C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Overworked PU examination branch falling apart
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
The PU examination branch is facing an increased load of over 40,000 students and the staff crunch is not helping matters. This year, the university will be conducting examinations for around 2.90 lakh students against last year’s strength of around 2 lakh students.

About 300 employees handling examination duties have already been “pushed against the wall”. The result declaration process of the last semester examination has already been derailed and the annual examination in April will only compound problems.

Examination branch employees today stormed the room of the Controller of Examination and complained about the work load. “The university needs to take into account the strength of its staff and that of the students. The number of students and courses have multiplied several times over the years, but the staff strength remains more or less the same. The system will definitely collapse as the university continues to introduce new courses and gets more students,” a senior staff member of the examination branch said.

The Syndicate had specified that one clerk and an assistant would handle examination work of only 3,500 papers. But they are being forced to handle more than 8,000 papers. The process involves submission of forms, data recording, dispatching roll numbers, getting question papers and answersheets and tabulating the entire data.

The officials who have been coping with overload have refused to take any more after the semester examination. “We have worked 24 hours a day to organise the semester examination and are now toiling to prepare the results. The result work will be undertaken in February while the compartment examination will be conducted in March and then it’s final examination in April. Nothing here is computerised. Concentration is required and it is impossible for one person to deal with thousands of students alone,” said an official of the examination branch.

While the authorities claim to have already advertised posts, non-teaching union president Gurdeep Singh feels that it is not enough. “I met the Vice-Chancellor yesterday and highlighted the problem. The accounts branch has already collapsed and the examination branch will be next. Rather than hiring regular employees, the university is making do with ‘daily wagers’ who can not be held responsible for any lapses in the examination work. If recruitment is not done at the earliest, the forthcoming annual examination might end up in a mess,” he said.

Oddly, the department has not had a regular Controller of Examination for over one-and-a-half years. The acting controller, AK Bhandari, was unavailable for comments.



Flights bound to Delhi cancelled
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
Dense fog at the New Delhi airport today inconvenienced commuters as several trains and flights were cancelled or delayed while vehicles moved at a snail’s pace here today.

Sources said three Delhi-bound flights from the city -- Jet Airways morning and evening flights and Kingfisher flight -- were cancelled today after visibility dropped to “less than 50 metres” at the Delhi airport in the morning.

Even though most trains are running on schedule, 12011 New Delhi-Chandigarh Shatabdi and the 14095 Himalayan Queen were delayed by about an hour and 45 minutes against their scheduled arrival of 10.50 am and 11.05 am, respectively, said station superintendent Parveen Kumar.

Meanwhile, cold wave conditions continued to lash the region as the minimum temperature dropped by about 4 degrees Celsius to 5.7 degrees while the maximum temperature continued to hover around 15.1 degrees Celsius.

Weather officials have predicted mainly clear sky with fog or mist during morning and evening hours. Local Met department director Surinder Pal said the western disturbance over northeast Afghanistan and adjoining Pakistan persisted. He said minimum temperatures would fall in the next couple of days and thereafter, the situation would improve gradually with the western disturbance moving towards east-north-east.

Dense fog would occur in many parts of Punjab and Haryana during morning and evening hours. Ground frost may occur at isolated places in the neighbouring states over the next two nights.



Things still grim at Snehalaya
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
Even three months after the submission of the “detailed report” on the disappearance of children from the UT-run shelter for homeless children, Snehalaya, the social welfare department has failed to implement even a single recommendation made by SDM South Kavle V Parshuram for making the place more children friendly.

While the report squarely blames the department and those at the helm of Snehalaya for “carelessness”, it has recommended a slew of measures for making the place more livable and improving inter-personal relationships among children staying there. However, true to its style, the department has been sitting over the recommendations and has done nothing to implement it.

Sources said in his report submitted at least three months ago, Kavle had noted that the atmosphere at Snehalaya was “un-homely and negative” and the living conditions were unhygienic.

This correspondent had visited Snehalaya a few months ago and the place presented a dismal sight with shattered windowpanes, missing taps, loose wires hanging from broken switch boards and unkempt building. Kavle has suggested that the building should be renovated and repairs carried out.

He had recommended the opening up of a school within the Snehalaya premises for young children. At present, children go to Government School, Sector 39, and Maloya. He had also asked the department to start a “helpline” so that children could get expert advice to deal with emotional stress.

He had also suggested that officials and personnel responsible for Snehalaya should be on permanent duty and not additional charge.

This was suggested to ensure total involvement and accountability.

The SDM had also recommended that the staff of Snehalaya should be trained by a professional for ensuring humane treatment towards the children.

To counter negative feelings among them, the report also suggested yoga classes, educational tours and some entertainment for the children.



inter-university handball championship
Lewd remarks make women players wince
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
Some rowdy elements in the crowd watching the handball teams fight it out during the North Zone Inter-University Handball Championship for Women at Postgraduate Government College, Sector 11, here today, passed lewd remarks, making the players uncomfortable. The boys had surrounded the court while the match was in progress.

Women players of Punjabi University and Kurukshetra University had a harrowing time as spectators were seen making obscene remarks as they stood right at the touchline of the court.

As the visiting athletes fought it out, the rowdy crowd continued to pass cheap comments, much to the embarrassment of the players and the organisers. A boy yelled: “Aur ye paanch number shirt mein tumhari bhabi ball lati hui” while another remarked: “Tu ghani fast lag rahi.”

Two groups even came to blows. “The match took a regional colour with one group supporting the team from Haryana and the other from Punjab,” an onlooker said. Some boys even entered the court and the match had to be stopped. The game resumed after five minutes.

The principal of the college, JS Raghu and director sports, Panjab University, CS Grewal, were present at the spot. The hooligans ran away when the principal intervened. Both the director sports and deputy director sports of the PU were seen pushing the spectators behind the fence. The boys ultimately relented and went away.

The entire sequence of events happened right under the nose of officials watching the match. “They seemed more busy with receiving the chief guest and other dignitaries and making arrangements for their refreshments,” an organiser conceded.

A player said: “We have no option but to ignore such remarks. The college authorities have also accepted catcalls and rowdy behaviour as a social norm. There is no other reason why anyone should dare behave in such a manner right in front of the authorities. It is sad, but true that girls have to accept it in sports. We know we would be facing such incidents. But the officials should have made arrangements behind the fencing before the game began.”



Hotel guard ‘misbehaves’ with US women
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
In a huge embarrassment for the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation Limited (CITCO), a security guard of Hotel Mountview, reportedly, misbehaved with two women from the US who were staying there. Scared after the incident, the women called up their friends and left the hotel. The hotel has dismissed the guard from the service and has even stopped his salary. The guard was on a contractual basis and was working with the hotel for past two years.

The incident occurred during the intervening night of January 12 and 13. The guard while helping the women open their rooms, allegedly, touched them in an indecent way. The entire episode is reported to have happened within a minute. The women reached the corridor at 3.09 am and left the floor a minute later. However, there was nothing against the guard in the CCTV camera of the corridor. At 3:54 am their friends reached the hotel and the women left with them.

According to information received, the two women were staying in rooms 247 and 249. They had booked their stay from January 8-18, but due to the incident, they left the hotel on January 13.

Before leaving the hotel, though the women did not submit any written complaint against the security guard, they informed the night staff about the incident, and one of the employees entered everything in the logbook.

Sources say that the women shifted to JW Marriott hotel in Sector 35 on the same night and now have left the city.

On the next morning, their friends even cleared the hotel’s bill, which was around Rs 50,000.

When contacted, Vijay Sharma, general manager of the hotel, said that guests were of utmost importance to the hotel, and although there was no written complaint or any evidence available in the CCTV footage, the security guard had been dismissed.

To stop such incident in future, orders have been issued to ensure that only regular employees of the hotel are deployed on night duty, he added. CITCO Managing Director DK Tiwari said that he had checked about the incident with the hotel staff, and despite the fact that there was no written complaint, the guard was dismissed.

CCTV Footage

The hotel’s CCTV footage remains inconclusive as the camera was not facing the room directly. The footage just shows the guard entering the corridor, checking the lights, and helping the women open their rooms. The part where he, reportedly, entered their rooms is not visible.


It’s promise time again
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 20
Balbir Singh Sidhu, the Congress candidate from the Mohali constituency, today released his election manifesto for the upcoming Vidhan Sabha poll on January 30.

Sidhu said he would ensure that the people of Mohali got the full benefit of all Centre funded schemes.

“My aim is to provide world class infrastructure and generate employment. Anurag Aggarwal, senior vice-president, Mohali Industries Association, said the Congress realised that the road to prosperity of a state was industrialisation and which was why the entire industry was in favour of the Congress. SS Sandhu, former president, Mohali Industries Association, endorsed his views.

Sidhu has also written to the Election Commission to declare a holiday in the tricity on January 30 as a large number of voters from Mohali had their place of work in Chandigarh and Panchkula. These people feared that their employers might not grant them leave to cast their vote as there were no elections in Chandigarh or Haryana.

Bollywood celebrity Dolly Bindra to campaign for Manav Mehra

Bollywood celebrity Dolly Bindra will campaign for BSP candidate Manav Mehra from January 23. Manav Mehra, a former cricket player, said, “Dolly is just like my sister. I asked her if she could come for sometime and she readily agreed.”

PPP candiate’s daughter-in-law campaigns

Nimrata, the daughter-in-law of PPP candidate Bir Devinder Singh, today campaigned in Phase VII here. She discussed various achievements of Bir Davinder Singh. She was accompanied by Surjeet Kaur, Balwinder Kaur, Harsh Kaur, Rasinder Kaur and Simran.

SAD candidate cashes in on development

The SAD candidate, Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, today said the Congress candidate was trying to cash in on the development undertaken by the SAD. Addressing residents of Saneta, Manadpur and Phase I (Khokha market ), Phase II, Phase V, Phase IIIB1, Phase IV, he explained plans of his party regarding the development of the region.

He said Congress candidate Balbir Singh Sidhu was trying to mislead the people by taking credit of different tasks which were actually not done by them but residents were competent enough to understand the reality. The SAD candidate talked about the development works in the region such as modern bus stand, construction of roads, promise of providing Kajouli water works to residents, condition of sewerage system and other different continuous works are some examples of tasks done by them.

Kharar: Tarlochan Singh Mann, president, Numberdar Union, Punjab, today lent his support to the Congress candidate from the Kharar Assembly constituency Jagmohan Singh Kang. Mann said people were aghast at the anti-people policies of the SAD-BJP government. Appealing to residents to vote in favour of Kang, he opined that the Congress was set to make a comeback in the state.

While addressing a gathering at Kharar, Kang said the SAD-BJP government instead of ushering in development of the state, had only unleashed a rein of terror against political opponents.

He said Punjab had been driven into the brink of bankruptcy due to faulty policies and programmes of the SAD-BJP combine, as the debt burden had crossed Rs 70,000 crore. Kang also addressed meetings at village Milkh, Masatgarh, Dhanoran, Togan, Tira, Sangalan, Bansepur, Saini Majra, Bhagat Majra, Palheri, Rurki Kham, Radiala, Rakoli and Sahoran.



ASI recruitment scam
Role of senior police officials under scanner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
With the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probing anomalies in the physical examination tests of the ASI recruitment scam of 2007, the role of senior police officials to the rank of DSPs has come under scanner.

The recruitments were already hanging fire ever since the paper leak scam broke in 2007.

A number of candidates have complained to the police that even those candidates were selected who failed to complete the race in the stipulated time.

These candidates include Labjit Kaur, Kamal Verma and Surinder. All irregularities were captured in the CCTV camera footage and came to light during an internal inquiry conducted by DSP CID Anil Joshi.

The CBI has seized these recruitments and the matter is being investigated by it.



Advocates’ strike hits work
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
With advocates going on a strike, hundreds of litigants had to face a harrowing time today. Lekh Raj Sharma, chairman, Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, said, “With the Centre’s Higher Education and Research Bill, 2011, the Union government wants to take away the power of Bar Council of India to regulate the legal education sector of the country. Therefore, on the call of the BCI, we have suspended the work,” he added.

Though a majority of litigants were aware of the strike, those who had reached the tricity’s court were shocked to learn about the strike.

Raj Kamal Mehta, a Sector-35 resident, said in the absence of his advocate, the court had deferred the hearing for March.

Similarly, Daya Nand, a resident of Barwala, who had come to the Panchkula court for the hearing of his land dispute with his cousin, said it was unacceptable on the part of lawyers. They should understand the problems of common people as well, he added.



Road Safety Week organised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
As part of the 23rd Road Safety Week-2012 being held in the city from January 17-23, the police today organised a cycle-rickshaw puller workshop at the Chandigarh Traffic Park in Sector 23 to make rickshaw pullers aware about road rules and regulations. About 200 cycle rickshaw pullers took part in the workshop. A total of 100 blankets and 200 reflectors were distributed to them.

Chandigarh Traffic Police also organised a Trauma Response Workshop for PCR and traffic police personnel at the auditorium of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sector 31. A team headed by Dr Raj Bahadur, Director GMCH, Sector 32, along with Dr Manpreet Singh, Dr Dheeraj Kapoor and Dr. Lokesh Anand from the department of anaesthesia and intensive care, Dr Rohit Jindal, assistant professor, department of orthopedics, and Dr Rajiv Sharma, professor, department of surgery, imparted practical training to the policemen.



Power corporation told to compensate complainant
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 20
The Mohali District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL) to recover the compensation amount and litigation charges from the salary of officials who failed to transfer for three years the electricity connection in the name of a Zirakpur resident.

The forum, headed by BS Mehandiratta, directed the PSPCL to transfer the electricity connection in the name of the complainant in a month’s time and also pay Rs 10,000 to him as compensation charges for the alleged harassment due to deficiency in service, apart from litigation costs (Rs 3,000). He also directed the PSPCL authorities to hold an inquiry into the complaint and inform the forum about the action taken in this regard within three months. Halinder Singh, a resident of Bishanpura village, falling under the Zirakpur municipal limits, told the forum that a three phase electricity connection bearing account No.RP/31/334 (commercial connection) was taken from the PSPCL in the name of his father Mehar Singh for running an ‘atta chakki’ in the village. The ‘atta chakki’ was being run by him to earn his livelihood.

In January, 2009, he applied for the transfer of connection from the name of his father to his own name and submitted the requisite file in the office of the power corporation. After checking the file, the officials concerned directed him to deposit the requisite fee of Rs 6,500 which he deposited vide receipt dated March 16, 2009, Ex.C-1. Officials of the corporation assured to effect the transfer within three months.

However, despite submission of duplicate files by him in July, 2009, December 2009, and on February 17, 2011, after getting to know that his file had reportedly got misplaced, the connection had not been transferred in his name so far. Officials of the PSPCL were allegedly harassing him with a view to extract money from him. Legal notice dated February 17, 2011, Ex.C-2 vide postal receipts Exs.C-3 & C-4 and its reminder dated March 28, 2011, Ex.C-5 vide postal receipts Exs.C-6 & C-7 was given to the power corporation, but without any result. The notices were duly received vide AD receipts Exs.C-8 & C-9.

Thus alleging deficiency of service and unfair trade practice on the part of the power corporation, the complainant had sought direction to them to transfer the connection in his name; to pay him compensation of Rs 20,000 for mental and physical harassment, Rs 15,000 as travelling expenses for various visits to the office of the PSPCL and litigation costs to the tune of Rs 11,000.

Notices through registered post issued to the power corporation on June 28, 2011, and December 2, 2011, were not received back.

After waiting for 30 days and drawing an inference of their due service, on their failure to put in appearance, the PSPCL was proceeded against ex-parte.



Man found hanging from tree
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 20
A 28-year-old man was found hanging from a tree near his house in Sector 12-A here today.

The deceased, identified as Udaiveer, was working as a security guard.

The police said Udaiveer was reeling under financial crunch. No suicide note was recovered from the spot. The police has sent the body for an autopsy.



tricity scan
Chandigarh scan
Half-day declared

Due to the Panchayat Samiti And Zila Parishad elections on January 21, 2012, all offices, boards, corporations, and institutions, under the Chandigarh Administration will observe the second half of the day as public holiday.

Rotary Club helps man get operated

Rotary Chandigarh Shivalik today announced that it has helped save the life of a person from the economically weaker sections of the society. Raj Kumar, a roadside vendor, used to sell fruits at the Patiala Railway Station. He is married and has two sons, both mentally challenged. He was diagnosed with a life-threatening tumour in his stomach as well as blockages in the three arteries of his heart. He was advised to have a triple by-pass surgery before the tumour could be surgically removed. Living in utter poverty, Raj Kumar had no money for the surgeries and was worried what would happen to his wife and his mentally challenged sons in case something happened to him.

Notice issued to shops

The enforcement wing of Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, has issued 118 notices to shopkeepers in the Plaza area of Sector 17 today for violating the provisions of the Advertisement Control Order. The notices have been sent under Section 5 of the Chandigarh Advertisement Control Order, 1954. The notices were issued for displaying advertisement in violation of the conditions mentioned in the Advertisement Control Order. This is in pursuance of the decision taken in a meeting held under the chairmanship of Advisor, UT, Chandigarh, where it was decided that the order would be strictly enforced in sector 17. The defaulters have been asked to remove the hoardings and advertisements within a period of seven days, failing which the same shall be removed at the cost of owner and the material and used would also be confiscated.

School timings to remain same

In continuation of the previous order, issued on Jan 9, the change of school timings will continue till 31st January 2012 due to due to the prevailing weather conditions. During this period, all the government schools will open at 8:30 am and the second shift of double shift schools will close at 5.00 pm. There will be no morning assembly in the government schools of UT, Chandigarh during these days.

Camp on environment protection

The Punjab Eco-friendly Association (PEFA) started a programme in the Student Centre at Panjab University, Chandigarh, to make students cautious about the need for protecting the environment. PEFA members told students that even small efforts, such as throwing garbage in dustbins, are not unimportant. Prof RC Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, appreciated the work started by PEFA. Prof AS Ahluwalia, Dean Students Welfare, promised that the university administration will also provide help in the programme. — Tribune Reporters



CGC Tech fest starts off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
A tech fests began at the Chandigarh Group Of Colleges, Gharuan campus, today where budding engineers from several renowned institutes, like the IIT and PEC, got a chance to show their prowess in areas such as technical innovation.

The IIT Ropar team of Kamaldeep Singh and Sumit Gaurav emerged winners in ‘Reverse Gear’, a software designing event, while Chintan Kaur and Surbhi Negi of PEC University, Chandigarh, walked away with Rs 10,000 prize money in ‘Project Presentation’ contest.

In the ‘Computer Aided Design (Mechanical Engineering)’ category, IIT Ropar’s Tejas Shah and Puneet Mahananda won the first prize.

More than 2,000 students from IITs, NITs, UBS, UIET, CCCET, Lovely Professional University, Jalandhar, CGC Landran and Gharuan and other leading colleges of the region showcased their skills in making robots, cars, circuits etc and won hefty cash prizes. Legendary marathon runner Fauja Singh was the guest of honor.



Principals, police officials meet on traffic issues
Bus operators were on strike saying they were being harassed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 20
A day after the strike by school bus operators, the Panchkula Public Schools Association (PPSA) organised a meeting of the school principals and the police at Satluj Public School, Sector 4, here today. Several complaints against high handed behaviour of police officials were received during an open house session.

The bus operators were vocal about the repeated challans issued to them for minor issues, even while the buses were plying to drop or pick students. The school principals also were of the opinion that traffic violations should be checked, but a rational way has to be found to achieve this end.

While the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Dheeraj Setia, assured of regular checking of school buses, he promised to minimise the inconvenience to the students or the school authorities.

Others who spoke on the occasion are PPSA president Pritam Singh Serai, Capt Sanjay Anand, and CL DAV High School principal Anjali Marriya.



Good response to ‘MBA Kaleidoscope’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
Students from the tricity made a beeline to participate in group discussions, interviews and attend workshops at GGDSD College. Students with over 90 percentile MAT score also participated in the event.

‘MBA Kaleidoscope’, a two-day management event, started with a good response. The event in itself offered a spectrum of activities, ranging from group discussions for B-schools to knowledge workshops.

Management institutes from across the country had set up their information desks to provide vital information to MBA aspirants regarding admission in their respective institutes. Students were seen thronging these stalls to know more about the institutes.

Aditya, a PEC student, said, “The workshop was an eye-opener. I have attended many sessions on communication in the past, but a workshop like this offered so many practical tips on communication.”

Some of the prominent MAT colleges that participated in the event included Indus Business Academy, Apeejay, New Delhi Institute of Management, IILM and Alliance. A few B-schools declared their results and close to 50 students got admission offers.

Hirdesh Madan, north head, a coaching centre, said, “Chandigarh has become the centre for MBA aspirants of the region. This is because of the consistently better results,” Madan said.



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