C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Court acts tough on drunk drivers
16 offenders imprisoned till the rising of the court, were found drunk on New Year's Eve
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
The court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Rajnish Kumar Sharma, today imprisoned 16 persons, who were found drunk while driving, till the rising of the court.

The 16 offenders, who had come to the court to get their challans cleared, were made to stand outside court in the cold for the entire day.

The offenders were caught driving in an inebriated state on the New Year's Eve. The Traffic police had challaned the offenders and impounded their vehicles after the alcohol content in their blood was found over the prescribed limit of 30 mg.

The offenders, identified as identified as Harmeet, Jaspreet, Gurpreet, Sheesh Pal, Manbir, Mohinder, Nanku, Sarabjit, Deepak, Ashok, Anup, Ravnit, Prince, Navin, Sukhjit and Harjinder, were confined to the courtroom for more than eight hours. They all are in the age group of 18 to 35 years. The offenders were also slapped a fine between Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,000.

The prescribed norm under the Motor Vehicle Act is 30 mg per 100 ml. The offenders also included college going students.

What the police says?

DSP (Traffic) Kamaldeep says residents who indulge in driving after being drunk will not be spared. "Every single injury and death caused by drunk driving is preventable. So, all residents of Chandigarh are advised not to drive after consuming alcohol. Besides challaning and holding regular awareness programmes, the Chandigarh Traffic Police has taken stringent measures to curb the drunk driving menace by seeking imprisonment and monetary fine as punishment," he said.

Penal action

As per Section 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act, anybody found driving or attempting to drive a vehicle above the permissible limit of alcohol in the blood (30mg/100 ml) faces imprisonment up to six months or a fine of ~2,000, or both.

Two days, two fatal accidents

With just two days into the New Year, the city has already witnessed two fatal accidents in which two persons lost their lives. On Tuesday, a cyclist was killed at the Matka roundabout while another man was killed in Sector 37 on Wednesday.



Mercury touches three-year low in city
Tribune News Service

Girls enjoy the chill on the Panjab University campus on Wednesday
Girls enjoy the chill on the Panjab University campus on Wednesday. Tribune photos: S Chandan

Chandigarh, January 2
Bone-chilling cold continued to sting the region today with the mercury dipping to a three-year low in the city.

The city recorded a low of 4.2°Celsius today — the lowest in three years — and a maximum of 10.1°Celsius, 9 degrees below normal.

The Met department said the weather would remain the same for the next two days. The city will continue to witness foggy mornings and evenings.

In the past 13 years, the lowest minimum temperature recorded in the city was 2°Celsius in 2008, and the highest was in 2012 at 10.4°Celsius.

The rail traffic remained erratic even today due to a thick blanket of fog. Both the morning trains — Himalayan Queen and Jan Shatabdi — were delayed by 1.40 hours and the morning Shatabdi also arrived 45 minutes late. The vehicular traffic was also affected due to the fog.

Met department director Surinder Pal Singh said it was the coldest day in the city after 2010.

The homeless are the worst affected as they have to brave the chill in the open. Some rickshaw-pullers said winters were a testing time for them as it was difficult for them to make ends meet.



Flights remain grounded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
Passengers remained stranded at the Chandigarh airport today as air traffic remained disrupted throughout the day due to poor visibility. Except the one Jet Airways flight which take off at 4 pm, all other outbound flights were cancelled.

Airport officials said the low visibility due to fog did not allow any of the flights to land at the airport till 4 pm. The visibility improved after that and a Jet Airways flight took off. But the fog again brought down the visibility, which resulted in cancellation of flights in the evening.

Meanwhile, Air India has cancelled its morning flight (10.45 am) tomorrow for Mumabi.



Patient tests positive for swine flu at PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
A case of swine flu was confirmed at the PGIMER on Wednesday. The 23-year-old patient, a resident of Saharanpur in UP, was admitted to the hospital last week.

Besides, two patients, one from Patiala and another from Ambala, have been suspected to have contracted the H1N1 virus. Both the patients were admitted to the PGIMER last week.

Last year, a number of H1N1 cases were reported in Pune (226) and the virus claimed a total of 38 lives across India. The spread of the swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is thought to occur the same way that seasonal flu spreads. The influenza spreads from person to person through respiratory route. If a person already infected with the virus coughs, sneezes or even talks or sings loudly, he or she generates aerosols or droplets of saliva with virus particles in it.


If you are sick, limit your contact with other people as much as possible. Do not go to work or school if ill. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Put your used tissue in the waste-basket. Cover your cough or sneeze if you do not have a tissue. Then, clean your hands and do so every time you cough or sneeze.

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Wash with soap and water or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner. Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 15 to 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used. If using gel, rub your hands until the gel is dry. The gel doesn't need water to work; the alcohol in it kills the germs on your hands.



TB cases on the rise
Rural dispensaries record over 150 cases from colonies every day
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
More than 150 cases of tuberculosis are being reported per day at the rural dispensaries in the city. Going by the figures recorded by officials at three of the dispensaries located across Ramdarbar, Maloya and Hallo Majra, tuberculosis has emerged as one of common ailments since the beginning of December 2012.

Experts, meanwhile, pointed out that though many cases of tuberculosis are being reported among colony residents, the risk of exposure lies among the urban residents as well, since many colony residents work as domestic helps in urban households.

“The urban residents should take the responsibility of getting their maids examined in case the latter appears weak or coughs frequently. Though it is not necessary that tuberculosis is restricted to the poor population, the transmission is relatively higher among them due to poor sanitation in colonies,” said, Dr SK Jindal, head, department of pulmonary medicine, PGIMER.

“Common symptoms of tuberculosis include coughing continuing for over two weeks and consistent sputum. It is important for the infected person to cover his mouth while coughing and wash hands regularly to prevent the transmission of the disease to others around him,” Dr Jindal added.

An official at the rural dispensary in Ramdarbar, said: “Due to lack of hygiene, the disease is found to be common among slum dwellers. Till the end of November, most of the patients came to us with problems of malaria and dengue. Since the beginning of December, more patients with problems of chest congestion are coming in. More than 100 tuberculosis patients have been coming for the follow-up treatment.”

The figures were found to be similar at the two other dispensaries, each catering to more than 20,000 patients.

The officials said that inflow of migratory population can be attributed as one of the causes of increasing number of tuberculosis cases being reported. The infected persons are advised to cover their mouth while coughing and avoid clean their hands regularly to save others from contracting the disease.



Dark, dingy dispensaries disgust patients
Shortage of doctors, lack of basic amenities narrate the sorry state of affairs. Most of the efforts of the staff go into safeguarding toilet seats, water taps, perishable vaccines and fetching water from neighbourhood
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
Tall claims of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation of providing state-of-the-art healthcare services to city residents have fallen flat, as a majority of the civil dispensaries are grappling with problems of theft, shortage of doctors and lack of basic amenities such as water and electricity.

A survey conducted by a team of Chandigarh Tribune, across 10 of the 20 dispensaries in the city, revealed that while healthcare services were difficult to be imagined at these dispensaries, most of the efforts of the staff went into safeguarding the toilet seats, water taps, perishable vaccines and fetching water from neighbourhood.

The dispensaries visited by the team included those in Ramdarbar, Maloya, Kajheri, Hallo Majra, Sector 40, Dadu Majra, Sector 26, Sector 45, Sector 33 and Sector 38.

Lack of hygiene was found to be the common problem at each dispensary in the absence of water supply. A dispensary caters to more than 20,000 people living in the respective colonies.

Problems compounded after MC took over
The damaged residential block at the dispensary in Maloya; (below) a bumpy entry to the dispensary at Ramdarbar in Chandigarh and garbage strewn at the dispensary in Maloya.
The damaged residential block at the dispensary in Maloya; (below) a bumpy entry to the dispensary at Ramdarbar in Chandigarh and garbage strewn at the dispensary in Maloya.
The damaged residential block at the dispensary in Maloya; (below) a bumpy entry to the dispensary at Ramdarbar in Chandigarh and garbage strewn at the dispensary in Maloya.

The UT Administration handed over 20 Primary Healthcare Centres (dispensaries) to the Municipal Corporation in 2010. The MC has failed to constitute even sub-committee to deal with the functioning of the health centres till date.

The Finance and Contract Committee during its meeting in February 2012 had approved a budget of Rs 23.90 crore to upgrade the Primary Healthcare Centres under planned and non-planned heads. However, in the absence of the sub-committees, the budget could not be utilised.

Residents from neighbouring townships of Mohali and Panchkula also rush to the dispensaries, often as they are largely dependent on the health services in Chandigarh, pointed out sources.

Shortage of doctors, poor supply of medicines
A patient returns home as there was no doctor in the dispensary at Hallo Majra in Chandigarh.
A patient returns home as there was no doctor in the dispensary at Hallo Majra in Chandigarh.

There are only 16 doctors for 20 dispensaries. Patients lamented that doctors were available there for only three to four days a week. Against the mandatory ratio of 40 patients per doctor, prescribed by the Indian Public Health Standards, a doctor caters to over 200 patients everyday.

Owing to the shortage of doctors at these dispensaries, one doctor attends to patients at one dispensary for only three days a week. The doctors work on rotation throughout the week across the dispensaries. The dispensary in Maloya, Dadu Majra, and Sector 40, however, were found to be running without doctors for long.

In the absence of doctors at the dispensaries on the remaining three days, the employees turn away a large number of patients. On December 20, when the team visited some of the dispensaries, there were no doctors available at Hallo Majra and Dadu Majra. Many patients returned empty-handed from both the dispensaries as the staff could not prescribe any suitable medicines.

Aarti, a resident of Hallo Majra, rushed to the civil dispensary to avail treatment for her four-year-old daughter, who was running temperature. However, she was asked to visit the dispensary the next day. At the dispensary in Dadu Majra, Ram Baran, a 70-year-old patient, who complained of respiratory problem was sent back due to non-availability of doctor.

Poor supply of electricity
Seepagae at the dispensary in Dadu Majra.
Seepagae at the dispensary in Dadu Majra.

The poor supply of power not only keeps the dispensaries dark and dingy, but also poses a threat to the potency of the vaccines stored in the freezers. All the civil dispensaries which house these freezers for storing vaccines struggle to safeguard the vaccines since the retention of freezers in the absence of power supply cannot stretch beyond a few hours.

One of the staff members at the dispensary in Hallo Majra said, “Sometimes the power cut continues for over 12 hours at the dispensary. While leaving for home in the evening, we store the vaccines in the refrigerator of the village sarpanch.”

Poor supply of water
A water tank kept inside the dispensary at Maloya to avoid a theft
A water tank kept inside the dispensary at Maloya to avoid a theft.

In the absence of water supply at most of the dispensaries, due to missing taps and even water tanks, the employees have to knock at the door of the households in the neighbourhood for water. They are forced to carry buckets to the dispensary for washing equipment and toilets since there are no alternative arrangements for supplying water.

Due to the shortage of water supply (with supply completely missing at some dispensaries), sanitation is a casualty at the dispensaries in Hallo Majra, Dadu Majra, Sector 26, Ramdarbar and Sector 40.

The water shortage also forces the staff to touch needles and vaccines without washing hands repeatedly after administering medicines to patients and even when they start work in the morning.

The toilets at each of these dispensaries were found to be crying for maintenance. Due to lack of water supply, the toilets emanated foul smell.

Thieves took away the doors and windows of the shelter home at the Maloya dispensary.
Thieves took away the doors and windows of the shelter home at the Maloya dispensary.

A number of thefts have taken place at many dispensaries, where the employees have to battle everyday to secure water tanks, pipes, lids of stinky gutters, doors and even benches in the waiting area. Shockingly, in the dispensary at Maloya, the doors and windows of a small shelter home built at the rear of the building have been stolen. The building stands erect without doors and windows.

The dispensaries suffering from the problem of thefts included the ones in Maloya Colony, Sector 26, Dadu Majra, Sector 40, and Hallo Majra. Due to the misuse of water supply at the dispensary in Maloya by the residents of colony, the water bills have been escalating for the past many months. The dispensary employees have now kept the overhead water tank inside the dispensary instead of installing it atop in order to avoid thefts.

At the dispensary in Sector 26, lids of all three gutters have been stolen. The gutters emanate foul smell. An official at the dispensary said a patient fell near the entry to the dispensary a few months ago after his leg got stuck in the open gutter.

At the civil dispensaries, both in Dadu Majra and Hallo Majra, the pipelines for connection of water tanks with taps are missing. At the Sector 40 dispensary, meanwhile, the taps, which the MC claims to have installed in wash basis and the toilet, are missing. Even the toilet seat at the dispensary is missing. Also, there is no seating arrangement for patients as even the benches have been stolen.

What the authorities say?

The newly elected Mayor, Subhash Chawla, acknowledged the fact that the dispensaries were in a neglected state and huge expense needed to be incurred on the renovation of the dispensaries.

When these dispensaries were handed over to the MC, a majority of them were already in a poor state. The main roadblock was lack of sub-committees for budget allocation for improvement of services at the dispensaries. During my tenure, I will ensure that the sub-committees are constituted at the earliest and sufficient funds are received for revamping of the dispensaries. The shortage of doctors is another challenge which needs urgent attention. There is an overall shortage of doctors in the UT. To address the problem immediately, we may appoint some medical officers on a contractual basis.

— Subhash Chawla


Received: Rs 40 lakh, spent: Rs 3 lakh
Report card of Ward No. 14, represented by newly elected Senior Deputy Mayor
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service
Clothes drying on a broken swing at a park in Sector 45-D
Clothes drying on a broken swing at a park in Sector 45-D. Tribune Photos: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, January 2
Ward No. 14 received an amount of Rs 40 lakh for development works last year. Out of this only Rs 3 lakh could be spent by the end of November.

The residents of this ward, which comprises of Sector 45 and Burail village, continue to face problems of poor sanitation, non-functional streetlights, undeveloped green belts and inadequate parking space.

Meanwhile, councillor representing this ward Rana Kashmiri Devi — who did not raise even a single question in the House last year — has been re-elected, and is now the Senior Deputy Mayor.

Poor sanitation

Garbage can be seen scattered in various parts of the ward. Residents complain that sweepers do not come regularly to clean roads and green belts. Besides, MC employees fail to lift garbage for two to three days. The garbage ends up blocking the sewerage pipes.

Ill-maintained green belts

In the previous years, the authorities have converted many open spaces into green belts, and have also developed small neighbourhood parks within the sectors. However, these green belts and parks are not well maintained. At many places, the iron grills are missing, swings are broken, and electricity poles are standing without bulbs. People have also started drying their clothes on the broken swings. Grass cover is missing from a majority of parks and green belts in Sector 45-C and D.

Parking woes
An electricity pole sans a bulb at a green belt
An electricity pole sans a bulb at a green belt

The MC has not developed any community parking lot in Sector 45. Earlier, the authorities had proposed to convert vacant land near residential areas into small parking lots, but no concrete step has been taken in this direction. In some areas people are forced to park their vehicles in neighbourhood parks.

Non-functional streetlights

Majority of streetlights in Sector 45 and Burail village do not work. People find it difficult to drive during night hours due to the absence of streetlights.

Broken roads

Potholes dot the internal roads in the area. During the monsoon season, it becomes difficult to drive on these roads when the potholes get filled with water.

Demands are pending

I am aware of the poor sanitation conditions in the ward, but despite various reminders the authorities concerned have not taken any action. Demands regarding replacement of broken grills, repair of streetlights and recarpeting of roads are pending with the MC.

Rana Kashmiri Devi, Senior Deputy Mayor and Ward Councillor

Missing from duty

The newly elected Mayor and Deputy Mayor today attended the office for the first time after the elections. Senior Deputy Mayor Rana Kashmiri Devi, however, was no where to be seen. On being enquired, her family members told this correspondent that she was visiting temples to pay obeisance and seek blessings.

Residents speak

After the victory in the MC elections last time, she never came to meet the residents in order to hear their grievances. — BD Belwal, Sector 45-D

I submitted a number of complaints pertaining to the poor maintenance of the green belt in front of my house to no avail. — Shishu Pal, Sector 45-C

Sweepers fail to clean the inner roads regularly, and garbage is also not lifted for days. — RS Rawat, Sector 45-D



Kidnap drama by girl sends UT police in a tizzy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
A complaint by an engineering student that a girl from the US has been kidnapped in the city kept the UT police on toes the entire day today.

The girl reportedly informed her friend on Facebook that she came to India to meet him and had been kidnapped from near the Chandigarh airport. The police investigations revealed that the girl was fooling her boyfriend who took her very seriously and panicked. He informed the police.

The police from the Sector 31 police station received a complaint from a Sector 40-based engineering student of Chitkara college that his USA-based girlfriend has been kidnapped as she came to India to meet him. The girl kept posting messages on Facebook and also sent the youth a video clip through Skype enacting that she was in confinement and had been kidnapped.

The police swung into action and checked all flights that landed from the US in Delhi for her name and also inquired from the Chandigarh airport. The police also scrutinised the tower location when it turned out that no such girl has landed in India from abroad at that time and she was not even in the country. After a day of struggle to find out the location of the girl, it turned out that she never came to India and was fooling her boyfriend. The police also registered a case of kidnapping at the Sector 31 police station before they began investigations.

Inspector Jaspal Singh, SHO, Sector 31 police station, said they could not have taken the complaint lightly.

"The complainant was informed of the kidnapping three days ago and he filed a complained yesterday. On getting to know that the girl was bluffing, he was shocked and told her on Facebook that he would snap ties with her. We will now shut the case," he said.



2,008 calls at police control room
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
The UT police was on its toes on New Year's Eve as the police control room received a total of 2,008 calls last night, catering to minor incidents of brawl, thefts, noise pollution, eve-teasing and accidents.

No major incident was reported last night.

About 21 traffic barriers were laid to check drunk driving. A total of 112 challans were issued for traffic violations which included 88 for drunk driving and 24 for other offences.

These included nine challans for using high beam, four for helmetless driving, seven for seatbelt, three for black filming and one for triple riding.

The drive was carried out in order to ensure that the innocent law abiding residents did not become a victim of rash, negligence and drunk driving being, said DSP (Traffic) Kamaldeep.

The police impounded a total of 88 vehicles for violating traffic rules. Police personnel were also deployed in parking places to avoid thefts.


Army personnel inspect the shell recovered from Colony Number 5 in Chandigarh on Wednesday
Army personnel inspect the shell recovered from Colony Number 5 in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Tribune Photo: Manoj Mahajan

Live bomb shell recovered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
A live bomb shell that weighed around 25 kg and was big enough to cause damage over a radius of 1 km was found in a forested area at Colony Number 5 here today.

A scrap dealer, identified as Raju, noticed the shell and called the PCR at 2 pm.

The police reached the spot and cordoned off the area. The shell was handed over to Chandimandir-based Army personnel for defusing it.

Last week, a similar shell was found in Daria village.



Teamwork must to curb crime: Adviser

Chandigarh, January 2
UT Adviser KK Sharma today held a meeting with the senior officials of the police, transport, education departments to discuss the issue of women's safety in the city.

The Adviser told the officials to work as a team to curb crime against women. He also emphasised on providing safe atmosphere to girls outside educational institutions.

Home Secretary Anil Kumar said the situation was far better in the city as compared to other parts of India.

The senior officials of the UT Administration would also attend the meeting of chief secretaries of states and union territories in New Delhi on January 4. — TNS



p’kula robbery
DCP orders inquiry into concealment of facts
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 2
Deputy Commissioner of Police Nazneen Bhasin has ordered an inquiry into the “concealing of facts” by the MDC police station personnel in the robbery that took place here yesterday.

The personnel at the MDC police station had allegedly presented “false” facts while lodging the FIR that was registered under section 380 of the IPC (theft) yesterday.

The FIR failed to take into account the fact that a baby was held at knifepoint and the woman was injured during the incident. After the DCP, who is holding the additional charge of Panchkula, intervened, the personnel cancelled the first FIR on their own and lodged a fresh FIR under section 392 (robbery) later in the evening yesterday.

When the complainant, Rajesh Kashyap, asked the SHO for a copy of the previous FIR, she was informed that the records had been deleted.

The complainant told Bhasin that important facts were concealed in the previous FIR to allegedly weaken the case. The DCP then directed SHO Aruna Kumar to record the statement and lodge an FIR accordingly.

“I have ordered an inquiry into the matter as to why correct facts were not presented in the FIR. Action will be initiated against all those found guilty,” said Bhasin.

On being asked, as to how the police officials could cancel the first FIR on their own, Bhasin said, “They don’t have power to cancel the FIR. It can be cancelled only after the DCP’s or the court’s intervention. I will look into it.”



Review ambulance model of Punjab, Haryana: Health Secy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
The UT Health Secretary has directed the senior UT health officials, including the Director, Health Services, and Director, Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, to review the108 ambulance model of Punjab and Haryana to plan its launch in Chandigarh.

Health Secretary Anil Kumar has also directed the officials to provide details of the number of ambulances required, requirement of staff and equipments to be utilised in the ambulances at the earliest.

When asked, whether the service is likely to be introduced this year, Kumar said, “The efforts are on. After reviewing the model in neighbouring states, we will try to launch the service as early as possible.”

The Health Department had filed an affidavit in the High Court eight months ago, claiming to launch the sophisticated ambulances in the city. It was in March this year that the UT health officials had submitted an affidavit in the court, stating that to save patients within the golden hour, the health department would introduce one of the best EMRI pattern ambulance services in the city.

In fact, the department officials had also studied the pattern of the four states - Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and West Bengal- where the service had been operated successfully.

As per the affidavit, 10 such ambulances were to be launched in the city in a phased manner. These were to be launched in addition to the existing ambulance service, being provided by the Chandigarh Administration.

The affidavit was submitted in response to a public interest litigation (PIL), filed by a local trust for improvising the ambulance services, to ensure that serious patients reach hospital in time. Acting on the PIL, the HC had asked the Chandigarh Administration to take necessary steps to improve the ambulance services in the city by adopting the best models from other parts of the country.



DC asks departments to submit disaster management plans
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 2
The deputy commissioner has asked various departments to submit their disaster management action plans within two days to the Disaster Management Cell, Mohali.

Varun Roojam, DC, who held a meeting with officials of various departments, said a multi-state mega mock drill would be held in February and Mohali had been included in it. As part of the preparations for the drill a capacity development programme on ‘incident response system’ and ‘mock exercises’ would be held in Ropar from January 9 to January 11.

He said representatives of the National Disaster Management Authority would be providing information on capacity development programme, incident response system and mock exercises in Ropar. Roojam said, “The aim of the multi-state mega mock drill is to prepare a person to save maximum number of lives in case of any natural disaster, including earthquakes. The basic information about incident response system will be given on January 9 and table top exercises will be held on January 10 and mock exercises on January 11.”



Tricity scan

NSS camp

The NSS campus unit of Panjab University has organised a week-long camp that started on the theme "Youth for Sustainable Development" on Wednesday. The inaugural function of the camp was held at the Zoology Auditorium today. In his inaugural address, Prof Arun K Grover, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, stressed on the importance of youth empowerment and the participation of NSS volunteers in different activities on the campus, especially, on the issues related to the security of students during working and non- working hours. GS Bhatti, programme adviser, NSS, Government of India and BS Rana, SLO, also graced the occasion and congratulated the university for making a beginning. Prof Sukhbir Kaur , programme coordinator, NSS, PU campus unit, welcomed the guests Prof Ashwani Kaul, Director, NSS, PU, assured that the PU campus unit will be way ahead of other universities in its volunteer activities.

Silence observed

The employees of Chandigarh Transport Undertaking observed a two-minute silence on the office premises of the Director Transport, UT. They lit candles and prayed in the memory of the Delhi gang rape victim. The Director Transport and General Manager, CTU, also participated in the candle march. They condemned the incident. The Director Transport asked the drivers and conductors to remain vigilant and report to the police if any person misbehaves with women on the buses.

Student brings laurels

Anagha Raj, a student of class XI at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16, brought laurels to the city by winning one gold and one bronze medal at the recently concluded 32nd National Taekwondo Championship held in Amritsar. The championship was organised under the aegis of Taekwondo Federation of India (TFI), Taekwondo Academy of India and the Korean Martial Art Taekwondo Academy.

Blankets distributed

Chandigarh circle of PRERNA (an association of the wives of the senior management of Punjab National Bank at Chandigarh) organised a function to distribute blankets to the people, living in the slums of Sector 50, Chandigarh. The function was organised at the Janj Ghar, Sector 45, Chandigarh.
Dr Dilbagh Singh Hira (centre) DG,SVGOI, unveils the group's journal during a press conference on Wednesday
Dr Dilbagh Singh Hira (centre) DG,SVGOI, unveils the group's journal during a press conference on Wednesday. A Tribune photograph

Office-bearer elected

Swami Vivekanand Group of Institutes announced the appointment of its first Director General on Wednesday. Dr Dilbagh Singh Hira will assume the responsibilities. Dr Dilbagh Singh is a former Vice-Chancellor of Guru Kashi University, Bathinda.


At the meeting of Digamber Jain Society, the members condemned the attack on Digamber Jain Saint Muni Shri Prabal Sagar Maharaj in Gujarat. Members appealed to the Union Government and the Gujarat government to make necessary arrangements for the security of saints.

21 clear NDA exam

As many as 21 students from Shemrock Senior Secondary School, Sector 69, here have cleared the NDA examination. A total of 3,20,000 students had appeared for the examination. School Principal SK Sharma said the army enjoyed the reputation of being one of the finest forces in the world. A career in the armed forces, therefore, held the promise of bringing honour, glory, reputation and a privileged lifestyle. The selected students said that it was a moment of pride for them.

Student awarded

The grand finale of “the student of the year” concluded with much fanfare at AKSIPS, Mohali. The event, “STY Grand Finale”, began with a welcome address by the chairman of the NEDT, Dr BNS Walia, followed by the introduction of the eminent judges for the event by Jasmine Kalra, Director/Principal, AKSIPS, Mohali. The top 10 finalists proved their mettle through their group-cum-solo singing round, followed by cheering the leaders with their jingles. The second hurdle to be overcome by the finalists was paper reading and extempore. Rollicking performances by the top 10 finalists on the peppy number “Disco Deewane” enthralled the audience. The last step towards the pinnacle was their acting skill where each finalist performed as per the situation allotted to them. Dr BNS Walia was invited to present a cheque of Rs 5,000 to Jashan Preet Kaur. Dr Walia also handed over the trophy to Jashan.

MoU signed

The Emax Group of Institutions signed a MOU with Central Bank of India for education loans to students. Now students of the Emax group of Institutions can apply for loan by visiting any branch of the bank in person.

Tribune Reporters



teachers’ recruitment
At last, 2 get permanent appointment
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
The skeletons of the "tainted" recruitment process that created an uproar during the appointment of 536 teachers in 2009 seem to have tumbled out of the closet again. Two candidates, who failed to appear in the final merit list during the recruitment process, managed to get permanent appointment from the UT Education Department about a month-and-half ago.

Interestingly, the appointment was secured on the basis of original recruitment criteria, advertised by the department on August 5, 2007, which was allegedly violated during the recruitment process in 2009. The CBI, Delhi, is still investigating the matter. Sources said the Education Department was left with no option but to make these candidates join as regular teachers since it was a legal compulsion.

The matter came to light when Raminderjeet Kaur, an OBC candidate, moved the Chandigarh Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in 2011, challenging the recruitment process of 2009.

Ruling in favour of the petitioner, the CAT in its judgement on May 11, 2011, had endorsed the recruitment criteria originally advertised in 2007 and ordered the Education Department to invalidate the appointment of one of the teachers, inducted in 2009, and appoint the petitioner in his place.

It was also stated that it was illogical on the part of the competent authority to give to 2009's appointee the advantage of addition/weightage of the marks, obtained at the screening test, when it was apparent from the relevant advertisement issued in August 2007 that marks obtained by a candidate at the screening test were not to be added for the final evaluation and merit.

Following the judgement, the Education Department had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the CAT's order but it withdrew the petition on September 2011, pleading before the court that the department wanted to file a review petition before the CAT. The department, however, was left with no option as the review petition was dismissed in the tribunal.

Subsequently, another candidate, Shalu Chawla moved the similar petition before the CAT and managed to secure the similar judgement as in case of Raminderjeet Kaur in March 2012. Shalu Chawla joined as TGT SST at Government Model High School, Sector 38 west, and Raminderjeet Kaur joined as TGT math at Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 15. Both were earlier working as contractual teachers.

More litigation likely

"Many fear that the induction of these teachers is likely to invite more litigations. Many candidates, who failed to make up to the final grade at that time and may be eligible as per the 2007's recruitment criteria, will have a strong reason to move to the court after the latest induction of the teachers," said an official. Senior officials of the department, were, however, tight-lipped when official response was sought from them.

Revisiting the issue

  • August 2007: The Education Department advertised 536 posts with detailed recruitment criteria. The legal hitch, however, delayed the overall process for two years.
  • July-August 2009- The recruitment process restarted with the written test.
  • August 2009: Interview process began.
  • September 2009: Teachers' cash for job scam surfaced after a complaint by Kamalpreet Kaur, a candidate. A criminal case was registered and the two middlemen, Hardev Singh and Jolly, were arrested.
  • October 2009: Samwartak Singh, DPI (s), was transferred and appointed as Director (Social Welfare) on pretext of the scam.
  • Nov 2009: A petitioner, Karamjit Singh, filed a PIL in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, raising alarm against the overall recruitment process right from the written test.
  • December-January 2010: The administration released the final merit list of 536 teachers on the department's website.
  • February 2010: The selection process came under scanner as the media reports pointed out loopholes in the recruitment process.
  • March 2012- Ruling on Karamjit Singh's petition, the court of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi ordered the fresh inquiry into this issue and entrusted the task to the CBI, Delhi, as it found the role of the CBI, Chandigarh, not satisfactory.



Cold wave: Schools open, but attendance remains low
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
After a week-long winter vacations, the government schools opened with thin attendance as the effect of prevailing cold wave was visible on their attendance. While the education department extended the vacations of primary classes (from Class I to V) till January 6 but the students of the rest of the classes were asked to join schools as scheduled.

The classes, however, wore a deserted look in several schools after the schools opened here today. A principal of a senior secondary school said the attendance in her school was as low as 20 per cent and weather was the main reason for such dismal response.

“If the weather conditions remain the same, the department should think of reviewing the whole situation," she said.

Another school head said, “When the government schools in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi are closed due to the ongoing cold wave, the department should review the situation and allow the school to close till the time weather conditions improve.

Many said that the study in several schools would any way affected due to the scheduled beginning of National school games starting from January 10. Since many of the classrooms would be occupied for that purpose, the schools therefore must be allowed to remain closed down.

Parminder Singh, a student of a government high school, said it was extremely difficult for him to come to the school. "Waiting for the bus in such a cold weather more difficult," he said

Ram Kumar Sharma, District Education Officer, said the low attendance might be due to the fact that today was the first day after the vacations.

"We may review the situation if the attendance remains low in schools but it is difficult to speculate something right now," he said.

Vinod Sharma, president of the Government Teachers’ Union said thousands of government school students came from periphery and far away areas and most of them had to wait for buses to reach their school.

"Since weather does not seem to normalise in the days ahead, the department should take decision to extend the vacations for all the classes, at least, till the second half of the month,” Sharma said.



minority status
Minority panel begins hearing of city-based private schools
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
The National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI), New Delhi, began the hearing of several city-based private schools, seeking the certificate of minority status from the commission. Last month, the case of Vivek High School, Sector 38, came up for hearing before the commission. The UT Education Department is expected to file its reply in the case before the next hearing, which is scheduled for February 7.

Similarly, the case of New India Public School, Sector 18, was heard today. There are two more schools- St Kabir, Sector 26, and Saupin's, Sector 32- whose cases are expected to come up for hearing soon.

Meanwhile, the UT Education Department has constituted a six-member panel on the direction of the National Commission for Minority Educational institutions.

The panel will examine and screen the cases of the schools, who have applied for the minority status.

There are as many as four schools, which have applied before the panel. The schools that have applied before the panel, include Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 36, Ajit Karam Singh International Public School, Sector 41 and Sector 45, and Kids-r-Kids School, Sec-42.

The meeting of the panel was expected to take place soon, said a senior official.



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