C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


day one of fest
Navratras: All for Her divine grace
Thousands throng Mansa Devi Temple; shrine receives Rs 13.5 lakh as donation
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

A man crawls to the shrine in Panchkula on Thursday
A man crawls to the shrine in Panchkula on Thursday. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Panchkula, April 11
Thousands of devotees thronged Mansa Devi Temple on the first day of Navratra fest. Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, along with his wife Asha Hooda, paid obeisance at the temple. Till 7 pm, as many as 45,000 devotees offered prayers.

The shrine received Rs 13.5 lakh as donation. Nine gold and 116 silver items were received.

The shrine also received 13 USD, 5 Canadian Dollars and 2 Singapore Dollars.

“We have come all the way from Kharar to pay obeisance to the Goddess,” said Reena, a devotee.

Zig-zag railing was installed to deal with heavy rush.

Couples took a pledge to root out female foeticide. CCTV cameras have been installed at various places. For the convenience of the devotees, a special bus service has also been started.

Commissioner of Police Rajbir Deswal, Deputy Commissioner Ashima Brar, City Magistrate Vandana Disodia, Panchkula MLA DK Bansal and president of the Haryana Chamber of Industries Vishnu Goel were also present.

Long wait proves futile

After waiting for five hours, when 78-year-old Rekha Chaudhary got a chance to pay obeisance at Mansa Devi Temple, security guards turned her away saying the CM would offer prayers first. Rekha got disheartened and returned home. Devotees had to go through a harrowing time following the arrival of Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda at the temple.

Norms flouted

Norms were flouted at Mansa Devi Temple on Thursday. Domestic cylinders were used to cook breakfast for Haryana CM. Chief Executive Officer, Mansa Devi Temple Shrine, DP Dattana said, “The cylinders have been donated by devotees."

Park inaugurated

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda inaugurated HUDA’s recreational park near Saketri, Mansa Devi Complex, Panchkula. It has the region’s first all-weather swimming pool.



Perjury proceedings against ex-councillor’s son initiated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
A local court today initiated perjury proceedings under Section 193 of the IPC against Siddharth Sanwaria, son of a former councillor of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, Dr AP Sanwaria, for giving false evidence in the court.

While pronouncing the order, the court of civil judge Parvesh Singla stated that Siddharth Sanwaria knowingly submitted fake and fabricated documents in a civil suit, presenting them as genuine.

The complaint was filed by PC Sanghi, chairman, Federation of Sector Welfare Association of Chandigarh (FOSWAC), through counsel Arvind Thakur under Section 340 CrPC for initiating proceedings under Sections 193/195 IPC against Siddharth Sanwaria for giving a false statement, affidavit and evidence during judicial proceedings in the court in a civil suit. The civil suit was filed by Siddharth Sanwaria in March 2007 against the chairman of the association, Sector 21, PC Sanghi, for rendition of accounts of the association.

The judge has given a complaint in writing to the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Chandigarh, as contemplated for taking action against Siddharth Sanwaria in accordance with law.

"The respondent gave a false statement in the civil suit that a legal notice was served on PC Sanghi, thus he committed a serious offence with dishonest and mala fide intentions, it is prayed that he be summoned and punished under Section 193 IPC in accordance with law," said the court.

It was alleged in the complaint by Sanghi that the notice and postal receipts produced by Sanwaria were fabricated only to strengthen his civil suit.

The complaint read that Sanwaria had categorically stated that he had served a legal notice on PC Sanghi, demanding rendition of accounts of the association. He had annexed copies of the legal notice and supported his claim with an affidavit, which were found to be fabricated.



Girl accuses boyfriend of rape
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 11
A student of Law Institute College, Kala Amb, has accused her boyfriend of raping her. She met him a few days ago on a bus. A case has been registered against Munish Saini at the Phase I Police Station on the complaint of the victim, who is a resident of Sector 68.

The girl alleged that the accused developed physical relations with her on the pretext of marrying her.

The victim alleged that she met the accused while travelling by a bus to her institute on March 25.

The police said Munish had introduced himself to the girl as an Army officer posted at Pathankot. “He took her into confidence and then took the victim to his brother Honey’s house at Phase I in Mohali,” the police said.

“When I insisted him for the marriage, he stopped taking my calls and switched off his cellphone,” alleged the victim.

The police said the call details of the accused’s mobile phone showed that he was a resident of Batala. Teams have been sent to nab the accused, said a police official. The police raided Honey’s house which was locked.



Chemists give a bitter pill to patients on PGI campus
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Next time when you purchase medicines from a medical store at the PGI, make it a point to ask for a bill. Chemists at the PGI do not provide bills to attendants and deduct a "favourable" amount while taking back unused medicines or surgical items from them.

Taking advantage of the perplexity of attendants' mind, most of the chemists do not give them bills and calculate the amount later.

When this correspondent visited the medical stores on the PGI campus, it was found that chemists at a majority of the shops, including the ones located in the emergency and new OPD block, calculated the cost of medicines/surgical items and asked for payment without giving a bill.

Some of them write the amount on brown packets without putting any stamp or signing below the calculation.

Sample this: A patient's attendant carries the prescription to a medical store. The chemist takes out all the medicines. He then calculates the amount and communicates the bill to the attendant verbally. If a person asks for details of the calculation or discount, as agreed upon in a contract with the PGI, the chemist writes it on the paper-made cover. If the person comes after a few days to return any of these medicines, the chemist does not refer to the cover since its not "authentic". The helpless attendant does not have any bill to justify whether he bought the medicines from the same shop and at what price. He has to accept the arbitrarily calculated returnable amount.

Ram Lal (name changed), who had purchased medicines worth Rs 4,000 from one of the stores on the PGI campus two weeks ago, came to return those since his nine-year-old son died within a few hours of admission.

"Someone told us that the chemists take the unused medicines back. When I went there, he calculated something on his computer and returned Rs 900. I do not understand how much did each of the six medicines cost. We used only one of them, and returned the other five. Yet, the amount I received was much lesser than what I paid initially," he said.

No check on malpractice

The PGI has an Estate Committee Commercial headed by Dr Arvind Rajvanshi for keeping an eye on such chemists. The committee has not conducted any surprise check at any of the 14 medical stores in the past six months. "We keep conducting checks and have even fined some of them for not issuing bills to patients. But we have our own limitations. The highest penalty in such a case can only be in the form of fine," said Dr Rajvanshi.



Converted plot owners seek Rs 1,200-crore refund
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
The ghost of the conversion policy has returned to haunt the UT Administration as members of the Converted Plot Owners’ Association have demanded their money back, which is around Rs 1,200 crore.

They allege that the Administration is in the process of implementation of the MSME Act which allows the same activities for which the converted plot owners had paid more than Rs 1,200 crore as conversion charges to the Administration.

The association maintains that under the new Act, some commercial activities like information technology (IT), banking and warehousing, for which the Administration has charged crores, will be free of conversion charge. The converted plot owners have constructed malls, hotels and offices in the Industrial Area.

In a letter to UT Adviser KK Sharma, members of the association said the Administration had allowed the change of land use from industrial to commercial activity after charging the conversion fee. Over 125 plot owners in Industrial Area have opted for the scheme.

The Administration has collected over Rs 1,200 crore as conversion charges.

Further amounts on this account continue to accrue year after year.

The association has pointed out that the IT, IT-enabled services, banking and warehousing are allowed under this scheme and upon the payment of conversion fee. The Administration is now trying to allow these commercial activities in Industrial Area free of cost.

The letter reads: “Our association is not against the implementation of the MSME Act, but before implementing it, the Administration should refund the conversion charges which they have charged for the same activities from the converted plot owners.”

Conversion policy

The Chandigarh Administration came out with the Chandigarh Conversion of Land use of Industrial Site Into Commercial Activities/Services in Industrial Area, Phase I & II, Chandigarh Scheme 2005”. This policy allowed the change of land use from industrial to commercial activity after a payment of a conversion fee wherein various commercial activities were allowed. Over 125 plot owners in Industrial Area opted for the scheme and the Administration collected over ~1,200 crores as conversion charges.



The dark side of white-collar crime
Cases of cheating, breach of trust involving women on the rise in Mohali
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 11
It’s no more a man’s world when it comes to white-collar crime. Women too are indulging in cheating and criminal breach of trust if one goes by the crime statistics compiled by the Mohali police.

Police records reveal that 59 cases of cheating (Section 420 of the IPC) and criminal breach of trust (Section 406) were registered at various police stations of the district in 2012 in which 33 women were involved. Most of these cases were of duping persons on the pretext of sending them abroad. In 2011, 67 such cases were registered in the district in which 31 women were involved.

The number of cases under Section 498-A (enticing or taking away or detaining with criminal intent a married woman) are second in the list as 32 cases involving 39 women were registered in 2012. In 2008, the number of women culprits was 47. The subsequent years witnessed fall in number of such cases. In 2009, there were 23 cases with 32 accused while 2010 and 2011 saw 11 cases (13 culprits) and 27 cases (37 culprits), respectively.

In 2012, the number of murder cases involving women was four. In 2008, six women were involved in four murder cases while in 2009, a total of seven murder cases were registered having eight women culprits. 2010 saw two cases of murder involving two women.

There has been a gradual increase in theft cases involving women. 2009 saw just a single theft case, but the number rose to six, nine and 12 in 2010, 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Similarly, a steep rise has been witnessed in the cases under Section 304-B (death of a woman caused by burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage). Last year, there were four cases involving as many as seven women in the district which was four times more than the number of such case in 2011.

When contacted Mohali SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar said: “Women are fast taking to white-collar crimes. It can be attributed to the tendency of making quick bucks and greed.”


stray cattle menace
MC officials not taking complaints seriously
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Seriousness of the municipal corporation to tackle the stray cattle menace can be gauged from the fact that officials managing the helpline number on stray cattle menace are not taking “timely” action on the complaints of residents. To avoid catching them, the officials are even giving “excuses” to complainants.

To check the effectiveness of mobile no. 9872511265, which belongs to the in charge looking into the stray cattle problem, this correspondent made a call at 6.25 pm today and informed that there were around 30 stray cattle near Baba Makhan Shah Lubana Bhawan in Sector 30.

The person who received the call said that they had just finished the cattle catching drive and now, they could not entertain the complaint at this time of the evening.

He said that now, they would catch them at night.

When the correspondent told the person that the cattle would have moved to other sectors by night, the person on the other side of the line gave an “interesting” reply.

He said the cattle would stay on in Sector 30 and the team would catch them at night.

The 30-to 40 stray cattle continued to roam in the streets of Sector 30 and motorists were finding it difficult to drive their vehicles in the presence of the animals on the roads.

Press note issued by MC

In the press note issued to mediapersons, the MC officials had said, “Residents of the City Beautiful can inform Satbir Singh, in charge, stray cattle nuisance, on mobile No. 9872511265 as and when they find any stray cattle on the city streets/public places so as to get the cattle impounded thereby insuring the safety of residents”.



Rs 20 lakh for shifting of cattle
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
The Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) today sanctioned Rs 20 lakh for shifting unclaimed stray cattle from the city to the gaushalas of other states. The committee members, including Mayor Subhash Chawla, councillors Mukesh Bassi, Darshan Garg, Arun Sood and Davesh Moudgil, along with MC officials, decided that they would shift stray cattle to Delhi-based Dabur gaushala and the Gau Sewa Mission of Garshankar in Punjab.

It was decided that MC would pay one time charges of Rs 2,000 to these gaushalas for every stray cattle.

Initially, the municipal Corporation had planned to shift 500 stray cattle to Dabur gaushala and 50 stray cattle to the Gau Sewa Mission.

Recently, the Mayor had written letters to various “gaushalas” of the country regarding shifting of stray cattle to their “gaushalas”. Thereafter, one “gaushala” had agreed to house stray cattle.



20 impounded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
After the death of 33-year-old Harpreet Singh Sodhi, the municipal corporation (MC) has started a special drive to catch stray cattle. The drive was launched last night and the MC impounded 20 stray cattle, out of which seven were buffalos. They were let off for grazing by their owners.

MC officials said that these impounded cattle would not be released, as keeping animals within the municipal limits was not permissible.

The report against the owners will be lodged with the police and there is a provision for imprisonment too.

The MC Commissioner has formed four teams for catching stray cattle that are found roaming on roads. These teams will work under the supervision of Sunil Bhatia, Additional Commissioner.



building violations
Misuse notices under scrutiny
UT Chief Administrator denies retrospective application of rules
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
An order by the UT Chief Administrator quashing a misuse notice issued by the Estate Officer under the Estate Rules, 2007, on the ground of its retrospective application has brought under legal scrutiny hundreds of misuse or building violation notices issued in other cases.

While hearing a case of misuse of residential premises (House No. 1827, Sector 34-D), the Chief Administrator has observed that the misuse notice and subsequent penalty notices are valid to fresh allotment or auctions made on or after November 7, 2007.

In the past three years, however, the UT Estate Office has issued hundreds of notices of misuse or building violation to the owners or occupiers of commercial buildings allotted prior to 2007.

In the process of retrospective application of the Estate Rules, the estate office had withdrawn notices issued under the Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulation) Act, 1952, and issued fresh notices from the previous date of violation. This resulted in the misuse or building violation fine (calculated at a rate of Rs 500 per sq yard) of crores of rupee.

“The non-application of rules with retrospective effect could mean that the execution of recovery notices issued for misuse or building violation and proceedings of sealing could be withheld. Notices of recovery running in to around Rs 50 crore have been issued in the past three years,” said a senior official.

Under the Chandigarh Estate Rules 2007 (amended in 2009), the UT Estate Office has not only sealed a number of commercial and residential premises, it has imposed a hefty fine on those found misusing their premises.

In the case under question, Brig Gurbachan Singh Gosal and Anaha Kundan Jewellery had filed an appeal before the Chief Administrator under Section 10 (3) of the Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulation) Act, 1952, for setting aside the demand of Rs 55.85 lakh as misuse charges.

While setting aside the notices of misuse, the Estate Officer has been directed to recalculate the penalty as per the first notice issued on January 6, 2005, and pass an order stating under which rule, for how much period, at which rate, for how much area and in what proportion the misuse charges had been levied.

In the legal opinion sought from the Legal Remembrance (LR), too, it has been conveyed that the rules could not be applied retrospectively.



Daily wage workers to be covered under Central pension schemes
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Putting on hold the long-pending demand of regularisation of services of as many as 2,034 daily wagers and work-charged employees, the UT administration is planning to cover them under pension schemes of the Government of India.

Sources said in a recent communication to the UT administration, the Union Government stated that all the government employees should be covered under pension schemes launched by the Centre. A senior official said the UT had started the process of executing the instructions at the earliest.

As per records of the administration, of 2,034 employees, 1,772 are daily wagers, 134 appointed on compassionate ground and 262 on work-charged basis in various departments of the administration.

Proposal for regularising services pending

The proposal for regularising services of these employees is pending for the past eight months. A committee comprising of the forest secretary, joint-secretary (personnel) and UT Chief Engineer was constituted to examine the policy of the Punjab government in this respect. The committee recommended relaxation in the educational qualification and upper-age limit as a one-time measure. For this, the committee also sought legal opinion, sources in the administration said.

The UT Adviser, KK Sharma, also directed the MC officials to draft a fresh proposal for regularising services of employees appointed on the compassionate ground and send it to the administration for approval. In a report submit by the MC Commissioner to the administration, it was stated that as many as 134 sanitation workers could be adjusted against 200 vacant posts if one-time relaxation was given. He also stated that the financial implications of this move would be low as these employees were already getting salaries from the corporation.

Sources said the engineering department, too, suggested the one-time relaxation as daily wagers had been working with the department for the past two decades. The forest department official, meanwhile, said the matter of regularising services of was sub-judice.



golf club
Close race for post of president
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Chandigarh Golf Club is gearing up for the upcoming annual general body election on April 21. As many as 1,798 members will decide the future of two candidates contesting for the post of the president.

Gurinderjit Singh Sandhu, a retired IAS officer of Punjab cadre and Tegvir Singh Sibia, an agriculturist, have filed nominations for the post of the president.

Both the candidates have promised to bring transparency in the functioning of the club and have also laid emphasis on finalising the issue of lease.

According to sources, the fight for the top post will be a close one, with both the contenders having strong support.

Both Sandhu and Sibia have served as the club president and are experts as far as management is concerned, said a source.

Besides these two, there are 22 members contesting the elections for the 11-member body.

Gurinderjit Singh SandhuGurinderjit Singh Sandhu

Status in club

Member for 25 years

Served as president five times (2000, 2001, 2005, 2006 and 2012)

Future plans

  • To get the lease of the club finalised.
  • Improvement in the golf course
  • Performance-oriented governance
  • Transparency and prudent management

My actions speak louder than words. During my tenure as the president, there were financial as well infrastructural improvements in the club, greens were well-maintained, smart cards were introduced, new equipment was bought for the health club, and improvements were made in the filtration plant of the swimming pool. New computerised irrigation system was also introduced.

Tegvir Singh SibiaTegvir Singh Sibia

Status in club

Served as president twice (1998-99 and 2001-02)

Committee member and honorary secretary in 1985-88 and 89-93

Vice-president in 1993-95.

Future plans

  • Improving the golf course as suggested by experts
  • Restoring confidence in house catering
  • Controlling prices at bar
  • Controlling expenditure
  • Pushing for decision on lease

My motives are very clear in my resume. I will stand by my words and promises. Matters regarding lease and issuance of green card are still under the consideration of court. We will try to push hard for decisions on these issues.



Liquor to cost more
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
The new liquor policy for 2013-14 is expected to be announced in the next two days. Confirming the development, a senior UT official said liquor prices would go up by around Rs 100 a bottle.

Though the UT is yet to announce the policy, there are strong indications that the administration is in the favour of keeping liquor prices almost at par with Punjab. The UT was likely to tow the excise policy of Punjab, rather than making it competitive vis-a-vis the new excise policy of Haryana, said sources in the administration.

It is in the interest of the politically controlled liquor lobby in Punjab for the policy of the UT to match the excise policy of Punjab in order to benefit them rather than the city-based traders.

The excise department is reportedly incurring a projected loss of over Rs 75 crore due to the closure of around 27 vends following an order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.



Drunk student sends police in a tizzy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
The UT police was sent in a tizzy last night when a student of DAV College in Sector 10 called the police control room saying that he had been robbed of Rs 3,000 cash and the keys of his Innova car had been snatched by assailants in Sector 15.

Two police parties were pressed into service. However, the student, Chirag, was found drunk and his purse and phone were with him, the police is verifying the facts. No case has been registered.

The student, Chirag, was taken to GMSH-16 and his medical examination confirmed the presence of alcohol in his body. The purse, cell phone and keys of SUV, which he claimed were robbed, were found at his rented accommodation in Sector 15.

Chirag called the police and alleged that three persons robbed him around 11.45 pm. When the police party reached the spot, the youth claimed that his cell phone was also robbed but when he was told that he had made a call to the control room though his cell phone, he could not provide any answer.

The police said it appeared that he had an argument with his friends and was in an inebriated state when he called the police.



Health Dept, police teams raid hookah bar
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, April 11
In a joint operation, a team of the health department and the police party raided Huka Bar at Baltana near Zirakpur here today. During the raid, hukas, tobacco and other materials were found at the bar. District Health Officer Dr Gursarn Singh said that 11 young boys were present in this bar who belong to high profile families.

The seized material has been sent for testing in the laboratory at Sector 11, Chandigarh. After the report of laboratory, it would be known that some other intoxicants could be used through smoking.

During this operation, tehsildar of Dera Bassi, Mandeep Singh Dhillon, and SHO Tarlochan Singh were also present.

The police said that the matter is being investigated.



Play depicting child labour staged

Chandigarh, April 11
A play “Ji Aaya Sahib” depicting child labour was staged at Punjab Kala Bhawan here today. Based on the short story of the famous writer, Sadat Hassan Manto, the play depicted the story of a 10-year-child “Kasim” who worked at the home of an inspector and because of work load he did not get the time to take rest.

One day, he cuts his finger with knife and because of that wound, he got two days rest. Now, whenever, the workload exceeded, he searched some sharp thing to cut his finger to get rest. But one day, he cut his finger deeply enough to get rest of some days. But unfortunately, in that bid, he lost his job and even his hand. The play ended showing the cruel face of the child labour. — TNS



Classrooms bursting at seams in city
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
“My son refused to go to school yesterday saying that his classroom had 60 students and the teacher could not notice him when he raised his hand for a question,” said a parent, Adarsh Chauhan (name changed).

Also complaining about overcrowding in school buses, he said his son’s restlessness is enough to point out how private schools are reeling under extreme pressure to maintain their proper teacher-pupil (student) ratio in their classrooms.

Not that worse like in government schools, the average classroom strength in private schools has gone beyond 40, compared to 30-35 in the previous years. In some schools, there are even more than 50-60 students in a single classroom, putting a lot of burden on their existing infrastructure and at the same time making the parents jittery.

A parent said it was no more an ideal teacher-pupil ratio, which was 1:30 and 1:35 for primary and upper primary, respectively, under the RTE Act.

Principal of a private school said they were trying their best to restrict their classes to 40-45 students, but even then the number had touched almost 50 in some classes. “Finally, we had to put our foot down because quality education is not possible with such high number,” he said.

CBSE counsellor Dr Rakesh Sachdeva, also principal of DAV-Sector 15, said class size in private schools had definitely enlarged in schools in the recent times.

“It is a serious challenge for private schools and we all must thoroughly pay attention to it and find a timely solution,” she said.

Madhu Behl, principal of KBDAV-Sector 7, said schools were appointing additional subject teachers in classrooms to give individual attention to every student.

As it has been noticed, the prolonged stagnancy in infrastructure building in Chandigarh schools is flattening the quality education.

Charles Samuel, principal of Mount Carmel School-47, said the infrastructure was stagnant because many of the schools didn’t have additional land. The only option left with us for additional rooms is to have the floor area ratio (FAR), which had not been revised here for a long time.

Vikrant Suri, principal of Tender Heart-Sector 33, said several schools started from a small house and had gradually set up their infrastructure with their hard work.

“But as society is growing, our needs are further increasing and administration must take note of it,” Vikrant said.

HS Mamik, president of the Independent School Association, said despite repeated attempts, the administration was still sitting on their proposal to revise the FAR.

“The schools can push employment in the education sector if they are allowed to increase infrastructure,” said Rakesh Sachdeva.



Flying squad: Panjab varsity flouts norms
Senator assigned duty despite his son appearing for exams
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
In a sheer violation of Panjab University rules, a member of the Senate has been assigned the duty of a flying squad for the final examinations going on in the PU-affiliated colleges, despite the fact that his son, who is a student of BA-III, is appearing for the exams.

Senate member IS Sandhu has been assigned the duty as a flying squad, despite the fact that his son, a student of DAV College, Chandigarh, is appearing for the final-year exams.

The Post Script (PS) in the appointment letter mentions that anyone assigned the duty as a flying squad member at examination centres should intimate the Controller of Examination if any of his/her close relatives are appearing for the examinations conducted by the university.

Controller of Examination Parvinder Singh said the Senate member while giving the consent for acting as a flying squad didn’t inform the university about his son, who is also a candidate in the university examination.

“The PS in the appointment letter mentions this clause, for which we rely on the information provided to us by the fellows and it’s their responsibility to disclose this information,” Parvinder said.

The Senate member had also gone to the flying squad duty at DAV College on April 5, although there was no exam of BA final year.

The issue has led to resentment among a section of Senate members who believe that a fellow should deny the duty if his ward is appearing for exams in any of the examination centres, whether in Chandigarh or Punjab.

IS Sandhu said he had not performed any flying squad duty at DAV College when his son was appearing for the exam. “The only day I went as the flying squad member to the college when I knew that my son was not appearing for the examination. Moreover, if he would have been appearing for the exam, then I would have myself denied the duty,” Sandhu said.

He said: "It is the university that selects the college and assigns the flying squad duty. The fellows don't make their own choice".

“Moreover, my son is among the meritorious students of the college. He does not require any support from me,” Sandhu said.



Education Dept to review ‘neighbourhood’ policy
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Following the latest judgement of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the UT Education Department will soon review its “neighbourhood” policy under the RTE Act. In its judgement pronounced on Tuesday, the court directed Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to come up with a clear definition of the policy.

It also ruled that admissions would first be offered to eligible students belonging to economically weaker students (EWS) and disadvantaged group residing within 1 km of specific schools. In case, the vacancies remain unfilled, students residing within 3 km of the schools would be admitted. If there were still vacancies, then admissions would be offered to other students residing within 6 km.

Talking to a senior official of the department, he said: “The UT has been following the Central Government’s policy on neighbourhood admission that stipulates us to stretch the distance to 3 km in case the seats remain unfilled”.

“Since there is no provision to go beyond 3 km, we will soon discussion on extending the neighbourhood in wake up of the latest judgement of the court,” he said.

As per information, neighbourhood policy has become a major problem for admissions to government as well as private schools. Recently, private schools were found refusing admissions to EWS students coming from other sectors, citing distance problem.

Darpan Singh, who lived in Ramdarbar, said a private school in Sector 45 refused admission to his son under the EWS quota citing that he did not reside within 1-km distance as stipulated under the RTE Act. Besides this, several government schools are also facing a lot of problem in enrolling the students due to stringent neighbourhood guidelines.

An official said all these issues would be discussed minutely. Delhi government’s rules on neighbourhood policy would also be discussed.



PU: Eight candidates appear for DPR interviews
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Interviews for the post of Director Public Relations (DPR) at Panjab University were held today. A total of eight candidates appeared for the selection interviews. Since 2009, there has been no regular DPR at the university after Sanjiv Tewari, who was a regular DPR, retired.

Those who appeared for the interview included Vineet Punia, Dr Anil Kumar Pandey, Krishan Kumar, Kamalpreet Kaur, Saiffudin Khan, Saurabh Kumar, Viney Kumar and Harminder Singh.

After Tewari’s retirement, Surinder Sharma from the Chemistry Department, Dr Sudhir Kumar from the English Department, Dr Mohanmeet Khosla and Archana R Singh, both from School of Communication Studies, acted as the university's DPR as additional charge.

Meanwhile, between these years Anil Kapoor was also appointed as the DPR for one year on a contract basis.



UK-based professor delivers lecture on Punjabi diaspora

Chandigarh, April 11
Dr Steve Taylor, Reader in International Development/Sociology, Department of Social Sciences and Languages, Faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences, Northumbria University, UK, gave a special lecture on “The Diasporic Pursuit of Home: A Transnational Punjabi Community” organised at Panjab University.

Dr Taylor spoke on the basis of his research on Punjabi diaspora for the past one decade both on Punjabi villages in Doaba, and Southall, Wolverhampton and Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK.

Taylor said through his research, he found that the Punjabis who migrated to the UK during 1950s-60s went with the hope to come back after making money.

“Some of them also built huge mansions in their villages to display their newly achieved prosperity abroad. Today, they are the worst sufferers as they left their homeland in 1950s-60s and failed to establish roots in the UK as they never wished to live there forever,” he said.

Taylor further said the third and fourth generations of Punjabi diaspora born and brought up in the UK nurture no such dream of coming back to Punjab.

“With the passage of time, the property left behind by the earlier emigrants is slowly slipping out of their hands as the people left behind to look after their properties are not keen to pass it back to them,” he said.

Dr Taylor said there was a special NRI Commission in Punjab dealing with such property disputes and other matrimonial acrimony. For fear of losing property, which often falls into disputes, the present generation of NRIs is now disposing it of to meet the recessional crisis in the UK. “It is a myth that NRI money is coming to Punjab, it is other way round,” said Dr Taylor. — TNS



Private schools in city to revise monthly fee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Private schools in the city are in the process of revising their monthly fee for the new session with 10 per cent to 15 per cent hike. The schools had held back this decision due to the pending litigation on the fee issue in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Since the judgement of the court is out, schools have gone ahead with their revision citing general hike in their overall administrative expenses.

HS Mamik, president of the Independent Schools Association, said: “With the court allowing us for hike, all schools have gone ahead with the revision of monthly fee. The hike, which varies between 10 per cent and 15 per cent, is strictly in consonance with the annual increase in our expenses like increment of staff, increase in electricity expenses and general inflation”.

Missionary schools are also set to revise their monthly fee. Kavita Das, principal of St John’s High School, said: “Although the revision in monthly fee is imminent due to hike in the overall expenditure on a year-to-year basis, we are at present going through the court’s judgement. The final judgement will be taken thereafter”.

As per information, the problem for schools is not over yet on the issue of increase in fee. The Punjab and Haryana High Court has ordered to set up three separate committees for Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, which will study the reason of the hike in fee charged by schools in the last academic session.

These committees will check the accounts of schools. If it was found that the fee hiked by schools was more than warranted, then directions would be given to them to refund the same to students.

For new session, too, schools will have to justify their revision in monthly fee by producing necessary material before the committee, which is headed by Justice RS Mongia (retd).



UBS prof to get Macro Research Award
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Dr Tejinderpal Singh, Assistant Professor, University Business School (UBS), Panjab University, Chandigarh, has been selected for the “Macro Research Award” by the Indian Institute of Banking and Finance (IIBF), Mumbai, for 2012-13.

Dr Singh has been selected for the award among 40 contestants after two rounds of the selection process. The IIBF received 40 research proposals from researchers, academicians and bankers from across India. Only 10 researchers were shortlisted and called for presentation of their research proposal before the Research Advisory Committee of the IIBF, which comprised of eminent bankers and economists.

After the presentation, three researchers were awarded research fellowship for the macro research project.

Dr Singh will focus his research study on security and privacy issues in e-banking by in-depth analysis of this services of selected banks.



Lecture focuses on Ambedkar’s life

Chandigarh, April 11
The Ambedkar Student's Association of Panjab University today organised a lecture on Ambedkar notion of socialism to commemorate the forthcoming 122th Ambedkar Jayanti, which falls on April 14.

Various dignitaries, including Mohammad Sadique, Congress MLA from Punjab, attended the lecture on the ideology of Ambedkar and the struggle of his life at Gandhi Bhavan on the university campus. — TNS



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