C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Toilet in park for Haryana ADGP’s staff 
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 18
Cocking a snook at the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court against encroaching upon roads and public parks for providing a shelter to security men, bureaucrats are continuing with the illegal practice.

A senior police official from Haryana, ADGP MS Mann, has 'constructed' an illegal toilet in a park located near his house in the residential area of Sector 6, Panchkula. Illegal sewerage and water facility have also been availed.

On Saturday, Chandigarh Tribune had reported about the violation by BK Garg, the Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) of the State Crime Research Bureau (SCRB) by pitching six tents outside his residence in the middle of the road. Not only this, a washroom and a kitchen were also erected that too with a 'kundi' connection.

"The worst part is that the toilet has been set up not exactly in front of his house, but in the opposite direction. We know how we are bearing with this nuisance," said a resident of the locality.

She added: "The green patch is for the residents to have a leisure walk, sit and relax, but we cannot do the same as security guards keep staring at us."

"The area is not safe. I cannot send my daughter outside during the night because the security guards can create a nuisance," said another resident.

"We had written to the violators in our sector a number of times, but in vain," said a member of the Residents' Welfare Association.

A commode, a water tap and a pot can be seen in the brick structure. Illegal water and sewerage facility has also been availed.

When contacted, ADGP MS Mann said: "I got the toilet repaired. In fact, the MC had constructed it. And not only my security guards, but other drivers also use it."

He added: "Why don't you report about the encroachments on the streets instead?"

OP Sihag, executive officer of the MC, said: "It's wrong. Why would the MC construct the toilet in a park?"

Ashwini Sharma, estate officer, HUDA, said that on Monday he would get the violations checked and would serve a notice.

A tent pitched by the security staff of former Punjab Chief Secretary Jai Singh Gill at Sector 6, Panchkula, on Sunday.
A tent pitched by the security staff of former Punjab Chief Secretary Jai Singh Gill at Sector 6, Panchkula, on Sunday. Tribune photo: S Chandan 

Illegal tent

Similarly, the security staff of former Punjab Chief Secretary Jai Singh Gill can also be seen encroaching upon the road with a tent pitched near his residence in Sector 6, Panchkula. Somehow, the water and electricity facility is also being availed. "We have a television, fan and a cooler during summers. We have all the facilities here," said a security guard. 





cheating case
PGI fails to order internal probe
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
Even a week after a cheating racket was busted in the PGI, the premier healthcare institute has failed to mark an internal inquiry to check the involvement of its staff in the racket.

The PGI had to cancel the exam following a raid by the CBI on November 10. Senior faculty members of the PGI were deputed at all 11 examination centres and the clerical staff was also present at the centres.

When contacted, PGI’s official spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar said: “We are dependent on the CBI for investigations. We are only helping them in investigations.”

A similar racket was busted in the institute two years ago. In 2010, the CBI sleuths had arrested two PGI junior resident doctors who had got admission after clearing the entrance exam with the help of impersonators.

The CBI has already arrested seven candidates, while another 10 beneficiaries have been identified from among the 7,000 candidates who appeared for the exam.

The exam has been rescheduled for December 8. The candidates have been advised to visit the PGI website to know the details of exam centres. The admit cards issued to them during the previous exam will be considered valid for the rescheduled exam. 



Tug of war on for city police top post 
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
With the current DGP of the Chandigarh Police PK Srivastava retiring by the month-end, intensive lobbying to head the UT police has begun. A major tug of war is on between two Inspectors General of Police (IGP), in particular, to head the UT police.

The two main contenders are Virender Singh Chahal, a 1991-batch IPS officer currently posted in New Delhi, and JK Sharma, a 1982-batch officer currently posted in Arunachal Pradesh. Highly placed sources say that while one officer is being backed by a well-known senior politician from the city, the other officer is being backed by a Chief Minister of a state adjoining the UT. Chahal has earlier (2004) served as SP (HQ) in the UT police.

One interesting facet is that should Sharma, who has not been empanelled beyond an IGP by the Union Government, be appointed the UT’s IGP, he will be senior by one batch to KK Sharma, the Adviser to the UT Administrator, thus creating an anomaly.

Sources say that Chandigarh is not being seen as a preferred place of posting by senior police officers. Three IPS officers, including two currently posted with the CBI have declined to take up the top post in Chandigarh. The third IPS officer to have declined is Vivek Gogia, who has earlier served as the DIG in UT.

One reason behind not many officers expressing keenness to join Chandigarh is the MHA decision to club Chandigarh with New Delhi as a category ‘A’ posting. As a result, the UT-cadre officers prefer New Delhi over Chandigarh for a category ‘A’ posting as that is seen better for career progression. “With Delhi and Chandigarh on an equal footing, officers prefer to opt for Delhi rather than Chandigarh for better career growth. This is the main reason why Chandigarh is now not that sought after. An officer prefers for a hard posting over Chandigarh so that he can resume a posting in Delhi after three years,” said an official. The name is expected to be announced later this week. 

Main contenders
The two main contenders are Virender Singh Chahal, a 1991-batch IPS officer currently posted in New Delhi, and JK Sharma, a 1982-batch officer currently posted in Arunachal Pradesh



Life full of ups and downs 
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh. November 18
As soon as he took the 80-year-old patient suffering from tuberculosis to the ground floor, another patient with high fever entered the lift to move to the upper floor. Being severely ill, the patient vomited inside the lift, but the liftman had to still take him to the medicine OPD on the upper floor. By the time he could find a sweeper for cleaning the lift, a woman came running towards him as she had to go to the chemist shop on ground floor. And the liftman had to operate the dirty lift for the next 30 minutes.

This is the plight of a liftman at the city’s oldest hospital, Government Medical College and Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, who carries patients with chronic diseases up and down more than 100 times a day. Falling sick more than once a month has become a part of his life as he contracts infections from the patients easily. He does not even get a mask to cover his nose and mouth.

Requesting anonymity, a 41-year-old liftman at the hospital, said: “I have been working here for the past 15 years. Over these years, I cannot even recall how many times I have fallen ill. When I had joined this work, both my children were quite young and many times they contracted cold from me. Now, I have become somewhat immune to these infections. To protect myself, I tie a handkerchief around my nose. ”

His meagre salary, amounting not more than Rs 5,000 per month, does not allow him to take leave even when he is unwell since he fears deduction from the salary.

“The number of patients visiting the hospital runs into thousands everyday. Besides, there are more than 500 patients with chronic ailments admitted to the hospital. The lifts in the New OPD Block (set up recently) are somewhat spacious, yet the patient movement remains high everyday. Last month, a number of patients with high fever visited the hospital. I suffered severe cold and was forced to go on a week’s leave at the cost of half of my salary,” said another liftman at the hospital, who now operates the patients’ lift at the New OPD.

There are four liftmen working at the GMSH-16 on contractual basis. The situation is similar at the other government hospitals, Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, and the PGIMER. 



Disturbed Area notification
UT won’t reveal benefits enjoyed by its officials 
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
‘Mum’ is the word for UT officials when it comes to making public the benefits availed by them under the disturbed area tag. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had quashed the ‘Disturbed Area’ notification in Chandigarh.

In an RTI reply, the UT Administration maintained that under Section 2 (f) of the Right to Information Act, 2005, the UT Administration couldn’t provide the information to the applicant.

In the application, the details regarding benefits, perks and security cover provided to the UT officials after the disturbed area notification were sought. Besides, information regarding whether the post of the UT SSP also comes under the disturbed area notification was sought.

But, the UT Administration in its reply stated: “You are hereby informed that Section 2 (f) of the Right to Information Act, 2005, provides that information means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, order logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any law for the time being in force.”

“Further the Government of India has issued instructions in pursuance of the observations of the Supreme Court on the Right to Information Act, 2005, in a case of CBSE v/s Bandopadhyay and others of 2011. The SC has clearly indicated that public authority was not required to provide ‘advice’ or ‘opinion’ to an applicant. Since wide application under reference you have sought the opinion/advice of the undersigned as such your application is not maintainable under section 2 (f) to the RTI Act, 2005, and the decision of the Supreme Court of India circulated by the Government of India as referred to above.” 

What information was sought?

* What benefits are available to the UT officials under the special status granted to the UT

* How much grant the UT Administration received from the Union Government under the disturbed area notification

* The list of officials who had availed themselves of the facility of one extra house in their parent state following the notification

* Details of security cover given to the UT officials

* Whether the post of the UT SSP comes under the disturbed area notification or not


City parks in a state of neglect
  The one opposite MC Mayor’s, Home Secretary’s residence too cry for attention
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

An open electric junction box; and (above) non-functional water system and debris lying in a park in front of the Mayor’s and Home Secretary’s residence in Sector 24, Chandigarh.
An open electric junction box; and (right) non-functional water system and debris lying in a park in front of the Mayor’s and Home Secretary’s residence in Sector 24, Chandigarh. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, November 18
Tall claims of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation(MC) of keeping city’s neighbourhood parks well maintained have fallen flat, as the park in front of the Mayor’s and Home Secretary’s residence is crying for maintenance.

While the MC has removed the illegal tents installed in the neighbourhood park in Sector 24, boundaries of tents as well as the open water system are yet to be removed. Besides, the park not only houses broken playing equipments (swings) made of iron rods, but there is wild growth of grass.

The poor condition of the park does not seem to have caught the attention of either the Mayor Raj Bala Malik or the UT Home Secretary Anil Kumar, in the past many months.

While there are a total of 42 neighbourhood parks in Sector 22, 23 and 24, including the one in front of the Mayor’s residence, there is only one tractor allocated by the MC for levelling the grass. Besides, there are only two manual grass-cutting machines provided to the eight officials, who look after these 42 parks.

Admitting that the park is in a poor condition, area councillor Asha Rani, said, “We have written to the Municipal Commissioner several times for enhancing the facilities in the parks, including the one opposite to the Mayor’s residence. We sought permission for RWAs for cleaning the parks, however, the commissioner said that no such policy existed.”

“We also requested that the broken iron-made swings from the park should be since we have received complaints of several children sustaining injuries while playing on these swings. However, no action has been taken by the commissioner so far,” the councillor added.

The condition of other parks in the area is no different. The councillor claims to have shot a letter to the Municipal Commissioner in February this year, seeking removal of iron-made playing equipment, boundaries of tents and cleaning of park.



Naked live wires: Tragedy in waiting at Panchkula sectors 
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

An open electric junction box of a streetlight pole near the road separating Sectors 2 and 5 in Panchkula. Tribune photos: S Chandan 

An open electric junction box near the CBSE office in Sector 5. 

Electric wires hanging from an open electric junction box near Sectors 5 and 9 light point.

Naked electric wires hanging from a pole in front of KC Theatre in Sector 5.

Panchkula, November 18
The lackadaisical approach of the Panchkula authorities came to the fore when the electric junction boxes of the streetlight poles were found open with naked live wires hanging out in most of the sectors in Panchkula, posing threat to human lives.

In Sectors 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 15 and others the electric junction boxes were found completely open. They pose threat to children, as they wait wait for their school buses at most of these points.

Despite the fact that these “responsible” officials of the administration pass by these boxes daily on their way to office; still they don’t bother to keep a check on these.

“Sector 5 forms the very heart of the city. One happens to cross this road everyday. Live wires were seen coming out of these junction boxes posing threat to life,” said Suresh Chambla, a resident of Sector 6, Panchkula.

Vivek Ahuja, a resident of Sector 11, said, “When I approached the electricity department with a complaint, they said that electric junction boxes of streetlight poles fell under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Corporation and when I went to the latter, they further passed the buck saying, it was HUDA’s responsibility.”

He further added, “No one wants to work here. At least the Deputy Commissioner (DC) can take note of things but even she also seems to be least interested.”

“I always stay back when my daughter waits for the school bus and I am always there to pick her up because you never know when there is a mishap.These open wires are very dangerous,” said Arjun Khullar, a resident of Sector 5, Panchkula.

When contacted, OP Sehag, the Executive officer of the Municipal Corporation, said, “There are some electric junction boxes that don’t fall within our jurisdiction but come under the jurisdiction of HUDA. But we will look into the matter if they fall within our jurisdiction.”

When a senior official of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) was contacted, he assured that necessary action would be taken after verifying under whose jurisdiction these electric junction boxes fall.



Mohali Police finally vacates community centre 
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Community centre at Phase VI, Mohali. Mohali, November 18
After having encroached upon the public community centre at Phase VI for over six years, the Mohali Police finally vacated the premises following the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court here.

Notably, the police had set up its Economic Offence Wing (EOW) on the premises thus depriving the residents from using the place for their functions.

The High Court had issued orders on the petition by Ankush Club, Phase 1, on August 13 this year, directing the police to vacate the premises within a period of three months. The petition in this regard was filed last year when the GMADA authorities were planning to construct a community centre in Phase 1. Then the Ankush Club had challenged the initiative and filed the petition in the court, seeking vacation of the centre in Phase 6.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Swarndeep Singh, SP (City), said that the premises was vacated by them and the authorities concerned had been informed about the development.

“ Now, we have shifted the EOW to Phase VIII Police Complex”, said Swarndeep Singh.

Notably, the police is still illegally occupying two more community centres in Mataur village and Phase 11, where a police station and police lines have been set up, respectively.

“We have taken time till March 2013 from the court to vacate these sites. By then we will make alternative arrangements”, Swarndeep said. Not only these sites, even the Mohali District Courts is being run in a Community Centre building at Phase 3B2 here.

Since these public places are being encroached upon, the residents are forced to book hotels, marriage palaces and other expensive sites for their functions.



GMADA to offer plots at much cheaper rates in upcoming IT Park 
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 18
In a bid to stable the rates of industrial plots in the area, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authorities (GMADA) is all set to offer the plots at much cheaper rates in the upcoming IT Park.

This is for the first time that the GMADA would be offering industrial plots for IT-enabled services.

According to sources in the GMADA, the rates for industrial plots, including the plots for hotels and institutes in the IT Park, are going to be set between Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 per sq m, whereas the rates of industrial plots being offered by the private players here are nearly 15,000 per sq m.

"With the rates out, which would be substantially cheaper than that in the prevailing market, soon the property rates would be stable. Moreover, our effort is to provide the industrial plots on nominal rates to attract potential industrialists here," said a GMADA official.

Under the plan, the IT Park has been planned to spread on 1,700 acres, out of which 400 acres is meant for industrial plots.

The farmers who got commercial and residential plots under land-pooling scheme in the IT Park would be issued Letter of Intent (LoI) within a month, said an official of GMADA. He added that the GMADA would also set rates for the residential plots under the Centre's industrial housing scheme here.

The official said there would be around 4,000 residential plots of different sizes in the IT Park for sale.



Young achiever: Her dance speaks for her
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
Aishna Vashishth, 14, is hearing and speech impaired. It’s her dance that speaks volumes about her talent and dedication.
Aishna shows her medal and certificates at her residence in Sector 40, Chandigarh, on Sunday.
Aishna shows her medal and certificates at her residence in Sector 40, Chandigarh, on Sunday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

City’s young Bharatanatyam performer has recently been honoured with the “National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement”, by President of India Pranab Mukherjee for her excellence in the field of dance, at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhawan on Children’s Day last week.

The award carried a silver medal, citation, certificate and cash prize of Rs 10,000.

This is not her first major recognition. Aishna, a class VII student of Shri Guru Harkishan Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 38, is also a recipient of “National Bal Shree Award 2010” given by National Bal Bhawan. She was also honoured by Chandigarh Administration on Women’s Day last year.

Till date, she has given more than 70 stage performances.

“She was six years old when we came to know about her hearing and speech disability, but we were amazed about her IQ level. We made her learn Bharatanatyam seeing her interest in dance and music,” says her mother Sushma Vashishth.

She says that Bharatanatyam is her forte but she is equally well in western and folk dance. Her grace, elegance, confidence and facial expressions make her performances a delightful experience for everyone, she adds. According to her, dance has instilled a lot of confidence in her.

With help of her mother, Aishna says that she is very happy to be awarded by the President. She wants to become a good classical dancer and make her family and mentors proud. 



NGO spreads awareness about road safety
Tribune News Service

Residents light candles on World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims at the Sector-17 Plaza in Chandigarh on Sunday.
Residents light candles on World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims at the Sector-17 Plaza in Chandigarh on Sunday. Tribune Photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, November 18
“We are still not doing enough as far as road safety is concerned,” says Harman S Sidhu, who for past many years has been spreading awareness about road safety through his NGO ArriveSAFE. Supported by the Chandigarh Traffic Police, he observed the United Nations World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims by lighting 12-feet-high giant candle at the Sector-17 Plaza here today.

Road accidents kill 1.3 million people every year and injure or disable as many as 50 million more. In India, over 1.39 lakh people were killed in 2011 as per the figures of the National Crime Record Bureau.

With just one per cent of world’s vehicles, India accounts for ten per cent of road traffic deaths, said Sidhu.

On May 11, last year, the Decade of Action for Road Safety was launched in more than 100 countries, with a goal to prevent five million road traffic deaths globally by 2020.

“While globally the commitment has been intensified, we still have to put a plan in place,” Sidhu said

He informed that their NGO along with World Health Organisation and John Hopkins University with the help of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, is implementing the Bloomberg Philanthropies funded project in Jalandhar and Hyderabad. The program is aimed to check drunken driving and encourage use of helmets.

“The decrease in road casualties in these cities in last one year is a very clear indicator that we can save lives if we work with a goal in mind,” he said. 



Uncertainty looms over special employees housing scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
Uncertainty looms over the special employees housing scheme floated by the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB).

As the beneficiaries are crying foul over the inordinate delay in the construction of houses, the Chandigarh Administration is once again giving priority to the housing scheme for general public in the southern sectors. The UT Administrator raised the issue during a recent meeting with senior officials, it is learnt.

As per the original plan, the Chandigarh Administration had earmarked 89.87 acres of land in Sectors 53, 54 and 55 for the general housing scheme. However, out of the 89.97 acres, 11.97 acres of land was carved out in Sector 53 exclusively for employees under the A-category (three-bedroom flats), mostly to be allotted to IAS, IPS and state civil services officers who have served in the UT. Other chunks in Sectors 52 and 54 were reserved for other categories of employees.

With the demand for the general housing scheme gaining momentum, the CHB has already prepared a general housing scheme in the southern belt of the city. An exercise to identify the land in Sectors 53 and 54 has already been carried out. Under the scheme, three-bedroom, two-bedroom, one-bedroom flats and dwelling units for economically weaker sections will be offered. On the chunks of land (8.99 acres in sector 53 and 31.8 acres in sector 54) available with the CHB, around 2,000 dwelling units have been planned.

Pawan Kumar Bansal, the Union Railways Minister, has raised the issue of floating a general housing scheme for residents of the city.

Sources reveal that once the general housing scheme gains momentum, the employees housing scheme could further be delayed or scrapped. “The UT could look for land on the periphery to construct houses for the UT employees,” said an official. 

CHB unable to meet demand
Barring the Sector-51 scheme, floated in 2010, and Sector-63 scheme, floated in 2008, the CHB has been criticised for constructing only around 4,000 houses from 1997 to 2005. These include MIG houses in Sector 61, General Housing Scheme in Sector 38 (W), EWS Housing Scheme in Sector 52 which had LIG houses and General Housing Scheme in Sector 51 where HIG and MIG houses were built.



Sufi renditions captivate audience at Kala Gram
Tribune News Service

Sufi singer Mamta Joshi performs at Kala Gram in Chandigarh on Sunday.
Sufi singer Mamta Joshi performs at Kala Gram in Chandigarh on Sunday. Tribune photo: S Chandan

Chandigarh, November 18
A cultural evening, “Sufi Aawaz, Naach aur Saaz”, was held at the open-air theatre in Kala Gram, Manimajra, here today. Sufi singer Mamta Joshi captivated the audience with a beautiful rendition of songs like “Aakhian Nu Chain Na Aawe” and “Amber De Tare”. She sang Punjabi folk song “Eh Rang Kade Nahi Paya” too.

There were other performances as well. Prof Major Singh performed with various folk instruments He also presented a folk song and a group dance depicting different aspects of the Punjabi culture.

Chandresh Kumari Katoch, Union Minister of Culture, was the chief guest on the occasion. She said it was important to promote culture of various regions as it binds the nation and the world. She said cultural institutions like Northern Zone Cultural Centres must get good financial backing.



Play on partition concludes theatre fest
Tribune News Service

Artistes stage the play, "Karmawali", at Tagore Theatre in Sector 18, Chandigarh, on Sunday.
Artistes stage the play, "Karmawali", at Tagore Theatre in Sector 18, Chandigarh, on Sunday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, November 18
The 7th annual theatre festival of the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Academy concluded at Tagore Theatre with the play “Karmawali” here this evening.

Directed by Sunita Dhir, the play, based on a novel written by KL Zakir, depicted the pains of partition and the endless trauma of a generation separated from everything that was theirs.

The play had woven together various aspects of history, politics and everyday life to depict the trauma and suffering of those who were displaced from their homes.

It was based on the real-life story of a mother who returns to India from Pakistan, searching for her son lost in 1947.



open house response
Exempt student community from hike

The government agencies must accept the plea of educational institutes for subsidised LPG cylinders, and messes and canteens providing food at subsidised rates to the student community must not be made to suffer. They should not be charged such a high price for the cylinders and must be allowed to buy cylinders at the old prices. PU is a premiere institute of the region and hundreds of students from all over the country and abroad come here to study.

Vineet Kapoor, Panchkula

Give cylinders at old prices at PU

The organisations providing food at subsidised rates, especially to the student community, must be kept away from this hike. They should not be charged such a high price for the cylinders and must be allowed to buy cylinders at old prices. This is for the welfare of the students as the PU admits a large number of students from across the country every year; and a hike in the mess charges is only going to add to their woes.

Dr Shruti K Chawla, Chandigarh

Schools forced to buy cylinders in black market

It is a pity that the increase in the price of LPG has affected the day-to-day lives of the common man. Even schoolchildren are facing the wrath of the LPG shortage as it affects the preparation of school meals that the government is providing to them across the country. In view of the cap imposed on the LPG cylinders, schools are finding it difficult to cook meals for children. Everyday we come across news about the shortage of LPG cylinders and schools purchasing cylinders in black. School authorities are also compelled to use dry branches to cook the mid-day meals, emitting smoke that engulfs the whole school including the classes. The school staff seems to be helpless as meals are to be prepared and served to the schoolchildren under the mid-day meal scheme. The government should take a serious note of the same and lift the curbs on the LPG cylinders for schools and college hostels.

RK Kapoor, Chandigarh

Special grant be given to educational institutions

It is the duty of the government to provide all the facilities required for a good education at colleges and universities. The students will become good citizens if they get proper knowledge. These days, education is already very costly. The students as well as their parents already face so many problems. The government should give a special grant to universities and colleges, so that they can provide food to the students at nominal rates.

Sumesh Kumar Badhwar, Mohali

Mid-day meal badly affected

Since fiscal consolidation is the need of the hour, subsidies need to be rationalised. The best way forward is to end price controls on items like urea and diesel, since these constitute the most irrational, lopsided way of allocating subsidies. There has been a flood of applications by the panicked consumers for new LPG connections as a knee-jerk reaction to the move. The NGOs providing free community food are also crying foul. Mid-day meal will be badly affected. Kapil Sibal has suggested to the Petroleum Minister to continue providing LPG cylinders at subsidised rate for mid-day meal programme and shown concern that the scheme could be hit by the cap on cooking gas. The Central Government should consider such vital issues and put them before the public domain before announcing the policy.

Kulbhushan Kanwar, Chandigarh

Government should share burden

The recent hike in the prices and rationing of LPG cylinders has come as a catastrophe in the life of the common man who is already slogging to make the ends meet. The prices were raised to pay more commission to the dealers of cylinders who now are the only ones benefiting from this hike. The price of subsidised cylinders has also gone up. Private and government eateries, which were providing food at subsidised rates, will be forced to raise the prices. The raise in the commission of dealers should not have been passed onto the consumers. The government should have shared it.

Isha Dahiya, Panchkula

Look at the root cause

Ultimately the ten-day-long stalemate over the hike in food prices at Panjab University finally came to an end after the authorities slashed the rates. As per the university authorities, this arrangement is made till January 15. Before we ponder over this gigantic problem of university’s 14 hostels, where more than 5,000 students take meals daily, we have to see the root cause of this problem which is not far to seek. The higher education plays a very pivotal role in framing the career of students.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

Exemptions are just an eye wash

The increase in LPG prices has lead to an increase in the food bill of various private and government bodies which affects the general public and students. The government has granted exemption from customs and excise duty on non-subsidised LPG cylinders only for domestic consumption to reduce the price burden on the common man which is an eye wash.

ML Garg, Chandigarh

Introduce a slab system

I feel there should be a slab system for domestic LPG cylinder rates, with a marginal hike in price for extra cylinders up to 24 cylinders per annum. After 24 cylinders, consumers should be asked to pay the market price for the cylinders. The policy should not hit the mid-day meal scheme. This is a very sensitive matter. I am sure the UPA Government who initiated the mid-may meal scheme will look at the fate of underprivileged schoolchildren.

Sachin Sharma, Chandigarh

Institutions should tackle problem on their own

Availability of cooked food, free-of-cost or at subsidised rates, is an unwritten perk for the inmates, employees or students of all the government-run institutions, hospitals and even some private establishments. Frequently rising cost of all cooked food ingredients have hitherto been absorbed by these establishments themselves, and therefore there should be no reason as to why a rise in the cost of extra gas cylinders should now be treated otherwise.

SC Luthra, Mani Majra 

‘Subsidise cylinders at PU messes’

The baton charge on students protesting over the hike of Rs 6 in mess charges by Panjab University authorities is condemnable. The PU authorities should have handled the issue on its own. The UT government should give subsidy on the LPG cylinders used at the PU hostel messes irrespective of the number of cylinders. Students should also refrain from resorting to such violent protests. The Vice-Chancellor should constitute a committee to look into the issues raised by the students and they should be convinced to hold talks with the university authorities in this regard. Student leaders can play a decisive role in solving the issue.

Ranjit K Chandan, Chandigarh

The menace of VIPs encroaching upon roads and public parks, especially for housing their security guards, is still continuing despite the Punjab and Haryana High Court banning the practice. The officials of Punjab and Haryana seem to be cocking a snook at the orders of the court. How can this practice be curbed? Write your suggestions to openhouse@tribunemail.com




Walkathon at Sukhna Lake
Residents participate in a walkathon at Sukhna Lake on Sunday
Department of Endocrinology, PGI, RSSDI chapter of Chandigarh and Punjab and ADITI (Association of Diabetes in Tricity) jointly organized a walkathon for public, athletes and patients of Diabetes at Sukhna lake at 8.30 am on Sunday. The theme of the program was “Secure the Future” and objective of conducting this program was to spread the awareness about diabetes. 
Residents participate in a walkathon at Sukhna Lake on Sunday. Tribune Photo: Pradeep Tewari

More than 500 people from the tricity participated in this walkathon, including children aged above six and elderly people as well. The walk started from Sukhna Lake to Rock garden. The event was inaugurated by VRV Singh, Indian cricketer, and Kamal Thakur Singh, badminton player and an Arjuna awardee.

Public darbar

Governor of Punjab and UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil will hold public darbar at the UT Secretariat on Monday.

Mayor inaugurates fountain

City mayor Raj Bala Malik inaugurated newly installed circular cascading design fountain in the green belt, Sector 32. Area councilor Heera Negi and other councillors and officials of the Municipal Corporation were also present on the occasion. The total cost of the fountain was around Rs 30 lakhs and it has circular cascading design with 68 lights including red, blue and green, which makes different effects.

Plays staged

About 400 actors from different schools of tricity performed dramas at Open Air Theatre of Punjab Kala Bhawan, Sector 16. These dramas were on Road Safety, Save Water, and Health Care. Fifty best actors will be further selected in this activity.

Annual conference

Departments of Anatomy, PGIMER and GMCH-32, conducted seventh annual conference of NSCASI on November 17 and 18 at the PGIMER. The conference began with a plenary lecture delivered by Dr Gayatri Rath, Director-Professor and Head, VMMC and SJ Hospital, New Delhi, on “Molecular Vs Conventional Histological Analysis in Anatomy”. Three scientific sessions and two poster sessions were conducted during the two-day conference.

Free eye camp

Lt. Gen. BKN Chibber, former Governor of Punjab, inaugurated a free eye operation camp. General Chibber lauded the efforts of the Lion club for holding the camp and also for undertaking various welfare activities including free stitching and sewing classes for women, beauty culture course, and free computer classes. A total of 30 patients were provided with spectacles, while 58 patients were identified for surgery at Government Medical Hospital, Sector 32.

Trip for underprivileged

Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 21, in collaboration with Youth Innovative Society organised a one-day tour to Pinjore Garden, Mansa Devi Saketri, Sukhna Lake and Rock garden for underprivileged children of school’s special training centre. Sachin Sharma, president of Youth Innovative Society, said the aim was to give exposure to kids from humble background and also to improve their overall quality of life.

Awareness camp

To make students aware about the scope and use of solar energy and renewable resources, Aryans College of Engineering is organizing “Aryans Solar Fest” on November 21. Around 2,000 students from different schools will participate in the fest. Dr Anshu kataria, Chairman, Aryans College of Engineering said that more than 15 organisations and individuals would come to display their projects.

Medical Camp

Panchkula Lions Club organised a medical camp at a park in Sector 16. A rain shed has also been made specially by the club for the facility of the public. The shelter was inaugurated by the district governor, Chaman Lal Gupta, and CEO OP Sehag. Tarsem Garg, the president was also present on the occasion.

Festival concludes

Surinder Kumar Sood, former secretary in the Central Government, was the chief guest at the Golden Jubliee Milan Festival organised by Sood Sabha at Sood Bhavan. Around 1,000 families participated in the festival. Spot painting competitions were organised on the occasion. A book ‘Our Origin’ written by Surinder Sood was also released. RK Maria, publicity secretary of the Sabha, said the Sabha had launched a drive for eye donation. — TNS



PU plans online submission of exam forms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
After introducing online submission of forms for the entrance tests, PU is now planning to introduce online submission of examination forms at the end of every semester. The students will have the facility to fill the form and even pay the fee online.

PU Registrar AK Bhandari said that the university was in the process of streamlining the examination system. The plans to offer the facility of online submission of examination forms was under consideration. The students presently have to fill the form and deposit the fee at the SBI counter.

“Once the facility is introduced, the students can fill the form online from home and will not have to stand in queues at fee counters,” Bhandari said.

PU, this year had also introduced online registration process for the entrance tests. For online application, candidates first register themselves following which they pay the fee at SBI counters and then upload the details on the PU website.

Under the examination reforms, the university is also going to introduce online submission of internal assessment of students to PU by all the affiliated colleges.

“There are over 3 lakh students in PU-affiliated colleges and physically submission of assessment has many times led to delay in declaring the results. However, the online system will not only help in declaring the results on time but will also make it error free”, said a PU official.



Students from Paris on tour to study city’s architecture
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
Eighteen students from the Architectural School of Paris-Malaquais are in the city on a fifteen-day tour to understand how the local planners accommodated the radical vision of the original master plan of the city.

Students of Architectural School of Paris-Malaquais visit an old house in Sector 22, Chandigarh, on Sunday.
Students of Architectural School of Paris-Malaquais visit an old house in Sector 22, Chandigarh, on Sunday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

The group is surveying, photographing, sketching and describing the modern architecture of the city. The goal is to see how the modern city of Chandigarh could absorb the current and continuous growth of population.

These students belong to various countries including Spain, France, Hungary and Portugal. They are being accompanied by their teachers Thierry Mandoul and Clement Blanche.

The students will help in developing urban and architectural proposals which will integrate themes like preservation and sustainability.

This project, being done in collaboration with the Chandigarh College of Architecture, will be finalised in the summer of 2013.



37,000 sit for CTET in tricity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
About 37,000 students appeared for the Central Teachers Eligibility Test (CTET) held at 67 centres around the tricity.

Started by the CBSE in 2011, CTET is mandatory for any teacher who wants to join a government-aided CBSE school, and schools run by the Centre such as Kendriya Vidyalayas and Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas, and those managed by the union territories.

As far as passing percentage is concerned, CTET has seen poor results so far. In the second edition, more than 92 per cent teachers failed to pass the exam, where as the maiden exam in 2011 saw more than 85 per cent teachers failing to clear the exam. More than 7 lakh candidates appeared for this year’s exam across India. 



Cheating Racket
PU to introduce jammers
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
Taking lessons from the unearthing of the PGI entrance test cheating racket, the Panjab University (PU) has decided to introduce mobile phone jammers in the Common Entrance Test (CET) and Other Common Entrance test (OCET) conducted by it. The budget to purchase 150 metal detectors for examination centres during college and PU exams have also been approved and would be introduced in 2013.

The use of technology and sophisticated gadgets to leak question papers at the examination centres has raised an alarm. PU Registrar and Controller Examination AK Bhandari said they had decided to go for mobile jammers during entrance exams PU.

“Although we are in the process of purchasing around 150 metal detectors, it has also been decided that jammers will be used during OCET and CET,” Bhandari said.

Registrar further said that as mobile jammers were costly, the university would also be contacting the PGI authorities to jointly use the resources.

“The invigilators on duty at the examination centers sometimes face problem as students might hide Bluetooth devices in their turban. Physical checking is not possible due to time restraint. Girls are also suspected of using gadgets for cheating that can be caught by the metal detectors,” said a PU fellow.

Meanwhile, the university has also decided to increase the number of invigilators at the examination centres.



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