C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Bansal sanctions Rs 199 crore
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal today sanctioned Rs 199 crore for the double-laning of the rail track between Dappar and Chandigarh. Once completed, the move will clear the decks for the complete double-laning of the Chandigarh-Ambala track, the minister said.

The double-laning of the track from Ambala to Dappar is currently under progress and is likely to be completed by December this year. This, the minister said, would provide better connectivity between Chandigarh and the rest of the country.

On the introduction of the third Shatabdi Express from this month, Bansal said he wanted that trains between Chandigarh and Delhi should run like "local trains" and their frequency should be like that of buses between the two places.

To facilitate travel between Chandigarh and Amritsar, especially for those who want to visit the Golden Temple, the minister announced that a train would be introduced within four months, which would leave the city in the morning and return in the evening.

Regarding connectivity between Chandigarh and Nanded, the minister said he wanted the Sriganganagar-Nanded train to touch Chandigarh at least two or three days a week. For the purpose, the "operationalisation" of the Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link was required. “This would also help provide better linkage between Chandigarh and the rest of Punjab,” Bansal said.

He said he wanted to link Chandigarh with the Ludhiana-Kolkata dedicated freight corridor.

Regarding upgrading the Chandigarh railway station, Bansal said the project was being taken up as a long-term plan for converting the station into a world-class station. For the time being, there was a short-term plan. Under the immediate plan, Rs 20 crore would be spent on the station and most of the work would be completed in five months.

Work on providing escalators on the Chandigarh and the Panchkula side of the station would start in a few days and would be completed in four months, he said.

Other works included increase in the number of toilets, better parking facilities and a new façade, which would take around nine months for completion.

The announcements were made by Bansal during a function organised by the Federation of Sectors Welfare Associations of Chandigarh (FOSWAC) for felicitating Bansal on taking over as the Union Railway Minister.



IIT experts have a plan for better public transport
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
Taking a cue from ants, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee, has come up with a solution to streamline the public transport system in the city.
According to it, while Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) buses on certain routes are overloaded, buses ply almost empty on some routes at the same time. The best way to streamline traffic is by striking a balance between the overloaded and the empty buses.

The IIT, Roorkee, has developed a web GIS-based advanced public transport system (APTS) using the ant algorithm system.

“Ants always choose the shortest path. This is known as ant algorithm. This algorithm, which is being used worldwide, has been chosen for making appropriate number of buses ply on all routes in Chandigarh so that there is no overloading in buses on certain routes,” said Dr Parveen Kumar, Professor of Civil Engineering at the IIT, Roorkee, and his student Dr Sanjeev Suman, who have come up with the idea.

Giving details about the system over the phone, Dr Praveen Kumar said the system, called the Ant Administrative System, had been developed by using the ant algorithm.

“The most important module of the APTS is the ant algorithm-based decision support system for public transport management officials. The decision support system helps management officials make better decisions regarding the operational aspects of the public transport system. The goal of the decision support system is to provide public transport decision makers more information to make effective decisions to increase commuters' convenience,” said Dr Parveen Kumar.

He said the system involved the use of the intelligent transport system, the geographical information system and the global positioning system.

“This is basically a methodology developed for the city after a thorough study of all aspects. If required, it can be applied to other big cities in the country after collecting data,” said Dr Parveen Kumar, adding that it made the transport system more efficient and reduced the operations cost.

The experts have also designed certain routes in the city in their work, which would be presented in the forthcoming annual session of Indian Roads Congress, scheduled to be held at Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) on January 9. About 2,000 road engineers from different parts of the country are likely to attend the congress. 



Panchkula schools extend vacation till January 16
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 6
Government primary and secondary schools in Panchkula have extended the vacation from January 7 till January 16 in view of the cold wave conditions.
For private schools in Panchkula, the vacation has been extended from January 7 till January 15.

“In view of the chilly conditions prevailing in the city, we have extended the winter vacation in all government schools in Panchkula till January 16. The vacation has been extended for primary as well as senior classes,” said Abhay Singh Yadav, Director, Elementary Education.

Officials have told the schools that during winters, if any child wears woollens apart from the school uniform, the authorities should not object to it.

District Education Officer (DEO) Nalini Mimani said, “The health of the students is our priority. Even otherwise the attendance of students during this period is thin. The weather is likely to improve by January 16 and so we have extended the vacation till then.”

Pritam Serai, president of the Panchkula Private Schools Association, said, “We have decided to close private schools till January 15. Students of Classes X and XII, who have to sit for the board examinations, can come for assistance if they feel like.”

He said, “The pre-board examinations will be held in February in our schools.”

Serai is the Principal of Satluj Public School, Panchkula. It was decided at a meeting of private schools last year to close the schools in January instead of December for the vacation. 



No respite from biting cold; 16 flights cancelled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
The weather condition further worsened today. The morning temperature recorded at the Chandigarh Air Force observatory plummeted to 0.6°C against 1.6°C recorded yesterday.

The lowest morning temperature at the Sector 39 Met observatory plummeted from 4°C yesterday to 3°C today.

A Met official said the temperature recorded at the Air Force observatory often remained 1 to 2°C lower than the Sector 39 observatory since it was an open area.

The day temperature also remained low. At 8.30 am, the temperature was 4.2°C, which rose to 5.2°C at 11.30 am.

The maximum temperature during the day was recorded at about 4 pm at 9.3°C.

Life remained out of gear for most part of the day. Markets continued to wear a deserted look as people preferred to remain indoors due to the cold wave conditions.

Regional Met Officer Surinder Pal said the weather might improve in the next two or three days. Rain was expected around January 12 or 13. The visibility at the airport remained poor throughout the day, resulting in the cancellation of 16 flights.

Only Indigo Airline’s Chandigarh-Mumbai flight could take off from the airport after the visibility improved for a brief period at about 4 pm. Airport officials said the visibility remained low (between 150 to 200 metres) due to which all flights except one had to be cancelled. 


Attendants at mercy of elements
Serais fully occupied, they are forced to sit in the open on PGI campus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
The bone-chilling winter has affected hundreds of patients’ attendants, who, in the absence of any covered waiting area or hall, are forced to brave the chill sitting in the open parks on the PGI campus.

These attendants, including elderly and children, are exposed to the risk of hypothermia and even cardiac problems. Many of them come from different parts of the country. They do not have sufficient money to afford shelter homes or even travel back to their native places and visit again. Hence, they prefer putting up in the open.

While the authorities take the plea that the institute has been facing the problem of overcrowding of patients as well as their attendants, and claim to have provided serais for attendants, many of these attendants fail to find space in these serais.

The son of Meena Devi (name changed), a 65-year-old woman, who has been putting up in the park opposite Kairon Block in the PGI for the past two months, has been admitted to the neurology department. She, accompanied by her daughter-in-law and seven-year-old grand-daughter, belongs to a small village in UP.

“Itne din ho gae serai mein ek bhi kamra khali nai mila. Jab sardi badhi to hum yahan badi wali building ke saamne vale verande mein sone lag gae the. Wahan hawa kum lagti hai. Par ye officer log ab wahan bhi baithne nahin dete (We have been waiting for rooms inside the serais but we haven’t been able to find any vacant room ever since. As the chill increased for the last few days, we started sleeping on the corridor near one of the auditoriums here since it is covered from two sides which save us from cold winds. But, the security guards do not permit us to sit there now,” said Meena.

Besides, there are some attendants who cannot even afford the minimal per day charges in the serais, hence never opted for it. Sushil, whose brother is suffering from tuberculosis, had come from Bihar six months ago. Unable to afford the travelling cost, he and his brother have been putting up in one of the parks on the campus.

“The officials do not even allow us to lie down in the parks. They permit us only to sit. My brother is unwell. He is weak and cannot sustain fatigue. I, somehow, make him lie down with half of his legs bent so that he can take rest,” Sushil said.



Rubble clearing: Bansal to provide funds for equipment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
Taking up the issue of rubble during a meeting of the Federation of Sectors Welfare Associations of Chandigarh (FOSWAC) here today, Union Minister for Railways Pawan Kumar Bansal said while it was the primary responsibility of the residents to ensure that the rubble from produced during the construction of houses and buildings is disposed off properly, he, on his part, would provide funds to the Municipal Corporation for purchasing the equipment required for clearing rubble.

The equipment can be used by residents on payment. Many a time residents do not get a cheap alternative for disposing of rubble, resulting in unauthorised dumping of rubble. This facility, which will be available at very reasonable rates, would go a long way in tackling the problem, said Bansal. He was accompanied by Subhash Chawla, newly elected Mayor of Chandigarh.

Referring to the need-based changes in houses brought about by residents, the minister said there was room for some relaxation in the Phase II and III of the city. However, this does not mean that it gives people the liberty to encroach upon government land. Talking of the Master Plan of the city, Bansal said he was for ‘Change with Continuity’ and as long as the original Phase I plan was concerned no changes would be allowed and the basic character of the master plan would be maintained. He suggested FOSWAC could take up these issues again with the Chandigarh Housing Board for allowing need-based changes.

Bansal said the excessive use of tiles in the city is resulting in depletion of the green area and also affecting ground-water recharge.



Check liquor sale below MRP, say contractors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
The UT Excise and Taxation Department is at the receiving end with a group of local liquor contractors accusing it of ignoring the rampant practice adopted by certain contractors to sell liquor below the minimum retail price.

While debating the issue at a meeting held here today, the contractors demanded that the department should step in to check the illegal practice. The fixing of quota by the department was forcing contractors to resort to the illegal practice to dispose of their quota.

The issue of certain liquor contractors resorting to smuggling of liquor within the city was also highlighted.

In their desperate bid to finish their stocks, contractors were found selling Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) and country liquor at 50 per cent below the minimum retail price in labour colonies and rehabilitation clusters of the city.

Recently, the department had got cases registered against contractors for selling liquor illegally. The department is learnt to have identified 25 such vends where liquor at cheap rates is provided to smugglers supplying liquor to colonies.

“The modus operandi adopted by contractors is that they encourage the sale of liquor in their nearby colonies and stocks are lifted by suppliers at rates up to 50 per cent below the MRP. This enables them to finish their quota,” said sources in the department.

As per the excise policy, a liquor contractor has to lift around 19,000 cartons of the IMFL in a year. But, the actual counter sale does not exceed 8,000 cartons. A contractor has to pay a fee of Rs 200 per carton for not lifting the same. To reduce the quota, the contractors are now smuggling liquor within the city.



High drama at traffic naka to check speeding
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
High drama was witnessed at a naka to check over speeding on the transport light point-Tribune Chowk stretch after one of the local residents alleged that the traffic police misbehaved and manhandled him and members of his family. The agitators could be pacified only when the DSP (Traffic), Kamaldeep, reached the scene. A complaint was lodged with the Industrial Area police station against the police.

The complainant, Gaurav Goel stated that though he was driving at a very normal speed, they were stopped at the naka for speeding.

Goel and his relative Sushil Bansal, who was accompanying him with the family, alighted from the car. Bansal alleged that as he argued with the police on the point that his brother-in-law was not speeding, the police staff on duty at the naka misbehaved and started manhandling them.

“We got our medical check-ups done at the Government Medical College Hospital-32 and lodged a complaint against five police personnel, including Inspector Malkit Singh,” Bansal said.

Sources said those travelling in the vehicle were relatives of a senior official of the UT Administration.

Inspector Malkit Singh, refuting all the allegations against him and the other police personnel, stated that the members of the family were arguing with the police and resisting the challan for speeding. “In fact, the family misbehaved with us following which we even rang up 100 number and informed the control room about the incident,” he claimed.

Malkit claimed that after they were issued a challan, the members of the family left the scene. They returned after around 30 minutes and started alleging that they were beaten up by the police.

The DSP (Traffic) has initiated an inquiry into the matter.



Exhibition firm fined Rs 3.9 lakh

Chandigarh, January 6
A company, Global Camps Media, which organises exhibitions, was today fined Rs 3.9 lakh for organising an exhibition at the Shvalikview hotel without paying tax to the Excise Department.

On getting a tip-off, officials of the department reached the spot. They found that the organisers were not only evading tax, they had also rented out stalls to private exhibitors. The management of the Shivalikview hotel had did so without asking for tax permission.

It is learnt that CITCO would be questioned about the role of the officials who gave permission to private parties to set up stall without seeking the permission of the Excise Department. — TNS



Patwaris to spread legal awareness
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 6
To sensitise the rural folk about the schemes of the Legal Service Authority, especially the legal rights of the economically weaker section and importance of permanent lok adalat, the Mohali District Legal Authority is all set to rope in patwaris of the respective areas.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Gopal Arora, civil judge (senior division)/ CJM-cum-secretary, Mohali District Legal Service Authority, said patwaris could be the best medium to connect with the rural folk.

“We are going to hold a meeting of all patwaris of the Kharar block tomorrow in which they would be told about their role in spreading awareness of the legal rights among the rural folk,” said Gopal.

He said several day-to-day problems related to garbage, roads and drainage as well as public utility services could be solved through permanent adalats.

“We are roping in patwaris who will tell the rural persons about the importance of our services,” said Gopal.

“Under the supervision and guidance of Justice Jasbir Singh, Judge, Punjab and Haryana High Court, and chairman of the Punjab Legal Service Authority, we have already set legal literacy clubs in over 200 schools,” said Arora.



Revolving cameras at Student Centre soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
With a view to keeping a close watch on the activities of students on the campus, the Panjab University authorities are going to install revolving cameras at the Student Centre and outside the VC office.

All entry gates to the campus will have high-resolution cameras that would capture the images of persons driving vehicles. Meanwhile, over 30 CCTV cameras would be installed at various other parts of the university before the new academic session begins.

The Student Centre, where clashes among students in the recent past have been reported, and the VC office, which is a favorite spot among the student parties for staging protests, are the two most sensitive locations on the campus where PTZ cameras would be installed. These cameras can revolve at 180 degrees.

PK Dhawan, chief security officer (CSO), said each camera which is worth around Rs 1.15 lakh revolves around and is highly sensitive. “The cameras will help in keeping a close watch on the activities at the Student Centre,” he said.

The camera that was earlier installed at the Student Centre was not working for the past around three years.

Five entry gates to the PU campus in Sector 14 and Sector 25 will also have high resolution cameras. These cameras will also capture the registration number of vehicles entering into the campus.

The university earlier had a proposal to install around 75 CCTV cameras. It was pending for the past around two years. In the wake of the Delhi gang rape incident, the university decided to speed up the process and install 40 CCTV cameras, including two PTZ cameras and five high resolution cameras. Presently, there are around 60 CCTV cameras already installed on the PU campus.



National theatre fest begins today
Has been dedicated to Delhi gang rape victim
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
The 8th TFT Winter National Theatre Festival, starting from tomorrow evening at the Tagore Theatre, has been dedicated to the Delhi gang rape victim.
The festival will begin with the play “Aare Sharif Log” to be performed by Abhinav Rang Mandal, Ujjain (MP).

The second play on January 8 will showcase the performance of Aakar Kala Sangam’s “8 Ghante”. The play is based on the mindset of common jobber.

On January 9, “Yum Leela”, to be performed by Ramnat Group, Jodhpur, will highlight how corrupt people sitting at the influential position spoil the working of the complete system.

The play “Court Martial” will be staged on January 10. It will be 400th production of the city-based theatre group “Theatre for Theatre”.

On January 11, production from Jammu “Do Kauri Ka Khel” based on the original play by Bertolt Brecht will be staged. The play is based on the original story of “3 Penny of Opera”.

The second last day of the festival will be dedicated to Punjabi play “Paanch Naad da Pani”. The play, written and directed by Dr Atamjit Singh, encompasses a variety of issues that border on feminism, subalterns, good vs. evil, Sufism etc.

The play is an attempt to make the scene of contemporary Punjabi theatre more vibrant, exhilarating and respectful. The use of traditional Naqals in an innovative manner makes the production more relevant and exciting.

Eminent director Devender Raj Ankur’s play based on two short stories of Sadat Hasan Monto’s “KHOL DO & MOZEL” will conclude the festival.

All plays will start at 6.30 PM daily at the Tagore Theatre.



Ensure houses are safe when vacated: Admn
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
Stung by criticism for not acting on time to remove the encroachments at the official residence allotted; the UT administration is facing yet another similar episode.
In case of the house of a former DGP, PS Gill, at Sector 16 several rooms were constructed within the premises which caused damage to UT's property.

"The UT officials should have checked the building before taking its possession", said an official.

The Chandigarh Administration has categorically told the officials of the engineering department that while taking over possession of a house from an allottee, it should be ensured that all the building is secure minus all the encroachments and it should be in a good shape.

SK Chadha, UT Chief Engineer, said: "It is mandatory for the works inspector to ensure that possession of a house is taken in the original form. The officials have to ensure that the building is in a good shape at the time of taking back the possession."

Sources reveal that in many of the cases, unapproved structures are raised in the premises but the allottee while vacating the house manages to get the no dues certificate irrespective of the fact that whether the building is in a good shape or not.

"Some allottee manages to raise illegal constructions citing security reasons without attracting any action from the estate office or the engineering department," said an official.

An official of the estate office claimed that whenever such construction comes to their notice, they are immediately removed



 Open house responses
Learning Self-defence skills must for women

In the wake of the Delhi Gang rape, no one is safe in tricity too. Chandigarh is increasingly becoming more and more unsafe for women. The failure of the police to effectively tackle such cases is also adding to the occurrence of such incidents more often. The police patrolling needs to be intensified in risky areas like bus stops, educational institutes and eating joints. The policemen must be deployed in civil clothes at vulnerable areas. The accused in such cases should be given stern punishment. Girls should learn self-defence techniques and carry items like swiss knife or pepper spray. Girls must raise voice in case they get victimised.

Dr Shruti K Chawla, Chandigarh

Punish rapists

The recent gory events of sexual harassment and assaults on women have left not only our nation but every person across the globe indignant and shattered. Now, the question arises whether women are safe outside the house, even if they are accompanied by a male friend. The intentions of the degraded and depraved lunatics have to be quashed by strong legislation, which should give severe punishment to the culprits. Women should acquire all type of martial skills to protect and defend themselves.

Priya Darsh Growar, Mohali

Male friend should be reliable

In the company of a man, a woman is comparatively safer when compared to the outsiders. The safety of a woman in the company of her male friend largely depends on her own ingenuity. She must look for a male friend, who can protect her in the hour of need.

SC Luthra, Manimajra

Chandigarh is safe

Chandigarh is a better than any other place in the country. Here the safety of women travelers can be reasonably more assured as the public, bus drivers and conductors here are well-behaved and in case of any mishap they themselves will come forward and take necessary steps without any fear besides calling the police to bring justice. Under the normal circumstances, the girls should opt for own conveyances rather than public transports.

Gurmit Singh Saini, Ontario, Canada

Mentality needs to be changed

The safety of women has become the most burning topic of the day. Women are no where safe in India whether it is a city or a town or a village. Everywhere the women are subjected to sexual assaults; be it eve-teasing, molestation, rape or murder. The life of a woman in our country is not safe. Men of all ages and categories indulge in heinous crimes against women. Our mentality needs a see change with respect to the honour of the women in our society. It is shameful to note that on one hand, where the nation is debating about the safety and security of women; the politicians on the other hand are issuing embarrassing statements against them.

RK Kapoor, Chandigarh

Administration should frame strict rules

It is true that women or girls are not safe in Chandigarh as well as the other parts of the country. As all the fingers a hand are not equal in the same way all men are not bad. Women need to be brave, alert and active. The administration should make strict rules for punishment if anyone indulges in eve-teasing or rape. The Parliament must pass a strict and strong bill against the accused.

Sumesh Kr Badhwar, Mohali

More policemen should be deployed

Knowing that there is tremendous shortage of manpower in the police, cops engaged with the VIP security should be pruned down. More policemen should be made available for the security of women.

AK Sharma, Chandigarh

All-women police stations should be set up

The recent incident in some parts of country, including Delhi, has raised concern over the status of safety and security of women. There is an urgent need to combat the rape-culture and lack of respect for woman in our society. We need to take number of steps to check crime against women in city. There is a need to set up of all women police stations. Community watch groups should monitor investigation.

Vidya Sagar Garg, Panchkula

Use personal vehicles for travel

The problem sparked when women started grabbing power, job opportunities, better education and freedom at large. If travel one travels via a public transport one can easily see the verbal comments, visual staring and leering, roping or leaning. Law should be equal for everyone. It is high time to gather all those who respond to crimes of female victimisation, including enforcement officers, victim advocates, prosecutors and arm them with the most effective, relevant and up-to-date training/ information through seminars to battle the epidemic.

Kulbhushan Kanwar, Chandigarh.

Time to act

We need to stop this shame right away, or else we will have a generation that will be robbed off moral values. Protests and dharnas will die away when people have other issues to concentrate on. Attention will be lost eventually. The government needs to step up to such situations and deal with them in a right manner otherwise such cases will become an everyday issue. The police should involve youths in every committee and one will positively see the change.

Sachin Sharma, Chandigarh

24x7 helpine needed

It is time for a revolutionary change. Such crimes reflect brutal male mentality. Along with laws, there is a need to change people’s mindset. The accused in such cases should be tried under stricter laws and punishment. A women helpline should be made which must function 24x7. Buses exclusively for women are the need of the hour.

Vineet Kapoor, Panchkula



chandigarh scan
General body meeting held

A general body meeting of the Chandigarh Business Council (regd), an apex traders body of Chandigarh, was held on Sunday in the city at Hotel Metro - 43. The meeting was attended by nearly 125 members. Jagdish Arora, who had completed the first term of two years as the president was unanimously nominated the president for the second term by the Governing Body and approved by the General House. Kamaljit Singh Panchhi, LC Arora, JPS Kalra, Subhash Sethi, Baldev Goyal, Kamal Gupta, SP Bansal, etc., while speaking at the meeting, apprised the members of the action taken by the Council during the last tenure on crucial issues like building bylaws, VAT, FDI, Food Safety Act, etc.

Medical camp

Dhawan Hospital of Panchkula organised a free medical camp at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Ramgarh Bhuda Sahib village, Zirakpur, on Saturday. A team of doctors found that poor hygienic conditions, low education and lack of knowledge were the three major factors leading to various diseases in the villages of the area. The team examined about 250 patients at the camp. The patients were screened for blood group, haemoglobin, eye, ENT and skin conditions.

Contest for the elderly

Surjit Singh Thukral and NS Sethi won the first and second positions in the ‘Well Dressed Person’ competition organised by the Senior Citizens Association of Sector 38 during a function held at the Community Centre, Sector 38, here on Sunday. “The function was organised to wish Happy New Year to our members,” said Major DP Singh, president of the association. He said the association used to hold its meeting every month. Gidha dance performance by students of Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 10, was the highlight of the function. — TNS



School principals want winter vacation schedule revised
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
As the weather conditions remain nasty every year, many have raised questions over the outdated approach of the Education Department as far as winter vacations are concerned.

“The same old vacation schedule from December 25 to January 1 needs to be revised now in the wake of extreme weather conditions," said Rakesh Sachdeva, principal of DAV, Sector 15.

“We, too, had same winter schedule, but we changed our vacation timings last year on seeing the weather trend for the past three-four years,” she said.

This year’s prevailing weather conditions forced the Education Department to extend holidays for primary classes (pre-nursery to class V) first from January 2 to January 6 and then further till January 12.

Swaran Singh Kamboj, president of the UT cadre Teachers Association, said: “This move by the administration is welcome but the department should be equally sensitive towards the students of the rest of the classes, too.” He said there was not much age difference between class V and class VI or class VII students. They were equally vulnerable to the poor weather conditions. It is high time that the department takes initiative to resolve this issue rather than putting the life of small children at risk.

A government school principal opined that instead of vacations in April, the department should keep the same for January.

He said: “We know that the department is under pressure as there are guidelines set by the CBSE for the number of working days".

Meanwhile, government schools continued to have thin attendance for the past one week.

Vinod Sharma, president of the Government Teachers Union, said: “In these conditions, it is better to close schools rather than keeping them open.”

He said there was nothing wrong following the winter vacation schedule of private schools and colleges, which remain off for the first 10 days of January.



UT Administration yet to resolve key issues
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
Even as the admission process for the next academic year is about to be over in private schools, several key issues important for the implementation of the RTE Act in Chandigarh are yet to finalised and resolved by the administration here.

Many feel that the delaying approach of the Education Department is allowing private schools to make excuses for not implementing this Act effectively.

Even since the Act has come into force in Chandigarh, the department has not been able to finalise the per child reimbursement to be paid to private schools against the economically weaker section (EWS) reservation quota. UT has recently constituted a high-level committee to resolve this issue, but there is no clarity how much time will it take on this issue.

Further, there is no clarification of the exact criteria of family income being fixed for EWS students. Similarly, the department has not yet tried to resolve the issue concerning the EWS state quota. As many as 64 out of the 69 schools are under obligation to reserve 15 per cent of their seats for the economically weaker section in lieu of the land given them at the concessional rates.

Private schools maintained that if the department would not reimburse them for these 15 per cent seats, they would charge nominally from the EWS students since it was clearly written in the 2005 notification issued by the Chandigarh Administration.

The department on the other hand is silent on this issue so far. HS Mamik, president of the Independent School Association, said so far there was no written reply from the Chandigarh Administration for their queries, which were submitted to the higher officials of the department during their joint meeting in November last year.

The department, however, talked tough. A senior official said all schools would be formally asked to inform the Education Department about the seats that remained vacant under weaker section and disadvantage group by February 15. On the basis of it, the department would itself locate potential students under the reserved category and send the list of such candidates to the schools concerned by March 31.

The schools would be allowed to convert their reservation seats into general category if these seats could not be filled in spite of the best efforts of the department by April 15, said sources in the department.

VK Singh, Education Secretary, UT, said the process of per child reimbursement was on and it would be finalised soon.



Experts dwell on ‘identity’

Chandigarh, January 6
Notion of liberation, both of individual and society, is important for our understanding of identity and its complex politics. This observation was made by Prof S. Paneerselvam from the Department of Philosophy, University of Madras, Chennai, while addressing the audience during the first day of a seminar on Identity and Otherness held at the PU.

His talk gave the audience a vast overview of philosophical discussions from authors such as Levinas, Foccault, Rorty and Derrida in the West, as well as Advait Vedanta, Jainism and Buddhism in the East. The guest of honour at the two-day event is Prof James Anthony Loiacono, senior research fellow at RVP. He teaches diverse cultures and religious traditions at San Antonio, Texas.

Prof Loiacono, during his lecture, stressed that positivism and empiricism during the previous century had driven the question of identity in an irresolvable place.

He emphasised that “modern life has betrayed its promise of world peace. In the process, we have lost our freedom due to the lack of engagement with metaphysiscs”. Prof Loiacono displayed a vast knowledge of ancient Hindu and Chinese philosophical traditions and said "our contemporary problems can only be solved through deep listening and creative dialogue".

During the second session, Dr Sataypal Gautam of Jawahar Lal University discussed various aspects of the question of identity, which arise in context of (i) making sense of the social world in which we are situated, (ii) interests and aspirations of individuals and communities in relation to one another, and (iii) relations among individuals and relations among collectives. — TNS



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