C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


40% govt schools yet to follow RTE Act 
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Nearly 40 per cent government schools in the UT still don't comply with the Right to Education (RTE) Act as far as the pupil-teacher ratio is concerned. This was revealed in the minutes of the Central Advisory Board of Education, which on October 10 took the RTE compliance's review meeting of all the states, including the UTs, in Delhi.

The report also reveals that the UT has not yet constituted the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) or the Right to Education Protection Authority (REPA) as part of the RTE compliance. Either of the two is compulsory under the RTE compliance.

Although the average pupil-teacher ratio in local government schools till the elementary level (class I-VIII) is 1:37, close to the RTE norms, the major cause of concern is the poor pupil-teachers ratio at the primary level (class I-V), which stands at 1:47.

Officials, however, maintain that the pupil-teacher ratio quoted above is for 2011-2012 and 2012-13 academic under the District Information System for Education (DISE). Data for 2013-14 is under compilation and will be out in January 2014.

The department recruited nearly 700 teachers earlier this year that will definitely improve the pupil-teacher ratio now.

However, the root concern impeding the quality education in Chandigarh is the poor student-classroom ratio (SCR), which stands at 1:59 (till elementary level) as per the DISE 2012-13 report. Chandigarh has just 1,758 classrooms for 1,02,930 students. As a result, the education department has above 40 government schools on double shift arrangements and the number is increasing every year.

Dr Anuradha, who runs the NGO Hamari Kaksha, said: "The double shift arrangement is in no way a solution to achieve high enrollment in government schools, rather it is creating a problem in imparting quality education."

"Most schools with double shift arrangement have students from a poor background. Their parents leave home early in the day for odd jobs and leave these children alone to roam around doing petty jobs. By the time they reach school for afternoon shifts, they are already tired. Effective education is possible only in single shift schools and for this, we need more classrooms and schools," she said.

RTE activist Pankaj Chandgothia is of the view that even as three new government schools have come up in Chandigarh in the current academic session and one more is expected this session in Manimajra, it will result in not much improvement in the student-classroom ratio. "We need teachers and building of classrooms on a war footing basis to scale down both pupil-teacher ratio and the student-classroom ratio to the desired level of 1:35 as stipulated in the RTE Act.

As per the details of the Central Advisory Board of Education minutes, the Central Government has also issued a guideline to all the states and the UT directing them to rationalise the deployment of existing teachers to address the problems of urban, rural and other spatial imbalances in teachers’ placements and also initiate the process of recruitment of new teachers to improve the pupil-teacher ratio stipulated in the RTE Act.

Further, the Central Advisory Board of Education has recorded that 26 states/UTs have constituted either the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) or the Right to Education Protection Authority (REPA) but the matter is still pending in Chandigarh along with the rest of the states. The constitution of the body is important to protect the rights of students to get admission.

A senior official of the Education Department said, "The file for constituting State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has already been moved to the Central Government for approval." As per the Central Advisory Board of Education, their is 100 per cent compliance of drinking water facility and separate toilet for girls and boys.

The Act

* The RTE Act was passed by Parliament in 2009, guaranteeing free and compulsory education for children between 6 to 14 years of age.

* The law came into effect from April 1, 2010 across all states barring J&K.

* As per the law, schools have to provide separate toilets for boys and girls besides safe and adequate drinking water facility for all children. 

How pupil-teacher ratio and student-classroom ratio are calculated?

The pupil-teacher ratio is the number of students divided by the number of teachers in a school. A pupil-teacher ratio of 1:10 means that there are 10 students for every one teacher. The RTE Act makes it mandatory for every state to have at least 1:35 pupil-teacher ratio. The student-classroom ratio implies the number of students per classroom. As per the District Information System for Education, in 2012-13 the ratio was 1:59, indicating severe shortage of school infrastructure in UT. More than 40 schools in UT are running on double shift basis. 



Over 23,000 domestic LPG connections disconnected 
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Over 23,000 domestic LPG connections have been disconnected after the introduction of the Know Your Customer (KYC) system by the gas agencies in the city.

Records revealed that there were around 8,000 Hindustan Petroleum, 5,000 Bharat Petroleum Company and 10,000 Indian Oil Companies' connections which were disconnected in the past one year after the implementation of the KYC system by all the three gas companies.

Records revealed that there were around 24 gas agencies which cater to around 4 lakh LPG connections in the city.

Officials of gas companies revealed that after the data sharing process initiated by the companies, all the households having two LPG connections on single address had been shut down by the respective agencies. Official revealed that such customers have been informed by speed post to disconnect their extra connection availed by other companies.

A gas agency owner on the basis of anonymity revealed that many of customers have not received the speed post letters sent by the agency to disconnect their double connection on a single address.

A senior official revealed that initially the local headquarters of the gas companies shared the data of their customers only due to which there was no check on the intercity or interstate duplicate connections. Considering the issue, the Union Ministry Petroleum instructed the gas companies to share their data across the country to avoid double connections.

Officials said that after fresh instructions, hundreds of duplicate cases came to light in the city. The companies are in the process of disconnecting these LPG connections.

Official revealed that the companies were expecting that after the implementation of direct benefit transfer linksed with Aadhaar cards, a number of other invalid domestic connections will be disconnected in the city.

Official revealed that after the Aadhaar letter linking with the subsidy from October 1 this year, data will be prepared as to who are getting undue subsidy and it will be discontinued.



Tribune impact
CJM holds his breath, orders action
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 25
Acting on a report published in these columns regarding the "pathetic garbage situation" in Panchkula, Chief Judicial Magistrate-cum-secretary, District Legal Services Authority, Sunil Chauhan, along with a team, carried out an inspection and found that the vicinity of a government school in Raipur Rani, Panchkula, had been turned into a dumping ground.

The team found that villagers had been dumping garbage at the site for years. Taking a serious note of the issue, he sent a report to the Deputy Commissioner and the Haryana Legal Services Authority (HLSA), asking them to take strict action in the matter. Chauhan visited the site with panel advocate Manbir Singh Rathi.

Rathi said, “The condition was pathetic with stench all around. Garbage was strewn at the entry gate of the government school, posing a health risk to children. It's difficult to sit in the classrooms with such stink around. Pigs and donkeys were seen at garbage site. How can the authorities turn a blind eye to such unhygienic conditions?”

He said, “If necessary action is not taken, we will take legal recourse by filing a PIL in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.”

The report sent to the DC and the HLSA states, “Maintenance of health and preservation of sanitation and environment fall under the purview of Article 21 of the Constitution as they adversely affect the life of citizens and amount to slow poisoning. The Supreme Court has held that the right to life is not confined to a mere animal existence but means a right to live with basic human dignity.”

He has also sent some recommendations which state, “A mechanism should be put in place to prevent the accumulation of garbage. Adequate dustbins must be kept at proper places, particularly at street corners. People must be educated on the importance of throwing garbage in dustbins.”



Chlorine leak triggers panic
Timely detection near Palika Bazar averts major tragedy; 3rd incident in recent past
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
A major tragedy was averted when chlorine leak was detected from a huge cylinder at a tubewell in Sector 19 at around 12.30 pm today. The gas leak triggered panic among shoppers at Palika Bazar situated adjacent to the tubewell (waterworks). One of the shopkeepers alerted the fire department following which the leak was controlled, which could have harmed more than 100 people present in the area.

This is the third incident of chlorine leak in the city in the past one month, exposing the apathy of the municipal corporation and the UT Administration in ensuring safety standards.

An advanced fire technology vehicle and a fire engine from Sector 17 were sent to the spot and it took firemen nearly 30 minutes to plug the gas leak from the cylinder, weighing 24.9 kg. Sources said the incident occurred during changing of cylinders.

"Suddenly, a choking odour emanated from the area and we felt slight irritation in the eyes. As the smell persisted, we moved out of the market. One of the shopkeepers near the parking area said chlorine had leaked from a gas cylinder," said Ashmita, a resident of Sector 20.

An official of the municipal corporation said on condition of anonymity that a proposal had been mooted for replacing chlorine gas cylinders with liquefied gas cylinders.

MC Superintending Engineer (Public Health) RC Diwan was not available for comments.

Past incidents

September 14, 2013: Two firemen and 13 IRB constables sustained injuries and complained of breathlessness while controlling chlorine leak at a tubewell in the IRB Complex, Sarangpur, on September 14. They were rushed to the GMSH.

October 19: Twenty-two persons, including four firefighters, were rushed to the GMSH, Sector 16, on October 19 after they fell unconscious due to chlorine leak. A truck of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation was transporting a leaking chlorine cylinder to the Sector 39 water plant. The situation went out of control when the truck reached the road separating Sectors 24 and 15. The driver of the truck stationed the vehicle near Hotel Parkview in Sector 24 and the police and firefighters were called.

Passersby and two policemen complained of breathlessness and irritation in the eyes and fell unconscious. They were taken to the hospital. They were discharged later in the day. 


Plot owners want back Rs 1,500 crore from Admn 
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
While the UT Administration was planning to implement the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Development (MSMED) Act after its recent meeting with officials of the MHA and the city-based industrialists, the converted plot owners' association has now demanded back their money, which is around Rs 1,500 crore.

The Association members, in their letter to the UT Advisor, stated, "The UT Administration came out with the 'Chandigarh conversion of land use of industrial site into commercial activities/services in Industrial Area, Phase I and II Chandigarh Scheme 2005'. The policy allowed change of land use from industrial to commercial activity upon payment of a very huge conversion fee wherein various commercial activities were allowed. Over 125 plot owners in the industrial area opted for this scheme and the Administration collected a huge amount of around Rs 1,500 crore as conversion charges till date."

The letter further reads, "Specifically, we would like to point out that IT-enabled services and banking were allowed under this scheme and upon payment of conversion fees. But these commercial activities are now being sought to be allowed in the Industrial Area free of cost through the mechanism of the proposed MSMED Act as a backdoor entry, thereby depriving the Administration of revenue in the form of change of land use charges."

"Our association is in favour of implementation of the MSMED Act but before implementing this Act, the administration should refund the conversion charges which they have charged for the same activities from the industrialists of the city along with the interest under conversion policy," the letter further reads.



Bumpy ride for patients
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Suffering immense pain due to jerks caused by the speed-breakers installed on various roads at the PGIMER, a patient has complained to the public grievances committee seeking substitution of these speed bumps.

"Please imagine the plight of an injured person who suffers at these bumps. A patient or a woman in labour pain has to suffer the most because of the jolts caused,” the patient mentioned in the complaint addressed to the Director.

Offering a solution, the patient mentioned that speed humps allow the vehicles to pass without jerks.

Chandigarh Tribune had recently highlighted how the lack of proper planning by the engineering wing of the hospital while selecting the bumpy speed-breakers for roads around the cardiac centre and advanced paediatric centre had been affecting the well-being of patients.

These speed-breakers, installed at a distance of less than 100 metres at the road leading from the Emergency towards the Advanced Cardiac Centre and the New OPD Block, are so rigid that one cannot avoid the jerks even after slowing down the speed of the vehicle to 15 kilometers per hour.

As the problem was highlighted in these columns earlier, experts had pointed out that cardiac patients are the most sensitive to these jerks. It is pertinent to note that a cardiac patient, who is to be taken to the Advanced Cardiac Centre, cannot afford to skip these speed- breakers while moving from any of the directions.

Sources said that the key cause for haphazard planning is the fact that the hospital has been running without a regular officer appointed on the post of Superintending Engineer who could supervise the activities properly. The charge is currently with a senior PGI doctor.

PGI's official spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar said, "These speed-breakers have been installed for the safety of the pedestrians moving within the premises. They are often at the risk of being hit by speedy vehicles rushing to the emergencies. Such speed-breakers are found on the highways also which the ambulances cross. But all such arrangements are reviewed at short intervals."



Residents face hassles in getting high security number plates 
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Getting high security number plates fixed on your vehicle at two centres earmarked by the Registration licensing authority (RLA) has become a struggle for the people due to shortage of parking space.

Records of the RLA revealed that on an average 70 vehicles were registered and issued authorised receipt for fixation of the high security number plates daily at all the three centres, including RLA, Sector 17, SDM (South) Sector 42 and SDM east Industrial area Phase I. But in two centres the visitors face major parking problems for the affixing of high security number plates.

During a visit to the Industrial Area Phase I, it was found that all those vehicles which were to get a fixation of high security number plates were parked on the road outside the SDM east office as there was no parking space available inside the premises. The owners were allowed to get there vehicle inside the premises as and when the space got vacated. About 10 to 12 vehicles could only be parked in the premises for fixation of HSNP as per the staff deployed for this purpose. Adding to their woes was that traffic police issues challans for parking their vehicles in the no parking zone. RLA Kashish Mittal said that the department is working on the solution of the parking space problem at the offices which were earmarked for the high security number plates affixation to avoid inconvenience to the public and soon a decision will be taken by the administration on it.



House tax: Residents of Sectors 48, 49, 50, 51 allege discrimination

Chandigarh, October 25
Residents of the societies in Sectors 48, 49, 50 and 51 have opposed the imposition of house tax on the societies by the Municipal Corporation.

Kamal Gupta, president of the Residents’ Welfare Association, Sector 50, Chandigarh, said the Municipal Corporation was adopting different formulas for other parts of the city and the societies. In the other parts, it calculates the tax on the house area whereas in the societies it also includes the area of parks, roads, etc, in house tax calculation, he added.

President of the Chief Auditor Co-operative House Building Society HS Bajwa said the residents of the Co-operative House Building Society flats should be exempted from the payment of house tax. The residents of these societies are already paying for security, maintenance of internal roads, parking, streetlights and transformers, he added.—TNS



SP (Traffic) to probe charges of ‘hafta wasooli’ 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
A team headed by the UT Superintendent of Police (Traffic) will now look into the allegations of “hafta wasooli” or patronage and protection charges at the Sector 26 vegetable market.

The team, directed by the Punjab and Haryana HC to carry out the probe, will also have a DSP and an Inspector. The directions came after the HC was told about “hafta wasooli” by counsel appearing for one of the parties.

As the case came up for resumed hearing, the amicus curiae or the friend of the court also informed the Bench on the continuous presence of “rehris” or carts in the market. Photographs on encroachments were also placed before the Bench. The court was also informed that parking inside the market was still being allowed.

Before parting with the case, the HC directed the UT Administration to respond to the photographs on encroachments and make its stand clear within two weeks on the new vegetable market in Sector 39.

The HC, on a previous date of hearing, had asked the Chandigarh Administration to frame a policy against encroachments in the Sector 26 grain market. A Division Bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Ajay Tewari had also directed UT Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Shayin to proceed against illegal encroachments in accordance with the law.

The HC had also directed the Adviser to immediately convene a meeting for considering the feasibility of setting up another vegetable market in the city.

The Bench had further directed the Administration and the chairman of the market committee to look into the mess existing in the Sector 26 grain market. The Bench had verbally observed in the open courtroom that the "inspector raj" was required to be abolished; and it was essential to bring about transparency in permitting vegetable hawkers in Sector 26.

The Bench had also verbally questioned why markets were not being set up in other sectors as there was a "market mafia" in Sector 26. 



Fire breaks out at factory
Goods worth Rs 40 lakh destroyed; no loss of life reported
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Goods worth Rs 40 lakh were destroyed in a fire that broke out at a corrugated boxes factory in the Industrial Area, Phase II, in the wee hours today. However, no loss of life was reported. The flames intensified within a few minutes and it took the firemen over 6 hours to douse the fire.

A total of four fire tenders rushed to the spot. The fire control room received a call at 12 am on Friday. Fire department officials said short-circuit in wires installed inside the factory caused the fire.

Rajneesh Jain, director of Rishabh Packaging Pvt Ltd, said a worker in the neighbouring plot informed him about the fire at 12 am. All the raw material as well as important documents were gutted in the fire. However, I am thankful to the Fire Department for responding immediately.

The factory was locked and there was nobody on the premises when the incident took place.

Officials at the Fire Department said violations, if any, at the factory were being looked into.

There was a cardboard inside the factory that caught the fire, following which other goods also came into its contact. 



Special counters set up to sell onion at Rs 55 per kg
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Amid the skyrocketing prices of onion in the city, touching Rs 90 per kg in the retail market three days ago, the UT Administration has set up five special counters for selling onions at Rs 55 a kg at the Sector 26 Grain Market.

The stalls, which operated from 9 am to 12 pm, sold onions on a no-profit-no-loss basis, according to the market committee officials.

Some of the visitors at the market felt that the operational hours of these stalls would not suit a majority of the residents. The administration should reschedule the timings for the evening, said Ram Shankar, one of the buyers at the Sector 26 market.

“We will revise the timings based on the demand,” said Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Shayin.

The cost of onion in a majority of the city markets has come down to Rs 70 a kg. But in some of the markets in northern sectors, including Sector 9, the prices continued to be Rs 90 per kg.



Border tension no deterrent to Pak exhibitors at CII fair
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
The border tension and ceasefire violations are proving no deterrent to Pakistani exhibitors to visit the CII Chandigarh Consumer Fair that began at the Parade Ground here today.

The number of exhibitors from Pakistan has gone up tremendously in this fair. The 2006 edition of the fair had just one exhibitor from Pakistan. This year’s fair has as many as 60 participants from the neighbouring country, up from 50 exhibitors last year.

As usual, Pakistani stalls are attracting women and men shoppers as 50 per cent of the stalls are selling fine clothing garments, beautiful designer and cotton suits.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who visited the fair today, purchased 51-m Khadi kurti cloth for 12-13 suits from Almas Textiles Industry, Lahore, at Rs 9,000.

Khursid Barlas, chairman, SAARC Business Development Council of Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce, said: “The credit for overwhelming response from the Pakistani contingent goes to the improvement of the business relation between both the countries. About 10-15 years ago, there was hardly business contact but things have improved now. Both the countries should relax visas for business and promote business investments in each other's country”.

However, he thinks a lot needs to be done. “The politics and the business should be kept separate. Political fallout should not impact business ties. Both the sides should set up business conference centres in no man’s land and from there the next step should be open investment in both the countries. A strong business tie can help improving the political relations too,” he said.

As many as 40 per cent of the Pakistani exhibitors are from Lahore, while the rest are from Karachi, Hyderabad and other places.

Women dresses on the Pakistani stalls are a rage among the visitors. Other Pakistani specialities are footwear (both gents and ladies), ‘kadhai’ suits, packaged food items, artificial flowers, sarees, purses, bags, cutlery and crockery, timepieces, pen stands, etc. Onyx stone vases at Eastern Art & Craft are available for Rs 10,000, while a giant Onyx fountain is on sale for Rs 50,000. Kashmiri handicrafts from the Swat region of Pakistan are also on display.

An exhibitor from Karachi Rafiq Lakhani said they were here not only for business but also to spread the message of peace and love. We are glad that the local population always responds us well.

“Indo-Pak relations will improve a lot with a boost in trade ties through fairs like the CII Chandigarh Fair,” said KK Sharma, Adviser to the UT Administrator, while inaugurating the fair here today.

Overall the fair has over 230 exhibitors in 12 concurrent shows and it would give visitors global shopping extravaganza with tremendous choice, variety and quality. The 18th CII Chandigarh Fair is on till October 28.



UT Admn didn't give Jaspal Bhatti his due, says wife
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Lashing out at the city and the Chandigarh Administration for not giving late satirist Jaspal Bhatti his due, his wife, Savita Bhatti, today said her husband’s contributions to society had still not been fully recognised. Savita was addressing the media at the first death anniversary of her husband when Jaspal Bhatti has been made the brand ambassador for the Chandigarh Administration.

Savita said her husband, who was the first to bring Chandigarh on the international map, had been ignored by the city. She also accused the city residents of not giving him the stature that Bhatti deserved.

Exactly a year after his death in a freak accident, Bhatti has now been appointed late comedian brand ambassador for all campaigns of the UT traffic police for the next one year.

“He made the city his home and the city never gave him the respect he deserved. He brought the city on the international map 25 years ago,” she said.

She also slammed Punjab Engineering College where Bhatti did his engineering and the college failed to name an auditorium after him.

Jaspal Bhatti, a noted comedian and filmmaker, was killed in a road accident near Shahkot in Jalandhar on October 25, 2012. The SUV was being driven by his son, Jasraj Bhatti. The comedian, along with his crew, was returning from Bathinda when the accident took place.



Lawyers protest outside DC’s office
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 25
Lawyers staged a dharna outside the office of the Deputy Commissioner here today demanding the rollback of the Punjab Rent Act, which harmed their interests.

The call for the protest was given by the Joint Action Committee of the All-Bar Associations of Punjab.

Darshan Singh Dhaliwal, convener of the association, said the dharna was staged against the Punjab Rent Act and the protesters wanted the government to reverse its decision in this regard.

A memorandum for the Punjab Chief Minister was also handed over to the Deputy Commissioner.

He said the lawyers wanted the government to withdraw the Act by October 31, failing which they would be compelled to stage a protest outside the residence of the Punjab Chief Minister on November 1, and would also boycott all types of courts in the state.



Dept objects to terms of CREST petition

Chandigarh, October 25
The UT Electricity Department today objected to the terms and conditions of the petition moved before the Joint Energy Regulatory Commission (JERC) by the Chandigarh Renewable Energy Science and Technology Promotion Society (CREST), seeking permission to sell power produced through solar power plants.

The department has objected to the clause regarding commercial sale and purchase of power.

MP Singh, superintending engineer (Electricity), said they would agree to the terms and conditions as applicable while buying power from other sources. Recently, CREST had moved a petition with the JERC to get nod for selling the solar generated power to the power department. The petition has been moved by CREST on behalf of the Department of Science and Technology, Chandigarh.

Solar power plants have been installed on several buildings in the city, including Model Central Burail Jail in Sector 45, Paryavaran Bhawan in Sector 19, Government Senior Secondary School in Sector 46 and Government College of Commerce and Business Administration in Sector 42. — TNS



Business experts emphasise on strong leadership at annual summit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
The Indian School of Business (ISB) hosted top business leaders at the second edition of its annual leadership summit - ‘Pinnacle’, on the Mohali campus today.

‘Pinnacle’ is a confluence of distinguished leaders from the world of business, academia and government with this year’s theme being - ‘Leadership at the Crossroads’. The event began with Karthik Hebsur, president of the Graduate Student Body introducing the theme to the delegates. Hebsur highlighted the critical role that future leaders need to play in tackling pertinent global issues by acknowledging that change was the only constant. Ajit Rangnekar, Dean, ISB, emphasised that leadership was always at the crossroads and growth emerges out of uncertainty and change. The keynote speaker for the event, Laxmi Narayanan, vice-chairman, Cognizant, while addressing the delegates and students, identified three constants for managing change in the face of uncertainty- ‘Challenges, Innovation and Learning’. “The disruptive nature of innovative technologies necessitates the convergence of knowledge, thereby sowing the seeds for convergence of technology. This virtuous cycle culminates in the convergence of devices and the emergence of new technologies. To successfully ride this wave of change, we need strong leadership.”

The speakers were Parag Saigaonkar, Principal, Deloitte Consulting; Vibha Paul Rishi, Executive Director, Max Healthcare and Krishnan Chatterjee, Senior VP, HCL Technologies.

They shared their thoughts on leadership by drawing insights from their own experiences. Pradeep Singh, deputy dean, ISB, and CEO, Mohali campus, summed up his views on the issue by equating this period of change with a period of great opportunity, provided it was coupled with the reforms and collaboration between the government, society and businesses. He encouraged Ramesh Inder Singh, IAS (retd.), CIC under the RTI Act, to talk about his leadership style that enabled him to manage the expectations of several opposing parties at one of the most critical points in recent times.



Seminar on railway safety organised 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
There is a dire need to sensitise the railway staff on exchange of signals and proper communication, as in past three years, four major accidents occurred due to human errors. This was stated by the Ambala railway division senior divisional safety officer Paveen Gaur during a safety seminar at Chandigarh railway station.

She said that due to lack of communication during an exchange of signals by the staff there have been major accidents. She suggested that the movement at every end should be monitored and adequate staff be deployed to avoid any mishap.

During the seminar employees raised an issue of the shortage of staff which actually affected their efficiency. She assured to look into their demand but asked them to give top priority to the safety of passengers during their journey. The seminar was attended by around 40 employees of the mechanical, engineering and operational wings of the railways.



Breast cancer: Don’t ignore early symptoms, say experts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Max Super Speciality Hospital organised a breast cancer awareness drive and 200 families of breast cancer survivors participated in spreading awareness on breast cancer by holding a candle light march and forming a human chain to drive home the message of early detection of cancer, preventive measures to be taken and how to keep a positive attitude in life.

Namita was treated for an aggressive, Stage 3 tumor at an age of 35 that had extensive lymph node involvement. She is alive and well and is an inspiration to other women facing this disease, particularly young women. Namita, is not just one person who has survived breast cancer. "We are seeing 15-20 cases of breast cancer cases from Tricity every week; these ladies are professionally occupied and less than age of 35, says Dr Sachin Gupta, consultant, medical oncology, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Mohali.

“The importance of life is understood only when you have survived from a life threatening disease. Life is precious and only you can understand its value. Never ignore an early symptom of breast cancer, learn to recognise the symptoms and get regular health check up done, said an emotional Namita.



Expert discusses ‘cosmic illusions’
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 25
Seeing is believing but not always, especially in science, said Prof Jayant V Narlikar, while explaining how gravitational force changes the path of light rays coming from stars and galaxies and what one actually sees on earth as an image may not be exactly how it exists in the space and went on clarify how human eye perceives a single source of light (a quasar) as twin quasars.

One of the country’s distinguished astrophysicist, also a Padma Vibhushan awardee, Narlikar was delivering a talk on ‘cosmic illusions’ at the third National Conference on Space and Mars Exhibition that took off at the Indradhanush Auditorium, Sector-5, Panchkula, here today.

Inaugurated by Sudhir Rajpal, Director-General, Information, Public Relations and Cultural Affairs, Haryana, the two-day conference has been organised by Dikshant International School in association with the International Space Society.

The Mars Exhibition was put up by Jyotirvidya Pratisthan, Pune, along with students of Diskhant International School, Zirakpur.



‘Grasping impact of history not easy’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25Eminent biographer and research professor at the Centre for South Asian Studies in the University of Illinois, USA, Prof Rajmohan Gandhi said today that grasping the impact of history was not easy for people in the present.

While quoting Tolstoy, Professor Rajmohan said it could only be achieved by continuous hard work such as the papers presented in the session illustrated.

He was chairing the invited lecture session on the second day of the seminar ‘The Making of Modern Punjab: Education, Science and Social Change in Punjab’ being organised to commemorate the 150th birth Anniversary Year of Prof Ruchi Ram Sahni at the PU today.

He appreciated the organisation of the seminar.

Professor Rajmohan has authored biographies of Mahatma Gandhi and C Rajagopalachari, who were his paternal and maternal grandfathers, respectively. Actively engaged in human rights, trust building, reconciliation and democracy, he has received many awards for the same.



Play highlights orphan girl’s plight
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Students of Yadavindra Public School, Mohali, staged a play, “Wizard of Oz” at the Tagore Theatre today.

The play was based on a children’s novel by the same name written by L Frank Baum in the year 1900. The play recounts the adventures of Dorthy, a young orphan girl, in the Land of Oz, after being swept away from her Kansas home in a cyclone.

The objective behind selecting this particular story for the play was to make children aware of the fall-out of self-doubt that can over shadow invaluable virtues of intelligence, care and courage.

The auditorium was packed with parents and children who cheered and encouraged the participants with loud applauding.

Behind the scene, the key members of the faculty who were instrumental in making the play a roaring success were Vijay Kumar Machal, who directed the play Harsimrat Chahal, assistant director, Renu Pant, choreographer, Kwi Suk Kang and Seyiekhrienyu Usou, music directors too played vital a role.

The star cast of the play included Zea Gill (Dorothy); Joshvir Narula (Toto); Chris Jagga (Scarecrow); Sameep Cheema (Tinman); Chandan Kler (Lion); Sitanshu Galoti (Wizard of Oz); Ishroop Sandhu, Shreya Singla and Agampreet Chahal (Witches).¨



‘Big bucks not ensuring quality performance by teachers’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
During the inauguraal function of the national seminar on “Making of modern Punjab: Education, science and social change in Punjab’ , GK Chadha, a former chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Pay Review committee, said teachers have failed to deliver services which were expected from them after their salaries were revised under the 6th pay commission. The former Vice-Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, said, “In academics, we have to be harsh and upright. Teachers should not only chalk out their responsibilities and but also strive to fulfil them. It is the responsibility of the teachers to think if they are successful in fulfilling the commitment towards students or not.”

Chadha further recommended that the VC of PU should work independently and direct the senate and syndicate to ensure excellence. Addressing the inaugural function, former UGC Chairperson Prof Yash Pal emphasised on the need to have dialogue with grass root realities.

The three-day seminar has been organised by the university in commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Prof Ruchi Ram Sahni and university’s foundation day. In a video message, Vice-Chancellor of Lahore Government College University, Pakistan, Khaleeq ur Rahman Muhammad addressed the audience and elaborated on the association of Lahore with Prof Ruchi Ram Sahni. 



SPACE Group helps students study earth’s surface 
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 25
Students of The Gurukul, Sector 20, Panchkula, on Thursday participated in Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students project (ISS EarthKAM), an educational outreach programme of NASA executed by the SPACE Group in India.

Under this project, students were able to control a digital camera, mounted on the International Space Station (ISS), and photograph locations of their choice on earth, as seen from the space. The Indian-American astronaut, Sunita Williams, serviced this camera on her last ISS mission, Expedition 33.

The SPACE group, a premier science education organisation, is allotted selected slots every year for the ISS EarthKAM project.

This year ISS EarthKAM was scheduled from October 22 to 25.

Experts from SPACE guided The Gurukul students to select a location of their interest through the EarthKAM interface, check against weather and then submit the request for photos to the ISS EarthKAM.

Anirudh Vashisht and Kashin Sood chose to shoot a locale in North America, while Yajur Bansal and Nimit Beri opted for a space shot of the Himalayas.

“It was like sitting in a control room in the Kennedy Space Centre, NASA, with many budding space scientists engrossed on their computers studying the longitudes and latitudes of various locations on the earth as seen from space,” said Anuj Anand, a student.

The International Space Station (ISS) is the first human settlement in space, built and sponsored by as many as 17 nations. 



Arts most-opted stream in PU colleges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Arts is the most-opted stream by students studying at Panjab University (PU)-affiliated colleges.

In arts, 86,499 undergraduate students and 5,973 postgraduate students are studying at PU affiliated and constituent colleges.

As many as 2,30,687 undergraduate and postgraduate students were enrolled in Panjab University (PU), Chandigarh, its regional centres, affiliated and constituent colleges on June 30, 2013.

Of them, 1,98,998 students were enrolled in undergraduate classes and 31,689 in postgraduate classes. This data has been revealed in the PU Annual Report for 2012-13, which has been released during the three-day seminar on Making of Modern Punjab: Education, Science and Social Change in Punjab (1850-2000).

The annual report is a comprehensive document having all academic achievements of faculties, centres and institutes and important activities of the university in the period of July 2012 to June 2013.

A total of 29,330 students in graduation and 3,843 in postgraduation are studying science in the colleges. As many as 12,029 undergraduate and 816 postgraduate students are studying education in the colleges, while 5,984 students in graduation and 5,980 in postgraduation are studying languages.

The annual report has reports of all departments, publications, research papers, conferences and awards of PhDs by the respective departments.



PU to institute annual lecture in memory of botanist
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Panjab University (PU) will institute Prof SR Kashyap Annual Lecture in memory of world renowned botanist SR Kashyap.

Prof Kashyap’s daughter and noted film actress Kamini Kaushal today announced the endowment for organising the lecture in the form of Rs 3 lakh and another Rs 1 lakh from the Alumni Association of the PU.

PU Vice-Chancellor Prof Arun Kumar Grover announced the institution of annual lecture from the current academic year, while addressing the morning session on the second day of the three-day seminar on the ‘Making of Modern Punjab: Education, Science and Social Change in Punjab (1850-2000)’ at the PU today.

Kamini Kaushal, whose real name is Uma Sood, unveiled the plaque to commemorate Professor Kashyap at the Kashyap block, Department of Botany.

An interactive session with her turned into a beautiful journey down the memory lane where she shared her long held, rare and cherished memories of her father.

She mentioned that the British Government honoured her father but he was a Gandhian by heart.

Kaushal emphasised that the Gandhian philosophy was relevant in the contemporary times. While reminiscing about her childhood, she narrated the bonds that the family shared where no biases existed in terms of gender.

She recalled that her father spoke nine languages and had a brilliant photographic memory. She opined that perhaps this was the secret of his genius.

While introducing Kashyap, the VC said Professor Kashyap was the founder of PU botany department and one of the first few students who went to study at Cambridge.



Students showcase talent at function
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Over 400 students participated in the second day of the annual function of Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 36 Chandigarh. Maj-Gen MS Kandal, who was the chief guest, applauded the talent displayed by the students. Principal Gurnam Kaur Grewal read the annual report of the school, which highlighted the achievements of the students.

The programme started with a shabad recital by students. They also presented folk dance performances.

‘Lilliput dance’, another attraction, left everyone amused. ‘My family’ was staged that highlighted the importance of bonding in a joint family. English fairy tale ‘Cinderella’ adorned by handsome characters was well enacted by them. The message of universal brotherhood was conveyed through a dance performance by Class III students, which left everyone mesmerised.



Lack of ethics in education stressed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
The second and the last day of the education intelligence conference at Mount View, Sector 10, highlighted lack of ethics in education. Organised by a USA-based education technology company, Student Space, in collaboration with Punjab Technical University and the Nihal Technology Group, speakers at the conference said there were larger gaps found in the ethical behaviour in the present society.

Efforts must be taken to bridge this gap with workshops, seminars and presentations in university and community settings.

Dr Frances Levine from the US said: “Globalisation of technology has brought unexpected impact on our lives in bringing almost too much information. With no spiritual context for separating ethical and unethical uses of that information, we are going haywire. We need ethical education in our educational policies.” The Student Space and Nihal Foundation has decided that it would be sponsoring a future conference focusing specifically on topics related to ethics in education next year.



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