C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Boiler blast leaves worker dead
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 15
In a high-magnitude factory blast this morning, a labourer was killed while another one was injured after a boiler at the factory of Bengali Sweets, Industrial Area, Phase II, Panchkula, exploded. The victim, Ram Dheer (35), died on the spot while Bhoj Raj was injured. He was taken to the General Hospital in Sector 6, Panchkula, where he is under treatment.

Ram Dheer hailed from Uttar Pradesh and is survived by his wife and two sons.

“At about 7 am today, workers were making sweets in the factory on the occasion of Bhai Dooj. Dheer came out with his companion to work on the boiler,” said Durga (name changed), a worker.

He said, “Ram Dheer was putting wooden planks in the boiler when suddenly there was a blast in the boiler. For a while, we could not see anything due to dark fumes generated by the blast.”

Ram Dheer and Bhoj Raj were thrown apart by the impact of the boiler blast. Ram Dheer died on the spot, while Bhoj Raj sustained injuries.

The blast was so powerful that Ram Dheer's body was thrown at a distance from the spot. One of his slippers was found near the boiler and the other near the factory gate.

The impact of the blast was so strong that glasses of factories located at a distance of 400 metres from the blast site also broke.

Bengali Sweets had taken the factory premises on rent two months ago. Ram Dheer, the senior-most worker, had been working in the factory for the past seven years. Workers had started their work early today as they had to prepare sweets for Bhai Dooj.

“Usually other workers work at the boiler. However, since some of them were on leave due to the festival season, Ram Dheer, who rarely works at the boiler, went there today after many years,” said a worker.

Workers rushed the two in an auto-rickshaw to a hospital, where Ram Dheer was declared brought dead. His body was sent for a postmortem. Bhoj Raj suffered burns on his face. 

High-intensity blast

The impact of the blast was so strong that windowpanes of factories located at a distance of 400 metres from the blast site also broke. The victim, Ram Dheer's body was thrown at a distance from the spot. One of his slippers was found near the boiler and the other near the factory gate 



Factory was sans fire extinguisher 
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 15
The Panchkula Administration seems to be in slumber and does not know that such a big industrial unit was operating without the requisite licences and safety norms. To make matters worse, not even a single fire extinguisher was installed on the factory premises.

“From our records, it has come to light that the owner had not taken an NOC from the pollution control board. During investigation, it also came to light that the did not have the requisite licences,” said a senior official of the Haryana Pollution Control Board.

A report in this regard has been submitted to senior officials of the department. “Senior officials of the board were supposed to meet the Subdivisional Magistrate today, but the meeting could not take place as the SDM was not available,” added the official.

SDM Sharandeep Kaur Brar said, “I have not ordered an inquiry so far. However, we will definitely get the matter investigated. As stipulated under labour laws, the family of the labourer will get compensation.”

Around four months ago, units which deal in sweets, bakery and milk products had been included in the jurisdiction of the pollution control board. This factory was taken on rent two months ago.

Contractor Satish also reached the hospital on hearing the news about the blast.

Asked whether any official of the Fire Department had ever visited the spot to check safety arrangements, workers said no official ever came to their factory.

There are 12 furnaces on the factory premises.

Chimney was flung 300 ft away

The blast was so powerful that a 50-kg chimney affixed atop the boiler fell 300 ft away. The incident took place at 7 am while officials of the Fire Department reached at 10 am. Despite it being a major incident, neither Deputy Commissioner Ashima Brar nor any other senior official bothered to visit the spot. Officials of the pollution control board, however, visited the spot. 



PGI entrance exam racket
More fake candidates were to appear, but got 'scared' 
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
Even as the CBI arrested seven girls who were decoy candidates meant to leak the paper during the PGI MD/MS entrance examination, there were other girl members of the gang who had successfully applied for the entrance examination but did not appear for the written test. While CBI sleuths rounded up three girls who stayed back at a hotel as they got "scared", there were as many as 16 different application forms submitted by these "helper girls" for appearing in the PGI examination.

The PGI "paper leak" racket, led by accused Gurivi Reddy, is a far bigger racket with several of its gang members still beyond the reach of the CBI, sources said.

“There were 16 application forms of these female accused/helper girls which were seized from the PGI a day after the arrests. The scrutiny of the forms has revealed that certificates of several medical colleges in Andhra Pradesh have been used and sent along with the admission forms. The certificates have been duly attested by various authorities. Gurivi Reddy and the other female accused are required to be interrogated further,” the CBI prosecutor told the court today.

CBI officials said investigation revealed that some of the decoy girls had also submitted "double forms" while applying for the entrance examination, raising a big question mark over the admission process adopted by the PGI.

“While some girls had submitted double forms, there were some other girls who were meant to be planted as decoy candidates but failed to appear at the last moment and stayed back at a hotel. We are scrutinising all records and it is a far bigger gang,” a CBI official said.

The CBI said the interrogation of the girls had revealed that the accused, Girivi Reddy, got admisison forms signed from them under fictitous names and had arranged false educational certificates to show their eligibility for appearing in the examination. These dummy candidates were meant to transmit images of the question paper to the mastermind and communicate the answers back to the beneficiaries.

4 beneficiaries identified

The CBI on Thursday identified four beneficiaries who had appeared for the PGI entrance examination after paying a sum of Rs 40 lakh to the prime accused, Gurivi Reddy. CBI sources said all four had done MBBS and hailed from Andhra Pradesh. The investigating agency has dispatched teams to the state for arresting the accused. 



Exam to be held in 2nd week of Dec
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
Calling it a “precautionary measure”, the PGI, Chandigarh, today declared that the MD/MS entrance examination will be rescheduled in the second week of December as the examination held on November 10 has been cancelled following a scam unearthed by the CBI during the examination.

The Dean of the PGI, Dr Amod Gupta, said the 7,000 candidates who had appeared in the examination on November 10 will not have to apply afresh for the examination and the admit cards issued earlier would be considered valid for the rescheduled examination.

“It is yet to be ascertained as to how many beneficiaries of the scam were there among the 7,000 candidates who took the examination. We cannot afford to let any of the defaulters escape the vigil. Under such a situation, it was decided to reschedule the exam as we cannot take any risk,” said Dr Amod Gupta.

Dr Gupta said the documents submitted by the candidates during the registration were being examined individually. “We are scrutinising the documents of each applicant. Those appearing to be suspicious will be cross-checked,” he said.

A senior PGI official said the new date for the examination will be announced within a day or two after the institute received confirmation from the centres. The date will be declared on the PGI’s website: pgimer.nic.in.

While the PGI had earlier declared that it was not a case of paper leak, today it indicated the possibility of paper leak while announcing the cancellation of the exam.

Info to be sent on email

Each candidate would be informed about the new date of the examination via telephone and email once the scrutiny of the documents was over, said the PGI Dean, Dr Amod Gupta.

Same exam format

The format of the paper will remain the same, i.e. multiple choice questions. “The PGI is a government institution and such changes cannot be introduced overnight. Such decisions are taken by a statutary body.” 



Cancellation of exam leaves candidates upset 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
The PGI’s decision to cancel the MD/MS entrance examination held on November 10 in view of the cheating racket busted during the examination has left candidates disappointed.

The decision has brought trouble for candidates, especially those who had come from far-off cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad. Given the fact that Chandigarh is the only centre for the examination, the candidates will now have to travel to the city again.

“This was the second time I appeared in this entrance examination. This time the examination went very well and I was quite sure I would get through. However, the entire exercise has turned out to be futile since I will to now have to attempt another set of questions, despite the fact that I have done no wrong. The PGI MD entrance examination is believed to be one of the toughest medical entrance examinations and partly your luck also decides your chances of selection,” said a student from Bangalore Medical College on the telephonic on condition of anonymity.

Another student who completed his MBBS from Coimbatore Medical College and appeared in the PGI’s entrance examination said, “The PGI is such a prestigious institution. Why did officials not make arrangements for detecting defaulters? We are being made to suffer for no fault of ours.”

The cancellation of the examination has also affected a large number of students in the region, including those studying at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32.

“This is obnoxious. 

Just because of a few miscreants, so many of us have to suffer for no fault of ours,” said a GMCH-32 student and city resident.

A total of 40 students from the GMCH-32 had appeared in the examination, in addition to about 500 from the region.

A total of 7,000 candidates had taken the examination.

Test twice a year

The PGI entrance examination is held twice a year, in May and November.

Forthcoming medical entrance examinations which will affect the rescheduling of the PGI’s entrance examination are:

Entrance examination for AIIMS: to be held on November 18

National Entrance-cum-Eligibility Test for Medical PostGraduate Courses (NEET-PG): to be held from November 24 to December 6

NEET-PG is a common entrance test for admission to MD/MS in all institutions across India, except the PGI and AIIMS. The examination is conducted online and the applicants select the date of the examination from the schedule provided. 



PGI to introduce jammers, metal detectors 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
Waking up from deep slumber, the PGI, Chandigarh, has decided to introduce metal detectors and jammers in the MD/MS entrance examination. The examination will be rescheduled in the second week of December as the examination held on November 10 has been cancelled following a scam.

In addition to the seven girls caught using sophisticated devices for cheating during the examination, there were 20 youths, suspected to be the beneficiaries of the scam, who easily sneaked into the examination halls with mobiles phones and other gadgets and escaped the vigil.

Despite the fact that a similar incident took place during the same examination two years ago, the PGI failed to ensure adequate measures to check defaulters. The institution not only failed to install jammers, metal detectors or CCTV cameras at the examination centres but also did not bother to check the eligibility of the applicants while issuing the admit cards for the entrance examination.

In 2010, CBI sleuths had arrested two PGI junior resident doctors who had got admission after clearing the entrance examination with the help of impersonators.

In a communication sent to mediapersons here, PGI spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar said, “In order to prevent the use of unfair means, metal detectors and jammers will be used at all examination centres and frisking of candidates will be done prior to their entry.”

The Dean, PGI, Dr Amod Gupta, said, “This time we will ensure that students do not sneak in with gadgets. The exact procedure and arrangement cannot be disclosed, but there will be strict vigilance at the examination centres.”

The PGI had not even cross-checked the authenticity of photocopies of certificates while issuing the admit cards. PGI officials said the admit cards were issued on the basis of photocopies of certificates produced by the candidates. 



Term nearing end, Mayor on inauguration spree 
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
City Mayor Raj Bala Malik is a woman in a hurry at the fag end of her term. In what is being viewed as an attempt to hog credit, she is on an inauguration and foundation stone-laying spree with at least eight such functions planned before her term comes to an end in December.

Raising many an eyebrow, Raj Bala will hurriedly lay foundation stones and inaugurate various community centres, green belts, water fountains and boosting stations in various parts of the city. Nobody, however, knows what will be the fate of these projects if she does not come back on the saddle.

The Mayor, who begun her exercise on November 1 with the inauguration of a green belt in Sector 9 followed by the inauguration of another green belt in Sector 7 on November 5, has planned eight more inauguration functions in the coming days in November and December.

The Mayor will not only be busy inaugurating projects in wards of Congress councillors, but also those in wards of BJP councillors.

She will inaugurate a community centre in Sector 47-B on tomorrow. The Mayor will inaugurate a fountain in Sector 32 on November 18.

Thereafter on November 19, she will inaugurate a green belt in Sector 10-D. Similarly, on November 21, the Mayor will lay the foundation stone of a boosting station in Sector 46-C. She will inaugurate a fountain and a green belt in Sector 22-C on November 24 and inaugurate a green belt in Sector 41-C and D on November 30.

In December, two programmes have been scheduled for the Mayor: On December 10, she will inaugurate a community centre in Sector 27-D and on December 14, she will inaugurate a green belt in Sector 42.

“Well, I have worked hard for getting these projects cleared. Why shouldn't I claim the credit? I tried to remove all kinds of hurdles to start these much-needed projects for the benefit of the public. After putting in so much hard work, these projects got approved,” she said.

She said it was her duty to wrap up the pending projects so that the public could make full use of these projects.

Not the first time

It is not only Raj Bala Malik who will be on an inauguration spree at the fag end of her tenure. Former mayors like Kamlesh, Harjinder Kaur and Pardeep Chhabra also indulged in a similar exercise during the fag end of their tenure as Mayor in the past. 

Raj bala's schedule

November 16: Inauguration of a community centre in Sector 47-B

November 18: Inauguration of a fountain in Sector 32

November 19: Inauguration of a green belt in Sector 10-D

November 21: Laying of the foundation stone of a boosting station in Sector 46

November 24: Inauguration of a fountain and a green belt in Sector 22-C

November 30: Inauguration of a green belt in Sector 41-C and D

December 10: Inauguration of a community centre in Sector 27-D

December 14: Inauguration of a green belt in Sector 42 


Mohali MC set to extend limits
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 15
With the addition of 15 villages, 20 sectors, having a population of about one lakh and three times the existing area of the town, the Mohali Municipal Corporation (MC) is ready with the proposal of extending its limits.

In its proposal under Section 3 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, which has been finalised by the authorities, the MC has proposed to add the villages of Bar Majra, Kumbhra, Sohana, Mauli Baidwan, Raipur, Lakhnaur, Nanu Majra, Chilla, Papri, Jujhar Nagar Abadi, Kambala, Jagatpura, Daun, Balongi and Ballo Majra to the MC limits.

The sectors, which have been included in the proposal, are Sector 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, Sector 69, 68, 67, 66 Alpha and a part of Sector 66.

According to sources, the area of these villages and sectors is around three times of the existing 23.86 sq km area of the MC limits, which means if the state government would give its nod to the plan, the MC limits would be increased by about three times the existing area. In the area under the MC jurisdiction, the population is 1.46 lakh.

The sources in the Municipal Corporation claimed that the entire exercise in this connection has been almost completed. “The new maps and drawings are ready. The proposal would be sent to the Punjab government for its nod very soon,” said an official in the MC.

After the state government gives its nod to the proposal, the procedure of notifying it would begin under which the objections of the residents to the proposed areas would be called. 

Villages to lose panchayat status

An official maintained that if the proposal in question was accepted in toto, the panchayats of all the above-said villages would cease to exist as their area would come under the MC jurisdiction.

More revenue for corporation

As the imposition of property tax is also on the cards, the addition of a large chunk of the area to the MC limits would mean more income for the MC, said an official. On the other hand, provision and maintenance of the basic infrastructure and facilities in the rural areas would be the MC’s responsibility.



P'kula DC fails to visit blast site
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 15
“How many innocent people will have to sacrifice their lives to wake up the Panchkula Deputy Commissioner Ashima Brar who doesn’t bother to be at the scene of any such major mishap?” the local people feel who have been shaken by the factory blast.

The Panchkula administration is behaving like the proverbial dead horse as despite the fact that several blasts had taken place at different factories in the industrial area and innocent lives had been lost, no effort has been made to keep a check on the mandatory safety equipment installed by factories and the norms to be adhered by them.

Despite the fact that such a major mishap had taken place, Brar did not even visit the spot.

A similar incident had taken place last year when two consecutive blasts occurred in a boiler at a chemical factory in phase II of the industrial area. A labourer, Ramesh, was killed in the blast. The report submitted to the SDM mentioned that the fire equipment at the factory were ill-maintained. Still no checks were carried out by the administration in other factories and no efforts were made to keep a regular check on safety measures at there.

“The administration is the least bothered about what is happening in the city. There is no check on the factories. You never know how many more might be running their business without the NOC,” said Beer Singh, who had come to the nearby factory for some work.

An industry owner said: “Had the Panchkula DC acted in the wake of the past incidents and an exemplary punishment had been given to erring factory owners, this worker would not have lost his life.”

When the workers and the guard were asked as to whether any official had come to the factory to check safety equipment, they said no one had ever come there to check the same.

Spokesperson's lie

In the evening, the spokesperson for Ashima Brar called up and said she had marked an inquiry to the SDM. But when the SDM, Sharandeep Brar, was contacted, she said she had been asked for no enquiry.



Ancestral house of SOPU leader raided
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 15
In the bashing up of former student of DAV College, Sector 10, by SOPU leader Amandeep Singh Multani, the local police is yet to make any arrest.

Today, a police team raided Multani’s ancestral house at Sadhora in Yamunagar (Haryana), but he was not present there. They police found his parents there.

“Multani’s parents feigned ignorance about his whereabouts,” said a member of the raiding team.

However, it was confirmed that the Innova, which was used in the crime, belonged to Multani’s father Manjit Singh.

“Manjit resided in Sector 34 when he purchased the vehicle,” said the police.

Notably, the police had tried to locate the address of the owner of the vehicle through its registration number, which revealed an address in Sector 34. But when the police party reached there, no person with such name was found there.

Yesterday, Amandeep Singh Multani, along with his five or six acquaintances, had brutally beaten up Amarinder Singh, an old student of DAV College, Sector 10, in full public view when the latter came out of the Mohali District Courts after attending a court hearing at around 11.30 am.

The police has registered an attempt-to-murder case in this connection.



Lobbying on for Chandigarh Mayor’s post
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
With the election to the coveted post of Mayor is one and a half month away, prospective candidates from the Congress and the BJP have started lobbying.

These candidates also made full use of the Divali festival to garner support of their senior leaders and other councillors. They met senior party leaders and other councillors and extended them Divali wishes. At these meetings, they tried to push their candidature for the post of Mayor as well.

Next year, the Mayor’s post will be under the general category. Certain candidates are openly saying that they will be the first choice from the party for the post of Mayor whereas the others are silently working to attain their goal. These silent candidates are only focusing on developmental work in their respective wards.

From the Congress, apart from former Mayors Pardeep Chhabra and Subhash Chawla, Mukesh Bassi and Sat Prakash Aggarwal are also lobbying hard.

In the present Mayor’s elections, nominated councillors, who hold the key, had largely voted for the Congress. Therefore, the chances of a Congress candidate becoming Mayor for the next year are very strong. Probable candidates are counting on their plus points like experience, links to the public, cordial relations with officials of the MC and the UT Administration and development work in their respective wards. They don’t forget to mention that they started their political innings way back from the platforms of the NSUI and the Youth Congress.

In the BJP, the situation is little complex as there are different camps in the party. It can be gauged from the fact that till now, the BJP has not been able to decide the name of the Leader of the Opposition in the MC House. But, still Arun Sood, Saurabh Joshi, Davesh Moudgill and Rajesh Gupta Bittu are prospective candidates from the BJP for the post of Mayor. 

Congress has the edge

The corporation House has a total strength of 36 members, including 26 elected councillors, nine nominated councillors and one MP. The Congress at present has 12 councillors, BJP-SAD alliance 11, the BSP two and one is independent. Apart from them there are nine nominated councillors. The local MP, who is an ex-officio member of the House, also has right to vote.

Mayor’s tenure

The Mayor’s tenure is of one year from January 1 to December 31. The first and fourth years of the five-year term of the MC House are reserved for a woman candidate from the general category, the second and fifth are earmarked for a candidate from the general category and the third is for a candidate from the Schedule Castes category.



Junk dealers encroach UPON plots worth crores
Union Territory Estate Office to issue notices to violators who have grabbed land 
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
A survey by the UT Estate Office to ascertain the ground situation in Phases I and II at the Industrial Area here, has revealed that a number of un allotted plots, valued worth crores of rupees, had been encroached upon by junk dealers right under the nose of the authorities. The junk dealers, sitting along the railway line, opposite the petrol pump and in open near the newly converted hotels in Phase II and certain points in Phase I are doing their business on encroached land. Of the total 1,781 plots, encroachments of different nature were found on 84 vacant plots.

Not only the encroachments creating unhygienic conditions, the junk dealers are eating in to the revenue which has been contemplating to allot more plots in yet to be cared out Industrial Area, Phase III. In a recent decision, the administration has fixed the allotment price of the plots in the Industrial Area at Rs 29,000 per sq yard.

Based on the survey, the estate office will soon start issuing notices to those who have been misusing their premises. A total of 492 plots, 204 in the Industrial Area, Phase I, and 288 in Industrial Area, Phase II, have been identified under the misuse category. Officials in the estate office reveal that under the UT’s conversion policy, around 125 plots have got permission for conversion and of these around 25 had already converted. Few years ago, the UT Estate Office had resumed nearly 60 sites.

These sites were in Phases I and II. The estate office had served notices to nearly 450 notices to those who were misusing industrial plots without getting the land use converted under the UT administration’s conversion policy. Many had been served notices at a rate of Rs 500 per sq ft. In the recent survey, the officials of the estate office found that 150 plots, 70 in Industrial Area, Phase I and another 80 in Phase II were found vacant.

The record was being tallied to ascertain the trade allowed on the given plot. “While the UT Administration was discussing the issue of allotment of more plots in the proposed Phase III of Industrial Area, the vacant or plots which are yet to be allotted should be first utilised,” said an industrialist.



Industrial Area lacks basic infrastructure
10 hotels, 40 malls, shopping complexes to come up in city
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
Profile of Industrial Area, Chandigarh is changing as more than 10 hotels, including two five stars, more than 40 malls and shopping complexes are coming up in Industrial Area. But despite these projects, the UT Administration and the municipal corporation have miserably failed to upgrade the basic infrastructure here.

Industrialists, hoteliers and businessmen have complained that the condition of internal roads, streetlights, parks and power and water supply is very bad in Industrial area. In some of the internal roads especially, in the Industrial area Phase II, huge potholes can be easily seen. Industrialists complained that in the monsoon season, water filled up in these potholes. They complained that due to non-functional streetlights, it is unsafe to drive on the internal roads of the Industrial area.

The Chandigarh Industrial Association (CIA) president, MPS Chawla, said that just because it was an industrial area, the administration and the civic body had turned a blind eye to the development in the area. He further added that the UT Administration had passed the new name Chandigarh Industrial and Business Park, for the Industrial Area. But the name had not been changed so far. New name would certainly help the hoteliers and mall owners in their business but so far, no signboards were installed, he added.

Arun Mahajan, president of Industries Association of Chandigarh, said that they had submitted memorandum to the Administration and the MC but to no avail. He further added that while repairing the roads of the Industrial area, the authorities should remove the old layer of the road and then construct the new one. But the authorities are completing formality by repairing the roads which increase the road level from the ground level and in the days of rain the water enter inside the factories, he added.

Chander Verma, Chairman of Converted Plot Owners Association, said around 125 plot owners had opted for conversion of their plots from industrial to commercial activity after payment of over Rs 1,000 crore to the administration but the Administration had failed to provide basis infrastructure in the Industrial Area. The poor condition of infrastructure left bad impression on the representatives of the multi-national companies who wanted to tie up with local businessmen. This affected the business of local industrialists very badly, he added.

Sanjeev Sagar, President of Chandigarh Industrial Area Tenants Association, said that as more malls and hotels are coming up in Industrial area, which was earlier, only for industries. He added that the present infrastructure is not enough to take the load of these new hotels and malls.

Not only the hoteliers and Industrialists but also the young professionals, who are working in these establishments and visit the area, are not happy with the basic infrastructure of the Industrial area. Wasim Ahmed, an IT professional, said that whenever, he visits any showroom in Industrial area, parking is always been a tough task. He added that it is good that these malls and hotels are coming up in Industrial area but the authorities failed to provide basic infrastructure of roads, lights and proper parking space.

Areas of concern

Parking: The existing malls in the area show inadequate arrangements, leading to vehicles parked on roads and pavements. Authorities have failed to make arrangements of parking lots in Industrial area.

Roads: Existing roads are narrow and inadequate to handle the expected rush in the wake of new hotels and shopping malls. As more than 40 malls and multiplexes are coming up in future then it is matter of concern that how these roads will take the load of increasing traffic in Industrial area.

Water: The existing water pipelines are far below the capacity required in the wake of big construction. Moreover water supply is also not very good in Industrial area.

Electricity: The UT Administration will have to make adequate arrangements for power supply to hotels and malls. But in the near future the UT Administration has not planned anything for electricity supply in Industrial area for these ever-rising business units.



Councillors seek details from authorities

Panchkula, November 15
The first meeting of ward de-limitation was convened today at the DC office, Sector 1, Panchkula, and the councillors have asked for various details from the authorities so that they may come up with objections and suggestions at the next meeting.

“Our meeting with the officials of the administration was held today and we have asked them to provide us with all the details regarding the population and their further plans. It is now in the next meeting we will put forth our objections and suggestions,” said BB Singhal, former vice-president of the Municipal Council. He further added, “The next date of the meeting has not been fixed yet.”

It was recently that a panel was formed, which included five councillors from suspended local bodies of Panchkula and Kalka.

There would be 20 wards of the Panchkula Municipal Corporation, which would have Panchkula city and 42 panchayats of Pinjore and Kalka. An application has already been moved to the court for challenging the de-limitation of wards. It was in March 2010, when the Haryana Govt had issued a notification for the formation of municipal corporation. Three petitioners moved the Punjab and Haryana HC against the formation of the corporation, resulting which the high court quashed the notification issued by the Haryana Govt on October 29. This led to the formation of the municipal council again. It was then that the Haryana Govt moved the SC against the decision of the high court. — TNS



24 Indian doctors to fly to Nigeria
Will conduct polio-corrective surgeries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
A team of 24 Indian doctors and volunteers would fly from Mumbai for a 10-day medical mission to conduct polio corrective surgeries in Abuja, Nigeria. A total of 400 surgeries will be performed during the mission and the team will leave on December 2.

This India-Nigeria Polio Surgeries medical mission is dedicated to combat polio, generate awareness, and help the polio-affected population through corrective surgeries, informed former world president of Rotary International, Rajendra K Saboo, who conceived the inter-continental medical missions in 1998, when he took a team of Indian doctors to Uganda.

“The biggest challenge today is to end polio from the world and protect our children. Nigeria is one of the three remaining endemic countries in the world along with Pakistan and Afghanistan, and so long as there is even one country in the world affected by polio, it would continue to endanger the lives of the children everywhere,” he said. “This polio corrective surgery project is different. Since it is for the first time a single specialty surgical team is going to Africa,” Saboo added.

“Certain sections of the population in Nigeria, which is still a polio endemic country, are resisting immunisation efforts due to several misconceptions, and we hope that an initiative like polio corrective surgeries would help us send a strong message to the people and create an atmosphere of faith in this world-wide efforts to immunise children against polio,” said Saboo.

Similar situation in India was tackled in UP and Bihar through efforts of Rotary to conduct similar camp in which nearly 4,000 children and adults underwent polio-corrective surgeries, he added.



Experts discuss democratic reforms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
A panel discussion on “Democratic Reforms: Canada and India” was held at the ICSSR Complex, Panjab University, today. Minister of State (Democratic Reform) Tim Uppal, Scot Slessor, Canadian Consul General at Chandigarh, Professor Ashutosh Kumar and Professor Surinder K Shukla were among the panelists.

Tim Uppal talked about the measures undertaken in the recent years to make the democratic system much more transparent and accountable so that citizens could have greater faith in the system. He focused on the Canadian democratic reforms. ”The corporate world in Canada is not approached for donations. Only individuals can make donations with a ceiling of $1,200. They have to declare their assets annually. Inflow and outflow of money is made public by the representatives”, he said.

He referred to the setting up of the Ethics Commission and the measures such as not allowing ministers to take up any business or being obliged to declare their assets annually.

He said there was a term limit of nine years for the Senate members and the Fair Representation Act had also been enacted to make the legislative bodies more representatives.

Professor Ashutosh Kumar underlined the similarities between the Canadian and Indian polity. He said although both countries were on opposite sides of the globe and at the different levels of economic development, yet they were somewhat similar in social and regional diversities.

“Being the British colonies, both countries have retained similar kind of representative Institutions and democratic procedures. Again like Canada, India has adopted a form of government which is broadly similar in principle to the Westminster model prevalent in England," he said.



Punjabi litterateurs to be awarded tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
Eminent litterateurs Dr Mohinder Kaur Gill and Prem Parkash Khannvi will be given the Punjab Sahit Rattan Award for 2010 and 2011, respectively, at a ceremony here on Saturday. The award carries a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh.

Education Minister Sikander Singh Maluka said Dr Tejwant Mann and Dr Surjit Hans would be given the Shiromani Punjabi Sahitkar Award for 2010 and 2011, respectively. He said the Shiromani Hindi Sahitkar Award and the Shiromani Urdu Sahitkar Award would be given to Dr Krishan Kumar Rattu and Dr Rubina Shabnam for the year 2011.

Shiv Kumar Bhardwaj from Dehradun had been selected for the Shiromani Sanskrit Award for 2010 and Mahesh Chandar Gautam for 2011.

The Shiromani Punjabi Poet Award would be given to Surinder Gill for the year 2010 and to Surjit Judge for 2011. The Shiromani Punjabi Critics Award would be given to Harbhajan Singh Bhatia for 2010 and Sarup Singh Alag for 2011.

The minister said that Sukhdev Singh Grewal and Kamaljeet Neelon had been selected for the Shiromani Punjabi Bal Sahit Writer Award for 2010 and 2011, respectively. Hukam Chand Sharma and Kamaljit Singh Banwait would be honoured with the Shiromani Punjabi Patarkar Award. The Shiromani Punjabi Sahitik Patarkar Award for 2010 would be given to Gurvinder Singh Dhaliwal and for 2011 to Jagdish Waryam.

The Shiromani Dhadhi/Raggi/Kawishar Award: 2010 would be given to Joga Singh Jogi and for 2011 to Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa. Shiromani Punjabi TV/Radio Award for 2010 would be given to Jatinder Kaur and to Kesar Singh for the year of 2011.

The minister said that legendary singer Kuldeep Manak would be awarded posthumously.



‘Baldey Tibbey’ staged at Tagore Theatre 
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, November 15
Punjabi play "Baldey Tibbey" was staged at the Tagore Theatre during the annual theatre festival of the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Academy today. Directed by Umesh Kant, the play is an adaptation of "Desire Under the Elms", written by one of the most enduring American playwright Eugene O Neill. 

It was translated into Punjabi by famous Punjabi writer Balwant Gargi. The play is a tragedy, involving a jatt farmer's lust for "zar, zoru and zamin". Audience enjoyed the performances. Tomorrow, "Bobby Breaker", a play about the struggle of a young boy Vishwas Joshi will be staged.



Candlelight march held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
Close friends and relatives of deceased Monica Goyal, 36-year-old computer teacher, held a candle light march seeking justice for her.

The march started from Monica's parental house in Sector 15 and ended at Sector 17 plaza.

Last week, the police had added murder charge in the FIR against the husband and in-laws of Monica Goyal, who was found dead in mysterious circumstances in her husband's house in Sector 21 last month.

The move came after the police received a detailed conclusion report on its queries from the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory.

Monica's brother Amit Jindal said since the very beginning they had been trying to convenience the police that she was murdered. According to him, the police should step up its investigation in this case and try to bring out the truth behind her death.



Technicians suspend work at GMSH-16
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
More than 50 lab technicians at the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, held a gate meeting, suspending work for one hour at the hospital today.

The services remained disrupted between 9 am and 10 am as a few pathological tests were conducted in the absence of technicians at the labs.

The meeting was organised to protest the delay in the acceptance of their demands, including the filling of vacant posts of paramedical staff and preparation of a seniority list.

During the gate meeting, Dr G Dewan, Deputy Medical Superintendent, assured the agitators that the problems faced by the employees would be solved soon after a discussion with the Secretary, Health.



Tricity  scan

IPS trainees meet Governor

A group of 20 trainee IPS officer after completing their training from the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy, Hyderabad, met Shivraj Patil, Punjab Governor and Administrator of UT. While interacting with the young IPS officers, Patil asked their views regarding reforms in the police. After getting different replies from the officers, Patil said there was need to increase the number of police stations and policemen in the country. He said at present there were only 1,400 police stations in the country and one police station covered 100 villages. He said provision of strong rooms and (koth), a room for keeping weapons, was also badly required. Shivani Tewari, IPS officer, thanked the Governor for giving valuable tips on police reforms.

Lucky draw

A lucky draw was held for the fuel customers of Allied Service Station, Sector 34, by Indian Oil Corporation on Thursday. The results were announced by A Venu Prasad , Commissioner, Excise and Taxation, Punjab. He distributed prizes to seven customers of the filling station. This draw was organised by Indian Oil Corporation as part of its sales promotion campaign. Soon similar draws will be organised by various oil marketing companies in the city.

Musical tribute

A musical tribute was paid to renowned artist Attar Chand Sagar by the Dreams Unlimited, an NGO, on Thursday. Ghazal singer Sri Randhir Kanwal, classical singer from Patiala Gharana enthralled the audience at Community Centre, Sector 46, Chandigarh. Prof Kirpal Kazak from Punjabi University, Patiala, and Dr Nivedita Singh, head of the Department of Music, Punjabi University, Patiala, paid floral tributes to Late Sri Attar Sagar. Jyoti Sagar, president of the NGO said that their NGO had been identifying young artists from rural Punjab and honing their skills. The NGO would continue such training programmes in the coming years, she said. veteran sculptor Attar Chand Sagar was unanimously elected a the vice- president of the Punjab Latit Kala Akademi in 2011. Sagar made more than 1,400 sculptures and died in November last year. He was also the recipient of the President Award for the excellence in teaching in 1985.

Non-compliance of orders

In a representation to the UT Administrator, Vinod Sharma, Assistant Secretary, State Transport Authority (STA), said despite instructions regarding regularisation of suspension period from December 23, 2004 to December 26, 2004, and grant of ACP after four and nine years of service, following subsequent reminders no action had been taken. "The way the authorities are causing unnecessary delay in deciding the cases not only increasing unwarranted litigation but also causing loss to the exchequer," he said.

Scholarships awarded

Nupur Mitra, chairman and managing director of Dena Bank, awarded scholarships to Aryans students on Thursday. Dr Anshu Kataria, chairman, Aryans Group of Colleges, presided over the function. The scholarships, ranging between 50,000 to 1 lakh per course, were awarded. On the occasion, she announced that Dena Bank will provide study loans to meritorious students.

Story-telling competition

A story-telling competition conducted at Gian Jyoti Global School, Phase2, Mohali, on Thursday. Students recited stories with a lot of fervor and confidence. The objective of the task was to enhance creativity among the students. The children made charts to tell stories. They even managed to bring teddy bear, spoons, bowls, corn flakes and many other props from their homes. Around 40 students participated in the event, in which Gurkirat and Simar of class I stood first, whereas, Karan, Varun and Pragati of class II grabbed the first position. — Tribune Reporters



University students end protest 
Panjab University slashes mess charges temporarily on Bansal’s intervention
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
The ten-day-long protest over the hike in food prices at Panjab University finally came to an end after the PU authorities slashed the rates of a diet from Rs 30 to Rs 27.50 till January 15. The decision came after the intervention of Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, who is the local MP. The minister has assured to take up the issue of providing one cylinder against each hostel resident every year on subsidised rates. If the proposal is accepted, the university hostels will be getting around 67, 00 cylinders on subsidised rates every year.

With the university temporarily slashing the diet rates, food would be served at Rs 27.50 in boys hostel and Rs 26 per diet in the girls hostels. Sources said the decision to temporarily roll back the rates came after the intervention of the local MP, who promised to take up the issue of providing gas cylinders on subsidised prices.

PU officials said they had introduced a hike of Rs 6 due to the increase in the price of LPG cylinders. Earlier, the university authorities had approached various government agencies to provide LPG at subsidised prices.

The subsidy will be provided to the students who ask for it. It shall be adjusted against the mess bills of the individuals. Local Congress leader HS Lucky, who is also a nominated member to the Senate, mediated between PU authorities and students to end the protest.

The PU officials said this was purely an ad hoc arrangement and in case the statutory body of the university did not release funds, then status quo would remain.

Student parties take credit for rollback

As the university authorities reached a consensus and decided to temporarily slash food prices by Rs 2.50, various student claimed that it was their agitation that brought the results. While NSUI leader Sunny Mehta claimed that it was because of their efforts that MP Pawan Kumar Bansal intervened and promised to provide a relief to the agitating students. "It was the efforts made by the NSUI members, which resulted in a major relief," Mehta said.

Similarly, the members of Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) said it was their efforts, due to which, the PU authorities agreed to provide food subsidy.

PUSU leader Sumit Goklaney said their party members had observed a "black Divali" and the authorities were forced to take the decision . "We observed fast, switched off lights, avoided sweets and crackers," Goklaney claimed.

Meanwhile, the PU authorities have decided to use the funds reserved for the students from the Economic Weaker Sections (EWS) and deserving students for reimbursing the mess contractors. The student leaders, however, expressed their dissatisfaction over the decision. SOPU leader Manoj Lubana said the money should be utilised for the welfare of the students. 



UT Education Dept to finalise reimbursement amount soon 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
The long pending confusion about the extent of reimbursement to the unaided private schools in Chandigarh seems to have some clarity now. In its latest decision, the UT Education Department has clarified that the reimbursement to the local private unaided schools under the RTE Act would be more than the obligation, which they have to adhere under the state economically weaker sections (EWS) quota.

“It means that while it is mandatory for the private schools to fill 25 per cent seats at entry-level from the economically weaker sections and disadvantaged groups, they would be reimbursed to the extent of 10 per cent only,” sources in the department said.

As per the notification issued by the UT Administration in 2005, the private schools were obliged to enrol 15 per cent students from economically weaker sections in lieu of the land given to them at concessional rates. In Chandigarh more than 90 per cent schools are obliged under this quota. However, the issue became complicated after the RTE Act necessitated the private schools to reserve 25 per cent seats at entry-level classes for the students, belonging to the disadvantaged groups as well as economically weaker sections.

Throwing a fresh light on the issue, senior officials in the department said: “ The RTE Act says if unaided private schools are already under obligation to provide free education to specified number of students under any other law or notification, then that number would be adjusted to 25 per cent reservation under the act. "In Chandigarh, the schools are already under obligation to give free education to 15 per cent students from weaker sections, therefore, the UT Administration will reimburse them accordingly," said officials

According to information, the department will soon finalise the amount of reimbursement under the act. The rate is expected to be between Rs 950 to1,050 and it is expected to get approval of the Financial Department soon. In the past two years, many private schools in Chandigarh had enroled students under the RTE Act but they were not reimbursed.

Right to education

As per the notification issued by the UT Administration in 2005, the private schools were obliged to enrol 15 per cent students from economically weaker sections in lieu of the land given to them at concessional rates. In Chandigarh more than 90 per cent schools are obliged under this quota. 



One-time cash subsidy for school uniform from next academic session
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
The UT Education Department has begun the process of providing one-time cash subsidy to government school students for buying schools uniforms. It will be provided from next academic year and will be deposited in the joint bank account of a student and his mother. As per the information, the department has asked all government schools to open the joint bank accounts of their students in a month. Several schools have nearly finished with their bank account work. Dr Vinod Sharma, headmaster of Government Model High School,Sector 34, said the bank accounts of 90 per cent of their students had been opened and the rest would be opened in a week.

However, periphery schools are having a tough time in opening accounts due to large number of students. Rakesh Kumar, head master of Government High School, Mauli Jagran Colony, said it would take two more weeks to open the accounts of all the students.

Officials said the decision to provide cash-based subsidy was taken to plug the administrative delays in providing uniforms. Over 1 lakh students of class I to VIII would be covered under the scheme. The cash subsidy, ranging from Rs 700 to Rs 1000 per child, will be provided to the students. Out of the amount Sarav Shikshya Abhiyan (SSA), Chandigarh, will bear Rs 200 per child and rest will be borne by the Education Department. Overall budget for the scheme is pegged around Rs 9 crore.

The officials said a similar cash subsidy model was running successfully in Delhi schools and it was closely studied before placing the proposal. An internal committee of the department had given a number of recommendation during the formulation of the proposal, which included availability and accessibility of enough purchasing points for buying uniforms in the city besides ensuring their quality. A school-based inspection committee will also be formed to ensure that all the school children have proper uniform.



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