C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Bird watchers have a field day
Black-headed jay gets the "Bird of the Day" title; 374 species recorded during event
Tribune News Service

Justice SS Sodhi, former Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court, with the winners of the 3rd Chandigarh Bird Race held in Chandigarh on Sunday.
Justice SS Sodhi, former Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court, with the winners of the 3rd Chandigarh Bird Race held in Chandigarh on Sunday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, February 17
Wildlife enthusiasts spotted a black-headed jay, a bird found only in the hills, during the 3rd Chandigarh Bird Race held here today, taking the number in the check list of the bird species found in and around Chandigarh to 374, against the earlier figure of 373. The black-headed jay, being a rare bird found in this area, also clinched the "Bird of the Day" title.

The bird experts, including amateur birdwatchers, spotted a total of 190 different bird species during the race in and around Chandigarh within a radius of 40 km. The 18 groups, including four school teams, which took part in the race, had an exciting day.

The bird race is a dawn-to-dusk event where teams of bird watchers spend the entire day watching birds. The race began at 5am and concluded at 5pm.

While the winning team, Pochard, sighted 163 species in the hills and deep forests, the bird, little forktail, was their find of the day.

The first runners-up team, Northern Pintail, was headed by Narbir Singh. It sighted black headed jay at Chakki Ka Mor near Parwanoo. "This is a hill bird, which is usually found in Sarahan in Himachal Pradesh in summer. During winter, they come down to lower hills," Narbir said. He is also the vice-president of the Avian Habitat and Wetland Society.

The second runners-up team of class IX students of Ajit Karam Singh International Public School, Sector 41, sighted 115 species. Nitin, the team leader, who participated in the race for the second time today, said it was a great experience. The team went to the Sukhna Lake and Saketri where they sighted various bird species, including great crested grebe.

Justice SS Sodhi (retd) was the chief guest on the occasion. He gave away the prizes to the winning teams.

One of the participants stated that the most exciting aspect of the race was it offered a unique platform for the beginners who also got a chance to learn the techniques of bird watching from experts.

The event organised by Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC) and Yuhina Eco Median was aimed at generating awareness among people on the species of birds found in the region as well as supporting the conservation of nature.

Rimi Dhillon, coordinator of the race and member of the Chandigarh Bird Club, said the details of the new species recorded during the race would be updated in the check list of the bird species found in the Chandigarh region.



City residents give thumbs up to Bigelow's 'ZD30'
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
The Oscar-nominated film, a significant portion of which was shot in the city, has received an overwhelming response from the residents. "Zero Dark 30" (ZD30), the film, which features the fate of one of the world's most dangerous men, Osama Bin Laden, has been running houseful since Friday when it was released here.

The curiosity to view the entire operation in the run-up to Osama's death, as portrayed in the film, appeared to be the driving force for the viewers. Also, the local connection in the film, as it was shot in different parts of the city, including Mani Majra, Sector 15 and the PEC University of Technology, attracted many residents to the theatres.

The film was released in only two multiplexes, Wave Cinemas and the PVR at the Centra Mall in Industrial Area on Friday.

The film has received an excellent response. We have been flooded with requests for advance bookings for the past one week. All the shows of the film have been running houseful, said Deepak Kelkar, Unit Head at Wave Cinemas.

Kathryn Bigelow's Oscar-nominated film was shot in the city in March last year and the shoot involved local residents. In the shooting, the Mani Majra market area had been projected as a Pakistani bazar and various shops displayed hoardings written in Urdu. The area was portrayed as Abottabad in Pakistan. The film depicts the operations of Navy SEAL Team 6, which killed Al-Qaida supremo Osama Bin Laden in Abottabad in 2011. 



p’kula rape case
Accused handed over broom in jail
  No immoral clips found on his PC; court sends him to judicial custody
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 17
The moment Major Harish Chander Sharma (retired) entered the Ambala jail this afternoon, he was handed over a broom to clean the third class in the jail. Sources said he was handed over the broom in view of the heinous crime he had perpetrated.

In the morning, Sharma was produced before a local court, which sent him to judicial custody.

“When we took him to the jail, the first question, which was asked by the officials and the inmates there, was: ‘Is he the Sector 12 man’ who physically abused those children?” said one of the police officials, who had taken him to the jail.

He added: “He was not even asked to go to his cell and was handed over a broom to clean the floor of the third class where he will be staying.”

Sharma was carrying his medicines.

Meanwhile, the police has not found any immoral video clips on the hard disk of his computer.

“We checked all the files on the hard disk of his computer and the CDs as well but didn't find anything. So, no further police remand of the accused was sought and he was sent to the Central jail,” said Inspector Deepak Kumar, Station House Officer of the Sector 5 police station.

Sharma was arrested on Thursday after he was accused of raping three minors, two five-year-old twins and one eight-year-old girl in Sector 12, Panchkula.



One held for Park Plaza theft
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
A week after valuables worth over Rs 30 lakh were reportedly stolen from a room in Hotel Park Plaza in Sector 17, the crime branch of the UT police claims to have solved the case. One of the thieves was arrested while his accomplice is absconding.
The accused in police custody in Chandigarh on Sunday.
The accused in police custody in Chandigarh on Sunday. Tribune photo: parvesh chauhan

The police said the hotel staff was still under the scanner for chinks in the security system. The theft could not have taken place without the involvement of an insider, said the police.

The accused, Ramesh Bhanaji Chhag, was arrested near a hotel in Malad, Mumbai. His accomplice Jayesh R Sejpal is on the run. The Police said the two had been targeting posh hotels for the last 13 years. They hail from Mumbai and were previously arrested by the police of various states.

A day before they committed the theft at Park Plaza, the two had targeted a doctor at Hotel Radisson in Jalandhar and decamped with valuables worth lakhs of rupees.

Describing their modus operandi, DSP (Crime) Satbir Singh said: “After identifying their targets, they called the victims for a complementary breakfast. When the victims left their room, Chhag would keep a watch on their activities, while Sejpal would enter the room to commit the crime. They obtained the duplicate key by pretending to be the original occupant of the room. During the course of committing the crime, the accused remained in touch with each other through mobile phones.”

The police have recovered a gold chain, silver bracelet and silver chain from the possession of the accused, while the rest of the valuables are yet to be recovered.

The accused was staying at Hotel Attawa and had come to Park Plaza after conducting a recce on the day they committed the theft.

The police said the two of them had committed thefts in hotels at various tourist destinations including Gujarat, Jodhpur, Chennai, Vijaywada, Karnataka, Punjab and Chandigarh. The accused was produced in court and was remanded in custody till February 28.

How theft was committed

Sejpal made a call through intercom at 9 am to the room where the doctor couple was, but the call went unattended. They made another call at 10 am, and told the occupants their complementary breakfast was ready. When the couple came down at around 10.54 am to have breakfast, they were surprised to see that there was no such complementary breakfast.

They had a paid breakfast in the cafeteria on the ground floor of the hotel.

In the meantime, Sejpal went to the lobby of the third floor through the hotel lift and made a call to the hotel reception, pretending to be the occupant of the room where the couple was staying. He asked the reception to send a duplicate key as there was some problem with the original one. The hotel staff immediately sent the duplicate key. On enquiring about the original key, Sejpal told the hotel staff he had already sent it to the reception. After that he entered the room and stole valuables. Meanwhile, his accomplice Chhag was keeping a watch on the couple at the cafeteria. The accused completed their operation within 15 to 20 minutes without any obstacle. After committing the crime, they left the hotel at 11.18 am.

Criminal past

During interrogation, Chhag told the police he met Sejpal while they were lodged in Arthur Road Jail for a week. After coming out of jail, they committed thefts at hotels in Mumbai. In 2000, both were arrested by the Kolaba police station personnel in Mumbai.

After getting bail, they continued committing thefts at different places, especially at tourist spots. They were caught in Chennai for six cases of thefts and burglaries. They remained in jail for 13 months.

After coming out of jail, they were again caught in Agra for committing theft at a hotel in 2006. Sejpal was convicted for five years, while Chhag got bail, but later did not attend the court. Chhag opened an ice cream shop in Mumbai. After completing the conviction period, Sejpal met him again. Chhag immediately rented out his shop and they resumed their criminal activities.

How the case was cracked

The police team inspected the CCTV camera footage of Hotel Park Plaza and Hotel Radisson, Jalandhar, where a similar case of theft was reported a day prior to the theft in Chandigarh.

Dr Ankush Puri was a victim of a similar crime with exactly the same modus operandi. On scrutinising the footage, the police team found that the two persons were present at both the hotels.

The complainant too recognised them and claimed he had seen them in the hotel. On the basis of technical surveillance, the police narrowed down on both the accused and arrested them.



Probe fails to grill hotel staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
Even though the police has solved the burglary at Hotel Park Plaza, it has failed to nail anyone from the hotel staff in view of glaring lapses found in hotel security. Some questions have remained unanswered and the police has not bothered to look deep into the investigation.

The UT SSP, Naunihal Singh, said there were security lapses on the part of the hotel and they had not ruled out the involvement of the hotel staff either.

“Yes, there definitely are lapses and we are still investigating this angle,” said the SSP.

The questions that have remained unanswered

* Who switched off the CCTV cameras: All the 16 CCTV cameras on the way leading to the room where the theft occurred were switched off for over an hour when the theft was committed. The cameras could not have been switched off without the help of any insider.

* The accused were not staying in the hotel, yet they had free access to it: The police probe found that the two accused had conducted a recce of the hotel, which exposes serious lapse in hotel security.

* Internal communication system of the hotel used: The accused used intercoms to communicate with the couple on the phone and posed as male staff when they invited them for a complimentary breakfast.

* Staff did not bother who made the invitation call: Even though the couple told the staff that they received an invitation call for a complimentary breakfast, the staff never bothered to find out who made the call.

* Hotel staff sent duplicate keys without verification: It was a cake walk for the thieves to enter the NRI couple's room with the duplicate keys. The police said the accused called the hotel reception and told the staff there that he was staying in the particular room and the key was not working. The staff was quick to issue the duplicate keys and never verified if the caller was the actual occupant of the room.


Affordable accommodation remains dream for working women
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
For the thousands of women who land up in Chandigarh to work in the growing service sector, there are only 136 seats available in the working women hostels. These women also fail to obtain any information online about the availability of rooms or location of these hostels.

The apathy of the UT Administration becomes clear from the fact that one of the three existing hostels in the city is undergoing renovation for the past four years. This situation favours owners of paying guest accommodations whose business has been thriving at the expense of the young professionals. The administration, meanwhile, has failed to acknowledge the need of working women hostels in the city.

“A recent survey conducted by the UT Social Welfare Department did not ascertain any demand for working women hostels in the city,” said Director of the department Rajesh Jogpal. He, however, said the department was working on developing a portal that will provide information about availability of seats and other facilities at the existing hostels.

No online information

Twenty-five-year-old Jyoti, an IT professional, who has spent two years in the city as a paying guest, is not aware about the government working women hostel at Sector 24. She said for the past six months she had been checking online for a list of hostels and paying guest accommodations in the city, but did not find any information about the Sector-24 hostel. Like Jyoti, there are many working women who, in the absence of anyone to guide them, are unaware about facilities available for them in the city.

On the website of the UT Social Welfare Department, there is no information about the location of the working women hostel at Sector 24.

Lack in number of hostels

Although, the inflow of working women to the city from other states has increased manifold, provisions to provide them with adequate accommodation have not been made. This has led to the mushrooming of illegal paying guest accommodations in the city.

Records of the administration reveal that there are only three working women hostels in the city: at Young Women Christian Association (YMCA) in Sector 11, at Bal Bhavan in Sector 23, and government-run hostel in Sector 24. While the Sector-23 hostel was shut down four years ago, others have a capacity to accommodate only 136 women.

Although, the working women hostel at Sector 23, established in 1979, was closed for renovation four years ago, women coming for work to the city still enquire about the availability of seats there. The hostel at YMCA was constructed in 1980 and the Sector-24 hostel came up in 1995, but they have failed to keep up with the need for more accommodation. Panjab University and the PGI have their own working women hostels.

Old rules

Twenty-three-year-old Sakshi, who works at a call centre, had applied for a room in one of the working women hostels.

Her request, however, was rejected on the ground that she worked at night. She said with the changing trends, authorities should not only work on providing more and better infrastructure at these hostels, but should also reframe rules.

UT Administration should do more

"Even after paying a hefty amount for accommodation, the working women are not getting basic facilities in the city. If the authorities are not able to provide more hostels for the working women, they should at least see to it that owners of the paying guest accommodations do not charge excessive rent" Megha Seth, works for an NGO

"Government hostel facilities for women will be much safer and affordable than the paying guest accommodation where owners only focus on increasing rent without bothering about the security of women"— Nav Kiran, works for a private company

"Only opening a hostel for girls does not serve any purpose, till norms are suitable for the working women. Working women will prefer to stay in a government accommodation if their rules are flexible and takes into consideration the needs of women" —Preeti Chauhan, works at an IT company

"If the authorities are serious about provide a secure and conducive environment to women staying in the city, they should open more working women hostels. This will save women from private paying guest accommodations where they are fleeced, but not provided basic facilities.For the past two years I have been trying to get a room in a hostel, but have failed"  —Naina Kanwar, works for a recruitment agency



Admn misses deadline to declare eco-sensitive zone around Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
The Chandigarh Administration has missed the February 15 deadline set by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to declare an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) around the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary.

As the UT officials had failed to declare an ESZ around the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary in the past two years, the ministry in a strong-worded letter to the UT Administration had stated that if the administration did not meet the deadline, the ministry itself declare a 10-km stretch around the sanctuary as an ESZ, where development projects would be completely banned.

A senior official of the UT Administration preparation of the draft of the notification was at the final stages and they would soon submit the same before the ministry. He added that a three-member committee is preparing the final draft on the recommendations given by a committee of experts. Recently discussions were also held during a meeting of senior officials at the UT guest house, he said.

In Chandigarh, a committee of experts, which had been constituted under the Deputy Commissioner to identify and recommend an eco-sensitive zone around the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary, had submitted its report to the UT Administration in February 2012. Thereafter a three-member committee was formed, but till date the UT officials have failed to finalise anything in this regard.

The Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary catchment area is spread over 36 km, of which only 2 km falls under the jurisdiction of the UT Administration and the rest under the jurisdiction of the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana.

An eco-sensitive zone is a fragile eco-system area where conservation or preservation of the natural environment is sustained by state control and grants.

In a bid to prevent ecological damage caused due to developmental activities around national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has come out with new guidelines to create eco-sensitive zones that will work as shock absorbers for protected areas.

The aim is to regulate certain activities around national parks and wildlife sanctuaries to minimise the negative impact of such activities on the fragile eco-system.



Mohali family admitted to GMCH-32

Mohali, February 17
The four members of the Mohali-based family, who had confined themselves in their house at Phase 3B1 for past several years, were admitted to the psychiatry department of the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, here today.

Dildar Singh, his wife Bhupinder Kaur, son Manmit Singh Raja and daughter Harpreet Kaur have been denying treatment since being rescued and left the Mohali civil hospital twice.

The condition of Harpreet Kaur is said to be critical, as she has not eaten anything for past several days.

“The family, which seems to be under a severe depression, was brought here today and we are still assessing their condition,” said head of psychiatry department Dr BS Chavan. — TNS



Residents of Sector 38-W complain water contamination
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
The residents of the EWS houses of Sector 38-W filed a complaint with the area councillor citing contamination in water supply.

As many as 100 houses are being affected with the contaminated water supply in the area. The residents said that water supply was getting mixed with sewer pipelines. However, no untoward incident was reported as the water supply was disconnected immediately after the complaint was filed.

The area councillor Arun Sood visited the area and told the residents that the problem would be solved soon. According to Arun Sood, these EWS houses had been maintained by the CHB (Chandigarh Housing Board). A request was forwarded to the MC Commissioner for shifting of the civic amenities' charges from the CHB.

The drinking water would be provided by water tanks in the area. A sum of Rs 50,000 has been sanctioned by MC to clean the sewer gutters.



property tax
Another notification out, no relief for property owners 
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 17
In another jolt to the property owners in Panchkula, the last hope of getting relief in the property tax sunk into the ground as the latest notification issued by the government mentioned no change in the existing rates.

Adding to the woes, the residents have been given six months to pay the tax following which they will be penalised.

Principal Secretary of Urban Local Bodies P Raghvendra Rao said, "There is no change in the existing structure of rates and area. Only the missing gaps have been clarified with respect to the earlier calculations in which people were facing problems. Rest everything is the same."

He said, "The time has been extended by six months. People have time till June to clear the taxes and after that they will be penalised."

The property owners in Panchkula were expecting relief in this final notification which was their last hope. There were certain objections in the structure of taxes which has not been considered.

"There is no amendment in the new notification. All hopes have been dashed. People are back to square one now," said BB Singal, former vice-president of the Municipal Council.

Former president of the Municipal Council Ravinder Rawal said, "I know people are the real sufferers. We will again try to make a request the Chief Minister."

The major problem which people had objected to was that even if Re 1 per sq yard is charged for plot size up to 250 square yards, it will be troublesome for those who have plot size of 251 square yards because they will fall in the slab of 250 to 500 square yards. It was also raised that the property tax will be calculated on the basis of the collector rates which will increase every year. These problems still exist.

The tax rates will differ in each sector as per the size of the plot and the collector rates applicable.



Contract scrapped, Mohali MC to hire security guards 

Mohali, February 17
Things are back to square one as far as the concept of setting up security gates at various sites in the residential areas of the town is concerned.

All the security gates have been left abandoned for past several months. The failure of the private firm, Celwell, which was responsible for providing security at these gates during the night hours led to the cancelation of their contract midway with the Mohali Municipal Corporation (MMC).

“According to the contract, the Cellwell Company was responsible for all functioning of the security gates till 2016 but it had been seen that it (the firm) was not serious on the issue. There was no maintenance of the gates and no security men were provided at these gates for past several months. We have conducted several meetings with the officials of the firm on the issue. After seeing that the firm was not fulfilling the terms and conditions properly despite the several reminders, we cancelled the contract recently,” said Dilraj Singh, the joint commissioner of MMC.

Now the MMC has been contemplating to hire some private security agency on its own while the advertisement sites on these gates will be auctioned for the income purpose. Notably, as many as 69 security gates were set up in the town, mainly to check the theft of vehicles. The project was initiated in September 2009 but it did not work out as per expectations of the district administration and the police.—TNS



RWA organises medical camp

Chandigarh, February 17
The Residents Welfare Association of Sector 50 organised a free Medical check-up camp with Lab Tests near Government Smart School, Sector 50.

Praladh Bhagat Vasudeva, general secretary of the association, said: "The camp is being organised for the residents of Sector 50, since the sector lacks the facility of primary health centre."—TNS

Pharmacists hold protest 
Chandigarh, February 17
A group of pharmacists held a protest in Sector 17 plaza on Sunday, demanding the formation of a separate Ministry of Pharmaceuticals.—TNS



open house responses
Allow governance by an elected assembly

Structures constructed outside the lal dora in the Deep Complex at Hallo Majra in Chandigarh.
Structures constructed outside the lal dora in the Deep Complex at Hallo Majra in Chandigarh. A file photograph.

Chandigarh is governed more by the bureaucrats than the politicians. This context is relevant in the case of bureaucracy acting proactively and putting the general pace of the growth in the city in the reverse gear. Chandigarh Housing Board built flats in the city without keeping next generation need based requirement that led to mushrooming violations that even threatens the structural stability. More recent their dictat not to allow transfer of industrial plots, conversion policy of industrial plots raised many eyebrows. The only reasonable solution to this is to allow governance by an elected assembly as is the case in Puducherry and Goa.

Satish Chandra Sharma, Chandigarh

Relaxation in state rule needed

Many issues, including the regularisation of violation in the CHB flats and relaxation in the estate rules are crucial as they impinge upon the city beautiful's status of modern heritage. The Centre should now set up an autonomous Chandigarh Inter-Disciplinary Planning, Development and Monitoring Authority with high statutory powers headed by a distinguished professional who has a holistic vision besides the working knowledge of wide-ranging disciplines.

Dr SS Bhatti, Former principal, Chandigarh College of Architecture, Chandigarh

Local representatives in decision making

Negative thoughts of officers are resulting into multiplications of the problems for the residents. While Punjab and Haryana are crying to complete their 40:60 ratio of officers to be posted in Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh is claiming its 7 per cent share, no one is bothered about the share of the city citizens who have to suffer on the hands of officers from different states, who come here on deputation. The deputationists pass their time in Chandigarh and not pass any order that will give a little relief to the residents of the city. Issuing of the NOC for transfer of property, imposition of building violation penalty at a rate of Rs 500 per sq yard, conversion of leasehold to freehold, execution of conveyance deed in respect of houses allotted by Chandigarh Housing Board, allowing need based changes in the CHB houses and permission to mortgage of lease hold property are the hurdles that are put to complicate the rules. The administration should involve the local representatives from that particular field in decision making so that ground level problems are taken care off.

Kamal Gupta, Chandigarh

Insensitive Bureaucracy

Public interest seems to be missing in the priority list of "Dos and Don'ts" of the Chandigarh administration. Be it the regularisation of need-based changes in the CHB flats, extension of lal dora of villages or relaxation of estate rules on transfer of lease property, it has shown scant regard to the advice and suggestions of the Member of Parliament. The administration needs to be public oriented.

SC Luthra, Chandigarh

Governor should not be made the administrator

Chandigarh is one city that has autocratic administration within the democratic setup of the country. Like the bureaucracy is answerable to politically elected government who in turn drafts policies or takes decision keeping in view general public at large since it has to face people after every 5 years. On contrary in Chandigarh, bureaucracy does not belong to Chandigarh Cadre and majority of the 'babus' are on deputation. Hence, they have no understanding of the local issues. Similar is the case with administrator also. In my view first of all the Governor of any state should not be made the administrator and secondly there should be some kind of political administrator like any state government with small group of ministers to look into the affairs of the city. Such illogical decisions by the administrator and his team have affected the general population of the city and business community in particular.


Make stringent laws

The senior administrative officers and the ministers of the ruling government should sit together and chalk out the plan to solve the burning issues of the city. Both the political as well as the administrative department have never taken the pending issues of the city seriously. It would be advisable to make strict laws and rules that should be adhered to. In spite of giving repeated notices to the offenders of the building laws, no action is taken by them to remove the illegal extensions. The same rules and regulations should be implied on the extension of the lal dora of villages, regularisation of violation in the CHB flats, ban on transfer of lease property and relaxation of the estate rules.

Proya Darsh Growar, Mohali

Administration should have a practical approach

Formation of rules and regulations in respect of property matters in Chandigarh is getting complicated day by day, leading to inconvenience to the residents and giving rise to the litigations between government and allottees. Due to a November 2012 order of the chairman of the Chandigarh Housing Board, regarding the physical inspection of the building violations around 4,000 files are lying pending with the board. Shortage of field staff required to inspect all the cases is resulting in delay. The administration should adopt a practical approach to the issue of regularisation of building violation subject to the condition that government land is not encroached upon. The occupant of the property is bound by the terms and conditions of allotment. The administration should have a practical approach in dealing with the issues.

RN Garg,Chandigarh

MP should not interfere

There should not be any swerving away from the laid standard rules. Much damage has already been done to the as the population of triple the size of tolerable growth is leading to all sorts of chaos: traffic jams, unhygienic conditions in parks and roads, pollution, development of slums with accompanying misuse of electricity with hooked connections, power and water scarcity and encroachments on lanes by unapproved buildings. The MP should not interfere with the functioning of the various wings of the UT, rather he should ensure that all the work is done as per rules and laws so that there is no further harm to City Beautiful besmirching its image as an embodiment of unique architectural planning. Populism for the sake of vote banks should be kept aside.

Gurmit Singh Saini, Canada.

Better coordination between political leaders , bureaucrats needed

The city beautiful's bureaucrats are typically less visible and are not elected to their positions; their actions and power are often subjects of considerable debate which makes city residents to suffer. There is a need for better coordination between the political leaders and the bureaucrats.

Sachin Sharma, Chandigarh

Permanent transfer policy for lease-hold property

The bureaucrats as well as politician do not care of the genuine demands of the public. They should make new rules and allow the public to change the structure in their houses according their need without any change of front faces. The authority should make permanent neat and clean transfer policy for lease-hold property.

Sumesh Kr Badhwar, Mohali

Handle important issues on priority

There are lot of burning issues in the city that need to be handled on priority basis. The lal doras have been frozen since the 1950s when the consolidation or chak bandi was carried out. In Chandigarh, rapid urbanisation and paucity of lands forced lower middle class people to build homes in areas outside the lal dora. An integrated approach is the need of the hour for development of villages by providing them various civic facilities like piped water supply, sewerage, sanitation and drainage after bringing all constructions under a set pattern of bylaws.

Vineet Kapoor, Panchkula

Immediate change in basic admn required

The actual administration of the city should vest with local political leadership as in case of state administration since political parties are much closer to general public and have understanding of the public issues. The Governor being the administrator is miles away from ground reality and the bureaucracy for obvious reasons does not want to solve any issue. For betterment of the city immediate change is required in basic administrative system.

Arun Aggarwal, Chandigarh

Open house question
Despite spending Rs 1.3 crore, employing more than 5,000 persons and after taking more than a year and a half to prepare for the mock drill on Febriary 13, glaring gaps in the mega drill, exposing the lack of coordination, planning and execution in case of a real time eventuality. What actually needs to be done to gear up for a real disaster. Please write your suggestions to openhouse@tribunemail.com mailto:openhouse@tribunemail.com. 



No toilet for 1,400 students at Burail School
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Toilets in a bad condition at Government Primary Middle School in Burail, Sector 45, Chandigarh. (right) Students urinate in the open at the school.
Toilets in a bad condition at Government Primary Middle School in Burail, Sector 45, Chandigarh. (right) Students urinate in the open at the school. Tribune photos: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, February 17
The guidelines of the Supreme Court are being openly violated as there is no toilet for over 1,400 students at Government Middle School, Burail, Sector 45, Chandigarh.

The girl students are forced to use the toilet of a temple, which is outside the school . The boys, on the other hand, are using backyard of the school for urine, inviting infections and other diseases.

A school teacher said the Supreme Court guidelines necessitated every school to have separate toilets for girls and boys but they were not able to abide by the guidelines due to the inadequate infrastructure in the school. The Education Department was also informed about the matter but no action had been taken so far, the teacher said.

For the past several years, the school was having two small temporary toilets, made by some donors about 15 years ago, but now these were in a bad condition, therefore, making the situation difficult for the staff and students.

A staff member said the girl students were being escorted by the female staff members outside the school for toilet purpose but it was not safe for them. Moreover, the construction work of the new building at the school, which has 18 classrooms and sufficient number of separate toilets for boys and girls, is going on for the past three years and has not been handed over to the school so far.

Satpal Gupta, president of the school management committee, said in October the engineering department had completed the required construction work but the building was yet to be handed over to the school authorities because the agency concerned had not started the public health work.

“Despite being made with best of the facilities, the new toilets are useless because the Public Health Department is delaying in providing sewage connection. Other related work is also pending, he said

Meanwhile, Vijay kant, SDO, Public Health Department, said the earlier approved budget for the public health work had lapsed due to delay in the construction work. The revised budget had now been sent to the DPI (s) for approval and the work was expected to start soon, he added.

On the other hand, the Education Department is not taking cognizance of the delay. A school teacher said several letters were forwarded to the senior officials of the department but no one bothered to inspect the situation. The periphery schools, it seem, did not exist for the department, he said.

School Management panel threatens protest

The school management committee of the school had passed a resolution last week that in case the new building was not handed over the school shortly, they would lock up the present building of the school and hold a massive protest.



Four schools being run from a building in Panchkula
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

A view of Government Primary Middle School;and (right) students outside a toilet at the school in Sector 12-A, Panchkula.
A view of Government Primary Middle School;and (right) students outside a toilet at the school in Sector 12-A, Panchkula. Tribune Photos: Nitin Mittal 

Panchkula, February 17
Four schools are being run from a small building at Rally village in Sector 12-A here. Two government primary schools (of Rally village and Sector 12-A), one middle school and one anganwadi school are being run from the building.

Over 1,000 students can be seen packed in like sardines under one roof. There are only six classrooms in the school. Students end up sitting outside classrooms.

“We have to suffer a lot. The whole class can not be accommodated in one room. We have to sit outside classrooms, so that we can attend the lecture together,” said a class VI student.

A teacher said, “We have informed the higher authorities a number of times that it is difficult to accommodate four schools in one building, but 
nothing has been done.”

“The condition becomes all the more worse during the recess. Students are forced to leave the premises at that time,” said the teacher. Due to the paucity of space, the school has no proper playground for the recreational activities of students. Officials said the Education Department has not been allotted land for the construction of more schools.

The district project coordinator of the department, Ikwinder Kaur, said, “The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has not allotted land for the construction of schools. We are in the process of acquiring more land, and as soon as we get it, we will shift the schools to new buildings.”



teachers’ recruitment
SST teachers may get relief
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
The expelled government teachers and those who came under the scanner due to the revised merit list of SST teachers may get relief if the Chandigarh Administration takes cognisance of a judgment of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in relation to a service matter.

The judgement came on record during the hearing of expelled government teacher Arpana Mahajan’s petition at the Chandigarh Administrative Tribunal on Thursday.

During the course of hearing, the learned counsel for the parties invited the tribunal’s attention to a High Court judgement (dated March 3, 2010) in the case Rajinder Kumar Vs State of Punjab and others case , in which the High Court had dealt with an identical eventuality to alleviate the suffering of a teacher whose termination was proposed during the course of hearing.

In the final judgment, the High Court had stated that it might be true that some of the candidates were wrongly rejected by the respondents treating them ineligible, who had finally succeeded before the court. The direction, issued by the High Court, to treat those candidates as eligible, therefore, should not work to the disadvantage of the petitioners.

"The fact that hundreds of posts are lying vacant at government schools, especially in rural areas, and students are suffering a lot for want of adequate teachers, it would otherwise be in the interest of the student community to retain the petitioners in service," the HC judgment stated.

A similar situation, however, come to the fore in the present Arpana Mahajan’s case, who was removed from her services as per the order of the tribunal to make way for another teacher Shalu Chawla.

During the course of her hearing on Thursday, it was transpired that Arpana was indeed not shown to be the least meritorious candidate and that there were other candidates who were found less meritorious than her.

On the permission of the court, Madan Lal, another candidate, made a presentation before the court and stated that he left the permanent job at a navodaya vidyalaya to join the educational dispensation of the Chandigarh Administration but he had reached at that point of age where his ouster from job would throw him and his family on road.

On this, the tribunal took the cognisance of the certain number of vacancies available in the Education Department, which was furnished to the applicant under the RTI Act.

In context of all this information, the learned standing counsel stated during the hearing that having become cognizant of the unenviable fate that might await the lesser meritorious candidates, he would forward the views obtained by the High Court in a judgement referred here to the competent authorities in order to enable them to revisit the relevant aspect and take consequential action at the appropriate level.

The case will now come for hearing on February 25.



Dev Samaj to discontinue MEd course
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
From the next academic session, the students willing to study Master of Education (MEd) in the city will have to go through a cut-throat competition to get admission as Dev Samaj College of Education, Sector 36, has decided to discontinue the course, leaving Government College of Education, Sector 20, and Panjab University campus as the only option for the students to study MEd (General). Over 1,000 students apply for admissions to the course every year.

Before the decision, the two colleges in the city were having 70 seats besides 35 seats in PU but as Dev Samaj College has decided to discontinue the course.

The managing committee of the college at a meeting had resolved that due to legal complications faced by the college in terms of building by-laws, the M Ed course should be discontinued from the coming session keeping in view building constraints.

The decision to discontinue the course, which was running successfully for the nearly two decades, has surprised the faculty of the college, which is not sure whether the building constraints are the actual reason behind discontinuing the course. "I feel there is no need to discontinue the course and accommodating 35 seats in the college would not have been a problem if the management wanted," said a teacher.

Interestingly, the college is famous in the region for its consultancy in dissertations for MEd and its library that has vast variety of journals for the course.

The demand to withdraw the permanent affiliation of the college was moved by the managing committee with PU, which will be tabled before the Syndicate at a meeting on January 24.

The university has also decided that once disaffiliated, the college if wanted to restore the affiliation in future, will have to apply for the same along with the requisite of affiliation fee as well as applicable fee.



off-campus mba course
No weightage for work experience 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
The candidates planning to pursue MBA (off-campus) from Panjab University (PU) will not be offered weightage of 20 per cent for work experience at the time of admission. The university has proposed that the entrance test should be of 100 marks.

The Postgraduate Board of Studies in Business Management and Commerce has recommended the (off campus) weightage for work experience be discontinued and written paper should be of 100 marks instead of 80 marks from 2013 session.

The issue will be tabled before the Syndicate in its upcoming meeting to be held on January 24. The house will also discuss the recommendations of a committee that has suggested that the words "enrolment" and "registration", which exist in rules or guidelines for P.hD, be replaced with "registration" and "confirmation of registration".

The faculties opted by KK Sharma, Advisor to the UT Administrator, will also be tabled before the Syndicate for approval. Sharma has opted for science, law, business management and commerce, design and fine arts.

The issue of the release of payments for the construction of servant quarters at the PU hostels will also be discussed during the meeting.



from schools
Basant Panchami celebrated

The Gurukul students enjoy kite flying on the occasion of Basant Panchami at the school
The Gurukul students enjoy kite flying on the occasion of Basant Panchami at the school A Tribune Photograph

The kite magician, Naresh Kumar, who can fly 150 kites on a string was at The Gurukul, Sector 20, Panchkula, on Basant Panchami. Kumar celebrated the day with the students. Naresh Kumar, a veg pakora vendor from Samrala, proves beyond doubt that imagination, creativity and will power have no boundaries. He inspired the students to reach out for the impossible and make a mark in the field they choose. Earlier, Kumar was also invited by Gujarat CM Narendra Modi to fly kites. Ananya of class II said, "I had never seen such a beautiful seen. A train of kites tied to a single string up in the air looked amazing." Vansh, another student of class II, said, " I loved the kite train. I will tell my father to do this today. I am sure he can fly a number of kites tied to one string." Alka Aggarwal, a teacher, said, "The present generation is so much into technology that such activities are diminishing from their lives and they rarely get such opportunities to witness these activities. Teachers from the United States had also come for the occasion.

Tribune Model School

The Tribune Model School celebrated Basant Panchami on school campus here. Various activities, including kite flying and poster-making were organised during the celebrations

Training programme

The Centre for Assessment, Evaluation and Research (CAER), a CBSE and Pearson Foundation joint venture, held a training programme for the teachers of CBSE-affiliated schools at Gurukul Global School, Manimajra. The programme was the first step in bringing an awareness about the role of assessment in the teaching and learning process. Jim Tognolini, senior board member, CAER, along with his team conducted the session.

World Wetland Day

The Shatavari Eco-Club , NSS units and Peace Club of Government Senior Secondary School, Sector-38 (West), Dadu Majra Colony, Chandigarh, jointly celebrated the World Wetland Day . The students were given valuable information regarding some prominent wetlands of Chandigarh and Punjab through different activities. The students were taken to the Sukhna to sensitise them about protecting and conserving birds and their habitat.

Students meet soldiers

Saupin's-32 chose to honour the jawans of the Indian Army by showing a kind and noble gesture of love and care. The children of classes V to VII visited ChandiMandir and interacted with the jawans. They had also prepared cards, wherein they expressed their love and affection for the supreme sacrifices of the soldiers. In a humble endeavour to spread the message of love and affection, they thanked the soldiers on the day of love. Meanwhile, the children of UKG wing of school visited an old-age home and shared their memorable moments with the inmates of the home. — TNS



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