C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Fire safety forgotten
Urban planning dept recommends NOC for TDI mall despite violations
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Ignoring fire safety norms, the UT urban planning department has urged the Municipal Corporation (MC) fire department to issue a no-objection certificate (NOC) to the TDI mall management multiplex in Sector 17. Rejecting the recommendation, the fire department has replied that the mall is not covered under the architect frame control of Corbusier as it was constructed recently and so it cannot avail the relaxation.

In a recent communication, the UT urban planning department had stated that under the architect frame control, it was not mandatory for any old building of the city to have a clear passage for the movement of fire engines around the premises. Hence, the fire department should issue an NOC to the mall at the earliest.

Referring to the Kolkata incident in which 100 persons lost their lives in a fire, the fire wing said in its reply that similar violations of the National Building Code of India (NBC) were detected on the mall premises after inspection, forcing it to reject the NOC for the third time.

MC Additional Commissioner Lalit Siwach said the authorities had rejected the recommendations made by the urban planning department as certain violations had still not been removed by the mall management.

Sources in the fire department said similar fire safety objections were raised by the department when the building plan was sent for approval. But ignoring those objections, the management went ahead with the construction of the multiplex as per the original plan.

In March, a special inspection was conducted by the fire team in which major violations were detected in the building. These included non-availability of a provision for a 6-metre passage around the building for access to fire engines. In case of a fire, fire engines weighing up to 45 tonnes would not have access to the building. Referring to the NBC, the officials stated that it was mandatory to have a 6-metre open space around a building.

The team to inspect the mall building was headed by the MC Chief Fire Officer along with four station fire officers of the department.

Last year in September and October, the fire team had inspected the mall after receiving a request for an NOC and had submitted a detailed report of fire safety violations. The team had recommended non-issuance of the NOC.

In a rush

The UT urban planning department has stated that under the architect frame control, it is not mandatory for any old building of the city to have a clear passage for the movement of fire engines around its premises. Hence, the fire department should issue a no-objection certificate to the mall at the earliest.

Fire dept stands firm

Referring to the Kolkata incident in which 100 persons died in a fire, the fire department has said in its reply that similar violations of the National Building Code of India were detected on the mall premises after inspection, forcing it to reject the NOC for the third time.



Traffic constable hit by SUV
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Barely two days after two Home Guard volunteers with the UT police were assaulted in separate incidents, a traffic police constable was injured after he was hit by an SUV bearing a Delhi registration number at the Sector 24/25 lights here this evening.

Constable Baldev Raj Singh was on duty with Head Constable Narinder Singh at the lights when the incident occurred. At around 5 pm, Baldev signalled a Fortuner (DL-4C-4738) to pull over. He asked the driver for the documents of the vehicle, but he accelerated and fled while hitting the constable.

Baldev fell on the road and received minor injuries on the head, nose and legs. He was taken to the Government Multi Speciality Hospital in Sector 16 where he was administered first aid.

A case under Sections 332 and 353 of the IPC has been registered.

Past incidents

May 4: Two Home Guards of the UT police were abused, threatened and thrashed in full public view in separate incidents at Sectors 36 and 52.

April 22: Four youths attacked a constable attached with the security of the UT SSP. Constable Bhim Singh had a miraculous escape as the four tried to run their BMW over him near Sector 10. All the four were arrested in an attempt-to-murder case registered against them.



Couple killed in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
In a tragic incident, a couple died while their 10-year-old daughter was injured in a hit-and-run accident in Sector 40 late last night.

The victims were riding a Kinetic Honda scooter when a rashly driven car hit them and fled, leaving them injured on the road. The car was reportedly being driven by youths in an inebriated state.

A police vehicle rushed them to the PGI where 38-year-old Ashok Kumar, a resident of Sector 40, was declared brought dead. His wife Santosh succumbed to her injuries later in the day. Their 10-year-old daughter Muskan was discharged after treatment. She has a 12-year-old brother who was waiting for them at home.

The accident occurred at 9 pm last night when Ashok Kumar, a mechanic; his wife Santosh, who supplies tiffin to paying guests; and their daughter, a class V student were returning home after supplying tiffin to paying guests in the area. The family stayed at a rented accommodation in Sector 40.

Their Kinetic Honda was hit by a car near a turn adjoining Government Model School in Sector 40. Passersby were unable to take down the number of the car, but informed the police control room.

Inspector Charanjit Singh, SHO of the Sector 39 police station, said they had registered a case of causing death due to negligence and efforts were being made to trace the car.

World comes crashing down

Twelve-year-old Munish was in tears as he lit the pyre of his father. His 10-year-old sister, who survived the accident, was being taken care of by relatives at home.

Some clues

Eyewitnesses said the car which hit the scooter was a white Maruti Swift. The driver halted for some time and then fled. The police is trying to trace a car which was seen making rounds of the spot where the accident occurred.

Frantic calls

Santosh supplied tiffins to paying guests in Sectors 38, 39 and 41. A relative said her cellphone had not stopped ringing as paying guests, unaware of the mishap, wanted to know why the tiffins had not arrived.

Fatal accidents

May 1: A motorcyclist was killed after being hit by an unidentified car in the Industrial Area.

May 3: A 36-year-old woman died after being crushed by a car.

Pedestrian killed

A pedestrian, Rukmani, died after she was hit by a motorcycle in Mani Majra. The motorcyclist, Gurdeep, is critically injured and admitted to the PGI.



GMSh-16 getting computerised
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
The city residents can hope for better health care at Government Mulit-Speicialty Hospital, Sector 16, in near future as the authorities have started computerisation of many facilities including X-ray machines, pharmacy, and even reports of diagnostic laboratories.

While the trial run of X-ray machines has already been initiated, it will take some more time to start this procedure at other facilities, said Dr Rajeev Vadehra, Medical superintendent.

The X-ray machine has been attached with a computer in the radiology department. With this the image of the X-Ray of a patient will be downloaded at the computer and through local area network, it will be available to the doctors on their computers no matter whether they are sitting in the OPD, Emergency or at operation theatre. An added advantage of the facility will be that the physician will be able to zoom in the picture on his desktop only for which he has to go to the X-ray room.

This facility will help in early diagnosis of a patient, which further will result in the prompt and proper treatment. And it will save the patient and his attendants from shuttling between X-ray room and the OPDs.

Till now majority of the patients visiting the OPDs are directed to collect their X-ray report the next day. The doctors at the hospital, however, attend their OPDs every alternate day. In case a doctor avails a holiday on the day of OPD, many a patients have to wait for five days for further consultation. With report of X-ray available on computer network of hospital, the doctor will be able to examine the report same day.

For the reports from diagnostic laboratories the fully automatic machines equipped with self generating reports will be attached with computer and the report of such tests will be available on all the computers. The doctor only will need to feed the registration number of patient to locate the report.

Similarly this system will help in maintaining the stock and distribution of medicines at different departments of the hospital and dispensaries, said Vadehra.



One arrested in kidney scam
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 7
Cracking the infamous kidney scam, the Mohali police today arrested Fagu Lal, alias Sachin, here. He is one of the five accused in the case. The others are Manju Pandey, her sons Amitabh and Abhishek, Shakeel and Vikas.

The police has been raiding several parts of other states to arrest the accused. Most of them are residents of Uttar Pradesh, the police said. Sachin originally hails from Binayakpur, UP, and has been staying in Burail.

A case under Sections 419, 420, 468, 471, 474 and 120-B of the IPC and Sections 18, 19-A and 20 of the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act have been registered against the accused at the Phase 8 police station here.

Mohali SSP GS Bhullar said the special investigation team had also detected violations of the Act by the staff of two local hospitals, Silver Oaks and Surya Kidney Care Centre.

"During our investigations, we found that Sachin, who worked as a technician in Surya Kidney Care Centre, used to replace blood samples of the donor/patient with their relatives. This led to the matching of DNA reports of the patient and the donor. We have also detected this cheating in at least two-three other cases so far," said Bhullar.

The gang fraudulently brought victims here and prepared their fake identities before removing their kidneys, which they sold later.

The SSP said Ikramudin of Ghaziabad had given a statement that his sister's kidney was removed here. Ikramudin had stated that Sachin replaced her blood samples before the operation. The victim was lured by Shakeel, who had told him (Ikramudin) that after a brief operation a vein from her body would be removed and she would be fine. Shakeel also promised to give Ikramudin Rs 2 lakh for it, said the police.

Four days after her operation, Ikramudin was given Rs 1 lakh and was threatened to leave the city. Ikramudin came to know about the missing kidney only after a doctor at his native place examined her.

The police claimed that many such cases have come to their knowledge in which the kidneys of several poor patients were removed in such a manner. 

Many more cases

Sources in the police department claimed that this was only the tip of the iceberg. "A majority of donors from UP, Bihar and Nepal were found to have donated their kidneys 'illegally' in return for cash. The gang prepared fake documents and the victims were shown as local residents," they said.


The management of Surya Kidney Care Centre has claimed that Sachin has never been their employee. "He is neither our employee nor has he associated with us in any capacity," said Jashanjeet, administrator of the centre.


Civic body employees go on strike
Protest registration of case against six members of enforcement wing
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 7
Work in the office of the municipal council came to a standstill after employees went on a strike today.

They have been protesting against the registration of a case against six members of the enforcement team of the civic body who had gone to remove illegal rehris outside the court complex on Friday.

The protesters gathered outside the office and held a gate rally today. Slogans were raised against the police and the local administration. It is alleged that lawyers had allegedly beaten up a council employee, Kesar Singh, when he had gone to remove rehris parked illegally outside the court complex in Phase III-B1.

An 11-member action committee was formed to take up the matter with the authorities concerned. The committee is headed by Devinder Pal Sharma, sanitary inspector.

Sharma said the committee members had met the Deputy Commissioner and the SSP in connection with the registration of a case against the council employees. They had demanded that the case should be cancelled as employees on duty had allegedly been attacked by lawyers. The police should have taken action only after seeing the footage of the CCTV cameras installed on the premises of the court complex.

He said the district heads had urged the committee members to give them two days' time. An assurance was, however, given that the case would be cancelled. The strike would be called off for two days but dharnas by employees would continue, Sharma added.

It is learnt that the Joint Action Committee of the civic body had earlier written a letter to the District Magistrate in which it stated that there was resentment among employees after a council employee was allegedly beaten up while on duty. They said till the case registered against council employees was not cancelled they would remain on strike and all services being provided by the civic body like supply of water, streetlight and sanitation would be disrupted. As such it was necessary to get an inquiry done into the matter and get the case cancelled so that the working of the civic body was not adversely affected.

The employees also wrote a letter to the Chairman of the Bar Council, Punjab and Haryana, requesting the authority concerned to cancel the licences of lawyers who had allegedly beaten up the council employee while on government duty.

A case on the charges of criminal intimidation, trespass, voluntarily causing hurt against the council employees was registered. However, a number of lawyers were also booked by the police under Sections 353, 186, 323, 332, 147, 149, 342, 506 and 295-A of the IPC on the basis of a complaint lodged by a council employee. 



Curbing crime tops DCP’s priority list
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 7
Curbing crime and maintaining law and order will top the priority list of the new Deputy Commissioner of Police, Parul Jain, who assumed the charge this morning.

A 2004 batch IPS officer of West Bengal cadre, Jain who was transferred here from Kurukshetra, said her first priority was to get a feedback on the nature of crime being committed in the town.

She said as the town shared border with the neighbouring states of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Union Territory of Chandigarh, it was easy for criminals to make good their escape after committing the crime. She said they would coordinate with their counterparts for keeping a tab on such anti-social elements.

Jain said her main emphasis would be on solving the problems being faced by the general public as most of the inhabitants in the city were senior citizens. She said she would review the crime situation in the city after inspecting various nakas at important points in the district. She said policing was very sensitive and was a public-oriented job so it was her duty to coordinate with the police and general public.

The DCP is a native of Jind in Haryana. She graduated from MCM DAV College, Sector 36, in Chandigarh. After doing masters in botany (honours) from Panjab University, she joined the Indian Police Service in 2004 and her first posting was as Assistant Commissioner of Police in Howra in West Bengal. She was transferred to Haryana and was posted as the DCP in Central Faridabad before her transfer to Kurukshetra as the Superintendent of Police.

She said her stint at Kurukshetra, a sleepy town, had been successful as she was able to control the crime rate there. She said it would take her a few days to study the crime pattern in the town. She said mostly senior citizens were targeted by criminals and it would be her duty to safeguard their lives and property. 



Garbage collectors win, pilot project scrapped
Workers of contractor to be withdrawn from residential areas of Sector 22; lifting of garbage set to restart from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
The municipal corporation (MC) has succumbed to the pressure of the door-to-door employees association and scrapped its pilot project of garbage collection at Sector 22, launched with pomp and show a fortnight ago.

In a meeting with members of the association, chaired by Mayor Raj Bala Malik today, it was decided that the contractor’s employees would be withdrawn for collection of garbage from residential areas of Sector 22 and association employees would start performing their duty of collecting garbage from there.

Others who attended the meeting included area councillor Pardeep Chhabra and MC officials.

In fact, slabs for garbage-collection charges by the MC were withdrawn and residents would have to shell out the money according to the whims of the employees of the association.

It was also decided in the meeting that employees would collect garbage from residents and MC vehicles would lift it from a point decided by the department and dispose it of at the garbage plant in Dadu Majra.

In the meeting, it was also decided that the new system would continue at the commercial areas of Sector 22 and garbage collection would be conducted by contractual employees.

MC Additional Commissioner Sunil Bhatia said association employees would start lifting garbage in the city from tomorrow as their association gave assurance to call off the strike.

Interestingly, the BJP was taking the credit for the discontinuation of the pilot project, which was beneficial for residents of Sector 22 and for streamlining the garbage-collection system, for which a number of steps had been taken by the authorities.

Objecting on the outcome of the agitation, a resident of Sector 22, Satish Sharma, said it was strange that the authorities bent to the pressure tactics of employees and had not taken stringent measures to deal with such a situation.

He expressed displeasure at the money spent on the launch of this project, which was dumped in a fortnight.

He said residents were left with no option but to depend on unorganised employees.

Employees were not lifting garbage from residential areas for the last five days in protest against the pilot project.



Admn says no to generator sets
Will not be allowed on and around building with mobile towers
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
In the new policy on mobile phone towers, the UT Administration has decided not to allow generator sets on and around building with mobile towers.

In the new policy, the UT Administration has decided to replace generator sets with battery back-up in the future.

Residents of a few sectors had also complained about noise and air pollution from the generator sets in the past.

In some cases, notices had also been served on mobile phone companies.

A senior official with the UT Administration said they were preparing a draft policy on the direction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the points which the Administration was including in the policy would be place before the high court on the next date of hearing.

Earlier, the UT Administration had decided to make it mandatory for mobile phone operators to obtain permission of the heritage conservation committee to instal mobile towers on heritage buildings in the city.

As the heritage conservation committee was working for preserving the city’s heritage, the UT Administration had decided to take permission from the committee in case mobile phone companies wanted to instal towers on heritage buildings.

Representatives of mobile phone companies had recently submitted that in Sectors 1 to 6 and 48 to 50, there were no commercial pockets and therefore, companies be allowed to instal towers in residential areas in these sectors.

Earlier, the Deputy Commissioner, Brijendra Singh, in his report submitted to the UT Finance Secretary, VK Singh, had pointed out that more than 300 mobile phone towers in the city were illegal.

The Administration had asked for the report after receiving directions from the Punjab and Haryana High Court that it should notify its policy on mobile phone towers in residential areas in two months.

The high court had made it clear that it wanted these towers to be shifted out of residential areas in a phased manner.

The draft policy on mobile phone towers, prepared in 2004, made it clear that no such tower would be allowed in residential areas.

The policy stated that such towers would be allowed on commercial buildings which had completion certificates and sanctioned building plans.

The policy further read that the commercial buildings should have sewerage connections and be inspected by the estate office staff.

The owners of mobile phone companies had challenged the other provisions and directions in the policy.

The policy could not be notified since the court had stayed the proceedings.

The litigation was sent to the Supreme Court and subsequently reverted to the high court.



No monkey business, this
Alarmed, UT Administration to hire trained catchers now
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
With the monkey menace rising in the city and no permanent solution in sight, the UT Administration has now decided to hire trained monkey catchers and pay them for every monkey they catch.

The forest and wildlife department has floated tenders to hire the monkey catchers. Earlier, the Administration was mulling to hire Gurgaon-based monkey catchers and paying them Rs 300 per monkey. But later it decided to invite all the interested parties through a tender.

UT officials believe that by hiring professional monkey catchers, they will be able to get rid of the menace as the catchers have been in this line for the past several years and use special cages to catch the monkeys. But the Administration is yet to decide where to keep the captured monkeys and where to set them free.

According to an estimate of forest officials, around 500 monkeys roam freely in the city. At present, the department has only two langurs --- Manu and Basanti --- to chase away the monkeys. The department is paying around Rs 7,500 each every month to the langur trainers. Manu is "posted" at the UT secretariat building in Sector 9 while Basanti is kept at the forest office in Sector 19.

A senior official of the Administration said the forest and wildlife department had both the langurs and the manpower, but it required the assistance of trained people to catch the monkeys.

Another senior official said people usually associated monkeys with Lord Hanuman and offered them bananas and other eatables. The forest department chases them away every month, but the monkeys come back in search of food. Besides, a number of hotels, restaurants and food joints throw food outside, which attracts the monkeys.

In the recent past, there have been several incidents where monkeys have attacked children. Residents are also facing problems as the monkeys enter the houses as well in search for food.


In case of monkey-related problems in the city, residents can dial 4639999, the round-the-clock helpline provided by the forest and wildlife department.



Northern sectors worst hit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
The monkey menace is widespread in the city, specially in northern sectors.

Their favourite hanging spots are in Sectors 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 18, 26, 27 and 28.

The menace is forcing residents to stay indoors during morning and evening.

Troops of monkeys have been terrorising residents with their aggressive antics.

In some sectors, the monkeys follow a particular trail during the morning and evening hours and nobody dare use the path as the monkeys are generally in large numbers.

Despite a number of complaints from the residents, the UT forest and wildlife department has failed to tackle the problem.

Doctors say the number of monkey-bite cases have reached alarming proportions and if the authorities do not act swiftly, the situation will only worsen.



Special train to Vaishno Devi likely
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Keeping in view the huge rush to the Vaishno Devi shrine at Katra in Jammu and Kashmir the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) would launch a special train from the city.

IRCTC chief regional manager RK Sondh said they were seeing a great potential for starting a new special train to the shrine.

He said that detailed surveys were being carried out and would soon chalk out a plan for starting the special train with a month.

Sondh said there were 12 special trains for various destinations, including Goa, South India and Shirdi, under the Bharat Darshan programme and they were hoping to start a few more trains this year.

He said they had received a good response from residents of the tricity for the earlier special train to Goa, as all berths were booked two or three weeks in advance.

He said there was a great demand for a special train to Goa as people were making enquiries for the next trip to the tourist spot.

He said another special train to Goa would be launched after the weather became pleasant there.



Drive against tinted glass: 60 challaned

Mohali, May 7
Following the Apex Court's directions, the Mohali Police has begun a special drive against tinted glass here. So far, it has issued 60 challans.

Swarndeep Singh, Superintendent of Police (traffic), said following the Supreme Court's directions, the police had started the drive. In the first two days, warnings were issued to the offenders.

"Now, we have started challaning them. Special nakas are being laid to check the menace," said Swarndeep Singh. — TNS

Over 1000 challaned in four days
In respect of the Supreme Court directions against the use of black films in cars, the UT Traffic police, today, challaned a total of 440 violators for use of black films.

The traffic police has collected a total of fine of over Rs 1 lakh in the last three days ever since the drive has been initiated.

Around 1000 vehicles have been penalised for use of black films in the last four days.

The police control room staff too issued a total of 62 challans for tinted glasses/black film used on cars. The police control room also removed their black film on the spot.



Yayawar Theatre fest concludes 
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, May 7
The two day Yayawar Theatre festival presented by the National School of Drama Repertory company, New Delhi, in association with the Rang Virasat and Vivek High school, and the Tribune group of newspapers as the media advisor, concluded at the school auditorium here today. Both the plays, Aadamjad and Panchlight, transported the elite city audience to the world of traditional folk theatre of Rajasthan and Bihar, with the elements of Nautanki genre pervasive their in. The opening play “Adamjad”, based on a story by Vijaydan Detha, brought into focus the decadence and degeneration of moral ethics with the greed and viciousness dominating the human psyche. Structured in the traditional folk theatre idiom, the play reflected many aspects and layers of human behaviour and how aggression, selfishness and anger become the guiding force in our lives to secure what is otherwise unethical and illegal. The protagonist, a known cheat (Kailash Chauhan), instigated by his fifth but barren wife, exploits another woman to secure the custody of her illegitimate son and steals gold and valuables from her in-laws before killing her. The infant grows only to turn a dacoit, loots money, loses it and again creates a gang, but dies before the amassed wealth is distributed, repeating the story of his foster father. The actors, with adroit mastery over the Rajasthani dialect, gave a realistic portrayal to the characters.

The second story ”Punchlight” structured in the rural ambience of Bihar was full of wit and humour, laced with didactic wisdom and a realistic picture of development. Based on Phanishwar Nath Renu’s Hindi story of same title, the satirical play discusses the caste prejudices and delves on the need of proper education to lift the darkness from the life of the people. A judicious mix of Bihari dialect, Hinglish and filmy parodies, all executed with brilliance, kept the audience in splits. Director Ranjeet Kapoor had employed ‘sutradhars’ in both the plays to facilitate the linking and progress of the story. Almost all actors being trained singers was an added advantage. Kailash Chauhan, Parsoon Soni, Rajni Bala, Madhumita, Suman , Ashutosh Mishra, Javed shined through the production. Ranjeet Kapoor was appreciative of the city audience.



No prof, associate prof to be hired
The decision will be in force till Panjab University Senate election takes place
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
In the wake of the moral code of conduct of the forthcoming Senate elections, Panjab University has decided not to hire any professors or associate professors till the Senate election. However, recruitment to 50 per cent of the posts of assistant professor advertised by it recently will be done.

The decision was taken by a high power committee today. The committee had been constituted to identify urgent and need based recruitments as not only is PU headed towards senate election but VC RC Sobti is also on his way out.

The decision, however, was not an amicable one as the committee members, divided into two groups led by PUTA President Akshay Kumar and DCDC Naval Kishore, had heated arguments and levelled allegations against each other.

“First of all it was unethical on the part of the VC to advertise 300 teaching posts when he knew that not only his term was ending but the Senate was also headed for elections. Akshay insisted that even though propriety barred all recruitments, to deal with the professed staff crunch PU could go ahead with hiring a limited number of assistant professors. This infuriated others who wanted to make all recruitments to gain benefit in the Senate elections. We had to fight our way to get uphold propriety and in the end this decision was taken with consensus,” said one of the members supporting Akshay Kumar.

Another member, however, said , "PUTA does not understand practical aspects of many things. There is no vested interest in recruitment. It would have been better to stall the entire recruitment process. Selective recruitment is impossible and will create legal hassles. They claim to have catered to all the departments. What about those who desperately need a professor or associate professor? And given that there are vacations in the month of June, who will sit here and screen applicants or conduct interviews. The decision has been taken by PUTA and a particular Senate group. Not even the deans were included in it.”



Online exam a hit among students
Experts say online test of AIEEE was much simpler than the regular pen-and-paper test
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Contrary to the apprehensions of the thousands of their counterparts, over 400 city students seemed quite satisfied with their decision to choose the online medium for All India Engineering Entrance Examination rather than the conventional pen-and-paper format as the online question paper reportedly turned out to be much easier than the offline one held on April 29.

Nearly 300 students appeared for the exam at CGC, Gharuan, and 150 at Indo Global Colleges, Mohali, the only two centres in the tricity.

Though there were rumours early in the morningabout technical glitch having cropped up in the software, the students heaved a sigh of relief when they registered in their systems at around 8:30 am in the presence of the CBSE team.

"I was really worried as there was a news of some problem having been cropped up in the software, but all went well. Not only was the software equipped with easy correction option, but we also had the facility of switching language midway to understand questions better. What, however, made things easy was the question paper which was better than the offline one. My parents had been scolding me for months for choosing the online option, but I am happy that I went for it," said Yashovardhan Singh who appeared at CGC, Gharuan.

Though the paper contained the same number and type of questions, experts claimed that the questions were direct, simple and took less time to solve. Compared to the pen and paper format, the online format had a relatively easy option to change answers, giving an edge to these students.

"What is surely going in favor of these 400 students is the fact that changing answer is more convenient in the online test as compared to OMR sheets. In OMR sheets, due to the use of pen to encircle the answers, the risk of disqualification of answer while changing is high. But in the online format a student can easily change the answer," said a Sector 20-based maths expert.

"Though the board did maintain the pattern of questions, this paper was very easy as compared to the offline one as the questions were very direct. The students who have gone for the online exam have surely got an edge over the others for several reasons. Firstly, it was an easy paper. Secondly, unlike the students whose exam centres were in Bhatinda and Kurukshetra, these students did not have to go through any chaos or confusion," said Dr Sangeeta Khanna of Sector 24.

The online examinees, however, missed having the question paper. They were also not able to get the answer key.

"In papers, like that of BITS Pilani, the moment you submit your answer sheet an answer key is automatically generated which helps you to judge your performance. But in this case we neither got the key and not even the question paper," said Gurjot Kaur who appeared at Indo Global Colleges.The next leg of paper is scheduled for May 12.

Offline applicants cry foul

Thousands of city students who had appeared in the offline leg of AIEEE on April 29 have been crying foul, accusing the board of not addressing their complaints regarding chaos at the Bhatinda centres which reportedly affected their performance. Those who missed their chance on April 29 were given an option to appear for the online exam and were suppose to apply till May 5. But many students claim that they never got to know about it. "All information is on the CBSE public portal and the news also appeared in many national dailies. We cannot go to each student and make the announcement," said a senior CBSE official.

CBSE reaches out for feedback

In an unprecedented move, a team of CBSE officials, headed by Regional Director RJ Khanderao, visited the centres to get the feedback of students on the online system. The team not only reviewed the working of the software but also the available infrastructure in the centres. "It is quite encouraging to know that students have given this format a thumbs up. While only 10 percent of students went for this format this time, today's exam does hint at that fact that this is the future," said Khanderao.

Pros of online examination

Easy to change answers

Option to switch language midway while attempting questions

Cons of online examination

Unavailability of question papers and answer key



90 receive diplomas in convocation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
As many as 90 students of classical music (vocal and instrumental), classical dances and fine arts (painting) of northern region were conferred upon diplomas of Bhaskar and Visharad final at the Pracheen Kala Kendra convocation held at Randhawa Auditorium yesterday.

Chief guest Naresh Kaushal, editor, Dainik Tribune, gave away the diplomas to the students and lauded the efforts of the Kendra in upholding the tradition of classical arts and imparting quality education and training to over 2.60 lakh students spread 
all over the country and abroad.

Dr Nivedita Singh, professor, Department of Music, Punjabi University, Patiala in her keynote address urged the students to put the knowledge and skill acquired by them under guru-shishya parampara for the propagation and promotion of Indian art and culture. The convocation began with a brief introduction of Pracheen Kala Kendra and its multifarious activities in the areas of classical arts.

A welcome address was also given by secretary Sajal Koser. Shobha Koser, registrar of the kendra gave the vote of thanks. Later, Amritsar-based Jaspreet Singh, topper in Bhaskar examination, presented compositions in vilambit and drut khayal in raga Shudha Sarang followed by a sitar recital by Manmeet Kaur from Patiala. Veer Preet Kaur and Manmohan Preet Singh gave a befitting finale to the convocation with their tabla jugalbandi set to teen taal.



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