C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Kaura murder case cracked
Was killed for money by a couple and a PGI technician: Police
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 30
The high-profile city-based cardiologist Dr Deepak Kaura was killed for money. Lured by his wealth and huge amount of cash often carried by him, Vishal, a junior engineer in the PGI, connived with a couple, Deepak Sharma and his wife, Honey, both residents of Sector 17, Panchkula, to extract money from the cardiologist by blackmailing him, but their plan went awry when he instantly died on being injected an overdose of Fortwin drug at the Panchkula residence of the accused.

The police today claimed to have cracked the case with the arrest of the three accused, all in their mid-thirties.

The planning to extract money from Dr Kaura started in October when Dr Shekhar, a former employee of Dr Kaura, tipped the accused about his wealth. With the purpose to blackmail Dr Kaura, Deepak Sharma encouraged his wife, Honey, to befriend him. To hide her identity, she changed her name to Jyotika Singh and started meeting him. The accused couple has a nine-month-old baby boy.

Crediting his officials in the CIA Bhupinder Singh Sidhu, Superintendent of Police, Detective, and Inspector Gurcharan Singh for cracking the case, Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), GPS Bhullar, said, “Initially they had planned to blackmail Dr Kaura through Honey. But when it did not work, they planned to kidnap him for ransom. While overpowering him, they gagged his mouth with cello tape, but inadvertently gave an overdose of the drug and he died. Left with no alternative, they dumped him at Dera Bassi on the night of October 20.” He added that around 10 persons in the office and close circles of the victim had been questioned.

The police claimed that it was yet to arrest Dr Shekhar and the interrogation of the accused was still on to recover the remaining cash and other mobile phones of the victim.

A diamond ring, a watch, an ipod and Rs 10,000 had been recovered from the accused.

The SSP said the claim of Dr Kaura that he was in possession of Rs 2.5 lakh was yet to be verified from the accused.

Two stolen cars, a Santro and a Zen, had been recovered from them.

One of the accused, Vishal, had also stolen the Activa scooter of a PGI employee Surekha Sharma, whose I-card was used by Deepak Sharma to get the mobile connection for use by Honey, alias, Jyotika Singh.

Deepak Sharma was also running a kennel farm in Kishangarh village and had worked in Idea, a cellular company.

On the fateful day, Deepak and Vishal dropped Honey in Sector 19, Chandigarh, at about 6.30 pm and both left for Deepak’s residence in Panchkula.

At the same time, Honey was with Dr Kaura who, on receiving an emergency call, reached his clinic, while she kept sitting in a coffee shop.

Then he took Honey in his Tata Arya and reached the gate of his residence and called for pet dogs and then left for the residence of Honey in Panchkula.

Vishal and Deepak Sharma were already present at the Panchkula house at about 9 pm.

Drug overdose proved fatal

n Sources said Deepak Sharma, an addict, used to daily inject Fortwin drug, but could not calculate the dose he injected into Dr Kaura. Soon after injecting the medicine, the cardiologist died

Technician spilled the beans

n Sources said it was Vishal, the PGI technician, in charge of telephone and mobile phones of the PGI employees, who spilled the beans on being identified on the basis of his mobile connection that was traced by analysing the mobile call details made on the day of the crime

SMS helped police

n An SMS sent by Dr Kaura to Jyotika Singh, asking her come on Facebook helped the police in cracking the identity of the woman who was last seen with Dr Kaura. On the basis of the inputs and details given by the receptionist at Dr Kaura’s hospital, the police was able to crack the case

Missing link!

n The police has not been able to explain how it reached the accused. The role of Dr Shekhar in bringing Honey in contact with Dr Kaura still remains unexplained



Panchkula youth shot dead in Canada
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 30
Moving to Canada for greener pastures proved fatal for a 27-year-old youth from the town when he was killed by an unidentified gunman at a grocery shop in Surrey in British Columbia on December 25.

The victim, identified as Alok Gupta, a resident of Sector 21 here, was an engineering graduate and after clearing MBA exams had served several banks, including ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and later Axis Bank as a manager.

He had stayed with his elder sister, residing in Germany, and had later shifted to Canada about six months ago.

Alok, who was working as a store clerk in Ken’s Grocery, was shot at near the store on Christmas. However, he managed to seek help for his injuries and managed to reach a hospital. Failing to recover, the victim succumbed to his injuries at the hospital on December 29.

The Canadian police is yet to establish whether the killing is linked to drugs, gangs or organised crime.

Harivansh Gupta, father of the boy who returned to the town from Germany this evening, said his son wanted to pursue higher studies in Canada and was doing a side job at a grocery shop to meet his expenses. He said at the time of the incident he, along with his wife Nirmala, were with their daughter, who is settled in Germany. He said as they did not possess the Canadian visa, he contacted his cousin Gangandeep Gupta, who is residing in Canada, for completing the necessary formalities so that the body of their son could be brought back to India.

Gupta said due to Christmas holidays in Canada, doctors at the hospital there could not conduct autopsy, resulting in further delay in bringing back the body. He said the body was likely to be brought back to India on Monday.



Entry to Sukhna banned after 10 pm
Checking New Year eve hooliganism
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
The Chandigarh Police has banned entry to the Sukhna Lake after 10 pm in view of the New Year celebrations on roads on Saturday night. The adjoining strip of road that has been a site for overspeeding, hooliganism and even fights on this day in the past will be under strict police vigil.

The police has banned the entry to the lake as there have been incidents when New Year revellers came and went boating in the lake “which was dangerous as a majority of them were drunk”.

Learning from its lessons in the past, especially on the New Year eve, the police has allowed single-way traffic on certain roads, particularly in Sectors 17, 19, 22, 34 and 35. These roads will be made one-way after 9 pm.

A senior official said they were leaving nothing to chance this time. The road from Aroma Light point to a hospital near the traffic lights in the same sector would be sealed. The internal roads in sector 17 would be one way.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Ashish Kapoor said the police had made elaborate arrangements to see that violence and rowdyism did not mar the New Year celebrations. “All SHOs have been instructed to arrest all those seen indulging in any scuffle or violence under preventive measures. Entry towards Sukhna lake will be banned after 10 pm, keeping in view security arrangements. Incidents of youths falling into the lake in a drunk state have been reported in the past. Thus, no one will be allowed to go near the lake tomorrow after 10 pm,” he said.

In addition, a reserve force of 20 policemen has been assigned to each inspector on duty outside discos in the city with specific instructions on “no compromise on safety of the general public in the name of enjoyment”.

To ensure that no one is driving drunk, the UT Traffic police will be on its toes and will put to use 40 alcometers for the purpose.

Traffic restrictions

Traffic to be single-way in Sectors 17, 22, 34 and 35 after 9 pm



1 held for Jiya, Arnav, Mehak kidnappings
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 30
The local police today claimed to have cracked three separate cases of kidnappings in Panchkula and Mohali with the arrest of Ravinder Singh Gill of Kansal village.

Jiya and Arnav had been kidnapped from their houses in Panchkula and Mehak from Mohali.

Ravinder Gill was also an accused in the murder of his father earlier, but had been acquitted by court.

Jiya, a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter of the owner of Platinum Gymnasium, was kidnapped on October 20, 2009, from the courtyard of their house in Sector 7.

Arnav, a one-and-a-half-year-old boy of a Chandigarh-based businessman, was kidnapped from the front yard of his house in Sector 7 in October 2010.

Mehak (5) was abducted from outside her house in Phase X on February 24, 2010.

A police team, headed by Inspector Karambir Singh of CIA and SHO Sector 14 police station Aman, had arrested Ravinder from Panipat. The accused is said to have confessed to committing the crime single handedly. The police has also recovered stolen vehicles from his possession. The police has sought 10 days’ police remand to investigate the accused.

Ravinder was, earlier, arrested by the Mohali police for allegedly murdering his father Satwant Singh Gill, owner of Gill Estate, at Kansal village on August 17, 2001. He was later acquitted by a Ropar court on September 4, 2002, for lack of evidence after the witnesses turned hostile. The police had also failed to prove the recoveries of the weapon used in the crime.

Jiya was playing in the courtyard of the house along with her cousins. A youth entered through the main gate, picked up Jiya and fled in the Honda City car. She was recovered near Dara Studio in Mohali after the family allegedly paid Rs 25 lakh as ransom to the kidnappers.

Similary, Arnav was kidnapped when he was playing with his twin brother Aarav and cousins in the front yard of his house. The boy was recovered from a barber’s shop in Sector 25 after the family allegedly paid Rs 20 lakh as ransom.

Mehak was abducted from outside her house in Phase X on February 24, 2010, where she was playing with her friends around 8 pm and the abductors had reportedly come in a Maruti Swift Dzire car. She was found abandoned at the railway station in Ambala the following day.



UT cop commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
A 45-year-old UT police constable committed suicide by hanging himself at his residence in the Police Lines here today. The constable, Anil Kumar, was posted as an additional munshi at the Police Lines in Sector 26.

In his suicide note recovered from the scene, the victim held a woman constable, also working at the Police Lines, responsible for his death. The police is investigating the case from different angles.

The incident came to light in the evening when Anil Kumar’s wife discovered him hanging at their residence.

His wife, who works as a teacher on ad hoc basis, returned home with their 10-year-old son, who is a student of KBDAV School. She found the door of the house locked from the inside and repeated knocking elicited no response. She called the neighbours, who broke open the door and found Anil’s body hanging from the ceiling fan.

The police suspected it to be a case of extramarital affair. The police said they were investigating the reasons behind the suicide. The victim’s wife fell unconsciousness from the shock of her husband’s death. The police has initiated inquest proceedings.


mc wastefulness
Year-old paver blocks make way for new ones in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
In a sheer waste of public money, the municipal corporation is busy digging up neatly laid out paver blocks to replace these with new ones. Fresh paver blocks are being laid in Sector 29 by replacing the old ones, laid just a year ago.

Sarbjit Singh Sikand, a resident of Sector 29, questioned the logic behind ripping apart a neat footpath to lay new tiles.

He said the road wing of the corporation was busy laying paver blocks around trees located in the internal roads of a majority of sectors, thereby adversely affecting their growth.

Also, the use of sub-standard tiles has resulted in damage to some paver blocks and caving in of others in some areas.

During a visit to sectors 17, 19, 22, 28, 29, 34, 51 and Industrial Area’s Phases I and II, it was found that paver blocks laid a year ago were already broken or had caved in.

In some sectors, the contractor had laid paver blocks of different sizes. As per the MC manual, the compressive strength of the paver blocks has to be checked by an institution registered with the MC.

In one of the house meetings, a report was tabled by the authorities on the ill-effects of laying of paver blocks in open spaces of the city. The report of the corporation stated that while the UT administration was promoting rainwater harvesting to increase the subsoil water level, the ruthless laying of paver blocks by the MC would result in further lowering of the water table in the city.

The authorities do not even have the data of the number of works being monitored monthly by the departments concerned.

As per the corporation’s manual, once the work is completed, officials of the department concerned have to visit the site and issue a certificate of satisfaction to the contractor. However, this norm it seldom being followed in the corporation.

Corporation’s report

In one of the house meetings, an MC report was tabled by the authorities on the ill-effects of laying of paver blocks in open spaces of the city. The report stated that while the UT administration was promoting rainwater harvesting to increase the subsoil water level, the indiscriminate laying of paver blocks by the MC would result in further lowering of the water table in the city



Mayoral Elections
BJP nominees meet nominated councillors
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
Voting right to nominated councillors featured big in an interaction session between nominated councillors and BJP mayoral candidates today.

The nine nominated councillors present at the meeting questioned the rationale behind the opposition of the party, as stated in its manifesto, to voting rights for them when its mayoral candidates were approaching them for support.

The nominated councillors asked senior party leaders to clear their stand on the issue before requesting them to support their mayoral candidates.

According to sources, to deal with the tricky situation, former MP Satpal Jain said the party had no objection to voting rights for them but under the constitution, nominated councillors did not have the rights.

The sources said in an hour-long meeting, the nominated councillors also raised the issue of regular brawls between the ruling and opposition councillors in the general house during the past three years.

The councillors said as no party had a clear majority this time as well, the party candidates must spell out their proposals for the smooth functioning of the house.

The sources said all mayoral candidates gave their brief profile to the nominated councillors. After the introductory session, the candidates shared their vision about the city and the projects they planned to undertake if elected to the mayoral posts.

Senior party leaders, including BJP local president Sanjay Tandon, former MP Harmohan Dhawan and Satpal Jain, were present at the meeting. Besides, a few elected councillors also attended the meeting.

Nominated councillors have already held an interaction with mayoral candidates of the Congress, the sources added. The Congress candidates had also given their profile and vision for the city to the nominated councillors during the interaction.

Voting right

Nominated councillors asked senior BJP leaders to clear their stand on the issue of voting rights for them before requesting them to support their mayoral candidates



CITCO MD gets extension
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
The UT administration, already facing shortage of senior officials, heaved a sigh of relief after the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) agreed to give extension to CITCO Managing Director DK Tiwari till the arrival of another official as his replacement. DK Tiwari’s tenure was to end on December 31.

Meanwhile, the UT administration has sought a panel of PCS officers from Punjab to replace PCS officer SS Khara, who had recently sought repatriation to his parent Punjab cadre.

Confirming the development, the Advisor to the Administrator, KK Sharma, said the MHA had agreed to Tiwari’s extension.

The administration had recently forwarded a letter to the MHA, seeking extension for Tiwari till the time the MHA sent his replacement.

The deputation term of Tiwari, an IAS officer of 1994 batch of Punjab cadre, who also holds the charge of Special Secretary, Health, was to end on December 31.

Senior officials of the administration are already heading multiple departments and if they were to be transferred or repatriated, the situation is bound to get worse.

Finance Secretary VK Singh was holding the charge of 15 departments, whereas Home Secretary was heading 17 departments.

Tiwari’s term

The deputation term of DK Tiwari, a Punjab-cadre IAS officer of 1994 batch, who also holds the charge of Special Secretary, Health, was to end on December 31



Fleet expansion
CTU plans put on back burner
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
The plans to procure new buses by the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) in the current financial year seem to have got delayed with the proposal still awaiting a nod from the administration.

With the expanding area of the tricity and increasing pressure on the public transport system, the CTU had planned to add 96 new buses to its fleet, which was cut down to 86 buses. However, the proposal is yet to see the light of the day.

Based on the population of the city, the CTU had prepared a five-year plan on the basis of which the number of buses required be purchased was calculated subsequently. A detailed plan was sent by the CTU to the administration with an urgent demand of 96 new buses.

Official sources said the need to add such a large number of buses to the existing fleet was questioned, after which the number of buses was reduced to 86.

The sources said the proposal was still stuck at the administrative level, which needs to be further sent to the Centre for the final approval, as the buses are supposed to be purchased under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

The CTU currently has a fleet of 250 buses. Of these, 61 will complete their life span in the coming months, reducing the existing fleet to 189. Moreover, there is a need for 285 buses, calculated as per the 2011 census.

The CTU plans to purchase mini-AC, AC semi low-floor and non-AC low-floor buses besides the ordinary semi low-floor buses.

“With the purchase of the new buses, the routes that have been shut due to the shortage of buses or have a lesser frequency will be revived,” said a CTU official.

CTU fleet

The CTU currently has a fleet of 250 buses. Of these, 61 will complete their life span in the coming months, reducing the existing fleet to 189. Moreover, there is a need for 285 buses, calculated as per the 2011 census.



INLD protests new toll plaza
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 30
Hundreds of INLD workers today organised a dharna near the Chandi Mandir cantonment, demanding the shifting of the upcoming toll plaza or exempting residents of Pinjore and Kalka from paying toll.

Led by the INLD MLA from Kalka, Pradeep Chaudhary, and the president of the Shivalik Vikas Manch, Vijay Bansal, the protesters raised slogans against the state government.

They held the dharna for about three hours. There was no disruption in the flow of traffic on the Panchkula-Pinjore national highway 22.

Later, a delegation led by Chaudhary submitted a memorandum to the Governor through the Deputy Commissioner. The Panchkula SDM accepted the memorandum on behalf of the Deputy Commissioner.

Accepting a public interest litigation, seeking exemption for residents of Pinjore, Kalka, Surajpur and Saket at the upcoming toll plaza, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had issued a notice to the company concerned for January 20.

The Shivalik Vikas Manch had filed the litigation, which was admitted in the high court on December 16. The toll plaza on the Zirakpur-Parwanoo highway would be set up by the Himalayan Expressway Company.



kidney scam
Civil Surgeon submits report
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 30
The Civil Surgeon, Usha Bansal, in her report submitted this evening to the Mohali Deputy Commissioner, Varun Roojam, pointed to the anomaly in maintenance of records relating to kidney transplants by the two hospitals under the scanner.

Confirming that the Civil Surgeon submitted the report, the Deputy Commissioner said he was yet to go through the contents of the report. The Civil Surgeon was not available for comment.

In the probe, conducted by the Mohali Civil Surgeon on the directions of the Mohali Deputy Commissioner, the transplants done in the past two years were verified and documents of the sanctioning authority checked.



Illegal parking still goes on
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 30
Traffic violations continue here as the office of the Deputy Commissioner has been unable to check the menace of illegal parking till date.

During a visit to the spot by a Chandigarh Tribune team, it was discovered that cars were parked right under the board which read ‘no parking’, besides in the vicinity.

Kulbir Sidhu, a visitor, said, “I live in Sector 11 of Chandigarh. Such a violation would have fetched me a police challan there. I think that none listens here as this was not my first visit. It is the same story every time.”



Rs 4.6 lakh, liquor seized
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 30
The Mohali police has seized Rs 4.6 lakh and 8,151 bottles of IMFL at nakas here.

The seizures have been made during frisking at nakas set up on the UT-Punjab border.

“The money has been seized as those possessing the money have failed to provide documents of financial transactions. We have handed over the cases to the income tax department for further action,” said an official with the district administration.

In the past few days, the police had seized over Rs 1 crore found in possession of persons entering the district.

In most of cases, the money was seized by joint teams of the police and the election department. The exercise was videographed and the Election Commission briefed about it.



Party within limits: Police
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, December 30
The Zirakpur police today issued a warning and directions to hoteliers and revellers. It said music should not be played loud after 10.30 pm, adding that cases would be registered against violators.

The police would put up barricades on various roads leading to various venue and intersections to prevent drunk driving and other offences.

A police official said that many marriage palaces were organising functions on New Year Eve. To avoid any untoward incident, teams were being deployed outside venues to check hooliganism on roads.

“Those blocking the way by parking cars along the roadside will not be spared,” said the Zirakpur SHO. He asked owners of dhabas and restaurants to close establishment by 11 pm.



consumer courts
Immigration firm told to refund Rs 1.08 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
The district consumer disputes redressal forum - II has directed immigration consultant firm RIMWEA Career Forum Limited to refund Rs 1.08 lakh along with 9 per cent interest per annum from the date of filing of complaint till the date of payment for its failure to provide student visa documents.

The district forum comprising president Lakhsman Sharma and members Madhu Mutneja and Jaswinder Singh Sidhu directed the respondents to pay Rs 7,000 towards litigation costs to the complainant.

The complainant, Onkar Verma, a resident of Samrala, submitted that he was lured by an advertisement by the opposite party about its specialisation in providing consultation for immigration to various countries and approached it with a desire for immigration to Australia on a student visa.

He said he was a graduate from Panjab University, Chandigarh, and had also passed the ILETS on July 25, 2007, and fulfilled the requisite eligibility conditions for immigration to Australia.

He also submitted a demand draft for Rs 16,100 in favour of Australian High Commission towards the initial assessment fee to the opposite party. Another demand draft for 1,500 Australian dollars in favour of Holmesglen Institute of Tafe was also handed over to the opposite party for submission to the Australian High Commission.

He also paid an amount of Rs 1.08 lakh in cash to the opposite party on July 22, 2008 on account of processing charges. However, he was shocked to receive a letter from the Australian Government on July 25, 2009 that his application had been rejected, as he did not satisfy the relevant criteria for grant of student visa.

The counsel for the opposite party averred that complainant had no locus- standi to file the present complaint, as his complaint was false and frivolous with an intention to extract money from the opposite party.

It had also taken a preliminary objection that the complaint was barred by limitation as all the alleged payments made by him were in October, 2007 and the present complaint had been filed in July, 2010. It further averred that complainant has not impleaded M/s VFS Global Services Private Limited as one of the necessary parties, as he had alleged that Rs 18,521 towards visa fee and service charges were paid to them. Even the demand draft of 1500 Australian dollars had been issued in favour of Holmesglen Institute of Tafe.



Avoid exposure to extreme cold: Doc
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
Exposure to cold weather can cause injury or serious illness like frostbite or hypothermia (when body temperature goes under 95 °F). Injury or illness depends on factors like physical activity, clothing, wind, humidity, working, living conditions, person’s age and state of health.

Dr Ravul Jindal, vascular surgeon at a private hospital in Mohali, warns that one should avoid cold water especially while doing the dishes. One can wear gloves and use warm water, he says, adding that patients, especially old, with peripheral vascular disease should practise these precautions carefully and report to a doctor in case of persistent blueness of the fingers or toes.

“In view of the extreme weather condition, we often see patients with blueness of the toes or swelling of the fingers or toes, called Raynauds phenomenon,” he says.

This happens due to high response of the blood vessels to cold in certain individuals and can result in painful swelling of the fingers and toes. This is a common condition but in severe cases it can also lead to ulcer on the tip of the finger. In extreme cases, blackening of the tips of fingers and toes can occur. He says it is important to keep the room temperature warm and avoid going out late in the night when the temperature is the minimum. Try to avoid staying outside in the coldest part of the day or for extended periods of time in extreme cold weather, he adds.

Watch out for frostbite!

Blueness of the fingers or toes due to exposure to extreme cold is a common condition. However, in severe cases it can lead to ulcers on the tip of the finger. In extreme cases, blackening of the tips of fingers and toes can occur



Folk music, dance perfomances regale audience
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, December 30
The audience were treated to diverse forms of folk music and dance by artists form Tibet, Nepal, Sikkim and Assam, besides the divine utterances of Sufiana “kalaams” sung by Patiala gharana maestros Manak Ali and Nanak Ali of Malerkotla, during the New Year Extravaganza at Sector 17 here today.

Manak Ali and Nanak Ali have performed in Austria, Vienna and Singapore besides different venues in India.

Delving deep into the mysticism enshrined in “kalaams” of Bulleh Shah, Syed Waris Manak Ali opened up with “Raiye ni naal sajjann de” followed by “Kinu kinu dassan raaz diyan gallan” and “Sathon ni majjhan chaar hundiya” from the love legend of Heer-Ranjha.

Sensing the mood of the audience, Manak Ali doled out ghazals like “Tujhe kaun janta tha meri dosti se pehle”, “Aap mashook kya ho gaye”, “Layiyan layiyan mein tere naal” and more en core.

Attired in colourful costumes, over 50 student artists from Sikkim performed a traditional Sikkimese dance and a group song, Lek Chering, describing the beauty of Sikkim girls.

The all-girl Lepcha dance by Phursong and party delineated the natural beauty of Sikkim.

A solo performance by Lek Chering was the New Year song of the Lepcha tribe of Sikkim.

Singer Pranay was moved as he paid a tribute to the earthquake victims of Sikkim of September 18 in his song.

A solo dance by Pemakit with love as theme, a group dance of Bhutia Tribe about Tibetan New Year, where people wine and dine and have fun, a solo song by Samsong, highlighting the valour of Gorkha army, and Nepali dance by Rinchen were well received.

Performances by noted Punjabi singer Satinder Sartaj and colourful dances by a Korean group consisting of 20 artists will cap the week-long extravaganza.

Anil Kumar, Home Secretary, Chandigarh (UT), was the chief guest.



Special coach for Goa on January 4
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
Residents who wish to visit Goa during the winter vacations have a reason to cheer, as the Indian Railway Catering Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has decided to attach a 72-seat coach with the 12218 Kerala Sampark Kranti Express that leaves Chandigarh on January 4 at 9.20 am.

Giving details of the six-day tour, RK Sondh, chief regional manager, said the passengers would be shifted to a hotel in Goa by a bus after they reach Mudgaon the next day. The passengers would stay in the hotel for three nights and two days.

On the third day, the tourists would proceed to South Goa for sightseeing. They will be taken around Cathedral Church, Bom Jesus Church, Mangesh temple and Shanta Durga temple. After lunch, they will be taken on a tour of Panaji city, Meramar Beach, Dona Paula Beach and Colva Beach before returning to the hotel in the evening.

On the fourth day, the passengers will be taken to Anjuna, Calangute and Vagator beaches, besides Fort Aguda after lunch, in North Goa.

The passengers can enjoy the water cruise at their own expense. After touring the ancestral Goa’s Central Jail (Kala Pani), they will return back to the hotel.

On the fifth day, all passengers will gather at the Mudgaon railway station at 1.30 am and the tour will culminate at Chandigarh on January 9. All meals and transport will be managed by the IRCTC.

He said passengers would have to personally manage their food in the train by contacting the pantry car manager.

The six-day tour package will cost Rs 7,015 for single occupancy, Rs 6,154 for double occupancy and Rs 5,785 for triple occupancy

He said people of Ambala, Kurukshetra and Panipat could also book their berths in the Bharat Darshan train to South India, which would leave the city on January 7.

He said the first halt of the train would be at Shirdi and those who have missed the chance in the earlier train to Shirdi have a chance to visit the religious place.

More than half the seats on the train had already been booked. For query, interested persons can contact 9779240603 and 9915743726.



Chandigarh scan
Offices closed on Saturday

All sampark centres in the city will remain closed on Saturday on the eve of Guru Gobind Singh’s birth anniversary. A press note said the day would be observed as public holiday in place of January 5 next at government offices and institutions, under the Administration. Panjab University Vice-Chancellor declared a holiday for affiliated colleges.

Traders meet Home Secy

A delegation of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, consisting of Diwakar Sahoonja, president, Charanjiv Singh, chairman, and Jagdish Kapoor, chairman of police co-ordination sub-committee, called on Anil Kumar, Home Secretary. Sahoonja made him aware of activities of the mandal, the apex body of traders in the city. Charanjiv mentioned a few issues and requested him to ensure that the Administration brought about trader-friendly policies.

Fourth season of Spell Bee

The HDFC Life Spell Bee is back. Alternate Brand Solutions India Limited and HDFC Life have announced the launch of the fourth season of Spell Bee. The winner of the grand finale will be sent to experience the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington DC. — Tribune reporters



It was year of confusion and chaos
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
Confusion marked 2011, which started with chaos over nursery admissions and implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act and was ending on the same note.

Pardeep Mehra talks to anxious parents of schoolchildren.
Pardeep Mehra talks to anxious parents of schoolchildren.

The UT education department, which got a new DPI(S) and a new Education Secretary this year, failed to change the status of many things, including discontent with private schools and infighting among department officials.

It could not shun its slumber. Private schools continued their struggle for autonomy, with many even overlooking their social responsibility and directives of the CBSE.

On the positive side, students of several rural and non-model government schools outshone their counterparts at other schools.

Students sit cramped in the open at a school.
Students sit cramped in the open at a school.


Nursery admission woes

Getting a child admitted to nursery proved to be tryst for hundreds of parents. While they had to struggle for clarification on age criteria at convent schools at the start of the year, the year ended with a stalled admission process. St Kabir School was accused of conducting a draw of lots for only a few seats and reserving the rest under alumni and sibling criteria. Parents moved court and the education department stayed nursery admissions till its decision.

Implementation of RTE Act

Even after two years of its notification, the UT failed to implement RTE in spirit. While the department woke up to its need and relevance in November, 2010, it started off as an ego war between then Education Secretary Ram Niwas and private schools. The tussle led to him getting stripped of the charge of education. While expectations ran high for 2011, the education department failed to deliver. Even after a gap of 12 months, all it could offer was a botched-up child mapping exercise.

Acts of violence by students

From slapping schoolteachers, students graduated in terms of violence. Stabbing took place at the Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 45, where student rivalry left many injured. While the department tried to deal with the increasing violence at schools time and again, nothing concrete materialised.

Skewed teacher-pupil ratio

For several financial and administrative reasons, the UT failed for another year in getting optimum infrastructure and teachers for government schools. As many as 70 children were taught by a single teacher in cramped classrooms.

No uniforms or worksheets

While AIE centres, running successfully, were converted into special training ones to prepare out-of-school children for admission to schools, the UT failed to provide uniforms, including sweaters and shoes, in time. While coordinators kept crying hoarse for specially designed worksheets, nothing much could be done in this regard.

Optional board examinations

With the CBSE making board examinations optional this year, city students were relieved of decades-old stress. It left lots of students scoring a perfect 10 as CGPA.


Excellent board exam results

Battling all odds, UT government schools proved that swanky infrastructure did not necessarily transform into good results. They left private schools far behind in both X and XII board examinations.

National awards for teachers

Two city teachers, Neerja Jain of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16, and OP Manauli of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 46, were given the national award on Teachers’ Day.

More applicants at govt schools

The popularity of government schools touched an all-time high in class-XI admissions this year. The seat-applicant ratio was as high as 1:5 in science courses.

Courses in vocational education

While swanky private schools could not come forward and start vocational courses, CBSE-affiliated government schools led the way by not only introducing, but also running over 10 such courses.



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