C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


No house tax, decides civic body
To lose Rs 400-crore JNNURM grant; proposes end to paid parking; rejects paid parking at underground lots
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Ignoring the fact that the municipal corporation (MC) will lose the Rs 400-crore grant-in-aid under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) for not imposing house tax, the General House today rejected the proposal unanimously.

Cutting across party lines, all councillors opposed the proposal of the imposition of house tax in residential areas of the city.

MC Commissioner VP Singh informed the House about the communication received from the UT Administration, in which it had sought the imposition of house tax and the revision of commercial tax to get regular grants for ongoing projects from the Union Ministry of Urban Development.

Reacting to the communication, Congress councillor Sat Prakash Aggarwal suggested that residential areas of villages and economically weaker section houses be exempted. He also suggested that the authorities work out some other alternative to raise revenue.

Objecting to the imposition of house tax, BJP councillor Arun Sood said the Administration had, in the past, not paid a single penny of the matching grant of the tax to the MC, which was imposed on its directions.

The House also rejected the proposal of the imposition of parking fee at six underground parking lots. It also passed a resolution to do away with paid parking in the city and allot the parking lots to public-private partnership (PPP) companies.

On the recommendation of councillors, the resolution that each parking lot be given to a company which could display advertisements in lieu of managing the parking lot was approved.

The MC Commissioner informed the House that parking fee could not be withdrawn unless parking lots were allotted on the PPP model.

He said the proposal to allot the six underground parking lots to companies on the PPP model would be sent to the Administration.



DC’s office, forest dept lock horns
Restriction on height of buildings around Sukhna catchment area
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Two departments of the UT Administration have locked horns over the restriction on the height of buildings around the Sukhna catchment area.

Preparing a draft to develop an eco-sensitive zone in the catchment area of the Sukhna wildlife sanctuary, falling in the union territory, the office of the Deputy Commissioner (DC) and the UT forest and wildlife department have submitted different points on the restriction.

The DC’s office has maintained that construction should be allowed as per UT building bylaws in the area from the boundary of the sanctuary till a distance of 500 metres. The forest and wildlife department has asked how the DC’s office can propose the height of buildings.

It has further submitted that building bylaws will be changed with time and the height should be fixed at between 24 feet and 26 feet to save the wildlife and forest area.

DC Brijendra Singh has stated in his report to the UT Administration that construction should be allowed as per Chandigarh building bylaws, which only allow three or four storeys.

Chief Wildlife Warden Santosh Kumar has submitted that instead of building bylaws, the height of structures should be fixed at between 24 feet to 26 feet.

He has pointed out that building bylaws will be changed with time and population increase, but the height will not be changed if it is fixed.

Sources have added that the forest and wildlife department has apprehensions that if Punjab and Haryana also include building bylaws in their plans after the UT draft, those will benefit big realty players as building bylaws in the two states allow taller buildings, which in turn, will affect the wildlife and forest area of the sanctuary.

The experts’ committee on the eco-sensitive zone, constituted in March last year, is yet to complete its report. At present, the draft and objections of both departments are pending with KK Sharma, Adviser to the UT Administrator.

What an eco-sensitive zone is
An eco-sensitive zone is a fragile eco-system area where conservation or preservation of the natural environment is sustained by state control and grants. In a bid to prevent ecological damage caused due to development activities around national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has come out with new guidelines to create eco-sensitive zones that will work as shock absorbers for protected areas. The aim is to regulate certain activities around national parks and wildlife sanctuaries to minimise the negative impact of such activities on the fragile eco-system.



HC raps UT police, CBI’s Chandigarh wing
Hands over teacher recruitment scam case to agency’s Delhi branch
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Virtually rapping the Chandigarh Police for shoddy investigations and the Chandigarh branch of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for a complete cover-up in the UT teacher recruitment scam, allegedly involving the then DPI(S) Samwartak Singh, the Punjab and Haryana High Court (HC) today handed over the case to the Delhi branch of the premier investigation agency.

Mincing no words, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Mahesh Grover asserted, “We are convinced that it is a case in which the intervention of the court is necessary to restore the confidence of the people in the justice dispensation system, which has been blatantly put to the sword by officials of the Chandigarh Administration, who stand to benefit from scuttling the investigation, and ironically, with the willing hand of the CBI, which apparently has not taken its image of being a premier impartial agency seriously.”

They further stated, “The court cannot shut its eyes to this unabashed attempt to scuttle justice. We entrust the task to the CBI, Delhi branch, keeping in view the fact that the confidence of this court in the CBI, Chandigarh branch, has been eroded somewhat.”

Giving reasons, the Bench asserted that the CBI had, in its verification report filed by inspector Ghunjyal, recommended the registration of a case under Sections 120-B and 420 of the IPC and Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act against Sanwartak Singh and other unidentified public servants.

The report had initially been accepted by the CBI SP. “Subsequently, the CBI took a complete somersault and diluted its stand by saying changes were arbitrary, but not criminal, so as to be sufficient to fix criminal conspiracy, and that it was not established that candidates who were wrongly called for interview were finally selected and change of criteria was not motivated.”

The Bench added that it found aspects of the case “disturbing and intriguing”. The CBI was associated with the matter since the beginning. But it was not disclosed to the court till “the inquiry report reached the court and intimation received from a third person”.

The Bench also added, “This is difficult to digest, since the CBI. was party to the proceedings and its silence, therefore, is deafening, to say the least. The CBI does establish in its report the fact that numerous calls were exchanged between the accused in the FIR and the then DPI(S) Samwartak Singh, but it chose not to go deeper into this matter by merely accepting the fact that the allegations of bribe had already been looked into by another investigating agency.”

Referring to the report, the Bench added that complainant Kamalpreet Kaur had categorically disclosed that alleged conduit Jolly told her on September 3, 2009, that she would be asked the full form of the NCERT. “The verification revealed that the said question was, indeed, put to Kamalpreet Kaur by Samwartak Singh. This aspect has been ignored and not inquired further.”

Background of case
The allegations revolve around the appointment of teachers by the UT education deprtment. There were 273 posts of master and mistress, 235 of JBT teacher and 28 of NIT teacher. The written test was conducted from July 12, 2009, and the criteria for selection was not disclosed to candidates. Allegations of jobs being bartered for cash had surfaced, which led to the registration of an FIR on September 5, 2009, on the allegation made by Kamalpreet Kaur of Kharar. Hardev Singh, accused of being a tout, had contacted her from his mobile phone and told her that she would get the job and he would charge Rs 4.25 lakh. He had told her that a person named Jolly would contact her. Jolly of Sector 7 had then contacted her from his mobile phone and settled the deal at Rs 3.25 lakh. He had demanded post-dated cheques for Rs 3.2 lakh and Rs 5,000 in cash. A trap was laid and Jolly caught accepting the cheques and cash from the complainant at Sector 30. Hardev was arrested subsequently. The police had scrutinised the call details of the mobile phones of Jolly and Hardev. It was found that Jolly’s mobile phone had frequently been used to contact Samwartak Singh. A further scrutiny of the call details of Jolly’s second mobile number revealed frequent contact between Samwartak Singh and Jolly on it as well. Another case had been registered against Jolly for procuring a mobile phone on the basis of a fake document. 


Mohali to remove tents from greenbelts
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Tents pitched at Phase X in Mohali; (right) a signboard put up mentions that no vehicles are allowed.
Tents pitched at Phase X in Mohali; (right) a signboard put up mentions that no vehicles are allowed. Tribune photos: vicky gharu

Mohali, March 30
Following the directions by the Punjab and Haryana High Court of removing security tents from the green belts in the UT a couple of days ago, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has also initiated action to deal with the hazard in the town.

“I have instructed my staff to conduct a survey of the security tents, setup in the green belts or parks located near the residences of the VIPs to provide them security cover and prepare a report in this regard. After that we start removing the tents from the unauthorised sites,” said Kamal Kumar, estate officer of GMADA.

A random survey by the Tribune team revealed that several security tents have encroached many parks and green belts in the various parts of the city including Phase X, Sector 68, 69, 71, Phase III A etc.

The tents were mostly pitched outside the houses of high officials including that of the judges, senior state police officers and politicians. Even the sites, meant for children to play or elderly persons to walk, were being used for parking vehicles of guests of the VIPs or the security vehicles.

“As the senior government officials themselves, directly or indirectly, are responsible for this nuisance, no concerned authorities are ready to take action in this regard despite our repeated requests,” said Rajinder Singh, a resident of Phase X, here where at least three security tents have been set up in a green belt of the area.

“The children and senior citizens of the area are the main sufferers who cannot play or walk in these open spaces. Now the High Court’s order for removal of such tents in the UT, has given us a hope,” said Balkar Singh, another resident of the area.

The EO (GMADA) Kamal Kumar added that not only the security tents but also other encroachments by the various residents were on their target.



Farm, allied activities get top priority
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 30
With allocation of Rs 1159 crores, the agriculture and allied activities have been given top priority in the credit plan of Mohali district for the financial Year 2012-13.

In the next fiscal credit plan, launched by Varun Roojam, Deputy Commissioner Mohali, a total of Rs 2,981 crores have been allocated out of which Rs 2,675 crores would be allocated to priority sectors including agriculture and allied activities, non farm sector (Rs 893cr) and other priority sectors (Rs 623 cr).

On the occasion, Roojam said that emphasis would be laid on the development of weaker section of the society, aiming at improving their living standard.

Roojam also directed all the banks and government departments of the district for effective implementation of all the government-sponsored schemes to achieve the set targets with sufficient margin.

PK Jain, chief Lead District Manager, who presented the plan, assured the district administration that all the banks would achieve all the targets including that of the KCC, SHG, GCC, DRI and all other Government sponsored Schemes. He also thanked District Administration, Reserve Bank of India and NABARD for extending Co-operation for preparation of Annual Credit Plan 2012-13.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mohammad Tayeb, Amit Talwar, SDM (Mohali), Rajender Kumar, Director, PNBRSETI and Sushit Kumar, local agriculture officer were present at the occasion.



Solid waste management facility gets rolling
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, March 30
The process to acquire 50 acres of land to setup of the solid waste management facility for the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) cluster has started to roll.

It is learnt that after getting clearance for the project from the Expert Appraisal Committee for Building Construction, Coastal Regulation Zone, Infrastructure Development and Miscellaneous Projects which had held a meeting in New Delhi last month, the Land Acquisition Collector of GMADA had requested the Mohali Deputy Commissioner through a letter to acquire land for the facility. Sources said that the Deputy Commissioner was likely to call of a meeting of the price fixation committee soon after which the process of acquiring the land would begin.

As presented by the project proponent at the meeting of the Expert Appraisal Committee, the proposal involved the setting up of an integrated municipal solid waste management facility at Samgauli village. The components of the project were storage and transportation of segregated municipal solid waste (MSW) from secondary collection points of urban local bodies of GMADA cluster to the MSW processing site. Transfer stations, if required, would be developed at designated sites. The capacity of the facility would be 450 tonnes per day (TPD), including the RDF processing facility of the 250 TPD and compost plant of the 200 TPD.

As per the minutes of the meeting of the appraisal committee, a number of points had emerged up for discussion. It was proposed that 20-metre width of green belt all around the periphery amounting to 20 per cent of the total project area was necessary. The proponent of the project was to ensure that the project fulfilled all the provisions of Hazardous Wastes, Rules, 2008, including collection and transportation design. The gas generated from the landfill facility shall be collected and disposed or utilised as per rules, the leachate from the facility shall be collected and treated to meet the prescribed standards before disposal and the depth of the land fill site shall be decided on the basis of the ground water table. The committee had also suggested that on-site emergency management plan be prepared and implemented and periodical ground water and soil monitoring be carried out to check the contamination in and around the site.

The Mohali Municipal Council had, earlier, requested the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) to conduct a public hearing of its proposed landfill facility, as part of the procedure for seeking environmental clearance, as notified by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. Residents of nearby areas, however, had opposed the setting up of the facility at Samgauli village during the public hearing held by the PPCB on September 28.

A six-member Site Selection Committee constituted by the state government for the setting up of a common municipal solid waste management facility had recommended three sites for the purpose.



Police carries out special drive before IPL
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 30
With the Indian Premier League cricket match round the corner and prevailing tension in the area due to Rajoana issue, the Sohana and Kharar city police today carried out separate special checking drives in all the main markets, hotels, religious sites and other public places of the area.

During the drive, dog squad and anti-sabotage also accompanied the local area police, said Harjinder Singh, SHO Sohana.

“We also inquired several persons, who were found roaming aimlessly during our drive but no arrest has been made,” said Harjinder Singh.

In Kharar also, similar drive was carried out which lasted more than two hours.

Yogi Raj, SHO Kharar cit, said that special checkpoints were also laid on the highway to inspect the vehicles. He added that all the hoteliers were issued directions to maintain record of every visitor and inform the police immediately if found any suspected person. 



census 2011
Craze for vehicles reduces number of bicycle owners
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
The craze of residents for swanky two-wheelers and four-wheelers has pushed bicycles out of fashion, negating the efforts of the UT Administration to promote cycling as an environment-based and pocket-friendly initiative.

KK Sharma, Adviser to the UT Administrator, releases census data at the UT Guest House in Chandigarh on Friday.
KK Sharma, Adviser to the UT Administrator, releases census data at the UT Guest House in Chandigarh on Friday. Tribune Photo: Pradeep Tewari

Since 2001, when 68 per cent of the 2,01,878 households in the city had bicycles, the Household Amenities and Assets Census 2011 pointed out that now, 57 per cent of the 2,35,061 households had bicycles, a drop of over 10 per cent in a decade.

Reflecting the socio-economic status of the residents, the census revealed that the percentage of households which had acquired two-wheelers and four-wheelers increased by 4 per cent to 10 per cent, with a higher increase in case of four-wheelers.

In the city, ranked among the most affluent cities in the country, 93 per cent of households were getting treated water and 99.5 per cent getting water from taps, indicating an increase of 5 per cent since the 2001 census.

Releasing the data ‘Houses, Household Amenities and Assets’, the Adviser to the UT Administrator, KK Sharma, said the census data would help the Administration in framing new policies and chalking out areas of new wards of the municipal corporation. TN Bindhyeshwari, Director, Census Operation, UT, was also present.

Due to the increased influx of population, the gap between demand and supply of houses had narrowed down. Compared to 2001, when 8.1 per cent of houses were vacant, the percentage had come down to 6.7 per cent, more in case of urban areas. The percentage of houses occupied increased from 91.9 per cent in 2001 to 93.3 per cent in 2011.

As far as the number of rooms with households was concerned, over 64 per cent of the 2,35,061 households had one-room and two-room houses. Of this, around 70 per cent of the households were of the single-couple category.

The city also ranked high in terms of households with access to computers, with 29 per cent having it. The city also fared well on parameters of basic amenities. Despite a sizeable part of the population living in 16 slum colonies, only 9 per cent of the households used public toilets.



Pending Rs 1-crore dues delay civic body projects 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
About Rs 1 crore consultancy fee of the UT chief architect department is pending against five major projects of the Municipal Corporation for the past more than three years.

The projects include upgrading of Plaza, construction of overbridge, municipal corporation building plans, multi-level parking of Sector 17 and marriage palaces.

Resultantly, the chief architect department delays a number of projects sent for approval by the MC. This came to light today at the general house meeting when nominated Councillor Surinder Bahga demanded that the pending amount of the UT chief architect be cleared to speed up the clearance of projects.

The councillors objected that there was inordinate delay in approving most of the major projects by the architect department. Lately, it has given approval to the first multi-level parking place in Sector 17 and construction of primary school in Sector 49, BJP councillor Davesh Modgil raised the issue of mismanagement of sanitation staff due to which the sanitation services were becoming miserable in the city.

He suggested that medical officer of health should introduce night sweeping concept in the city for providing better sanitation services to the residents.

Meanwhile, a majority of councillors objected that the delay in execution of petty works was due to huge gap in the proposed rates of the raw materials by the MC and its market price. Reacting to it, MC Commissioner VP Singh informed that a committee was constituted by the road committee to monitor and revise the raw material rates as per the requirements of the department.

five major MC projects stalled
Five major projects of the MC has been delayed for the past more than three years due to Rs 1- crore pending fee of UT architect department. This came to light on Friday at the general house meeting when nominated Councillor Surinder Bahga demanded that the pending amount of the UT chief architect be cleared to speed up the clearance of projects.



Railways’ projects incomplete, Demands not met
Be it Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link or double tracking of Chandigarh-Ambala railway line, projects yet to see light of day
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Though residents of the city have been demanding better connectivity of the capital of two states, Chandigarh, with the metropolitan cities in the country, no major trains have been announced so far except the weekly Chandigarh-Bandra train, which was flagged off from the city recently. There has been a demand for the introduction of trains to Bangaluru, Kolkata and other major towns of the nation, besides a third Shatabdi to Delhi.

But there had been no announcement in this regard in the Railway Budget. The only solace was the running of the Chandigarh-Bandra train twice a week. The residents have been demanding the third Shatabdi from the city which will ply in the afternoon and enable connectivity with the Rajdhani Express plying from New Delhi to various major cities in the country.

The long-pending demand of the residents for a direct train from Chandigarh to Amritsar was met with the introduction of the Amritsar-Chandigarh Duronto train from August 24, last year. However, the much-hyped train was running out of steam as it had failed to attract passengers as there was no stoppage between the two stations. At present, on an average, only 250 to 300 passengers travel by the train everyday. Another demand includes an inter-city express train having a halt in Ludhiana and Jalandhar. There has also been a demand for a direct train from Chandigarh to Jammu as a large number of Kashmiri migrants live in the tricity region. As there is no train from the city, the residents have to hire private deluxe buses to go to Vaishno Devi Shrine in Katra.

The commuters are also put to harassment as some of the bus operators drop the passengers at Kharar or Mohali while charging fare for Chandigarh.

If one has to travel by train, he or she has to book a ticket from Ambala from where half a dozen trains ply to Jammu. The non-completion of the Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link is also proving to be a hurdle in launching the direct train to Jammu from the city

World-class terminus still a dream
Dream projects such as a world-class terminus at the local railway station, a cruise on a new road from Madhya Marg straight to the platform and a state-of-the-art shopping mall are yet to see light of day. Besides, a sprawling green driveway to the station, the building plan has a mall on the first floor at the site, which will serve as an exquisite landing place for visitors and will also be an attraction for the local population.

* It was proposed that the station would have connectivity with the international airport, public facilities like a hotel, shopping mall and a food court. It would also have a mechanised parcel handling system, besides additional facilities for differently abled persons.

* The plan also proposed air-conditioned waiting rooms and coffee shops with wireless Internet accessibility. Budget hotels for passengers and hi-tech CCTV cameras at strategic locations connected with a central surveillance room with about 20 odd monitors to keep a watch on anti-social elements.

* The Centre had “principally” agreed on a world-class railway station at the site of the existing rail terminus of the city. However, the Ministry of Railways has cited financial constraints as the main reason for putting the ambitious project on the hold, at least for now.

* The facilities suggested by the Ambala division had been planned keeping in view a spurt in traffic volume in consonance with the city growth rate and commissioning of the Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link and doubling of the Ambala-Chandigarh rail link.

what Residents want
* A direct train from Chandigarh to Jammu
* An inter-city express train that should halt in Ludhiana, Jalandhar
* A third Shatabdi to New Delhi
* Chandigarh-Bangaluru train

As there is no train from the city, the residents have to hire private deluxe buses to go to Vaishno Devi Shrine in Katra

Trains introduced
* Amritsar-Chandigarh Duronto Express
* Chandigarh-Bandra Express that will run twice a week

Projects that failed to take off
The projects, which are yet to see light of day or were delayed for one or the other reason, are Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link and double tracking of the Chandigarh-Ambala railway line. The rail link between Chandigarh and Ludhiana is likely to be completed in the next two to three years as only Rs 45 crore was announced by the Railways in this year’s Budget.

The double tracking of the city to Ambala line is yet to clear administrative hurdles. As per information, about 200 persons have encroached upon on the railway land near Dhakauli in Zirakpur. The Railways have sanctioned Rs 30 crore for the double tracking up to the Dappar railway station near Ambala.



Bomb hoax at Infosys
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
The UT police went into a tizzy today following a series of calls at Infosys that a bomb had been planted in the building at IT Park, Mani Majra. A bomb disposal squad was pressed in to service and a search was conducted. However, nothing was found and the call turned out to be a hoax. The police has traced the caller to Andhra Pradesh and investigations are on to arrest him and find out his identity.

The call was received at the telephone exchange of Infosys around 6.45 pm and security guards passed the information to the Chandigarh police control room. SHO of PS Mani Majra, Inspector Rajesh Shukla, said a case was registered against unidentified persons.

Similar calls were also received in Infosys buildings in cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.

Car catches fire
Four youths had a narrow escape when their car suddenly caught fire on a road in Sector 23 this morning. The Indigo car was completely damaged. The incident occurred at around 10.15 am. The driver noticed a spark and they got out of the car when it went ablaze. A fire tender was called to douse the flames.



Protest by jewellers 
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 30
Members of the Panchkula Jewellers Association took out a protest rally in the Sector 9 market here today.

They have been protesting against the Union Budget proposal of hiking custom duty on gold, introducing excise duty, and additional 1 per cent tax on cash payment above Rs 2 lakh.

The jewellers were unhappy over the proposed excise duty of 1 per cent on unbranded precious jewellery and the doubling of customs duty on standard gold bars and coins.

“We believe that the Central government is trying to revive the Gold Control Act, which it had scrapped,” said Deep Krishan Chauhan, president of the association.

“On the one hand, the Centre has been propagating liberalising trade by introducing the Goods and Service Tax (GST) from August, while on the other it has imposed the customs, excise and service tax on the gold trade,” he added.

The association also requested Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to reduce custom duty on the import of gold from the proposed 4 per cent to 2 per cent and totally exempt the non-branded jewellery from excise duty as it would directly impact the livelihood of about three crore people connected with the trade.



Sector 38-West: Water supply to 650 EWS houses to continue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Tussle between the Municipal Corporation and the Chandigarh Housing Board on the responsibility of operation and maintenance of a tubewell in Sector 38 West installed for supply of water to 650 EWS houses will not affect the routine water supply in the area. MC Commissioner VP Singh informed the general house that he had a word with the CHB authorities over this issue and matter would be resolved soon.

The Commissioner informed the house that the corporation would take legal opinion in the matter after which final decision would be taken by the department. The Commissioner stated that as per the terms, after the installation of the tubewell, the CHB had to maintain it for next five years and later on it would be handed over to the department concerned.

BJP and area councillor Arun Sood raised the issue in the house that MC should take over the tubewell from the CHB, as the corporation had collected the water tariff. 



PU knows how to mint money
Applicants pay again as previous results are awaited
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
It seems that Panjab University has come up with an innovative way of minting money by inviting fresh applications for various non-teaching posts. This has been done without declaring the results of the test that has already been conducted. As a result, applicants who are waiting for the previous results also applied this time by paying Rs 750 (Class B posts).

PU had conducted a test for 310 clerical posts on February 26. However, the university recently advertised for 130 posts of clerk and Data Entry Operator putting the applicants in a fix.

Panjab University Staff Association (PUSA) president Deepak Kaushik said that over six thousand people applied for the clerical posts for which a written test was held last month. The result is still awaited.

“A candidate who does not know his or her previous result will be end up paying Rs 750 more,” Kaushik said.

To express their resentment a protest was also held by the university employees outside PU’s administrative block against the fresh advertisements. April 16 has been set as the last date to apply for the post.

The PUSA president said they have approached V-C and have demanded that the process of inviting fresh applications should be stalled until the results are declared.

The PUSA has also demanded that PU should come up with a policy to regularise the employees who have been working with PU for last many years.

“To run an efficient system PU will need both new and old employees, for which the employees working on daily wages should be regularised,” Kaushik said.

Despite repeated attempts PU registrar AK Bhandari could not be contacted for comments. 



College gets nod to conduct exams
Was barred as exam centre; teachers fume over PU decision
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
The Panjab University less than a year after debarring Guru Nanak College, Ferozepur, as an examination centre has again approved the college as one of the examination centres.

Following an attack on the flying squad and over 150 copying cases reported, the PU Syndicate last year decided to debar the college from being an examination centre for at least a year. However, the university has changed its decision.

The decision has raised many eyebrows as even though the list of examination centres across Chandigarh and Punjab were finalised earlier this month, the university has decided to make the college an examination centre for the exams to be held in the coming month.

Sources said a committee was formed, which after visiting the college, submitted a report stating that the college can be made an examination centre.

On May 16 last year, Deepak Kaushal, principal of DM College, Moga, went to the college as a flying squad along with two other staff members. They were attacked by unidentified persons after they filed an unfair means case against some students who were found copying. Kaushal’s car was also damaged by the attackers.

Disappointed over PU’s decision, Kaushal said how the committee can recommend the college as an examination centre. Mass copying cases have been reported from the centre. “The committee didn’t even take the views from the aggrieved party to gauge the intensity of the situation,” Kaushal said.

RPS Josh, a Senate member, said no teacher would endanger their lives and go as a member of flying squad to the college. “It is surprising as how can PU change the decision taken by the Syndicate without bringing the issue again in the meeting,” Josh said.

Despite repeated attempts, AK Bhandari, controller examination, could not be contacted. Assistant registrar (examination) Devinder Singh Pathania confirmed that the college has been approved as an examination centre for regular students in the coming examinations.



Panjab University teachers object to expansion
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
The ambitious plans of Panjab University (PU) to build a science centre and planetarium at its campus may hit a roadblock as the Panjab University Teachers Union (PUTA) objects to it due to the limited space for expansion within the campus.

Both the centres, which require 7-acre land, will be open for school children and general public. The PUTA said the centre would not have any direct utility for the university students.

It is the local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal who desired to have a science centre in PU, following which the university seemed to be more convinced to come up with the project.

About Rs 7.5 crore is required to build this centre. PU has already allocated Rs 5 crore in its budget for the proposed project, which is to come up in South Campus, Sector 25. The proposal would be tabled before the Senate on March 31.

PUTA president Akshay Kumar said there was no scope for expansion in Sector 14 campus. Giving out 7-acre land in the Sector 25 campus is a big issue. “Moreover, where would PU locate the science centre is a big question,” he added.

The issue was earlier discussed in PUTA meeting and the general body has passed a resolution stating that they were not convinced with the project. Another meeting to discuss the issue will be held on Friday.

“We want the vice-chancellor to convince us about the project,” PUTA president said.

The university does not even fulfil all the commitments asked by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

In its letter, PU has been asked to have proper road connectivity to the proposed site; however, PU’s construction office has stated that a separate entry to the site may not be possible as per the norms of the UT administration. Instead, the construction office has suggested that entry to the campus, which is considered as V3 road, will provide proper connectivity.

The university doesn’t fulfil the requirements prescribed by the National Council of Science Museum (NCSM) under the ministry of providing water and electricity connection at concessional rates.

The PU construction office has stated that water and electricity connections are to be taken from UT and NCSM is likely to be charged commercial rates. However, PU can request the UT to charge domestic rates. 



right to education act
City schools ask Rs 2,500 per child before April 10
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Curtains are already down on Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, yet both education department and city private schools refuse to give rest to their war of letters.

Responding to the department’s accusations of not admitting students under the Act, Independent School Association in its strong-worded letter has asked UT to reimburse for admissions in advance at Rs 2,500 per child before April 10 or to postpone implementation of the Act to next year.

The education department has calculated per child cost to be around Rs 1,000 and submitted a proposal to finance department for its approval.

“This is our last word. They should notify the reimbursement and pay us by April 10 or forget about admissions. The issues regarding the act are unjustified as they are not appropriate government but its MHRD. As far as taking Rs 1,000 is concerned it is unacceptable to us,” said HS Mamik, president of Independent School Association.

The letter addressed to DEO states that schools abided by UT’s directives and extended deadlines in good faith but cannot afford to do that now. It has also department to not confuse EWS quota with RTE as former varies from school to school on basis of their allotment letters.

“Our sincere request that you first fill empty seats in government schools and then divert your attention to us. We have waited for you to work out the implementation of the Act but were left disappointed,” read the letter.

The department which had been vocal to get students admitted is sitting silent for last three days. It claims to be waiting for private schools to comment. 



Students want two more halls in university library
Tribune News Service

INSO members protest in front of the VC’s office at Panjab University in Chandigarh on Friday.
INSO members protest in front of the VC’s office at Panjab University in Chandigarh on Friday. Tribune photo: S. Chandan

Chandigarh, March 30
Indian National Students Organisation (INSO) staged a protest outside Vice-Chancellor office today demanding opening of two extra halls in the library. Students said with the increasing number of courses the burden on library has increased and with the limited number of seats the students fail to get the benefit of a library.

INSO president Anil Ghanghas said memorandums were given to Vice-Chancellor and DSW regarding the issue on several occasions.

PU authorities had promised to open two extra halls in the library. “More than 14,000 students study in the university and they find it tough to study in the library with limited space,” he added. 



PIL on shifting of DEO’s office filed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
A public interest litigation urging the Chandigarh administration and education department not to shift the DEO’s office out of the Sector-9 Additional Deluxe Building was filed in the district courts.

In the Civil Suit filed under the category of action against public nuisance under Section 91 of the CPC, advocate Pankaj Chandgothia arrayed the Chandigarh Administration, through its education secretary, the DPI (Director, Public Instructions) (Schools), the Deputy Director, Public Instructions (Schools) and the District Education Officer (DEO), as defendants in the case.

Chandgothia has contended that the unnecessary shifting of the DEO’s office to Sector 19, would amount to public nuisance and was against the public interest as it would result in wastage of time, fuel and money. The office has been functioning from its present address for at least the past 30 years. The DEO is the local authority under the RTE Act and the main functionary, in whose name all matters relating to school education in the UT of Chandigarh, are carried out. These include guidance, issuing of circulars, enforcement of rules, etc with which all schools, staff, students and their parents are directly concerned. In this manner, lakhs of people are concerned with the work 
of the DEO’s office on a daily basis.



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