C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


10 bites a day as Canine terror stalks city
* 1,453 cases have already been reported so far this year * 13 residents died of dog bite last year * MC remains apathetic
Arun Sharma and Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
For Sanjeev Tewari, former Director Public Relations of Panjab University, an evening walk in the campus last week turned out to be a nightmare. While crossing the street he was startled when a growling street dog caught hold of his leg and before he could react it bit him badly. He had to rush to the Sector 19 civil dispensary where over the course of the week he had to take five anti-rabies injections apart from a tetanus shot. The cost of treatment: Rs 1,875. His trauma: incalculable.

That’s not an exaggeration. Four-year-old Akshadha Sood is not stepping out of her house in Sector 37 for the past month because of fear of stray dogs. A close shave, about a month ago when she was playing with her friends in the street, has terrified her. Her father Arun Sood, area councillor of the Municipal Corporation (MC), has been unable to cajole her into venturing out from her house. “If we cannot ensure the safety of the residents at the hands of dogs, what is the need of having big departments like animal husbandry and Medical Officer Health in the corporation,” he said.

Good question! Something he should be answering himself being part of the MC. Tewari of Panjab University recalls that he had in fact complained to the MC about the stray dog menace before he was bitten but it fell on deaf ears. Says he: “I can remember at least half a dozen cases of dog bite in the vicinity of our residences during the past year alone. The municipal authorities have been approached on several occasions but to no avail.”

As the stray dog population explodes unchecked in the Union Territory (there are no official figures but estimates put it at 9,000), the number of people being bitten averages at least 10 a day. Among the unending list of dog bite victims in the city is Harjinder Kaur, a former Mayor, who was bitten by a stray dog during a visit to a gurdwara in her own ward in February this year.

According to official figures, at least 3,785 cases of dog bites were reported by UT government hospitals and dispensaries in 2011 alone. The number was much higher at 4,253 in 2010. This year the figures have already crossed 1,453. So serious is the problem that last year 13 people from Chandigarh reportedly died of rabies. The combined figure for the previous two years — 2009 and 2010 — was 17.

When The Tribune visited the Government Hospital, Sector 19, which specialises in the treatment of dog bite, Bhavesh, a migrant labourer, was taking his dose of anti-rabies injections. He had been bitten by a stray dog recently and looked morose. Bhavesh had been saving money for the past several months to get his son a bicycle to go to school. But he was forced to spend the entire amount on anti-rabies injections.

Dr Poornima Sehgal, in charge of the dispensary, says, “Dogs find an easy prey among children and the elderly. A majority of the victims coming to the dispensary include small children and old people.” Among the victims being treated is 12-year-old Govinda who was bitten by a stray dog when he was playing in the ground in Sector 20. Govinda recalled tearfully that although the dog had already attacked at least five others in the sector, it still prowls in the vicinity. “Afraid of this dog we keep changing the place to play but it keeps chasing us,” he said.

Morning walkers have their own tales of woe. Karnail Kaur (57) went to the neighbourhood park at TDI city in Mohali when a stray dog appeared suddenly and pounced upon her. Yet as the toll mounts and the residents of the Union Territory face a growing canine threat that has even taken lives, the Municipal Corporation remains apathetic to the issue and ill-equipped to handle the menace. 




Treatment for dog bite

A dog bite, which punctures the skin, requires a special kind of vaccination and serum application for protection against rabies. A vaccination vial costs at least Rs 350 and every victim needs five such vials. The animal serum (equine serum) being used in the treatment costs Rs 850 a vial and an adult victim requires up to four such vials, taking the cost up to Rs 3,400.

Though the animal serum is available at a highly subsidised price of Rs 5 for one vial in the Chandigarh dispensary, many of the victims are found to be sensitive towards animal serum and require human serum (immunoglobulin serum) administration. It costs Rs 4,500 per vial and an adult victim has to spend a whopping Rs 18,000 on the purchase of serum alone. This will be in addition to the cost of vaccine to be purchased for the treatment of dog bite.

Dr Poornima Seghal, in charge of the Sector 19 anti-rabies dispensary, said the victims require one dose of serum and five doses of rabies vaccine. The serum dose is infiltrated around the bites so that the rabies virus does not travel to brain. The vaccine, however, takes at least 14 days to generate the antibodies. Till then, the serum provides protection against the rabies.

If untreated, the virus travels to the brain by following the peripheral nerves. The incubation period of the disease is minimum four days. Sometimes it could take months to do so. Once the rabies virus reaches the central nervous system and symptoms begin to show, the infection is untreatable and usually fatal within days.




Fatal bites

Stray dogs have become killers. Last year 13 people from Chandigarh lost their lives because of dog bites. Prior to this in 2009 and 2010, 17 deaths were reported because of dog bites.

Two of the deceased among them are from slum areas of Chandigarh in Ram Darbar and Colony No. 5. Vijay (30), who used to sell fish in Ram Darbar, died eight months after being bitten by a dog. Apparently after the dog bit him, his wife had asked him to take the anti-rabies injection but he said it was too costly and didn’t go to the hospital. Months later he developed hydrophobia and died within a few days.

The story of Shravan is no different. Shravan was employed as a helper at a shop in Colony No. 5. A dog bit him near his house. His family members advised him to go to a hospital but he ignored them. He died after a few days, said Haribans, one of his relatives.

First aid for a dog bite

If you get bitten:

* Flush the injured area for at least five minutes, allowing water to run into the dog bite wound. Don’t rub the wound.

* Wash the injury site gently with anti-bacterial soap for five minutes.

* Only anti-septic solutions like Betadine should be applied. Do not apply home remedies like chilli powder.

* Keep the wound uncovered and consult a physician.



3 women among 4 held for bid to break ATM
Tribune News Service

Complainant Deep Singh shows the broken ATM machine; and (right) the accused being taken to court in Chandigarh on Wednesday.
Complainant Deep Singh shows the broken ATM machine; and (right) the accused being taken to court in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Tribune photos: Majoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, May 9
Four persons, including three women, were held while attempting to break an Axis Bank ATM in Behlana village near Chandigarh Airport in the wee hours today. A contractor saw the four trying to break the ATM when he confronted them and raised an alarm.

After a heated scuffle, in which the contractor was attacked with a knife, all the four were handed over to the police and a case of attempt to robbery under Section 393 of the IPC registered at the Sector 31 police station.

The four arrested have been identified as Rajwant Singh, resident of village Sihaita in Amritsar, his wife Amita, Megha and Malika, residents of Yamunanagar.

The police said the women used to earlier work in a call centre and currently were jobless and in dire need of money. They thought of earning quick bucks by breaking the ATM machine.

The incident came to light at 2.30 am when Deep Singh, who works as a contractor dealing with newspaper packaging, was returning to his residence in Behlana in his car.

He noticed a thick clog of smoke inside the Axis Bank ATM and two women, with their faces covered, giving guard outside. As he stopped and confronted them, the women tried to flee but were soon nabbed by the passersby as Deep raised an alarm.

Inside the ATM, a couple was trying to break the machine with a cutter, knife and lighter.

When Deep entered the ATM, Rajwant pushed him and attacked him with a knife. Amid a scuffle, the accused were soon overpowered as more people gathered and called the police.

“The two women standing outside tried to flee, but were nabbed as I raised an alarm. I got into a scuffle with the man who was inside the ATM. He took out a knife and attacked me,” said Deep who also sustained minor injuries.

All the four were produced in court and sent to judicial custody.


Lawyers, MC staff continue to protest
 Demand cancellation of cases registered against colleagues
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 9
Even as the district authorities have failed to bring about a settlement, employees of the Municipal Council as well as members of the Bar Association continued their protests each demanding the cancellation of cases registered against their colleagues.
Advocates observe a strike at the district courts in Mohali on Wednesday
Advocates observe a strike at the district courts in Mohali on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu
A view of the empty district courts in Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Wednesday
A view of the empty district courts in Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Wednesday. Tribune photo: S Chandan

While the lawyers protested in a peaceful manner by suspending work, the civic body employees staged a dharna and raised slogans.

The protesting employees said that a meeting would be held tomorrow with representatives of other organisations, which had extended support to chalk out further course of action. They said that both the district heads, the Deputy Commissioner and the SSP, were given two days time to cancel the case registered against the council employees. And if nothing was done by them in the specified time, the council employees would be compelled to intensify their protest from tomorrow.

They said that essential services, like the supply of water, sanitation, streetlights, etc would be disrupted as part of the protest.

Amarjit Singh Longia, president of the Bar Association, said that lawyers had suspended work today and lawyers from neighbouring areas had also fully cooperated in this regard. He said that lawyers had demanded that the case registered against them should be cancelled and action be taken against council employees for attacking lawyers in the court complex.

It is learnt that Deputy Commissioner Varun Roojam and SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, had met members of the Bar Association and the 10-member committee formed by the lawyers, last evening.

Both officials had assured justice to the lawyers and also urged them not to hold protests. On Monday both the officials had met the council employees and requested them not to intensify their agitation for two days. An assurance was also given that the case registered against the civic body employees would be cancelled.

The employees of the civic body have been alleging that a member of the enforcement team, Kesar Singh , was beaten up by the lawyers when had had gone to remove rehris parked illegally outside the court complex in Phase III B 1 on May 4 . The lawyers, however, had alleged that they were attacked by council employees when the latter had objected to the corrupt practises being adopted at the time of removing illegal rehris.

Meanwhile, the work in Chandigarh District Courts remained suspended as the lawyers here too went on strike.



Panchkula Municipal Corporation proposes Rs 85-crore budget 
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 9
The Panchkula Municipal Corporation has sent a budget proposal of Rs 85 crore for the current fiscal 2012-13 for approval to the Financial Commissioner and the Secretary, Local Bodies.

According to information, a number of projects that failed to take off has been included in this year’s budget plan of the Panchkula Municipal Corporation. These include a slaughterhouse, a meat market, a “gaushala” and cattle ponds that had been sanctioned years ago. After the approval, the developments works will be initiated by the Municipal Corporation in Panchkula, Kalka and Pinjore besides 54 villages. According to sources, the corporation has proposed expenditure of Rs 71 crore out of which Rs 43 crore has been reserved for development works. The corporation has a closing balance of Rs 14 crore besides this the proposed income was slated to be Rs 70 crore.

The sources said that Rs 43 crore would be spent on the carpeting of roads, renovation of parks, construction of the corporation building, cattle pond for stray cattle, construction of street in villages, purchase of tractor trolleys and dustbin, and purchase of land for shifting of dairies from the town and for paying salaries to the MC employees.

The MC will generate income from electricity duty, stamp duty, extension fee, house tax and advertisement.

OP Sihag, executive officer, said that a budget proposal of Rs 85 crore had been sent for approval to the higher authorities. He said the developments works would be sped up after the approval. He said Rs 3 core had been kept for beautification of parks while Rs 50 lakh had been reserved for the maintenance of streetlights. He said installation of grills on the medians of main roads, construction of curb channels on B-road and main roads would be constructed in the town. He said developments works would also be taken up at Kalka, Pinjore and villages falling under their jurisdiction

However, going by the budget proposals of the MC for the past three financial years 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11, 2011-12 funds to the tune of Rs 40 lakh to Rs 75 lakh have been reserved for the these ambitious projects, but not even a single penny has been spent on them.

The sources said that the land for the ‘gaushala’ had been identified in Pinjore about three years ago and the MC had earmarked Rs 75 lakh in 2010-11 for the construction of sheds. The sources said this year, the amount had been raised to Rs 1 crore,” said the sources.

Similarly, an amount of Rs 25 lakh had been reserved for the construction of meat market, but the project did not see light of the day. The MC had also earmarked Rs 40 lakh for setting up sub-fire stations in the city in its previous budgets, but the project also met the same fate.

Former Municipal Council vice-president and BJP councillor from ward number 12 BB Singal said every year huge allocations were made in the budget proposals by the MC authorities, but unless and until the officials concerned generated the income from electricity duty and part of HUDA extension fee, these projects would not take off. He said the MC was to recover Rs 25 to Rs 26 crore from HUDA as 75 per cent of the extension fee but the same continued to be unrealised for the last couple of years.



It will take more time for Mohali to be rechristened as Ajitgarh
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 9
It will take some more time for Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar or Mohali to be rechristened as Ajitgarh. Talking to mediapersons at the District Administration Complex in Phase 1, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said that the state government was yet to receive any formal communication from the Central government in this regard.
Singer Harbhajan Mann greets Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal after taking over as the chairman of the Mohali Planning Board on Wednesday.
Singer Harbhajan Mann greets Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal after taking over as the chairman of the Mohali Planning Board on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

“Only after getting it, we will be able to issue the notification,” said Badal.

Badal visited the town to attend Harbhajan Mann’s taking over ceremony as the chairman of the Mohali District Planning Committee.

Notably, the Union Home Ministry has given its approval to rename Mohali as Ajitgarh on February 12 on the basis of a two-year-old proposal sent by the Punjab Government.

In the official press notes, released by the office of director, public relations, the proposed name “Ajitgarh” is being used every now and then. Earlier, the state government had over the past over four years issued different orders to enforce the use of Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar in an official communication. But the township continues to be popularly known as Mohali.

The proposal of renaming the town was made as people had problem in spelling the 23-alphabet name and Ajitgarh sounded similar to Chandigarh. Immediately after taking over the charge as the chairman of the DPC, Harbhajan Mann claimed that developing the town, as a major cultural hub was on top of his agenda.



35-year-old killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 9
A 35-year-old man was killed and another injured, when their motorcycle was hit by an Innova car near Manakya village on the Barwala-Panchkula National Highway No 73.

The victim has been identified as Kaka, resident of Yamunagar, while the injured, who has been identified as Jagdish, a resident of Manakya was rushed to the sector 6 general hospital. The doctors there referred him to the PGI, Chandigarh, where his condition was stated to be critical.

The police said victim Kaka had come to meet his relatives in Manakya village. He and Jagdish had come to village Ramgarh on their motorcycle and after getting their work done were returning to their village. A rashly driven Innova hit their vehicle resulting in the death of Kaka on the spot while Jagdish had received serious head injuries.

The police has registered a case against the driver of Innova, who fled from the site of the accident leaving his vehicle behind. The police has impounded the vehicle and started investigations in the case.



More power cuts likely this year
 JERC sanctioned Rs 90 crore less to the UT electricity department to purchase power 
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
City residents can expect more power cuts this year as the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) in its recent order has sanctioned Rs 90 crore less to the UT electricity department to purchase power from various power generation plants. The electricity department had demanded Rs 653 crore from the JERC to purchase power to bridge the demand and supply gap of power, but the JERC only approved Rs 563 crore.

The JERC has also allowed the power department to enforce power cuts in the city if the department finds it difficult to provide the required power supply to consumers.

Confirming the development, UT Superintending Engineer (Electricity), MP Singh, said since the UT did not have its own power generation plants, the electricity department purchased power from various power generation plants and signed agreement with them. For the cost of power purchase, the department had demanded Rs 653 crore, but was sanctioned only Rs 563 crore.

He said out of the sanctioned amount of Rs 563 crore, the department could spend 80 per cent without obtaining permission from the JERC, but for the remaining 20 per cent, the department had to file a separate petition before the commission.

If the department faced shortage, it would be left with no option, but to enforce power cuts.

The JERC in its order has also said in order to optimise the cost of power purchase, if unavoidable, the electricity department could impose rotational power cuts, keeping equity among all consumers irrespective of their status.

At present, the peak demand for power in the city is around 300 MW, but it is expected to reach around 350 MW. The UT Administration is receiving around 220 MW from different sources --- 47 per cent from Mohali (PSPCL), about 5 per cent through Dhulkote BBMB and the remaining 48 per cent through Nalalgarh.

The JERC yesterday approved 10.33 per cent power tariff hike in the city against the UT Administration's proposal of 66.67 per cent.



ASI hurt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
In yet another incident of assault on policemen, an ASI sustained injures after being hit by a jeep at a barrier late last night. This is the third incident within this month when a policeman has been injured or assaulted. Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Avtar Singh, who is posted in police control room, signaled a jeep to stop last night when he was hit.

Avtar Singh was deployed at Transport Light Point when he asked the driver of jeep number PB-04B-7589 to stop. When he asked the driver to show documents of the vehicle, the driver accelerated and fled, hitting him.

SHO, Sector 26 police station, Inspector Sri Parkash said that the accused fled and efforts were on to trace him.

He sustained injuries and was rushed to the GMSH in Sector 16, where he was administered first aid. A case was registered.



Police clueless about assailants in Panchkula firing incident
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 9
Even after 24 hours, the police remained clueless about last night’s incident when three unidentified robbers on a Pulsor motorcycle tried to rob a jeweller in Sector 10. The police and the forensic team remained at the spot till late in the evening but they are yet to get any clue as to who were involved in the robbery.

Notably, a day after DCP Parul Kush Jain assumed charge, three motorcycle-borne robbers attacked a Mani Majra jeweller on Tuesday evening. They tried to rob the jeweller and fired gunshots, but did not succeed. Jeweller Harish, who runs “Babbar Jewellers” sustained injuries. He had came to pay obeisance at a Sector-9 temple. When he reached the road separating Sectors 10 and 11 on his way back, three motorcycle-borne robbers blocked his way. They tried to snatch his bag, but Harish ran towards Sector 10. The robbers with covered faces, who were following him, fired two shots, but missed the target. On hearing gunshots being fired, local residents gathered at the spot and ran towards the robbers, who fled after firing three shots in the air. After the incident, Harish was admitted to the Sector 6.General Hospital.

There has been spurt in the loot and firing incidents in the town during the past one month. Some criminals had robbed a businessman of Rs 6 lakh on gunpoint in Sector 14. In another incident, three youths riding on a motorcycle had robbed a businessman after firing shots at his car on the dividing road of Industrial Area Phase I and Sector 12-A. In yet another case, unidentified criminals had fired gunshots at a car parked outside the house of a property dealer who had refused to pay ransom.

The SHO of Sector 5 police station said that they were clueless about the accused, who were involved in last night’s incident. He said investigations in the case were on and they were hoping to arrest the accused soon.

Meanwhile, questions were being raised on the functioning of the police force in the town as criminals possessing weapons were moving in the town without any fear,despite eight police nakas at strategic points in the town.

BB Singal, a senior BJP leader, said that even though residents present at the site had informed the police but the same arrived 40 minutes late. He said this period was sufficient for the unidentified criminals to move out of the town, which has an open border with neighbouring states of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Union Territory of Chandigarh.



JUNRUM funding
CTU plans to get more mini-buses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
To order to strengthen the city bus service, the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking is contemplating to procure more mini buses under the JUNRUM funding.

The issue was discussed at a high level meeting of the UT officials held recently. Sources said it was averred that against low floor buses, ordinary and AC, the mini buses had low maintenance costs and were easy to operate on the inner sector roads.

The additional fleet of buses would be in addition to the decision of the Chandigarh Administration to withdraw 60 ordinary buses from long routes and run those on local routes has been kept pending. The overall discussion was to strengthen the local network.

The officials with the transport department have been asked to prepare a blueprint on the requirements of buses on local routes, according to which future plans would be made.

It has been pointed out that the bus occupancy continues to be low in a city which has the highest per capita vehicle ratio of 2:1. The administration has been taking steps to popularize public transport system in the run up to introduction of Metro

The move to run more AC mini-buses on city roads is in keeping with the mass rapid transit system (MRTS) planned for the city as part of the Metro Rail project expected to be implemented in the coming years.

In the transport policy prepared by the Transport Department few years ago, it was suggested that while mini buses would run on inner sector roads, the long low floor buses can run on the larger roads that run between sectors and between high occupancy long routes within the city. 



Go-ahead to metro project
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
A geo-technical survey has given green light to the city metro project. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which had conducted a survey in its recently submitted report to the UT Administration, did not find any obstacle on the two underground corridors of the project.

For the survey, the team had collected soil and rock samples from the two proposed underground corridors of a length of 37.69 km. A senior official of the UT Administration said the metro project would begin in 2013 and residents would be able to avail of the facility from 2018. Covering 37.69 km, the rail project will be built at a cost of Rs 8,388 crore.

For the first corridor, samples were taken from the route of Mullanpur, Sarangpur, Khuda Lahora, PGI, Sectors 16, 9, 7 and 26, Timber Market in Sector 26, Chandigarh Railway Station, Housing Board Chowk, Mansa Devi Complex in Panchkula, HUDA office, City Centre, Panchkula bus stand, Sector 14 (Panchkula) and Grain Market of Sector 20 in Panchkula.

For the second corridor, samples were taken from the Capitol Complex, Sectors 9, 17 and 22, Sectors 34, 43, 52, Sectors 62 and 70 of Mohali and Gurdwara Shahidan.

The environment and social impact survey is yet to be started.

Initially, six corridors were recommended by RITES, a government enterprise that offers consultancy and project management services in the transport infrastructure sector. But gradually, the DMRC proposed two routes for the project.

The metro will be underground within the sectoral grid of Chandigarh. Outside the grid, it will be elevated. The metro stations will be constructed every 1 km where it is underground and 1.3 km where it is above the ground.



CHB mulling additional charges for need-based changes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
The issue of fixation of additional charges and compounding fee for need-based changes in dwelling units of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) is under consideration.

The residents have been demanding extension of minimum two years for the submission of revised drawings of the need-based changes to the board authorities. The transfer of property purchased on the general power of attorney (GPA) on the expiry of five years and purchase of dwelling units within the time period of less than five years was also being considered.

Board officials disclosed that they were surveying need-based changes in different categories to know the extent of changes made by the occupants in order to avoid taking action against them on a pick-and-choose basis. A survey for the additional need-based changes was also being done. Last year, the CHB had allowed 40 need-based changes. The residents had been allowed to make the changes as per their requirements except for those which required the board’s ratification and submission of a subsequent plan. Another 13 need-based changes are in the pipeline.While efforts have been on since 2005 to introduce these changes, it was only in November last year that a final meeting was held and these changes, as recommended by a committee, were approved. For the remaining need-based changes, the officials are holding meetings to work out the modalities before notifying them.



UT SSP deposes in CBI court
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
UT SSP Naunihal Singh yesterday appeared in the CBI court as a witness in connection with a case registered against a UT Police Sub-Inspector. Evidence is being recorded in the case and the SSP had accorded prosecution sanction to the CBI.

Sub-Inspector Sakatar Singh, his wife Baljinder Kaur and son Baldeep Singh were arrested by the CBI last year for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 15,000 from Ranjeet Singh who was booked in a case of illegal confinement and rape at the Mani Majra police station.

The CBI court had framed charges against the accused and evidence is being recorded. The UT SSP was summoned by the court to give statements regarding according of prosecution sanction to the CBI.

Naunihal Singh deposed in the court that he had given the sanction to the CBI to prosecute the Sub-Inspector.



Challaning against black filming on vehicles continues
Tribune News Service

A police official challans a vehicle-owner for the use of black film near the roundabout separating Sectors 40 and 41 in Chandigarh on Wednesday
A police official challans a vehicle-owner for the use of black film near the roundabout separating Sectors 40 and 41 in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, May 9
The PCR staff issued 118 challans today till this evening for the use of black films. Another 200 challans were issued by the UT traffic police.

Inspector Satpal issued 25 challans, sub-inspector Sunita Bakshi issued 56 challans, SI Pawan Kumar issued 23 challans and SI Raghbir Singh issued 14 challans for use of black film.





rte act
Schools await reimbursement
 28 institutions that admitted EWS students yet to receive money from UT
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
With no reimbursement by the UT in lieu of the admissions granted under the RTE as yet, the city’s 28 private schools which admitted students from the financially weaker sections will now virtually go begging to bear the financial burden of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.

These schools, which include Strawberry Fields, KBDAV Sector-7, DAV Sector8, Sacred heart, Bhawan 27, Motiram Arya 27, Guru Nanak public School Sector 36, AKSIPS 41, Shivaliak 41, Sharda Sarvhitkari, Tribune Model, St Anne’s, Sacred Heart school, AKSIPS 45, Paragon convent, Stepping Stones, and Chitkara International claim that they have till date not received any communication regarding the reimbursement.

They also say that a month into the academic session has been enough to make them realise that the UT’s proposed Rs1100 is way too less remuneration for the provisions of the Act.

These 28 schools, unlike 68 others, went ahead and accepted their social responsibility. But they have now been left with no choice but to follow MHRD Minister Kapil Sibal’s advise and ask philanthropic individuals, charitable trusts and corporate entities for funds.

“Currently we are teaching students out of our own resources and haven’t got any money as yet. We will be be getting in touch with philanthropists to mange teaching these students,” said Atul Khanna, director, Strawberry Fields School.

“We have no choice but to go by what the MHRD Minister is saying. The UT has till date not even decided on the exact amount, leave aside paying us. Also, the meagre amount of Rs1100 is not enough. It seems that we are paying a heavy price for believing the education department and admitting students in good faith while many others haven’t done so.

A couple of parents have come forward and donated money, but that is not sufficient and the reimbursement amount should be increased,” said Dr Rakesah Sachdeva, principal, DAV, Sector 15.

The opinion was put forth by Sibal in reply to a Lok Sabha question last week.

Acknowledging that the some unaided schools in metropolitan cities spent more than the state government on each student, the ministry said that these institutions would have to resort to 'innovative ways' to meet the gap between expenditure and reimbursement.

As regards the innovative ways, the HRD ministry was implying that private schools raise additional money by seeking funds from philanthropists, alumni, charitable trusts and business houses under the latter's corporate social responsibility initiative.

“Some schools in metros have per-child budgets much in excess of those in other states. These schools would have to find innovative ways to meet the gap without imposing a fee hike on the general category,” the HRD ministry said in response to a starred question by MPs Neeraj Shekhar and Asaduddin Owaisi.

The suggestion however has infuriated city educationists who feel that this will adversely affect education standards.

“The Act mandates government to pay and does not ask schools to beg around. We can sustain it all for a year or so but what after that? Can we depend on charity to run institutions and will it not give a license to donors to interfere in school affairs or seek back door admissions? It is high time that the UT Administration starts providing aid schools like us who have always taken their academic and social responsibilities. Come what may I will not beg anybody,” added Dr Madhu Bahal, principal, KBDAV, Sector 7.

The Supreme Court upholding the constitutional validity of the RTE Act on April 12 had also upheld the 'affirmative burden' placed on private schools with respect to the provision of free seats for children from the economically weaker sections. To handle this load, the RTE Act stipulates that the state government must bear the per-child expenditure incurred by private schools or shell out the money equivalent to the amount spent on each student in schools run by it, whichever is less.

City private schools have for two years been asking the UT education department to work out a minimum reimbursement of about Rs2000 per child, but nothing has been enough to wake our department out of slumber. While the file pertaining to reimbursement has been ‘stuck’ in the finance department for two months the schools are having a tough time.



SOPU protests admission guidelines for sports quota
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
Members of Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) submitted a memorandum to the Vice Chancellor today over the admission guidelines under the sports category at Panjab University.
SOPU members at the VC office with the memorandum against admission guidelines for sports quota.
SOPU members at the VC office with the memorandum against admission guidelines for sports quota. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan 

SOPU members stated that they are against the PU’s decision to exclude 8 categories of sportsperson from seeking admission under the sports category.

SOPU campus president Manoj Lubana stated that every year hundreds of sportsperson take admission in the PU and bring laurels to the university by winning medals. However, denying such sportspersons admission would not only discourage them, but also act as a hindrance in promoting sports in the nation. “It is surprising that instead of promoting athletes, the university is deterring the students willing to pursue sports along with studies,” Lubana said.

Party president Bikram Jatana said that universities work with the motive of promoting academic, research, cultural and sporting activities. However, the recent decision to restrict the categories for admission would certainly discourage sportspersons.

They further told that the students under sports category are always motivated and perform well in studies too. Students demanded that the exclusion of these groups is baseless and needs to be revised soon.

The PU has 5 per cent of seats reserved for sportsperson in each course, which are allotted on the basis of their merit in sports.



Miffed DUI resigns from NWRC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
Dean University Instruction (DUI) prof BS Brar resigned from the position of Honorary Director of North Western Regional Centre (NWRC) of ICSSR today. In his resignation sent to Chairman, Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), Brar stated that he resigned in complete disgust against the grossly unscrupulous behaviour of the permanent staff of the NWRC.

Brar, in his two-page resignation letter to prof Sukhadeo Thorat, mentioned that he had kept him posted of the staff’s behaviour during the last two months and had requested him to take cognisance as well as appropriate action. However, the failure to elicit any response from the ICSSR acted as one of the reasons for his resignation.

Giving reasons behind his resignation, Brar stated that the ICSSR communication addressed to him, prohibiting the introduction of revised pay grades unilaterally, was deliberately hidden from him and the chairman of the NWRC. Brar had also mentioned that he brought to the notice of the Chairman as to how a systematic campaign to tarnish his image was launched in March this year.

The letter says that the perpetrators of this malicious campaign will never explain how an Honorary Director who was praised for “vision, understanding, intellect and attitude” for over three years became a monster overnight. Brar has stated that he is leaving with considerable hurt and anger that such unscrupulous and unruly behaviour is allowed to pass without an inquiry or a reprimand.



JSSGI signs MoU with Concordia University
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 9
Jasdev Singh Sandhu Group of Institutes, Patiala, signed an MoU with Concordia University, Wisconsin, USA. Giving information in this regard, Arpit Kumar Garg, director JSS Group of Institutes, said that Tejinder Pal Singh Sandhu, chairman of Jasdev Singh Sandhu Foundation, signed a memorandum of understanding with Concordia University, Wisconsin, for collaboration in various fields such as student exchange, faculty exchange, short term courses and online courses for students etc. Dr Patrick T Ferry, president of Concordia University, signed the memorandum on behalf of the university.

As per the MoU, both the Institutes will encourage student exchange programmes to encourage study of each other's education system, culture and business environment. The visit of such students will be initially for three weeks and the host institute would provide the boarding, lodging and learning facilities. He further said that both the institutes shall also encourage the exchange of their faculties.

Concordia University also agreed to provide live video class facilities to the management students of JSS Group in India for some of the subjects. Garg also specified that both the institutions agreed to allow free use of each other's library and online resources.



PU achievers awarded peanuts
 Commendable showing notwithstanding, prize money given last year halved
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
Last session, sportspersons of the Panjab University (PU) brought laurels to the university after commendable performances in various tournaments, but were awarded peanuts by the dean student welfare (DSW).

They received merely half the prize money compared to last year.

This session, the achievers won more positions in all-India and North Zone inter-university tournaments.

According to sources in the DSW department, about Rs 14,57,000 was sanctioned under the scholarship, which was half compared to the previous amount.

“Last time, the department had exhausted funds and hence, more money was distributed among achievers. This year, the amount was slashed. A total of Rs 3 lakh was taken from other schemes to justify the money awarded in the sports category. Last year, officials turned a blind eye gave Rs 15,000 as the highest prize money. This time, the highest amount was Rs 8,000,” said an official on the condition of anonymity.

“The institution has won more laurels in 2011-12 and the low budget allotted has added to the woes in distributing the amount among sportspersons,” the official added.

“We were expecting a hike, but the amount dipped. The university should encourage sports instead of reducing the prize money. The university is raising fees, but when it comes to funds, achievers are getting peanuts,” said a player.

Another group of players said, “Last year, our team secured third place in the inter-college tourney and we were awarded Rs 6,300 per player. This session, the amount was reduced to Rs 3,500 per player after the same position.”

In March, during the annual prize distribution function of the Directorate of Sports, Panjab University, the scenario was the same. The players were awarded lesser prize money than the 2010-11 session.



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