on the renewal authorisation letter. He also denied that the complainant ever requested the officer of the bank for debiting the premium to the insurance company.



Dealer directed to pay cost of Swift car
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 22
Mohali-based car dealer Chittosho Motor has been directed by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum to pay Rs 5,34,970, the cost price of a Maruti Swift VDI car, to a Phase-VII resident on account of damage to the vehicle while with the agency for periodic service.

Holding the car dealer responsible for negligence and carelessness, the forum, comprising BS Mehandiratta, president, and SS Dhaliwal and HK Ghuman, members, directed the car dealer to pay 9 per cent per annum as interest with effect from May 8 till the date of payment.

The complainant, Ranjai Sanadi, had stated that he purchased a new car from the agency on November 4 the previous year and left it with the agency for periodic service on May 8.

He added that the company informed him during service that there was a minor problem with the car, but when he visited the agency, he found his car badly damaged.

He further said the company failed to give him a satisfactory reply on enquiry and refused to replace the car, with repeated representations to the agency failing to elicit a response.

The agency denied damaging the car. It stated that it was ready to replace the damaged parts of the car free of cost.

After hearing the arguments, the forum observed that the depressed and pensive state of mind of a consumer could be imagined when the vehicle purchased by him with his hard-earned income was damaged due to the negligence and carelessness of those with whom were entrusted for repairs and who were supposed to keep it in safe custody.



Religious orthodoxy bared in satire form
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, September 22
Meaningful entertainment weaved in humour and satire, with each dialogue guarantying a spell of genial laughter, boldly discussed religious rituals fanning orthodoxy among the innocent masses on the concluding day of the second Chandigarh Theatre Festival at the Tagore Theatre here yesterday.

Comedy always has a didactic purpose and the fact was eloquently illustrated in the hilariously entertaining and sensationally shocking Hindi play ‘Krishan vs Kanhaiya’.

Based on the Gujarati comedy play ‘Kanji Viruddh Kanji’, written by Bhavesh Mandalia, the play was directed by Umesh Shukla. Bollywood comedy king Paresh Rawal immortalised the performance, making it a memorable experience for city art lovers.

The play, with socially relevant content, brought into focus the prevailing orthodoxy, with religious patriarchs exploiting and plunging the credulous masses into misery and blind following of agents of God at temples.

Some of the best and most light-hearted court scenes are created, with arguments on both sides and a debate on the existence of God. God visits him in person to explain that he cannot win and therefore, should withdraw the case.

Rawal gave a sterling performance. The cast also included artistes Dharmender Gohil, Sirdhar Vatsar, Vaibhav Biniwala, Khushboo Brahmbhatt, Chirag Vora and Ankit.



Tricity scan
Chandigarh scan
250 attend conference

The annual conference of Indian Society of Neuroradiology being hosted by the department of radio diagnosis, PGIMER, Chandigarh, began on Thursday with participation of over 250 delegates from all over the globe. The focus of the programme was on imaging in paediatric stroke and brain tumors. There was a categorical course in the morning on physics and principles of MRI and MR spectroscopy. Dr Manohar Shroff from the Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, delivered Prashant Shetty memorial oration titled “Imaging in paediatric arterial stroke: What is current and what is new?” In the evening, the conference was inaugurated by Dr Krishan Lal, president of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA). Prof V Sakhuja, director, PGIMER, was the guest of honour.

Purse stolen from car

In what exposes loopholes in the PU’s security system, a purse was stolen from the law department’s parking lot on Thursday
In what exposes loopholes in the PU’s security system, a purse was stolen from the law department’s parking lot on Thursday. Thieves broke the glass of the driving seat and took away the purse lying there. Victim Manpriya Khurana has lodged a complaint and the police is investigating the matter. Tribune photo: Vinay Malik

70 challaned

The Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, on Thursday carried out a special anti-encroachment drive in Sectors 44, 45, 46, 47 and 48 and issued 70 challans to defaulters.

Winners awarded

AB Agrawal, chairman of BBMB, on Thursday distributed prizes to winners of Hindi related competitions organised as a part of the Rajbhasha fortnight celebrations. Some of the winners included Ramesh Kumar, Ashok Kumar, Kulbir Kaur, Lalit Kumar Farg, Dinesh Kumar and Dharmvir Ahuja.

PU topper

Dr Purnima Sehgal has stood first in the second semester of MBA (off campus) examination of Panjab University.

Alliance of yoga bodies

Two yoga associations, the Chandigarh Amateur Yoga Association and Chandigarh Yoga Association, have decided to work together under the banner of the Chandigarh Yoga Association and have become an affiliate of the Yoga Federation of India.

Waste mgmt programme

Nokia initiated its “Planet ke rakhwale e-waste”, a school programme in the city on Thursday with a workshop on waste management through its partner, the Environemnt Society of India, at Kendriya Vidyalaya School, 3 BRD, Air Force Station. Rohit Prakash conducted the workshop and spoke on recycling of the waste practices. NK Jhingan, secretary of the society, asked students to bring mobile phone related e-waste to the bin in the society and walk away with products manufactured from recycled e-waste.

Gurta Gaddi Divas

To mark the 303rd year of the Gurta Gaddi Divas of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, a kirtan durbar will be organised by the Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Sector 7, with support of all local gurdwara committees on September 24. Prominent ragis, including Bhai Lakhwinder Singh, Bhai Joginder Singh Riar, Bhai Gurpreet Singh and Baddowal Wali Bibian da Dhadi Jatha will be participating.

Sports secy greets players

During the ongoing JP Atray Cricket Tournament, VK Singh, finance-cum-sports secretary, greeted players on his maiden visit to the Government Model School, Sector 26, where the matches are being played.

Alternative sought

Residents of Bhagat Singh Colony, Sector 49, who were uprooted because of the anti-encroachment drive of the administration, during a special meeting organised by the Chandigarh Mukti Morcha on Thursday said they would seek alternate dwelling units from the administration. The delegation called upon BB Bahl, president of the Congress, and submitted a memorandum of demands. tribune reporters



600 opt for golden chance at PU
Facility helps students to improve scores or complete courses left midway
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Contrary to 330 students last year, over 600 opted for golden chance at Panjab University this year to either improve their score or complete courses left midway.

Despite fee being increased to Rs 10,000 per subject with Rs 800 for each additional subject as compared to Rs 7,500 last year, the number of applicants has doubled this time with over 95 per cent being from BA.

Interestingly, not many applicants from BCom, BBA, BSC or other professional courses have opted for this facility. Even the number of students opting to complete or improve their postgraduate scores is dismal, but it has a reason to it.

“A student generally gets five years to clear postgraduate courses, so the golden chance doesn’t have much of a relevance to these students. This is a unique initiative to help students complete their course but we don’t want it to be misused at any cost. The scheme started in 2007 and it was found that many students deliberately chose to sit for the golden chance rather than their normal exams, so the fee was increased to Rs 10, 000 this year. The load of re-conducting these exams for students of different years and courses is enormous on the branch,” said a senior official of the examination branch.

The Syndicate, in March, approved the extension of the golden chance scheme as well providing students an opportunity to clear compartment or re-appear exams in September 2011 as per the new syllabus.

A brainchild of Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti, the scheme has so far benefited hundreds of students.



Curtain raiser to peace fest at SD College
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
A curtain raiser ceremony of the upcoming 6th International Youth Peace Fest was organised at GGDSD College, Sector 32. The weeklong event will commence on the World Tourism Day, September 27, and will conclude on the International Day of Non-violence i.e. October 2.

A peace activist, Bernie Meyer, who is also known as American Gandhi and dresses in traditional dhoti with walking stick resembling the legendary Mahatma Gandhi, was the chief guest and Prof Anirudh Joshi, general secretary, GGDSD College managing committee, presided over the occasion.

Giving information about the initiative, Pramod Sharma, coordinator, Yuvsatta, shared that now for the sixth year in a row, Yuvsatta, along with GGDSD College, Oxfam-India, UN Volunteers and Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti is going to host this mega annual event, in which over 1,000 students from around 25 countries of the world will participate. And they expect these young change makers to become true global citizens in thinking and action and co-create a future equal to their vast potential.



PU puts guesthouses details online
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Taking a serious cognizance of the Panjab University Teachers’ Association’s (PUTA) persistent demand, Panjab University has finally put the occupancy details of three of its guesthouses online.

Those with accounts on PU portal will be able to access the details, which will include the number of rooms vacant and occupied in all guesthouses in addition to the name of faculty or Syndicate member, who is either staying there or has lodged a guest.

PUTA ever since its election had been demanding this to get in more transparency in allotment of guesthouses.

“The move has elated all faculty members.

There were times when we want to lodge our viva’s external examiners and academics in guesthouses but were told off, as they were either occupied by Senators or their guests. Many a times, we have also noticed that even though rooms were empty, teachers were denied straight away.

A transparent system will now ensure that we get the due benefits or recognition of being a teacher here,” said a PUTA member.



PU’s Wi-Fi system to be revamped
Minimum 3-month subscription required for students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Students desiring to register with Panjab University’s Wi-Fi system will now have to take out a subscription of at least three months. The move follows a meeting held on Thursday at which the issue of the system being adversely affected by students who sign on but opt out within a month was discussed. This had led to technical problems where in many cases students have ended up using Wi-Fi for free for months, it emerged.

The university is also all set to upgrade the existing Wi-Fi system, which would not only solve the problem of usage capacity and speed but also prevent frequent faults in the system. “Initially we had a few Wi-Fi access points in campus hostels, where only 20 odd laptops could function properly at a time. But now we’re going to install a system that can enable two to three hundred students to use the facility simultaneously. However, the modalities have yet to be worked out,” said PU computer center director Tankeshwar Kumar.

PU also plans to extend the Wi-Fi facility to various university departments but this will be done only after a survey of prospective users is conducted. “The plan is under consideration, but will only be finalized once we get to know about the total number of students interested to opt for the system,” Kumar added. The student council has claimed the move is its first “victory”. “A proper Wi-Fi sysem was one of our key demands and we’re now about to achieve it. A properly executed plan will ensure maximum number of students will reap its benefits,” saidpresident Pushpinder.



Student council for separate legal, science fest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Taking its first innovative step, the newly formed Panjab University Student Council has proposed to host a separate legal and science fest at the university this year, in addition to the regular youth fest.

Claiming to aim at mingling co-scholastic activities with academics, the council members, in a meeting with the Vice-Chancellor, apprised him of the council plan to hold three fests this year.

“The youth fest gives a platform for fun and frolic and showcasing co-scholastic talent, but we feel that we need fests where activities pertaining to scientific and legal discussions and symposiums are also provided. The modalities are yet to be worked out, but this will enhance the activity calendar of the PU,” said council president Pushpinder Sharma.

In addition to this, the council put forth a charter of demands to the Vice-Chancellor, where getting new hostels for girl students was a priority. Other demands included installation of smart classrooms and revamp of the Wi-Fi system.

“Even during our campaign, we found that accommodation is the key problem faced by students, specially girls. Every year, courses and students increase, but hostel accommodation is not increased in proportion. We have urged the VC to work out a plan to help them,” he added.



Experts dwell on trends in academic librarianship
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
AC Joshi Library, Panjab University, in collaboration with Inflibnet Centre, Ahmedabad, organised a two-day seminar on “Emerging trends in academic librarianship”.

It was an awareness programme for PU and affiliated colleges librarians about N-list, e-resources and other programmes of Inflibnet with focus on ICT applications in libraries.

Inaugurating the seminar, Professor RC Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, encouraged the college librarians to adopt latest ICT techniques in view of the changing scenario of libraries. Dr HK Kaul, director, DELNET, New Delhi, in his keynote address stressed upon the need to bridge the gap between resources available in multiple forms throughout the world and user needs, which could be possible only through knowledge highways. The librarians, according to him, need to acquire knowledge of latest ICT tools and competencies as well as subject expertise to meet a user needs.

AK Anand, former university librarian, Panjab University, who was the guest of honour delved upon her experiences of working in the library.



Founder’s day celebrated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
St Xavier’s School, Mohali, celebrated founder’s day with full fervour. Principal Georgina Roy presented the annual report, highlighting academic and extra-curricular achievements of the school.

The evening commenced on an auspicious note with ‘Nishabd Naman’ followed by colourful dances by tiny tots. The juniors also stood up for a cause, as they motivated everyone to protect the endangered species with their elocution.



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