C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Water crisis in city, Mohali deepens
After 5 days of repair, Kajauli waterworks pipeline develops another snag; cracked ring used
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 26
Chandigarh and Mohali plunged into a major water crisis today (which is likely to continue for at least five more days) with the Kajauli waterworks, the lifeline of the water supply to the area, developing another snag during a trial run of the water supply after five days of repair.

The "careless attitude and shortsightedness" of government agencies involved in the repair work of the Phase III and Phase IV pipelines has left an estimated population of 14 lakh in the two cities in the lurch.

A cracked rubber ring was reportedly attached to a joint of two pieces of water pipes of the Phase IV line to fix the problem by officials of the Department of Punjab Water Supply and Sanitation, which is responsible for the maintenance of the Phase IV pipeline, claimed a senior government official who was present at the site after the problem occurred for second time today. The responsibility of maintaining the Phase III pipeline is with the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation.

After five days of repair at Gharuan village, when the water supply was resumed on a trial basis in the morning, the ring reportedly ruptured as it could not bear the water pressure, bringing the five-day exercise to a naught.

In another shocking revelation, Chandigarh Tribune team was told that most of the sluice valves, which are used to stop water in the pipeline during such emergencies, were not in a working order. As a result, the officials were unable to stop the water (around 20 MGD, which was released today), from coming out of the pipeline. This has raised serious questions about the maintenance work of the pipeline by the officials concerned.

During a visit to the site to do a reality check, Chandigarh Tribune team found that the water coming out of the pipeline had converted the entire area into a virtual pond.

“The repair work can only start after de-watering the area,” said RC Diwan, Superintending Engineer of the Chandigarh MC.

“It will take around 48 hours to pump out water from the pipeline. Only after that can fresh repair work be started,” said Ashok Virdi, Executive Engineer of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA), who was present at the site to provide infrastructure to the repair team. “Now, we have decided to lay a new piece of MS pipe after removing the current PSC pipe, in which the leakage problem occurred,” said Virdi, adding that three water pumps would be used to remove the water from the site. On August 20, the water supply of the Phase III and Phase IV pipelines was suspended following a leakage, which was caused by a cave-in, which occurred due to digging work.

Dept ill-equipped

The Punjab Water Supply and Sanitation Department has been found ill-equipped to meet such emergency situations. It neither has skilled manpower to handle such situations nor the required material like pipes, valves and rings in its stock. The entire infrastructure and manpower are being provided by GMADA and Welspun Company, which has been laying the pipelines of the Phase V and VI project.

Zigzag pipelines

The normal corridor required for laying the 2,200 mm Phase V and VI pipelines is 17 ft. However, due to haphazard and zigzag laying of the existing Phase III and IV pipelines, the corridor available for laying the new pipelines has been reduced to 13 ft, which has made it almost impossible for the private agency to lay pipelines.

Mohali DC pulls up officials

Mohali Deputy Commissioner Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu, who visited the spot at Gharuan village on Monday, reprimanded officials at the site for the delay in the work. “You should have anticipated such problems beforehand and should have readied yourselves accordingly,” said Sidhu while inspecting the spot. Sidhu directed the officials to work round the clock to fix the problem at the earliest. 



Bucketful of woes for residents
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, August 26
Parts of the town have been facing a serious water crisis over the past five days, making life miserable for residents in the sultry weather.

The water shortage has been particularly acute in Phases IX, X , XI, Sectors 70 and 71, Matour and Shahimajra villages and industrial phases I to V.

Of the two waterworks feeding different areas of Mohali, the Sector 57 waterworks is lying totally dry as no supply has been received for five days. Water tankers have been pressed into service to provide some relief to the residents.

A resident of Phase X, Baljit Kaur (75), said, "Life has become tough for us because of the water crisis. I am suffering from a joints problem and my husband, who is 81, is on bed as he is also not well. It is very difficult for me to go and collect water from a tanker. I could not have a bath because of the shortage. My son-in-law came from Chandigarh today to fill water for us," she said.

Gurpal Singh, president of the Residents Welfare Society (MIG Houses), Phase IX, said, "The water crisis has compelled the family to go to its farmhouse on the weekend. Clothes were taken there for washing. If the water shortage persists, we will again have to go to the farmhouse to spend a few days there."

"A hell-like situation prevails in the area because of the acute water crisis," said GS Khaira of Phase X. People living on the first and higher floors were the worst sufferers as it was very difficult for some people to carry water to those levels.

Former municipal councillor of Phase XI SS Barnala said "not a drop of water has been received in the area since yesterday morning. Those who can afford it are calling tankers to meet their water requirements and have to pay Rs 800 per tanker, which contains 3,000 litres of water. Those who cannot afford to pay are seen running after tankers sent by the department concerned with buckets in their hands."

RP Gupta, Executive Engineer, Department of Water Supply and Sanitation, said no water was being received from Kajuali at the Sector 57 waterworks here over the past five days.

Whatever was stored at the waterworks had been supplied in small quantities to the affected areas over the past few days. Around 25 tankers had been pressed into service.

More tankers had been added after the Deputy Commissioner gave directions in this regard, said RP Gupta.



Brace for tough days ahead
Evening supply to 8 sectors, 3 villages to remain shut till August 31
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Residents of eight sectors and three villages will be the worst affected as the evening water supply to these areas will remain completely shut for five days (August 27 to August 31).

These include Sectors 31, 32, 33, 34, 44, 45, 46 and 47. The evening water supply to the Industrial Area, Phases I and II, Burail, Colony No. 5 and Ram Darbar will also remain shut from August 27 to 31.

City residents will not receive the water supply after 7 am. In other sectors, the water pressure will remain low during the evening supply.

Residents have been struggling to find water for cooking and other basic needs. While some have been frequenting their relatives' houses (in some sectors where the situation is relatively better) for bathing, others are fetching water from their relatives' places.

"It is very difficult to manage without water. Right from cooking to washing clothes, we have been battling for water. Why is it taking the authorities so long to repair the pipelines?" said Kaushalya Devi, a resident of Sector 38 West.

Water tankers are the only way out for the residents as the water crisis has brought their lives to a standstill. "Running a family of six persons in such a crisis is difficult. There is no water for drinking and cooking," said Upasana, a resident of Sector 8.

48 tankers pressed into service

Since morning as many as 48 water tankers have been sent to different sectors to meet the water requirements of the residents. An official of the MC said the supply to another 15 areas was pending.

Political pressure

An MC official said on condition of anonymity that due to political pressure, officials were being forced to prioritise colonies for the supply of water tankers over other sectors.

Helpline numbers

For any urgent demand, the public can contact on the phone No. 0172-2540200. The following officers can also be contacted for any complaint: BK Dhawan (9872511246), Suresh Kumar Gill (9872511258) and Hans Raj Gupta (9915711497). 


Sectors 12, PGI, 14, 15, 17, 18, 21-A, 22-A and B, 25

From 2 am to 7 am Full pressure

From 6 pm to 9 pm Low pressure

Sectors 1 to 12, 19, 20-A and B, 21-B, 26 to 30, Bapu Dham Colony, Industrial Area, Phase I (Plot Nos. 1 to 100), Colony No. 4

From 2 am to 7 am Full pressure

From 6 pm to 9 pm Low pressure

Sectors 31 to 34, 44 to 47, Industrial Area, Phases I and II, Burail, Ram Darbar, Colony No. 5

From 2 am to 6 am Full pressure

Evening No water supply

Sectors 22-C and D, 23, 24, 35 to 43, Dadumajra Colony, Palsora Colony, Butrela, Badehri, Attawa

From 2 am to 6 am Full pressure

From 7. pm to 9 pm Low pressure

Sectors 48 to 53, 61

From 6 am to 8 am Full pressure

From 6 pm to 8 pm Low pressure



138 head of cattle impounded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Continuing with its drive against stray cattle, the municipal corporation today impounded 138 head of cattle. It has decided to lodge police complaints against owners who let their cattle roam on city roads.

A senior MC official said owners kept these cattle in MC villages, which was against the policy. After milking these cattle, they allowed the cattle to roam on city roads. The MC had decided to impound these cattle, identify their owners and lodge police complaints against them, he said.

The MC carried out a special drive today and impounded 138 head of cattle within the municipal limits, including Dadu Majra, Dadu Majra Colony, Ramdarbar, Hallo Majra, Kajheri, Airport Chowk and Colony No. 5.

Around 140 persons from the MC, including the staff of the Medical Officer (Health), enforcement and the road wing, besides 80 policemen, carried out the drive and impounded the cattle.

The impounded cattle would not be released, as keeping animals within the municipal limits was not permissible. A report against the owners of these cattle would be lodged with the police. There was a provision of imprisonment for the guilty.

Drives to catch stray cattle would be carried out regularly. During the 
past three days, the MC had impounded 393 head of cattle. 



Few takers for MC cattle
MCs in Punjab pay much more to gaushalas
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
While the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation is trying its best to shift the impounded stray cattle out of the city, the MC is facing a tough competition from MCs in Punjab.

The reason is that while the Chandigarh MC pays one-time charges of Rs 2,000 per cattle to the gaushalas, the MCs in Punjab such as the Ludhiana MC and the Patiala MC pay Rs 16 per day per cattle to the gaushalas till the death of the cattle.

MC Joint Commissioner Rajiv Gupta said initially when they contacted nearby gaushalas, these refused to accommodate stray cattle impounded by the Chandigarh MC saying that the amount fixed by the MC was very less as compared that of MCs in Punjab. Despite, this the MC managed to give some stray cattle to these gaushalas. Now, the MC had identified some gaushalas in Uttar Pradesh like in Barsana, which were ready to accommodate stray cattle at these rates, he said.

The gaushala in Barsana is also ready to accommodate bulls. They would send cows and bulls to Barsana in the 5:1 ratio. In each truck, there would be five cows and a bull, he said.

Mayor Subhash Chawla said some gaushala members had stated that Rs 2,000 was a paltry amount and was used up in only four months. They had demanded that instead of one-time charges, the Chandigarh MC should make the payment on a per day basis. To solve this problem, they had tied up with a gaushala in Barsana. Within a few days, they would start sending impounded cattle to Barsana, he said.

Rs 35 lakh spent on shifting cattle

Even though the MC has spent Rs 35 lakh in the past few weeks to deal with the stray cattle menace in the city, there seems to be little respite from the problem. Around 1,000 stray cattle have been sent out since then. The MC pays Rs 2,000 per stray cattle to the management of the cowsheds where these are sent. Trucks are hired for the transportation of the cattle with each truck having a capacity of transport six cattle. The cost of transporting each cattle works out to be between Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,500. Funds have also been spent on renovating the cowsheds.



Villagers gherao Mayor’s office
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
High drama was witnessed in the municipal corporation office today when villagers, whose cattle were impounded by the civic body during the ongoing drive, gheraoed the Mayor's office and even entered his room and raised slogans against him.

The protesters were from Shahpur, Dadu Majra, Hallo Majra, Dhanas and Kajheri villages. They claimed that MC officials entered their houses and cattle sheds, and impounded their domesticated animals. They alleged that some of their cattle died in the process.

Heated arguments were witnessed between the protesters and the Mayor. The police was called to control the protesters.

Interestingly, besides BJP and SAD learders, even Congress men were seen leading the protesters and raised slogans against the Mayor outside his office.

In a bid to pacify the protesters, the Mayor said he would discuss the issue with MC officials to ensure that no injustive took place with the villagers. The MC was against stray cattle, not domesticated cattle, he said.

SAD councillor Malkiat Singh said the MC staff had entered the villagers' premises and impounded their milch cattle. First, the UT Administration acquired villagers' land and now it is "snatching" their livelihood also, he said.

A protester said the MC should catch stray cattle and not domesticated cattle. Besides, it should issue notice to villagers before impounding their cattle, he said.

On the release of the impounded cattle, MC Commissioner Vivek Partap Singh said the MC would consider the cases of those who had permission to keep cattle.

Councillors meet MC Commissioner

After the protest, some councillors of the Congress, the BJP and the SAD met the MC Commissioner and urged him to not to harass villagers. However, when the Commissioner asked them to submit their grievances in writing, nobody was ready to do so.

Work on another cattle pond under way

As the present cattle pond in the Industrial area, Phase I, and the gaushalas in Sector 45 and Maloya are packed to capacity with impounded stray cattle, the MC has started the construction of another cattle pond in the Industrial Area, Phase I. In this pond, around 2,000 cattle will be kept.

BJP, SAD want special House meeting

BJP-SAD councillors again met the Mayor on Monday and demanded that in order to frame a proper policy for the impounding and releasing of stray cattle, a special house meeting should be called. The Mayor said he would decide on calling a special meeting after consulting the MC law officer.

Union holds protest

Mayor Subhash Chawla on Monday caught six drivers of garbage lifting vehicles of the MC, who had allegedly "outsourced" their job to some private people. A union of safai workers held a protest and accused the Mayor of using casteist remarks against the drivers. However, they later backtracked on their allegations.


Deleted stuff on Jyoti's phone recovered
Her pictures with Doon MLA’s family members and ‘love’ messages retrieved
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 26
Doon MLA Ram Kumar Chaudhary has courted another big trouble as the police today readied the report of deleted photographs and "love" messages recovered by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), Chandigarh, from Jyoti's mobile phone.

The police has planned to submit the report before the next hearing of the case on September 11. The Panchkula police had suffered a major setback when four out of seven witnesses turned hostile in the last hearing of the case. But now after this report, they are sure of proving Chaudhary guilty.

Photographs of Jyoti joining the celebrations of Chaudhary's daughter have been attached with the report.

"Intimate messages exchanged between the MLA and Jyoti and the photographs on the victim's phone reveal that they were having close relations, which we want to prove in the court to hold him guilty. The retrieved stuff will nail him now," said a police official.

"It seems to be some birthday celebrations," added the official, saying that there are no videos in the phone.

Photos clicked by Jyoti from her mobile phone shows Chaudhary, his daughter (in the middle) and his wife. Several other photographs with a birthday party going on in the background have been attached with the report.

The accused had reportedly deleted all the photographs and messages from Jyoti's mobile phone.

The police is still awaiting the Madhuban CFSL findings on the CCTV footage of the nursing home where Chaudhary and Jyoti had allegedly gone for an abortion.

Sister talks of marriage promise

Meanwhile, in another major twist to the case, it has come to the fore that Chaudhary had promised to marry Jyoti once he was over with the MLA elections. The fact of marriage has come to the fore in the bail order of Chaudhary, a copy of which is with Chandigarh Tribune. His bail plea was dismissed two days ago.

Statements given by Jyoti's sister Ishu, also mentioned in the supplementary chargesheet, referred to the marriage commitment.

"Jyoti told me that Chaudhary has committed to marry her after the MLA elections. However, after the elections when Jyoti asked him to fulfil his promise, Chaudhary backed out, saying that since she is from another caste, he cannot marry her and it would spoil his reputation," stated Ishu.



Accept closure report, CBI urges court
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Replying to a protest petition filed by a relative in the four-year-old sensational case of Sham Fashion Mall owner Amarjit Singh Khurana's murder, the CBI has urged the court to dismiss the application of the petitioner and accept the closure report as there was no clue in the case despite its best efforts.

Gagandeep Khurana, the deceased's son, had filed the petition in the court last month after the CBI applied for the closure of the case.

Urging reinvestigation, Gagandeep had accused the Central agency of being "in haste to close the case without carrying out proper investigations".

Amarjit (51) was shot dead in May 2009 outside his house in Sector 35 when he returned from his shop. When the local police failed to crack the case, it was handed over to the CBI in October 2010, following the request of the family to the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this regard. When the CBI found no concrete evidence in the case, it applied for the closure of the case in November last year.

Gagandeep, however, challenged it, alleging hat the CBI had investigated the case in a very callous manner.

The CBI, however, in its reply filed in the court today stated that “strenuous and sincere efforts were made during the investigation and a thorough and scientific investigation was conducted in this case. During the course of investigation, numerous witnesses, including family members, servants/maids, neighbours, local residents, shopkeepers, friends, acquaintances, staff of the Sham fashion mall and doctors, were examined,” said the CBI in its reply.

“The antecedents of numerous criminals mentioned in other FIRs were either verified or were examined but no worthwhile clue could be gathered regarding the murder. It is humbly prayed that the application of the applicant may kindly be dismissed and closure report filed by the CBI may be accepted,” urged the CBI.



DNA test to nail stepfather
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 26
In what could nail the stepfather, who raped and murdered his three-year-old daughter, the police would get his DNA test conducted. This decision has been taken to present sufficient evidence before the court.

Sources said the police had found a witness who saw Ekram dump the body.

The child, Heena, a resident of Mauli Jagran, was found raped and murdered behind the Hafed building in Sector 5, Panchkula.

Ekram kept moving around in the city carrying her body on his shoulder in broad daylight for about half an hour to find a suitable place to dump it.

Frustrated over his second wife’s behaviour towards his two daughters from his first wife, Ekram planned the child's murder. He raped the child and then killed her, says the police investigations.

While looking for a suitable place to dump the body, Ekram hired a rickshaw. When the rickshaw-puller asked him what happened to the child, Ekram told him that the child was not well.

After dumping the body, Ahmed returned home, washed his undergarments to destroy evidence and then went to the Mauli Jagran police station to file a missing complaint. 



UT staff salaries to be linked to Aadhaar soon
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Soon the employees of the UT Administration will receive their salaries in their bank accounts on the basis of the Aadhaar letter through the direct benefit transfer scheme. An official communication has been sent to all the departments to ask their employees to submit their Aadhaar letters in their department or give its details to their banks.

Sources said despite the communication sent to the departments a fortnight ago, the response of the employees is hardly 1 per cent till date, as no deadline has been fixed by the authorities.

The UT Finance Secretary, VK Singh, said the process of introducing the Aadhaar letter for the disbursement of salary to the employees has commenced. He said initially it would be introduced in small departments on a trial basis.

Unique Identification Authority of India (UID) Deputy Director-General Keshni Anand Arora said of Rs 4.6 crore allocated to the UT to develop applications for the Aadhaar letter, the UID has already released Rs 46 lakh as the first instalment.

Employees association vice-president Balwinder Singh said a majority of the field employees had not enrolled them for the Aadhaar letter so far. He said the administration should organise special camps in different offices for Aadhaar enrolment.



RLA official chargesheeted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The Chandigarh Administration has chargesheeted Deepak Kanith, a Superintendent in the Deputy Commissioner's office, for alleged anomalies in handing over the official record of the Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) office.

Attached with the Deputy Commissioner office, the Superintendent has been chargesheeted under the Punjab Civil Services (Punishment and Appeal Rules, 1970), as applicable to the UT, by the Home Secretary, Anil Kumar, on the 
recommendation of the Deputy Commissioner, Mohammed Shayin.

The Superintendent has been charged with not handing over the audit file, daywise receipt challan, reconciliation statement and cashbook for 2012-13. It has been charged that the superintendent did not deposit the demand drafts recovered during auction of series CH 01 AQ held in December 2012. 



Strike hits working of tehsil offices
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The tehsil offices in Mohali, Kharar and Dera Bassi are having a tough time as the work here has virtually come to a standstill, following a strike by the Revenue Patwar Union, Mohali, today.

The ‘patwaris’ on protest are demanding the transfer of the tehsildar posted at the Kharar tehsil, after an altercation with one of the patwari’s recently.

They have also given a representation in this connection to the Mohali Deputy Commissioner (DC) Tejinderpal Singh Sidhu.

“The DC told us that he had forwarded our representation to the Financial Commissioner, Revenue, for further action. However, since no action has been taken against the tehsildar, we have now proceeded on an indefinite strike,” said Rajinder Singh, general secretary of the union.

Mohali DC Sidhu said the decision had to be taken by the higher authorities. “I have already forwarded the case to the state government”, said Sidhu adding that the union should not resort to strike on such an issue. 



Rs 6 crore released for 18,948 beneficiaries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Around Rs 6 crore has been released under the Direct Cash Transfer (DCT) to 18,948 beneficiaries under various central and UT schemes, including pension and scholarship.

As per the record of the Unique Identification Authority of India under the central schemes, which includes scholarship for students from scheduled castes, other backward classes and minorities and merit-cum-means scholarships, pensions under the National Social Assistance Programme and schemes for women and girl child, Rs 2.51 crore has been released to 10,673 beneficiaries. 

The maximum amount has been released under the National Social Assistance Programme of the Central Government which comprises the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS), Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS) and the Indira Gandhi National Widows Pension Scheme (IGNWPS). Under the NSAP, an amount of Rs 1.24 crore has been released to 4,743 beneficiaries in the Union Territory of Chandigarh. 

This is followed by the Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY), under which Rs 50.72 lakh has been released to 3,742 beneficiaries. Under the pre-matric scholarship for scheduled caste students, 1,266 students have been benefited by transfer of Rs 26.58 lakhs into their accounts through the DBT. Further, Rs 21.54 lakh has been released to 395 scheduled caste students under the post-matric scholarship scheme. Under the social security pension scheme of the UT administration, 8,243 beneficiaries have been able to avail the benefit of the DCT and Rs 3.47 crore has been transferred to their accounts since its inception.



Pu polls
Student leaders make the most of WiFi
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Panjab University’s recently introduced centralised WiFi system is proving to be fortune cookie for student unions in run-up to the student council elections.

As more than 5,500 PU students are using the WiFi system, leaders have been banking heavily on YouTube and other video-sharing websites by uploading each and every activity on these websites to woo voters.

Official records reveal that out of nearly 300 Mbps data usage on the WiFi network at the university per day, a majority constitutes access to YouTube and social networking sites.

“We have issued unique user IDs to as many as 5,500 students and they have been extensively using the service. We have blocked some of the URLs to abandon access to objectionable content. But otherwise, we have seen that YouTube is being accessed by students the most for the past couple of days,” said Prof Tankeshwar, head of PU’s Computer Centre.

Right from promotional videos, agendas to press conference footage, these leaders have uploaded everything on YouTube. As the authorities have banned posters, rallies and even open house on the campus, video-sharing, SMSes and social networking sites are emerging as the most popular campaigning modes for the students.

“WiFi has proved to be useful for us as all students have free access to it. We are primarily focusing on recording all our activities to put them on record and share them with voters so that they find authenticity in our work,” said Manoj Lubana, NSUI leader.



PUSU protests against delay in results

Chandigarh, August 26
Representatives of the Panjab University Student Union (PUSU) today staged a protest in front of the Vice-Chancellor’s office over delay in the results of various courses. They said there had been an inconsistent delay in the declaration of results of MA Punjabi and Psychology. The students even gheraoed the VC’s car.

Later, the police had to be called to pacify the protesters. During the protest, the students also had a heated argument with security guards on the campus. — TNS



PU’s Ankur School gets CBSE affiliation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Panjab University's Ankur School has got the affiliation from the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).

The principal of Ankur School said Ankur School, a Unit of Student Aid Society, PU Campus, Sector 14, had been accorded affiliation by the CBSE, New Delhi.

The staff of Ankur School expressed gratitude to the PU Vice-Chancellor and authorities for their efforts in achieving the affiliation for the school. 



NSUI leaders accuse college authorities of misbehaviour
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Representatives of the National Student Union of India (NSUI) at GGDSD College, Sector 32, alleged that the authorities misbehaved with them while the former were demonstrating against inflated fee.

NSUI chairman Satnam Singh said: “Our party president, Aman Sharma, was sitting on a hunger strike since afternoon, protesting overcharging of fee by the college. The principal allegedly misbehaved with Aman”.

The students said the authorities had overcharged Rs 5,000 for various courses. “The authorities had told us to call off the strike. As we did not relent, they called the police. We will continue the agitation against the college,” said the party leaders.

Despite repeated attempts, principal Bhushan Kumar Sharma did not answer phone calls.



Despite ban, ABVP holds car rally

Chandigarh, August 26
Even as rallies have been strictly banned during the student council elections, representatives of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) at Panjab University took out a promotional rally inside the campus today. As many as 20 swanky cars could be seen zooming inside the campus during the rally with huge party stickers pasted on them.

The supporters moved the cars across all departments to woo voters. Posters of the ABVP carrying the pictures of party leaders and workers were visible all over. “This is an important exercise to ensure visibility in front of fresh students in particular,” said one of the participants.

The authorities had imposed a ban on car rallies following brawls reported during such rallies in previous years ahead of the student council elections. The police had recommended to the university that these rallies should be banned to avoid untoward incidents. — TNS



A bagful of poll promises
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The Indian National Students' Organisation (INSO) released its manifesto ahead of elections for the Panjab University Campus Students’ Council (PUCSC).

Digvijay Singh Chautala, national president of INSO, released the manifesto here at the Student Centre on the campus. Chautala displayed a green band and asked the party leaders to distribute these among students to send across the message of the party.

“This is not just a band. Behind this band is the hidden party’s ideology and hard work we have put in,” he said. He also advocated the need for special buses for PU from the city and its neighbouring places.

Chautala said his party had been fighting for the cause of students and would continue to do so. If students had any problem, they could contact us anytime.

Somvir Singh, president of INSO, said this manifesto was prepared to solve the problems of students.

The date for the elections is yet to be announced officially, but sources said September 4 could be decided as the polling day. 



Kitchens inaugurated in 6 schools 

Chandigarh, August 26
Education Department today formally started mid-day meal kitchens in six government schools, which were running on trial basis for the last one-month.

DPI (s) Upkar Singh inaugurated the mid-day meal kitchen at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 15. Other schools where the kitchens were started: Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 44, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 47, Government Model High School, Sector 42, Government Model High School, Sector 38 and Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 26. At present four centres, Dr Ambedkar Institute of Hotel Management, Sector 42, Chandigarh Institute of Hotel Management, Sector 42, Shivalik View Hotel, Sector 17 and GMSSS, Sector 47 (run by a private contractor), prepare and deliver mid-day meals to all the government schools. But from now on, these schools will prepare their own mid-day meals on the school premises. DPI Upkar Singh said this step of opening separate kitchens on the school premises itself was part of the department’s effort to reduce de-centralisation of the mid-day scheme in Chandigarh.

He said this experiment began last year when Education Department opened separate mid-day meal kitchen at Government Model Senior Secondary School (GMSSS), Sector 10. After successful operation, the system has now been made operational in six more government schools. He said three more schools, GMSSS, Sector 23, GMSSS-40 and GMSSS-29, would soon have these kitchens. Today the officials of the Education Department tasted the mid-day meal along with the 400 students. Rice, kari and halwa were specially made for the inaugural ceremony. Sourabh Joshi was also present on the occasion along with Saroj Mittal, Deputy Director Sudhir Parashar, AC F&A, Ram Kumar, District Education Officer, Shiv Kumar Deputy DEO and Section Officer Anil Kamboj. — TNS



Mid-day meals inspected at 3 schools 
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Bihar mid-day meal tragedy seems to have left a scar on the mid-day meal consumption in city government schools. Only 300 students were found taking the mid-day meal in the government Model High School, Mani Majra, during an inspection conducted by UT’s senior official Mahavir Kaushik.

The school authorities told him that their mid-day meal consumption had come down from nearly 450 students to approximately 300 students due to reluctance of the students for mid-day meal after Bihar tragedy.

Mahavir Kaushik advised the school authorities to ask teachers to eat the mid-day meal food along with the students to restore their confidence.

Mahavir said the quality of the food was found satisfactory in this school but the students were reluctant to consume the mid-day meal. He also ate the mid-day food in the school to check its quality.

He also visited Government Model Senior Secondary School, Modern House Complex, and Government Senior Secondary School, Mani Majra.

While the quality of food was found satisfactory in GMSSS-Modern House Complex, the water taps were not working in the schools. He also found that students of four classrooms were sitting on tats due to shortage of benches.

The principal told the officer concerned that they had already submitted the proposal for the benches.

In GSSS-Mani Majra, there was a major shortage of classrooms. On this, the principal said that a proposal for additional rooms has already been approved and the construction work would begin soon.

Mahahvir said that in these three schools, the “aayas” (helpers) were in proper dresses and both the supply and distribution of mid-day meal, rice pulao and yellow dal, today was satisfactory.

He, however, said schoolchildren told him that they did not like bottle gourd and yellow dal as a part of their mid-day meal. “I will send this feedback to the authorities. Although these two dishes are of high nutritive value, we can make some changes in the menu so that the food fancies the taste buds of children,” he said.

Mahavir Kaushik’s inspection was in the wake of Chandigarh appointing 13 senior officials, including HCS/PCS officials of the UT, to regularly visit government schools and inspect the quality of the mid-day meal being served to the children to their level of satisfaction. Every officer has been given eight to ten schools every month and needs to submit the report regularly. The inspection exercise will remain on till March 2014. 



Parents raise issue of delay in admission process
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Several parents met Dr Atul Sachdeva, head of the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, and Adviser to the Administrator KK Sharma and raised the issue of delay in admission process for enhanced 50 MBBS seats.

The parents told Dr Atul Sachdeva that the pending litigation in this matter in the Punjab and Haryana High Court had halted the final admission process of the enhanced MBBS seats, thereby causing a lot of mental harassment to the eligible students who were waiting for admission for nearly a month now.

Ranjit Singh, a parent, said: “As the issue of enhanced seats will come up before the High Court tomorrow, around 20 parents appealed to the local authorities to inform the court about the urgency of the situation and get the final judgment without further delay”.

Another parent said the major problem was that the new session in the college had already begun from August 1.

“The principal of the GMCH-32 today informed us that if the students will not join the MBBS course before August 31, it can affect their admission process,” said Rajinder Mehta, another parent.

He said delay in the selection process of these 50 MBBS seats was causing mental agony to their children. “The parents are eagerly waiting for the hearing on this matter tomorrow. We request the authorities to sort out the matter so that their wards can start their MBBS course,” he said.

“Any further delay in the decision will add more anxiety to the parents and eligible students,” said another parent.



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