C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Patil pulls up senior officials
Asks them to speed up process for the corporatisation of Electricity Dept
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil today pulled up senior officials of the Chandigarh Administration and directed them to speed up the process for the corporatisation of the Electricity Department, which was approved by the Union Government in 1999.

Patil was upset that even after 14 years, the proposal, which was mooted to improve the functioning of the Electricity Department, was yet to see the light of day.

At a meeting with senior UT officials, Patil said there was need for the corporatisation of the Electricity Department on the pattern of other states.

In 2004, Ernst & Young, the consultants appointed by the Administration to make recommendations for the corporatisation of the Electricity Department, had submitted a report to the Administration, but to no avail.

Patil also pulled up the officials for failing to bring down the transmission and distribution (T&D) losses of the department from 21 per cent to 15 per cent as directed by the Power Ministry.

At a recent public hearing session by the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC), city residents had urged the Administration follow the example of Gujarat where in Ahmedabad and Surat, the T&D losses were 8 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively.

Bouquets for SE

While senior UT officials were pulled up at the meeting, Superintending Engineer (Electricity) MP Singh was praised. MP Singh is handling a number of responsibilities, including the purchase of power, submitting petitions before the JERC and enforcement of rules.

Corporatisation benefits

A senior UT official said the advantages of corporatisation were many. Under the system, officials would be able to appoint employees according to their requirement and they could take a decision immediately with the approval of the Board of Directors. Financial matters could be managed independently.

Under the existing system, before finalising a decision, permission had to be taken from the Administration and Power Ministry, which often delayed matters.

He said the Administration found itself "powerless" in the matter of purchasing power. It could not buy electricity without the approval of the ministry. The Administration had to seek permission from the ministry for every tender exceeding Rs 8 crore for the purchase of power.

Employees unhappy

Unhappy over the corporatisation move, general secretary of the UT Powermen Union Gopal Joshi said they would hold a protest against the move. He said UT officials should first resolve the matter pertaining to short age of staff and material in the department.

Admn fails on reforms front

The Administration has failed to implement reforms in the power sector, especially the one pertaining to preparing the online data of consumers, power connections and the entire power infrastructure in the city under the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (R-APDRP).

New set-up

According to the plan, Chandigarh State Electricity Corporation Limited (CSECL) will register itself under the Companies Act, 1956, with the objective of initiating a process of restructuring the power sector. 



It’s now UT’s turn to check liquor smuggling
Cheaper wine in P’kula poses threat to liquor trade in city
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
With the new excise policy of the UT for 2013-14 out, it will be a complete reversal of the role for the UT Excise and Taxation Department.
Rather than “laughing its way to glory” by offering stiff competition to Punjab by offering liquor at comparatively cheaper rates, it will now be the turn of the UT to guard its borders against the influx of cheap liquor from Panchkula (Haryana).

Thanks to the new excise policy of the UT, that apparently guards the interests of the powerful liquor lobby of Punjab, liquor will be cheaper by 15 per cent to 20 per cent in Panchkula.

Previously, excise officials of Punjab were often seen frisking people at Mohali for bringing liquor bottles from Chandigarh. It is now the UT officials’ turn to find out ways to check the smuggling of liquor.

“We will not allow liquor to be brought to the city from Panchkula. From setting up mobile nakas to monitoring all possible smuggling channels, we will do everything possible to check smuggling,” said a senior official.

In light of the new excise policy of Haryana, there is a huge variation in the prices of liquor in Panchkula and those in the city under the new policy, that will come into force from May 1.

Quoting the policy, sources in the trade said popular brand like Black Dog would be cheaper by around Rs 300 a bottle in Panchkula. Similarly, a bottle of Peter Scott and Blenders Pride would be cheaper by around Rs 70 and Rs 50, respectively.

“For connoisseurs of expensive liquor brands, Panchkula will be the destination. The UT has hiked the duty on premium brands to bring these on a par with Punjab,” said an official.

Satpal, a veteran in the liquor trade, said the policy was a blunder “geographically, logically and population wise”.Though the exact status would be known once the ex-distillery prices of different brands were quoted by the distilleries, sources in the trade said a clear picture would emerge after the total number of vends sold was known. The lesser the number of vends sold, the better it would be for the stakeholders. The total liquor quota to be lifted would be decided according to the number of vends sold.

The problem of officials in Chandigarh would further be compounded as traders in Panchkula were not sticking to the minimum retail price as enforced in Chandigarh.


Bars to be regulated

In the new excise policy, the department has decided to regulate the business of bars attached with restaurants. There are around 100 such bars in the city. It has been seen in some cases in the past that to get a bar licence, a small restaurant is often opened. However, now the applicants will have to apply for a licence after six months of the commencement of their operations and the licence will be issued only if they have paid a minimum of Rs 30,000 as VAT for the corresponding period. 



Rude nurses add to patients’ pain
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Rude behaviour by paramedical staff, especially staff nurses, has emerged as a major problem for patients at city hospitals. Nasty remarks by nurses often leave patients embarrassed in wards.

The staff blame it on high patient inflow at the three government hospitals in the city, saying that work overload leaves nurses stressed. There is no effective mechanism for sensitisation of nurses, resulting in many of them adopting a high-handed attitude.

Last month, a patient wrote to Chandigarh Tribune, sharing his harassment at the hands of the paramedical staff at the PGI. The patient was admitted to the gynaecology ward of the hospital and wrote that nurses were reluctant in answering basic queries of attendants and refused to even pass on a message to the patient. The nurses often misbehaved with the attendants.

The problem is similar at other hospitals, including the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, where the attendant is the only hope for the patient right from cleaning the floor around the bed to carrying test samples to labs.

Officials at Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, said staff nurses were generally found to be more "ruthless" than those hired on contract. "The staff nurses have no fear of losing their job and tend to be harsh with patients," said an official.

Visits to these hospitals revealed that nurses do not respond in one go if an attendant calls them. Himmat Singh (name changed), a Mohali-based shopkeeper who took his expectant wife for delivery to the hospital last week, said, "Perhaps these people are too frustrated or thick skinned since they do not show any sympathy towards the patient, who is often in pain. My wife was in intense pain, but nobody attended to her for over 15 minutes after we took her inside the Emergency. Twice a nurse passed by and overlooked her. When I asked her to attend to my wife, she said I better wait for another nurse since she was on the phone."


Staff shortage

Staff members at the GMCH said due to a shortage of staff against the sanctioned posts, they were overburdened. Against the sanctioned strength of 255 paramedical staff members at the hospital, 61 are lying vacant.

PGI's take

PGI spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar said, "Whenever there is a complaint, we take stern action. Besides, the in charge of nursing in all departments looks into these issues. We also organise counselling sessions."

The spokesperson said nurses were sensitised during the induction training every year and were asked to be polite to patients.



Girl molested, pushed out of moving car
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
A girl staying as a paying guest in the city was allegedly abducted, molested and slapped by three youths in a moving car in Sector 21 and later abandoned at some distance late this evening.

The girl called up the police control room and stated that she was kidnapped and later thrown out from a moving car. The police was recording the statement of the girl at the time of filing this report.

The girl told the police that one of the youths who kidnapped her was known to her and they had recently parted ways. The prime accused has been identified Harkamaljeet Singh of Mohali.

DSP Vijay Kumar said they were investigating the case.



Weighty matter 
Carrying school bags no child’s play
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Sample this: An 11-year-old child carrying a school bag weighing 10 kg! Students are literally carrying the "burden of education" on their backs at a tender age. A parent claimed that she weighed the school bag of her 11-year-old child studying in Class VI and found that it weighed 10 kg.

"I found it difficult to carry my son’s bag and decided to walk up to a weighing scale in a store and was shocked to see that it weighed 10 kg. I wonder how children manage to carry such heavy load on their backs,” said Ronita Soni, (name changed), a parent.

A random survey by Chandigarh Tribune revealed that students daily carried eight to 10 books, an equal number of notebooks, an art kit, lunch (two tiffins in several schools), a water bottle, lab manuals, the school diary and a host of other things, including a pencil box, a geometry box and dictionaries, which made the school bag heavy.

The problem, parents said, was more serious in case of children of elementary classes since their school bags often weighed more than their body weight.

Parents said overloaded school bags weighed heavy on students’ backs and mind, leading to daily anxiety, besides giving rise to health issues such as back and spinal pain.

While some schools have a provision for keeping textbooks and copies in the school, most others are without this facility. Dr Rakesh Sachdeva, Principal of DAV, Sector 15, said, “Schools have failed to provide in-house locker facilities and take other measures to check the burden on the students’ shoulders,” the Principal said.

Another parent, Munish Kumar, said unless clear directions were issued by the government or affiliated boards, schools would continue to take the issue lightly. 

Need to conduct study, says PGI doctor

Dr VS Gogia from the Department of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, PGI, said, “No study has been conducted from the Indian perspective to ascertain the ideal school bag weight for Indian students.” He said studies conducted in the West recommended that the weight of the school bag should not exceed 5 per cent of the child's weight. He said a detailed study was required to ascertain the ideal school bag weight for Indian students.

Health concerns

A recent study by the Department of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, PGI, found that the school bag weight, footwear and other postural habits were creating problems like backache, shoulder pain and headache for students. It also showed that children were carrying bags weighing much more than what they ideally should be carrying.


Cops found wanting in their task
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 15
At the cost of security of thousands of people during the ongoing Navratra fest at the Mansa Devi temple, the police officials deployed were seen having a gala time, gossiping, gobbling ‘parshad’ and having a tete-a-tete.

Over 950 cops have been deployed at the Mansa Devi temple, including women police officials.

Despite being on duty, all of them were seen sitting under a tree giving two hoots to the safety of thousands of devotees. The Mansa Devi temple is the most sensitive point these days where thousands of devotees throng the shrine throughout the day to pay obeisance.

Not only this, there was not even a single woman police official at the “bhandara” place where the “langar” is held while many of them were seen relaxing and chatting on a bench during the duty hours.

“As huge rush just storms into the ‘bhandara’ place when you open the same, there is a point when you need to stop the crowd. We were badly manhandled by the male police officials here,” said Rani Devi, a devotee. She said, “At least a lady police official should be deployed there. The authorities should show a bit of sensitivity.”

Due to jostling at the “bhandara” place, a resident of Nayagaon, lost her gold chain. The victim, Kiran, was wearing a gold chain of 2 tolas when the incident took place.

Dinesh Chauhan, Station House Officer of the Mansa Devi police station, said: “The investigation is underway.

The police had made tall claims about the full proof security at the temple. “Everyone knows that the temple is receiving huge rush of devotees daily and the police officials should be more vigilant,” said Vikram Dua, a devotee

To one’s surprise, the metal detector which was put up in the corridor from the main entrance to check people has also been removed and it was told by one of the police officials, who himself was sitting under a shade, that the detector is not working and that is why it has been lifted from the place.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Noopur Bishnoi said, “I will definitely look into the matter.” 



Needy cool heels as the healthy use golf carts
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 15
The golf carts at Mansa Devi temple are being used by healthy and young persons instead of the physically challenged and elderly persons.
A brawl also took place on the temple premises around 12.30 pm today when a driver of a golf cart refused to take a fat woman who was unable to walk and rather was ferrying a slim and perfect fit devotee to the main entrance.

“They are ferrying those people who are perfectly fine. When I asked the driver to ferry my relative who is ill and cannot walk because of her obesity problem, they flatly refused,” said Sunil Gupta, a devotee.

Heated arguments took place and the devotee had to come to the main entrance on foot.

DP Dattana, Chief Executive officer (CEO) of the temple, said: “The carts are meant for the ailing persons. If the drivers have done this way, I will definitely look into the matter.”

The golf carts were introduced by the Panchkula Administration to transport the elderly, physically challenged and ailing people from the entrance to the temple. Four golf carts were arranged for the Navratras.



Fresh trouble for Berkeley Autos
Sister concern Berkeley Securities owners booked in a fraud case
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
After being booked in a cheating case involving a massive fraud of car sales on forged documents in January this year, the owners of Berkeley Automobiles have landed in fresh trouble with the Punjab Police recently registering a fresh case of fraud against the Sector 26-based Berkeley Securities, a sister concern of Berkeley Automobiles.

Even as the owners have shut their car dealership in the city, the company owners and employees continue to be booked in a wide variety of cheating cases.

Acting on a complaint of Jalandhar-based Rajesh Sehgal, the Punjab Police has booked as many as eight accused in a 16.54-lakh forgery and illegal transaction case committed by the Chandigarh-based Maruti Suzuki dealer.

According to the complaint, Rajesh Sehgal was introduced to the Berkeley Automobiles Ltd company based at Sector 26 in Chandigarh by a person. He was induced to open an account by giving a rosy picture that the margin of profit in the share trading was very high and his money would grow manifold. He got an account opened on February 23, 2010. He asked the company how much funds had increased, he was told that he had suffered a loss of about Rs 45,000.

At this, he took his payout of Rs 4,54,361 against the credit balance of Rs 4,52,400 and the company adjusted its debit balance of Rs 1,960 on its own. He said the company officials continued to approach him to invest more and he again succumbed to pressure and gave two cheques for Rs 6 lakh on July 28, 2010, and Rs 12 lakh on August 24, 2010, with specific instructions that no trade under any circumstances be conducted till he ordered them to do so.

Sehgal was shocked to receive an SMS in March 2011 that the company had siphoned off funds to the tune of about Rs 16.5 lakh without his knowledge. He reported to the police and a case under sections 406, 420 and 120-B of the IPC was registered.

Those booked in the case are directors of Berkley Securities Ltd Rajeev Dahuja and Kapil Sain Goyal, sub-brokers from Chandigarh Aditya Gupta and Davinder Kalra, alias Pankaj, Puja Sharma, former regional manager, one witness and a wrong addressee, Rajesh Gupta, and introducer Mani Sharma based in the Jalandhar cantonment here.

Four of the accused got interim bail from a Jalandhar court today.

The Maruti Suzuki has already issued a public notice regarding the termination of the dealership agreement with the company on February 27.


Cases against Berkeley

  • On January 30, the UT police arrested three persons and unearthed a huge fraud of sale of cars on forged documents by certain employees of Berkeley Automobiles in Industrial Area Phase 1. The accused, including the Assistant General Manager of Berkeley Automobiles, were accused of providing Maruti Swift and Maruti Swift Dezire cars to customers by preparing forged documents like fake insurance cover notes and fake temporary registration numbers.
  • Certain Maruti owners from Delhi have filed a separate complaint with the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the UT police asking them to book the owners of Berkeleys as well in the car sales fraud. The complaint is under investigation, said DSP Ram Chander Meena, in charge of the UT police. 



Siblings join hands for noble cause
A generation in family pledges bodies for donation at GMCH-32
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
An 84-year-old freedom fighter, a 78-year-old retired government official, a 74-year-old retired labour officer, a 65-year-old social worker, three homemakers aged 80, 78 and 70 and another 68-year-old woman, a social worker. Apart from being united with blood relations, these eight elderly siblings also had a common vision towards making a remarkable contribution to society. They gathered at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, today and pledged their bodies for donation.

These eight elderly persons have had a long association and were inspired by the suggestion of the youngest of them, who first came up with the idea of body donation.

“In 2008, when I was celebrating my birthday by performing a special 'sadhana' with all my brothers and sisters along with Dr Swami Divyanand Saraswati in Tapovan Ashram in Dehradun, a public appeal was made for eye donation, after the rituals. I responded to that and realised apart from this meagre donation of eyes, I would rather settle for the whole body. That very moment inspired me to donate my body for a noble cause. It also took me little more time to inspire my brothers and sisters who are already into social causes. I lost my wife last year and my inclination towards social work strengthened,” said 65-year-old Sushil Bhatia, the youngest among them.

Others in the family include 84-years-old KK Bhatia (freedom fighter), 78-years-old Dharamvir Bhatia (retd LIC officer), 74-year-old Bhim Dev Bhatia (retd labour officer), Darshana Bhatia (80), Ved Kumari Bhatia (78), Prem Bhatia (70), all house makers, and 68-year-old Vijay Rani Bhatia, a social worker. 



Taking sibling rivalry too far
Doc 'cooks up' story to stall younger sister's marriage
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 15
Taking a sibling rivalry too far, a 27-year-old Delhi-based doctor almost framed her sister's fiance in a false case, alleging that he had assaulted her sexually on March 8 while her sister was to get married on April 11.

But she could not fool her parents who stood by the groom-to-be and told the police that she had concocted a story as she did not want her three years younger sister to get married before her marriage.

The police has now booked the complainant, Dr Shubra Jain, under section 182 of the IPC.

Dr Shubra had visited Panchkula on March 8 while her sister was to get married on April 11. She had, in her complaint, alleged that when she reached the house, the groom's mother went inside the kitchen and she was alone with her would-be brother-in-law in the drawing room when he assaulted her sexually. When she raised an alarm, the boy's mother did not believe her and asked her to leave.

Dr Shubra complained to the legal services authority on the eve of the wedding and later approached the police to register her complaint urgently as she never wanted such a person to marry her sister and approached the police to file a complaint.

The "victim" also alleged that she narrated the incident to her parents and sister, but they also did not believe her. It was then she submitted a complaint to Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Ashwin Shenvi, who marked the same to Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Virender Sangwan.

The newlywed couple, who got married on the night of April 11, were sitting in the police station of Sector 5 the next morning.

Neither any proof nor any evidence was found, which could substantiate the crime. During investigations it was found that the "victim" had cooked up a story as she never wanted her sister to marry first because the former was three years elder to her and her marriage prospects could be affected.

A case under section 182 has been registered against Dr Shubra and the police would arrest her soon.

Meanwhile, Shubhra denied the allegations. She said: "In such a situation, even my parents did not side by me and rather they were only threatening me that if I pursue the complaint, I will be booked. Why would I think bad for my sister when it was her love marriage?" 



Mohali MC to recruit sanitation employees
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 15
Following numerous complaints from residents about poor sanitation in the town, the Municipal Corporation now plans to end the present private contractor-based system and take up the cleaning work on its own.

The private sanitation contract will expire next month.

Sources said the civic body has drawn up a plan to hire staff to undertake sanitation work. It is estimated that nearly 500 safai karamcharis are likely to be required for the job.

It is learnt that the civic body proposes to retain the present four zones into which the town has been divided for sanitation purposes. The new staff will function under the corporation’s sanitary inspectors. 



Only 4 attend Patil’s public hearing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Once again, UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil's public hearing session witnessed a poor response with only four complainants turning up at the venue here today.
In her complaint, Maninder Kaur, a resident of Zirakpur, alleged that the UT police was not taking action against her in-laws in a dowry case. She accused a Sub-Inspector of partiality in the probe. Patil directed the UT officials to look into the matter.

Another complainant, Vijay Kumar Gupta, a resident of Sector 45, raised the issue of execution of conveyance deed and refund of excess deposit of the ground rent of his house.

The officials informed the Administrator that until and unless the applicants remove the building violations, the case cannot be considered. As far as the matter pertaining to the refund of excess amount as claimed by the applicant is concerned, the same is under active consideration, the officials said.

Ajay Kumar, proprietor of Millennium Outdoor Advertisers, urged the administrator to allow the display of an illuminated LED screen panel at Neelam Theatre. The UT officials said there was no policy on LED screens.

Pooja Sharma, along with other complaint, raised the issue of demolition of houses in Mani Majra.



Furniture, rehris confiscated

Chandigarh, April 15
During a special anti-encroachment drive, the enforcement wing of the Municipal Corporation today removed encroachments from different markets of the city and issued challans to 115 violators.

The MC team removed encroachments from the Sector 34 furniture market, Industrial Area, Phase I, and Mani Majra. The MC staff confiscated various items, including rehris, tables, stools, crates, pharis, garments, cylinders and furniture.

The drive was carried out on Additional Commissioner Lalit Siwach' directions and supervised by Kashmira Singh. — TNS



UT to release grant for welfare board
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The UT Administration has sent a communication to the Chandigarh Social Welfare Board for the release of a pending grant of Rs 30 lakh. This administrative action comes in the wake of a story published in Chandigarh Tribune highlighting the delay in the releasing of a grant of Rs 60.43 lakh. The non-release of the grant had delayed the payment of salary to the employees of the board for the past three years.

In a communication sent to the board today, the administration has stated that out of the pending grant of Rs 60.43 lakh, the administration is going to release Rs 30 lakh to the board at the earliest. The officials of the board stated that it would not be easy for the administration to release the grant to the board as it had not been notified by the administration till date.

Sources revealed that last month also the administration had assured the board of the release of Rs 17 lakh as the board was facing an acute financial crunch. However, the administration failed to notify the constitution of the board. The administration has not notified the appointment of new chairperson Kamlesh, who was appointed by the Central Social Welfare Board in November last year. According to the norms, no grant could be released to the board by the authorities till it is notified.

Meanwhile, Kamlesh stated that at a recent meeting with the officials of the administration, they had assured her that the notification had to be approved by UT Administrator Shivraj P Patil, but till date no communication, in this regard, has been received by the board.

Adding to the woes of the Chandigarh board, several issues, including the opening of five creches, revision of nutrition funds and the revision of honorariums of the helpers of the creches, are lying in cold storage.

The records of the board revealed that during former chairperson Lalit Joshi's three-year tenure, the constitution of the board had not been notified, so no meeting was held during that period. In fact, even after the expiry of the last tenure, no fresh panel for the board's chairperson was sent to the central board for consideration. The sources said three reminders were sent to the administration for recommending the panel for the appointment of chairperson but no proposal was sent by the authorities. Resultantly, the central board itself appointed Kamlesh as chairperson of the board.

According to the norms, a meeting of the board is chaired by the chairperson and its members include four social workers of the city and four ex-officio members, including directors of the Social Welfare Department, Public Instructions (Schools), Technical Education and Health.



CHB staff start chain fast

Chandigarh, April 15
The Chandigarh Housing Board Employees Coordination Committee today started a 15-day chain fast on the premises of the CHB office in Sector 9 here in protest against the delay in the implementation of a pension scheme for the employees.

Bachan Singh, Harbans Singh, Manjit Singh, all retired employees, and Gurdev Chand and Sat Pal Singh, both working employees of the CHB, were garlanded by GS Rosha and BK Nangia, retired Chief Engineer and SE, respectively, before they started the agitation, which will continue till April 29.

The CHB recommended the pension scheme case to the Chandigarh Administration in 2009 for getting the Administrator's approval. — TNS



e-Sampark kiosk opened in Sec 35
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The UT Administration today opened an e-Sampark kiosk in Sector 35, which would be an extension of the Sampark Centre of Sector 43.
Prerna Puri, Secretary, IT, said as of now the kiosk would provide limited services to residents but the list of services would be expanded according to the public response. The Department of Information Technology is working towards opening more such kiosks in sectors, she added.

Director, IT, Tanvi Garg said the e-Sampark kiosk would be manned by an operator, who would be equipped with a laptop and an energy-efficient printer. The kiosk would open from 9am to 6pm (Monday to Saturday) and would provide the services like collection of electricity, water and telephone (mobile and landline phones) bills, taxes (VAT/CST), tenant registration, domestic servants' registration and sale of stamp papers and revenue and adhesive stamps. Payments can be made at the kiosk against cheques only, she added. 



MC drive against misuse of water
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The Municipal Corporation today started a campaign against the misuse of water and 14 teams issued challans to 45 persons for misusing potable water in different areas of the city.

Nodal officer BK Dhawan said a majority of challans were issued to residents for washing cars and watering lawns. He said the drive would continue till June 30.

The MC had decided to impose a fine of Rs 2,000 on the violators and it will be included in the water bill.

From April 15 to June 30, watering of lawns, washing of cars and courtyards using a hosepipe will not be allowed from 5.30 am to 8.30 pm. A fine will be imposed in case of leakages in pipes, overflowing water tanks or water coolers.



slum rehabilitation scheme
Ex-Union Minister seeks 2-room sets for allottees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Former Union Minister and senior BJP leader Harmohan Dhawan today demanded that the allottees should be given two-room flats instead of one-room sets under the slum rehabilitation scheme, as it was difficult for a family to stay in a one-room house.

Addressing a press conference, Dhawan said recently, Union Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja had also told the UT officials to provide two-room flats instead of one-room sets, but to no avail.

Dhawan said if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is expected to come to the city for the inauguration of a complex (comprising one-room flats) built under the slum rehabilitation scheme, inaugurated this complex they would show him black flags. But, if the UT changes the scheme to two-room-flat project, then they will welcome the Prime Minister, he added.

Dhawan and members of the Ekta Samiti also demanded that instead of charging rent from the allottees, they should be granted ownership rights. A biometric survey of slum dwellers was conducted in 2006 to establish the eligibility for the allottees. However, a condition was added that the allottees' names should appear on the electoral list 2006. Dhawan explained that hundreds of poor people faced harassment for their names were found missing on the 2006 electoral list. However, their names appear on the electoral list before and after 2006, he added.



No major faults found during trial run
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Hopefully the much awaited Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link will become operational by May.

RK Kardam, Chief Commissioner, Rail Safety (CCRS), Northern circle, with his team has completed the three-day inspection of the track today.

Sources said that on the last day of the inspection trail run of diesel and electrical engines at the speed of 100 km per hour was conducted on a 55-km-long track by the CCRS.

According to sources, no major faults were noticed by the CCRS during the inspection but the picture will become clear after the report of rail link is submitted on the basis of which safety certificate will be issued.

Officials said the CCRS also inspected the works related to mechanical, civil, electrical, bridges, signal engineering service and over head electrical wires in the last two days of the inspection of the rail link. The inspection was conducted at Khamanon, Samrala, Sahnewal, New Morida, Dhandari and Lallan Kala tracks.

Sources said, “After the inspection of the rail link if any fault is found then these will have to be rectified by the railway authorities before getting green signal for starting of the trains on this route.”

A senior official said, “The authorities have already deployed staff on the stations which will be covered under this 55 km track from Chandigarh to Ludhiana. After getting the approval from the CCRS, the train chart will be prepared for plying the trains on this route.”

Honour for railway official:

The railway ministry is going to honour the Ambala Division Operational Head Nar Singh on the Railway Day scheduled for tomorrow for the outstanding performance of his wing.

The award will be given by the Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal. 



Rotary Club honours six persons
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
While actively carrying out the recovery operation of 3-year-old Harmeini who was kidnapped in January, Inspector Parkash had hardly imagined that his enthusiasm in arresting the accused in the case that led to much sensation in the city will win such an honour for him. Inspector Prakash was honoured by the Rotary Club Chandigarh for going a step ahead in his field.

Others who were honoured during the event included Ram Baran, leading fireman at Manimajra fire station. He has been honoured for his enthusiasm to work in all situations and maintaining a good conduct.

There were a total of six awardees who were recognised for their exception contribution in their respective fields. In addition to Ram Baran and inspector Parkash, Sunita Kumari Singh, a public health nurse at the PGIMER; K Madhusudan , Assistant Manager at Fortis Hospital; Shangrila Dubey, a school counsellor; and Surinder Mohan Awasthi, Senior Accounts Officer, Indian Audit Accounts Department were honoured. 



Puppetry festival ends in Bulgarian style
Tribune News Service

An artiste perfroms during the thrird day of the International Puppetry Festival at the Tagore Theatre in Chandigarh on Monday.
An artiste perfroms during the thrird day of the International Puppetry Festival at the Tagore Theatre in Chandigarh on Monday. Tribune photo: pradeep tewari

Chandigarh, April 15
The traditional Bulgarian fairy tale concluded the three-day International Puppetry Festival at Tagore theatre today.
Presented by Bulgarian theatre troupe, the 40-minute-long puppetry show titled "Garbage for Plums" was fun-filled having mischievous puppets entertaining the audience.

The show had several different puppets creating humour for the crowd. After the show, director Peter Todorov said this was created as a part of "Thalassa of Myths" project with the financial support of culture programme of education department of the European Union.



Extension to re-employed teacher
Law Dept chairperson tenders resignation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The ongoing conflict over the joining date of one of the re-employed teachers at the Department of Laws, Panjab University (PU), forced Prof Nishta Jaswal, chairperson of the department, to tender her resignation on Monday.

Prof Nishta Jaswal on Monday called a meeting of the Academic Administrative Committee (AAC) at the department and gave her resignation at the meeting over the matter related to the extension to re-employed teacher Dr Prem Nath.

On October 6, the PU Syndicate took the decision regarding the scheme of a two-year extension to the re-employment of teachers after retirement, i.e. up to the total of 65 years. Based on the Syndicate decision, Prem Nath requested for the extension in October only.

In November, a meeting of the AAC was held to consider the request made by Prem Nath. However, the committee deferred the request stating that there was no communication from the university about enhancing the re-employment age.

The final approval to the Syndicate decision was given at the Senate meeting held in December. The Law Department, after the Senate decision, held its meeting in January and rejected the request made by Prem Nath and sent the communication to Vice-Chancellor Arun Grover.

The Vice-Chancellor, however, overruling the committee’s decision gave an extension to Prem Nath till the age of 65 years.

Based on the Syndicate’s decision and the VC’s approval, Prem Nath wants the department to consider his extension from October.

The department, meanwhile, got the requisite information on Prem Nath only in February this year and claims that they can’t consider the extension in re-employment from October.

Sources said the department had also sought a clarification over the joining date from the university. “The recent verbal communication from the VC asking the chairperson to consider Prem Nath’s joining from October led Prof Nishta to give her resignation,” the sources said.

Nishta Jaswal was unavailable for comments. Meanwhile, GK Chatrath, Dean, Law, said the resignation of the chairperson had not been accepted.



Dept plans prefabricated school buildings
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The Education Department is mulling over construction of prefabricated school buildings to address the immediate problem of shortage of infrastructure, especially in the periphery, that has government schools bursting at its seams due to large strength of students.

A senior official said a proposal in this regard had already been put up. Currently, the department was studying the technical and financial possibility of erecting prefabricated schools.

The speed at which the Education Department needs more new schools is comparatively very slow. A new school building in the Mani Majra complex is under construction for the past 3-4 years. Elsewhere too, the Engineering Department often takes at least 2 years to construct a school building.

“This new proposal, if gets approval, can speedily build up school infrastructure in the areas where there is a massive shortage,” said an official.

Department officials said all government schools in the periphery were running in double shift, which is proving to be a major challenge to keep quality education standards intact amid large strength of students. The population is increasing every year, further putting a lot of pressure on the existing “overloaded” infrastructure.

These days, parents can be seen scrambling for seats in government schools of the city. Lack of school infrastructure in areas like Naya Gaon, which falls in Punjab territory, is also a cause of worry for the department as children of these areas are dependent upon Chandigarh government schools.

“If the proposal of prefabricated schools gets through, it can be of a great help to meet the present infrastructure woes,” said officials.

Only hitch, the department is worried about, is the security concerns as well as how it remains unaffected in different seasons. Officials are studying prefabricated infrastructures built by several educational institutes in different parts of the country.

An official said shortly one school could be started in the Mauli Jagran colony on a pilot basis to study various aspects of its infrastructure.



NSUI members submit memo
Want Panjab University budget to be online

Chandigarh, April 15
Members of the NSUI at Panjab University today submitted a memorandum demanding that the university budget should be online. The students gathered outside the PU administrative block before the Syndicate meeting and gave the memorandum to the Vice-Chancellor and all Syndicate members.

The students demanded that to ensure transparency, detailed budget should be put on the PU’s website. “The students have the right to known about the university budget, which will lead to transparency in the system,” NSUI members said.

The students claimed that the move would also make the university administration more accountable.

The members of Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) also staged a protest over various demands, including revision of syllabus in various departments. — TNS



NIPER students resume strike
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 15
Students of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) resumed their strike here today to press the authorities to concede to their demands.
They sat on a dharna outside the gate of the institute and raised slogans against the director. They also held a candle light march in the evening.

The protesting students said even after a period of 15 days, the NIPER authorities had failed to fulfil their demands.

They sought the appointment of a regular director at the institute for proper administration. They said there should be a probe into the alleged bungling of funds at NIPER.

The protesters also sought UGC recognition of degrees like MS (Pharm) and PhD awarded by the institute.

They said the placement percentage was very low and blamed the institute for it. They sought the appointment of dedicated placement officers keeping in mind the career of student.

The protesters said the student-faculty ratio had been constantly declining. There had been a rise in the number of students, but no corresponding increase in the recruitment of faculty members. They sought an optimum student-teacher ratio at the institute.

The students said despite funds being available from the Central Government, hostel facilities had not been improved. They demanded better facilities and infrastructure at the hostel.

Their other demands included an improvement in medical facilities and release of research funding in a timely manner.

The protesting students said they would not sign on the attendance register till representatives from the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers arrived to resolve the issues. They threatened to go on fast if no representative from the ministry arrived, or an appropriate message was received from it, by tomorrow.

Students of NIPER had earlier on March 28 staged a protest against the termination of the services of

Prof Parikshit Bansal by Director Dr KK Bhutani. The protest went on for a few days and was suspended following meetings between the authorities and the students to solve the problems.



Important issues left pending
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Panjab University’s Syndicate meeting held today ended after discussing around 19 agenda items, keeping some of the important issues pending for the next meeting. There were total 42 items listed for the discussion.

The remaining issues, including the report of the fact-finding committee constituted by Panjab University on the complaint of sexual harassment made by five teachers against the centre superintendent at GTB Khalsa College for Women, Dasuya, Hoshiarpur, have been kept for discussion till the next meeting, which is yet to be finalised.

A senior Senate member said the report of the fact-finding committee should have been discussed gauging its importance.

“It’s a sensitive issue, which needs to be discussed at the earliest to ensure that the findings of the report don’t get diluted,” the Senate member said.

Another important agenda regarding introducing new concept of learning at all PU-affiliated colleges that will include pedagogic activities including quizzes, presentations and field trips based on which the students will get 30 per cent of their internal marks in an academic session has also been left pending for the next meeting.

The agenda regarding action against Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital, Sector 26, for not appointing 100 per cent faculty and compliance of other conditions imposed by the inspection committee was also not discussed during the meeting.

Although the House ended the meeting before it touched these issues, a few issues were taken up during the meeting out of the turn.

The appointment of Director Public Relation (DPR), which was listed in the end of the agenda, was taken up in the meeting out of the turn. Even the issue regarding academic calendar of the university and colleges was taken up in the meeting out of turn.

“I feel that the issues which were of urgency should have been discussed even out of the turn,” said a Syndicate member.

PU officials said because the issues were important and required deliberations and debate, the House decided to discuss them in the next meeting.



Syndicate nod to hike in qualifying percentage
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The Syndicate today approved the recommendations of the Board of Control of the English Department to increase the qualifying percentage of the entrance examination from 20 per cent to 35 per cent for MA English entrance examination-2013 from the coming academic session.

The recommendations of the committee constituted by the Vice-Chancellor to examine and recommend the changes in the PhD guidelines, if any, in the existing guidelines approved by the competent authority for the award of PhD degree (which are in conformity with the UGC Minimum Standards and Procedure for Award of PhD Degree Regulation-2009), were adopted overall, leaving things open for improvement.

PU officials said the suggestions of the Syndics would be collated and at a joint sitting of the college representatives, preferably Senators, with the committee members and all deans, a comprehensive set of guidelines would be prepared.

The issue regarding the deputation of Prof PS Jaswal, Vice-Chancellor, Rajiv Gandhi National Law University, Patiala, was kept pending by the House.

The appointment of Prof Madhu Raka from the Department of Mathematics as the new Dean University Instruction was approved during the meeting.

Vice-Chancellor Arun Grover, during the meeting, informed the House that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India (GoI), had approved the issue of a commemorative postage stamp on Prof Ruchi Ram Sahni of denomination of Rs 5 as a one-time exercise. A minimum number of 1 lakh stamps and requisite philatelic ancillaries would be issued. Meanwhile, the Films Division, GoI, Mumbai, has also agreed to make a film on Prof Sahni.




from Schools
Prize distribution function

A prize distribution function was organised under the flagship project planet ke rakhwale on collection or recycling of e-waste at GMSSS, Sector 33. DPI (School) Upkar Singh, who was the guest of honour, gave away prizes to 25 participating schools and spoke about the hazards of solid waste and e-waste. The Vasumati Environment Club of GMSSS-33D helped in organising the event. Tripat Parmar from NGO Deeksha took an interactive session of audience.

Blood donation camp

DC Model School, Panchkula, organised a blood donation camp along with its branch DC Montessori, Mani Majra. As many as 192 members of both schools donated blood voluntarily. Parents and other members of the school community came forward to donate blood voluntarily.

Founders’ day

Students and staff of Kimberley Boarding School, Panchkula, celebrated its first founders’ day on the school campus. The evening began with the lighting of the candle by the chairman of the school, Vinod Gupta. It was followed by a dance performance by two girl students invoking Lord Ganesha. Various performances of the evening included song and dance performances by students and staff of the school. Students from junior classes enacted a play “The Three Little Piggies”. Students from Thailand and Singapore also recounted their one-year stay at Kimberley and shared their experiences at the school.

Orientation programme

The primary wing of Hansraj Public School, Panchkula, organised an orientation programme. Students of the primary wing were welcomed with open arms by the staff members. During the event, the emphasis was laid on discipline and personal grooming. Teaching of numbers, alphabets, phonetics was demonstrated with the help of rhymes, recitations and enactment by the teachers. Toddlers were delighted to watch the teachers presenting action words by narrating stories.

Splash pool activity

Students of the play way wing of The British School had fun in the water during a splash pool activity. They sang songs, recited rhymes and had lots of enjoyment in the pool. They also floated paper boats in the pool and splashed water on each other. — TNS



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