C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Major fire in Bank of Baroda
Blaze in basement exposes firefighters' inadequacy; bank to get notice for violation of norms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
A major fire broke out in the basement of the Bank of Baroda, Sector 22, today, triggering panic among the staff. The basement was housing lockers.

While hard copies of official record were reduced to ashes in the blaze, that continued for five hours, firefighters said the lockers were in tact and no loss was reported.

Bank officials remained tightlipped about the lockers and said there was nothing in the basement except the record. However, after controlling the blaze in the evening, fire officials reportedly found lockers in the basement.

Firefighters struggled for more than five hours to control the fire in the basement even though they were equipped with smoke foam.

Clueless about the record kept in the basement and the building plan of the bank, the firefighters had a tough time dousing the flames and controlling the smoke emanating from the basement. The incident occurred at 12 noon and the firefighters took more than five hours to control the fire.

Three "water tenders and two water boozers" were pressed into service.

A fire official said a constable informed the fire control room about the fire in the bank. The constable was passing by when he noticed the fire in the basement. As the public dealing takes place on the first floor, the premises was got vacated immediately to prevent any casualty. In fact, staff members left the cash counters unlocked to save their life.

According to the fire official, the bank had constructed temporary cabins in the basement where the official record was kept. He said no fire safety measures were in place on the premises and a water pipeline, which had been installed, was lying non-functional.

Chief Fire Officer Rajiv Gupta said no fire safety equipment, which was mandatory in a basement under the law, was installed in the building by the bank authorities. He said a notice would be issued to the bank authorities for violation of fire safety norms.

There was only a single staircase that led to the basement, which was dingy. The fire team had a tough time going inside the premises to control the smoke. According to the Fire Act, there should be separate entry and exit points in the building.

Branch manager of the Bank of Baroda SP Parsad said since the Fire Department did not allow setting up of offices in the basement, they had converted it into a store to keep records. He said there was no major loss of records as these could be retrieved from the computer. He said by tomorrow, they would try to make the branch operational for the public. Interestingly, notices are issued to shopkeepers from time to time by the Chandigarh Fire and Emergency Department to prevent such tragedies. A lot of paper work is done, but in reality, no concrete action is initiated against the violators of fire safety norms.

5-hour struggle

Showing total incompetence in handling state-of-the-art machinery for handling fires in the city, firemen were at bay in using the machinery to suck out smoke from the basement of the Bank of Baroda, Sector 22, where the fire broke out. For more than five hours, firemen were struggling to control the fire in the basement even though they were equipped with smoke foam 

  • There should be separate entry and exit points in a building
  • There should be no temporary structure in the corridors
  • There should be proper wiring
  • There should be proper space in corridors for free movement of visitors 

How the bank violated the norms

  • Only one entry and exit point
  • A cabin, temporary structure set up in the basement
  • Open electricity meters in corridors
  • Some corridors have been encroached upon by shopkeepers
  • Outdated fire extinguishers installed 



At PU, boys' queries on eve-teasing stump SSP 
Tribune News Service

A student of Panjab University poses a question to UT SSP Naunihal Singh during an interaction on eve-teasing at the PU on Friday.
A student of Panjab University poses a question to UT SSP Naunihal Singh during an interaction on eve-teasing at the PU on Friday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, October 5
UT SSP Naunihal Singh was today stumped by boys' queries during an interaction on eve-teasing at Panjab University. With boys apprehending the possibility of misuse of the law by girls with increased awareness among them, the issue of curbing the menace of eve-teasing and the ongoing police campaign took a new turn with the focus now shifting on chances of wrong registration of such cases by the police.

“Is there a mechanism with the police to deal with misuse of the law by girls? How will it find out if a girl is speaking the truth or not?” asked Darshi Mallhi, a student of the law department at the PU during the first such interaction with boys on the issue today.

In yet another such query posed to the SSP, a boy complained of having been teased by girls.

“Girls also stare at us and indulge in teasing. Don’t we have any rights?” asked the student. Another student asked the SSP what would happen if some innocent youths, who were merely witness to an eve-teasing incident, were also booked by the police.

“Why is the police interacting only with college students? Most eve-teasers are outsiders and we are aware of our responsibilities,” said a student, Sunny Mehta.

Naunihal Singh had no clear answer to the queries posed by boys and asserted that the drive was meant to educate girls that the police was present for their safety and they should not hesitate in calling the police in case of an eve-teasing incident.

“If girls stare at boys and tease them, they should be happy,” said the SSP in a lighter vein.

One of the girls in the auditorium complained of rampant eve-teasing in Sector 36. “Boys can be seen moving in cars all over the place. There is no police anywhere. Why can’t the police patrol the area,” asked a girl student.

Earlier, the SSP warned boys of the consequences in case they were booked for eve-teasing. “Even if they get bail, those booked for eve-teasing will never be able to get a government or private job and their career will be jeopardised. Moreover, they will have difficulty finding a match,” he said.

Giving an example, the SSP said three BMW-borne youths, who were arrested earlier this year in a case of eve-teasing, had faced three months in prison and had gone into depression. 



Police losing focus? Many crime cases remain unsolved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
With the UT SSP apparantely going into an overdrive over eve-teasing by holding six sessions with college students during the past one week, tackling the city’s swelling crime graph seems to have taken a back seat for the police. The accused in some sensational crime cases have been evading arrest while some sensational cases still remain unsolved. Moreover, the police has been unable to protect itself even as it is urging girls to rely on it in case of eve-teasing.

While the police has been exhorting girls to battle eve-teasing and raise their voice, cases of assault on policemen are on the rise. This week, the driver of an auto-rickshaw allegedly slapped a constable in full public view. During the past three months, 15 cases of assault on policemen have been reported.

Besides, women police officers have also been becoming victims of eve-teasing. One such case came to light last week when a constable was molested on a bus. Another constable was eve-teased while on duty outside Aroma Hotel in August. Another constable was eve-teased while on duty at the railway light points earlier this year. Interestinly, she had refused to lodge a complaint.

The issue of eve-teasing has overshadowed all other crimes in the city. In September alone, the city witnessed 122 cases of thefts, a majority of which remain unsolved. Moreover, one incident of snatching is reported everyday on an average.

The police is yet to make any arrest in the acid attack case reported in Sector 22 on September 8. While the accused has been identified, the police has not been able to arrest him despite several raids on his possible hideouts. The case of firing at the Rose Garden reported on the day of PU student elections last month remains unsolved.

Assault on girl

The UT police today arrested a 25-year-old youth, identified as Girish Prabhakar, in a case of assault on a girl. The accused has been sent to judicial custody.

The girl and the accused reportedly knew each other since school days. The girl was being forced by the accused to talk to him and be friends with him. As the girl refused his advances, the accused went to her residence today and allegedly beat her up and threatened her.

Acting on her complaint, the police arrested the accused, who is a resident of Sector 23 and works with his father at a flour mill. A case under Sections 323 and 506 of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 17 police station. 



No lessons learnt by Fire Department
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
Tall claims of the Fire Department about routine monitoring and checking of buildings were exposed when a fire broke out in a bank in Sector 22 today. It is mandatory to install fire safety equipment and keep it in proper working order round the clock. However, the actual situation is quite different. Owners of nearby shops had not bothered to install any fire safety system in the building even though notices had been issued to them by the department. Chief Fire Officer Rajiv Gupta said soon a fresh survey would be conducted in Sector 22 and those found violating fire norms would be dealt with strictly.

Last year in Sector 22 in the basement of a building housing an Amul distributor, a major fire broke out. Firefighters had to struggle for more than four hours to control it as no fire safety measures had been adopted by the owner. Taking no lessons from the incident, no stringent action was taken to ensure that fire safety norms were followed by all building owners.

SCOs on the first floor in the vicinity of the bank have only one entry and exit point. Electricity meters installed in the staircase have hanging wires, which pose a threat to those passing by. To make matters worse, huge billboards have been installed on the facade of the building, blocking the air passage. The little space left outside windows has been covered by the equipment of split air conditioners.

According to the fire safety norms, electricity wires should be properly maintained and there should be separate entry and exit points in buildings. Neither the UT estate office nor the MC's Fire Department has taken any action against violators till date. Shopkeepers have encroached upon the balconies on the first and second floors of the market by fixing grills.

Interestinly, in many shops in Sector 22, fire extinguishers have been removed after getting a no-objection certificate from the Fire Department. In some cases, owners of shops do not bother to get the equipment repaired or replaced if it goes out of order or its expiry date is over. 


RLA under auditor's scanner
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
As the pendency of registration certificate (RC’s) and driving licence (DL’s) due to non-functional coloured printers at the UT’s Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) has crossed 20,000, the role of the authority in awarding the contract for supply and printing of smart cards for driving licence and registration certificate to the Society for Promotion of IT in Chandigarh (SPIC), has come under scanner of the UT's Principal Accountant General (Audit).

By awarding the contract to SPIC at high rates, instead of inviting open tenders at competitive rates, an amount of Rs 1.76 crore was paid to the society during 2011-2012, as per the Principal Accountant General (Audit). By doing so, SPIC was paid extra money that could have been saved. Not only this, SPIC was paid an excess amount of Rs 7.13 lakh as no record of the smart cards was being maintained by the RLA. During the period from July 2010 and March 2011, 64,823 smarts cards were issued for RCs and another 40,392 cards were issued for DLs. But SPIC claimed payment for 69,462 smart cards for RCs and another 42,987 smart cards for DLs, resulting in the excess payment of Rs 7.13 lakh.

Sources said it was also pointed out that while a contract for five years was awarded to SPIC in 2005 for supply of the smart cards, the society was neither a manufacturer nor a supplier of the cards. SPIC further invited tenders for the supply of the material. The material was being supplied after adding huge profit, burdening the state exchequer. In the entire process, the general financial rules to be folowed were disregarded and the sanction of the finance department was not taken.

SPIC was set up under the aegis of the Department of Information-Technology and is involved in implementing various schemes of the Administration to promote IT industry in Chandigarh.

Highlighting the lack of accountability, it has been pointed out that the RLA was supposed to make payments after aggregating the daily statements prepared at the agreed rates. But the payments were made without verifying the number of cards supplied.

Inadequate infrastructure

The cash-rich Registering and Licensing Authority (RLA) of the UT, which collects Rs 45 crore as road tax and earns lakes of rupee from auction of fancy numbers, is woefully short of infrastructural facilities. Plagued by adhocism and official rigmarole, the RLA office is increasingly becoming a visitor’s nightmare. Everyday around 2,000 people visit the RLA. But due to the non-functioning of printers, there is a backlog of over 20,000 for RCs and DLs. Still, the top brass of the administration seems to be unmoved.

Non-functional CCTV cameras

The CCTV cameras installed at the cash collection and public dealing counters and other points are lying non-functional. As the cash collection counters are managed by hired staff, monitoring the counters for efficient functioning is quite important. It has been pointed out that if the CCTV were functional, the misappropriation of Rs 25.68 lakh detected last year could have been avoided.

RLA asks applicants to collect their cheques

A number of drafts of earnest money of the unsuccessful applicants for vanity numbers are lying unclaimed at the RLA. In a press release, the RLA has requested the applicants who had booked registration numbers in series' CH01-AH, CH-01-AJ, CH01-AK, CH01-AL, CH01-AM, CH01-AN and CH01-AP to collect their refund voucher/demand draft from the office.



Le Corbusier Centre faces admn’s apathy
Termite-ridden flooring, broken glasses, dust on paintings— welcome to the city’s premier heritage centre
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Non-functional air conditioners dumped in a corner of a room

broken glass of an enclosure depicting a model at the Le Corbusier Centre
(Above) Non-functional air conditioners dumped in a corner of a room and broken glass of an enclosure depicting a model at the Le Corbusier Centre in Sector 19, Chandigarh. Tribune photos: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, October 5
Termite-ridden flooring, broken glasses and dust on furniture and drawings welcome visitors at the Le Corbusier Centre, which was inaugurated in 2008 to showcase works of the master architect, Le Corbusier, in Sector 19.

A day before the birthday of Le Corbusier, a visit to the Le Corbusier Centre shows the apathy of the UT Administration towards the centre.

Layers of dust on various drawings and paintings can be easily seen at the centre. Not only this, there are termite-ridden flooring at a few places in the main hall of the Le Corbusier Centre.

Besides, the authorities have also dumped two non-functional air conditioners inside a room. Some of the paintings and drawings, which were pinned on the wall, were falling as the pins are missing.

A foreign tourist said though they like the idea of the Chandigarh Administration to showcase the masterworks of Le Corbusier and his team, he suggested that as it is a tourist attraction centre also, the authorities should look after the centre seriously.

Not only this, the UT Administration has also failed to appoint the director of the Le Corbusier Centre after the death of former director VN Singh, who had died in December, 2010, in a road accident.

Sources revealed that for the appointment of the director, the UT Administration had issued advertisement and had even conducted interviews of many aspirants, but is yet to finalise the name. 

Heritage walk today

It seems that the UT Administration has forgotten Le Corbusier’s birthday. There is no programme scheduled for tomorrow by the UT Administration on the occasion. On the other side, a heritage walk is being organised by the Chandigarh chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) on the occasion of the 125th birth anniversary of Le Corbusier at the Sukhna Lake.

Bureaucratic hurdles for Corubusier

  • In a confidential letter, which is now a part of Le Corbusier Centre in Sector 19, written by Le Corbusier to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, he had complained that his contract had not been renewed. Two of his pending bills (November-December 1957 and March-April 1958) had also not been paid.
  • In one of the confidential letters dated June 7, 1958, Corbusier complained that two key persons associated with the assembly and secretariat projects had been dismissed without his knowledge.
  • In another letter, he also alleged that his contract for the Bhakra Dam had not been signed, though he had been working on the project for several months.



Heritage committee fails to complete inventory
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

A few pieces of furniture designed by Le Corbusier in Chandigarh.
A few pieces of furniture designed by Le Corbusier in Chandigarh. Tribune photos: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, October 5
To preserve the heritage furniture designed by Le Corbusier and his team, the UT Administration had constituted a heritage inventory committee in April last year, but till now the committee has failed to complete the inventory of heritage furniture in various departments of the UT Administration.

On the other side, auction houses overseas are continuously selling items of the city heritage furniture in international markets for thousands of dollars.

To complete the inventory, the UT Administration had already extended the committee’s deadline a number of times, but to no avail.

The committee was constituted only after the UT Administration realised the value of the furniture designed by Le Corbusier and his team, which had fetched high prices in the auctions overseas.

UT’s Finance Secretary VK Singh said only a few departments are left and they are hopeful that the committee would soon complete its task. He added that they had also submitted a list of 244 heritage items, which have been identified as the heritage artifacts and furniture before the Punjab and Haryana High Court during the hearing of public interest litigation.

Sources revealed that the committee has compiled the inventory from around 23 departments but the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Punjab Engineering College (PEC) are still left.

To stop the auction abroad, the UT has been repeatedly writing to the auction houses, claiming the furniture to be its property and seeking stalling of the sales, but to no avail.

Auctions in the past

December 15, 2011: A New York-based auction house, Phillips de Pury and Company, auctioned these items for more than ` 25 lakh.

November 22, 2011: A Paris-based auction house, Artcurial, sold a cane and a teakwood dining table and a pair of easy armchairs for ` 22 lakh.

November 3, 2011: A Paris-based auction house, Marseilles, had sold 30 different pieces for ` 1.92 crore.

May 25, 2011: Artcurial had sold four of the seven lots of heritage furniture designed by Jeanneret for ` 40.75 lakh.

No criteria

Officials of the UT Administration have no criteria to decide which is the real heritage furniture and which one is a replica. Moreover, there was a proposal to set up a restoration centre to store and repair heritage items, but nothing has been done till now regarding it.

Pioneer of modern architecture

Charles-Édouard-Jeanneret, better known as Le Corbusier (October 6, 1887-August 27, 1965), was an architect, a designer and a writer, famous for being one of the pioneers of what is now called the modern architecture. He was born in Switzerland and became a French citizen in 1930. His career spanned five decades with his buildings constructed throughout Europe, India and America.

In 1950s, he started his work of the construction of the UT, Chandigarh, the new capital of Punjab and Haryana and the first planned city in India. He designed a general layout of the city, dividing it into sectors. It was on August 27, 1965, that Le Corbusier went for a swim in the Mediterranean Sea at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France, despite his doctor’s orders. He was pronounced dead at 11 am. It was assumed that he may have suffered a heart attack.



Le Corbusier’s contribution to the City Beautiful
Kulwinder Sangha

1 A file photo of Le Corbusier holding a print of the Union Territory’s first master plan.
1 A file photo of Le Corbusier holding a print of the Union Territory’s first master plan.
2 Furniture designed by Le Corbusier.
3 A view of the Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh. 
4 The High Court in Chandigarh.
5 Le Corbusier enjoys with Pierre Jeanneret at the Sukhna Lake. File photographs
6 A view of the open hand, which welcomes visitors to the City Beautiful.



Patients deprived of low-cost medicines
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, October 5
Poor patients are being deprived of low-cost medicines, as many doctors at the Civil Hospital do not prescribe medicines being made available by the Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC) at the drug store on the hospital premises.

It is learnt that nearly 100 patients go to the drug store everyday, which is run by the District Red Cross Society on the Jan Aushadhi pattern, but only about 50 per cent of them are able to get medicines at discounted rates. The others are compelled to purchase their medicines from outside the hospital as many drugs prescribed by hospital doctors are not available at the Red Cross shop.

The PHSC is supplying 120 types of medicines to the drug store. It is learnt that a list of medicines, available at the store is provided on a weekly basis to the hospital for information, but doctors usually ignore these medicines.

Sources said six tablets of Amoxycillin and Potassium Clavulanate (antibiotics) are available in the market for Rs 290 while 10 tablets of the same medicine are sold for only Rs 85 at the hospital drug store. Only a few doctors are prescribing these tablets.

Similarly, Spectacef Forte (powder for injection), again an antibiotic, is available at the Red Cross store at Rs 42 while it is sold in the open market at Rs 130. Six tablets of Necfix Clav-200 are sold for only Rs 40 at the hospital store while the rate in the market is Rs 180.

Generic medicines of prominent companies like Cipla, Ranbaxy, Cadila, Alderin and Wockhardt are available at the drug store, but are not being prescribed freely by certain doctors.

Santosh, a factory worker living at Balongi, went to the hospital on October 4 as he was suffering from fever and itching. The doctor, he consulted at the OPD, prescribed two medicines, apart from a lotion. But it came as a shock to him when he was told that none of the medicines prescribed was available at the hospital drug store and that would have to shell out Rs 200 to purchase these from the market. Had he been prescribed medicines available at the drug store, he would have got these for Rs 35 only. There were many others like him today who were deprived of low-cost medicines thanks to the indifferent attitude of certain doctors.

Secretary of the District Red Cross Society, Raj Mal, confirmed that certain doctors at the hospital were not prescribing medicines available at discounted rates to the desired extent. He said the matter was brought to the notice of the Assistant Civil Surgeon today. The Secretary alleged, “Generally speaking, doctors prescribe medicines for which they get a heavy commission.”

SMO of the Civil Hospital, Rajiv Bhalla, said, “At times, certain medicines were not available at the Red Cross drug store and doctors were not only to be blamed.” He said, “He would hold a meeting to ensure that the maximum benefit of providing medicines at discounted rates was passed on to poor patients.”



Digging work hits BSNL services in Mohali
Our correspondent

Broken telephone wires at a digging site in Phase VII, Mohali, on Friday.
Broken telephone wires at a digging site in Phase VII, Mohali, on Friday. Tribune photo: vicky gharu

Mohali, October 5
Hundreds of BSNL telephone lines have got disconnected following the digging work project being undertaken by the Punjab State Industrial and Export Corporation (PSIEC) and the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) in the Industrial Area here attracting complaints from subscribers.

Workers engaged by the PSIEC are reported to have damaged the BSNL cables in the Phase VII Industrial Area while constructing a pavement and the parking facility and the laying of sewers.

Nishan Singh, SDO at the BSNL, said today between 500 and 1,000 telephones lines had been adversely affected.

He alleged that the PSIEC and GMADA had undertaken the work “mindlessly” without even bothering to give prior intimation to the BSNL authorities in this regard.

The SDO estimated that the damage to the BSNL property by the two organisations was around Rs 30 lakh. It would take two or three months to restore the telephone lines, he added. 



6 head of cattle impounded

Chandigarh, October 5
The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MC) impounded six cattle during a special drive launched in Dhanas village under the supervision of medical officer of health with the help of enforcement staff of the MC.

During the drive, six stray cattle in Dhanas village were impounded and shifted to a gaushala of the MC. The drive was held under the supervision of medical officer of health, Dr BK Salwan, and enforcement superintendent Kashmira Singh. — TNS




Blood donation runs in their family
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
Blood donation is virtually a tradition in the Narula family of Sector 36 B in the city. While M P Narula, an accountant with the BSNL, had to stop donating blood due to health complications in 2009, the legacy was carried forward by his elder son Kashish. Kashish was joined by his younger brother Dikshant in the noble cause as soon as the latter turned 18 on April 19 last year.

The two brothers were among 1,500 donors honoured by the Rotary and Blood Bank Society Resource Centre in a function at Panjab University here today."I donated blood first time two years ago on February 15, 2010 whilecelebrating my birthday," said Kashish, who is pursuing his degree in Mechanical Engineering at Thapar University, Patiala. "The inspiration was from none other than my father who had been donating blood for the last few years. However, he developed a heart problem in 2009 and had to stop donating blood," Kashish said. "It has been a routine for me to donate blood after every three months ever since I attained the age of 18 years," said Kashish, who has donated blood 11 times.

On April 19, 2011, Dikshant, younger brother of Kashish, completed 18 years of age and celebrated his birthday by donating blood. "Though my father and brother were blood donors, the decision to join the noble cause was my own," said Dikshant, a student of BCom at Government College of Commece and Business Administration, Sector 42. "My mother Rita Narula, however, could not donate blood as doctors advised her against it because of her low hemoglobin," he added.

Nearly, 1500 blood donors were honoured on the occa ion, including 132 organisation (which corporate houses, educational institutes, and NGOs). Some of these are Baddi University, Panjab and Haryana High Court, St John's High School, SJOBA, and Chandigarh Adventures Treks & Sports (CATS).

The star donors, who have donated blood more than 100 times, include Bhupender Nagpal, Ajay Malhotra, ML Sarin, Yogesh Sood, Jagtar SinghBenipal, Parveen Punj, and BS Thind.



26-year-old dies in road accident
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
A 26-year-old man was killed while two others were injured in a road accident which took place near the Industrial Area and Sector 31 light point. The deceased has been identified as Sarban Singh, a resident of Hallo Majra. Sarban Singh, along with his cousin brother Papu Kumar, also a resident of Hallo Majra, was on his way back home on a motorcycle when they collided head-on with another motorcycle being ridden by Pritpal Singh, a resident of Ram Darbar.

All the victims suffered serious injuries on their head and other parts of the body. The police was informed and they were rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital in Sector 32 where Sarban Singh succumbed to his injures. The condition of Papu and Pritpal is said to be critical. Pritpal works as a driver while the other two victims are working with a private company.



Weapon used in balloon seller’s murder recovered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh October 5
A day after the murder of a balloon seller in Sector 1, the police has recovered the weapon used in the crime and established enmity as the motive behind the crime. The police has formed a Special Investigating Team (SIT), headed by DSP (Crime) Satbir Singh, to probe the case.

Tej Pratap Singh was found murdered at the Rajender park yesterday with his throat slit. The deceased is a resident of Nayagaon. Police recovered the weapon lying in the park at some distance from the body.



Education tribunal to be reality soon
To decide on disputes related to appointment, removal of teachers
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
The UT Education Department has finally proposed to set up an education tribunal, which shall decide on disputes relating to appointment and removal of teachers and administrative decisions of all aided and unaided schools in the city.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has recently criticised the Administration for the delay in setting up of the tribunal, which is pending for last 10 years.

It was in 2002 when the Supreme Court (in the TMA Pai vs State of Karnataka case) ordered that every state should set up an education tribunal.

The officials in the Education Department said the tribunal may consist of one or two members. However, nothing can be said conclusively as of now.

Officials of the department said the tribunal would be notified under Section 8 of the Punjab Privately Managed Recognised Schools Employees (Security of Service)
Act, 1979, also extended to the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

The presiding officer of the tribunal would not be eligible for appointment unless he or she has been a judge in a high court or been a district or additional district judge.

The staff required for the tribunal will be provided by the Administration under the Act.

As per the proposal, for the purpose of disposal of an appeal under this Act, the tribunal will have the same powers as vested in a court of appeal by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and will have the power to stay the operation of any order appealed against on such terms as it may think appropriate. Under Section 4 of the Act, the order passed by the tribunal will be final.

RTE activist Pankaj Chandgotia said the very purpose of the tribunal is to solve disputes between the management and teachers/employees of educational institutes on a priority basis.

"Teachers are facing several problems, including low salary and forced resignation, and no effective platform is available for redressing their grievances. Therefore the tribunal must be notified at the earliest," he said. 



Appoint chairpersons of departments on rotation basis, say PU teachers
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) in its general body meeting today discussed the issue of appointing chairpersons in all departments on a rotation basis, irrespective of designation and seniority.

While majority of the departments follow this, there are a few departments where the rule of rotation is not adopted. The post is named as coordinators or directors instead of chairperson.

The teachers, during the meeting, raised the issue that all departments should follow the same rule and give equal chance to all teachers to be chairperson, coordinator or director of a department.

At present, departments, including University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET), Dental College of PU, University Institute of Applied Management and Sciences (UIAMS), University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS), Centre for Human Rights, Centre for Social Work and Centre for Police Administration, are some of the departments which are not following the rule.

A teacher from the UILS said while teachers in majority of the departments get a chance to gain administrative experience, some handful of departments have different set of rules which permits only professors to be the chairperson. This is unjustified, he added.

The issue has been pending with the PU since long, said the teachers. Akshaya Kumar, PUTA executive and former PUTA president, said there is no such term as ‘Directors’ or ‘Coordinators’ in the PU calendar. “Every teacher, irrespective of his or her designation and seniority, has the right to be chairperson of a department,” Kumar said.

On the other hand, demand raised by one of the teachers met with strong opposition during the meeting. The teacher proposed that section of non-teaching staff, who is a member of the PUTA, should not get a chance to contest PUTA elections.

The PUTA members in reply to the issue stated that the non-teaching staff, including computer programmers and librarians, are on par with the teachers of PU and have equal right to be a member of PUTA and contest the elections.

“PUTA has its own constitution which nowhere mentions any such clause that restricts the non-teaching members from participating in election process,” PUTA members stated.



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