C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Day of judgement draws huge crowds
Mohali, Kharar and Dera Bassi constituencies record over 70 per cent polling
Tribune News Service

Poll staff carry the EVM back after voting at Dera Bassi on Monday.
Poll staff carry the EVM back after voting at Dera Bassi on Monday. A Tribune photograph

Mohali/Kharar/Dera Bassi, January 30
The otherwise dull and mainly featureless electioneering did not cast a spell on the electorate, which emerged in large numbers to vote today. The Assembly constituencies of Mohali, Kharar and Dera Bassi witnessed between 70 and 79 per cent polling.

Barring a few scuffles and heated arguments between supporters of the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), polling was peaceful. Mohali SSP GPS Bhullar said preventive action was taken in case of four brawls, two of which were reported from Kharar and one each from Mohali and Dera Bassi.

Though the percentage of polling in Mohali, Kharar and Dera Bassi was 70.62 per cent, 78 per cent and 79 per cent, respectively, there were reports of Gochar-Mirzapur villages in Kharar registering a record 96 per cent polling. A village in Mohali, Balyali, reported a record 92 per cent polling, said Amit Talwar, returning officer for Mohali.

Throughout the day, candidates found it difficult to move with their entourage from one polling booth to another. Police teams were seen following the candidates in the light of strict guidelines of the Election Commission.

The ‘henchmen’ brought by candidates for rigging were missing this time. At a polling booth in Matour, the daughter of the SAD candidate, Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, was told to leave the place after she was seen interacting with voters queuing up at the booth.

The police had to take preventive action when a SAD leader and a former sarpanch of Gobindgarh village exchanged fisticuffs with a supporter of the Congress. DSP DS Mann rushed to the spot to bring the situation under control.

In Kharar, supporters of the Congress candidate, Jagmohan Singh Kang, and of an Independent, Kamal Kishore, twice entered into argument over the latter entering polling booths in Kharar town.

At Lohgarh in Zirakpur, supporters of the SAD candidate, NK Sharma, allegedly bashed up a supporter of an Independent, Deepinder Dhillon, when the latter objected to their vehicle being parked close to a polling booth.

Sharma denied that the incident took place. A police official said a case under Sections 323, 341 and 188 (violation of DC’s orders) of the IPC was registered on the complaint of Jasbir Singh.

There were reports of some voters having voter identity cards, but not finding their names on the voter list. In rural areas, a large number of women turned up to cast their vote. In urban areas, many youths, including first-timers, cast their vote.

The SSP said 2,324 police officials on poll duty were deployed at the 581 booths in Mohali, Kharar and Dera Bassi. A total of 1,820 of the 2,500 police personnel on duty were attached with polling staff. A total of 46 micro-observers and 60 sector observers were deputed to ensure a free and fair poll.


n Jatinder Sharma of Landran died in a road accident at Sohana about half an hour after he voted

n PPP candidate Bir Devinder got an FIR registered against Mahesh Gupta, who allegedly demanded Rs 10,000 per vote for getting 100 votes polled in his favour

n To give last-minute tips to voters, party workers of the Congress and the SAD were seen giving demonstrations on dummy electronic voting machines

n Till 1 pm, polling in rural areas was less than 30 per cent

n Voters found the traditional poll din missing

n Party workers were seen ferrying voters to polling booths

n Kehar Singh, 114 years of age, was among the oldest to vote

n Enthusiasm among first-time and woman voters was visible across the constituencies

n Perhaps for the time, SAD deployed only women as agents at a polling booth, in Matour village



Voters go balle balle about EC norms
Tribune News Service

Woman voters stand in a queue at a polling booth near Ropar.
Woman voters stand in a queue at a polling booth near Ropar. Tribune photo: manoj mahajan

Girls who came to vote for the first time show their ID cards at Phase II in Mohali on Monday.
Girls who came to vote for the first time show their ID cards at Phase II in Mohali on Monday. Tribune photo: vicky gharu

A mother carries her children to a polling booth at Fatehgarh Sahib on Monday.
A mother carries her children to a polling booth at Fatehgarh Sahib on Monday. Tribune photo: pradeep tewari

A boy holds hand of old women who came to the polling booth to cast their vote at the government school in Dera Bassi on Monday.
A boy holds hand of old women who came to the polling booth to cast their vote at the government school in Dera Bassi on Monday. Tribune photo: nitin mittal

Mohali, January 30
Strict implementation of the guidelines of the Election Commission on the polling day in Mohali, Kharar and Dera Bassi Assembly segments not only resulted in nearly peaceful polling, it was also welcomed by the voters who were saved from the uncomfortable moments of being pestered by party workers outside the polling booths.

Often seeing outsiders and muscleman brought in by candidates to bully the voters, the “colourless” and drab mood outside the polling booths left the voters happy. Seeking more teeth for the Election Commission to regulate flow of liquor during elections, Ajmer Singh, a resident of Landhran, said the reforms must continue.

Not only the political parties and their candidates were tamed, but police officials too were scared of the action adopted by the Election Commission. Since constant watch was being kept on them by the central observers, the police officials this time seemed more serious in implementing the guidelines. To ensure that party workers do not gang up outside the polling booths, senior police officials and PCR vehicles were seen making regular public announcements for those gathered to disburse.

Rattan Singh, a 65 year-old resident of Siau village, said, “Most voters in the village were given their polling booth slips at their home. As a result, we did not have to approach the party workers outside the polling booths. Earlier, a voter on asking for a slip from a particular party was labelled as supporter of that party”.

Varun Roojam, District Election Officer, said special ‘voter facilitation centres’ had been set up by BLOs to assist the voters. The exercise of checking the names and other details was done by the BLOs, who had been provided with the photo electoral rolls. The party workers, positioned outside the polling booths, were given simple electoral rolls.

Further complicating the matter for the candidates, only two chairs and one table were allowed to the party workers outside the polling booths. Strict warning was given to the party leaders who tried to interact with voters queuing up outside the polling booths. Such incidents at Matour, Phase 3 B1 and some other places were strictly dealt with.



Physically challenged go dissatisfied
Tribune News Service

Physically chellanged Mohan Beer Singh, who could not get an obstruction-free access to the polling booth, in Phase 3B1, decided not to cast his vote in protest.
Physically chellanged Mohan Beer Singh, who could not get an obstruction-free access to the polling booth, in Phase 3B1, decided not to cast his vote in protest. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, January 30
Not all physically challenged persons were able to cast their votes. Mohanbeer Singh, a resident of Phase 3B1, decided not to cast his vote after he failed to find an obstruction-free access to the polling booth at Phase 3B1 Government Model Senior Secondary School. He urged the Election Commission to ensure that either obstruction-free access was made or wheelchairs were provided to the physically challenged persons.

In another incident, Bhura Khan, a visually challenged voter of Manauli village found it difficult to cast his vote. Ultimately, he was helped by some youths who took him to the polling booth. In another incident, Joginder Kaur, a resident of Phase 2, had to be brought on stretcher to the polling booth. In Landhran vilage, Ajmer Singh, a resident of Landhran village, could not be taken to cast his vote as he was paralysed below his waist. The presiding officer at Landhran polling booth allowed the son of Ajmer Singh to cast his vote under a special provision of the Election Law.

In most of the cases, the physically challanged persons demanded proper arrangements at the polling booths.



Heritage Status
Admn not to apply this year
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
While the UT Administration is busy framing rules and bylaws to preserve heritage items of the city, it is not applying for the prestigious heritage city status on the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) heritage list. The deadline for submitting the dossier to UNESO is January 31.

Sources in the Administration revealed that the Administration had not prepared its dossier, which was to be forwarded to the Archaeological Survey of India, the nodal agency for sending nominations to UNESCO for heritage status.

In 2008, 2009 and 2010, the Administration had tried for the status, but in 2011, it had not forwarded its dossier. Like the previous year, it was not sending its dossier this year as well.

A senior official said instead of sending a dossier, the Administration was putting in efforts to preserve heritage structures.

The Ministry of Home Affairs had approved the heritage report of the Administration. A committee would be constituted under the chairmanship of UT Adviser KK Sharma shortly.

The dossier, comprising all relevant documents, must reach UNESCO by January 31. The Le Corbusier Foundation in Paris had offered to assist the Administration in preparing a dossier for 2012, but to no avail.



Living in the past
GMCH scheme over, but termed ‘achievement’
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
In a major faux pas, the director-principal of the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, Dr Raj Bahadur, highlighted the implementation of the Rashtriya Surakash Bima Yojana (RSBY), a scheme to provide free medicines to beneficiaries, as a major achievement of 2011 in his Republic Day address on Thursday, even when the project was closed in September past year.

In a press note issued by the GMCH authorities, the successful implementation of the RSBY was highlighted a major achievement. The truth was that this scheme was implemented in 2009 and discontinued on September 30, 2011.

While officials with both the UT health department and the GMCH refused to comment, sources revealed that the scheme was implemented on the Punjab pattern, where ICICI Lombard had provided insurance cover.

Under the scheme, RSBY beneficiaries were entitled to free treatment, including medicines, up to Rs 30,000 on presentation of biometric smart card issued by the insurance company after paying Rs 30 for registration.

Officials, on the condition of anonymity, revealed that the scheme went on till September 30, with 305 patients availing themselves of the benefits from the hospital, but it was abruptly discontinued as the UT Administration decided to negotiate the deal directly with insurance companies rather than continuing with ICICI Lombard.

The Administration was supposed to invite fresh tenders and if insiders were to be believed, even four months after the scheme was discontinues, the process of inviting bids was yet to commence.

While the GMCH authorities were taking credit for the implementation of the scheme, the reality was that the Administration’s decision to invite fresh bids had led to the discontinuation of the service at other hospitals.

Those included the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, and the Civil Hospital, Mani Majra. According to the RSBY website, there were nearly 5,000 beneficiary families from the city enrolled under the scheme till it was discontinued in September, 2011. Subsequently, no registration had taken place.

A senior official with the Administration admitted that the delay was due to the fact that tendering had not been started. While Dr Raj Bahadur was not available for comment despite repeated attempts, he did not respond to the SMS sent to him. Other officials were also evasive on the issue.


Governor pays tributes to martyrs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
A wreath-laying ceremony was held at Chandigarh War Memorial to mark Martyrs’ Day today. Shivraj V Patil, Governor of Punjab and UT Administrator, and, Lt General SR Ghosh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, paid floral tributes at the war memorial.

Senior officers from the Western Command as well as functionaries from the Chandigarh Administration and veterans were present on the occasion. A two-minute silence in the memory of martyrs was also observed.

“For our tomorrow they sacrificed their today. We salute the martyrs and remember them with respect,” the Governor wrote in his remarks in the visitors’ book. “In remembrance of our gallant soldiers who gave their today for their fellow citizens’ tomorrow,” wrote Lt Gen Ghosh. Wreaths were also laid by veterans and civilian dignitaries. A candle-lighting ceremony was also organised at the war memorial in the evening to extend gratitude towards armed forces personnel and commemorate their sacrifices.

The 65th Martyrdom Day of Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was observed as Martyrs’ Day to pay homage to the martyrs. The Chandigarh War Memorial was dedicated to the nation by former President APJ Abdul Kalam on August 17, 2006 in memory of martyrs of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.



Information on CHB to be provided to allottees online
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
For the convenience of number of allottees, the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) is in process of developing a new website in which all the information related to allottees, allotments, account details and many other services of CHB will be just a click away.

Besides these facilities, the CHB has also decided to put online complaint system, RTI application submission and moreover the authorities will also fix time-bound system for providing these services to city residents.

In the website, the CHB authorities have decided that as soon as the people submitted application for any kind of service, the system would generate a unique number and with the help of this number the people could track down the status of their application as well.

Rajesh Jogpal, Chief Executive officer (CEO) of the Chandigarh Housing Board, said that they were aiming for the convenience of city residents. He added that at present a number of people had to come to the CHB office for their work but once the website became operational, everything would be done online.

He further added that they were also planning to deploy three-four computer operators in the office as well as helpers who would help out people who visited the office.



HUDA to put 88 commercial sites under hammer
Expect better response this time; auction on Feb23
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
After witnessing a lukewarm response in the last commercial auctions, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) is once again ready to put 88 commercial sites under hammer in Panchkula.

This time HUDA is auctioning shop-cum-offices (SCOs) booths, three-storey shops, double-storey shops and even two school sites. The auction will be held on February 23.

In the last auction, which was held in July 2011, HUDA was able to auction only nine sites against the 38 sites put up for auction. In that auction HUDA had got Rs 59 crore.

Sources revealed that at present, HUDA had not finalised the reserve price for the sites. Presently, file for the reserve price is pending with the accounts branch. Sources added that in the coming week, the rates would also be finalised.

A senior official of HUDA said that they had finalised the sites and reserved prices would be finalised soon. He added that they were hoping for a good response this time.

Suresh Aggarwal, president, Haryana State Property Dealers’ Welfare Association, said before finalising the reserve prices for the sites, the HUDA officials should conduct a market survey for the prevailing market price. He added that instead of HUDA’s policy the officials should fix the price either at par with the market price or below the market price otherwise there would be again lukewarm response for the auction. 



MC misses deadline on subcommittees
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
Though the issue of the constitution of subcommittees had rocked the last municipal corporation (MC) General House and it was decided that those would be constituted shortly, there had not been any movement despite the January 31 deadline.

Opposition councillors had objected to empowering the Mayor to constitute the 14 subcommittees, following which Union minister and local Member of Parliament Pawan Kumar Bansal had raised a point on the legitimacy of the subcommittees.

In the past 15 years, the UT Administration had not prescribed rules for constituting those, he had said. The MP had also asked Mayor Raj Bala Malik to correspond with the Administration to frame norms on subcommittees for the smooth functioning of the House in the future.

The resolution to empower the Mayor to constitute subcommittees was supported by nominated councillors and passed by the House unanimously. Congress councillor Pardeep Chhabra had stated that the subcommittees would be constituted by January 31.

Sources said the subcommittees were yet to be formed. A senior MC official said various development works were pending for the past three months and the delay in the formation of the subcommittees would further affect development as all issues were forwarded to the House through the subcommittees.

“The agenda items on development works are pending for three months. The code of conduct was in force, earlier due to SGPC elections and later due to MC elections. Even a month after the new House was formed, the works are yet to begin,” an MC official said.

BJP councillor Arun Sood said the Mayor had assured the House that the Opposition would be consulted before the constitution of the subcommittees, but nobody had consulted them.

“Section 46 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act clearly states that there are only three authorities in the MC; the first is the House, the second the Finance and Contract Committee and the third the Commissioner,” he said.

According to the Act, the Mayor was not an authority, he stated. Despite repeated attempts, the Mayor could not be contacted for comment.



60 shopkeepers challaned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
In a special anti-encroachment drive in the Sector 17 market, the enforcement department today issued 60 challans to shopkeepers for encroaching upon the government land.

During the drive, encroachments from the corridors of the market were removed. The drive was carried out under the supervision of Lalit Siwach, Additional Commissioner-II 



Punjab NCC directorate is 2nd runners-up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
Cadets of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh NCC Directorate have bagged the second runners-up position at the national-level Republic Day camp that concluded at New Delhi today.

The Contingent comprised 156 cadets, including 36 girls, drawn from this region. They had taken part in various competitions including drill, firing, best cadet, national integration, line and flag area maintenance, aero and ship modeling as well as other events and social activities. They will be felicitated at a special function scheduled to be held here tomorrow.



Leaving a legacy of valour and courage
Tribune News Service

Lt-Gen R.S. Dayal (1928 - 2012)
Lt-Gen R.S. Dayal (1928 - 2012)

Chandigarh, January 30
On the night of August 25-26 August, 1965, then Major Ranjit Singh Dayal, Second-in-Command of 1 Para, led an assault on Sank in Jammu and Kashmir, which was stalled by heavy enemy fire. Acting with courage and determination, Major Dayal managed to extricate his company intact and on the following night managed to capture Sank. He pursued the fleeing Pakistanis and captured Ledwali Gali by mid-morning on August 27, 1965.

Thereafter, marching at night through very difficult terrain, he took the enemy by surprise and in the morning of August 28, captured the strategically important Haji Pir Pass in the Pir Panjal mountains. In this operation, one Pakistani officer and 11 soldiers were taken prisoners. The next morning, Major Dayal deployed a platoon to capture yet another feature. When this platoon came under enemy fire, he launched a lightening attack with his two platoons as a result of which the enemy fled in utter confusion.

For these acts of gallantry, he was decorated with Maha Vir Chakra, the second highest award for bravery in the face of the enemy. The hero, who rose to the rank of Lieutenant -General and was later appointed the Lieutenant-Governor, may have marched into oblivion, but his legacy of valour will remain etched in the annals of military history.

The mortal remains of Lt-Gen Dayal, who breathed his last at the Command Hospital, Chandimandir, last evening, were cremated with full military honours here today. Wreaths were laid on his body on behalf of the Chief of the Army Staff by the GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lt Gen SR Ghosh. Wreaths were also laid on behalf of the GOC-in-C, Southern Command, GOC-in-C Army Training Command, Colonel of the Rajput Regiment and Colonel of the Parachute Regiment.

Lt-Gen Dayal was born on November 15, 1928. His father Sardar Bahadur Risaldar Ram Singh Dayal hailed from Tukar Bodhni village near Kurukshetra. He was commissioned into the Punjab Regiment (Para) and assigned to the first Battalion, which was then a part of 50 Independent Parachute Brigade and took part in the 1948 Indo-Pak War.

In 1957, he proceeded to serve for two years with the United Nations Emergency Force, Gaza (Egypt) to supervise the withdrawal of Israeli forces. On his return, he served with his battalion in the Arunachal Sector. A little after the operations to capture Haji Pir, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and commanded his battalion till 1968.

Subsequently, he commanded 70 Infantry Brigade, then based at Kuru in Ladakh that later came to be known for intense combat operations launched to evict Pakistani intruders from the Kargil sector in 1999. His also commanded 11 Infantry Division at Ahemdabad and 4 Corps at Tezepur, where he was involved in conducting counter insurgency operations.

From 1983-85, he was posted as the Chief of Staff, Western Command, where he was closely associated with the planning of Operation Bluestar, ordered by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to evict terrorists holed up in the Golden Temple. He was later elevated as the GOC-in-C, Southern Command, and retired in 1986.

After hanging up his boots, he was appointed Lieutenant Governor of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and then of Pudducherry. He also served a stint as a member of the Union Public Service Commission before finally settling down to a retired life in Panchkula, where he remained closely associated with regimental associations and ex-servicemen’s issues.



Tricity Scan

Students take part in a bicycle rally in Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Monday.
Students take part in a bicycle rally in Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Monday. Tribune photo: parvesh chauhan

Bicycle rally

Hindustan Petroleum, along with Yuvsatta, Peace Club of Government Model High School, Sector 22-D, New Public School, and Moti Ram Arya Senior Secondary School organised a bicycle rally from the Parade ground to Sukhna Lake. The rally was organised to promote the concept of green living and oil conservation, and to mark the Martyrdom Day, held on the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The event also marked the culmination of PCRA’s ‘Oil Conservation Fortnight’. The rally was flagged-off by Santosh Kumar, director, department of environment.

Around 200 students on bicycles, carrying placards to promote oil conservation participated in the event. Giving information about the initiative, MP Rane of Hindustan Petroleum said that during this fortnight the entire oil industry undertakes various kinds of activities to emphasize the need and importance of conservation of petroleum products.

The rally ended at the Sukhna Lake with a quiz on ‘Oil Conservation’. The winning students were honoured by Pramod Sharma, coordinator, Yuvsatta.

Draw of lots

The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) will hold final draw of lots for 160 flats in Sector 51 under the Self-Financing Housing Scheme of 2010. Last week the Punjab and Haryana High Court had allowed the CHB to hold the draw as the three petitions, which were filed against the draw, were withdrawn by the petitioners. The draw will be held at Bal Bhawan in Sector 23 on Tuesday at 11 am.

Water shortage

There will be no water supply from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm on Tuesday in some parts of Sectors 14 to 18, Sector 21-A, 22-A, 22-B, 23, 24, and 25 due to some urgent work. Residents of theses areas are requested to store water as per requirement well in advance.

Poultry course

A course in poultry, organised in collaboration with the Central Poultry Development Organisation, was concluded at the model jail. The six-day course covered rearing, maintenance, marketing etc in the field of small-scale poultry. The training was imparted in four batches, with each batch consisting of 25 inmates. At the valedictory function, certificates and a stipend of Rs 600 was given to the participant after successful completion of the course.

Projects inaugurated

Mayor Raj Bala inaugurated different projects, including a traffic park, a herbal garden, and a kitchen garden, in Government Middle School, Sector 46-D. Ram Singh Sandhu, headmaster, said that such projects aided in the overall development of students.

CHB to draw lots

Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) will hold the final draw of lots for 160 flats in Sector 51 under the Self-Financing Housing Scheme of 2010. Last week, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had allowed the CHB to hold the draw after the three petitions against the draw were withdrawn. The draw will be held at Bal Bhawan in Sector 23 on Tuesday at 11:00 am.

Roll numbers dispatched

Panjab University will be holding the entrance test for admission to MD/MS course for Government Medical College and Hospital on February 5. Roll numbers have been dispatched to all the candidates by registered post. Students who do not receive their admit cards can get a duplicate one issued on February 3 from CET Cell, Aruna Ranjit Chandra Hall (near Post Office), Panjab University.

Recitation competition

Nursery students of The British School, Panchkula, took part in an Inter-house Rhyme Recitation Competition. The first prize was bagged by Vandita Mehta, the second position was taken by Bhavyaveer Chaudhary, while Avnee Singh secured the third place.

General body meeting

The annual general body meeting of Punjabi Welfare Sabha was held at Gurudwara Sri Singh Sabha. Shadi Lal Kapur, Special Secretary to Chief Minister, Haryana, was the chief guest. The meeting was presided over by RK Kakkar, chairman, Punjabi Sabha.

Seminar on environment

‘Nature's Glory’, the eco-club of St. Stephen's School, Togan, in partnership with Rotary Club Chandigarh’s ‘Indra-Danush’, conducted a seminar on ‘Environment & Education for Sustainable Development’, a press release said here on Monday. Shruti Shukla, environment officer, PSEB, Mohali, briefed the school children about the processes involved in the segregation of waste, ways to reduce and recycle waste, and how to conserve and use the available resources judiciously. — TNS



E-classrooms to become a reality soon
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
In another decision taken as part of the ambitious e-learning project of the UT’s higher education department, teachers in colleges are soon going to be allotted personal laptops. The e-learning project aims at replacing the ‘chalk and blackboard’ mode of teaching with hi-tech e-learning.

The department is in the process of collecting data regarding teachers in all the colleges to provide them with laptops. Around 40 teachers in each college have already been given laptops in the first phase of the project.

DK Tiwari, director, higher education, said that the colleges have been asked to submit a report on the strength of teachers and the requirement of laptops. “A database of the requirements would be scrutinised, based on which the teachers would be equipped with the laptops,” Tiwari said, and added that a provision for upgrading the technology would be made in the next budget. “The colleges are providing the list of teachers based on which a plan is being prepared,” he said.

The e-learning project is the first major programme of ‘Vision 2020’ to have materialised. It has been planned that within a span of five years, the entire higher education in government colleges would go hi-tech, following the pattern of western universities. Not only will the classrooms be transformed through the use of Integrated Communication Technologies (ICT), but the students will start having e-classes.

Fifteen rooms in each college have already been converted into smart-classrooms. Officials said that teachers would soon be preparing e-content for their subjects and would shift from the usual blackboards to ICT-enabled classrooms. 



It’s jan 31, School seats remain vacant
Conversion to general category barred; both schools and Admn adamant on RTE

Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
The extended UT deadline of January 31 has failed to change the fate of around 2,000 seats reserved in private schools for poor and disadvantaged children under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, which continue to lie vacant. The UT Administration, in its recent order, had not only extended the deadline for applying for those seats, but also ruled out the neighbourhood criteria, mandated in the Act, allowing Chandigarh students to apply in any school they desired, irrespective of their specific address.

The move failed to attract any takers as a majority of schools had only got between five and 10 applications for 50-odd seats. The vacant seats, coupled with schools’ denial to admission without a notified reimbursement plan, might mark the end of the year-long muddled efforts, but the UT was still confident of setting things right.

“There is no concept of a deadline. If they have no applicants, we will get students to fill the seats in February. There is nothing to panic about,” said Education Secretary VK Singh. The ‘optimism’ shocked schools, which refused to entertain any applications after January 31.

“If they can get children in February, they should fill their government schools, which still have over 40 per cent seats vacant. We will not entertain any application after tomorrow. We will not admit any student till the UT clarifies on how much money we will get per child,” said HS Mamik, president of the Independent School Association.

“The UT has messed up on every front, be it child mapping, reimbursement or conversion of seats, and continues to fool around by extending the deadline. For us, the matter of RTE implementation halts here till the UT makes a move on reimbursement. We are in the dock as conversion is not allowed. We will not get any student in the general category for our vacant seats after February,” he added.

The situation left students in the general category stranded. Despite the availability of seats, they could not even apply as UT has barred all schools from conversion of RTE seats into general ones till further orders, expected after February 15.

“A total of 3,500 students could not get admission to schools of their choice and many went without admission. The UT chose to keep seats vacant. Our children lost the right to education because schools and the UT failed to reach a consensus,” said the president of a Sector-26 parent-teacher association.



Education to be computerised in govt schools
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
Going by the latest plans of the UT education department, 2012 will mark a renaissance in government school education which will be completely computerised.

Following encouraging feedback from its pilot project running in sector 33-government school, the education department will be installing a special software in government schools which will not only get data like the total number of students, teachers, admissions and infrastructure online, but will also monitor and update parents about their child’s attendance, homework status, comments from teachers etc.

“ Chandigarhalready fares highly on the national education map, and it is time to go a step ahead. The main highlight of this year’s education budget is the computerisation of government schools, where education and interaction will become hi-tech. It will include a variety of features, ranging from SMS alerts to online monitoring and evaluation by parents,” said Education Secretary VK singh.

According to the project, all schools will be connected through a uniform software where the entire information of schools will be uploaded as per the CBSE guidelines. What will come as an added feature is a special an interaction program for parents who would be able to monitor their wards online. Teachers and parents will be given special training for this.

The software may even substitute Parent-Teacher meetings. The system is already on in government school 33 and has received positive response.



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