C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Allotment fraud to fore
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 9
In a case of blatant violation of allotment rules, at least 26 flats meant for the economically weaker sections (EWS) under the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNURM) here have been allotted to ineligible candidates. The flats in question have been allotted to spouses of officials working in different government departments who did not qualify for these under the existing allotment rules.

Under the HUDA rules, those families with a monthly family income not exceeding Rs 5,000 were qualified to apply for the houses. Faced with complaints from different quarters, HUDA has launched a drive for the verification of the antecedents of all allottees.

HUDA had constructed 2,072 Ashiana apartments in Industrial Area, Phase I, Sector 20, and 26, to rehabilitate the slum dwellers, who had been encroaching on the administration land for the past several decades. The areas specified for this category of encroachers who were resettled included Rajiv Colony, Indira Colony and Azad Bharat Colony.

As many as 1,500 flats were allotted to the beneficiaries last week, out of which 26 defaulters have been identified. The administration has asked the officials for a careful perusal of documents for future allotment.

Chinks in the allotment process were revealed when allottees were asked to fill in affidavits about their personal and family jobs and salary details. Out of the 26 allottees, nine are from the office of HUDA itself. The remaining 17 allottees are employed in Haryana Government Press, Haryana Police Telecom Department, HVPNL and other state government departments.

These employees have violated rules and regulations even as they might have been claiming house rent, said an official in the HUDA office, the executing agency for the JNURM scheme in Panchkula.

Meanwhile, Estate Officer of HUDA Ashwani Kumar confirmed this and said the allotment letters to these allottees had been withheld. “HUDA will write to their respective departments and seek disciplinary action against them for encroaching upon government land,” he said.



RLA sits on audit report
Report reveals ~23-lakh embezzlement
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) continues to sit on the special audit report, which has revealed another embezzlement of around Rs 23 lakh during the last financial year in the department.

Sources claimed that the report of the nine-day-long special audit of the accounts of the RLA from April 1, 2010, to October 31, 2011, was submitted the authorities on December 23.

“Though over 15 days have passed, the report has been lying with the RLA. We are yet to receive it,” said an official in the Deputy Commissioner’s office here today.

UT Home Secretary Anil Kumar said he was aware that the report had revealed an embezzlement of Rs 23 lakh, but I do not the details of the report, as the same was yet to be forwarded by the department concerned (the RLA). I would check the reason behind the delay.

However, he said that a separate regular inquiry would be conducted and if needed the accounts of previous years would also be checked.

Notably, the special audit had been done following an earlier exposure of embezzlement of about Rs 5.60 lakh brought to light by UT’s former Additional Deputy Commissioner ML Sharma in the last week of October.

Sharma’s report and subsequently the special audit’s report revealed that an amount of about Rs 29 lakh, in just one and a half years, was not deposited in the UT Administration’s treasury by RLA officials. The administration had marked a regular inquiry on December 1 to a retired IAS officer, C L Lakhanpal, into the earlier embezzlement of Rs 5.60 lakh, but it has yet to begin. Besides, the UT Police has also been investigating the scam following the registration of an FIR against 10 officials of the department, including seven contractual employees (all data-entry operators), under Sections 409 and 420, IPC, at the Sector 17 police station on November 9.

The administration has already terminated the services of nine contractual employees, who had been working in the department, even before the start of the regular inquiry into the case.



Plan budget for 2012-13
UT Administration to seek 15-20 per cent more
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The UT Administration will demand 15 to 20 per cent more for the plan budget in the financial year 2012-13 compared to Rs 661.89 crore of the current fiscal 2011-12.

A senior UT official confirmed that the UT, under plan head, was seeking a fund between Rs 760 crore to Rs 800 crore.

The core areas of work under the plan budget heads include health, education and infrastructure. The preservation of Sukhna Lake and defining the heritage of the city, particularly cultural and existing buildings, find a special mention. Certain developmental projects for Phase III of the city, too, have been separately specified in the budget. “Residents, here, can expect new public service oriented facilities,” the official said.

Officials of the UT Administration are busy preparing a case for 15 to 20 per cent hike in the plan budget, which they will submit before the Ministry of Finance before this month end. “Great care is being taken in calculating the figures for each department, separately, to make the hike figures absolutely justified,” the official said.

The administration is banking heavy on justification for the increase of Rs 210.91 crore (47 per cent) - up from Rs 450.91 crore in 2010-11, making it Rs 661.89 crore in 2011-2012. A special emphasis is being exercised in working out the plan details for infrastructure works, on ground, particularly in the upgradation of the civic amenities in the city. The Finance Department, under the Secretary, VK Singh, is holding a chain of meetings with heads of different departments.

In the 2011-12 Budget presented by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on February 28 last year, there was a hike of Rs 259.21 crore (43%) in the total Budget, both under plan and the non-plan heads.

Funds not fully utilised

Though the UT Administration is busy preparing its case for the hike under plan head in the budget, for the current financial year 2011-12, the authorities are yet to utilise their complete share. Sources revealed that that out of Rs 661.89 crore, funds of Rs 40 to 60 crore are yet to be utilised. Finance Secretary VK Singh said there were still more than two months left and the Administration would utilise 100 per cent budget.

Non-plan head

Under the non-plan head, Chandigarh will demand a hike of 5 to 8 per cent against the current financial year’s allocation of Rs 2,068.31 crore. The non-plan allocation will go towards committed expenditure of salaries and other recurring expenses borne by the Administration.



Spate of thefts in SCOs 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The Chandigarh police was once again caught napping last night as thieves decamped with cash and valuables from different shop-cum-offices (SCOs) in the city.

Despite regular checking of vehicles and presence of the “cheetah squad”, the police has been unable to control the rising incidents of thefts. Moreover, 25 incidents of thefts have been reported this year.

In the first case of theft reported last night, Harbans Singh, senior manager, Star Security Service, reported to the police that cash was stolen from different cabins in his office by breaking the glass pane.

The complainant opened the office at 10 in the morning when he came to know of the theft. A case under Section 380 of the IPC has been registered in the Sector 17 police station.

In another incident of theft reported by Bhatia Confectionery (SCF No 10-11) in Sector 19, cash amounting to Rs 1.5 lakh, 15 kg ghee and 30 kg dry fruits were stolen from the shop by breaking the locks. Raj Kumar Bhatia, a resident of Sector 16, Panchkula, reported to the police about the theft in the morning.

In the third incident of theft, Anu Sharma, a resident of SCF No. 39, first floor, Motor Market, Manimajra, reported that a Sony 32” LCD, a gas cylinder and some other items were stolen from his shop.

A case has been registered. In another incident of theft, Rajinder Kaur, a Sector 30 resident, reported to the police that a printer was stolen from her shop (SCO No.23 in Sector 20 D) after breaking the locks.

Captain Gourav Prashar, a resident of 12-A, Panchkula, reported that his Dell laptop was stolen from PunBus at New Delhi Counter, ISBT-17, Chandigarh. A case under Section 379 IPC has been registered.



Change in govt school timings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Keeping in view the biting cold, the UT Education Department has decided that all government schools (single and double shift) will open at 8.30 am. While the evening shift of the double-shift schools will close at 5 pm, there will be no change in the school timings.

All government schools will comply with the revised timings till January 20. During this period, there will be no morning assembly in the schools.

Sacred Heart: Due to inclement weather, Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, Sector 26, Chandigarh, has postponed its re-opening to January 12. The pre-board exams for Class XII will start as per the schedule on January 10 from 9:30 am to 1pm.


Rain likely after Jan 14
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The tricity may witness another spell of rain after January 14 in view of the Western weather disturbance, which has a wider cloud coverage area over the northern region.

The intermittent rain and heavy snowfall in hilly areas of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir have resulted in a decline in day and night temperatures in the region, forcing people to remain indoors.

The tricity has witnessed maximum rain this season. The city has received 33-mm rainfall in the first 10 days this month compared to 9 mm or less recorded in the past five years.

The meteorological department said around 1-mm rain was recorded till this morning. It added that the maximum humidity was recorded at 91 per cent and the minimum 48 per cent.

It further said the minimum temperature was 6 degree Celsius, one degree above normal, and the maximum 16 degree Celsius, four degrees below normal.

The weather office predicted that there would not be any large change in the next two days as the sky would remain clear, with fog or mist occurring during the morning and evening.

The minimum temperature would be around 4 degree Celsius and the maximum around 17 degree Celsius, predicted the official. Department Director Surinder Paul said night temperatures would fall in the next two or three days.

New record for first 10 days of the year

Year Rainfall in mm

2007 0

2008 9.6

2009 0

2010 5.6

2011 0

2012 33.1



With mercury down in tricity, respiratory ailments up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The cold wave has resulted in a rise in respiratory ailments. According to doctors, cases of cold and throat infection are common during this period and the incidence of bronchitis and pneumonia has increased, especially among children.

Medicos indicate a rise in seasonal diseases. “Respiratory ailments are common these days as other common diseases like typhoid show decline due to cold weather,” a doctor with the PGI has said.

Bronchitis is found in nearly 10 per cent of the adult patients reporting at various hospitals. This disease is found in children less than six years of age. Exposure to cold winds and frequent fluctuation in ambience temperature increase the probability of infection.

Fog and cold winds make the environment unhealthy for asthmatics, a doctor with the GMCH has said.

Please remember

Reduce visits to public places

Have a balanced diet and proper sleep

Avoid direct exposure to cold winds, especially while riding two-wheelers

Avoid frequent fluctuation from room temperature to the chill outside



Mayor takes stock of pending projects
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Municipal corporation Mayor Raj Bala Malik today took consent of all pending works with officials of the UT chief architect and corporation departments.

In two separate meetings chaired by the Mayor, all pending drawings of the projects were discussed with the UT architect department and status of the ongoing works with MC officials.

During the meeting with UT chief architect Sumit Kaur, senior architect Kapil Satia in the Mayor’s office, the officials discuss various possibilities regarding the construction of extension of MC building in Sector 17. It was suggested by the MC officials to review the construction of multi-level parking in Sector 17. Issues, including planning of pocket no. 8, in which school, dispensary, sports complex, shopping mall, e-sampark centre, will be developed and construction of primary schools, marriage palaces in Mani Majra and Hallo Majra were also discussed.

While heads of all departments table the status report of the pending projects in their respective department, official of B&R informed that construction of various projects is in progress, including overbridge from Anand Theatre to KC Theatre in Sector 17; stainless steel bus shelter at Mani Majra; Mahila Bhawan, Sector 38; development of Valley of Animal Garden, Sector 49; community centres in Sectors 22, 48 and 49; bridge over nullah at Mani Majra; provision of rigid pavement in various parking of motor market, Mani Majra; and shopping centre at Vikas Nagar, Mauli Jagran.

In addition, the public health department informed the Mayor that construction of sewage treatment plant of 50 MLD capacity at 3 BRD complex, making arrangement for fixing of water meter in rehabilitated colonies, Mani Majra, and villages where water at present is being supplied on flat rate basis in Chandigarh, installation of various fountains was discussed.

The medical officer health department informed the Mayor that they are exploring the possibilities for outsourcing, collection and transportation of garbage to dumping ground and further modernisation of garbage removal equipment, implementation of projects relating to provision of parking facilities for tourist buses and improvement of streetlights. The meeting was also attended by MC Commissioner Prerna Puri, chief engineer SS Bidda, along with other officials.



15,503 vehicles checked in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
In a drive to curb the rising incidents of snatching and vehicle theft in city, the police randomly checked 15,503 vehicles today. It challaned 549 vehicles and impounded 63 others.

The police launched the drive by setting up barriers at different places in the city. The barriers were put up at about 42 different places in the city.

Police post in charges, SHOs and additional SHOs supervised the staff with the help of PCR and police station staff. They were directed to check all vehicles.



Dearer with delay
Many public welfare projects yet to begin
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The non-implementation of ambitious public welfare projects by the municipal corporation (MC) has led to an increase in the subsequent budget. Despite being submitted again, work has not commenced in any case.

The gas crematorium at Sector 25 is a classic example. The only common feature is a rise in the project cost. Mooted for Rs 68 lakh in 2010-11, it was put at Rs 1 crore in 2011-2012.

The estimated cost for the proposed caracass utilisation cenrtre was Rs 5 lakh in 2009-2010 and it rose to Rs 1 crore in 2010-2011.

Under the project, the MC would have to earmark space to commission incinerators where carcasses of dead animals would be disposed of.

The proposed dog pond was only in files of MC offices over the years. The amount of Rs 10 lakh, proposed in earlier budgets, was now termed peanuts by officials. An official said the cost now would be at least four times.

Estimates for four new fire stations were Rs 50 lakh in 2010-2011 and Rs 60 lakh in 2011-2012. These were to come up at the IT Park, the Punjab and Haryana High Court and Sectors 49 and 52.

No initiative had been taken for the new projects approved in the previous budget. These included an international stadium, a traders’ ‘bhavan’, a multi-level parking at Sector 34 and underpasses at Sectors 8, 17 and 35.

Costs on steady climb

Project 2010-11 2011-2012

Gas crematorium Rs 68 lakh Rs 1 crore

Four fire stations Rs 50 lakh Rs 60 lakh

Sahaj safai kendra Rs 75 lakh Rs 1 crore

Community parking Rs 1 crore Rs 1.25 crore



80 pc applicants only want booths on ground floor
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 9
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) today opened the bids for the double-storied booths the scheme for which was floated recently. A total of 700 booths have been offered but the scheme got a lukewarm response.

Though no official of GMADA was available for comments, sources said 80 per cent of the applicants wanted ground-floor booths.

Around 650 bids had been received for the booths. In the next step, a draw of lots would be held.

After a thorough survey, around 2,000 booth sites have been identified, but gauging the response to the scheme, only 700 sites are being offered. The successful bidders will be given build-up booths in double-storied market complexes, to be raised at Sectors 53, 59, 66, 67, 68, 69, 78 and 79 of Mohali.

The scheme required the bidders who were interested to fill in a bid form and deposit Rs 1.25 lakh for each booth. After scrutinising the forms, the sealed envelopes would be opened.

For ground-floor booth sites and first-floor booth sites in developed sectors, the reserved price has been fixed at Rs 15 lakh and Rs 10 lakh, respectively.

In new sectors, the reserved price of the ground-floor and first-floor booths has been fixed at Rs 12 lakh and Rs 8 lakh, respectively.



Reducing traffic congestion on UT Admn agenda
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Upgrade of road infrastructure and public transport and reduction in traffic congestion is high on the agenda of the UT Administration this year.

UT Adviser to Administrator KK Sharma said the administration was all set to start work on certain plans aiming at reducing congestion on the city roads as well as upgrade of road infrastructure to smooth traffic flow.

“Work would be initiated in the direction of constructing underpasses at certain points and under bridge at Hallo Majra soon to smoothen traffic flow on the roads. Besides, we also take steps to upgrade public transport system by adding about 90 new low-floor buses to the fleet of the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU),” said Sharma.

Sharma added that to bring people, who use private vehicles to public transport, new routes would be worked out apart from increase in frequency of the local buses on these routes.

When asked whether or not some of the roundabouts be removed to check the congestion on certain points, Sharma said there was no plan to remove any of the roundabouts but some of them could be contracted if needed to be.

“In fact, these roundabouts ‘calm’ the traffic flow so there is no plan of removal of any of the existing roundabout in the city,” said Sharma, adding that improving the traffic scenario as well as road infrastructure in the city would be one of the main focus of the administration this year.



Zirakpur-Lalru stretch remains drivers’ nightmare
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, January 9
Despite four-laning of the Chandigarh-Ambala highway, the Zirakpur-Lalru road continues to be a killer stretch, with fatal accidents taking place on it at regular intervals. In all 232 accidents had been reported to the Zirakpur, Dera Bassi and Lalru police stations in 2011. In Zirakpur alone, 112 accidents had been reported, followed by 56 in Dera Bassi and 64 in Lalru.

When the four-laning of the road was completed in 2008, it was generally thought that the number of accidents taking place on the stretch would take a dip, particularly because the fast-moving traffic would not enter the township. But, over the years the accident rate has witnessed a steady rise, despite the construction of the flyover.

Police sources attribute this phenomenon to an increase in the number of heavy vehicles passing through Zirakpur. The sources add the roads remain congested also because of a continuous increase in the number of vehicles going towards Chandigarh and the hill state of Himachal Pradesh.

The sources assert that the development of Baddi as an industrial township has also contributed to the increase in vehicular traffic on the stretch. In particular the number of Baddi-bound trucks on this route has increased.

At most of the points, village link roads open to the highway, turning them accident prone. It is here that many times the fast-moving traffic collides with vehicles coming from the link roads. Last year, the NHAI closed the direct access of the private establishments to the highway on the Zirakpur-Lalru stretch. But, the problem remains. The sources added there was an urgent need of slow carriageway along the highway.

An official of the GMR company asserted that the prime cause of accidents on the stretch was speeding. The official added that there was an urgent need to check speeding. They add that the emphasis is just not on checking over speeding on the highway. They had installed reflectors, speed limit signboards yet the traffic rules were not being implemented.

Even though, two highway patrolling vehicles have been deployed, these can only transport the injured to the nearby hospitals but are ill-equipped to provide first aid to the injured.

According to the Zirakpur police station, 112 accidents had been reported in 2011 in which 52 were fatal mishaps. Around 38 persons, including 33 men, three women and two children, were killed. However, 43 persons, including 36 men, six women and one child, were injured. In 2010, 90 accidents had been reported in which 48 persons were killed and 55 injured.

In 2009, 61 accidents had been reported where 26 persons were killed, including 20 men, five women and one child. In 2008, around 48 accidents had occurred in which 27 persons lost their lives while 21 were injured.

At the Dera Bassi police station, in 2011, 56 mishaps had been reported. In these accidents, 30 persons were killed, including 28 men, one woman and one child, while 46 persons were injured. In 2010, 42 accidents had been reported in which 20 persons were killed and 33 injured. As many as 53 mishaps had been reported in 2009 in which 35 persons lost their lives. A total of 37 accident cases had been reported in 2008, in which 22 persons were killed, including 21 men and one child.

Sources at the Lalru police station revealed 64 accidents had been reported in 2011 in which 33 persons were killed, including 33 men, two women and two children. Sixtysix persons were injured in these accidents. 

2011 Report

Accidents Killed Injured

Zirakpur 112 38 43

Dera Bassi 56 30 46

Lalru 64 33 66

According to the police, increase in the number of heavy vehicles passing through Zirakpur to blame

The GMR company asserts that the prime cause of accidents on the stretch is over speeding

Need of slow carriageway along the highway



Cong, SAD win back disgruntled leaders
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 9
The SAD leader, Harsukminder Singh Bubby Badal, who had earlier shown his resentment against the party leadership for giving the ticket from the Mohali seat to Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, said today that he had no option but to respect the prestige of the Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, who had explained to him the logic of fielding seasoned leader like Ramoowlia from Mohali.

In the presence of Ramoowalia, who came to the phase XI residence of the Akali leader, Bubby Badal said: “Earlier, the Chief Minister was contemplating contesting from Mohali. But when he said he had sent Ramoowalia in his place, I had no option but to respect the decision of the party high command. I would convince his supporters to campaign for the party candidate”.

When asked about any deal between the two leaders, Ramoowalia was quick to reply that the decision by Bubby Badal was the outcome of political wisdom, maturity and understanding of the political circumstances.

While listing his achievements in his political career, Ramoowalia said like him, Bubby Badal did not join any other party. He also said all the differences among the local leadership would be solved and all would work to ensure the party’s win from the Mohali seat.

Earlier, Ramoowalia carried out a tour of Jagatpura, Kandala, Cheoheri, Alipur, Nadiali, Safipur, Chandipur and Roorka villages along with his son-in-law Harbhajan Mann who is campaigning for him. Seeking votes for Ramoowalia, the singer said the former had contested for social issues.

Meanwhile, Congress candidate from Mohali Balbir Singh Sidhu today claimed that two former councillors Gurmeet Singh Waila and Mukandi Singh have rejoined the Congress. The candidate also addressed gatherings in Phase 1,2,4,5 and SCL Societies. He also claimed the support of the National Balmiki Sabha, Mohali.

PPP candidate files papers

The People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) candidate from Kharar, Harnek Singh Gharuan today filed his nomination papers from the Kharar seat. 



Candidate clarifies
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, January 9
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidate from the Dera Bassi constituency, NK Sharma, has written to the returning officer, informing him that Krishanpal Sharma is the authorised signatory to give permission on his behalf to issue publications of advertisement in the print and electronic media.

He also said if any media house would publish or telecast any advertisement relating to him without his consent he would not be liable for that. He apprehended that as the Election Commission had made it clear that any advertisement published by any of the supporter would also be accounted in the name of the candidate, his opponents could use this as tool to damage his prospects in this election. Sharma will file his nomination papers on January 10.



Notice served on company
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 9
The district election officer today served a notice on the company that had stocked around 1,000 trunks with utensil kits, carrying photographs of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and a logo that reads “Raj Nahin Sewa” (no rule only 
service) at a unit in Industrial Area, Phase 8 B, here yesterday.

The central expenditure observer for the constituency also visited the spot to inquire about the matter.

The Excise and Taxation Department has been asked to make an inventory of the items and see whether any violation existed. Policemen have been deputed at the factory until the probe is completed.

On the basis of the report submitted by the returning officer, the district election officer has asked the owner of the material to explain his position. Yesterday, the flying squad has raided the industrial unit on a tip-off about the material stocked there.

The owner of the material had claimed that the order for the material was placed by the SAD government prior to the notification of the election date, but it was not delivered as the payments against the previous dispatches had not been made. 



Pensioners’ meeting today
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 9
A meeting of the Punjab Government Pensioners Association will be held tomorrow at the Rose Garden in Phase 3B-1 here at 11 am. General Secretary of the association Mohan Singh said the meeting had been called to discuss the future strategy to take up the unmet demands of the pensioners.

Mohan Singh said though the government had finally accepted their demand of increase in old-age pension at the rate of 10 per cent on attaining the age of 70 and hike of 15 per cent on attaining the age of 75, many other demands, like increase in medical allowance from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 among others, were still being ignored by the government.

Chairman of the association Ragbhir Singh Sandhu urged all the pensioners to attend the meeting.



Police to probe matter of excavating earth
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 9
The Pinjore police will look into the complaint of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) against Raghubir Chaudhary, a local resident, for excavating earth from the national highway without permission.

Raghubir is brother of a local Congress leader. He is also related to Kalka MLA Pradip Chaudhary. Panchkula Deputy Commissioner of Police Maneesh Chaudhary said he had asked the Pinjore SHO to inquire into the matter.

Raghubir claimed that he had obtained permission from the mining department. On January 5, NHAI project director Anil Dahiya lodged a complaint that Raghubir had lifted earth from area adjoining National Highway 22 near Amravati Enclave.



Goods worth lakhs destroyed in fire
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 9
Goods worth several lakhs were destroyed when a fire broke out at a house in Sector 26 here today. The owner of the house, Suraj Nandal, said he suspected a short-circuit to be the cause of the fire.

It was around 8.30 am when Suraj, along with his family, left for Anandpur Sahib. Soon he got a call from his brother living on the ground floor of the house that smoke was billowing out of his house on the first floor. He rushed back and made a call to the fire brigade office. However, the call made at emergency help line No. 101 of the Panchkula fire brigade connected at the fire brigade office of Mohali.

By the time the Panchkula fire brigade could reach the spot much of the damage had already been done, said Nandal.

The goods destroyed in the fire include two television sets, refrigerator, furniture, jewellery and cash worth lakhs, he added. Important documents, including education certificates, passport and his visa for Dubai, had also been destroyed in the fire, said Nandal. 



A tale of smiles and tears
As many celebrate success of their wards, others are left muttering about their luck
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The draw of lots for entry-level admission, which were announced by three city convent schools here today, was literally a tale of smiles and tears, as while many celebrated their ward’s success in the draw of lots, others were left muttering about their bad luck.

The draw of lots at three convent schools, namely St John’s School and Sacred Heart School in Sector 26 and Carmel Convent School in Sector 9 was not just an admission exercise but it also brought to fore the state of education in the city where over 15 children struggle it out for one seat in these reputed schools and it’s the luck that plays the deciding role.

It also highlighted the shortsightedness of our authorities, which in a bid to get the Right of Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act to the disadvantaged groups ended up snatching it from students of the general category who suffered in lack of seats.

“My daughter is, too, smart for her age, but despite her caliber she could not get into Sacred Heart because she has no sibling studying there nor does she belongs to the economically weaker sections,” said one of the parents, Latika Bhasin.

Meanwhile, much to the relief of the education department the draw went smoothly and in a disciplined manner and as mandated by the department, the proceeding was video graphed and conducted in the presence of parents.

Carmel Convent School

Total seats: 120

General seats: 25

Those who went without admission: Around 1,000

St John’s School

Total seats: 160

General seats: 93

Those who went without admission: Over 600

Sacred Heart School

Total seats: 200

General seats: 75

Those who went without admission: Over 1,000

While as per the Supreme Court’s directives, managing parking and traffic in front and near the school is the institute’s responsibility, the UT schools are yet to abide by the instructions. The road in front of Sector-26 schools was chock-a-block, as neither did schools allow parents to park on their enviously big premises nor did they care to depute anybody to man it.



12,000 to appear in CBSE exams
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
For the second consecutive year, a majority of class-X students of the city have opted for the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) conducted examinations rather than school-based examinations.

Out of over 17,000 students registered with the board, around 12,000 students have decided to appear in the CBSE board examinations despite the school-based exams.

Interestingly, contrary to the board’s and school’s expectations, the number remains more or less the same as last year, hinting at lack of confidence in the school evaluation.

“We were expecting that more and more students would go for the school-based exams as it lowers the stress level marginally. But as has been the trend in the entire country, more students have decided to go with the board exams rather than school-based exams,” said RJ Khanderao, regional director CBSE.

In what came as a landmark decision, the CBSE had last year made its class X board exams optional, allowing the students to appear in the school-based examinations. To bring both examinations at par with each other, the board ensured equality in difficulty levels and evaluation scheme and even gave same qualifying certificates to both board and school candidates.

Though owing to nascent insecurity, 80 per cent of the students went for the board last year, those who went for the school conducted examination fared better.

“Every new thing takes time to seep in, so has this system. While even last year, a majority of private school students opted for own school exams, the disparity is due to the government schools, who though having larger chunk of enrollment do not conduct their own class X final exams but depend on the CBSE,” said a local school principal.



School bus operators flouting rules to face arrest
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 9
Following the death of 14 persons, including 13 schoolchildren, in a road accident in Ambala, the Panchkula administration has decided to take strict measures in the district. Panchkula Deputy Commissioner Ashima Brar has said in case any school bus operator is found to be flouting the rules and regulations he will be arrested and the authorities of the school concerned would also be made liable to the lapse.

The initiative by the district administration followed the instructions of the Haryana government in this regard. A letter from the state government has been sent to all the district administrations mentioning that the rules and regulations for plying school buses in the state are being flouted with impunity. Even the Punjab and Haryana High Court has taken cognisance of the matter and issued directions to the authorities concerned, said the letter received by the district administrations.

It has been observed that the drivers have been deputed to operate school buses even after they have challanned of traffic offences several times. The licences of such drivers would be cancelled henceforth, said Brar. Refresher courses have been started at driving training centres in the state and bus operators can avail themselves of the services of these centers, added the Deputy Commissioner.

School children should be allowed to board and get down from bus inside the school premises only

Securityman is to be deputed on main gate to see to it that children do not have problem in boarding or alighting from bus

No school bus is allowed to be halted or parked at unauthorised place

Educational institutes authorities have to convene a meeting with parents for looking into the safety aspect



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