C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Pvt schools put their foot down
Boycott admission process, cite lack of clarity on filling vacant RTE seats
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
In a major development, private unaided schools in the city today boycotted the centralised admission process initiated by the UT Education Department for vacant reserved seats for the next academic session citing lack of clarity on important issues concerning the RTE Act.

According to the Education Department, more than 400 seats, meant for students belonging to the economically weaker section (EWS) and disadvantaged groups, are lying vacant in 48 private schools. The registration process for these seats began today at the GMSSS-19. Nearly 50 applications were received from poor parents for their children's admission to these schools.

At a general house meeting held today at Vivek High School, Sector 38, members of the Independent Schools Association, Chandigarh, said the schools here would not enrol even a single student since the UT Administration had not implemented the RTE Act "in its true spirit".

HS Mamik, president of the association, said after the Delhi High Court judgment, there was no doubt that the RTE Act was not applicable to nursery and pre-nursery classes. "If the UT Administration wants private schools to enrol poor students in lower classes, it needs a separate notification for the purpose from the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, without which the schools would not move forward.

The association raised doubts over the EWS issue. Secretary of the association RD Singh said there was confusion on whether the schools would be paid for reserving 15 per cent seats for EWS students in lieu of the land allotment done by the UT or not.

Another important matter that they came up for discussion was the per child reimbursement. Mamik said the schools had so far not been paid even a single penny for filling RTE seats during the past two years. "We feel the Administration is not taking all expenses into consideration while calculating the per child reimbursement. If the rates are not fixed as per the Act, we will not accept it," he said. The association also demanded an independent inquiry into the status of the implementation of the RTE Act in government schools.

During the meeting, Sangita Vardhan, president of a Chandigarh-based NGO, Vatsal Chaya, said the Administration was forcing the private schools to enrol EWS students, but was ignoring poor students in government schools. "Over 60 students of a learning centre being run by me are waiting to get admission to a government school in Sector 8 since October last year," he said.

What convent schools have to say

Kavita Das, Principal of St John's School, said Carmel Convent School, Sector 9, Sacred Heart School, Sector 26, and St John's School. Sector 26, owned freehold land and were not part of the 15 per cent EWS quota, which was based on leasehold property given to schools.

No vacancy in schools
Thirty-four private schools, all members of the Independent Schools Association, today passed a resolution for putting a "no vacancy" notice on their board with respect to RTE seats till the time the Administration clarified in writing and issued proper notifications regarding key issues for the implementation of the Act.

Education Dept's take
We will ensure the implementation of the RTE Act in its true spirit. We will see what needs to be done on the stand taken by the private schools here

— VK Singh, UT Education Secretary



Vivek High School put on notice
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Acting tough, the Education Department today issued a notice to Vivek High School, Sector 38, for failing to provide details regarding vacant seats under the RTE Act.

The school has been given 10 days to explain its position on the Act, failing which the de-recognition process would be initiated against the school.

In the notice, the department has mentioned that the school was sent six reminders since February 14 for disclosing information on vacant reserved seats under the RTE Act. "The failure to provide the required information by the school not only threatens the spirit of the Child Rights Act, 2005, but also undermines the RTE Act, which was passed by Parliament," the notice states.

HS Mamik, chairman of Vivek High School, Sector 38, said the notice was a personal attack on the school to divert attention from the failure of the Administration to implement the RTE Act properly.



Fake certificate racket busted; two arrested
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 22
The police has busted a gang allegedly making fake certificates of the Punjab School Education Board, driving licences and voter identity cards with the arrest of two persons.

The police said the suspects arrested late last night were Kulwant Singh Multani, a resident of Kajheri in Chandigarh, and Gaurav Narula of Mundi Kharar. Multani is reported to have been removed from service from the National Security Guard (NSG) and had also remained in Germany. Narula had earlier been running a printing press in Phase VII.

According to the police, Multani used to allegedly charge Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000 for fake academic certificates of Classes X and XII and Rs 2,000 for fake driving licences and voter ID cards.

The two suspects, who were trapped by the Mataur police after sending a decoy customer to whom a fake driving licence of Ambala was to be delivered, used to allegedly operate from a showroom in Kajheri and Narula's house in Mundi Kharar.

The police has seized the computer system and various documents from the office of the suspects. These included scanned documents bearing the signatures of a board official, the District Transport Officer and other officials.

During questioning by the police, it was reportedly found that the suspects could allegedly make fake PSEB certificates and voter ID cards within minutes on the computer seized by the police.

The two were also allegedly involved in the sale of fake certificates and degrees of a UP government institution along with an accomplice from Muzaffarnagar in UP.

Police sources said Multani and Narula used to allegedly give fake PSEB certificates to the Muzaffarnagar man for supply to buyers in UP and Bihar. He would allegedly give fake certificates of the UP government institution to the duo.

The sources said it was not possible for the suspects to run the racket, which had been going on for around nine years, without the

involvement of employees of the education board. At least one such employee is reported to have been identified by the police. He is believed to have given copies of original board certificates to the gang.

A case has been registered by the police in this regard.

It is reported that the racket had earlier come to the notice of the crime branch of the Chandigarh Police.

Used to charge around Rs 12,000
According to the police, the suspects used to allegedly charge Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000 for fake academic certificates of Classes X and XII of the Punjab School Education Board and Rs 2,000 for fake driving licences and voter ID cards. It was reportedly found that the suspects managed to make fake certificates and voter ID cards within minutes on a computer seized by the police



Man gets life term for killing 3-year-old daughter
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 22
A local court today awarded life imprisonment to a man for murdering his three-year-old daughter. The convict, Dhanna Ram (42), was convicted of the murder charge yesterday but was acquitted of the rape charge after no circumstantial evidence was found against him. The court had also imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on the convict. Dhanna Ram was arrested near Bhudanpur on November 16, 2011, on charges of raping and murdering his daughter while he was trying to flee the city after the crime.

The court did not find any evidence to substantiate the rape charge against Dhanna Ram. The convict is said to be a psychiatric patient, who has been undergoing treatment. After being arrested, Dhanna Ram had told the police that he was told by a "tantrik" to kill his daughter.


Maintenance of patients' records
PGI encounters teething troubles
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Finally, the PGIMER has taken its long-pending computerisation project forward, but it is facing teething troubles. For the nursing and paramedical staff, making online log entries of patients' movement is a tedious task.

More than 6,000 patients visit the new OPD block everyday. There are more than 2,000 indoor patients admitted across various centres and wards at the PGIMER.

Attendants go through a harrowing time while locating patients.

When the patients come for a follow-up, they have to undergo the entire registration process again in the absence of computerised records.

The Admission-Discharge-Transfer (ADT) Module, which aims at updating the patients' records, including movement of patients across the new OPD, specialised departments or emergency unit and promoting paperless work, is of little use as the nursing staff prefer to make manual entries. Sources in the PGIMER administration said the nursing and paramedical staff claimed that they were preoccupied with the manual tracking of patients' records. Most of them refused to make online entries. The Rs 25-crore project of the Hospital Information System (HIS) aims at launching a lab module for patients and doctors for viewing the test reports of patients online, the modalities of the ADT Module will be placed first in the order.

“We are working on various modules under the HIS. While the inventory module was launched first, which keeps track of items available for patient care at different departments, we are now working on lab modules and the ADT. The purpose of each of these modules is to save the valuable time of patients as well as doctors and also ensure paperless work,” said a senior PGI official.

At present, computers are being utilised only for the purpose of registration at fee counters and accounting. While there is no availability of computer for registration and locating a patient at the new OPD reception, the computers available at the emergency ward’s reception have been lying defunct.

The ordeal
Consider this: A patient, who is taken to the emergency and then referred to the new OPD, has to get registered at both the places. After submitting the registration fee, the patient is examined at the new OPD and is asked to visit the advanced cardiac centre. In the absence of centralised record of treatments, the patient is often asked to again undergo the tests and get registered separately. Every time an attendant looks for his patient at the emergency or new OPD’s reception, he has to wait for the receptionist to go through numerous files containing the patient’s entries.



Only 0.4% labs accredited
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

For bringing uniformity globally, the Government of India has started providing accreditation to medical labs. The National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories certifies the testing method adopted by a particular lab and gives global accreditation to test reports.
— Dr Thuppil Venkatesh, Principal Adviser, Quality Council of India

Chandigarh, March 22
The next time you undergo a laboratory test following your doctor's recommendation, do ask for a National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) stamp on the report.

According to figures available with the Quality Council of India (QCI), the apex body which regulates quality and standards of services in India, merely 400 (0.4 per cent) of over 1 lakh medical labs across the country are accredited to the NABL.

Principal Adviser of the Quality Council of India Dr Thuppil Venkatesh said, "For bringing uniformity globally, the Government of India has started providing accreditation to medical labs. The NABL certifies the testing method adopted by a particular lab and gives global accreditation to test reports issued by the lab."

"Patients are the drivers of the process. It is mandatory for a NABL certified laboratory to mention the test method and carry the NABL stamp on the reports. The patients must ask for the NABL stamps whenever they visit a lab.

This is the best way for patients to verify the quality of the lab tests they opt for. The higher is the demand from the patients for certification, the higher will be the number of labs applying for accreditation," Dr Venkatesh added.

The NABL follows the ISO 15189 standard for approving the standards maintained at the labs.

Asked whether the NABL accreditation would be made mandatory by the Central Government, Dr Venkatesh said, "The government, at present, lacks the necessary infrastructure for inspecting as many as 1 lakh labs across the country. Expanding the infrastructure will take some more time," he said.

CME on clinical biochemistry from today
The PGIMER will organise a two-day continuing medical education (CME) on advances in clinical biochemistry on Saturday. In an interaction with Chandigarh Tribune, Dr Thillup Venkatesh, Principal Adviser, Quality Council of India, said, "Biochemists are advisers to super-specialists."

"Quality is something very difficult to achieve. But we all want it. Biochemistry is the language of life. The biochemists advise the super-specialists dealing with chronic diseases such as cancer and neurological ailments," Dr Venkatesh added.

"For strengthening the healthcare sector, we need to work on the quality of labs. We need to constantly evolve ourselves. This is what we are going to discuss during the CME. The younger generation needs to be sensitised about the future of the biochemists," he said.

Mandatory to mention the test method
Patients are the drivers of the process. It is mandatory for a NABL certified laboratory to mention the test method and carry the NABL stamp on the reports. The patients must ask for the NABL stamps whenever they visit a lab.



Allotment of liquor vends
Excise Dept nets Rs 91.23 cr
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 22
The Excise and Taxation Department netted Rs 91.23 crore as licence fee during the draw of lots for the allotment of liquor vends in Mohali district here today.

BK Virdi, Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Mohali, said the licence fee received this year was Rs 5.80 crore more than last year. The draw of lots for 2013-14 was videographed with Bhavna Garg, Additional Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Punjab, and Varun Roojam, Deputy Commissioner, as observers.

As many as 18 groups were formed for the allotment, 12 of which were in the urban areas. There would be 366 liquor vends, 231 for country liquor and 135 for Indian-made foreign liquor.

Virdi said the total quota for the district was 45,81,833 proof litres. Out of this, 24,85,467 proof litres were for country liquor and 20,76,366 proof litres for Indian-made foreign liquor.

As many as 7,255 applications were received for the allotment and the department secured Rs 23.49 crore as application fee. The allotment fee was also collected after the draw of lots.



purchase of 49 buses
Bidding companies seek advance payment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
The purchase of 49 buses by the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) is likely to be delayed as two of the bidding companies have sought 30 per cent of advance payment for the supply of the buses.

In the technical bids of Tata and Ashok Leyland, both the bidders have sought the advance payment. This has put the officials in a fix as the terms and condition had been relaxed due to the urgency of the Administration in procuring the buses.

The financial bids will be opened for the qualifying bidders. Recently, the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) invited a short-term notice to purchase the buses. The buses were to be acquired at a cost of around Rs 25 crore. The tenders have been invited for chassis or fully built low-floor buses.

Another riding factor for the early purchase of the buses was that the budget of Rs 45 crore was going to lapse if the funds were not utilised by March 31. With a Volvo bus costing Rs 89 lakh, the UT officials are in a fix over the purchase of the buses as the earmarked amount is inadequate.



25 dumper trucks flagged off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
City Mayor Subhash Chawla today flagged off 25 new dumper trucks from the MC office in Sector 17.

These were purchased at a cost of Rs. 2.25 crore.

The MC now has 49 dumper trucks. MC Commissioner Vivek Pratap Singh said the civic body had purchased 200 new garbage bins, out of which 150 had already been placed and the remaining 50 would be placed this month. He said 100 bins had been repaired and painted. MC officials said the corporation would deploy 10 additional sanitary inspectors to keep a check on residents dumping garbage in the open. 



Youngsters in City Beautiful draw a blank on freedom fighters
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
On this day way back in 1931, three freedoms fighters, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Hari Rajguru, sacrificed their lives for the nation.

The Chandigarh Tribune spoke to a cross-section of youngsters about the three martyrs. A large number of respondents drew a blank.

"The government hardly puts in efforts to make the day special," said Naveen, a student. Marketing executive Sandeep Passi (22) tried to jog his memory, but gave up. To a question as to when the freedom fighters were hanged, he replied: "Remembering history dates is a problem. That's why I hate history. The only thing I remember is my mobile number!".

Ditto was the response to questions such as which British officer the revolutionaries had shot and why it all happened. Virender Rana, preparing for JEE exam, fumbled before he could say: "The officer was Saunders".

City based Dr Rajwanti Mann, co-author of the book 'The complete Tribunal proceedings of the trial of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru' blamed the country's system for the 'collective memory loss' on the supreme sacrifices made by freedom fighters. "We are yet to formally recognise the contribution of the revolutionaries to India's freedom," he said.

Chairperson of the department of history, PU, Rajiv Lochan said: "Our country doesn't have a social mechanism that allows us to retain memories of our glorious past. In Europe every small town has a museum, but we don't have such a culture," he said.



Encroachers challaned

Chandigarh, March 22
The enforcement wing of the Municipal Corporation today removed encroachments from various markets and issued challans to 135 violators.

The officials removed encroachments from Sectors 17, 22, 34, PGI, Sectors 12, Sector 46, 47 and Mani Majra. Various items, including furniture, rehris, tables and crates were confiscated. The drive was carried out under the supervision of Kashmira Singh, superintendent, and all sub-inspectors of the enforcement wing. — TNS



No bidder turns up for Navaratra fair auction
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 22
The Mansa Devi Shrine board suffered a big jolt when no bidders turned up for the auction of fast approaching Navaratra fair after the authorities kept a reserve price of Rs 16.50 lakh and it turned out to be a ‘flop show’.

Bidders, who had come all the way from different places in Punjab, Delhi and Haryana returned ‘tight-lipped’ after they came to know about the exorbitant reserve price when they reached the venue.

The nine-day Navaratra fair is scheduled for April 11. Every time, the auction of the ‘mela’ is done, which includes 15 shops at the venue. These 15 shops include toys and food courts while the amusement park includes swings, fun games, car riding for kids and other innovative amusement items.

When contacted DP Dattana, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Mansa Devi shrine board, he said, “I agree that no bidders stepped up. A meeting would be held soon by the committee and then it would be decided what should be done about the reserve price.”

He further added, “Though the reserve price during the last Navratras was Rs 5 lakh, it was taken for Rs 15 lakhs so this time, we kept the reserved price for Rs 16.50 lakh. This Navratra fair is the biggest one and attracts huge crowd so we kept the price according to that.”

The bidders complained that no mention of the reserve price was made on the advertisement given by the shrine in the papers which was actually a way to mislead people for reasons best known.

“People had come from far off places and they went disappointed. The reserve price was intentionally not mentioned. Had we known about the same earlier, we would have never come,” said Ashok Mittal, a bidder.

“No one can even think of this amount. The authorities should think that indirectly the price would be shifted on to the customers as the price of the tickets would be quite high,” said another bidder.



Employees hold protest
Demand revision of pay scales
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
A massive protest was held by the employees of the Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) here today. The agitators demanded the non-implication of the long pending demands by the UT Social Welfare Department.

The employees alleged that the demand of the revision of pay scale, grant of the DA to council employees on the Union Territory pattern, regularisation of contractor staff, filling up vacant posts, and enhancement of retirement age is lying pending with the authorities. Number of times representations have been made to implement it but no action has been taken by the head of the department.

Employee union president, Rekha Sharma, while addressing the protest, said that if the authorities will not fulfill their demands, the employees will be again hold protest on April 10 and 11.

The general secretary Behari Lal blamed the authorities are violating all the rules and regulations by revising the retirement age from 60 to 58 years of the class IV employees of the Indian Council for Child Welfare.



Southern sectors to face less power cuts
Additional transformer of 30 MVA installed at Sector 52 sub-station
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Those residing in southern sectors can heave a sigh of relief as the UT electricity department today installed an additional transformer of 30 MVA at the power sub-station of Sector 52. UT Finance Secretary VK Singh inaugurated the additional transformer.

Earlier, there were five transformers, three transformers of 12.5 MVA each and two transformers of 20 MVA each. With the additional transformer, capacity of Sector 53 grid sub-station will increase from 77.5 MVA to 107.5 MVA.

UT’s Superintending Engineer (electricity) MP Singh said with the additional transformer, the residents of Sectors 43, 44, 51, 52, 53, 61, can expect less power cuts this summer.

He said last year there was overloading problem in these sectors due to which there were power cuts. But with the installation of the transformer, there would be no overloading problem.



Girl does village proud, commissioned in Army
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Parul Sharma of Manauli village in Mohali has made her village proud by being commissioned in the Army on March 16.

Being the first woman cadet from the village to finish the short commission service at the Officer Training Academy (OTA) in Chennai, Parul has been commissioned in signals.

Parul, B.Tech-degree holder from RIMT College in Mandi Gobindgarh, cleared SSB in the second attempt and gained entry into the technical branch of the OTA.

Sharing her experience, Parul said she was wearing the olive green uniform due to the support of her father.



Soon, get weather updates on your mobile
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Soon the weather update of Indian Metrological Department (IMD) of any city could be just a click away on your smart mobile phone as the department is coming up with an android application.

Union Ministry of Earth Science, Adviser Dr KJ Ramesh, who was in the city to attend the workshop on weather, society and sustainability said that the application has already been developed by the department and the final testing is going on. After the completion of the testing, it will be launched in the country for the public usage.

He said through this application, the user could get the updates of temperature, wind and rainfall of any city.

The workshop was inaugurated by the UT Finance Secretary, VK Singh. Delegates from the Punjab and Haryana agriculture department also participated in the workshop. The Haryana agriculture department Additional Director, RD Solanki revealed during the workshop that the state is planning to install met station for every three block to get the accurate weather forecast especially for the farmers. Central water board, director, A K Bhatia highlighted the alarming situation of the declining ground water level in the district of Punjab and Haryana.

Chandigarh IMD, Secretary Surinder Pal informed the delegates that the department is going to organise awareness camps, especially for the farmers of the region about weather so as to guide them about proper timing of sowing of crops.



Correspondence courses at PU
Relief for students
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Students enrolled under correspondence courses offered by Panjab University will no more have to shuttle between various departments at the PU’s Administrative Block to get their roll numbers. Now, the name of the concerned official and the branch from where the student will be issued the roll number will be uploaded on the PU’s website, along with the reason for not dispatching the roll number.

The students whose roll numbers were not released by the university due to some discrepancy had to visit the campus and shuttle between various departments to locate the concerned official.

Close to 30,000 students, hailing from Chandigarh and the neighbouring states, appearing under correspondence courses every year will be benefited from this move.

Parvinder Singh, Controller of Examination, PU, said the university had already uploaded the details of the students whose roll numbers had not been dispatched, along with the reason for not dispatching them.

“Students just need to log on to the website and put their name along with the roll number, following which all details of the students and copy of the roll number will flash on the screen,” Singh said.

He said students could check why their roll number was not dispatched and could receive it by hand after fulfilling the discrepancy.

PU officials said the roll number of private candidates in undergraduate courses had already been dispatched. If students didn’t get their roll number, they could download it from the PU website.

“Students will be allowed to appear for the first exam on the basis of the roll number downloaded after the verification of the identity proof, along with attested photographs,” officials said.



School uniform
Dept’s hasty move makes little sense
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Haste has led to waste for the UT Education Department. First it kept sitting over its decision to allocate funds to government schools for buying free uniforms for the pupils. And then, when the session is about to be over, it has hastily dispatched bank drafts to the schools. Result: Over 1 lakh students from class I to class VIII of UT have not benefited from the free uniform policy.

The schools were made to issue tenders for uniforms, but there was no response. Free school uniforms and textbooks are provided to all children in the age group of 6 to 14 years under the RTE Act. These rules were flouted openly here as thousands of UT students failed to get uniform benefits this academic session due to Education Department’s policy.

A random survey done by Chandigarh Tribune today found that students, especially those belonging to slums and colonies, were attending schools in casual dresses.

It is the second consecutive year when there has been a delay in providing schools uniforms. The uniforms for the session 2011-12 were given to students in March-April (2012) only.

The department bungled in purchasing school uniforms for the current academic session, too, after its recent policy to buy uniforms through schools fell apart due to the lower rates and tough technical specifications enforced on them.

VB Khanna, president of the School Management Committee, GMSSS-19, said there were major drawbacks in the recent policy, especially the one related to rate limits fixed by senior officials, that had forfeited the purpose of tender notices.

A senior official said they were monitoring the development and soon a proposal would be put up for amendments in the purchasing guidelines for schools.



Play on Bhagat Singh staged

Chandigarh, March 22
A play on the martyrdom day of Bhagat Singh was staged today at the Student Centre of Panjab University. It was organised by the ABVP in collaboration with Alankar Theatre.

The play focused on the issues against humanity such as crime against women. The play was attended by a large number of students from the university. The students were asked to take a pledge to fight for crime against women. — TNS



Youth festival
Panjab University wins overall trophy
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 22
Panjab University, Chandigarh, won the overall trophy at the Inter-University Youth Festival organised by the Youth Services Department of Punjab at Shivalik Public School here.

The second place was won by Punjabi University, Patiala, while Lovely Professional University secured the third place.

Seven universities of the state participated in the festival.

Daljeet Singh, Additional Secretary, Department of Youth Services and Sports, along with Hirdai Pal, Director, Youth Services, Punjab, inaugurated the festival.

The festival included skit, bhangra and giddha, mimicry, mime, poetry recitation, folk songs and choreography. The prizes were given away by Pawan Kumar Tinnu, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Youth Services, Punjab.



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