C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


EWS admissions almost nil
RTE deadline over; UT Administration, private schools remain firm; parents await miracle, but in vain
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Admissions negligible, 350 complaints over telephone and 25 complaints in writing -- this is what the UT Administration has achieved as far as the implementation of the RTE Act for EWS students is concerned. The deadline to apply for 470 vacant RTE seats in private schools ended today.

While thousands of parents kept waiting for a miracle on the last day, making desperate calls to the education department, nothing happened. Standing firm, private schools continued to turn parents away. While education department officials claimed that they would look into the issue tomorrow, applicants lost hope.

“I submitted my complaint against a Sector-45 school six days ago and was promised that the principal would be told to accept my application. I have been visiting the school twice everyday ever since, but of no use. As today was the last day to apply, I called up the department again and was told that my complaint was being looked into,” said Ram Kumar of Burail.

When contacted, schools blamed the education department yet again for the failure in the implementation of the Act. “They have not decided on reimbursement. A majority of applications are not from the neighbourhood and so, how can we admit students,” said HS Mamik, president of the Independent School Association.

“Private schools are all for admissions under the Act, but the UT Administration has goofed it up. It never took us into confidence and went ahead, advertising vacant seats and demanding applications. We open on April 1 and so, students should be adjusted at government schools as well, which are equally good as far as the quality of education is concerned,” he added.

UT officials accused private schools of ignoring their social responsibility. “They earn crores, but are not willing to spend a few thousand rupees to teach poor children. The UT would have paid them, but they demanded advance. EWS students will get admission to private schools as no rule bars admission after the commencement of the session. Parents will get justice,” said an official.

General-category students’ gain

With no consensus having been reached over the implementation of the Act, schools started admitting students in the general category against the 470 reserved seats lying vacant. Many schools made admissions in February, but informed the education department that the seats were vacant. “The UT has not done anything and the next session starts in two or three days. I could not open the school with 25 per cent seats lying vacant. General-category students in the waiting list have the right to education. We deemed it fit to grant them admission,” said a principal. The education department took the issue seriously. It said schools were not the authority on converting seats and those found guilty would be dealt with sternly.



94-yr-old woman found dead
Was living alone
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
A 94-year-old woman, Dayawanti, was found dead following fire at her residence in Sector 18 here this morning. She was alone at the time of her death.

The victim reportedly died of suffocation as the bed she slept on caught fire. She was survived by two sons and two daughters, all of whom were settled in London.

The fire was noticed by her tenant. Preliminary investigations suggested that the bed caught fire as she used to smoke and left a cigar burning before she went to sleep.

The police was awaiting the post-mortem report. Neighbours and tenants of the victim told the police that the woman used to smoke ‘beedis’ and cigarettes.

The incident came to light this morning when a tenant, Sangeeta, noticed thick black smoke coming out of the ground floor, which was occupied by the woman.

The tenant raised an alarm and fire brigade personnel were called, who doused the flames. Fire brigade officials rushed the woman to hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

An elderly woman living alone died in Jan 2011

In January last year, the 75-year-old mother of a senior advocate was found dead at her house in Sector 21. The victim, Gurbal Maninder Kaur, used to live alone. Her death came to light after the body was decomposed beyond recognition. The police had said she died of cardiac arrest.



Prohibitory orders in force today
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, March 27
The police has stepped up security in the city and surrounding areas in the wake of court orders pronouncing the execution of the death warrant for Beant Singh assassin Balwant Singh Rajoana.

The UT Administration has imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC, banning the assembly of five persons or more. A total of 1,400 police personnel have been deployed.

Additional force has been deployed outside residences of judges and the house of additional district and sessions judge Shalini Nagpal, who had pronounced the order for Rajoana’s execution.

An official said keeping in view that certain groups planned protests, the district magistrate passed the orders.

Taking out processions, making speeches, raising slogans and carrying ‘lathis’ were prohibited, except at the Rally Ground in Sector 25, for one day.

Mohali: The police has beefed up security in the town to avoid any untoward incident in connection with death sentence awarded to Balwant Singh Rajoana.

A check was carried out by the bomb squad near the administrative complex at Phase I and various markets here on Tuesday. A number of ‘nakas’ were laid and four check-posts set up. The security arrangements would remain in place till April 2.

The district was divided into four zones, each under the charge of an officer of the rank of SP.



Work at RLA a test of endurance for applicants
Tribune News Service

The copy of a receipt in which an applicant has been given three months to get the registration certificate for a two-wheeler
The copy of a receipt in which an applicant has been given three months to get the registration certificate for a two-wheeler

Chandigarh, March 27
It seems that the convenience of vehicle-document seekers is last on the mind of the Sector-17 Registering and Licensing Authority (RLA), if the inordinate delay in the issuance of registration certificates (RCs) and driver’s licences (DLs) is any indication.

Officials manning the counter to issue vehicle-document receipts today were giving three months’ time to receive laminated RCs and DLs.

Besides vehicle owners who had been allotted numbers in the ‘nearly finished’ registration series CH01AL, the pendency of those who had to be allotted numbers under CH01AM, the next series, was increasing with each passing day.

“If there are 10,000 RCs of the AL series that have not been issued, over 3,000 applicants have yet to be given registration numbers. The moment the new series is opened, the stock will be exhausted in 15 days due to the huge backlog,” said sources.

A number of applicants lamented that the RLA had been accepting the fee and road tax, but putting them to inconvenience.

New vehicle owners were facing a peculiar problem as getting a claim from insurance firms in case of accident could be a headache.

Officials said there was a delay on the part of the vendor supplying plastic cards.

“RLA officials should have made advance arrangements to procure material,” said K Singh, who had come to get the RC of his vehicle renewed.



Maneesh Chaudhary to be UT SP (Traffic)
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Panchkula Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Maneesh Chaudhary is set to become the SP (Traffic) with the Chandigarh Police.

The Union Home Minister’s office had recently approved Chaudhary’s name and the matter has been forwarded to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) for final clearance.

The government had asked the UT Administration about Chaudhary’s willingness, after which the Administration had sought a reply from Chaudhary.

Chaudhary had informed the UT Administration about his willingness to join as SP (Traffic). After receiving the reply, the Administration had forwarded it to the government.

A senior official with the Administration said the process at the DoPT would take around two weeks, after which a formal order would be issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

The Haryana Government had sent a panel of three IPS officials, Maneesh Chaudhary, Hemant Kalson and Rajender Kumar. The Administration had forwarded the panel to the MHA.

Prior to this, the Administration had objected to the panel comprising Sibhash Kabiraj, Saurabh Singh and Rajender Kumar, after which the Haryana Government had sent the second panel.

The government had sent the panel to replace Hardeep Singh Doon. At present, DIG Alok Kumar had been holding charge of SP (Traffic).

He is ex-Chief Secy’s son

Maneesh Chaudhary’s mother Meenakshi Anand Chaudhary is a former Haryana Chief Information Commissioner and a former Chief Secretary of Haryana. His father, Dr JL Choudhary, had retired as Haryana’s Director-General Health Services. His aunts, Keshni Anand Arora and Urvashi Gulati, were also IAS officers. The latter was the current Chief Secretary of Haryana. 



PSEB exam postponed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 27
The Punjab School Education Board has postponed the various examinations of 10th and +2 levels scheduled to be held on March 28, owing to administrative reasons. Fresh dates of rescheduled examinations will be declared separately, said Dr Balwinder Singh, secretary of the Board.


Medicity tops GMADA’s priority list
Authorities will auction plots to private players in the medicare hub soon
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 27
Medicity project in Mullanpur tops the priority list of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA).

Apart from developing various roads under the Mullanpur master plan, the authorities will soon auction plots to private players in the medicare hub that has been planned over 97 acres to the north of the PGI, Chandigarh.

The development follows a meeting chaired by the Deputy Chief Minister, Sukhbir Singh Badal, regarding the status of development projects in Mohali area. It is learnt that the PCA officials have also been asked to speed up the construction of cricket stadium at Mullanpur before the next World Cup.

Sources in GMADA said though the PGI had also sought land in the Medicity, the government was keen on giving the land to certain private players in the medical care sector who already had stakes in Punjab. The medi care hub will have hospital complexes, infrastructure for the allied services, and also residential complexes for their staff within the campus. It will be self-contained campus, with the best of housing facilities for doctors and other hospital staff members within the area. The mode of transfer of land to the hospitals was being worked out.

The government was keen to develop Mullanpur as one of India’s best medical hubs. Besides, the widening of the Mullanpur-Siswan road has already begun and a survey has been started to under take planning of the Mullanpur Ecocity.

Mullanpur master plan

As per the Mullanpur master plan, a state-of-the-art health village, knowledge village and eco-tourism related activities have been planned on the foothills of Shivalik Hills. Consultants for the project, Jurong Ltd, has proposed recreational facilities like amusement park, spa village, open-air theatres, theme parks and lifestyle hub, including a golf course and sports facilities, around the seasonal rivulets passing through the area. Only low-density urbanisation has been recommended. Due to proximity of the area to Chandigarh, the Medicity has been planned along the Chandigarh-Siswan-Baddi road.



Unspent money headache for Admn
It has to spend Rs 17 crore from current year’s budget before March 31
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
The UT Administration facing a panic spending kind of a situation as it has to spend at least Rs 17 crore from the current year’s budget before its lapses if it is unutilised before the next budget session. At a meeting of senior officers of the UT Administration, UT Adviser KK Sharma today gave directions to all departments to utilise their unspent amount before March 31.

In a presentation given by the officials of the finance department, it was pointed out that only four days were left of the current financial year and around 2.5 per cent of the budget amount (Rs 661.89 crore), which was allocated by the Union government to the UT Administration was left unutilised by various departments.

Sources added that out of Rs 17 crore, a major chunk of the amount would be spent by the UT Administration on improving government schools infrastructure, recarpeting of roads, health sector and to improve the transportation system of the city.

After the presentation, Sharma told the senior officials to utilise the unspent amount properly in the coming days. He also made a point that the officials should plan well in advance to ulilise the budget amount. Besides, he also issued directions for the next financial year that the officials should submit status report about their department’s expenditure every three months.

Recently, the Union government has allotted Rs 737.23 crore plan budget for Chandigarh for 2012-13 against the current year’s allocation of Rs 661.89 crore. Under the non-plan head, Chandigarh has got Rs 2178.78 crore (current year’s allocation was Rs 2068.31 crore). The non-plan allocation will go towards committed expenditure of salaries and other recurring expenses borne by the Administration.

Sources said out of Rs 17 crore, a major chunk of the amount would be spent by the UT Administration on improving government schools’ infrastructure, recarpeting of roads, health sector and transportation system of the City Beautiful.



Now, pay for underground parking at Sector 17
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Now, you will have to shell out money to park your vehicles in underground parking lots of the city. This is resultant of the proposal mooted by the municipal corporation to convert all five underground parking lots into paid parking sites. The proposal will be tabled, for approval, in the general house meeting of the MC scheduled for March 30.

The department pointed out that earlier all five underground parking lots were free parking zones. There are three underground parking lots in Sector 17, which includes two storeyed at 30-Bays Building and Telephone Exchange and single storeyed at CMC Hospital in Sector 17. Besides this, there are two underground parking lots in Sector 8, which are lying unattended due to shortage of staff with the corporation. Resultantly, the commuters hesitate to park their vehicle in the parking space due to lack of security.

The department has recommended that the underground parking lots should be handed over to those contractors who are managing the nearby paid parking lots. The contractor will charge the same fee from the commuters, which will not only help in utilizing the space but additional revenue will also be generated for the MC.

MC Commissioner VP Singh has already approved this proposal. Sources said to implement it the approval of the house was essential. So it was going to be tabled in the coming meeting of the MC.

A parking lot contractor said that there was no problem in taking over the underground parking lots, in case the authorities provided them with basic infrastructure essential for it. As the parking lots have not been used since a long time, there is no lighting arrangements and cleanliness at the site.

Records of the corporation revealed that in 2001 too, the UT Administration had directed the MC to convert the underground parking lots into paid parking sites. The administration had recommended that underground parking lots should be less expensive than usual parking lots.

Referring to various surveys conducted by the authorities, the UT Administration had opined that unless charges were levied, these parking lots would not attract commuters. In fact after these directions, the parking lot was made functional for a couple of days and indicators were displayed for its use, but later it was left unattended.



shootout incident
Licence recovered

Chandigarh, March 27
The UT police today recovered the licence of the .32 bore revolver, which was used to shoot at 22-year-old Poonam on Sunday.

The police of the Sector 39 police station today recovered the armed licence of senior audit officer Ram Phal which was used in the incident. The court meanwhile, sent the accused to Burail jail.

Accused Ramphal had procured the licence from the Chandigarh administration and it had been renewed four times by the administration since after 1996.

Ramphal shot at Poonam with his .32 bore licenced revolver following a verbal altercation over his drinking habits at his residence in Sector 41 on March 25. The revolver was recovered from the house on the same day.

The police said the armed licence of the accused was found to be valid and he had permit to carry it throughout the country. He said the accused was also not attending his office AG office, Haryana, in Sector 33, regularly and was a habitual drinker. Ram Phal had fled from the spot after the incident and was arrested in late in the night on March 25.

A bullet is stuck on the right side of Poonam’s chest and she was still at the emergency ward of the PGI. The doctors could not operate upon her due to excessive internal bleeding. — TNS



Keen contest in DBA poll likely
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 27
The District Bar Association (DBA) is likely to witness a keen contest for the two major posts of president and secretary, the elections to which are scheduled to be held on April 4.

There are two candidates in the fray for the post of president - Satish Kadian and Lalit Gupta while Ashwani Chaudhary and Maninder Singh are vying for the secretary’s post.

Vikram Bhardwaj and Sanjeev have been unanimously elected as vice-president and secretary, respectively. The post of joint secretary had been reserved for a woman advocate who will unanimously propose the name of a candidate for the post.

As per information, a door-to-door campaigning has been started by the candidates.

Some of the candidates accompanied by their supporters also visited the tehsil courts complex at Kalka and Pinjore to seek votes.

Meanwhile, the chief Election Commissioner has told the candidates not to put up banners in the courts complex.

More facilities in the district courts complex tops the agenda lists of contestants.



Civic body forms 14 water teams
To ensure adequate water pressure on first, second floors of houses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
The municipal corporation has constituted 14 teams to keep a check on misuse of water in the city. The decision was taken at the Water Supply and Sewerage Disposal Committee meeting held today, which was chaired by Mukesh Bassi.

The committee has instructed officers concerned to ensure adequate water pressure on the first and second floors of house during summers. The committee has decided that mobile numbers of 14 team heads will be given to general public for any kind of information and misuse of water.

The committee also decided that one water feature would be installed in each sector in future. Members reviewed the work progress of nine water busters in various sectors of the city.

Meanwhile, the committee gave a go-ahead to cascading water feature in the central park, Modern Housing Complex of Mani Majra.



IMA elections
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Dr Charanjit Singh, and Dr AP Sanwaria did not win the election of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Chandigarh, as was inadvertently mentioned in Chandigarh Tribune on March 27.

Dr Vireder Kappal was declared winner with 288 votes for the post of honorary secretary, defeating Dr Charanjit Singh, who was polled 154 votes. Similarly, CWC member Dr BS Chavan secured 265 votes defeating Dr AP Sanwaria who got 174 votes.



90 jhuggis demolished

Chandigarh, March 27
Ninety hutments (Jhuggis) spread over 2 acres of land was razed during a drive at Pocket No.8, adjoining new Indira Colony, Mani Majra here today.

The drive was conducted under the supervision of Additional Commissioner Lalit Siwach and other officials of engineering and enforcement wings of the MC. — TNS



5-year deputation
College teachers overstay, too
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
It’s not just the school teachers on deputation in Chandigarh who have overstayed their deputation period, there is a large number of college teachers from adjoining states as well who have overstayed the normal deputation period of five-years.

Swarn Singh Kamboj, president of the UT Cadre Educational Employees Union, said that the prolonged stay of employees on deputation has put UT employees at the receiving end. “There is a list of over 100 teachers in the Government Colleges who had come from either Punjab or Haryana on a deputation for five years, but have been working for over two decades. The deputation period can be extended by five-years only in special cases to fulfil the particular demand,” Kamboj said.

Some of the teachers on deputation working with the PGGCG -11 for more than 20 years include Neel Kamal Puri and Shashi Kiran (both on deputation since 1982), Kusam Lata Garg (since 1983), Vandhna Seghal (since 1987), Indeer Veena Sharma (since 1988).

Similarly, teachers on deputation at the PGGCG -42 for more than two decades include Renu Bala (since 1984), Parminder Kaur (since 1987), Anita Sharma and Parvinder Kaur (both since1989). Similar is the case of Nirupa Marwaha of Government Home Science College who came on deputation from Punjab in 1984.

“The list of such teachers who have been on deputation is endless. The UT Administration is least bothered to send them back,” Kamboj added.

The rules mention that those who have served for a minimum period of five-years in their parent cadre can be taken on deputation. However, there are teachers who despite having insufficient experience have come on deputation to Chandigarh.

The teachers who have come on deputation the very same day they joined services in their parent state include Sangeeta Mehtani who has been working with the PGGCG-11. She had joined services on March 13, 1990, and came on deputation to UT on the same day.

Arun Lekha of the same college came on deputation in 1991, less then a year after joining the services in Haryana.

The rules also state that no employee can be taken on deputation when the employee’s probation has not been cleared by the parent state.

However, there are also cases where teachers have been working on deputation without their probations being cleared by their parent states.

Recently, the Central Vigilance Commission had also marked an inquiry to the Chief Vigilance Officer, Chandigarh, on the issue of “overstaying” of employees on deputation in the various departments of the UT Administration.



CBSE pulls up school for providing wrong answer sheets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Taking a serious view of the fact that a government school in Sector-37 C distributed wrong answer sheets to class XII students for their math examination (the answer sheets did not have graphs), the Central Board Of Secondary Education (CBSE) has pulled up the centre authorities and sought explanations for the lapse.

Students were taken by shock at this centre when half an hour after the commencement of the exam they were informed that they had been given wrong answer sheets and were asked to restart the paper on new sheets.

While a few parents alleged that their wards were not given any extra time, over 75 parents, invigilators, teachers and an observer from Kendrya Vidyalya disagreed and said that the students were infact given an extra half hour. The paper ended at 2:00 pm rather than 1:30 pm, they said.

Some parents, however, have complained to the Board officials, demanding action against the centre authorities for the mental harassment and anxiety caused to the students due to the chaos. “They did give children extra time, but the students were left hassled all the same. They had to refill details on answer sheets and copy the work already done. This took time and energy and caused them a lot of anxiety. Extra time cannot compensate for the loss,” said a parent.

“It is an administrative lapse and we have have sought answers from the concerned authorities. As per norms, students were entitled to extra time and were given that”, said RJ Khanderao, Regional Director, CBSE.



PU to pay teachers more for paper-setting, evaluation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Panjab University, which has always been grappling hard to declare the results of its affiliated colleges in time due to the disinterest shown by the teachers in evaluating answer sheets, has now revised the rates of evaluation with an increase of Rs 4 per answer sheet. Teachers will now receive Rs 17, instead of Rs 13, per answer sheet.

PU authorities have also drastically hiked the rate of paper setting for postgraduate courses, from Rs 385 to Rs 750.

Officials said that the university has also revised the invigilation rates.

“The new rates would probably come in affect from the next evaluation,” officials said.

Reacting to the hike, Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) president Akshay Kumar said that the increase in evaluation rates is very nominal. he also said that there are various other reasons why the teachers are not willing to evaluate answer sheets.

“There are a number of exams held every year. Although continuous evaluation is a noble idea, it increases burden on teachers and turns them into full time evaluators,” he said.



PU plans to introduce MDS course from next session
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Although the Dental Council of India (DCI) has always been pointing towards the Bachelor in Dental Sciences course run by PU’s HSJ Dental College for meeting all the requirements of the course, the university has now decided to introduce Masters in Dental Sciences (MDS) course in the college from the next session.The issue will be taken-up in the Senate meeting on March 31. The university has been given permission from UT Administration to start MDS course.

PU had applied to the DCI after which a pre-PG periodic inspection was held by a DCI committee on Sep 23, 2011. The committee pointed out some deficiencies. Later, a second visit by another committee was made on January 18, 2012, to inspect the progress made on the deficiencies pointed out in the previous visit. The final visit is yet to be made. Without the final inspection being made, the plan to start the course from the coming academic session may hit a road block The DCI has clearly stated that PU must have sought their clearance by Feb 28, 2012, to start the course from coming session. 



Over 1,000 girls awarded degrees
Tribune News Service

Students of the Postgraduate Government College for Girls, Sector 11, Chandigarh, pose with their degrees on Tuesday
Students of the Postgraduate Government College for Girls, Sector 11, Chandigarh, pose with their degrees on Tuesday. Tribune photo: S Chandan

Chandigarh, March 27
The 55th annual convocation of Postgraduate Government College for Girls, Sector 11, was held today. As many as 1018 graduates and postgraduates were conferred degrees during the function.

128 postgraduate degrees were awarded in public administration, economics, dance, music vocal, music instrumental, botany, zoology, chemistry and computer applications.

Among graduates, 146 were from the commerce stream (including pass course and honours), 67 from BCA, 177 from arts (honours), 566 from arts, and 111 from science (medical, non-medical and computer science).

Students who had excelled in academics by their outstanding performance in the Panjab University examinations were given roll of honour. Earlier, presenting the annual report of the college, principal Achila Dogra highlighted the academic achievements of the students.



Degrees conferred

Students of the Government College of Education, Sector 20, Chadigarh, with their degrees
Students of the Government College of Education, Sector 20, Chadigarh, with their degrees. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, March 27
The Government College of Education, Sector 20, organised its 56h annual convocation in the college premises here today. 300 BEd and MEd students were conferred degrees during the ceremony.

Principal Dr Harsh Batra read out the annual report of the college, highlighting the achievements of the institution in various fields. KK Sharma, Advisor to UT Administrator, while delivering the convocation address, motivated the youngsters to instill discipline, honesty and integrity in their character in order to succeed in life The inaugural issue of research journal ‘Educational Beacon’ was also released on the occasion. — TNS



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