C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Encroachers back within hours
MC's anti-encroachment drive in city markets turns out to be an exercise in futility
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

75 challans issued

 During the drive, the MC issued 75 challans to violators. The team seized readymade garments, counters, cylinders and rehris from various markets 

Chandigarh, November 29
An anti-encroachment drive conducted by the municipal corporation in various markets of the city today turned out to be an exercise in futility.
Officials of the encroachment wing removed encroachments from markets in Sectors 11, 15, 18 and 19 in the morning. After the MC officials left the markets, encroachers came back with their paraphernalia within a few hours.

During the drive, the enforcement wing of the municipal corporation issued 75 challans to violators. The team seized readymade garments, counters, cylinders and rehris from various markets.

Encroachments by shopkeepers in various markets were highlighted in these columns.

A shopkeeper of the Sector 15 market said on condition of anonymity that they paid huge rent to the owners of these shops. Even if they closed their business for a day, they suffered huge losses. They again put up their stalls in the market after the enforcement wing team left as they did not want to bear losses, he said.

An official of the enforcement wing of the MC said there was a staff crunch in the department. Though the department had inspectors and sub-inspectors, there was a shortage of contractual staff, which lifted the belongings of encroachers during a drive.

Kashmira Singh, Superintendent of the enforcement wing of the MC, said they conducted such drives from time to time. On being told that the encroachers were back at the same spots, he said to find a permanent solution to these encroachments, senior officials of the MC had recently met the Deputy Commissioner.

Deputy Commissioner Mohammed Shayin said a joint team of the MC and estate office would be formed. The team would inspect various markets in the city and prepare a list of encroachers found violating building bylaws. Show-cause notices would be issued to the encroachers, he said. 



Finally, MC removes ex-DGP's tent
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
Waking up from deep slumber, the municipal corporation today removed a tent pitched on the rear side of the house of former Punjab DGP Shashi Kant, which was being used as a temporary shelter for his security guards.

Shashi Kant, who had earlier maintained that there was no “encroachment or any kind of illegal activity”, was left with no other option today when a municipal corporation team, led by Kashmira Singh, Superintendent, Enforcement Wing, reached his residence (house number 1258) in Sector 18. MC officials told the occupants of the house to remove the tent.

MC employees and Shashi Kant's security staff removed the tent. Shashi Kant's security staff used to stay in the tent. While removing the tent, four folding beds and 10 trunks were found inside it.

Yesterday, former Punjab DGP AP Pandey had removed a tent pitched on the rear side of his house in Sector 18. Pandey and Shashi Kant are neighbours and live in adjoining houses.

Encroachments in the service lane by these two former Punjab DGPs were highlighted in these columns.

Residents of the area had complained that security guards staying in these tents often created “nuisance” late in the night.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered the removal of security tents pitched on government land outside VVIPs' residences.

Despite the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, many bureaucrats and police officials continued to encroach upon government land. 



No nod to building plans till clubs pay lease money: Admn
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
The Chandigarh Administration has kept on hold approval of the revised building plans of the Chandigarh Club and the Golf Club till the clubs pay the revised lease money, which runs into crores of rupees.

The approval of the building plans has been put on hold by the office of the UT Chief Architect.

The decision was taken after the management of the Chandigarh Club applied to the plan approval committee (PAC), Upper, for nod to a revised building plan. The Finance Secretary, in a recent inter-departmental communication to the Chief Architect, had stated that nod to building plans be stopped till the lease money was cleared.

While the Administration has already directed the management of the Golf Club to pay over Rs 9 crore as lease money for the five-year period, ending March 15, 2013, a decision on the revised lease money of the Chandigarh Club is in the final stages.

Sources said under the revised "zoning plan" of the Golf Club, approved in 2008, building violations were compoundable subject to the payment of a fee. “The compoundable violations will be regularised under the approved 'zoning' once the lease money is paid," said an official of the Union Territory.

In case of the Golf Club, the UT estate office has asked the club to pay a lease money of Rs 13.44 lakh (which comes to Rs 1.61 crore annually) as the rent for the constructed building and another Rs 10,000 per acre per annum for 130.6 acres of open land being maintained as the "greens".

The lease money of the Chandigarh Club is being worked out.

Though a lease money of around Rs 5 lakh per month had been calculated, a report on the nature of violations at the Chandigarh Club had been sought by the Administration.

The sources said the management of the Chandigarh Club had applied for a nod 
to a revised plan as the unapproved structures were spread over 1.5 acres.

Sandeep Sahni, president of the Chandigarh Club, said, “The decision of the Administration had been conveyed to club. We are taking up the matter with the Administration.”



For Pawan Bansal, charity doesn't begin at home!
City basketball team misses out on national tourney as minister fails to help in train reservation
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
Charity does not begin at home for Union Railway Minister Pawan Bansal. The basketball team of the minister’s hometown will not be able to participate in the coming National Basketball Championship for Boys and Girls (U-14), to be held at Kolhapur from December 2 to 6 as the railway tickets of the team could not be confirmed even after submitting a written request to the minister. The players were to travel by the Goa Express.

According to officials, the department had submitted a written request to the Union Railway Minister’s local office regarding the problem of ticket reservation. The championship is scheduled to start on December 2. After attending a 15-day camp, the team was scheduled to leave for the tournament venue today.

“After learning about the waiting list status, we submitted a written request to Pawan Bansal, but failed to receive any confirmation till date. We had submitted the letter on November 26,” said Amarjeet Singh, state sports organiser, UT Education Department.

Officials said they had applied for reservation of sleeper berths on November 10. Since they were place 166th on the waiting list, the visit of the team was called off.

“After receiving a confirmation letter from the School Games Federation of India (SGFI) on November 6, we applied for reservation on November 10, but failed to get confirmation. Now, we cannot take the risk of travelling with these young players in a general bogey. We have tried our best,” said Amarjeet.

Players' parents have blamed officials for their "lethargic" approach. “The officials could have opted for Tatkal tickets. The 15-day camp or inter-school tourneys are of no use if the players can't participate in the national games. The national games are a platform for budding players to showcase their skills and make it to the nation’s squad,” said a parent on condition of anonymity.

“It hurts when after attending a camp and toiling hard, your are not able to participate in a competition just because you don't have reservation,” said a player. The Railway Minister was not available for comments. His personal assistant said the minister was busy in a meeting. Later, local councillor Pardeep Chhabra called up Chandigarh Tribune and said, “There is no protocol or system that a district education officer or a sports organiser can approach the minister directly. Two days ago, the same department had failed to provide tickets to the junior kho-kho team and I had got the tickets confirmed at my level. Now, for this team, they may have approached the minister directly. This is no way, to wake up at the eleventh hour. They should have taken the Finance Secretary or the Home Secretary in the loop to get through the work,” said Pardeep Chhabra.


Shubhendra Rao enthrals music lovers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
Young classical musician Shubhendra Rao gave spell bound performances in three different places today. The event was organised by SPIC MACAY -The Society for Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth. The performance of Shubhendra Rao, known for playing sitar, held at St Stephens School, Chandigarh, followed by another performance at the music department of the PU. His last performance of the day was at Command Hospital, Chandimandir.

A protégé of the world-renowned sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, Shubhendra has established himself not only as a master of his instrument but also as a thinking musician. He has performed at major music festivals and concert halls like Broadway and Carnegie Hall in New York, WOMAD festival in Guernsey, UK,

In November 2007, he was presented with the Youth Icon for Classical Music award by Zee Television Network.



Beneficiary records statement
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
The statement of another beneficiary in the PGI paper leak case was recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC before the Magistrate today. Venkatesh B, an MBBS doctor, told the Magistrate that he passed out in 2011 and hailed from Hyderabad.

He was junior to Dr Gangadhar Reddy, the prime accused in the scam, after Gurivi Reddy. Venkatesh is the second beneficiary doctor to have recorded his statements before the Magistrate.

On November 26, another beneficiary Krishna Reddy from Andhra Pradesh, had recorded his statements before the Magistrate under Section 164 of the CrPC. Both the beneficiaries were likely to become prosecution witnesses for the CBI at a later stage of the case, sources said.

While recording his statement, Venkatesh told the Magistrate that he was contacted by Dr Reddy as they stayed in the same apartment in Andhra Pradesh. He was assured of clearing the exam.

He had struck a deal for Rs 40 lakh with Dr Gurivi Reddy and Dr Gangadhar Reddy and had paid the amount through a cheque. He was then brought to Chandigarh to appear in the exam according to Gurivi Reddy’s plan.

The CBI has so far questioned four beneficiaries in the case. Sources said Venkatesh’s statement would be a crucial evidence.

Gurivi Reddy had planted as many as eight decoy candidates during the exam. They were given the job of leaking the paper through Bluetooth and other devices.

The paper was to be e-mailed to Dr Gangadhar Reddy and the solved paper was to be sent back to the beneficiaries. The CBI had arrested 15 people, including eight decoy candidates and seven other accused in the case.



Building construction goes instant
Countdown for 10-storeyed building, to be built in just 48 hours, in Mohali begins
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 29
The countdown for a 10-storeyed building to be built in just 48 hours at the Synergy Thrislington, Phase 1, Industrial Area, began at 4.30 pm the moment Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal launched the unique project here today.

The ground floor was ready in just 52 minutes. By 8.30 pm, almost three floors had been completed.

“The aim is to complete the building in 48 hours, which seems unbelievable, but with this technology it is possible. We are showing the construction process to people here,” said a visibly elated Harpal Singh, CMD, Synergy Thrislington, the brain behind the project.

The official, who was present at the site, claimed that it would take about one hour and a half to complete each storey.

In the first of its kind project in the country, named ‘Instacon’, as many as 200 highly skilled workers, with the help of three cranes, would work round the clock to achieve the feat. The construction is being videographed. More than 200 tonne of steel would be used in the construction of the building. Steel floors and insulated walls are put together to construct a floor to the building. The ground floor would be furnished completely within the set timeframe.

Appreciating the concept, Sukhbir Badal said it was a revolutionary technology. “Such a concept of rapid construction will definitely help in the progress of the state and the country,” said Badal.

Harpal Singh said all the major parts of the building were manufactured in the factory, pre-fitted with floors, water supply, wirings, sanitation, air conditioning ducts, etc. “These parts are then placed on state-of-the-art vehicles, which transport them to the site. More than 80 per cent of the work is done in the factory. Concrete is used only in the foundations and three-inch floorings in this nut-and-bolt structure. Materials like bricks, sand or gravel are not used,” said Harpal Singh, adding that the façade of the building is double-skinned PUF panel that ensures thermal insulation.

This construction mechanism has been approved by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-Structural Engineering Research Centre (CSIR-SERC), Chennai. The model has also been cleared for the Zone V seismic area.

The technology would help in saving energy in comparison to the traditional method of construction. One can start getting revenue from an investment within days. The cost is almost the same as incurred using the conventional techniques, claimed Harpal Singh.



The brain behind the project
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Harpal Singh
Harpal Singh

Mohali, November 29
He started his career with a salary of Rs 840 in Punjab Communication Limited in 1987. As he was not supposed to work for others, he switched over to business after one year. Now, he is a proud owner of a group of companies with a turnover of over Rs 1,000 crore per annum. Harpal Singh is the owner of JW Marriot Hotel, Sector 35, in Chandigarh.

Harpal Singh (46) hogged the limelight today by introducing a technology, first time in the country, to construct a 10-storey building within 48 hours.

The project was launched at 4.30 pm at his Synergy Thrislington Company complex at Phase 1, Industrial Area, here today. By 4.30 pm on Saturday, the 10-storey building would be complete as per the plans.

When asked how he ventured into this business, Harpal Singh, who runs a very successful company, Synergy Telecommunication, dealing in telecommunication, said he got the idea of constructing buildings in the fastest way when his own house was under construction.

“I had faced a lot of problems while constructing my own house and it took over two years to complete it. Then I decided to take the challenge of making the buildings in the shortest time frame. With the completion of my dream project a day after tomorrow, I will accomplish the remarkable feat,” said an elated Harpal Singh while talking to this correspondent.

Harpal Singh, who did his schooling in Orissa, is a product of Indo-Swiss in Sector 30. He has also done a diploma in sales and marketing.

“Actually, I wanted to join the defence forces like my father did. I wanted to fly fighter planes,” said Harpal Singh, the son of a retired Air Force officer, adding that his mother did not allow him to opt for the forces.

“Though my wish was not fulfilled, I am a satisfied person today as God has been very kind to me,” he said.

About the turning point in his life, Harpal Singh said leaving the job was his life’s turning point. “In just one year of my service at the PCL, I got six promotions. Despite that I had left my job to start my own business of manufacturing telephone exchange parts for the PCL only. There was no looking back since then,” said Harpal Singh.

Harpal, who has also worked with Airtel, said his firm had constructed about 40,000 cell sites (mobile phone towers) for the company.

Harpal is a complete family man. He does not go to late-night parties. “I love to spend time with my daughter and son. I believe in simplicity. I love to motivate people and make a difference in their lives. In fact, it’s my passion, which gives me a lot of power,” said Harpal Singh.



Make seat belts mandatory for rear seat passengers: Jasraj Bhatti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
“We keep on reading and hearing about accidents and pass them off as they cannot happen to us. But the truth is that road accidents can happen to anyone,” said Jasraj Bhatti, late Jaspal Bhatti's son.

Still trying to come to terms with the tragedy involving the road accident that claimed his father Jaspal Bhatti’s and event manager Navneet Joshi’s life last month, Jasraj Bhatti said fastening of seat belts on the rear seats should also be made mandatory.

Jaspal Bhatti’s family joined the Chandigarh traffic police in promoting road safety during the inauguration of an updated version of the website of the traffic police at the police headquarters today. UT DGP PK Srivastava launched the updated website of the Chandigarh traffic police. The website has been created by Harman Sidhu, chairman of an NGO.

“I was the only person in the car that day, who was wearing a seat belt so I survived. Two hours before the mishap I was sitting on the rear seat and my father swapped the seats with me. Both my father Jaspal and close friend Navneet could not survive the mishap. Had the seat belts been compulsory while sitting on the rear seat, things might have been different today,” said Jasraj Bhatti.

UT DGP said they would send a proposal to challan the offenders for not wearing seat belt while sitting on the rear seats. “We were working hard for the movie and my father could not see the premiere of the film. Traffic is a very serious issue and we will make a short advertisements, promoting road safety,” said Jasraj.



Nov remains driest month for 3 years
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
For the past three years, November was considered as the driest month as per the Met department's records. Following the same pattern this year also, the month had received 0.1 mm rainfall today. The highest rainfall recorded in November was in 2009, which was recorded at 14.8 mm. In the past two years, the Met department had recorded minimal rainfall in November due to which the period of dry months extended from October to November.

Met department Director Surinder Pal Singh said October had been considered as the driest month of the year but due to delay in rainfall this year the dry period extended to November. He said even though the city had received rainfall today due to which there was dip in the temperature but there was no hope for more showers in the coming weeks.

The reports of the Met Department revealed that due to snowfall in the hills, the city had received rainfall which would cause a dip in the mercury level by four to five degree celsius in the coming days. The officials said the change in weather condition was attributed to the combined affect of the weather systems (western disturbance), prevailing over Jammu and Kashmir.



Fertility camp organised

Chandigarh, November 29
Dr Arvind Chandra, clinical director, Morpheus Life Sciences Pvt Ltd, and an international expert on infertility was in Chandigarh at Morpheus — Chaitanya Fertility Centre to conduct a fertility camp for infertile couples.

Morpheus-Chaitanya Fertility Centre is a joint venture of Morpheus Life Sciences Pvt Ltd, India’s leading Indo-German chain of IVF centres and Chaitanya Hospital, Chandigarh. Dr Chandra said the estimates indicated that around 15 per cent of the couples in the reproductive age group suffer from some form of infertility. In this age group, infertility is one of the biggest health issues faced by today’s population. — TNS



Book chief of market committee: DC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
The UT Deputy Commissioner has ordered to register of a case against Dinesh Mahajan, chairman of the Market Committee, for an alleged evasion of market committee fee, which amounted to Rs 26 lakh, by apple trading Mahajan Fruit Company in the Sector 26 fruit and grain market.

The orders were issued on the basis of a report submitted by a team of UT officials who had gone to verify the evasion of market committee fee.

The committee had found that the apple trading company was evading fee during the transaction of the fruit.

The chairman, who is supported by the BJP evaded reply when asked.

The shopkeepers said this was not the only case case and there were similar cases of evasion of fee by other traders.



Bolero overturns after hitting sambar
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 29
A sambar died after a speeding car hit it near the Suraj cinema in Sector 1 here this evening. The Bolero vehicle, which hit the sambar, overturned and its three occupants, a woman, her daughter and son, got stuck inside. Later, the Panchkula police arrived at the spot and it rescued the three.

The car driver, Jaiveer Singh, was reportedly driving at a neck-break speed and in a bid to overtake another car he lost control over it and hit the sambar.



Few takers for night shelter
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, November 26
Mohali has its fair share of beggars and others without a roof over their heads. But surprisingly, it seems nobody wants to make use of the municipal night shelter for the homeless.

With the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) failing to allot land for a “raen basera" for those without shelter, the Municipal Corporation has provided the facility, abiding by the directions of the Supreme Court passed in this regard.

In February, the civic body renovated a few rooms lying vacant at the sadar octroi naka adjoining the fire brigade office in the Industrial Area, turning these into a night shelter equipped with beds, bedding and the water and toilet facilities for 15 persons. The civic body spent about Rs 10 lakh on the shelter. Since the shelter was set up 10 months ago, no homeless person, including beggar, has availed himself of the facility. Over the period, three or four persons, who had come to the town on personal work, have stayed in the shelter from time to time. A beggar who was staying in Phase XI here was brought to the shelter by civic body officials following complaints by shopkeepers that he was creating unhygienic conditions in the market.

Interestingly, the man disappeared from the "raen basera" within a few hours of being brought there. Corporation officials say beggars generally have their "addas" in the town such as places of worship and markets and at night sleep in places like shop verandas or bus queue shelters. These persons without shelter are usually unwilling to leave their "addas" and go to the "raen basera" for the night.

During a survey carried out in 2010 on the directions of the Supreme Court, the civic body had identified 34 persons who did not have any kind of shelter of their own. Poor people were found sleeping on the roadside and in bus queue shelters in different parts of the town, including the industrial area. Some of the identified persons were rickshaw-pullers while others were beggars. The civic body had earlier written to the GMADA authorities for providing land for the “raen basera".

It is learnt that the civic body had asked the development authority to transfer land measuring 1.61 acres, which it had vacated from encroachers, to the civic body for the construction of the building. It also wanted GMADA to construct the building.



Finally, security tents removed in P’kula
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 29
Finally, the Panchkula Administration has woken up and got the encroachments made outside bureaucrats’ houses cleared in Panchkula this evening. A joint team of the Municipal Corporation (MC) and the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) visited the encroachment spots highlighted by Chandigarh Tribune and removed a temporary toilet and tents.

A temporary toilet, which was constructed near Haryana Assistant Director General of Police (ADGP) MS Mann’s residence in Sector-6, Panchkula, has been dismantled and even the tent pitched outside former Punjab Chief Secretary Jai Singh Gill’s house in Sector 6, Panchkula, has been removed.

“Rules are rules. Whosoever the encroacher may be, we have to take action. No one is entitled to defy the Punjab and Haryana High Court orders and that is the reason, we took this necessary action,” said OP Sihag, Executive Officer of the Panchkula Municipal Corporation(MC).

Earlier, Haryana Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary, Urban Local Bodies, Ram Niwas had pulled up the officials over the issue. 



Teenager commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
A 14-year-old boy allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself at his Maloya residence here today. The victim, Himanshu, was a student of class VIII and had been suffering from mental stress.

The police has recovered a register from the spot, which could contain clues as to why the boy took the extreme step. The victim was alone at the home and his mother had gone to his elder brother's school to deposit fee. His mother returned home to find him hanging and called up the police.



PGI, CTU told to answer counsel’s 36 questions
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
Were you present at the site of the said accident? Has the CTU conducted any inquiry regarding the subject of accident? If yes, who conducted the said inquiry and what are the findings thereof?

The complainant’s lawyer in the Anupama death case has shot a detailed list of questions, including the above-mentioned ones, to the CTU in response to the CTU General Manager’s contention during the previous hearing that “Anupama had tried to board the bus while it was running and due to her own negligence, she fell and suffered an injury.”

While supporting all the 36 questions raised by Anupama’s counsel, 14 to the CTU and 22 to the PGIMER, the UT consumer forum has directed both the CTU and the PGIMER to file word-to-word reply to each of the questions by December 18.

During the last hearing, the PGIMER had claimed that owing to a heavy rush of patients, Anupama was taken up for surgery only in the night of July 19 while she was admitted to the hospital on July 17, since there were eight other patients lined up for "serious open fracture surgeries" prior to Anupama.

Countering this statement, Anupama’s counsel, Pankaj Chandgothia has asked, “Who decides about the urgency of operations required and on what basis? Should Anupama have not been given preference for operation over all other patients of “open fracture surgeries”, since in addition to having an “open fracture” she had infection/sepsis/gangrene also?”

Anupama, a student of Government Model School Sector 18, died on July 24, after she was brought to the PGI on July 17 when her leg was crushed under the rear tyre of a CTU bus.

Her parents alleged that Anupama died due to negligence on the part of the hospital staff. Following Anupama’s death, an internal inquiry was conducted which gave a clean chit to the doctors involved in her treatment.

Following this, an external probe committee was constituted to look into the matter. The report of the committee, however, is yet to be submitted.

Questions CTU has to answer
  • Were you present at the site of the said accident?
  • Has the CTU conducted any inquiry regarding the subject of accident? If yes, who conducted the said inquiry and what are the findings thereof?
  • On what basis do you say that accident had not taken place due to the negligence of the bus driver concerned?

Questions PGIMER has to answer

  • What are the conclusions arrived at by the external inquiry Committee?
  • Who decides about the urgency of operations required and on what basis?
  • What steps were taken to prevent the setting in of gangrene and sepsis, in view of the alleged nature of injury suffered by Anupama?
  • Which operations and who all were operated in different operation theatres at the PGI from July 17 to 20, 2012?



No takers for South Indian languages at PU
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
The South Indian languages such as Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil have lost their charm as there are no takers for these languages for the last many years. The university has now decided to keep these courses in abeyance.

The Academic Council of the university has recommended that the upgradation of syllabus and examination relating to the traditional languages such as Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali should be kept in abeyance as there are no students for these subjects for the last many years. The council has also included Arabic language, which, too, failed to attract the young generation.

VK Tewari, PU Dean, Languages, said before taking the decision a survey was conducted to know the popularity of these subjects among the students. “Although there are no takers for these subjects for the last many years, yet we scrutinised the records from 2009 onwards and found that not even a single student had opted for these subjects,” Tewari said. Tewari further said the subjects could be revived if required and the council had decided not to scrap the subjects permanently rather recommended to keep them in abeyance. “If students want to learn the languages then the courses can be revived,” Tewari said.

Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) president Mohammed Khalid said there were neither students nor teachers for the subjects. “The teachers, who taught the languages, retired over a decade back. Moreover, the students never showed any interest to learn these languages,” Khalid said.

The decision taken by the Academic Council will be tabled before the Syndicate for its final nod. 



UT Education Dept talks tough
Asks private schools to fill 25 per cent seats from economically weaker sections
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
This year the UT Education Department is in no mood to let the private schools sit over the vacant seats, reserved under the RTE Act. In its latest decision, the department has stated that if private schools fail to fill 25 per cent of the total seats from the economically weaker sections (EWS) and disadvantage group then then department would locate the potential students and send them to the schools concerned.

"All the schools will be formally asked to inform the Education Department about the seats, which remain vacant by February 15. On the basis of it, the department will send the list of such candidates to the schools by March 31 and the schools can take another 10 days (up to April 10) to complete their admission process," said a senior official of the department

The department has also clarified that the schools will be allowed to convert the reserved seats into general category if the seats remain vacant despite the best efforts of the department. "This can be done after the submission of a declaration to the district education officer by April 15," said department sources.

The decision was taken following the clarification sought by the private schools on various issues relating to the RTE Act at a meeting with DPI (schools) Upkar Singh last week. At that meeting, the schools had asked for the department's stand on the possible vacant seats under the RTE Act, following which a meeting of senior officials was held and the decision was taken.

While clarifying, the department said 64 out of the 69 private schools in Chandigarh were already under obligation to fill 15 per cent of the total seats from the economically weaker sections and providing free education to them as the land was given to them at concessional rates. Therefore, these schools will not be entitled to reimbursement to the extent of such obligation.



PU students undergo HIV test to sensitise people
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
Many organise seminars, some put up hoardings to sensitise people about HIV but the students of the Centre for Social Works of Punjab University have innovated a new way. Around 11 PU students and two faculty members underwent the HIV test at the PGI to send a message among youths and encouraging them to undergo the HIV test before getting married. This is a part of the campaign to mobilise youngsters against AIDS.

With an aim to set an example for others, the first year students of the Social Work Department voluntarily underwent the HIV test today. Aditya Kaushik, one of the students who underwent the test, said he wanted to send a message and everyone should opt for the test for a safe future. “The reports will be kept confidential and there is nothing to worry about,” he said.

Ankush Sharma, another student, said HIV Counselling and Testing (VCT) was one of the key strategies in the HIV prevention and control programmes, however, the utilisation of the service was very low. The students have planned to mobilise youngsters in the university about the VCT.

It was not only boys but the girl students also volunteered for the HIV test. Aakriti Negi, said girls should come forward to join the campaign for spreading awareness regarding the disease. Besides the students, faculty members Gaurav Gaur and Prashant Sharma also underwent the HIV test.

Gaurav Gaur said the country should focus on reducing HIV related stigma. “ The rural people with low socio-economic position and youngsters should be given priority while designing, expanding and implementing the VCT services,” Gaur said. Gaur along with the students of his department has begun a signature campaign to help the HIV positive people in getting their right of having insurance benefits. 



from SChools
Annual festival

Students of Gurukul School during an interaction in Panchkula on Thursday.
Students of Gurukul School during an interaction in Panchkula on Thursday. A tribune Photograph 

Doon International School, Mohali, celebrated its ninth annual festival on Thursday. S Sikander Singh Malluka, Education Minister, Punjab, was the chief guest. CS Mann, managing director of the school, welcomed the chief guest. The annual report of the school was presented by the student council.

International Informatics Olympiad-2012

IT Department of DAV School, Mohali, organised the 9th International Informatics Olympiad-2012 in association with the Computer Literacy Foundation, New Delhi . Dr Rosy Sharma, principal of the school said the computer technology had made the teaching-learning process more interesting.

Painting competition on energy conservation

A painting competition on the theme of "Energy Conservation", conducted by the Ministry of Power and Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Government of India, was organised at Gian Jyoti Public School, Phase 2, Mohali, on Thursday. The students presented many drawings on the theme. Shreya Attri of Class V and Mansi of class IV stood first and second respectively.

Students attend exhibition

Students of Saupin’s School, Sector 70, Mohali, attended the exhibition, hosted by the Indian Army at Dussehra Ground, Mohali. The exhibition showcased an array of weapons and communication technologies possessed by the Indian Army. The students of classes IV and V availed the opportunity and observed the working of tanks.

Gurpurb celebrated

Pathfinder High School, Sector 69, Mohali, celebrated the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. A 'langar' was organised for the students and staff of the school. The orphan children of Gur Asra Orphanage joined the the gurpurb celebrations.

Sweaters distributed

It was a moment of great pride for the students of GSSS, Dhanas, when their school was selected by BKW Charitable Trust for the donation of sweaters on Thursday. DR BKN Walia former Director, PGI, and chairman of the trust distributed about100 sweaters to the poor and needy students. He asked the students to concentrate on their studies.

Interactive session held

A lecture-cum-interactive session on the theme of “Social Etiquettes and Peer Pressure” was held for the students of Bhavan Vidyalaya, Sector 15, Panchkula, by Dr Manisha Sahni, director of Health Plus. The session highlighted the acceptable behaviour that youngsters needed to exhibit at public places. She said a child should decide what is right or wrong.

Fancy dress competition

A fancy dress competition was held by the pre-primary wing of DC Model Senior Secondary School,Panchkula, on Thursday . The theme for the competition was "Nature and Mythological Characters. The students left the judges perplexed as all the performances were equally good. Principal Usha Gupta appreciated the efforts of the students and asked the teachers to make the best of their efforts by improving their skills.

Prize distribution function

A valedictory and prize distribution function was held on the premises of Moti Ram Arya Senior Secondary Model School, Sector 27 A , Chandigarh, on Thursday . The event was organised to sum up the week long activities that were held in the memory of the death anniversary of former president Hardayal Mahajan. Honourable president of the school, Anil Mahajan, gave away the prizes. — TNS



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