C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Be ready to pay congestion tax
Ministry asks UT to charge vehicles for entry into congested areas
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
After house tax, city residents should now prepare themselves to pay congestion tax. The Ministry of Urban Development, in a letter to the Chandigarh Administration, has asked it to introduce congestion charges in central business areas and congested parts of the city.

At a meeting today, chaired by Home Secretary Anil Kumar, officials of the municipal corporation were asked to conduct a detailed study on the imposition of congestion tax in Sectors 7, 8, 17, 22, 26 and 35.

Under the congestion tax, every vehicle will be charged a fixed price to enter a particular road or a market area.

A senior official of the Administration said the municipal corporation was asked to prepare a report on the imposition of congestion tax to prevent private vehicles from entering congested markets in the city, especially during peak hours. Besides, the municipal corporation was also asked to work on the rate of congestion tax.

The ministry told the Administration that the implementation of congestion tax would also reduce pollution. Moreover, the common man would prefer the public transport once the congestion tax was imposed on private vehicles.

The ministry has also expressed concern over the increased number of private vehicles. Chandigarh has the highest per capita vehicle ratio of 2:1. More than 300 vehicles are registered here daily.

Advisory Council was in favour of tax

In a meeting of the UT Administrator’s Advisory Council on September 10, 2010, it was pointed out by some members that the problem of congestion of traffic had assumed alarming proportions and steps should be taken to sort out the problem. The imposition of congestion tax was one of the ways to solve the problem, especially in congested areas like the Sector 17 Plaza, Sector 22, Sector 35 and Sector 26.

Beopar Mandal's take

“Instead of imposing congestion tax, the Administration should work on setting up more multi-level parkings and upgrading the public transport system. The imposition of congestion tax will affect the business of traders,” says Charanjiv Singh, president of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal.

Case studies of London and Singapore

The letter by the Ministry of Urban Development was sent along with case studies of London and Singapore. After the tax was levied, traffic in central London went down by about 21 per cent and the speed went up by about 10 per cent.

MC had rejected proposal

On November 26, 2010, at a meeting, councillors had rejected a proposal to impose congestion tax on vehicles entering Sectors 17, 22, 35 and 26. They had suggested that instead of imposing new taxes, the Administration should work on ways and means to strengthen public transport


City residents are already paying a number of taxes to the government and if they are forced to pay congestion tax as well, it will be an additional burden on them

— Mukesh Bassi, councillor



lapse during minister’s visit
PU probe raises questions over security arrangements
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
An inquiry conducted by Panjab University, which failed to hold anyone responsible for snapping the water supply to Union Human Resource and Development Minister M Mangapati Pallam Raju's suite during his recent visit, has raised questions over security around areas where staying arrangements for VIPs are made by the university.

An inquiry conducted into the lapses on the part of Panjab University during the minister's visit revealed that the water supply was shut by someone after a university official inspected the washroom of the suite where the minister was supposed to rest and found that it had water supply. However, the authorities have failed to nail anyone for the hospitality lapse that led to major embarrassment to the university.

These findings have raised a question mark on how someone could reach the tank supplying water to the minister's suite. Since he managed to shut the water supply, he could have even mixed something in water.

The university claimed that the water supply was checked on the day the minister visited the campus. However, later it was found to be closed from the overhead tank.

PU Registrar AK Bhandari said renovation was going on at the guest house and laborers might have shut the water supply by mistake. However, during the inquiry it has been revealed that labourers did not come for work on that day.

During the inquiry, statements of the staff of the guest house and the XEN's office were recorded. However, the committee failed to nail anyone for the lapse.

No action has been initiated against anyone by the university. The Registrar said a warning had been issued to the officials and staff concerned. "Rooms near which the renovation work is going on will not be allotted till the time the construction work is completed so that nothing of this sort happens again," the Registrar said.

Pallam Raju, who presided over the 62nd annual convocation of the university on March 10, had expressed the desire to take a shower before heading for the airport. As soon he went to take a bath, he was surprised to find that there was no water supply. After several minutes, the minister came out without a shower and left for the airport.

A Syndic said it was surprising how someone could manage to shut the water supply without being noticed by anyone though PU staff was present in the guest house.



Proclaimed Offenders
Set your house in order, HC tells IG
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the UT Inspector-General of Police to set his house in order. He has been asked to revamp the police force, especially the cell dealing with proclaimed offenders.

The scathing directions by a Division Bench headed by Justice Surya Kant came after the judges went through an additional status report filed by UT Senior Superintendent of Police RS Ghuman.

The Bench observed that since December 31, 2010, only 375 POs were arrested, while their total number had increased to 2,413. “There are more than 230 POs involved in heinous crimes, who are yet to be arrested. We would like to convey our displeasure and direct the UT IGP to revamp the police force, particularly the PO cell, constituted under our orders,” the Bench directed.

Before parting with the case, the Bench also directed the Chandigarh Police and its chief to initiate necessary steps in coordination with the police of the neighbouring states to nab the POs.

The directions came just over a month after the High Court directed Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to file a status report on the number of proclaimed offenders involved in heinous crimes after the establishment of the PO cells.

The High Court had also directed that the affidavit should also include the number of absconders, who failed to surrender even after the dismissal of their appeals against convictions.

The directions came during the hearing of a petition filed by Kogta Finance Services Limited. The petitioner told the court that Anil of Ambala took a loan of more than Rs 2 lakh from the company, but failed to return the money as all cheques issued by him bounced. Claiming that he was roaming freely, the petitioner had asserted, "The police has so far done nothing despite the fact that a Chandigarh court had declared him a proclaimed offender."

On the previous date of hearing, the Punjab Director-General of Police had submitted an affidavit, stating that a central PO cell at the police headquarters had been constituted in every district with a Superintendent of Police as the nodal officer.

The development is significant as there are nearly 15,000 proclaimed offenders in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. Taking up the issue, the High Court had earlier slammed Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh for their casual approach towards arresting the POs.



Theft at former IG’s house
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
A major theft was reported from the Sector 39 residence of a former Punjab IG, the late Hardish Singh Randhawa, last night. Jewellery worth lakhs and cash was stolen from house number 1052/2, Sector 39-B.Randhawa had died in 2008 at the age of 57 following a cardiac arrest. Randhawa’s son is an SHO at Kotwali in Patiala. The house was locked for the past three days.

The complainant, Devinder Kaur, told the police that nine gold bangles, two gold sets, a diamond set, a pair of earrings, small gold items, Rs 1 lakh, a revolver (.32 bore), three wrist watches and a digital camera was stolen from her residence when they were out of station. A case under Sections 380 and 454 of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 39 police station.



Estate Office inspector in CBI net for graft
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The anti-corruption unit of the CBI today arrested a works inspector with the Estate Office while taking a bribe of Rs 15,000. The CBI arrested Jagjit Kumar from a branch of the Estate Office in Sector 24. The bribe was taken for allegedly giving a report to settle an issue pertaining to a notice issued to the complainant for subletting a government accommodation.

The CBI received a complaint from a government employee that Jagjit Kumar had demanded a bribe of Rs 30,000 and the first instalment of Rs 15,000 was to be delivered today in Sector 24. The Estate Office had issued a notice to the complainant for subletting a government accommodation. The accused told him that he needed to submit an affidavit for which he demanded Rs 30,000.

The CBI laid a trap and arrested the accused.



Students in spot over watchtower fire
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The UT Forest and Wildlife Department has lodged a complaint with the UT police against students of a government school in Sector 25 for allegedly setting a watchtower in the Nepli Forest area in the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary on fire.

UT Chief Conservator of Forests Santosh Kumar said he received a message from the staff in the Nepli Forest area at around 1 pm yesterday that students had set up a watchtower on fire.

He said they spoke to the school staff, who denied the involvement of their students in the fire incident. Finally, they decided to file a police complaint. "Had our staff not acted in time, the incident could have resulted in a major fire incident in the forest area," he said.

School Principal Sudesh Mittal said they had questioned the students, who denied their involvement in the incident.

According to Forest Department records, permission was granted to 63 students of a government school in Sector 25 to visit the Nepli forest area. The person who was given the permission was told about the dos and don'ts in the forest area.

Restrictions in Nepli forest area

  • No shooting, hunting and teasing of wild animals allowed
  • Carrying of arms/ammunition is prohibited
  • There should be no damage to flora
  • No loudspeaker/ music system allowed
  • Cooking food or lighting a fire prohibited
  • In case a leopard is sighted, forest officials to be informed


Patil to open energy park today
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Finally, after the gap of six years, the City Beautiful will have its first “Chandigarh Energy Park”. UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil will inaugurate the park inside Botanical Garden, Sarangpur, tomorrow on World Forestry Day. Patil will also release “Greening Chandigarh Action Plan” for 2013-14.

A senior official of the UT Administration said the park was set up at Botanical Garden, Sarangpur village, with financial assistance from the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. The Department of Science and Technology had received Rs 88 lakh from the Centre for the same.

Santosh Kumar, Director, Science and Technology, Chandigarh Administration, said Chandigarh Energy Park would have outdoor and indoor exhibits, which would provide a platform to understand the importance of energy conservation. There would be water pumping windmill, solar streetlights, solar water heating system, battery-operated three-wheelers, power-generating drums, solar cars for children and various exhibits of water power.

Outdoor and Indoor Exhibits at Energy Park

Indoor Exhibits

  • Solar colour TV and CD player
  • Solar domestic light and fittings
  • LCD display board
  • Energy Library (40 different books and 10 CDs on non-conventional energy)

Outdoor Exhibits

  • Solar Photovoltaic Power Plan
  • Solar Street Lights
  • Battery operated three wheeler
  • Solar water heating system
  • Power generation drum
  • Solar Powered toy cars
  • Battery operated bi-cycles
  • Working live model of Water pumping wind mill



4G services launched in tricity

Chandigarh, March 20
After Bengaluru, Kolkata and Pune, Bharti Airtel today launched prepaid and postpaid 4G services in the tricity, Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula. Launching the service, Sarang Kanade, COO, Upper North, Bharti Airtel, said Airtel 4G would leverage the most advanced 4G LTE technology to deliver superfast access to data services for customers to stream high-definition (HD) videos, enjoy multiple chatting, instantly upload photos, download rich content and more.

He said in a phased manner they would start 4G services in different cities of Punjab soon.

Jagbir Singh, CTO and Director, Network Services Group, Bharti Airtel, said: “The much-awaited launch of Airtel 4G services fulfill a huge market requirement and will give customers in Chandigarh the power to upgrade to cutting edge 4G LTE technology - the most advanced wireless broadband experience available across the globe today. This launch is another first by Airtel that further enhances the footprint of mobile broadband in the country. We are optimistic about the potential of Airtel 4G services and invite our data savvy customers in Punjab to enjoy this world class data experience”.

He also clarified that options like upgradation from 3G to 4G dongle are not available. The customer would have to purchase a 4G dongle. He said since this service was currently launched in Kolkata, Bengaluru, Pune and Chandigarh, including Panchkula and Mohali. Airtel 4G LTE experience would only be available in these cities. Today, at the launching function, Airtel 4G dongle were given to three tricity residents, including IT professional, housewife and student. The multi-mode dongle and indoor CPE with wifi would be available at Rs 4,999 each. Prepaid and postpaid plans vary from Rs 999 rental for 6 GB to Rs 4,799 up to 50 GB. — TNS



Five-day sangeet sammelan begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The Pracheen Kala Kendra’s five-day 43rd edition of the Pracheen Kala Kendra Nritya and Sangeet Sammelan began with the entrancing jugalbandi of classical percussionists, Madhusudan Barman and Gopal Barman.

They took the centre stage to delineate the rhythmic patterns on ‘tabla’ and ‘shreekhol’. The Kolkata-based brothers had performed worldwide and scored music for films and scores TV signature tunes.

They opened up the recital with ‘Peshkar’ introducing a touch ecstasy and other innovations through the ‘Taal’ pattern variations based on their experience and expertise. After that, the duo presented tukdas, chakradhar parans and concluded with the most absorbing sawal jawab jugalbandi.

The second performance on the inaugural evening was the Odissi dance by Bhubaneswar-based Sujata Mohapatra and troupe.

Leading her troupe of four accomplished Odissi danseuses, Sujata Mahapatra presented her repertoire of dances choreographed by the legendry Padma Vibhushan Guru Kelu Charana Mohapatra with music by Pandit Bhubaneswar Misra.

The artiste then presented a Kirvani Pallavi, a traditional piece in Odissi repertoire, which comes under classification of ‘nritta’ or pure dance without lyrics. Then, she presented abhinaya, a slice from the mythological epic “Ramayana” in the solo performance, which began with Rama, Sita and Lakshmana in exile in the forest.

Sitar recital by Manu Seen and Kuchipudi dance by Guru Jayarama and Vanashree Rao and the troupe will be presented tomorrow.



Festival rush: Special train to be run from city to Varanasi
Aarti Kapur
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, March 20
To tackle the rush of passengers of the region during Holi, the Railway authorities are going to ply a special train to Varanasi from the Chandigarh Railway Station on March 23.

Taking cognisance of the sale of tickets in the past two days, which has touched the figure of more than 400, the authorities have decided to commence this train from the city. The special train will ply on three days from the city to Varanasi i.e. on March 23, 25 and 28 and will return from Varanasi to Chandigarh on March 24, 26 and 29.

The special train “04504” will run at 11:15 pm from the city station and reach Varanasi at 5:30 pm and on March 21, the train “04503” will start from Varanasi at 9:10 pm and reach the city at 2:30 pm. There will be 16 coaches in this train. The reservation for this train has already been started from today. The stain will stop at Ambala Cantonment, Jagadhari, Saharanpur, Moradabad, Bareilley, Lucknow and Sultanpur stations.

Railway Senior Divisional Commercial Manager Gulshan said the department had decided to add this special train on the basis of the demand of the passengers.

He said there was no direct train to Varanasi from the Chandigarh Railway Station. So, it would lessen the burden on other trains. Out of the 16 coaches in this train, nine would be sleeper class, five general category, one each of AC three-tier and AC two-tier.



No major faults found in electric engine trial run
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The trial of the electric engine was conducted today on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana track by the railway authorities. Divisional Railway Manager PK Sangi said no major faults were found during the trial. He said the confirmation of the Commissioner of Rail Safety (CRS) to monitor the track was yet to be received by the authorities.

Records of the railway authorities revealed that the first trail run of the engine on Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail was conducted on January 15, 2013. On February 28, the trail of the first freight train was conducted on this link to monitor the loop holes.

The 112-km stretch between Chandigarh and Ludhiana will help in reducing the congestion on the road. For the construction of this link a budget of Rs 248 crore was allocated by the Union Railway Ministry in 2000.



Beef up security at ATMs, banks told

Chandigarh, March 20
Following a number of robbery attempts at ATMs in the city, the UT police today called a meeting of bank officials and representatives of security agencies to sensitise them to the rising thefts. During the meeting, which was held at the Traffic Police Lines in Sector 29, the police asked them to undertake cautionary measures.

Around 40 bank managers attended the meeting. They interacted with UT police DIG Alok Kumar and raised their issues. DSP Vijay Kumar and Additional SP City Shivsharan were also present.

The police brought it to the notice of bank officials that some ATMs do not have security guards. The police told the officials that they have not even installed proper CCTV cameras either inside or outside the unit.

It was suggested that all ATM units must have an armed security guard and CCTV cameras must be installed. Senior bank officials must hold regular meetings with the police to ensure that timely precautions were taken, the police said.

Bank officers were also told to take measures like installing alarm systems, surveillance cameras, secure enclosures and ATM crime prevention education programmes for their customers.

DIG Alok Kumar said measures were of paramount importance to ensure a safe and secure banking environment for the customers.

Security agencies accused of negligence

Some of the bank officers claimed during the interaction that security agencies were responsible for negligence. “At times, guards forget to restart the alarm system once the cash is loaded. We give instructions to the guards, but the agencies frequently change them without informing the bank,” said a bank officer. Some of the guards present during the interaction also complained that they were not paid properly by the agencies. — TNS



Structures razed amid protest
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 20
High drama was witnessed after the encroachment team of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) had gone to demolish as many as 150 dwelling units at the Azad Colony, Sector 21, Panchkula, this morning.

However, HUDA officials could remove only 14 houses as about 200 occupants jammed the main road for six hours following which even the traffic also had to be diverted towards Sector 3, Panchkula.

Various local political parties encashed the situation by joining the protests with the occupants and asked the HUDA officials not to demolish the houses. As many as 150 police personnel were present on the spot to avoid any untoward incident.

As many as 20 HUDA officials, including Estate officer Ashwini Sharma were rendered helpless and had to return after demolishing any 14 units.

The occupants alleged that they were putting up there for the past 15 years and the HUDA officials had no right to demolish their houses.

Gyan Chand Gupta, local BJP leader, said no prior notice was given to the dwellers to shift from the site and the HUDA officials just attacked them unexpectedly.

“As per court directions, even a small vendor who has encroached upon the land is given a 15-day notice then why not to these people who are living here for the past 15 years,” said Gupta.

The HUDA officials had taken along with them three JCB machines and five trolleys but the agitators sat in front of the JCB amchines in order to avoid demolition.

On the other hand, commuters were harassed when the complete traffic had to be diverted towards Sector 3, Panchkula. The agitators sat on the road separating Sector 3 and Sector 21.



GMADA demolishes illegal structure

Mohali, March 20
The enforcement wing of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) today demolished an unauthorised building of a temple which was under construction in Sector 57.

According to the GMADA officials, the building was being constructed in a vacant area near the LIG houses in Sector 57. The building was coming up in bits and parts even though officials of the development authority had time and again objected to the illegal construction.

The demolition led to a protest by residents of the area. They blocked traffic on the Balongi-Mohali road. They said the GMADA had carried out the demolition without giving a prior notice.

A person who had set up a museum in that area was also directed to present documents to show whether he was the owner of the land on which he was running the museum. The person had reportedly been asked by a sarpanch earlier to carry out his work on that stretch of land. According to reports, a part of the land of the museum was the property of the GMADA. He was asked to vacate the land failing which action would have to be taken to remove the encroachment.

Officials said demarcation of the land was being carried out by the GMADA to know the exact status of the ownership. After completing the work of demarcation, the matter would be discussed with the higher authorities before taking action to free the encroached land. — TNS



Campaign to check haphazard parking
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 20
Waking up to the problem of haphazard parking on the road in front of the Fortis Hospital in Phase VIII, the Mohali police today kicked off a special drive to make the road free of the hazard.

Superintendent of Police (City) Swarndeep Singh said that under the drive all the owners of four wheelers were told not to park their vehicles on the road. “We have told them to park their vehicles on the empty place in front of Phase VIII police station, which is located nearby.

However, no challan was issued to any offender. “Our motive is not to issue tickets but to solve the problem. Firstly, we will guide the vehicle owners to park their vehicles at appropriate place under the special drive, which will continue for next five to six days,” said the officer.

A meeting was also held with the authorities of the hospital in this connection, said the SP. “We have also suggested them to manage the site in front of the police station after taking the required permission of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA),” said Swarndeep Singh adding that the parking problem in other parts of the town would also be addressed soon.



Dissent among Sec 21 association members
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The chairman of the Federation of Sectors Welfare Associations Chandigarh (FOSWAC) and certain members of the Sector 21 Resident Welfare Association (RWA) has raised question over the functioning of the RWA, Sector 21.

The FOSWAC chairman and former president of Sector 21 RWA, PC Sanghi, who is a resident of Sector 21, in a letter to the general secretary of the association, said the elected president of the association was using the platform of the association to promote his political activities.

At a recent meeting, certain members of the association alleged that the members of the present committee were trying to continue their term as office-bearers of the RWA for another two years. "When we asked them to reshuffle the present members, they denied and claimed that no election will take place for another two years," said Karan Nanda, a resident of Sector 21.

President of the RWA Baljinder Singh said: "The committee was formed in 2011 and it was valid for two years. We will hold fresh elections to select a new panel. The opposition people are not aware of this fact and it was clearly mentioned to them."



World Sparrow Day
Experts blame house designs for decline in sparrow population
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Changes in human lifestyle, especially the changed designs of houses that disallow entry to the house sparrows, have led to the decline in the population of this human-loving bird.

“While the exact magnitude of decline in the population of sparrows is difficult to define at the moment, the number has come down considerably in the past 10 years across the country, including the Chandigarh region,” said UT Forest Conservator, Santosh Kumar. “Other than the effects of electromagnetic radiations, it is the changed designs of the houses that is responsible for the decline in their population. Modern houses no longer allow entry of this human-loving bird as windows are now covered with glasses,” Kumar said.

“It has been observed widely that the population of sparrows continues to be high in the rural areas where garbage is thrown out in open,” said city-based birdwatcher Narbir Singh. These sparrows find insects for their protein in the garbage as well near the growth of plants.

Also, there has been an increase in the population of sparrow hawks in the city that attack the sparrows. “Even if one sparrow hawk manages to attack one sparrow in three days, the number of sparrows being affected can come out to be 100 per year. This is one of the major areas of concern,” said Singh.

“The increased use of insecticides in urban areas, which destroys the insect protein for the sparrows, is another reason for the disappearance of these sparrows,” said the experts.

Changes in the human lifestyle, which also include the discouraged wheat harrowing at urban households, is another cause for the decreased appearance of the house sparrows. They no longer find their feed on the wheat heaps near households.

“We are now encouraging the residents of the city to come up with artificial boxes in their houses which could provide them nesting sites. Some of the residents have started working in the direction,” said Santosh Kumar.

World Sparrow Day celebrations at PGI

World Sparrow Day was celebrated today at the PGI’s Nivedita Crèche. A cultural programme highlighting various issues related to house sparrows was conducted. The chief guest for the function was Dr YK Chawla, Director, PGI, and the guest of honour was Dr Prasad, biologist from ISER. The children sang songs highlighting rapid disappearance of house sparrows from the urban environment.

How to create a Sparrow nest

On a north facing wall, putting up a nest box 7-8 feet above the floor level can encourage sparrow breeding. The size of the nest should be smaller for rearing of other birds.



Vet Department faces shortage of staff

Mohali, March 20
The staff shortage in the Punjab Veterinary Department is affecting the smooth functioning of services. This was said by Dr Ashok Kumar Sharma, president, Punjab State Veterinary Officers Association, during a meeting of veterinary officers of Mohali district to elect a new body of the District Veterinary Officers Association.

Dr Sharma said Pathankot, Barnala, Tarn Taran and SAS Nagar districts were bereft of the post of deputy director which was affecting the smooth functioning of services. — TNS



Doordarshan Colony to get drainage system

Chandigarh, March 20
The Municipal Corporation (MC) today started the work of storm waterline and drainage system at Radio and Doordarshan Colony of Sector 42 A. Area Councillor Malkiat Singh said earlier this colony was under the Chandigarh Administration and later on passed to the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation. At that time, there was a major problem of storm waterline and drainage system.

Residents of the area had complained to the Municipal Corporation a number of times regarding the problem. Today, the work was started after performing “Ardas” and residents of the area and MC officials were also present on the occasion.

MC officials told the residents that the work would be completed soon. — TNS



Vacant RTE seats
Pvt schools, dept head for showdown
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The UT Education Department and private unaided schools in the city are heading for a major confrontation over the issue of filling vacant seats under the Right to Education (RTE) Act for the next academic session.

Even as the department has formally begun the procedure for inviting applications from the students belonging to the economically weaker section (EWS) and disadvantages group against the vacant RTE seats in private schools, including minority institutions, the Independent Schools Association, Chandigarh, is refusing to enroll the students before the proper notification and clarification on key issues.

As per the data complied by the department, there are over 400 seats still vacant in as many as 48 private and minority schools for 2013-14.

HS Mamik, president of the Independent Schools Association, said the private schools could not move ahead in enrolling students on these vacant RTE seats unless the department did not notifies and sanctions funds for the reimbursement to private schools for the past two years.

“Moreover, we don’t have any clarity whether the schools would be paid for 15 per cent EWS seats to be reserved against concession land. As we know, these EWS seats are chargeable at nominal rates as per the UT’s own notification, issued in 2005. If the department will not pay us, we will definitely charge from the students then,” he said.

Kavita Das, principal of St John’s High School, Chandigarh, said the Education Department was unnecessarily insisting the school to admit EWS students despite the fact that its property was freehold and was not at all part of the land allotment scheme.

“We explained our situation very much clear to the department, but there is no reply from their side so far,” she said.

Other minority schools also insisted on exempting any kind of reservation under the RTE Act in light of the Supreme Court verdict.

Responding on the matter, VK Singh, Education Secretary, UT, said the department was examining the queries raised by the schools and would respond them shortly. “Several schools are ready to fill their RTE seats. We are in the process to convenience those who have some problem,” he said.

Registration at GMSSS, Sector 19

As per the official orders, parents of the EWS and disadvantage group have been asked to submit their registration form at the GMSSS, Sector 19, Chandigarh, from March 22 to March 28 between 9 am and 12 noon on all working days. The candidates can apply for more than one school.

General body meeting on March 22

In an urgent meeting of the Executive Committee of the Independent Schools Association held today, it was decided to call a general body meeting of all the member Schools on March 22 to finalise the course of action to be adopted in the light of action of the Education Department of inviting applications for the vacant RTE seats.



Three-day placement fest kicks off at varsity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
A three-day annual placement fest, Avsar, kicked-off today at Panjab University. As many as 17 companies visited the campus for placements. The placement was attended by as many as 550 students.

Amandeep Marwaha, Training and Placement Officer (TPO) of UIAMS, said: "There are companies that are offering good packages, including Xenon Law Offices from Mumbai that has offered Rs 8.4 lakh to law graduates, Volvo is offering a package of Rs 6 lakh to students of UIET and Advance Technology has offered a package of Rs 6 lakh.

The students of University Institute of Hotel Management and Tourism felt disappointed with a single hotel coming for the placements. Hotel Shagun visited the campus offering a package of Rs 1.8 lakh.



College students denied roll numbers, hold protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
A protest over the denial of roll numbers by the college authorities for appearing in final exams was staged by a group of students of the Post Graduate Government College for Girls (PGGCG-11) along with the members of the ABVP on the college premises today.

Students claimed that they were not given lectures for their participation in NSS and sports camp. The students mostly comprised of BSc-medical 1st year.

PGGCG-11 principal Achila Dogra said the students were creating false stories just to get the roll numbers. “All the students who are protesting against the college are short of attendance and it’s just a bid to get the roll number issued,” she said.

Officials said the students have not met the criteria of minimum 75 per cent attendance in the classes.



teacher’s termination
Tribunal reserves its judgment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The Chandigarh Administrative Tribunal (CAT) today reserved the judgment in the government teacher Arpana Mahajan’s termination case. Arguments in the case were concluded today. After hearing all parties, the Bench of the Tribunal headed by Justice SD Anand reserved the judgement.

The counsel for the applicant Ranjiwan Singh contended that in view of the Punjab and High Court judgment in Rajinder Kumar’s case, the petitioner could be adjusted against the vacant post. It was further pointed that as per the available information under the RTI, 22 posts of the SST cadre were lying vacant with the department.

It was further argued by the counsel that even as per the revised criteria, the applicant was not the least meritorious and should not be terminated. The counsel for the Education Department requested the Bench to club certain others cases of the similar nature. However, the Bench declined it.



PUSU members protest against delay in results
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Members of the Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) today staged a protest outside the Law department against the delay made by the university in declaring the semester results.

The exam for the semester were held in December, however, the results of 1st, 3rd and 5th semester are yet to be declared.

PUSU leader Yadwinder Singh Dhaliwal said, “The current semester is soon going to finish and students will appear for the exams but the previous results are yet not declared.”

“If a student gets a compartment in any subject he/she will have study for the current semester’s exam and previous exam altogether, however, if university declares the results on time the student will be relived from this burden,” he said.

Chairperson Law department Nishtha Jaswal said she has discussed the issue with the Controller of Examination (COE) who has assured the results would be declared at the earliest.

Controller of Examination (COE) Parvinder Singh said the result has already been compiled and ready for the dispatch and results would be declared on Thursday.

“I was out of the city for some inspection and soon after joining the office on Thursday, I will get the results dispatched to the department,” said the COE.



Free coaching classes

Chandigarh, March 20
The Sikh Missionary College (SMC), Chandigarh Zone, in association with the managing committee of Gurdwara Sahib, Sector 34, is starting free coaching classes for needy and brilliant students aspiring to appear in AIEEE and PMT exams.

These classes are being organised for the last 17 years. The faculty comprises of teachers from Panjab University and city colleges.

The entrance test for the coaching will be conducted on March 21 at 3pm at Gurdwara Sahib, Sector 34, and the classes will commence from March 22. According to officials, the success rate of the coaching has been very encouraging during the past years, with approximately 90 per cent of the students getting seats in various engineering and medical colleges. Apart from the free coaching, the SMC also organises free Kirtan and Gurmat classes for children and youth. The SMC also provides placement services for the educated unemployed youths. — TNS



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