C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


100 pvt schools face closure
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, February 20
Nearly 100 private schools are likely to close down voluntarily in the district from the next academic session for failing to meet the norms and standards specified under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act.

Besides the official data on schools facing closure, a number of schools “themselves” have communicated to the board that they will close down, in the forthcoming academic session, as the

RTE would make their school project “financially unviable”.

Such schools, which are mostly located in villages, were engaged in the process of giving declarations to the District Education Officer in this regard.

The declarations were being received after show-cause notices were issued to 274 institutions that had failed to submit self-declaration forms regarding the implementation of the right to education to the district education authorities.

The schools had earlier been asked to furnish details regarding the strength of students , teachers, area of the school, area of the constructed portion, facilities being provided to students, etc. The last date to submit such information was January 11. The government had issued a notification in this regard on October 12 last year after which three-month time was given to the schools to submit the required information.

However, only 120 schools had submitted the self-declaration forms by January 11. There are 394 private unaided schools in the district.

Under the rules, any private unaided school imparting education at the pre-primary, primary or upper primary levels need to submit the form for getting recognition from the education officer of the district concerned.

District Education Officer Narinder Singh said unemployed persons were running schools in two or three rooms in some villages. As they would not be able to fulfil the norms laid down under the Act, they had preferred to close down the schools. Declarations from them were being received and it was estimated that about 100 schools were likely to go in for closure.

He said replies were now coming in from those schools which had earlier failed to provide the self-declaration forms.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, had come into force from April 1, 2010, and is to be fully implemented by March 31, 2013. The aim is to give basic education to all children falling in the age group of six to 14 years.

RTE Act makes them financially unviable

Besides the official data on schools facing closure, a number of schools “themselves” have communicated to the education board that they will close down in the forthcoming academic session as the RTE would make their school project “financially unviable”. Such schools, which are mostly located in villages, were engaged in the process of giving declarations to the District Education Officer in this regard



PGI violates spirit of Right to Information Act
Makes it mandatory for all applicants seeking response from the institute to provide identity details
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
Virtually killing the spirit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the region’s premier hospital, the PGI, has made it mandatory for all applicants seeking response from the institute to provide “proof of citizenship” by giving details of either their PAN or voter card or passport.

The requirement is not only a violation of the RTI Act (Section 6 (2)) but also the recent directive of the Central Information Commissioner debarring organisations from seeking identity details of the applicant.

The RTI application form of the PGI, Chandigarh, (the copy of which is in possession of Chandigarh Tribune and is also available at the institute’s website) requires an applicant to give details of any of the one four identification cards - voter, ration, PAN card or passport. The applicant has to also attach a copy of any of the identification cards and the form clearly states that the institute can refuse to supply information in case the information provided is incorrect.

Significantly, the “undertaking” in the application form also states that the information sought would only be used for “personal purposes” only. It further states “I assure and confirm that under any circumstances, I shall not (allow/cause) use/pass on/share/ display/keep/circulate the information received with any person or in any manner which would be detrimental to/against the interest of India”.

Terming the requirement as a “perfect remedy to kill the RTI”, activist Hemant Goswami, said Section 6 (2) of the RTI Act, clearly states that an applicant-making request for information shall not be required to give any reason for requesting the information or any other personal details except those that may be necessary for contacting him.

Significantly, recently the Central Information Commissioner, Annapurna Dixit, ruled that “there is no provision in the RTI Act to seek identification of a citizen who seeks information from any public authority”. She further stated that any effort to seek such identification would be construed by the Commission as deemed denial to provide information. The ruling of the CIC came in case pertaining to a complaint filed by M Rangarajan of Bangalore.

PPS Gill, former member of the Punjab Information Commission, said as per the Act, no prescribed form is required to be filled by an applicant seeking information under the RTI.

Punjab’s Chief Information Commissioner Ramesh Inder Singh also said that personal information of an applicant cannot be sought by any organisation.

HC Arora, a lawyer in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and president of the RTI Activists Federation Punjab, said the PGI was working against the “spirit of the act” and the recent CIC ruling was abundantly clear on the matter.

PGI spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar feigned ignorance on the matter, but maintained that the information was “necessary” for applicant’s identification.



Experts share experiences in clinical research
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
The 30th National Workshop on Clinical Pharmacology, being organised by the Department of Pharmacology, PGI, began today. The aim of this workshop is to provide an overview of the scientific, ethical and legal conduct of clinical research.

Prof A Chakrabarti, Head of Pharmacology Department, stressed the importance of trained and experienced clinical pharmacologists in the development of standards pertaining to scientific, ethical and legal aspects of conducting clinical trials in the present Indian scenario.

Nearly 70 delegates, including faculty members and postgraduate students, from all over India are participating in this workshop.

Dr Shibadas Biswal from Novartis elaborated his experiences in investigational new drug (IND) application submission to the regularity agencies like DCGI in India and the FDA in the US. He discussed the contents of an IND application which is submitted to the regulatory agencies.

He stressed the importance of conducting and evaluating preclinical (animal studies) data before introducing the drug in humans. Such data should include pharmaceutical formulation development, general and specific pharmacological action of the new molecular entity, non-clinical safety. He also discussed the roles of individuals involved from multiple disciplines in the whole process.



Road mishap  near IT Park
Even after 24 hrs, police fails to file FIR
Claims victims unfit to give statement
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
In what appears to be an attempt to “save” UT assistant estate officer Rahul Gupta, the UT police has failed to file an FIR even 24 hours after impounding his car for ramming into a motorcycle and leaving three persons seriously injured.

Taking the plea that the trio, admitted to the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, is unfit to give any statement, the police is yet to register a case.

“We have not registered any case as the three victims have not given any statement and given us in writing that they are not fit enough to do so. We have got Gupta’s car and will proceed on the issue once the victims are ready to talk,” said an investigating official.

This is in contrast to the fact that the victims did talk to Tribune correspondents last night and even this afternoon, as one of them claimed, “What is there to say? The police saw everything. When they reached spot, everybody, including the person who was driving the vehicle, was present there. We were brought to hospital and after that, nobody came to visit us the entire night or morning. They came to us in afternoon, but all that they asked was Aage Kya Karna hai? We have not denied any statement.”

Interestingly, the police has been changing its statements. Last night while onlookers claimed that it was Rahul who was driving the vehicle, the police claimed to have nabbed a driver whose name and whereabouts it refused to reveal.

While the entire night it insisted on being busy clicking pictures of this driver for investigation, the investigating officer said no driver had been caught and Rahul was allowed to leave because victims didn’t say anything.

“We have the car and registered DDR, but detaining somebody is out of question till victims file an FIR. No driver was caught and we are not trying to save anybody,” added the officer.



4-year-old girl crushed to death by Tata Safari
Was crossing road alone to buy chocolate
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
Ashok Kumar, a resident of Sector 38-A here, had never thought that letting his four-year-old daughter Ghena go alone to buy a chocolate would cost her her life.

A speeding Tata Safari (PB-65G-1919) hit the child while she was crossing the road on her way to the shop.

Though the vehicle fled from the spot, onlookers claimed that there were two boys in it and the driver appeared to be in mid-twenties.“The car hit the victim from behind and initially, she was hit by the bumper guard. She landed on the bumper and eventually was crushed under the tyres, but the boys didn’t care to even stop and look. We immediately informed her parents, who live across the road,” an eyewitness Mukesh told the police.

Ghena was taken to a private hospital nearby, from where she was taken to the GMSH, Sector 16, and eventually referred to the PGIMER, where she was declared brought dead.

A case under Sections 279, 337, 304-A of the IPC was registered. The police, meanwhile, claimed to be close to getting hold of the boys in the vehicle. “It is just a matter of time before we nab the culprits. We have the car’s number and many eyewitnesses who can identify the driver,” said the investigating officer.


Blame game over caved-in sewer line
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 20
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has blamed the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board (PWSSB) for the collapse of a sewer line at the Kumbra traffic junction here.

Directing the PWSSB to repair the damaged sewer line at the earliest, GMADA has pointed out that the sewer line did not cave in due to digging for the laying of underground power cables but the connection of the sewer line with a storm water pipe after the sewer line was blocked.

A water supply line passing over the sewer line started leaking and this resulted in the caving in of the earth beneath it. Further, the Public Health Department instead of repairing the caved-in portion had left the trench as such in the mid of the busy road.

“As the caved-in portion has been covered with mild steel railings, the effective width of the road has been drastically reduced. There have been several instances when motorists have been caught unawares while crossing the lights,” said Arunjeev Singh, a resident of Sector 70.

On the other hand, the public health officials blame the GMADA for the delay in the repairs of the caved-in section. In the blame game, it is the residents who are being put to harassment.

The GMADA official further pointed out that the power cable was being laid 20 feet beneath the surface and it was away from the alignment of the sewer line. The busy road connects Chandigarh and Mohali with Patiala and Fatehgarh districts.



Panel for action against DSP
Says he misled commission while probing CTU ex-conductor’s death
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 20
In a four-year-old death of Roshan Ali, a former conductor of the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU), who was found dead in a pond in Tripadi, Kharar, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission has held a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Raj Balwinder Singh Marad, previously posted at Kharar, guilty of misleading the commission while probing the matter.

The widow of the deceased, Harpal Kaur, had approached the commission alleging that the police was hand in glove with the accused in the case. On January 18, 2008, Roshan Ali’s body was found floating in the pond.

She had pointed out that after her husband’s death, the police termed the incident as a routine death, whereas the viscera report pointed out that the death had occurred due to the presence of chloro compound in the liquor consumed by him. She said her husband was made to drink liquor laced with poison. She alleged that the police was trying to hush up the matter.

“The victim, who was close to certain senior Congress leader was done to death to hush up some facts,” she claimed.

While ordering registration of an FIR against suspects, Seeta Ram, Rakesh and others, the commission observed that the DSP misled it by stating that poison may had been detected due to heavy intake of liquor by the deceased whereas no liquor was detected in his viscera. The deceased had died of drowning and poisoning. Further, the injuries on the body of the deceased were not due to falling in shrubs, as stated by the DSP. The DSP had given a clean chit to the suspects.

The commission, after going through the contents of the case, observed that the death was due to cardio respiratory arrest subsequent to drowning and choloro compound poisoning. The commission has directed the ADGP (crime) to initiate departmental action against the DSP.



Power bill-collection centre demanded at Zirakpur town
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, February 20
In the absence of an electricity bill-collection centre at Zirakpur, the residents have to travel a long distance to deposit their bills at the Electricity Department office at Pabhat village.

The residents have demanded the setting up of another bill-collection centre in Zirakpur only. They said the Electricity Department had shifted its office near the Pabhat grid station last year.

They used to deposit their bills in cooperative banks in Zirakpur but in case the bill amount is above Rs 5,000, they have to go to the Pabhat office to deposit the bill. They also alleged that a shortage of staff and heavy rush at the bank counters forced them to go to the main office at Pabhat.

Last year, the department had planned to set up two automatic electronic bill-payment machines at Zirakpur and Dhakoli but the project was still in the files of the department. According to sources in the department, the search for a site has ended and the machines would be installed soon.

“It is a difficult task to deposit bills at cooperative banks due to heavy rush of consumers there,” says Shiv Kumar, a resident of Baltana. He said the residents of the area were avoiding visiting the main office as the office was too far. The department should install automatic electronic bill-payment machines or set up another office at the nearby place.

An official of the department stated the department was planning to open a new commercial subdivision office in Zirakpur at an approachable place where they can deposit their bills. For other complaints, they have to approach the Pabhat office, the official added.



Unhygienic conditions at Zirakpur meat shops 
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, February 20
As there is no slaughterhouse, meat is being sold in Zirakpur in unhygienic conditions.

Residents said meat was being sold at hygienic outlets. They alleged that the Zirakpur Municipal Council and the Health Department had failed to check the menace.

They have complained to the authorities many times but nothing has been done so far. The residents have demanded that the council should inspect the shops and instruct the shopkeepers to maintain hygiene in their shops.

However, the proposal to set up a slaughter house in Zirakpur is still pending as the council has failed to find a piece of land for it.

A visit to the area revealed that animals were being slaughtered by shopkeepers in meat shops amid unhygienic conditions.

An official of the Zirakpur Municipal Council stated that it was a serious matter and he would ask the inspector of the department concerned to visit the shops and instruct them to maintain hygiene. 



Fervour marks Mahashivratri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
Mahashivratri was celebrated with fervour in and around the city today. Thousands of devotees thronged various temples to worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

The Lakshmi Narayan temple at Sector 20 and the Shiv Khera Temple at Sector 28 witnessed the maximum number of devotees. All temples were beautifully decorated with lights and flowers.

Devotees started thronging temples in the wee hours. Serpentine queues were seen outside all temples. People had to wait for their turn for as long as three hours.

A large quantity of banana, along with ‘kesar’ milk, was distributed as ‘prasad’ among devotees at temples in the city. Vendors outside temples and at stalls selling ‘ber’, banana and other fruits did brisk business.

Banana was being sold for between Rs 60 and Rs 70 per dozen, compared to the prevailing rate of Rs 50. ‘Ber’ cost between Rs 60 and 70 per kg, compared to the current rate of between Rs 40 and Rs 50.

Many social organisations organised ‘langar’, distributing sweetened milk, ‘chhole-poori’ and other eatables, on the main roads in various sectors.



Around 2.7 lakh devotees throng Saketri temple
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 20
An estimated 2.7 lakh devotees from all over the region gathered at the Saketri temple here to pay obeisance on the occasion of Mahashivratri today.

Devotees started queuing up at Saketri from 9 pm past evening and kept coming till this evening. Doors of the ancient temple were thrown open at midnight.

From midnight, devotees poured in to offer milk and fruit to the deity. People chanted ‘Bam Bam Bhole’, ‘Har Har Mahadev’ and ‘Om Namah Shivay’.

Special arrangements for ‘kanwarias’ were made at the temple and queues stretched long on to roads. A ‘langar’ was organised by the Nav Durga Charitable Trust and other welfare organisations.

The trust president for Saketri, Madan Lal Sharma, said they made adequate arrangements for the Mahashivratri fair. He added that devotees offered around 35,000 litres of milk at the temple for the festival.

As per tradition, different types of ‘rudrabhishek’, ‘bhasmabhishek’ and ‘chatuperhari lingarchan’ were performed. ‘Ber’ weighing about 4,000 kg were offered on the occasion, he added.

The Panchkula police made elaborate security arrangements. A number of ‘nakas’ were set up at various points on the way to the temple. A special counter for making announcements was put up.

All along the way, small shops were set up, offering varied wares, including posters, trinkets and household items. Residents of Saketri village set up kiosks along the route, where milk and fruit were being sold.

Fruit prices rose because of the festival. ‘Ber’ was being sold for between Rs 30 and Rs 40 a kg, guava for Rs 30 a kg and banana for between Rs 60 and Rs 80 per dozen.

Mohali: Mahashivratri was celebrated with fervour in temples here on Monday. Thousands of devotees thronged Shiva temples at Phases I, IV and V to worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

The maximum rush was witnessed at the Phase-I Pracheen Shiv Mandir. There was a huge rush at the temples in Phases VII, X and XI and Sectors 68, 69 and 71.

Devotees sang hymns and devotional songs at various temples. There was a rush of devotees eating and serving at langars’.



Go ahead, says Admn
Finally, vacant civic body posts to be filled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
The UT Administration has given the green signal to the municipal corporation (MC) authorities to fill the 650 posts which have been lying vacant for a long time.

After directions from UT Administrator Shivraj Patil, in April past year to fill the vacant posts, the MC authorities had sent a proposal to the Administration for approval.

Confirming the development, Adviser to Administrator KK Sharma said approval for the posts sanctioned would be sent to the MC by next week, after which it could start the process of recruitment.

He said no decision on the proposal of fresh recruitment of 4,000 employees for various departments of the MC had been taken so far as the case had been forwarded to the Union ministry for concurrence.

There were 330 posts vacant in the in the public health department, 350 in the buildings and roads department, 431 in the medical health officer department, 72 in the fire and emergency services department and 97 in the Mani Majra division.

During the previous budget report, the then MC Commissioner had informed the House that the MC authorities had cut the annual budget as they did not have the capacity to spend more than Rs 100 crore a year due to acute staff shortage.

Regular vacancies in all departments had been casting a shadow on the pace of development. In recent meetings with the MC Commissioner, department heads had said many works could not be completed on time due to this.



Excise chairman assures to remove pay anomaly

Chandigarh, February 20
The chairman of the Central Board of Excise and Customs, SK Goel said that the department was looking into the grievances of Central Excise officers on priority and assured a deputation that the grade pay anomaly would soon be removed, besides creating a strong staff grievances redressal mechanism for the future.

Goel was responding to the demands of the All India Association of Central Excise Gazetted Executive Officers, Chandigarh Zone, whose representatives met the chairman during his visit to Punjab.

Led by AK Sharma, president and Boota Singh, general secretary of the association, the deputation apprised Goel about the demands of superintendents of the central excise. He assured the deputation that the cadre restructuring, as demanded by them would be completed within a month.

Other demands like need for adequate infrastructure were also discussed and the chairman directed the Chief Commissioner (Chandigarh zone) and Commissioner of the Central Excise, Ludhiana to do the needful at the earliest.— TNS



Nothing new in proposed budget
Plan head up by Rs 9 crore, non-Plan expenditure increased by Rs 100 crore
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
The municipal corporation (MC) has no major project to offer for the city in the proposed budget for the next fiscal year. There is a mere increase of Rs 9 crore under the Plan head.

Residents will have to face inconvenience in terms of mismanaged parking and collapsed sanitation services. Expenditure under the non-Plan head has been increased by Rs 100 crore. The main focus of the authorities will be on salary, perks and facilities for employees.

In the proposed budget statement, the authorities have drafted a proposal of Rs 780 crore. Under the Plan head, the proposed budget is Rs 435 crore, down from Rs 429 crore past year. Under the non-Plan head, the proposed budget is Rs 345 crore, up from Rs 233 crore during the previous financial year.

Like the previous four years, the proposed budget statement this year ends with the promise of providing a multi-level parking at Sector 17, commencing phases 7 and 8 of the Kajauli waterworks, adding roads and infrastructure, making the Circus Ground at Sector 17 an exhibition ground and constructing an overbridge from the KC to the Taj at Sector 17, marriage palaces, schools and civil dispensaries.

The proposed budget statement will be tabled in the Finance and Contract Committee meeting scheduled for February 23. Mayor Raj Bala Malik has convened an all-party pre-house meeting for February 22 to discuss the budget.

Committee member Subhash Chawla has said he will take up the matter in the meeting and propose an increase in the Plan budget as a number of projects are still in the pipeline.

All the new projects which were approved in the previous budget are still hanging fire. Those include a traders bhavan, underpasses at Sectors 8, 17 and 35, free ambulances at 10 prominent places and an international-level stadium.

In the proposed budget, the education department has demanded Rs 22 crore for the construction of nine new schools in the current financial year.

Past year, Rs 19 crore was approved by the House for the construction of six primary schools, but till date, the construction of not a single school had started.

In this budget, the authorities have earmarked Rs 23 crore under the health head. In the previous budget, Rs 16 crore was approved for the renovation of 17 civil dispensaries and the construction of a 100-bed maternity hospital at Maloya.

The budget under the parking, road and infrastructure head has been increased from Rs 96 crore to Rs 108 crore, but besides the construction of a multi-level in Sector 17, the authorities have not revealed plans of any other parking site.

Clearance for phases 7 and 8 of the Kajauli waterworks is yet to be received from the Centre, but the authorities have earmarked Rs 50 crore. This amount was Rs 66 crore in the previous budget.



2 projects on bedsore awareness started
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
“Bedridden people face a major problem of bedsores. This state can be prevented if early signs are noticed and catered to in time,” PGI experts have said.

In order to create awareness, two projects have been started under the guidance of Dr Sukhpal Kaur, lecturer, department of NINE, PGI, and Dr Amarjeet Singh, professor, school of public health, PGI. The projects have been started with financial support of ICMR, New Delhi, and DST-TIE.

The project team visits bedridden patients and their caregivers selected for the project to prevent and treat bedsores. They also provide telephonic counselling as per need.

Till now, 50 patients have been recruited from the tricity. Many patients have shown recovery. “We have come across various bedsore management modalities, like use of vinegar, ‘til’ oil, paraffin wax, gelusil and oxygen,” doctors have said.

To spread awareness about this project, PGI doctors have put up posters displaying information at various government hospitals.

A new development is the interest shown by Rotary International, Chandigarh, to extend support. PGI doctors have said those interested or their families can contact the project team on phone numbers 8872016108 and 0172-2745500.



State govt no to Haryana Police proposal
In pilot project, had planned to outsource services of police control room and emergency number 100 for ‘positive image building’
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 20
The Haryana Police proposal to outsource the services of police control room and emergency response number (100) for “positive image building” has been rejected by the state government.

The Haryana Police had planned to start this pilot project from the state police headquarters in Panchkula and district police headquarters of the Panchkula police.

Sources said due to technical and financial reasons, the Haryana Government had turned down the proposal. Besides, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had also not sanctioned Rs 30 crore for the Haryana Police modernisation till now. Outsourcing the services of control room was also the key part of police modernisation.

After drawing flak from residents about the police control room not attending to phone calls, the Haryana Police had put this proposal before the state government in February 2011.

As per the proposal, the state police had planned to tie up with a private agency in order to streamline the control room functioning and put an end to such complaints. They were of the view that employees of such an agency would perform a better job of passing information to the nearest police station or PCR vehicles patrolling the streets.

Besides, they would deal with public in a polite manner.

The Panchkula police was receiving complaints from city residents that whenever they dialled 100, PCR personnel either did not attend to the call or failed to pass on the message to the patrolling PCR vehicles. There were allegations of verbal misbehaviour by those manning the control room as well.

Besides, the senior officers of the Panchkula police had also found that the voice logger installed in the control room for recording the voices of callers, was defunct. Sources added that the employees posted at control room themselves made voice logger useless to hide their mistakes.

Another problem the Panchkula police department is facing is that whenever any person in distress calls up the control room in Panchkula through a landline or mobile phone, it connects to either the police control room in Chandigarh or that in Zirakpur, Punjab.

A senior officer of the Haryana Police said that though the proposal had been rejected for the time being, the department was in the process to remove the deficiencies in the proposal and forward it again.



kingfisher crisis
Airlines hike fares by 15-20 pc
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
In view of a majority of flights of the Kingfisher airlines being cancelled across the country, commuters are now looking at other airlines to book their tickets.

In the wake of the cancellation of the cash-strapped Kingfisher flights, all the airlines operating domestic flights in Chandigarh have their hands full. With most flights taking off packed to capacity and the demand for tickets pouring in, the airlines have also hiked fares by 15 or 20 per cent across most domestic sectors.

One-way tickets to metros like Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore are now available across the counter between Rs 8,900 and Rs 12,339 for February 21. The soaring prices have not only burnt a hole in the pockets of frequent travellers, but also upset the budget of many who had planned visiting tourist destinations.

“There are many clients who have booked their tickets with the Kingfisher airlines in advance. Now, they seemed to be worried a lot about the departure of the flight from the city in view of the financial crunch being faced by the airlines who has allegedly not been able to pay the salary of its staff,” an agent said.

A senior official of the national airlines said it was their policy not to manipulate fares whenever there was a crisis with some other airlines or during the festival season. He said there was no change in the rates once these were displayed. He claimed that the private operators blocked economy class seats in order to make a fast money during the festival season.

The hike in the international prices of the fuel is likely to affect the rates in the airlines fares. An expert on the civil aviation said that the airlines, which were already facing a financial crunch, are likely to increase the fares by about 15 to 20 per cent. However, due to a stiff competition it would be difficult for the flight operators in the country to increase the fares of the Executive or economy class, he added. 



2 Mohali residents hurt as car rams into tree
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 20
Two youngsters were seriously injured when the car in which they were travelling rammed into a tree near Silvy Park in Phase X here late last night. The vehicle rolled twice before coming to a halt.

Both the youngsters, Jaskaran Singh, a resident of phase IX, and Mandeep Singh, a resident of phase I, have been admitted to the Fortis hospital and are stated to be in a serious condition.

Head constable Gurnam Singh said both the injured were returning after attending a birthday party at phase 11 when their Skoda car hit the tree while try were trying to save a rickshaw-puller.

After hitting the tree, the car somersaulted twice and landed with a thud on the ground. Jaskaran, who was driving the car, sustained injuries on the head and the eyes.

The vehicle was badly damaged in the mishap.



Close shave for driver of Swift car
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, February 20
Mohit Garg, a resident of Sector 45, Chandigarh, had a miraculous escape when he lost control over his Swift car and it rammed into the railing of the Zirakpur flyover on Monday.

A police official stated that the incident took place around 8 pm when Mohit was moving towards Dera Bassi from Chandigarh. When he reached near the sharp turn of the flyover he lost control over the vehicle and the car rammed into the railing. A passerby immediately informed the police about the accident and took Mohit to the Dera Bassi Civil Hospital.

The police said according to the eyewitnesses, the car was moving at a high speed. “We have informed Mohit’s family about the incident and started further investigations,” the official added.



Constable succumbs to burn injuries
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 20
Punjab Police constable Hardeep Singh succumbed to his burn injuries at the PGI, Chandigarh, today. Hardeep Singh, along with another constable Multan Singh, was posted in the security of former DGP, Punjab. Multan Singh is still admitted in the PGI.

The two policemen had received burn injuries when their tent caught fire in Sector 26 outside the residence of SV Singh, former DGP, Punjab, on Sunday morning. The two were sleeping in the tent, pitched near the residence of SV Singh, when the tent caught fire. A short-circuit was reported to be the cause of the fire.

A servant in the house had noticed the fire and had immediately informed the fire station. A fire tender was rushed to the mishap site, but the tent was completely burnt before the fire tenders could reach there.

After the postmortem, the victim’s body was handed over to relatives. 



Piles treatment camp organised
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 20
The Rotary Club here organised its second free laser treatment camp for piles at the Sohal Hospital in Sirhind today.

Dr Kulwinder Singh Sohal and Dr Palwinder Kaur Sohal gave treatment. Around 60 patients were checked, given treatment and given free medicines.

Jagjit Singh, secretary of the local unit of the club, said they had been organising such medical camps at frequent intervals.



Light rain likely today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
The sun played hide-and-seek in the tricity region, giving a relief to the residents from the cold-wave conditions that prevailed on Sunday.

Even though the weather office has predicted rain or thundershowers at isolated places in the region there would be an increase in the night temperatures by about two notches. However, there would be no major change in the day temperatures.

The weather office has predicted generally cloudy sky with possibility of thundery development or light rain on Tuesday. Mist or haze could occur during morning and evening hours. The maximum temperature on Tuesday would be around 21 degrees Celsius while the minimum temperature on Wednesday would be around 11 degrees Celsius.

The maximum temperature on Monday was recorded at 21 degrees Celsius, three degrees below normal, while the minimum temperature was recorded at 8.7 degrees Celsius. The maximum relative humidity was recorded at 84 per cent while the minimum was recorded at 43 per cent.

Cold-wave conditions persisted in Amritsar and Narnaul district of Punjab and Haryana, respectively, with the mercury hovering around 6 degrees Celsius. The met office has predicted light rain or thundershowers occurring at isolated places in the neighbouring Punjab and Haryana. 



Tricity Scan


Workshop for IIM aspirants held: Bulls Eye organised a two-day residential workshop “Destination IIMs” for students who had received interview calls from the 13 IIMs after clearing CAT. Over 100 participants were trained by more than 30 faculty members. The faculty members had come from cities like Mumbai, Pune and Delhi. The students were trained in the intricacies of handling interview, essay writing and group discussion.

Hobby class: A new hobby class of tie and die was started for residents of Nari Niketan on Monday. Director social welfare Varsha Khangwal inaugurated the hobby class. The first class was taken by Tejender Bajwa, education instructor, Bal Bhavan. Further classes would be taken by Nari Niketan honorary director Kanwaljit Kaur.

Cattle impounded: The stray cattle catching drive at Sectors 26, 47, 48, 51 and 56, Ram Darbar, Colonies No. 4 and 5, Kajheri, Dadu Majra Colony, Dhanas, Daria, Maloya, IT Park road, Hallo Majra, airport road, Mani Majra and Vikas Nagar concluded on Monday. During the drive, 77 stray cattle within municipal limits were impounded.


Seminar on gurdwara reform movement: Commemorating the anniversary of ”Saka Nankana Sahib 1920”, a seminar on “Religio-political harmony of gurdwara reform movement in present day context” was organised at Gurdwara Singh Sabha, sector 70. Journalist Karamjit Singh said the establishment always showered patronage to Sikh religious leaders who could bring decadence to Sikhism, whether it was the early 20th century or the present day. Rajinder Singh, head of the Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat, said politicians promoted the personality cult and “derawad” for narrow vested interests and misused the Sikh temporal seats for creating religious terror to suppress Panthic issues. SGPC member Hardeep Singh, who was the convener, called upon genuine people to undertake the responsibility of creating awareness among Sikh masses on the subject.

Students shine: Students of Sri Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology have won laurels by getting top positions in the seventh semester PTU examination. Tanvir Singh of the information technology stream has scored 98 per cent and Ravneet Kaur and Amanjit Brar of the same stream 97 per cent and 96 per cent, respectively. in the electrical engineering stream, Anil Kumar Gupta and Anubhav Sabharwal have scored 99 per cent each. Abhishek Kumar and Mukesh Kumar of the same stream have scored 98 per cent each and Harsh Kumar and Prashant Rai 96 per cent each. — Tribune Reporters



Engg teachers to undergo in-service training
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 20
In a move to improve the quality of technical education in Punjab, the state government is going to introduce in-service industrial training for teachers of all the engineering colleges. “The initiative is part of the new Technical Education Policy of Punjab,” said Suresh Kumar, Principal Secretary, Technical Education, Punjab.

The teachers, who will undergo this training at the upcoming State Institute of Teachers Training and Research, Jalandhar, will get preferential treatment in recruitment.

“Experts from industry will be integral part of this teaching training and thus the focus will shift heavily towards industrial training,” he said while addressing a gathering at the Chandigarh Group of College (CGC) at Landran.

Satnam Singh Sandhu and Rashpal Singh Dhaliwal, Chairman and President, respectively, of the CGC, also spoke on the occasion. The Principal Secretary handed appointment letters to many students.



attendance register theft at pu
70-yr-old mother of driver writes to ministry, Chancellor
Says son framed for seeking info under RTI Act and unearthing rampant corruption in the varsity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
Bringing PU officials in the line of fire, Leela Devi, the 70-year-old mother of Satish, a PU driver, has approached the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and the Chancellor’s office, accusing varsity officials of victimising her son for seeking information under the RTI Act and unearthing alleged rampant corruption in the varsity.

A letter which was shot to authorities today came in reaction of to the FIR lodged by PU Chief Security Officer PK Dhawan against driver Satish Kumar for stealing an attendance register.

Leela Devi, in her letter, questioned why the PU authorities were is a haste to register a case with the police without prior preliminary inquiry at the departmental level.

“If my son has really stolen an attendance register in the estimation of the university authorities that warrants an immediate registration of a police case, why the university has preferred to avoid police intervention in other theft cases where the matters were got hushed up at the university level” she questioned.

When contacted, the VC claimed that he had no clue of the case and moreover it’s was under the purview of CSO PK Dhawan.

“ The case is under the authority of the security officer who has taken the action he deemed fit. The PU is and will always continue to support a transparent mechanism pertaining to the RTI Act,” said Sobti even as Dhawan was unavailable for his comments.

“What started as harassment soon reached the level of mental agony, black-mailing, ultimately culminating in a false and frivolous case. My son’s only fault is that he, like his brothers, has been seeking information under provisions of the RTI Act, 2005, from the university, which has the potential to expose acts of corruption and lawlessness prevailing in the university. They have so far filed over 50 RTI applications. PU officials, at the behest of the VC, threatened my son and even stopped his increment and tried to transfer him but when nothing worked, they registered this case,” she alleged further.



Conference on statistics opens at PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
A two-day 'National Conference on Advances and Applications in Statistics' (CAAS), organised by the Department of Statistics, Panjab University, began at the ICSSR Complex on the university campus here today.

Welcoming the participants and dignitaries, chairperson of the department and seminar coordinator Prof Kalpana K Mahajan elaborated on the use of statistics in daily life and the increasing importance of the subject in the present changing economic scenario. The department, which has recently acquired 'DSA 2nd Phase status', is not only preparing students for taking on the new challenges posed by the changing needs of the 21st century in competitive arena but also reaches out to many departments of the university, she added.

For the participants, a short-film showcasing green campus of the university and profile of the Department of Statistics was screened at the beginning of the conference.

Prof JV Deshpande from the Mumbai IIT delivered the keynote address on "Some new light on statistical modeling of coherent systems". During his address, Prof Deshpande also called upon the need of preparing students to take on the challenges in the expanding economy of the country. The students with a background in statistics can perform much better than others in insurance and banking sector, as statistical methods are extensively used in the various activities therein, he said.

For the CAAS, besides seven invited talks, about 40 research papers have been shortlisted after a through scrutiny process. The participants at the CAAS hail from almost all the corners of the country. Besides from the region, the invited/shortlisted speakers have come from Khargpur, Kanpur, Bangalore and Mumbai.

Former Dean Faculty of Science Prof AS Ahluwalia and present Dean of Faculty of Science Prof RK Pathak joined Prof RK Kohli, Dean Research, at inauguration of the conference. Dwelling on the all pervasive role of statistics in the research, Prof Kohli made no inhibition of his keenness to learn more of the intricacies of the subject. Prof Ahluwalia appreciated the role played by the department in helping other departments despite being under-staffed. In contrast, Prof Pathak struck a note of caution on the application of statistics, more so about its mishandling by some opportunists for their selfish interests.



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