C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT stinker to employees
Tells them not to approach PMO, Prez, Central 
authorities directly
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
"Don't directly knock on the door of the PMO, President or Central Ministers," the UT Administration has warned its employees through a formal letter sent to all its departments.

After endorsement by the Education Department, the letter recently reached all the government schools and its directorate office, sending a strong warning to all its 4,500-odd employees that the submission of a representation directly to the President, Prime Minister, ministers and other functionaries will be viewed seriously and appropriate disciplinary action would be taken against those who violate these instructions.

The letter, which has been sent to all other departments too, with similar warning to their employees, indicated that the administration was in a fix over so many complaints from Chandigarh going directly to the top bosses in Delhi. To stop this, it was invoking the conduct rule to silence voices of dissidence here.

The letter states that the tendency of submitting representations/grievances to the Central authorities by ignoring the local prescribed channel of communication has increased tremendously in the UT. The problem is more actuate in major departments where employees often address multiple representations to senior functionaries in the Central Government. The letter, issued by the Department of Personnel, has warned of disciplinary action citing Rule 3 (1) (III) of the Punjab Government Employees (Conduct) Rules, 1966, applicable to the UT employees too.

The move has sparked major reaction among the UT employees.

General secretary of the UT Subordinate Services Federation Rajinder Kumar said this letter was an attack on their democratic rights. The employees here are forced to go to the PMO and central ministries because the local grievance and redress system has completely failed, he said.

Swarn Singh Kamboj, president of the UT-cadre Educational Employees Union, said he forwarded his representation to the local administration about overstay of the staff on deputation in government schools as many as three times through the proper channel but there was no action by the local officials on his complaint.

"At last, I had to move my representation to the PMO that took serious note of the matter and directed the administration to take some action on the issue. Sadly, the matter is still pending and the administration has not issued any clear guidelines in this regard," he said.

Recently, the local industrialists' association had visited the PMO and the Home Ministry for the redress of their pending issues.

Senior member of the Industries Association of Chandigarh HS Mamik says: "Even after so many years, the MSMED Act-2006 has not yet been implemented in its real meaning. The Act has broadened the definition of industry by including both the services and manufacturing that nullifies the rule of change of land use in the industrial area. However, the Chandigarh Administration is still adamant and non-committal about its implementation".

What chandigarh MP says

Interestingly, the letter also mentioned that some representations are often forwarded through the Member of Parliament in violation of Rule 20 of the Punjab Government Employees (Conduct) Rules, 1966. Reacting on this, Chandigarh MP Pawan Kumar Banal said nobody could debar him from highlighting the city residents' concerns. "My first question is that are the employees really debarred from approaching their Member of Parliament with their representations? If that is so, I will not like to dispute the rules but will handle the employees' grievances in a way that it does not land them in trouble. One thing is for sure that nobody can debar me from saying what I want to,” he added.



Parking contractor’s staff fleece visitors
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
Right under the nose of the Municipal Corporation, employees of the contractor, who has been allotted the parking lot in front of the registration and licensing authority's office, were found overcharging visitors to the CII fair today. Ironically, the authorities are waiting for the next working day, i.e. Monday, to take any action against the contractor.

During a visit to the parking lot, it was found that the parking contractor was charging Rs 10 for four-wheelers and Rs 5 for two-wheelers, instead of Rs 5 for four-wheelers and Rs 2 for two-wheelers as fixed by the authorities.

The employee manning the parking lot said these were the fees a contractor could charge from commuters for parking their vehicles for the whole day.

He was forcing every commuter to shell out fee for parking vehicles for the whole day. Moreover, the parking receipt number 012131, which was issued by the employee for the parking of a two-wheeler, does not have any information about the fee fixed for two-wheeler parking.

When a complaint was lodged with the Municipal Corporation official, Sudhir Narang, he expressed helplessness in taking any action immediately and assured the complainant that action would be initiated on Monday after going through the parking norms.

He, however, said no rates for any parking lot had been revised by the authorities.

Gullible residents

Visitors to the CII fair were under the impression that the parking fee was being charged by the CII authorities due to which the employee at the parking lot was charging more compared to the rates fixed by the MC.



Street art fest begins on colourful note
Tribune News Service

An art work displayed at the Chandigarh Street Art Festival in Chandigarh on Saturday
An art work displayed at the Chandigarh Street Art Festival in Chandigarh on Saturday

Chandigarh, October 26
Two-day Chandigarh Street Art Festival began today on a colourful note. The wholesome blend of cuisine and art formed a unique experience to the visitors.

Oraganised by CITCO in association with the Tourism Department, students prepared graffiti of 8,000 feet, running parallel on both sides of the roads from the Sukhna Lake to the Rock Garden. The major event at the inauguration ceremony this evening was three-dimensional live art. More than 100 students were roped to make a creative art arena around the Sukhna Lake. One of the interesting aspects was the art installation done on two cars. Large illuminating figurine hanging over the road towards the Rock Garden was another attraction.

Besides, there are live sculpture art, sand art, 3D rangoli, face painting and tattoo-making competitions. Folk dances and music, folk singing, instrumental music performance (saxophone, accordion, cello, flute, violin, piano, etc) at the venue, too, stole the show.

In the Street Food Festival, “chattori gali” at the lake saw huge ground savouring to the traditional Rajasthani, Amritsari and Muglai food. The whole area was illuminated and beautifully decorated.

Home Secretary Anil Kumar inaugurated the festival in the evening and appreciated the arrangement by the organisers.

The Tribune is the media sponsor for the event.


Panchkula MC officials’ claim on stray dog menace a farce
Stray dogs seen roaming inside DC Office complex during 
House meeting
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

A stray dog in front of the main entrance of the DC office in Panchkula
A stray dog in front of the main entrance of the DC office in Panchkula. Tribune photo: S. Chandan

Panchkula, October 26
Though senior officials of the Municipal Corporation during the House meeting patted themselves for eradicating the stray dog menace, stray dogs were seen “relaxing” inside the DC Office complex where the meeting was being held.

The second meeting of the Panchkula Municipal Corporation was held at the conference hall adjacent to the DC Office in the Mini-Secretariat, Sector 1, here, today.

“Panchkula Deputy Commissioner (DC) SS Phulia, also the Commissioner of Municipal Corporation, along with other officials, said they had started the dog sterilisation process and the stray dog menace was being curbed.

Executive officer OP Sihag said the city had almost become free from stray dogs.

Councillors Mamta Mittal, Lily Bawa and Sunil Talwar rubbished the claims of officers about the ongoing process of dog sterilisation.

They said not even a single stray dog had been removed from their areas putting hardships for local residents. Children were being forced to stay indoors due to the fear of being attacked by these animals.

As the report given to the councillors about the previous works done mentioned that the dog sterilisation process had been started, Lily Bawa stood up during the meeting and said the report was false and nothing had begun.

“I am in touch with a government pet hospital and have come to know that the hospital authorities will be starting the dog sterilisation process now,” said Bawa.

The local General Hospital receives around eight cases of dogbite from the district on an average. Recently, 14 persons, including children of Sector 15, Panchkula, were attacked by stray dogs within three days.



p’kula ills
‘No speedy development in wards’
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 26
Councillors during the second House meeting of the Panchkula Municipal Corporation said promises were made but months were being taken to get works implemented in their wards.

Satinder Singh Tony, a councillor, said they might be informed regarding the time period in which their work could be completed.

He told the officials that since long he was being befooled and no work was being done in his ward. Officers sit on the files for two-three months.

The DC had said if any work was not done, the councillors could meet him. However, whenever they come to meet him over the development works in their ward, they were made to wait for hours, they said.

The “village-city divide” was also witnessed today as well wherein councillors of Pinjore and Kalka areas alleged that they were being neglected and fall in the limits of the Panchkula MC.

They said most of the areas in their wards were villages and the same required development.

During a discussion over the garbage issue in the city, councillor Ravi Kant Swami while showing a report published in these columns on garbage menace in Panchkula said nothing was being done to check the same.

He said safai karamcharis and their supervisors should be given a surprise checking.

Mamta Mittal said registers should be maintained for their records.

MLA shielding encroachers, says councillor

Councillor Ravi Kant Swami raised another issue regarding encroachment upon a certain land in Sector 19 by auto-rickshaw drivers, causing inconvenience to commuters. He said it leads to traffic jams, adding that MLA DK Bansal was supporting them.

However, Bansal said anything bad happening with the poor and innocent would not be tolerated.

He said the auto-rickshaw drivers were being troubled by police personnel and if they want to be removed, a committee could do so in a proper way. Swami was later assured by the DC that he would write to the Panchkula DCP and get the matter sorted out.


  • The MC meeting started 20 minutes late as the Panchkula Deputy Commissioner failed to reach on time. After arriving, he said he was stuck at the Kalka temple.
  • Councillors from Kalka, Pinjore, Ramgarh and other areas said not even a single stray cattle had been seized from their areas and the MC had claimed to make the city cattle-free by October 20.
  • An amount of Rs 50 lakh has been granted to each councillor now for the development works in their wards.
  • The councillors said it was decided to impose a fine on those who drop litter, but not even a single warning notice has been sent over the same.
  • Regarding encroachments by rehriwalas, initially some of the House members said a particular area should be allotted to them in each ward and licences might also be issued. However, the previous idea was not accepted and it was decided that they might be given licences.



Surprise check
Twenty weighing machines seized at Sector 26 market
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
Three days after the Sector 26 Grain Market Committee started selling onions at a controlled rate of Rs 55 a kg in the market, the UT Legal Metrology Department conducted a surprise check at shops selling onions and other vegetables.

As soon as the team led by inspector Kamal Sarin reached the market, a number of daytime hawkers ran away leaving behind their weighing machines. The team confiscated 20 such weighing machines from the spot. Officials said the weighing machines were not calibrated. However, the team did not find any anomaly in the weighing machines being used by onion traders.

Encroachments continue

The problem of encroachment inside the fruit and grain market of Sector 26 persists. Despite the intervention of the High Court and a report in this regard published in these columns that a team under the SP Traffic will look into the ‘hafta wasooli’, the encroachers were seen installing their vends on roads, outside shops and in certain parking areas. Shopkeepers said as the day approaches, these vendors start extending their business to roads and parking areas of the arena. “In the evening, the situation becomes worst. The head of the committee should stop these encroachers,” said a shopkeeper.

20 quintals of subsidised onion sold on day 3

Sector 26 Market Committee officials sold 20 quintals of onion at the rate of Rs 55 per kg on Saturday. On Friday, they had sold 14 quintals of onion.



Regional talent gets good response at CII fair
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
The social expo pavilion of the CII consumer fair at the Parade Ground has been showcasing unique products made by NGOs, self-help groups and women entrepreneurs from different parts of the region.

Each of them stands for determination and courage. For instance, a stall put by Meher Baba Charitable Trust from Fatehgrah Sahib, selling Punjabi phulkari items like pillow covers, bedsheets, clutches, table covers, traditional mobile covers, is a great example of community service.

The trust, which started its vocational training in 2007, has already adopted 187 villages of Fatehgarh Sahib, and till date provided free vocational training to 1,400 women.

Raj Rani, project manager, Meher Baba Charitable Trust, said: “It is really heartening for us to see that the talent of the deprived and underprivileged women of society is getting such a huge appreciation. On Day 1 itself, we ran out of stock due to the huge demand. The platform like the CII Chandigarh Fair acts as a great encouragement”.

Her stall has a special range of ‘bagh dupatta’, which has 68 colours in it. The artisans have challenged that nobody can identify these 68 colours even in 5 minutes, and if anybody does that, he/she will get a huge discount.

Women & Children Welfare Trust from Morinda also has a similar story to share. They are offering a special range of silk cushion covers with phulkari work.

If you are beauty conscious and fond of herbal product range, then the stall of Karmic is your cup of tea. Supported by NGO Aatman from Maharashtra, this stall offers a great range of handmade soaps, body polishers and bath salts and attracts huge crowds. Aatman is founded by Archana Shah, who left her lavish life in London and came back to India to work for women empowerment by production and sales of herbal products.

The Association of Women Entrepreneurs and Career Women (AWECW), New Delhi, too, has displayed so many products. Commenting on their participation, Dr Mandip Sharma, chairperson and president, AWECW, said: “In the male-dominated corporate world, a fest like this is a go-and-grab opportunity as it helps in reaching out to the masses. This not only helps in supporting the women associated with NGOs and self-help groups, but also helps in raising market standards and boosting the competitive spirit in women entrepreneurs.”

Under the project Sfurti, a special phulkari cluster is exhibiting an exclusive range of phulkari suits ranging from Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,000.

In this expo, 14 NGOs from Punjab, 8 from Haryana, four from HP and other sponsored by NABARD are participating. Talking about the promotion of regional talent, Raymond D’Souza, assistant general manager, NABARD, said: "The exposure, which the artists get here, adds a lot to their confidence, especially the underprivileged women of society. It is a great platform for women empowerment also".



CII fair
Their work speaks for them
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
Silence speaks. Two deaf artists from the city have proved it with their creative performance. The duo - Saurabh Saini and Priyanka - has put together a stall of murals and paintings at the CII fair, which is getting a lot of praise from the visitors.

Named as Silence Speaks, the stall is showcasing a beautiful range of fascinating murals, beautiful stone carvings and handmade paintings. Both the artists might not able to converse like normal people, but their art speaks for themselves. Born as deaf, 27-year-old city resident Saurabh Saini got into drawing and sketching at the tender age of 10. Since then, he has held as many as 10 solo shows in different places.

Speaking on his behalf, JS Saini, father of Saurabh, said: “We realised his tendency for drawing and art at the early stage. Then, we encouraged and inspired him in this direction”.

Saurabh held his first exhibition in Chandigarh way back in 1999, as part of a larger exhibition. The response to his paintings was so overwhelming that people started talking about him as an exceptionally talented special child, he said.

In 2002, the late Jaspal Bhatti, a well-known humourist, inaugurated his exhibition at the Bal Bhavan.

It was due to efforts of Saini family that special diploma for deaf and dump students was begun at the Government College of Art in 2003, while the MFA course became open to all students later on.

Priyanka is pursing her last year in Masters of Fine Arts from the Government College of Arts and hopes to become a well-known artist one day and help many like her.



Enhanced prices
GMADA seeks some more time
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 26
In the case of payment of enhanced prices for the land acquired in Sector 86 to its owners by auctioning PUDA Bhawan at Phase VII, Greater Mohali Development Area Authority (GMADA) has sought some more time.

In today’s court hearing, GMADA’s counsel said due to the paucity of funds, the office needed some more time to pay to the landowners. After today’s proceedings, the court has set November 16 as the next date of hearing in the case.

Notably, the court has already attached the PUDA Bhawan, located at Phase VII, in this regard after directing the authorities to make payment to the landowners after auctioning the building.

In 2006, GMADA had acquired 1,300 acres land of Chilla village to develop Sector 81 and had paid Rs 40 lakh per acre to the respective landowners. Later, the court had increased the price to Rs 53 lakh per acre. GMADA has also approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court to reduce the rates of the land, but the petition was rejected on April 13 and orders were issued to pay the enhanced prices of the land within the next eight weeks. The GMADA is yet to pay the enhanced prices to the landowners.



Night food street
Civic body’s bid to spice up night life loses flavour
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
The Municipal Corporation’s unique endeavour to spice up the night life of the city residents by launching night food street has lost its flavour.

A report submitted to the Punjab and Haryana High Court by senior lawyer Atul Lakhanpal makes it amply clear that the ingredients of exorbitance, encroachment and filth, laced with neglect, have turned the experiment sour.

Appointed amicus curiae or the friend of the court, Lakhanpal has minced no words while calling the conditions prevailing at the night food street in Sector 14 unhygienic. In fact, the conditions were pathetic.

Lakhanpal has asserted that the washroom, too, has been converted into a drunkards’ den with liquor bottles strewn all around. It was, otherwise also, being used as a bedroom by the cleanliness staff.

The prices of dishes were far too high. In fact, the contractors, running the kiosks, were charging double the rates approved by the Municipal Corporation. The maximum retail price too was being ignored with impunity by the sellers. They were charging over and above the printed price.

As if this was not enough, a kiosk had been encroached upon. Three booths were allocated by the corporation, but the fourth one was occupied by a pan vendor and a fruit seller.

The parking too was an issue. Women constables were just not present. Lakhanpal suggested their presence was must if the night food street was to be made a venue for family’s night out.

In an attempt to substantiate his contentions, Lakhanpal also presented before the Division Bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Ajay Tewari photographs of the night food street.

The High Court had earlier also made it clear that it wanted the authorities concerned to ensure the ingredient of reasonableness was added to the dishes served on the platter in the Sector 14 night food street.

After taking suo motu cognisance of a news report on high prices being allegedly charged by the shopkeepers at the night food street, the High Court had earlier issued a notice of motion to the UT Administration.

Placing on record the news report, the then Chief Justice had earlier asserted: “If the facts appearing in the news item are correct, the matter deserves to be looked in the public interest jurisdiction of the court”.

“The night food street had come into existence some three years ago and was providing foodstuff at nominal rates to the attendants of patients at the PGI and to Panjab University students. But, the rising prices had left the residents bitter,” the Chief Justice had observed in reference to the news report.



auction of sites
CAG holds Estate Office responsible for delay
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
The Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) has held the UT Estate Office responsible for delaying the auction of residential and commercial sites, resulting in blocking of the government revenue to the tune of Rs 130 crore.

Since 2009, the Estate Office did not conduct the auction citing recession in the real estate sector.

Since the past four years, over 102 residential and commercial plots are earmarked for auction.

On being pointed out, the office said the delay in auction was being shown as presumptive loss. Not accepting the logic, the audit had pointed out that commercial properties generate revenue by way of ground rent after allotment. Last time, the estate office had conducted the auction in December 2009.

Officials in the Estate Office said they were taking up the issue with the UT Finance Department regarding the fixation of reserved price of the plots.

Initially, the UT had announced to hold the auction of around 150 sites by the second or third week of December 2012. But no groundwork like identifying the sites, getting physical verification of the sites to look for encumbrances and one-month prior notice has been done so far.

As a result, the auction was postponed.



Reheat refrigerated food: PGI experts
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
Researchers at the PGIMER have determined that reheating of refrigerated food up to 60 degrees C is must before consumption while mild warming in microwave oven - a common practice in households these days - can be dangerous and lead to food poisoning.

Cooking food at home is not enough to ensure food safety as improper storage of cooked food can easily lead to food poisoning even when cooked at home, according to experts.

In a book published by the School of Public Health, PGIMER, the researchers have brought out the importance of temperature control in ensuring food safety.

“Most kinds of bacteria that can cause food poisoning grow at temperatures between 5 degrees C and 60 degrees C, and this temperature range is called danger zone,” said the researchers.

“In Indian settings, we do not commonly use thermometers in our kitchen. Improper holding practices may give bacteria the time and temperature necessary to multiply the disease causing numbers,” the researchers said.

The researchers included Dr Puja Dudeja, specialist in community medicine, Dr Sukhpal Kaur, lecturer in the National Institute of Nursing Education, and Dr Amarjeet Singh, Prof, community medicine, at the PGIMER.

The book titled “Food Handlers-A crucial link in Food Safety” was released at the PGIMER recently.

The Department of Dietetics and the School of Public Health, PGIMER, conducted an ICMR seminar on food safety, “Training the Trainers: Implementation of Food Hygiene Related Provisions of New FSSR 2011 in Eating Establishments of Hospitals” yesterday.



GMADA issues show-cause notice to housing society
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 26
Taking strict note of alleged irregularities in the ACC Members Cooperative House Building Society, Punjab, Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has issued show cause notice to the society’s management, directing them to stop the construction work at its site in Sector 76 with immediate effect.

In the notice, issued on October 15 by Estate Officer of GMADA to the society, it has been mentioned that irregularities and violations of byelaws have been found.

The notice, issued under the Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Act 1995, stated that the number of flats to be constructed has been arbitrarily increased from 100 to 110 which is violation of provisions of allotment letter.

The second violation included change of name of the society from The ACC Members Cooperative House Building Society Ltd to The ACC Members Self Supporting Cooperative House Building Society Ltd, stated the notice.

The society’s management has been directed to get the revised building plan passed and remove the violations within 30 days and intimate to GMADA otherwise next action would be initiated against it.

Notably, several members of the society have approached the authorities alleging several irregularities and arbitrary approach of the management of the society.

“The records of the society have never been presented before the audit committee. Apart from that no website of the society has been created in violation of the directions of the registrar, cooperative societies,” alleged Davinder Lakhanpal and several other members of the society while claiming that the number of original members of the society was 100.



Lecture on Bhagavad Gita delivered
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 26
Members of the Hare Krishna movement, the popular name for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), were seen out on the streets of the Tricity as they chanted and banged drums on Friday night here.

The major attraction of the whole programme was the chanting and dancing by foreign devotees who kept the other devotees on their feet. As many as 50 devotees from Russia, Ukraine, were in the Tricity to encourage the residents to be a part of the Hare Krishna movement.

Vidyapuran Das, convener of the programme, said, “It feels great when you see the foreign devotees dancing and chanting on the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. They are an inspiration for all of us," he said. Vidyapuran Das, on the same occasion, conducted a lecture on Bhagavad Gita for the assembled public.

The foreigners mesmerised the public with their unique style of dancing. People, walking on the nearby streets, were also encouraged to join in and participate in the chanting and dancing session.



Sweets shop raided in Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 26
The Health Department today raided a renowned sweetmeat shop in Sector 11 here and seized samples of sweets.

The raids are being conducted in view of the coming Diwali.



60 years on, re-carpeting work on roads begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
After six decades, finally the work of re-carpeting of the roads and streets of cheap houses in Sector 15 has been commenced today.

Area Municipal Corporation councillor Saurabh Joshi said besides re-carpeting there was a proposal of widening of roads also in the area.

He ensured that proper rainwater drainage pipes were laid to allow draining of the same in the area.

Joshi said the last work undertaken on the roads of cheap houses was 60 years ago. These potholed roads were a nightmare for commuters.

Foundation of some houses of residents had also damaged, he said. The new roads have brought a sigh of relief for the residents. Meanwhile, the MC has also commenced the work of the approach path to the Apni Mandi today.



Property dealer penalised

Chandigarh, October 26
The Chandigarh consumer forum has penalised a property dealer for delaying the possession of flat and directed it to refund the booking amount of Rs 1 lakh to the complainant. The forum has also directed the opposite party (Bhardwaj Associates) to pay Rs 20,000 for causing mental and physical harassment to the complainant, in addition to pay litigation cost of Rs 10,000.

The complainant paid Rs 1 lakh to the property dealer towards the purchase of a residential flat in Sahibzada Cooperative H/B Society, Sector 70. The final price was settled at Rs 28.50 lakh in addition to security. The complainant was assured that the flat would be handed over to her on making full payment. When the complainant approached the opposite party along with the full payment, the latter refused to hand over the flat on the promised date.

The opposite party admitted the payment of booking amount of Rs 1 lakh against the flat. It was stated that the complainant did not turn up to make the balance payment of the flat and also to take over the possession of the flat in spite of making a number of phone calls to her.

“The opposite party did not place on record any agreement or contract executed between the parties in respect of any flat for which he admittedly had received the booking amount of Rs 1 lakh from the complainant. Moreover, there is no allotment letter or communication from the side of the opposite party to prove as to which flat number in the said society has been booked or allotted in the name of the complainant against the said booking. When there is no allotment letter or any agreement/contract executed between the parties containing terms and conditions, the question of performing the same or abiding by the complainant does not arise,” the forum ruled. — TNS



City resident inducted into Australian air force
Tribune News Service

Inderjeet Singh Sodhi with his family members after the initiation ceremony in Australia
Inderjeet Singh Sodhi with his family members after the initiation ceremony in Australia.

Chandigarh, October 26
A city resident has been inducted into the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

While returning from his initiation ceremony in the RAAF, Daljeet Singh Sodhi, Inderjeet’s father, said it was a moment of pride for the family. RAAF had allowed his son to retain and continue his religious belief as a Sikh and a special badge was also created to be worn with his turban.

Inderjeet would be receiving comprehensive training for the next five-six months before commencing his assignment that would involve general administration, human resources or operational work, he said.

Daljeet and his wife Jagjit Kaur were invited to attend the initiation ceremony.

“Inderjeet, a resident of Sector 46, here, is proud of his success and hopes to become an example to his peers by working hard to achieve an excellent service record. His goal in life is to be a leader of men and go as far as he can in the annals of RAAF,” said his father.

Inderjeet (32) had migrated to Australia in 2004 after completing his Bachelor of Pharmacy degree to pursue his postgraduation studies in commerce.

He obtained a Master of Commerce degree from Deakin University before applying for RAAF.



Maintaining quality of teachers big challenge: VCs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
During the panel discussion on “Higher education in Punjab — Achievements and Challenges”, held at Panjab University (PU), The Tribune Reporter Amit Sharma spoke to the Vice-Chancellors of three universities, who attended the discussion. The issues, including challenges before the higher education system and state of research in universities, were discussed with the Vice-Chancellors.

Lt Gen DDS Sandhu, Vice-Chancellor, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra

Q-What are the challenges before higher education system in India?

A-Maintaining the quality of teachers is the biggest challenge before the education system in India. We need to overcome the shortcomings that are plaguing the education system, which also includes financial problems faced by the universities.

Q-Is there a need to revise the curriculum frequently?

A-The curriculum needs to be revised very frequently. However, most of the universities are reluctant to modify the curriculum according to the current state of technology.

Q- What is the state of research in universities?

A-Not good, there should be more patents owned by the universities and the teachers should be recognised internationally. There is a need to lay emphasis on getting papers published in international journals.

Q-What should be done to prevent students going to foreign universities for higher education?

A-There should be an adequate number of jobs available in India to encourage students to study here only. Moreover, there should be a clause for the students pursuing education from the Central or State-funded institutes that they will have to stay in the country for a particular number of years to serve the country.

Prof Jaspal Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala

Q- What are the challenges before higher education system in India?

A-The growth of education in present scenario is not competent to compete with education across the globe. There is also an imbalance between educational growth patterns in the country; there is an imbalance between growth in urban and rural areas. Governments have also been designing the handsome plans which are not implemented.

Q-Is there a need to revise the curriculum frequently?

A-Yes, there is a need to revise the syllabus frequently for all the universities. Revising the curriculum is a practice that has to be carried from time to time.

Q-What is the state of research in universities?

A-The research is carried on by the universities regularly. However, there should be focus on the higher standards of research which should be relevant to the social needs and useful for the society.

Q-What should be done to prevent students from going to foreign universities for higher education?

A-Students in India should get same conditions and environment offered by the universities abroad. The students should also get similar pay packages in India as offered in foreign countries after completing higher education there.

Prof Jai Rup Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Central University, Punjab

Q-What are the challenges before higher education system in India?

A-Finance is one of the biggest challenges faced by the universities in this country. There is a need for real autonomy for universities. There is also a need for commitment from the State and Central governments towards the higher education to ensure the progress of the universities.

Q-Is there a need to revise the curriculum frequently?

A-Obviously, there is a need to revise the curriculum. We do it every year and all the other universities should also revise it frequently.

Q-What is the state of research in universities?

A-The state of research varies from university to university, so I can't really comment on the state of research in the universities.

Q-What should be done to prevent students going to foreign universities for higher education?

A-We have to create such an environment here for the students so that they don't have to opt for foreign universities. Providing good teachers and better infrastructure will help in preventing the students from joining foreign universities for higher education.



‘Accountability of teachers need of the hour’
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
Accountability of teachers is the need of the hour and one of the major challenges ahead of education system opinioned the Vice-Chancellors (VC) participating in the panel discussion on Higher Education in Punjab Achievements and Challenges, at Panjab University (PU).

Lt Gen DDS Sandhu, Vice-Chancellor, Kurukshetra University, said there was a great need of the accountability of the teachers in the present higher education system. “They should work for seven to eight hours a day rather than 14 hours a week,” Sandhu said.

Stressing upon the attendance system of the teachers, Sandhu stated that the attendance system should be introduced in the universities. “Teachers resent the attendance system as they consider signing an attendance register below their dignity,” he added.

Sandhu further said that there was a need to construct a system that ensured complete participation by teachers. “I have never seen teachers or non-teaching staff in the universities staging a protest for academic concerns, rather all the protests are for their personal interests,” said Sandhu.

Echoing similar sentiments Prof Jai Rup Singh, VC, Central University, Punjab, Singh said they have introduced biometric attendance system for the teachers. “In our university, the teachers stay from 9 am to 5.30 to contribute maximum towards the education. Moreover, there are no summer or winter breaks in Central University of Punjab,” he said.

He further stated that the education system should be freed from the grip of politicians and bureaucrats. He did not only stress on autonomy of educators but also accountability of the academic edge.

Prof Jaspal Singh, VC, Punjabi University, Patiala, said the education is no longer a luxury but a necessity which is meant for all without any distinction. “If we want to reach the top, we have to gear up our pace. But the disturbance of the state became a hurdle to achieve specific target in education scenario,” he said.

Singh further added that the ‘growth model’ is not inclusive and needed to be made more inclusive. He emphasised that the education should be imparted education in the mother tongue.



PU had capacity to become leading varsity in world, says former VC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
Former Panjab University (PU) Vice-Chancellor, Prof RP Bambah, today said there has been a gap in the perception and reality about the PU since its inception in 1882 and it is not surprising that it has been ranked first in the country as it always was a doyen of excellency.

Prof Bambah was addressing the valedictory session of the national seminar on ‘Making of Modern Punjab: Education, Science and Social Change in Punjab c.1850-c.2000’ at Panjab University auditorium today.

Prof Bambah said the PU had the capacity to rise to the occasion of becoming one of the leading universities in the world. “The discussion-making body needs to adopt imaginative thinking and capacity building,” he said.

Prof Bambah said any elitist education is a danger for the society and that there was a ‘great need to strike a balance for fundamental knowledge’ in which a core role is played by interaction and dialogue. He said “no university grows in isolation” and, linkages among educational institutions could break inertia, as well as this isolation.

Industry-institution collaboration will bring the much needed financial resources for the university and knowledge bank for the industry.

Interim Director of the International Centre for Human Development, Prof Peter Ronald deSouza, while speaking on the occasion, said the education must strive for truth and knowledge rather than its relevance. He gave his views on the changing idea of university. He said Tagore’s ideas were conceptualised in various university thoughts, including Kothari Commission.



Founder’s week begins at Vivek High School-38
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
A six-day long founder’s week celebration of Vivek High School, Sector 38, commenced from today during which an English inter-school debating session was held in which six schools from the city and one from Delhi participated.



Schoolchildren enthral audience
Tribune News Service

Students of Small Wonders School perform a dance item during in Mohali on Saturday
Students of Small Wonders School perform a dance item during in Mohali on Saturday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Mohali, October 26
Students of Small Wonders School, Mohali, left the audience spellbound with their outstanding performance staged through “Sparkling Wonders”, dedicated to those legends, who made their mark in dance and music.

Compiled by the students, the evening opened with ‘shabad’ and a meticulous performance of Ganesh Vandana, applauded by one and all. This was followed by the thrilling and power-packed performances by budding artists as tribute to Mithun Da.

The evening moved with gleeful indulgence in music and dance with students of the higher grade performing Vande Matram, eulogising AR Rehman.



school notes
Capacity building programme

A one-day capacity building programme on co-scholastic aspects of CCE by the CBSE was conducted in St Anne’s Convent School, Sector 32.

Rally organised

To spread the message of celebrating a clean and green Diwali, a rally was organised at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 45. More than 100 students participated in the rally. Holding placards and shouting anti-cracker slogans, the students went through the neighboring areas of Sector 45. Earlier, in the morning assembly, they also took a pledge to celebrate a cracker-free Diwali.

Science fair

Sharda Sarvhitkari Model School, Chandigarh hosted a three-day regional-level science fair which was inaugurated here on Saturday. The event saw young enthusiastic participants from the North Zones of the country viz Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi.


Pre-Primary Wing of Delhi Public School, Sector 40, Chandigarh, presented “Ritu Rang”-an exuberant field show-cum-carnival. As many as 820 students participated in the show enthusiastically. The meet showcased a spell-binding display of rhythmic and colourful dances and drills based on the theme colours and seasons.

Green Diwali campaign

Government High School, Sector 24, Chandigarh, started green Diwali campaign. The students took an oath of not to burn crackers on this Diwali. After that, speeches were made by the students in order make all other aware of the ill effects of pollution caused due to burning of crackers. — TNS



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