C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


19 mgd city water goes down drain
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
While the Municipal Corporation is finding it very difficult to provide sufficient potable water to the city residents, 22 per cent (about 19 mgd) of potable water is going down the drain because of leakages.

In a presentation submitted by the officials of the MC to the UT Administration during a senior officers' meeting today, it was stated that already there is a gap of 29 million gallons daily (mgd) between the demand and the supply. The city is receiving 87 mgd water against a demand of 116 mgd.

The MC officials also informed the administration that they had started a drive to check the wastage of water and had detected many leaking points in different parts of the city. Besides, the MC is also trying to make the entire water supply metered.

At the meeting, a proposal to increase the water tariff in the city was discussed once again. The MC officials have proposed to increase the water tariff in the upper slabs because in the VIP sectors, comprising areas from Sector 1 to 10, per capita water consumption is very high compared to water consumption by the southern sectors and colonies.

The MC officials said the residents of the VIP sectors were consuming 2000-2500 litres water per day compared to 250 litres and 100 litres consumed by the residents of the southern sectors and colonies, respectively. The officials also suggested the rationing of water for a few hours daily in the VIP sectors to stop the misuse of potable water.

The UT Finance Secretary, VK Singh, said the administration and the MC were planning for a proper usage of available water. The point regarding water leakage and an increase in the water tariff in the upper slabs was discussed as well. The MC officials would soon compile a report, on the basis of which, the Administration would take some steps, he added.

He said to stop the misuse of water (watering lawns and washing cars), the meeting proposed an increase in the water tariff in the higher slabs and steps to encourage people to use tertiary water for the same. 

Consumption high in VIP sectors

The MC officials have proposed to increase the water tariff in the upper slabs because in the VIP sectors, comprising areas from Sector 1 to 10, per capita water consumption is very high compared to water consumption by the southern sectors and colonies



Rs 4 cr sought for Mohali water supply 
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, March 13
The Mohali water supply is set to improve with the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) and the Municipal Corporation clearing funds for a revamp of the supply system.

To overcome the shortage of water during summer in the town, the Department of Water Supply and Sanitation had sought a sum of about Rs 4 crore.

According to sources, the funds have been cleared in principle by the higher authorities, keeping the public interest in mind. However, it will take about a month’s time for getting administrative approval for the works and receiving the amount. A sum of about Rs 2.5 crore was needed for augmenting the waterworks located in Sector 57. Various types of works will be executed in parts, depending on the availability of funds. To improve the capacity of the pipes of the 5 mgd treatment plant and other infrastructure involved, these will be replaced at a cost of Rs 29 lakh. A bypass facility is also required to reduce the turbidity of water, which will be created at a cost of Rs 21 lakh. Spare sets of machinery-motors and pumps-will be purchased at a cost of Rs 33.50 lakh. A sum of Rs 44 lakh is required to separate the suction pipe of the waterworks. Air valves also need to be replaced at a cost of Rs 29 lakh. The amount needed for augmenting the Sector 57 waterworks will be provided by the GMADA. A lot of water gets wasted because of leakage in a pipeline leading from Phase X to IX. It needs urgent repair, for which a sum of Rs 64 lakh is required.

Sources said the Municipal Corporation would be giving about Rs 75 lakh to the water supply wing out of which Rs 40 lakh would be spent on sinking a tube well in Sector 48C. A sum of Rs 18 lakh will be required to purchase generator sets for the waterworks located in Phase VI. Another Rs 15 lakh is required to replace the filter media at the two waterworks.

Executive Engineer of the water supply wing RP Gupta has claimed that the system will function better if people did not have big underground water storage tanks on their premises. Such tanks disturbed the supply during a water crisis as people tried to fill their underground tanks on priority. Most of the water being supplied to the town was used in filling such tanks, adversely affecting the water pressure. 



PU has no water for minister’s bath
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
It was not just the goof-up in the distribution of degrees at the 62nd Annual Convocation of Panjab University (PU), but major lapses in hospitality surfaced after the function. The Human Resource and Development (HRD) Minister, who had gone to the PU guest house to take a bath, was surprised to find there was no water supply in his room. The minister, who was getting late, left the university without taking a shower.

Sources said after the function, the union minister, Dr M Mangapati Pallam Raju, expressed the desire to take a shower before heading for the airport. "As soon as the minister reached the guest house, electricity went off, which led to a panic among the staff. Though there was a generator set in the guest house, nobody knew how to turn it on. Even the electrician was not present at the guest house," the sources added.

It was after several minutes the PU staff managed to start the generator set. Interestingly, the problem didn't end here. The minister went to a bathroom and a few minutes later returned without taking a shower, as there was no water supply. "As the minister was getting late, he left without taking a shower," the sources added.

The water supply was closed from the over-head tank.

A PU official, RK Rai, said the water supply to the guest room, where the minister had to stayed, was on in the morning, later in the evening somebody might have turned it off.

The sources said the Vice-Chancellor, Arun Grover, who was upset over the incident, reprimanded the PU officials, including the staff of the guest house.

Surprisingly, the PU registrar, AK Bhandari, said nothing major happened and no inquiry had been marked into the incident.

In the wake of this incident, the university authorities have pulled up their socks and planned to make better arrangements for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to the PU in the coming month.



PU students held for eve-teasing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
The UT police today arrested two students of Panjab University in a case of eve-teasing and threatening two girls and smashing the windowpanes of their cars late at night.

"The girls, who are the students of DAV College, Sector 10, are staying as paying guests in the city. The accused were stalking the girls for quite some time and used to pass lewd comments about them. When the girls refused their advances, they smashed the windowpanes of their cars," said the police.

The incident occurred on March 10 and the girls reported the matter to the police today, following which the case was registered and the accused were arrested. The police has arrested the two students, who have been identified as Vikram Singh, a resident of Sector 44A, and Karanbir Singh.

In their complaint to the police, the girls have said the boys used to stalk them from their PG accommodation to the college, and used to pass lewd remarks. Late night on March 10, the two threw stones at their cars parked outside their paying guest accommodation in Sector 7. The girls said they heard a loud noise and came out to discover that the two had damaged their cars.

It was only today that the girls gathered the courage to report the matter to the police as they were in a state of shock and fear.

The police has registered a case under Sections 354-A and 506 of the IPC at the Sector 26 police station.



4 Panjab University employees served show-cause notice
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
The Panjab University has issued show-cause notice to four university employees for the disorder and confusion witnessed at the 62nd Annual Convocation held on March 10.

Many students, who came on the stage after their names were announced, had to face embarrassment as their degrees could not be traced, while a number of students were handed over degrees of other students. Later, the students exchanged their degrees among themselves.

The Registrar of the university, while confirming the development, said the employees had been asked to give a reply on what led to confusion.

HRD Minister Dr M Mangapati Pallam Raju, who presided over the function, also had to wait on the stage to distribute the degrees after the names of students on the stage didn’t match with those on the degrees.

The employees who have been served the notice include two assistant registrars, a superintendent and a senior assistant, working with different branches of the university.

The issuing of show-cause notice to four employees, that too from the non-teaching side, has led to resentment among the employees.

Panjab University Staff Association president Deepak Kaushik said if something went wrong while distributing the degrees during the convocation, then the entire team responsible for it should be issued show-cause notice.

Sources said the university had also constituted a committee, which is inquiring into the matter.



Woman rams car into vehicles, cyclist dies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
A woman rammed her Lancer car into a cycle and two vehicles as she failed to apply brakes in time in Sector 35 today. The cyclist, who suffered injuries in the accident, died at a hospital. The police has booked the woman, Sunny Pal, the wife of a retired Colonel, in a case of causing death due to negligence under section 304-A of the IPC. The woman, who is a resident of Sector 33, has been admitted to a hospital in Sector 6, Panchkula, and will be arrested after she is discharged, the police said.

The incident occurred in the afternoon when the woman rammed her Lancer car into a cycle and then two cars in Sector 35. Sunny Pal is the wife of Col Ravinder Pal Singh (retd).

The police said the woman first hit the cycle and then a Santro car parked on the road and the Honda City (CH-04-L-6997).

The cyclist has been identified as Satish Chand, a resident of Kajheri village. He hails from Chamba.

Meanwhile, a senior citizen (retired Subedar) died of cardiac arrest while driving. He was going to purchase some medicine. Police source said 65-year-old Ved Prakash, resident of Sector 50, was crossing Sector 49 when he lost control over his vehicle.

Kanwardeep Singh, a resident of Sector 22, alleged that the driver of a school bus (CH-04-1261) sped away after hitting his two daughters (pedestrians) near Verka Booth, Sector 22, on March 11. Both the girls were admitted to the GMSH, Sector 16. The police arrested the bus driver Maiku Lal, a resident of Sector 56. He was released on bail.



NRI opens fire at friend’s ex-employer in Kharar
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 13
An Indian origin UK citizen opened fire at around 11.30 pm last night at KFC, Kharar, where he had gone to settle some issue between his woman friend and her former employer.

The suspect has been identified as Talminder Singh, alias Talley, a UK citizen, who originally hails from Tut village in Nakodar, Jalandhar district. Talley allegedly opened fired at Samrala-based Manveer Singh, who runs a DJ and a bhangra group there, and his employee Billu following heated arguments. Billu suffered a gunshot injury in his leg.

Mohali SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar said yesterday, Talley came to meet his Zirakpur-based friend Shweta, who had worked in Manveer’s musical group and left it some time ago. “Manveer Singh, who allegedly owed some money to Shweta, also visited Shweta’s house yesterday. Annoyed at Manveer’s repeated visits to her house, she talked to Talley about it. Talley called up Manveer and asked him to reach the KFC, Kharar, to settle the issue,” said Bhullar.

After the incident, Talley fled the scene. The injured, Billu, too, left the spot then, said the police. Later, on a complaint filed by Manveer Singh, the police has registered a case against Talley at the Kharar police station.

“Raids are on to nab the accused,” said the SSP. 


Vehicle owners return without receipts as office in-charge fails to turn up
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
After waiting in a long queue for an hour, Santosh Kumar who came to the SDM’s office (East), Industrial Area Phase I, for getting an authorised receipt for the fixation of the high security number plate (HSNP) was informed that he had to revisit the office on March 15 as the branch in-charge was not available today.

Fifty other vehicle owners faced the same plight.

Records of the SDM’s office revealed that on an average 70 vehicles were registered and issued authorised receipts daily.

Today, however, only one receipt was issued as the branch in charge authorised to issue receipts was busy in some official work and did not turn up to the office the whole day.

Registering and Licensing Authority in-charge Mahavir Kaushik, when contacted, said he was aware of the inconvenience caused to the public. “Directions have been issued to the in-charge to authorise someone to issue receipts before leaving office for any official work,” he said.

Parking woes

Adding to woes of the public, there is no parking space available on the premises of the SDM’s office (East), due to which visitors have to park their vehicles on the roadside. A number of times challans have been issued for wrong parking. Kaushik said the department was looking for an alternative site near the office for fixing HSNPs.

He said the department, too, was facing problems as the vehicle owners were not turning up on the assigned days for the fixation of the plates.



Power hike: Admn allows residents to raise objections during public hearing on March 15
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
The Chandigarh Administration has given another chance to residents to raise objections against the proposed hike in power tariff.

Superintending Engineer (Electricity) MP Singh said those who could not submit their objections before the deadline of March 11, could now do so on the day of public hearing on March 15.

A written objection can be submitted to the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC). The UT Electricity Department would then file its reply to the objections, MP Singh said.

So far, the administration has received 30 objections from various organisations. As only two days are left for the public hearing, the department officials are busy preparing their point-wise replies to the objections raised by residents’ welfare associations, Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, industries’ associations, etc.

According to the existing tariff plan, consumers in the 0-150 unit category pay Rs 2.30 per unit. The administration has proposed to increase it to Rs 3.50. In the 150-400 unit category, the administration has proposed the rate of Rs 5.20 per unit against the existing Rs 4.20. In the above-400 unit category, the rate of Rs 6 against the existing tariff of Rs 4.40 has been proposed.

In the commercial category, a rate of Rs 5 against the present Rs 4.30 per unit has been propsed in the 0-150 unit category, Rs 6.25 against Rs 4.50 in the 150-400 unit category and Rs 7 against the Rs 4.70 in the slab of above 400 units.



Colourful rehearsal for President’s visit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
A captivating display by the Air Warriors Drill Team of the Indian Air Force and an impressive flypast by the Jaguar fighter aircrafts and helicopters marked the full dress rehearsal for the President’s Colour Presentation Parade at the No. 3 Base Repair Depot (3 BRD) here today.

The President, Pranab Mukherjee, will be presenting Colours to two premier IAF establishments, the Air Force Central Medical Establishment (AFCME), New Delhi, and 3BRD, at a joint parade here on March 15. The Colours will be received by the respective Air Officers Commanding of these units, Air Cmde CK Ranjan and Air Cmde Suresh Singh.

In military ethos, the President's Colours is considered one of the greatest honours to be bestowed upon a unit or establishment in recognition of the exceptional service rendered by it, both during war and in peace.

The ceremony will commence with the President receiving the national salute with three Dhruv helicopters in an overhead “vic” formation trooping the national and air force ensigns. The president will then review the parade and present Colours to the two units. Three Jaguars will fly overhead in a “vic” formation as the parade will give a general salute to the Colours. The parade, along with the Colours, escorted by the “nishan toli” will then march past the saluting dais and form up for the president’s address. Group Capt Sanjeev Sinha will command the parade.

The president will also release a first day cover to commemorate the event. This will be followed by a display by the drill team and a freefall demonstration by the IAF’s Air Devils sky diving team. A flypast by Jaguars will cap the ceremony.

Set up in August 1962, 3 BRD is responsible for the maintenance of Soviet-origin helicopters including the Mi-8, Mi-17 and Mi-35 and the overhaul of the AN-32 engines.

It has also carried out several modifications to the helicopter fleet to meet operational requirements, undertaken aircraft life extension projects, carried out research on various aeronautical aspects and is also engaged in indigenising aircraft components and sub-systems to cut down imports.

At present, it is assembling and flight testing the IAF’s latest acquisition, the Mi-17-V5 helicopters.

AFCME is a specialised medical evaluation centre for aircrew of all the three services of the Armed Forces, paramilitary organisations, government agencies and civil aviation establishments.

Set up in Lahore under the Royal Indian Air Force to conduct the medical examination and assessment of aircrew for flying fitness, it moved to New Delhi in 1942.

Governors and Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana as well as senior military and civilian dignitaries would be attending the parade.

President’s Colour Presentation parade: Dhruv helicopters fly with flags during a full dress rehearsal in Chandigarh on Wednesday. 



2,000 cops pressed into service
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
The UT police have made elaborate security arrangements ahead of the President’s visit to the city on March 15. Over 2,000 policemen have been pressed into service and will be deployed for the security and traffic arrangements in and around the PGI and on the VIP route.

Quick-reaction teams, commandos, police in civvies and anti-sabotage units have also been deployed for round-the-clock service.

Commuters are likely to face hassles owing to the VVIP movement on that day. Traffic will be halted on the route leading from the Chandigarh Airport to the PGI during the passage of the President’s cavalcade.

SP (Traffic and Security) Maneesh Chaudhery said traffic policemen had been instructed to clear traffic jams after the cavalcade passed from a given point.

Besides, the UT Administration has kept 11 official Ambassadors of the UT officials reserved for the President’s visit. The administration has also told the Punjab and Haryana governments to reserve 20 cars each for the visit.



Mock security drill at PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
The UT police, paramilitary forces, and a team of civil defence conducted a mock drill at the PGI as a part of preparations ahead of the President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to the campus on March 15.

As VVIPs will enter from the main gate, the route will remain closed for the public entry for a few minutes. During the mock drill, however, the traffic flow at the main gate was not restricted to avoid any inconvenience to patients. A mock convoy of VVIPs visited the hospital and the security officials were deputed at different locations to cover the convoy.

In 2009, during the 30th annual convocation, a patient had lost his life during the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit. The PM had tendered an apology to the family of the 32-year-old deceased.

Special gowns ordered from Delhi

The gowns and hoods to be worn by the VVIPs have been procured from a Delhi-based agency, which maintains a record of sizes of gowns and caps of all the VVIPs. The agency supplies the material for all such occasions.

No mobile phones, handbags or cameras

Due to security reasons, students will not be allowed to carry mobile phones, cameras or even handbags inside the auditorium during the function.

Dress rehearsal at 10 am

All the 393 students who will receive their degrees during the convocation will be provided with gowns ahead of the rehearsal scheduled at 10 am at the institute.



Dowry victim calls off protest 
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 13
A woman, who was staging a protest outside the office of Commissioner of Police, called off her protest following an assurance by the Panchkula Deputy Commissioner of Police, Ashwin Shenvi, that she would be given justice and the erring police officials in her case would be punished.

She started her protest yesterday outside the office of Commissioner of police, Rajbir Deswal, at Mansa Devi Complex, Panchkula.

The woman alleged that the police officials at Ambala did not give return her recovered money and jewellery in the dowry case she had got registered.

The woman, Amandeep Kaur, kept sitting with her brother outside the office last night.



Private institutions should provide free treatment to poor: Minister
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 13
Haryana Health Minister Rao Narender Singh during the inauguration of Ahilya Women's Healthcare center at the Children hospital Mansa Devi Complex (MDC) urged the private health institutions to provide free treatment facilities to poor and ensure that no poor is deprived of treatment because of lack of funds.

Singh said the state government has also implemented schemes to ensure that the people, especially the poor get the best available health services. He said the Health Department has a scheme to provide CT scan and MRI facilities at subsidised rates in all district hospitals through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode. "Many district hospitals are being upgraded as Multi-Specialty Hospitals," he said.

"Three new medical colleges costing Rs 2,000 crore are being set up in the state and in this series UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi has recently dedicated to the people the first phase of Women Medical College at Khanpur Kalan," said Singh.

"It's the first Women Medical College in public sector after independence. He said this would fulfill the shortage of doctors. The state government would soon recruit 434 Medical Officers," said Singh.

The minister said keeping in view the women and child health care services; Ahilya Women Healthcare Centre is an ideal hospital in Panchkula. Haryana Vidhan Sabha Speaker Kuldeep Sharma hoped that Ahilya Women Healthcare Centre would provide ultramodern health facilities to the people of the area. Administrator of the centre Dr Prachi Shetty also spoke on the occasion.



UT consumer forum settles mediclaim of over Rs 3 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
The UT State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has settled a cancer mediclaim of Rs 3,34,264. Dismissing an appeal of the New India Assurance Company against an order of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-II, the commission also imposed a fine of Rs 45,000 on the insurance company for wrongful denial of the claim.

Counsel for the complainant, Pankaj Chandgothia, contended the insurance company wrongly rejected the claim by alleging the complainant had contracted cancer due to tobacco chewing, although it was caused by chronic dental irritation.

Complaint VK Makharia of Sector 6, Panchkula, contended he and his family were covered under a medical claim policy since 2004, and the policy was renewed annually without a break. When the complainant sought reimbursement of medical expenses amounting to Rs 3,34,264 on account of an operation for tongue cancer in September 2011, it was denied.

In its reply, the insurance company said the claim was not payable on the ground that the tongue cancer was caused by tobacco chewing, which was excluded under the policy.

Chandgothia contended the exclusion clause did not exist when the policy was signed. It was added later on, in the year 2007, without the complainant’s consent, he said.

Also, the doctor who treated Makharia certified the cause of patient's carcinoma to be chronic dental irritation and not tobacco chewing, which he had given up 25 years back.



PGI programme on bedsores a success 

Chandigarh, March 13
The project on bedsores being run by the PGIMER, wherein experts visit patients' residences and guide them about handling bedsores, has elicited an encouraging response from the public.

The project is being run under the guidance of Dr Sukhpal Kaur, Lecturer, Department of NINE, and Dr Amarjeet Singh, Professor, School of Public Health, PGIMER, Chandigarh. The team members, Dr Arshdeep Aujla, Sham Sundar Das and Sarthak Sharma, visit patients at their homes. They provide them with guidance and training on bedsore care.

The project has successfully completed in two years. The efforts made by the team are getting appreciation by patients and their families. One such satisfied carer, said: "My husband was suffering from a head injury and grade III bedsores. A team from the PGI came to our house and guided us on how to take care of bedsores. They taught us about the dressing and maintenance of cleanliness. Their regular visits boosted our morale. My husband is now free of bedsores. The approach of the team is very friendly and positive. I thank them for their cooperation." — TNS



Cyclists from the UK pedal for a cause
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
Last year, two UK-based cyclists rode from Land’s End, the southern tip of England to John O’Groats, country’s north coast, to spread awareness as well as raise funds for Alzheimer’s disease.

Their mission has now brought them to India for the similar cycling charity mission.

For 51-year-old Ian Worrall, riding in India is much more challenging than the home country as there are many temperature zones on the way and language barriers, too.

But he would not have much of the problem as his partner, Sajiv Prabhakar, UK-born Indian-origin policeman at Yorkshire, ensures the ongoing expedition in India going smoothly and meeting its purpose.

Covering more than 3,500 km from North to South India, the cyclists started their adventure ride from Madhopur near Jammu on March 11. They had their daylong halt here in Chandigarh today, where they were found mingling with the locals and spreading the message.

Sajiv, 37, said coming to India was obvious. First, because of his ancestral roots and second, because of the fact that India has a large number of people suffering from Alzheimer’s like people in the rest of the world.

“It is a common notion that Alzheimer’s generally happens to the elderly, but there have been instances where people in their 40s and 50s have also been found suffering from this disease,” said Ian Worrall, who had a reason to get attached with this charity mission as his father died because of Alzheimer’s sometime ago.

Sajiv, who, too, has one of his family members suffering from Alzheimer’s, said there was still no cure for this disease.

“In our UK expedition, we successfully raised money and gave it to a research organisation working on progressive memory loss in the UK. In India, we are eyeing to raise money but our basic aim is to sensitise the people about the disease which is catching up fast among younger people, too,” said Sajiv.

The duo will pedal their way to Jaipur from here and via Mumbai will enter South where they will culminate their visit on April 12 at Kanyakumari. They are peddling around 150 km per day.



Hearing impairment no barrier for this youth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
His inability to communicate normally due to hearing impairment has not deterred him from achieving excellence in Applied Art. A student of Government Arts College, Sector 10, 21-year-old Rahul Mahajan, has battled to complete his animation course despite being unable to follow theory lessons throughout his career.

Overcoming the challenge of faring well in theory, Rahul now aspires to develop a career in animation. After struggling a lot in helping him learn the language (Hindi, English and Punjabi), Rahul’s mother Asha Mahajan managed to get him admitted to the Yadavindra Public School in Mohali.

Realising his potential over the years with the support of his family and teachers, Rahul topped in the general category during the entrance exam for the four-year course, Bachelors of Fine Arts (BFA), at Government Arts College in 2009.

“We are proud that in spite of severe handicap, Rahul has come a long way and is on the threshold of his career and life. We know that the life will always be a struggle, but we are ready to face it with confidence,” said Asha.

Rahul has been facing difficulty in finding admission to any institute, which offer specilisation in animation. “At this moment, we are in the process of locating some international institute where Rahul can pursue his specialisation in animation. FZD Institution in Singapore has refused him admission saying they cannot cope with hearing disability,” Asha said.

“We hope to find some institution, which can admit Rahul to help him progress with a better career by accepting the challenge to cope with his limitations of communicating,” Asha said.

Rahul has also been actively pursuing martial arts and received various gold medals in the national level competitions. He will attain the black-belt level by June this year.



Notice to city’s top schools
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
The UT Education Department today served a notice to the city’s top schools giving them final warning to supply to the department the requisite information regarding their vacant seats under the RTE Act for 2013-14 immediately by tomorrow morning.

The notice reads that in case they failed to reply to the department, the official process for de-recognition would be initiated against all of them. Besides, the Central Board of Secondary Education will also be asked to start its disaffiliation process.

The notice has been served to 14 schools. They include 10 minority schools - St John’s High School, Sector 26, Carmel Convent, Sector 9, Sacred Heart, Sector 26, St Anne’s, Sector 32, Saupin’s, Sector 32, St Xavier, Sector 44, Chandigarh Baptist School, Sector 45, Mount Carmel, Sector 47, and St Joseph’s, Sector 44. Besides, four unaided private schools - St Kabir, Sector 26, Vivek High School, Sector 38, SD Saini Public School, Sector 38, and Bal Niketan School, Sector 37, have been immediately asked to submit the requisite information to the department.

District Education Officer Ram Kumar Sharma said the department was forced to take this step after these schools did not pay any heed to the repeated letters, asking them for their vacant seats under the RTE. Because of these schools, the department was still not able to issue the common advertisement for the vacant RTE seats.

“We are expecting them to respond by tomorrow. In case they don’t do that, action will be taken against them,” he said.

The department officials clarified that the notice to private unaided schools was served to know the status of the 25 per cent reservation to EWS and disadvantage group students in their entry-level classes for the next academic year.

“While the minority schools in Chandigarh are not covered under the Right to Education Act after the Apex Court’s last year ruling, they were served notice to know the status of their 15 per cent seats which they were supposed to reserve for the EWS students in lieu of the land allotted to them on concession,” said the officials.

While four minority schools furnished the required information, the rest of the schools wrote back to the department saying that they were not obliged to adhere to the provision of 15 per cent EWS reservation under the Concession Land Allotment Scheme since their land was allotted before 1996.

The official said all schools whether allotted land before or after 1996 were obliged to fill their 15 per cent seats from the EWS quota.

“Their cases may be also sent to the UT Estate Office for the resumption proceeding of their land in case they don’t respond to us,” said the official.

Responding on this issue, HS Mamik, president of the Independent School Association, Chandigarh, said this notice by the department was to divert the attention from the core issues concerning the RTE Act.

He said the administration here totally failed to answer the queries of the association for the past two years. Core RTE issues like reimbursement, etc, were still awaited.



Degrees conferred on 527 students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
The Post Graduate Government College for Girls (PGGCG), Sector 42, organised its 27th annual convocation function on the college premises today.

A total of 527 degrees were distributed among the students. Out of this, 111 in post graduation, 27 in BCom (Hons), 16 in Biotech (Hons), 69 in BA (Hons), 33 in BCA, 34 in BPEd, 82 in BCom, 65 in BSc and 90 in BA were conferred degrees on the occasion.

As many as 22 roll of honours were awarded to outstanding students and 13 merit prizes for different subjects for holding positions at the college level in the annual university examination.

Anjeela of BPEd, Puneet Basur of PG Diploma in Guidance and Counselling and Isha Kaul of BA Public Administration (Hons) were awarded trophies of academic excellence for standing first in Panjab University and being awarded gold medals at the university convocation.

Prof. Arun Kumar Grover, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, who was the chief guest on the occasion, emphasised to have more integrated and skill-oriented programmes in the coming days.

He also laid stress on including human development and financial management resource in the curriculum.



Students given warm send-off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
The Department of Computer Applications of Post Graduate Government College for Girls, Sector 11, organised a farewell party “Masquerade” for the outgoing PGDCA and BCA-III students today.

Students participated in a fashion show wearing masks. The students of BCA-II presented a kaleidoscope of dance and music items.

The outgoing students became nostalgic while recalling the glorious stay in the college. They expressed gratitude towards their teachers for guiding them throughout their stay in the college.

The students showcased dance sequences ranging from classical to contemporary Hindi and Punjabi songs. The seniors also sashayed down the ramp presenting a graceful and vibrant costume display.

Achila Dogra, principal of the college, appreciated the presentations of the students and wished them luck for their future endeavours.

Ruchi was adjudged Miss Venetian (Miss Computer application), while Rashmi Sharma and Sanjana Gupta were declared first and second runners-up.



Appointment of PU VC’s wife under judicial scanner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
Dr Neera Grover’s appointment to the post of Vocal Studies professor in the Panjab University’s Music Department today came under judicial scanner. The development is significant as she is the wife of Panjab University's Vice-Chancellor Arun Grover.

Taking up the petition alleging that the prescribed procedure for the recruitment was not followed by the university authorities while appointing Dr Grover, a Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri put the Registrar, the VC and Dr Neera on notice for April 30.

Seeking directions to quash her appointment and fill the post through re-advertisement, RTI activist Dr Rajinder Singla claimed that the university invited applications with November 1, 2010 as the last date.

After Grover’s notification as the VC in June 2012, the Academic and Administrative Committee of the Music Department held a meeting on July 5, 2012. It recommended that the VC’s wife be offered an emergent appointment as professor against the vacant post.

Subsequently, on July 17, 2012, Neera Grover applied for the post with a request of condoning the delay of one year and eight months for submitting the application. The outgoing VC condoned the delay despite the facts that some candidates had already been shortlisted.

Dr Neera Grover was selected and the PU Syndicate in its meetings appointed her for a period of one year by invoking provisions for emergency appointments. Finally, she joined the department in December 2012.

“Where has that emergency disappeared if it really existed in July 2012? Why did PU prefer to appoint Dr Neera Grover and kept waiting till she joined instead of appointing someone else who could be available to cope with the exigencies, if there were any?” questioned Dr Singla.



PU plans to bend rules for Senator
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
Panjab University is planning to bend rules for registration in PhD to accommodate a Senate member who failed to get himself registered for the PhD on time. The issue would be taken up in the forthcoming Syndicate meeting.

Senate member HS Dua has approached the university for allowing him to get registered in the PhD till May 2013. Dua was enrolled in the Department of Guru Nanak Sikh Studies, PU, in April 2010. As per rules and regulations, he was supposed to get himself registered with the department within two years from the date of enrolment, failing which the enrolment of the candidate is cancelled automatically.

The Senator, who is also a member of the Syndicate, did not submit his synopsis and registration form, along with the requisite fee, for the purpose to the chairperson of the department within two years. He also did not seek extension for the submission of synopsis and registration form after one year as per the UGC guidelines approved by the university.

Dua, who is a teacher at GGN Khalsa College, Ludhiana, in his representation to the university, had stated that after he got enrolled in the PhD, the course work was introduced and there was no facility for it in Ludhiana.

Dua, in the representation, mentioned that as the Guru Nanak Sikh Studies had started the course work in evenings and he had joined it, he be allowed to get registered for the PhD till May 2013.

The issue to allow all such candidates an extension of two years was discussed in a Syndicate meeting held in December 2012, during which the House authorised Vice-Chancellor Arun Grover to take the decision. The VC then had formed a committee, which recommended that the period of two years for the submission of synopsis and confirmation of registration was sufficient and no extension beyond two years would be given.

The issue is once again coming up for the discussion in the House after Registrar AK Bhandari recommended that the particular case could be either decided sympathetically or put before the Syndicate. The VC decided to take the issue before the Syndicate.

One of the senior faculties said it was not fair if the lawmakers in the university themselves turn into lawbreakers.

“We can’t single out one particular case. There are many teachers in the colleges of Punjab who failed to pursue research just because of the mandatory course work,” the syndic said.

The issue will now be decided in the Syndicate meeting to be held on March 16. 



Mohali lad brings laurels

Mohali, March 13
Rehmat Singh Chawla, a student of Class V, brought laurels to The Millennium School, Sector 67, by winning top honours in the English Olympiad, conducted by SOF International, here recently. Rehmat took part in the mathematics, science and cyber olympiads, too.

In all these competitions, he topped the school, being among the top-20 in the state and amongst the top-150 at the international level. — TNS



ABVP members stage protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
Members of the ABVP today staged a protest at the Student Centre in Panjab University against the Union Public Service Commission's (UPSC) decision to make English compulsory in the Civil Services Exam (CSE). 

The students demanded that the UPSC should rollback its decision.



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