C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Tubewells to get power backup
Uninterrupted water supply on cards as F&CC decides to
provide mobile gensets
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Providing a major relief to city residents, the Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) of the municipal corporation has decided that mobile generator sets should be made available at various tubewells to provide uninterrupted water supply to sectors where tubewells are the only source of water. At present, there are no generators for power backup at over 200 tubewells. The water supply is affected whenever there is a power cut in the areas where the tubewells have been installed.

The MC has provided a generator only at the Kajauli waterworks. In case of a major power failure, the city receives half of the total water supply from Kajauli because it has a low-power generator, which can handle the load of only two of the four lines.

Requesting anonymity, an MC official said the generator at the Kajauli waterworks was around 50 years old. The generator could not bear the load of all four water pipelines, providing 67 MGD of drinking water a day, in case of power cuts.

A senior official of the MC said whenever there was a power cut, they generally received a number of complaints from city residents regarding a water crisis. However, if the MC implements the decision of the committee regarding providing mobile generator sets at tubewells, there will be no water shortage in a majority of the sectors even during power cuts, he said.

Welcoming the move, Charanjiv Singh, president of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, said not only residents but the decision would also benefit traders since water is essential to run a business.

City’s water share

At present, the water availability in the UT is 87 MGD. Of this, 67 MGD comes form the Kajauli canal, which is about 27 km from Chandigarh, while the remaining 20 MGD is generated through tubewells. However, from January 1 next year, Chandigarh will have to part with 9 MGD (40 million litres per day) of canal water. Of this, Panchkula will get 6 MGD and Chandimandir 3 MGD.



Despite ministry nod, city-Dubai flight may take time to take off
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The Chandigarh domestic airport has inched closer to having an international flight with a private airline, Spicejet, getting permission from the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation to fly on the Chandigarh-Dubai route. However, the latest development is not enough. Given the "watch hours" constraint at the domestic airport here, starting an international flight seems to be an uphill task.

Three years ago, flydubai, a low-cost airline of Dubai, wanted to start an international flight at night from the Chandigarh airport, but did not get permission from the Union Ministry of Defence due to the limited watch hours here.

As the runway of the airport is under the control of the Indian Air Force, civil airlines are not allowed to land or take off after 8 pm.

Though Spicejet is planning the Chandigarh-Dubai flight between 1 pm and 4 pm, there are several challenges ahead for the company.

Preeti Day, Assistant Manager, Corporate Communication, Spicejet, said getting permission from the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation was just "one step forward".

"While permission from the Union Ministry of Defence is still pending, apart from some other local clearances, the airline has to seek permission for a corresponding time slot from the Dubai airport, one of the busiest airports in the world."

She said, "We are hopeful of starting an international flight within the limited watch hours of the Chandigarh airport, but we are not sure how much more time it will take for everything to fall in place. Getting the desired time slot from the Dubai airport is difficult, considering the air traffic rush there."

Chairman, CII (Chandigarh Council), Manmohan Singh, however, said the limited watch hours was a hindrance to the operation of international flights from the local domestic airport. It is unfortunate that the city is still waiting for international flights to start even after the Central Govenrment's notification, and despite having spent crores of rupees on the renovation of the airport here," he said.

"The local airport has the required provisions for operation of international flights, including custom clearance and an immigration check-post, but not a single international flight has begun in the past three years," he said.

Ankit Gupta, general secretary of the Chandigarh Hospitality Association, said, "International flights worldwide generally fly at night because 80 per cent of the travellers are businessmen who want to fully utilise their next day.

Besides, the different time zone is another factor. However, flights are not allowed to fly from here after 8 pm, a major disappointment for the airlines, both domestic and international."

"It is a long-pending demand of the local industry, and the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Airports Authority of India must take up this issue with the Ministry of Defence to extend time till midnight so that international flights can take off from here, which will boost the local economy," he said.

According to him, in light of the fact that the Dabolim airport in Goa has been allowed to operate at night despite being jointly managed by the Indian Air Force and the Airports Authority of India, it is unfortunate that things haven't moved forward on this front at the domestic airport here. IndiGo Airlines has also applied to the Ministry of Civil Aviation for permission to run a daily Chandigarh-Dubai flight and is eying an afternoon time slot for its international flight. HS Toor, Director of the Chandigarh domestic airport, was not available for comments.



Coloniser encroaches on land meant for Kajauli pipeline
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Booths, a portion of which has come up on GMADA land illegally, in Morinda. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali/Morinda, Sept 22
The ambitious Rs 150-crore project of the Punjab Government to pump additional water to Mohali from the Kajauli waterworks by laying a new pipeline has hit a roadblock, thanks to an illegal colony that has come up on the land acquired for the project. A private coloniser at New Morinda has constructed shops (a full-fledged market) on the land acquired by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) for lying the Phase V and Phase VI pipeline.

The coloniser, who has raised the colony, Darpan Enclave, at New Morinda, has constructed 11 booths, with each booth having encroached upon 5 ft of GMADA land. This means that about 600 sq ft land, meant for the pipeline, has been encroached upon by the coloniser.

Of the total 50-ft land strip in question, a strip of 33 ft has been used for the Phase III and IV pipeline, while for the Phase V and Phase VI pipeline, only a strip of 17 ft was left.

Rs 150-cr project

  • The Rs 150-crore pilot project of laying the pipeline is being undertaken by Welspun Company
  • The deadline of the project is August 31, 2014

“Following the encroachment by the coloniser, only a 12-ft strip has been left,” said an official of GMADA. The authority is yet to initiate action against the coloniser.

The coloniser has also allotted several plots touching the boundary line of GMADA land in violation of the norms, which stipulate that there must be at least an 8-ft distance between two deep foundations.

Around 10 houses and a gurdwara have already come up along the boundary line of the land strip meant for the pipeline. There will be a threat to these structures when digging on the land strip begins. A wall has also come up near one of the landmarks of GMADA.

Gursharan Singh, managing director of Darpan Enclave, said a portion of the land meant for the pipeline might have been encroached upon while constructing the booths. “Whatever the authorities ask me to do, I will do,” said Gursharan Singh.

On violation of norms by allotting plots touching the boundary line of land meant for the pipeline, he said he had not sold the plots. “Some other persons have sold these plots. I am not responsible,” said Gursharan Singh, adding that he would be least bothered if these houses (being constructed along the boundary line) come under threat at the time of digging while laying the pipeline.



Auto driver sets example of honesty
Takes pains to return bag containing mobile, cash to passenger
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Setting a perfect example of honesty, an auto driver returned a bag of a passenger, who had forgotten it in the auto. The driver ensured that the bag, containing cash and a mobile phone, was delivered to the owner. On September 20, Pankhuri Arora, a student of the PEC University of Technology, hired an auto-rickshaw from PEC to Sector 17 from where she had to take a bus to her hometown Kurukshetra.

In a hurry, Pankhuri forgot to carry one of her bags from the auto and left for Kurukshetra. “The bag contained a costly mobile phone, a wallet, ATM cards, a driving licence and cash,” said Pankhuri’s cousin Sneha, a resident of Chandigarh.

The auto driver, Jamuna Dass, on releasing that Pankhuri had left her bag tried to locate her at the bus stand, but failed.

On checking the bag, Jamuna Dass found a mobile from which he gave a call to Pankhuri’s father, who then informed his relatives in Chandigarh about the bag. “Jamuna left the bag at the pre-paid auto booth in the Sector 22 bus stand and informed Pankhuri’s family to collect the bag from there,” said Sneha.

The bag was safely handed over to her relatives today at the prepaid booth with all belongings, including the mobile phone.



11 kV live wire falls in backyard of house, triggers blasts
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 22
Just 10 days after a man suffered an electric shock from a wire hanging loose, two blasts in Sector 12-A this morning shook the area when an 11 kV live wire hanging loose snapped and fell in the backyard of a house. Interestingly, officials of the Electricity Department, who visited the spot after the incident, left the live wire coiled around a tree on the main road.

Though no injury was reported, the ceiling of the house got damaged. Besides, meters and water pipelines of some nearby houses went out of order due to the impact of the blasts. The incident took place at the house of a businessman, Yashpal Arora.

The is the second such incident in 10 days. Earlier, a resident of Sector 4 had got serious burns and landed in the PGI after a wire hanging loose fell on his car.

“At around 5.30 am, just when I had come back from a gurdwara, suddenly I heard the sound of twin blasts. I looked around and saw fumes in the backyard of our neighbour’s house. An 11 kV wire had fallen there,” said Sanjeev Kumar, a resident of the locality.

He said, “The ceiling of the house got damaged. Besides, meters and water pipelines in nearby houses went out of order.”

Residents gathered at the spot and called officials of the Electricity Department, who removed the wire.

However, to everyone’s surprise, they coiled the live wire around a tree outside the house on the main road, which poses danger.

Executive Engineer of the Electricity Department DS Dhanda said, “I am not aware of the incident and will enquire from lower officials about the lapse, if any.”



Open house suggestions
Proper planning need of the hour

Although we can't stop the VVIP movements in the city, however, the administration should make sure that the general public doesn't face the heat during such visits which led to traffic snarls in the city. Proper planning by selecting routes that witness less traffic and deploying enough number of traffic personnel should be kept in mind".

Manipal Singh, Chandigarh

VVIP visits should be scheduled on holidays

The VVIP visits in the city should either be scheduled on holidays or at a time when there is less traffic on the city roads. Special emphasis should be laid on ensuring that no inconvenience is caused to the patients who travel to hospitals.

Naveen Jaswal, Chandigarh

New techniques, better management required

Last year during Prime Minister's visit one patient died on the way to the PGI because security personnel didn't allow him to go further. Our Administrative Department and Security Department have lack of coordination because they are not able to find a route that causes least inconvenience to general public and does not disrupt emergency services.

Shishu Paul, Chandigarh

Gross mismanagement

The UT Administration officials grossly mismanaged the arrival of PM to Dhanas . Despite a make-shift helipad they suddenly chose to go for the most inconvenient, anti-public and time consuming option of escorting him by a lengthy road route despite instructions to the contrary from the PMO. What they apparently gained out of this cumbersome drill was just a chance of exchanging smiles and a possible hand shake with the PM during the luncheon meeting at the Punjab Raj Bhavan. In future, such visits must go unsung, and without advance publicity, as the citizens convenience should not be jeopardized.

SC Luthra, MHC Manimajra

Police should follow instructions

It is really sad and painful to see that the traffic on city roads is halted for the VVIPs. People are made to wait in scorching sun, rain or harsh winters for the time till the VVIPs pass by. All routes leading from the airport to the venue of function are virtually sealed with heavy police and paramilitary forces. It causes great inconvenience to the people as they have to go to offices or very important jobs and are delayed by the VVIP's movement. More shameful is the fact that despite directives from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself that the patients being taken to hospitals in ambulances must not be stopped or made to wait till the VVIPs pass, the Chandigarh Police did not follow instructions and instead ordered for the closure of the PGI main gates. Even the General Hospital, Panchkula, was asked not to refer any serious patient to the PGI during the PM's recent visit. What a shame!

RK Kapoor, Chandigarh

Residents suffer

It is not for the first time that the local residents witnessed unprecedented traffic chaos on the eve of recent visit of Prime Minister when large chunk of government vehicles, little knowing the conservation of petrol/diesel or daily austerity preaching, deployed on city roads. Even on earlier occasions, authorities virtually close most of the city roads during the VVIPs visits blocking traffic for hours. This time main gates of the PGI were closed forcibly. Same is true for passengers going to the airport when they miss flights. School children were also affected by traffic snarls as they reach home late. Security forces are supposed to follow the orders of their bosses. There is a greater need that the VVIPs change protocol and security rules. They should curtail the frequency of their visits to various cities. Heavens would not have fallen, if the Prime Minister would not have given the keys to the slum dwellers for their allotted houses.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

Convoy of chaos

The inconvenience caused to people by changed routes and mammoth jams is terrible. The law enforcers are seen busy making way for the motorcades and lines of vehicles halting traffic altogether. As ministers travel with police jeeps and bikes, it creates utter chaos. Several hundred vehicles get stranded, obstructing traffic and pedestrians. The worst sufferers are patients who need timely treatment. No VIP is more important than anybody's life and hence no patient should be denied treatment because of such visits. The police and hospital authorities must make sure that no patient undergoes harassment of any kind.

Dr Shruti K Chawla, Chandigarh

Provide alternative routes to commuters

Vehicular traffic came to a halt. People and emergency services got stranded for hours in the heart of the city as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was there to inaugurate flats for slum dwellers, which is a clear cut mistake of hospital administration. Health Secretary of the Chandigarh Administration should the serve notice to top brass of the hospital. The police closed gates of the hospital much before the PM's arrival. The traffic went totally haywire from 10 am. Utter chaos prevailed at hospital gates as the police failed to alert the public in advance about the restrictions on vehicular movement. This forced all the vehicles coming from the emergency side in the hospital to come to a grinding halt. No commuters were given an alternative route. This is a complete failure on the part of the hospital administration and the traffic police.

Sachin Sharma, Chandigarh

Open house question

The watch hour's constraint at the Chandigarh domestic airport continues to create problem for the international flights to start from here. The fact that the civil flights are not allowed to fly or take off after 8 pm here at the domestic airport is the major discouragement for the airlines- both domestic and international- to start their international operation from here. Besides it is hampering the growth of domestic sectors also. Write to the Open house about your views on this issue at [email protected]



Chandigarh scan
Blood donation camp

The Vishvas Foundation and the Chandigarh Computer Association organised a blood donation camp at the Main Plaza, Opposite Neelam Cinema, Sector 17. Suchet Sachdev and his team from the Department of Transfusion Medicine, PGI, Chandigarh, rendered their valuable services. The camp was inaugurated by Neelima Vishvas, general secretary of the Vishvas Foundation, and Sanjeev Walia, president of the Chandigarh Computer Association & MD of Jetage Computer Traders. As many as 355 volunteers, including the members of the Vishvas Foundation, donated blood.

Session on hearing problems

One out of every 20 Indian is suffering from hearing problem. But now people are stepping over their ignorance and opting for hearing aid, which was considered a social taboo previously. This was stated by TS Anand, Managing Director, Anand Hearing Care. He was addressing the media on the occasion of expending its chain of hearing by opening its centre in northern region. They have targeted to open 12 centres by March 2014 and 60 centres by the end of 2018 across India.

Talk on “Dasam Granth”

The First Friday Forum organised a talk on “Dasam Granth” by NS Rattan, a former IAS officer, here on Saturday. The speaker gave an insightful account of its history, contents and controversies. He highlighted the little-known fact that Guru Gobind Singh had used more than 200 poetic metres (Chhands) to describe battle scenes, express metaphysical ideas and transmit spiritual experiences.

STD facility for jail inmates

STD facility for jail inmates was inaugurated at the Model Jail, Chandigarh, by Anil Kumar, Home Secretary, Chandigarh. Maneesh Chaudhry, IPS, Inspector-General of Prisons, UT, Chandigarh, presided over the function and welcomed the chief guest.

Socio-medical camp

The Chandigarh Senior Citizens' Association organised a socio-medical camp at Guru Nanak Khalsa SS School, Sector 30, and Police Lines, Sector 26, in collaboration with Social Welfare of the UT Administration and area councillors. Maj Gen MS Kandal said around 580 persons were examined at the camp. — TNS



Reporters’ Diary
Wife catches police official in the act

It was a bad day for a senior police functionary of the tricity when he was caught red-handed by his spouse late night with a girl in a room of a known hotel in Panchkula. Nobody knows the purpose of their meeting but it became too embarrassing for the official when the spouse knocked at the door just 20 minutes after the duo had locked the door. Seeing his wife as a visitor, the official was stumped and his friend rushed out of the room. The couple then had a heated argument for a few minutes till the woman realised she did not want the story to go in the media. The duo left soon after as the official issued a strict warning to the hotel staff not to allow anybody to have a wind of the episode.

Mistaken identity

During the visit of Chief Information Commissioner Deepak Sandhu to Panjab University for a lecture on the RTI, one of the officials, who was waiting for her arrival outside the law auditorium, on seeing three women arriving in a government vehicle, asked one of the media persons whether she is the among them. However, when nobody stepped ahead to receive them, he realised that no woman among them is the chief guest.

Cops have a field day at PCA stadium

With the T20 matches of Champions League having failed to attract spectators, the policemen on duty had a good time watching the match as they were asked to double up as spectators during the matches at the Punjab Cricket Stadium in Mohali. Almost during every match, the men in kahaki outnumbered the spectators in the stadium. In the absence of any crowd, the relieved policemen were seen enjoying every match. Seeing the low turnout in the matches, the Mohali police had also sent back the special force and officers summoned from other districts.

Heated arguments over faux pas at PM's function

The violation of the guidelines during the visit of the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, led to heated arguments between the UT officials at a recent meeting called to find out the role of the officer who facilitated the entry of a private person in the reception committee of the CHB officials who were supposed to escort the beneficiaries to the dais to receive the allotment letters of their flats from the PM. Discussion among the officials revealed that the private person, who was shown on the list as a CHB official, was brought in and out of the venue in a car of a senior UT official with red beacon atop it. An official said the fact could be verified from the footage of the CCTV cameras installed all around the venue of the event.

For daughter's sake

A UT official is forced to shift his house where he had been staying for the last 20 years along with his family, courtesy his daughter’s marriage to their neighbour. As the boy’s family does not want their son to get married in the neighbourhood, they have put a condition before the girl’s family to shift their house to another sector. For the better future of his daughter, the UT official is now shifting his house.

Whisper campaign

Ever since the new DPI (Schools), Kamlesh Kumar, assumed charge, a whisper campaign of sorts has followed him in the office. While some employees were seen nudging each other and whispering into each other’s ears that he has had a controversial stint in the Municipal Corporation, where he was posted a few years ago, the others swear by him, saying that he is a hard-task master. Notwithstanding the propaganda going on, his juniors and representatives of the teachers union queued up to welcome him with sweets and bouquets on Friday.

Unbeatable police

One cannot beat the police in its efforts when it comes to saving their skin. A police official in Panchkula contacted a correspondent and asked him to pressurise a complainant to change his statement in order to help some policemen, who were suspended and facing inquiries. These officials had inserted wrong sections in an FIR and the seniors had ordered an inquiry into the matter. Just to save those who committed a blunder, this police official wanted to get the complainant change his statement so that his fellows were not indicted. Amazing!

Contributed by Hina Rohtaki, Amit Sharma, Rajinder Nagarkoti, Vivek Gupta, Akash Ghai and Rajmeet Singh



Geetanjali’s parents meet her daughters
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 22
Following the orders of the CBI court, Geetanjali's parents today met the victim’s daughters at the house of Chief Judicial Magistrate Ravneet Garg's counsel for the first time after her murder. Ravneet Garg himself brought the two daughters, Aasma (4) and Adiva (3), for the meeting. Though after coming out, the parents claimed that the children were fine and it was a peaceful meeting, noises could be heard during some argument going on with Garg about the allegations on killing their daughter.

The court had given three-hour time to three members of Geetanjali’s family to meet the children. The family claimed that the elder daughter was unwell.

Since Geetanjali’s died, her parents had alleged that Ravneet Garg and his family had not allowed them to meet the children and they wanted their custody in order to ensure their safety.

Recently, Ravneet Garg had moved a petition before the CBI court, requesting it to reject the petition filed by Geetanjali's parents for the custody of the children.

The petition stated that only the ‘guardian’ can get the custody of the children and maternal grandparents did not fall within the definition of ‘guardian’.

On July 17, Geetanjali was found shot dead in Gurgaon. The post-mortem report revealed that she was shot at three times. A case under section 302 (murder) was registered against her husband Ravneet Garg, father-in-law KK Garg and mother-in-law Rachna Garg.

Geetanjali is survived by her two daughters. The family later claimed that Garg had extra-marital relations and since their daughter was bearing only daughters, she was allegedly harassed by her in-laws.



Wake-up call for Panchkula police
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 22
Twenty orders of either suspension or sent to lines in just one month should be a wakeup call for the police officials in Panchkula. There are many out stationed officials who say that they don't want posting in a station like Panchkula after learning about the strictness.

From sleeping during the duty hours to demanding bribe, from being drunk to be relaxing in the police station during patrolling hours, all won't be tolerated now.

On August 12, the entire staff of the Sector 16 police post was either placed under suspension or sent to lines by the top brass. Though only two were involved in demanding Rs 4,000 from a person to release him when he was found drunk, as an exemplary punishment, others were punished only because they did not inform their seniors about the issue.

The complete staff was flashed out with immediate effect and new staff was called in.

In a late night surprise check by Commissioner of Police Rajbir Deswal on September 17 at all the police stations, five police officials were sent to lines as they were either found sleeping or relaxing in civvies at the police station during the patrolling hours.

Yesterday's incident at Chandimandir police station was the most shocking when in a bogus raid, as many as six policemen were found drunk. While rest of the officials avoided medical tests, the examination of SHO Jai Prakash confirmed that he had consumed liquor.

Surprisingly, when the seniors enquired from the control room about delay in informing them, even he was found drunk. All seven were placed under suspension by Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Ashwin Shenvi.



SSA funds
Govt schoolteachers or clerks?
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Over 100 schoolteachers virtually work as clerks in the city’s government schools, courtesy the burden of managing the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) funds on them. Even as a recent letter by the district education office has directed the school heads not to assign any non-teaching job to the teachers, the practice is still rampant.

Chandigarh has 106 government schools and every school has at least one teacher devoted full-time to manage the SSA funds, which include keeping the attendance record of teachers recruited under the SSA society, making their salary cheques, besides other formalities.

The SSA, being the largest literacy programme of the Central government, also has grants for government schools under several academic heads and the whole burden to keep their record lies with these teachers.

Due to this, those assigned the work to manage the SSA funds hardly go to their classes. There are other funds being managed by teachers at the school level, but the management of funds don’t require their daily attention.

An official said there were many schools where school heads had relaxed these teachers from taking any class.

Recently, a few parents gave a written complaint to the DPI office against one such teacher from GSSS-Karsan who was not regular with his classes, he said.

As per information, SK Setia, the then DPI (S) in 2008, also passed an order stating that the SSA is important component of the Education Department and its work should be assigned to the clerks rather schoolteachers. But despite this nothing has changed on ground so far.

Dr Vinod Sharma, president of the Government Teachers Union, said this problem could not be sorted out unless the Education Department would not give additional clerical staff in the government schools.

Arvind Rana, president of the SSA Teachers’ Welfare Association, said taking clerical work from teachers was violation of the Right to Education Act, 2009.

“As per Section 27 of the RTE Act - 2009, no teacher should be deployed for any non-education purpose other than the decennial census, disaster relief duties or duties relating to elections to the local authority or the state legislatures or Parliament, as the case may be. So, there is an urgent need to put off the burden of responsibilities of the SSA and other petty funds from the teachers," Arvind Rana said.

Senior officials of the department said they were under process to sanction the clerical staff for government schools.



From schools
Educational trip

Chandigarh: The students of class II of Sacred Heart, Sector 26, were taken on an educational trip to different places of worship. They visited a church, a temple and a gurdwara. The trip was organised to inculcate a sense of pride in our secular framework and the beauty of varied culture that the school believes in. The students were briefed about the different religions and the fact that “God is one. It was a great learning experience for the little ones.

Health and Nutrition Week

Mohali: To inculcate good eating habits and promote healthy living among children, Gurukul World, observed the Health and Nutrition Week. The week was celebrated in order to make the students vigilant about the queer food habits. Various activities were performed by the students of Grade III to VIII. An inter-house quiz and poster-making competition were organised for students. Apart from this, an intra-class competition of advertisement enactment on milk products, fruits and vegetables, etc., was organised. The students participated with great zeal and enthusiasm and learnt the importance of healthy food.

Visit to International Doll Museum

Panchkula: Over 20 tiny tots of SMD Little Champ School, Sector 2, here, visited International Doll Museum, Sector 23, Chandigarh. The International Doll Museum, Sector 23, Chandigarh, houses more than 500 dolls from India and world depicting their culture generate much of the fascination among tiny tots. The students were briefed about the history of dolls. The great Indian epics in miniatures also impressed all.

Student brings laurels

Aparajita Kaul, a student of Hansraj Public School, Panchkula, bagged second position in a story-writing competition organised by Scholastic India at the national level. Her story, selected out of 2,500 entries across the country, was adjudged as the best, earning her the coveted position. The story “Down the Dark Lane” has been published by scholastic nova in the book “For Kids by Kids 2013”. — TNS



Illuminating life of the visually impaired
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
With an aim to illuminating the life of those who also have dreams and aspirations but are visually impaired, students of the Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology, Sector 26, have launched an eye donation campaign, "Drishti". Through this campaign, the students have been successful in getting over 2,000 pledges for eye donations by visiting various colleges in the city and holding awareness rallies.

The campaign commenced with an eye-opening seminar. The launch of the campaign was accompanied by a special performance by students from the Institute for the Blind, who serenaded the audience and gave a beautiful start to the initiative.

Divya Aggarwal, one of the team members, said 50 volunteers from the college armed with the newfound information gained during the seminar conducted awareness seminars across the seven colleges and managed to get over 2,185 pledge cards signed within two weeks.

“To widen the reach of the campaign, street plays were performed by the volunteers at the Sector 17 Plaza. A walk from the Rock Garden, which culminated with a street play at the Sukhna Lake, helped us reach out to people with the message of eye donation,” she said.

To spread the campaign in society, the students recently organised a flash mob and a pledge ceremony at Sector 17, which drew the attention of the masses to the noble cause.

The students said another event at a local mall on September 28 and ‘run for vision’ marathon scheduled for September 29 were expected to take the campaign to a new level, covering a wider range of audience through extensive participation for the cause.

“Through ‘Drishti’, we seek to enlighten the lamp of vision and bring about a tangible change in society,” Divya said.



CBSE-i accreditation for Mani Majra Gurukul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Gurukul Global School, Mani Majra, has become the first school in the tricity to get the CBSE-i (International) accreditation by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). The CBSE, in its effort to attract Indian Diaspora and to help Indian learners to pursue higher education abroad, has begun the CBSE-I accreditation for domestic schools.

CBSE-i accredited schools have analytical and skill-based curriculum with focus on experiential learning and discovery approach.

On the whole, these schools have curriculum addressing global needs and at the same time giving focus on the Indian system of education and its culture.

Aruna Bhardwaj, principal of the school, said the CBSE-i curriculum enables learners to be more critical, lateral and analytical. Under this accreditation, it is not mandatory for the students to take Hindi as the compulsory language as they can opt for any foreign language.

“We have got a good classroom technology to support the new system. Soon, we will enhance the infrastructure to support the activity-based learning under this new system. Language lab will also be introduced soon,” she said.

She said the new CBSE-i system would be introduced from the next academic session for which the students would be given option either to opt for regular board curriculum or international board curriculum.

“I am sure that more parents will be interested for CBSE-i since the board has developed this system keeping in view the global education standards. It will evolve students in such a way that they can raise questions, think, reflect, and create knowledge for themselves,” she said.



Walkout by PU Syndics leaves important issues pending
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The walkout staged by the Syndics on Saturday before the Syndicate meeting started has left some important issues pending. The online system for the submission of examination forms for postgraduate courses was to be introduced from September 26 after the approval from the Syndicate. With the meeting being rescheduled for September 28, the launch of the facility is expected to get delayed.

The university, taking a step towards modernisation, has decided to switch over to the online system for the submission of examination forms for postgraduate courses in the university, affiliated colleges and the University School of Open Learning. As per the university, the online system was to be introduced for the semester exams to be scheduled in December after the approval from the Syndicate meeting, which was to be held on Saturday.

Another important issue that was to be tabled before the House was granting permission to Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital, Sector 26, for making fresh admissions to first year keeping in view the recent directions of the Government of India. Since the last date for admissions is September 30, it was an important agenda item that has been delayed.

The issue will be tabled in the meeting on September 28 and there will be only one day left for the students to take admission to the first year. After September 30, the students will have to pay the late fee for the admission.

All Syndics had staged a walkout even before the proceedings could start after the university failed to bring the action taken report regarding the issue pertaining to GTB Khalsa College for Women, Dasuya, in the meeting.



SSA teachers: Assn finds anomaly in appointments

Chandigarh, September 22
The SSA Teachers Welfare Association (SSATWA) claimed anomalies in their appointment. Nearly 1,300 primary and upper primary teachers, appointed under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, are working in the UT Education Department. The association said the posts of SSA teachers were sanctioned to the UT Education Department, but the local administration recruited these teachers under the UT SSA Society on a contractual basis.

Arvind Rana, president of the association, said the information sought under the RTI Act from the Ministry of Human Resource Development clarified that the posts of primary and upper primary teachers were given to the UT.

“The RTI reply from Under Secretary Arun Sharma states that the appointment of primary (JBT) and upper primary (TGT) teachers are governed by rules and regulation of state government/Union Territories. As per the rules of Chandigarh, all posts of teachers are appointed under the Education Department on a regular basis. But, erroneous phenomenon has been created here and the Chandigarh SSA Authority recruited these 1,300 teachers on a contractual basis, he said.

According to him, this anomaly has created a lot of problem for SSA teachers. Being contractual teachers, they are getting less salary with no medical or earned leaves. They too face erratic transfers and only 84 days of paid maternity leave compared to 180 days of paid maternity leave to regular employees.

He appealed to the authorities to start the regularisation process of SSA teachers as they deserve the similar status. — TNS



Union parts ways with teachers' JAC

Chandigarh, September 22
The UT Cadre Educational Employees Union parted ways with the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of UT schoolteachers saying that their core issues were sidelined after joining the committee. The president of the union, Swarn Singh Kamboj, said this decision was taken in the executive meeting attended by 21 members.

“The members had an opinion that the union’s core issues, including the issue of deputation and regularisation of teachers, have diluted after joining the JAC. Therefore, at the behest of all members, the union has decided to exist from the JAC and start focusing again on our core issues,” said Swarn Kamboj. According to him, they would spearhead their campaign to strongly implement the UT’s deputation policy that did not allow any teacher from Punjab and Haryana to stay over five years’ of service in Chandigarh. But this policy was being fully violated. The union was thinking of challenging the deputation policy of the UT in the court, he said.

He said the issue of regularisation of the contractual teachers would also remain their priority issue. — TNS



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