C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Agency supplying minors as domestic help busted
Owner, aide arrested; five children recovered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
The Chandigarh Police today busted a well-organised racket of supplying underage children as domestic help in the tricity with the recovery of at least five minor children who were being handed over to an employer.

The victims, mostly hailing from West Bengal, were brought here after paying a paltry Rs 500 each to their families.

The kingpin of the gang involved in human trafficking, Janak Raj, was running a placement agency, Jai Johhar Enterprises, at Mani Majra.

The victims were brought to the Mani Majra office and then supplied as domestic help in residential areas and commercial establishments.

Mithun, another suspect, has also been arrested along with the kingpin. They used to insert advertisements in newspapers to attract clients.

SP (Operations) RS Ghumman said Janak Raj and one of his agents, Mithun, both hailing from West Bengal and currently residing at Kishangarh village, Chandigarh, were arrested on a tip-off near the Sukhna Lake.

During interrogation, Janak Raj revealed that he was working as a helper with the Punjab Co-operative Federation, Industrial Area, Phase I. “Inspired by his friends, who were running a placement agency and earning good profit, the accused also opened a placement firm, Jai Johhar Enterprises, at Kishangarh village in 2010. The accused then advertised of providing domestic help and developed his clientele through his agents”, Ghumman said.

Interrogation revealed that the accused used to get the demand for domestic help directly from households and procure children from West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, etc.

The accused claimed that the money earned by them was handed over to Janak Raj, who used to send it to their parents.

However, the police is yet to verify if the money earned by the children was handed over to them.

Employers under scanner

The police has collected the names and addresses of people in the tricity who have employed children at their houses. Raids will follow to rescue the children. It is also looking at the possibility of underage children being supplied to neighbouring states. The social welfare department and the labour department are also being roped in to verify the antecedents of similar placement agencies.

Drew clients through ads

The prime accused, Janak Raj, used to place advertisements in newspapers and get demand for domestic help directly from households. The children were procured from West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, etc.



Six arrested with 16 stolen vehicles
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
The crime branch of the Chandigarh police today claimed to have busted a network of vehicle lifters with the arrest of six persons. The police has recovered 16 stolen vehicles, including six SUVs, from their possession.

Four of the accused were arrested with two stolen vehicles and arms and ammunition on November 8.

The gang used to purchase vehicles involved in accidents for a song, and fix engine and chassis numbers of these vehicles to stolen vehicles of the same make and sell these further. The accused also used to dismantle the vehicles and sell their parts.

The accused had snatched a car at gunpoint in Panchkula on March 13.

On November 8, Parveen Kumar and Ravinder Kumar were arrested while travelling in a stolen Bolero car. Two pistols and 10 cartridges were seized from their possession.

Also, Manoj Kumar and Rajinder Kumar were arrested with a stolen Bolero car, a loaded pistol and a loaded ‘desi katta’ the same day.

SP (Operations) RS Ghumman said information provided by the accused led to the recovery of 13 more vehicles and arrest of Sukhwant Singh, a resident of Behabalpur village in Patiala district.

Sukhwant, fifth accused in the case, used to receive vehicles from the gang and was arrested on November 13.

Based on the information, the police further arrested Tokeer Ahmed, a resident of Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, from Sector 33-45 trafficlights with a stolen vehicle on November 15.

He had come to the city to dispose of a vehicle at the scrap market in Burail.

Further investigation revealed that five of the accused had a tainted past. Parveen Kumar is a proclaimed offender in eight cases and facing trial in 15 cases involving dacoity, robbery, carjacking, narcotics, Arms Act and car theft.

Manoj Kumar, too, is a proclaimed offender in three cases and facing trial in six cases involving dacoity and Arms Act.

Ravinder is also facing trial in two cases, while Sukhwant is facing trial in three cases of buying stolen cars.

The fifth accused, Rajinder, has been arrested in four different cases.



Miscreants damage 10 vehicles
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
Some unidentified miscreants smashed windowpanes of over 10 cars parked in the residential area of Sector 45 D late this evening.

According to residents, the miscreants arrived on six Bullet motorcycles and in a car and smashed the windowpanes of parked cars with clubs around 9.15 pm.

After hearing the noise of the motorcycles and shattering windowpanes, the local residents rushed out of their houses and saw the miscreants, mostly youths, smashing windowpanes of vehicles parked outside house Nos. 3301 and 3302.

The cars that were damaged by unidentified youths at Sector 45 in Chandigarh on Saturday evening.
The cars that were damaged by unidentified youths at Sector 45 in Chandigarh on Saturday evening. Tribune photos: Parvesh Chauhan

Nirmal Kumar, a resident, said the accused smashed the windowpanes of his car and went on to damage over 10 other vehicles.

The residents, however, failed to note down the registration number of any of the vehicles used in the crime. The police was informed about the incident and investigations were on.

No case was registered till the filing of the report.



Role of Nari Niketan rape victim under scrutiny
Burning of child at Ashreya
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
In a new twist to the bizarre incident at Ashreya in which the one-and-half-year-old child of a mentally challenged woman inmate sustained burn injuries from an electric iron on Sunday, officials are looking into the role of the Nari Niketan case victim, Kajal.

Though officials are yet to decipher the truth, inquiries conducted have revealed that Kajal had forcibly taken the hot iron into the room where the child was playing.

Sources said Kajal had taken the iron forcibly from the attendant and carried it to the room where the child was playing with her daughter, Pari.

Minutes later, the attendants reportedly heard cries of the child and when they reached the room, they found a burn mark on the child’s back.

Neither Kajal nor any other eyewitness was present in the room when the attendants reached there, the sources added.

Refusing to comment on the possibility of Kajal intentionally hurting the child, sources said she had been acting aggressively for quite some time. The sources also claimed that Kajal used to get aggressive whenever she saw Pari playing with Chirag.

An attendant, on the condition of anonymity, said whenever the staff tried to intervene, Kajal used to get aggressive and threaten them with calling the media and “Tanu Didi” (Tanu Bedi, the lawyer who had contested the case against abortion of her baby).

Head of Ashreya, Dr BS Chavan, confirmed the findings and also the fact that Kajal had been acting very aggressively for the past few months. However, he did not give a clean chit to the attendants and said they were very much at fault for allowing Kajal to take the electric iron to her room even when they were aware of her condition.

Commenting on Kajal’s condition, Dr Chavan said she had recently turned violent and even attacked some of the attendants.

He said the day the incident happened, the warden of the institute was on leave.

Dr Chavan added that he had issued orders that daily reports on the conduct of all inmates be prepared and directed removal of all equipment that could cause harm to the inmates. The inmates would not be allowed to use any of the electrical items, he added. 



Slum rehab project cost up by Rs 276 cr
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
The UT administration has cleared the revised detailed project report (DPR) of the slum rehabilitation scheme that was derailed due to escalation in costs by Rs 276 crore in the past five years.

The delay in work had caused around 50 per cent increase in the project cost, forcing the administration to prepare a revised DPR of the project.

At a recent meeting, the revised DPR, mentioning the escalation of cost from Rs 564 crores to Rs 840 crores, was presented and subsequently cleared.

“Now, the revised report will be sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs and then to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation for their approval,” said a senior official of the administration.

The project, “Chandigarh Small Flats Scheme-2006”, aiming at rehabilitating 23,841 slum families scattered over 18 colonies here, was started five years ago.

Under the project, two proposals for construction of as many as 25,728 (6,368 in Phase I and 19,360 in Phase II) small flats were approved by the ministry of housing.

Even after the lapse of five years, the Chandigarh Housing Board could start construction work on only 12,864 flats. “The work on the remaining flats is yet to take off,” said the official, adding that the scheme would benefited at least 23,841 beneficiaries, who had been identified through a bio-metric survey conducted in 2006. So far, 506 families in Sector 38 (West), 608 in Sector 49, 414 in Ram Darbar have been rehabilitated at their permanent habitat, while around 1,600 slum families have been rehabilitated in prefabricated shelters constructed by the CHB in Sector 52.

Tardy work

The Centre had sanctioned a grant of ~396.12 crore under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Renewable Urban Mission for the project. Even after the lapse of five years, the Chandigarh Housing Board could start construction work on only 12,864 of the 25,728 flats.


Residents wake up to foggy morning
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
Residents in the tricity today woke up to the foggy morning, however, there was respite from the chill, as the minimum temperature rose to 13.8 degrees Celsius against 11.6 degrees Celsius recorded yesterday.

However, there was no affect on the air, rail and road transport. The day temperature showed a decline of 2.8 degrees as the maximum temperature was recorded at 25.8 degrees Celsius against 28.6 recorded on Friday.

During last week, the temperature in the city had mostly been oscillating between 13-plus degree Celsius and 29 degree Celsius.

Winds from the hills, which recently witnessed snowfall, led to chill in the air during late night hours, affecting the northeastern parts of the region.

The sudden foggy conditions during early morning hours took people by surprise and led to speculation of early arrival of winter this year, as generally such conditions are witnessed from third week of December.

Weatherman said the sky would remain mainly clear. Mist or fog would engulf the region during morning hours. The maximum and minimum temperatures were likely to hover around 27 degree Celsius and 13 degree Celsius, respectively, tomorrow.

Winter had been erratic in the city in the last four years. In 2006-2007 and 2007-2008, winter was warmer with no fog at all, while 2008-2009, 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 saw intense cold, along with fog in the first week of January.

By and large, the temperatures remained above normal. This year, the met department predicted a normal winter, which meant chilly nights, foggy mornings and bright sun during the day. The department forecasted that days would be mainly sunny with mist or fog during morning and night in Haryana and Punjab for the subsequent two days.



Dollar price heads north
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
The upward graph of the dollar price has come in as a pleasant surprise to certain quick buck makers, while those purchasing dollar for different requirements are witnessing bigger holes in their pockets. After gold, dollar has come as a big attraction for cash lovers, as the US currency is being traded at Rs 51 to 52 per dollar, showing an increase of 22 to 25 per cent in less than three months.

Shaminder Singh, a senior citizen, lamented his recent “loss” when he had exchanged 500 dollars at the rate of Rs 44 per dollar. “I lost Rs 4,000. Today I am exhausting my entire reserve of 5,000 dollars because I am sure the graph cannot rise till infinity.”

Exchanging his dollars on counter of the same shop in Sector 22, Pradeep Mehta, a Punjab government employee, said, “My son studies in Washington University, Seattle. I have to send an installment of his semester. Rising prices are no great news for people in our category.”

One of the investors, Rahul Singh, said he had suffered a loss of Rs 14,000 within three months, as he had sold 2,000 US dollars at Rs 44 each in September. He said he was now waiting for the dollar rate to decline below Rs 50, so that he could purchase the same.

It is relevant to mention here that earlier gold had created interest of the public to purchase in view of the two-fold increase in its price during the past about two years. The gold, which was being traded around Rs 14,500 per 10 gm two years ago, was now being traded at Rs 28,000 .Pardeep Sharma, a resident of Panchkula, said he had sent his son to East Carolina University in United States for completing his higher studies.

He said the university was charging US $ 8,800 per semester. He said now he would have to shell out about Rs 70,000 or more due to increase in the price of the US currency.



Students sample Aakash, suggest changes
Based on feedback, report to be submitted to IIT Rajasthan
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
While the Indian government has produced the world’s lowest priced 7-inch touchscreen computing and Internet device, Aakash, students using the device feel it needs revamping on certain aspects.

Based on the feedback given by certain lucky students, who got the pocket-sized wonder tablet, the local coordinators of the project are ready with the detailed report on the device.

Some of the negative aspects highlighted by the students included long charging time, generation of heat after 30 minutes of use and repeated hanging while working.

On the basis of the feedback provided by 10 students of Post-Graduate Government College for Girls (PGGCG), Sector 42, a report will be submitted to the IIT Rajasthan.

Two city professors, Dr Dalip Kumar and Dr Pradeep Walia, were part of the team of technical experts who handled the implementation of the project.

The students have pointed out loopholes that include heating up of the device after 30 minutes of use. The processing of the device is also slow, which leads to constant hanging of the software.

Also, once Aakash is activated in the “airplane mode”, it does not revert back to the “normal mode”. The SIM option does not work and the battery backup is less than 3 hours.

The students had to rate it on various parameters of hardware and software.

Listing the merits, students found its WiFi connectivity excellent and appreciated the screen calibration.

In their feedback, the students have also give some recommendations.

They have suggested the provision of marking of input and output buttons. Also, in-built camera and speakers should be be provided, they add.

They have also recommended a connectivity port with high-speed 3G USB dongle and updating of the software from time to time.

Dr Dalip Kumar, associate professor at PGGCG 42, said the device would fulfil their objective of making knowledge resources available to every learner anytime and anywhere.

Based on the feedback, changes would be made in Aakash.



MC to allocate funds for sewerage treatment plant
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, November 19
The Zirakpur municipal council will allocate funds for the setting up of a sewerage treatment plant (STP) at Singhpura village in Zirakpur, as the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board is yet to receive the second instalment of funds under the Urban Infrastructure and Development of Small and Medium Town Scheme.

BL Ranga, XEN, Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board, Patiala division, stated that the Zirakpur municipal council would provide all funds.

The MC officials had assured them of doing the needful. However, tenders of the work had been floated and the price would be finalised on November 28. The work would begin in the first week of December, the official added.

He claimed that the second instalment of funds under the Urban Infrastructure and Development of Small and Medium Town Scheme was yet to be released as some paper work and other formalities were pending. An amount of Rs 18 crore (approximately) was sanctioned for the sewerage treatment plant (STP), the official added.

In September, the municipal council had handed over a piece of land near Singhpura village to the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board.

The issue was marred by some controversy, but things started falling in place after the Zirakpur municipal council president met the villagers and got a green signal for 3 bigha land in Singhpura from them.

He said the work of main pumping station (MPS) at Singhpura village would be completed in a month. The work of laying drainpipes from the MPS to Ghaggar was nearing completion.

Zirakpur MC president NK Sharma said the council would give funds for treatment plant and the work would be started soon. “We have discussed the matter with the sewerage board officials.”



CAT Bar website inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Chandigarh Bench and Bar, celebrated their silver jubilee today at the Judicial Academy, Sector 43.

Judges from CAT and Punjab and Haryana High Court attended the function. Advocates of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and CAT were also present on the occasion.

The chief guest of the function was Justice DK Jain, Judge, Supreme Court of India. Justice MM Kumar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and Justice VK Bali, chairman, CAT, were the guests of honour.

The function included the launch of CAT Bar website and e-souvenir by Justice DK Jain and speeches by advocates.

There were deliberations on the contentment on the consumer of law and role played by CAT in dispensation of expeditious justice to a service employee. There was also a dramatic interlude by Advocate Ranjivan Singh, followed by a lyrical dramatisation on the evil of female foeticide.

The programmed ended with a vote of thanks by Shyama Dogra, member (J), and National Anthem by children of the Blind School, who were also presented with a cheque of Rs 21,000 on the behalf of CAT Bar Association.



‘Contemporary issues not defined within existing legal framework’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
Globalisation of economy and politics in the 21st century has thrown new opportunities and challenges for interaction of diaspora with their own country of origin and also in the place of settlement. It has drawn issues ranging from voting rights with their own country of origin or dual citizenship or their interaction with the social capital in terms of marriage alliances and material support system. The issues emerged during a discussion based on a book, “Indians, NRIs and the Law,” authored by Anil Malhotra and Ranjit Malhotra, held at the Institute for Development and Communication (IDC) here today.

The legal framework is inadequate because it does not define or identity contemporary issues within the existing legal framework. This inadequacy results into certain cases of non-remedial voids, long-drawn legal battles and social de-arrangements. The book has attempted to capture this wide spectrum of diaspora interaction with their place of origin in terms of legal framework practiced to regulate their interactions.

Dr. Pramod Kumar, Director, IDC, said social and political reintegration were significant factors while determining the kind of legal framework necessary for addressing the vast range of NRI issues and concerns. He remarked, “the work focuses largely on trade whereas enhancing human mobility and interaction with regard to the NRIs needs to be introspected.”

Professor Sir Peter Gregson, Vice Chancellor and President, Queens University, Belfast, chaired and moderated the discussion and in his opening remarks shared commonalities of the university and IDC in the context of legal studies being a key discipline. He said, “Law is close to our heart at Queens University and society, at large and we work very closely with the legal profession as we are passionate about educating students on global changes with regard to the same.”

Lord Diljit Rana, Honourary Counsul of India to Northern Ireland participated in the discussion by saying, “The book highlights problems faced by NRIs across the globe but we need to find solutions by setting up committees that would make recommendations for improvement in the state of affairs and be a positive step in solving problems.” Vikas Pratap, Commissioner NRIs, Punjab government, informed those present about the first of its kind in India state commission, “Punjab State Commission for NRIs, the Bill has been passed by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and is awaiting to be constituted into an Act that would evaluate the current laws and the expansive gamut of issues and concerns of Punjabi NRIs and work towards the welfare of the same. It is a step better than what has been so far.”

Mr Scot Slessor, Consul-General Canada and his wife Mrs. Donica Pottie also participated in the discussion. R.I. Singh, former,Chief Secretary, Government of Punjab, said, “Law as an instrument of social engineering is extremely slow. As a consequence society is changing , mobility is very fast and laws are not keeping pace.”



Coaches need to be educated on doping
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Dr Alka Beotra, Scientific Director of National Dope Testing Laboratory, disclosed how 4 per cent of the total samples sent to the lab tested positive this year.
Dr Alka Beotra, Scientific Director of National Dope Testing Laboratory, disclosed how 4 per cent of the total samples sent to the lab tested positive this year. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, November 19
With doping scandals casting a shadow and hitting almost every game in India, including kabaddi, it turns out that almost four per cent of the 3,800 samples examined at the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) tested positive during the current year (till October 31). The Scientific Director of NDTL, Dr Alka Beotra, disclosed this on the sidelines of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Indian Association of Sports Medicine, organised at the PGI here today. Talking to the media, Dr Alka, said of the 3800 samples sent to the lab, 167 tested positive.

She said it seems that players involved in power games were relying more on steroids and other performance-enhancement drugs as most of the 167 cases related to sports like kabaddi, weightlifting and bodybuilding. Beotra said use of anabolic steroid is more commonly associated with bodybuilders and weightlifters and both male and female sportspersons were abusing it for better results. She did not rule out the possibility of use of these drugs due to simple ignorance. She advocated the need to educate coaches and staff to prevent unintended use of performance enhancers.

It may be mentioned here that even a primarily rural sport like kabaddi has also been hit by doping scandals. Only, recently 34 kabbadi players participating in the Kabaddi World Cup, organised by the Punjab government, have tested positive. The players who reportedly failed the test were from Britain, Australia, the United States, Spain, Canada, Italy, Norway, Germany, Argentina and India.



Sec-21 body to back candidate from ward
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
An executive committee meeting of the Citizens Association, Sector 21, was held today at the community centre in which the committee unanimously decided that they would be supporting the candidate from their ward in the upcoming municipal corporation’s elections, irrespective of the party the candidate belongs to.

The association has decided to oppose the candidate who would not be a resident of ward number 17.



Hookah bars have youngsters on a high
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 19
Unaffected by the recent raids at hookah bars here for the alleged use of nicotine, popularity for ‘shady hangouts’ among youngsters remains as usual.

Not only for boys, the ‘chill-out’ heaven is also becoming a hit with girls, said an employee of a Sector-9 bar here. Over the last four years, the city with a population of over 2 lakh has seen a steady growth in the number of such outlets, from a mere one to 11.

Youngsters frequenting such hangouts reveal that a hookah is rented out for anything between Rs 230 and Rs 550 for a 45-minute duration.

Youngsters generally pool money at these bars.

The first hookah bar was opened in Sector 8. Now these bars can be spotted at Sectors 9, 10, Mansa Devi Complex and Nada village. Mostly these are visited by youngsters residing in nearby areas.

Visitors are served with hookahs, filled with fruit-flavoured cakes instead of tobacco. “In many states, including Maharashtra, owners of these hookah bars use cakes with a high quality of nicotine, a drug which makes a consumer an addict,” said an official of the State Drug Controller Office.

Last week, a team from the office of State Drug Controller collected samples of cakes being used in hookahs in place of tobacco, mentioning nicotine as one of the ingredients. Even no records of sale and purchase of these cakes containing nicotine were maintained for which notices were issued to them under Section 15B of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act as Nicotine is defined as a prohibited drug under the Act.

At Panchkula, however, the hookah bar managements deny having used any such thing at their outlets. “We abide by rules and regulations, said Raju, a manager at one of the two bars in Sector 8. The outlet is being visited by many since it was opened in 2007 and no body has ever complained of addiction,” he claimed.

“I come here everyday with my friends and spend at least two hours,” said Sahil, a BCom student. For the past three years, I have been visiting the bar,” he said while adding that he spent Rs 3,000 per month on his hobby.

Akshat, who is on vacation from Canada, is of the same opinion. “My parents know about my visits but they have never visited the bar,” said Sahil. One can see girls coming with their parents to enjoy the puff, said Raju, manager of the bar.

On the other hand, residents of the town find it a nuisance.

A hookah bar was opened in the inner market of Sector 10 recently,” said BB Singhal, a local shopkeeper and former councillor of the municipal council.

“A large number of youngsters turn up at the bar and they may enter into a scuffle or pick up a fight at these places,” he added.

The economics of hookah bars

One hookah is available for a minimum of ~30 for one hour. Though it lasts around 45 minutes. The special mixture of cake is available for ~330. For puffing red bull in place of water, one has to shell out ~550.

What the law says

Nicotine is defined as a prohibited drug under Section 15B of Drugs and Cosmetics Act and its seller has to obtain a permission from the authorities. He has to keep a record of its sale as well as purchase.



LPG dealers to go on strike
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 19
The local LPG dealers, who have been protesting against the move of Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) to remove their godowns from the land acquired by it, have decided to go on an indefinite strike from tomorrow.

Today, a team of the enforcement department of HUDA while clearing encroachments demolished boundary walls of two LPG godowns. Citing security seasons, the dealers have refused to run the business from there. “All six LPG dealers of the town have decided to go on an indefinite strike to protest against the alleged high handedness of HUDA officials,” said Manoj Nangia,

secretary of the All-India LPG Distributor Federation, North West region.

The land on which these godowns had been set up decades ago was acquired by HUDA, said Nangia. The LPG dealers were allocated alternative sites on rentals up to Rs 2 lakh per month which was too high, he added.

“In neighbouring Union Territory of Chandigarh and national capital of Delhi, the rent for such sites is Rs 6,000 only,” said Nangiya.

Requests were made to HUDA chief administrator and Kumari Selja, local MP and Union Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, to look into the matter and provide sites to dealers on the pattern of Chandigarh and Delhi, but nothing had been done in this regard.

“In case, the authorities fail to provide a solution to the problem, the LPG dealers of Chandigarh and Haryana will resort to indefinite strike from Tuesday and Wednesday respectively,” announced secretary of the federation.



Semester system in UG classes to wait till 2013
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
Panjab University Syndicate today agreed in principal to wait till 2013 for implementing the semester system in undergraduate (UG) classes, though the matter would be further discussed in the forthcoming Senate.

Syndics unanimously agreed on reviewing the impact and execution of this system on postgraduate classes where it has been implemented from this year to avoid any teething problems. In addition to this, persistent staff crunch and ever-increasing workload on PU’s examination branch was also cited as a major reason for delay in the implementation, which was initially scheduled from the next session.

“Given to the increased load on examination, conduct and execution branch due to introduction of the semester system in postgraduate classes, the semester system will now be introduced in the undergraduate classes from 2013-14. We would like to review the impact of system on the postgraduate classes before going for it in the undergraduate classes. Moreover after the exams this year, the examination branch will be involved in clearing the backlog in compartment exams,” read the agenda.

Interestingly, the issue had rocked the last Senate as well but rather than taking overworked department into account, a majority of Senators representing colleges held lack of timely intimation and change of syllabi as the key reason for deferment.

Proposed MOU with Defence Ministry withdrawn

Amongst other items, Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti also withdrew his proposal of signing an MOU with the Defence Ministry and creating 10-15 special seats for Army personnel in public administration, MBA (all disciplines) and PhD (all subjects). The Tribune had highlighted that the resentment among faculty over not being consulted before proposing the increase in seats, which would play havoc on the overburdened resources. It was also alleged that the authorities had superceded the committee reviewing the proposal and PU stood nothing to gain in this lopsided pact.

API finalised

Following numerous arguments and prolonged controversy, PU Syndicate today accepted the recommendations of the API committee, which has recommended approval of the format strictly as per the UGC guidelines. This shall give a green signal to the recruitment screenings, which were withheld after allegations of miscalculation of API to benefit a section of applicants. The committee also proposed the formation of a standing committee under the chairpersonship of DUI that would comprise the dean of the faculty concerned, two senior-most professors and president, PUTA in the event that any clarifications were required.

15 items deferred

The moral code of conduct imposed in lieu of the forthcoming Chandigarh Municipal Corporation elections took its toll on Panjab University Syndicate meeting today when around 15 scheduled items on agenda were unceremoniously withdrawn for being violating the code.A majority of members were left wondering over the logic of inclusion of such items in first place. In addition to several appointments or benefits, even the regulation committee’s recommendation of proposing enhancement of retirement age to 65 years could not be tabled, which has left PUTA fuming over the alleged arbitrary interpretation of code.

CBI’s prosecution demands

n Following a letter received from the CBI elaborating upon the CVC (Central Vigilance Commission) guidelines, the PU Syndicate decided against giving a personal hearing to Satish Padam, XEN, and Nand Lal, SDO, who were apprehended last year in July on charges of demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 32,000. The matter of giving a personal hearing to the duo prior to sanctioning the prosecution was taken in Senate held in October. The prosecuting will be decided upon in the forthcoming Senate in December.

n Senate shall also decide on the prosecution demand of the CBI of Dr RK Wanchoo, a professor in the chemical engineering department, alleging him to be guilty of tampering with the recommendations of a recruitment committee at his prior posting at the National Institute of Technology, Jammu. Wanchoo, who was posted as director, National Institute Technology, has been booked under Sections 120 B, 420, 268 and 471 of the IPC and Section 5(2) JPC and the varsity in the agenda had urged members to deny the sanction, as he had got a clean chit from NIT, Jammu.

Enrolment as registered graduate

The price of application form for enrolment as registered graduate was enhanced from 25 paisa to Rs 1, which will now be available online.

Honoris Causa degrees

n Dr NK Ganguly, Padma Bhushan, renowned medical scientist Dr MS Swaminathan, Padma Vibhushan, renowned agricultural scientist

n NN Vohra, Governor of Jammu & Kashmir

n Pawan Kumar Bansal, Union Cabinet

n Sushma Swaraj, MP and leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha

Trophy for women athletes

Panjab University in a bid to honour the efforts of late Dr Saudamini Bambah, former chairperson, department of physical education, the university has decided to institute a trophy for best women athletes in her name.

College teachers to act as PhD guides

Following a submission by Dr Josh, PU Syndicate has decided to reissue circulars to all colleges allowing their qualified faculty to act as guides for PhD candidates. This shall be a historic move in higher education of the region, which will aid in reducing burden at PU and make doctorate easily available even in rural colleges.



Innovative walking stick for visually challenged
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Students with their project at the PEC University of Technology in Chandigarh.
Students with their project at the PEC University of Technology in Chandigarh. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, November 19
With an aim to benefit visually challenged persons and make it easy for them to walk alone on the streets, two students from Chennai have developed an innovative walking stick that can detect an approaching vehicle.

The stick can sense the object coming closer from all directions. The project made by the students is a part of IRIS event being held at the PEC University of Technology.

S Bharath and Nived Bharadwaj, both students of PS Senior Secondary School, Chennai, have developed the stick for the visually challenged persons, which one can detect the vehicles approaching by using ultrasound.

Bharath said nowadays the visually challenged persons found it difficult to walk on the busy city roads because of the ever-increasing traffic, following which we decided to modify the stick for the visually challenged persons.

Explaining about the stick, Bharath said they had incorporated a circuit in the walking sticks, which consisted an ultrasound receiver, an amplifier, a chip and a vibrator. The vibrator is placed at the top of the stick near handle.

“The transmitter sends out sound of frequency at 40 Khz. This ultrasound gets reflected after striking the vehicle and is received by a diaphragm. It is further converted to electrical impulses and the current passes through a chip, which amplifies it and further converted by a small electric motor to mechanical vibrations, which are felt in the person’s hand. These vibrations get stronger as the vehicle approaches the person,” Bharat said.

Further speaking about the concept, Bharadwaj said when the visually challenged persons hold the stick, the person needed to holld a switch at the top. When an object approached within the range of 10 metres, the person could feel the mechanical vibrations in his hand. “The same circuit can also get 360 degree view and give a sense of direction from where the vehicle is coming, this can be done by placing multiple vibrators on all four sides instead of a single one. Ultrasound waves are also sent out in all directions so that the person can get a clear direction sense,” he said.



Manjit, Manya, Jaskirat adjudged best actors
SD Sharma

Students perform at ‘Natyotsav-2011’ at PG Government College, Sector 11, Chandigarh, on Saturday.
Students perform at ‘Natyotsav-2011’ at PG Government College, Sector 11, Chandigarh, on Saturday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, November 19
As many as 12 short plays were staged by teams from the tricity colleges and schools in the 24th Annual Sambhang Theatre Festival titled “Natyotsav-2011” held at the PG Government College, Sector 11, auditorium here today.

Rich tributes were paid to the invincible young theatre artiste, Prabhat, a gold medallist and an alumnus of PU Indian Theatre, who sacrificed his life while saving the life of a child in 1987. The festival is held annually in his memory.

Society president, Dr DS Gupt of the Sambhang Theatre Group, a cultural wing of the Swami Ram Tirath Society, event organisers, welcomed chief guests DS Bedi, Madhu Bahl and Uday Kumar Sinha, Editor, Amar Ujala, who inaugurated the festival.

Running trophies were bagged by GCG-42 (best actor female was won by Manjit Kaur); Aamong, the primary section Sambhang trophy was taken away by DAV Public School, Sector 39; best male actor given to Kartikey.

Manya was declared the best female actor. Among senior school category, GMSSS-22A won the running trophy. Jaskirat was declared the best male actor; second position was bagged by a student of Stepping Stones Public School, Sector 37, and third place went to students of St Joseph-44. The best male actor was Nishant Chhatwal of Mount Carmel-47 and the best female award was awarded to Kanika Sharma of same school.



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