C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


First monsoon showers spell misery, expose MC
Traffic goes haywire; PU visual arts dept flooded; water enters MC building; man dies of electrocution in Sec 21
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The first monsoon showers today led to waterlogging on city roads, exposing the preparedness of the Municipal Corporation (MC), Chandigarh, for the rainy season. People on way to their offices were stuck in traffic jams at intersections this morning.

The two-decade-old art history and visual arts department of the PU (recently ranked 32nd by Times Higher Education in Asia) was flooded with rainwater on Wednesday. The staff shift files from the chairperson’s office. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan
The basement of the Municipal Corporation building in Sector 17 flooded with rainwater on Wednesday. The civic body is responsible for looking after the drainage system in the city. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Interestingly, the MC has an annual budget of Rs 7.5 crore for storm water drainage. Despite this, the authorities have failed to develop an efficient storm water drainage system.

Continuous rain from 4 am till around 9 am lead to waterlogging on roads, causing traffic snarls. The roads in Sectors 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42 and 43, and the Industrial Area, Phases I and II, were waterlogged due to the rain.

Dr Jagdish Jaggi, president of the Residents Welfare Association, Sector 37, said the market in their sector literarily turned into a pond following the rain, causing inconvenience to residents and shopkeepers. “I tried calling MC officials to complain about the waterlogging, but couldn’t get through. Later, I called the area councillor and narrated the problem following which the MC staff reached the market to cleaned the road gullies,” Jaggi said.

BJP councillor and leader of the opposition Arun Sood said cleaning of road gullies was a mere eyewash. “The road gullies are cleaned just near their openings; the labour does not clean the pipelines, which leads to waterlogging,” he said.

Sood said the machine used to clean the road gullies and pipelines with the help of water pressure was capable of removing only the garbage and not the concrete material stuck in the pipes. “I have been demanding that a machine that sucks concrete material from the pipes should be purchased by the MC to clean the road gullies. The demand has been lying pending for the past two years,” he said.

City Mayor HC Kalyan admitted that the road gullies in the city were not properly cleaned, which lead to waterlogging during the rains. “I have instructed the officers concerned to ensure that the road gullies across the city are cleaned immediately to deal with the problem of waterlogging,” the Mayor said.

MC Chief Engineer Mukesh Anand said it tookk sometime for the water to drain out of the road gullies in case there was continuous rain for several hours.

Drainage system inadequate

The existing drainage system is inadequate to deal with a downpour. The storm water drainage system for Sectors 1 to 30 has been designed to take 15 mm of rainfall per hour. In Sectors 31 to 47, the drainage system has been designed to take 20 mm of rainfall per hour. The storm water drainage system in the third phase of the city, from Sector 48 onwards, has been designed to take 25 mm of rainfall per hour.

Basement of MC building waterlogged

The basement of the MC building, that house several offices, was waterlogged, causing inconvenience to the office staff. The office work was delayed by over an hour and could be resumed only after the water was swept out from the premises.

Water, water everywhere

  • Parts of a false ceiling give way at the UT food safety cell unit; entry points at a few civic dispensaries flooded with rainwater; ceiling of a dispensary at Ram Darbar leaks heavily
  • Dera Bassi-Zirakpur section of the Ambala-Chandigarh national highway inundated with rainwater, resulting in over a three-hour-long traffic jam.
  • Baltana police post in Zirakpur flooded with rainwater
  • PU visual arts department flooded
  • Man dies of electrocution in Sector 21 during rain
  • Four houses collapse in Chandikotla village in Panchkula

64.4 mm of rainfall recorded in 24 hours

During the past 24 hours, the city witnessed 64.4 mm of rainfall, that led to plummeting of the day and night temperatures. The maximum temperature recorded today was 32.6°C, two degrees below normal, while the minimum temperature was 22.7°C, two degrees above normal. According to the forecast, there will be rain during the next three days.

Trains delayed

Due to the rain, trains, including the Shatabdi, the Jan Shatabdi and the Himalayan Queen, arrived 15 to 20 minutes late on Wednesday morning.



Tricity roads inundated, residents inconvenienced
Rain washes away claims of India’s No. 1 university
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Water accumulated in the department of art history and visual arts at Panjab University. Tribune Photo: Manoj Mahajan

Motorists wade through a waterlogged road in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, July 2
Monsoon showers have been a big headache for the two-decade-old Department of Art History and Visual Arts (earlier known as fine arts) of Panjab University. The department faces waterlogging problem on its premises when it rains in the city.

The PU authorities have not bothered to resolve the problem for the past two years in the department. Here, maximum foreign visitors come to visit the library, which has old research journals and rare books of fine arts.

Today, the staff members who were deployed to collect admission forms of the students were forced to sit outside the premises of the department as there was water all over, including the chairperson’s room, office of the department, classrooms and the library.

During a visit to the department, it was found that the drainage, which was located in the green belt of the department, was reversing the water during the rain due to which there was waterlogging in the department.

Dr Tirthankar Bhatacharya, chairperson of the department, who came to his office to save official records lying on the floor from the water, said the waterlogging problem had increased in the past two years.

He said the PU authorities had been informed about the problem but no action had been taken so far.

He said whenever it rains they had to close the department due to the fear of short-circuit in classrooms.

Adding to the woes of the staff here, telephones have been out of order for the past one month. The telephone lines were damaged during the digging work at the backyard of the premises for laying a sewerage pipeline. The intercom is also lying non-functional which was installed for internal communication with all departments and officials of the university.



Ill-preparedness of UT Health Dept exposed
Tribune News Service

Part of a false ceiling that gave way at the UT food safety cell unit on the GMSH-16 campus. TribunePhoto: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, July 2
The rain that lashed the city this morning affected different units of the UT Health Department, exposing lack of proper maintenance. While parts of false ceiling gave way at the UT food safety cell unit located inside the campus of the GMSH-16, entry points at a few civic dispensaries were flooded with rainwater.

Seepage on the ceiling near the pharmacist’s room resulted into leakage at the civic dispensary in Ram Darbar. Due to the inflow of water through the roof damaged the official files stored in the area. The staff covered some of the files with polybags to prevent major damage.

“We have been working under adverse conditions here. We need to assess the damage and work overtime to revive the details,” said an official from the food safety cell.

Meanwhile, waterlogging outside the civil dispensaries in Sectors 22 and 35 irked the visitors. They had a tough time making way for themselves.

Dr Rajender K Prasad, in charge of the Sector 22 dispensary, said: “We cannot do anything. The area doesn’t fall under our supervision. We tried requesting the Municipal Corporation authorities to repair the road outside the dispensary, but they paid no heed to our requests.”

The stagnant water could not be drained out till the evening at the Sector 35 dispensary.



Domestic help dies of electrocution

Chandigarh, July 2
A domestic servant, Ajay Prakash Shukla, (32), was electrocuted to death while drilling a hole for drainage of water at the balcony of his employer’s house in Sector 21 here today morning. The incident occurred at 9.30 am.

The police said the rainwater got accumulated in the balcony and Ajay was drilling a hole when he was electrocuted. He was rushed to the GMSH-16 here, where doctors declared him brought dead. The deceased was a native of Uttar Pradesh and was staying in the city for past 10 years.

The deceased is survived by his wife and three children, who are living in UP. The body has been kept in the mortuary of the GMSH-16. It will be handed over to the family after the post-mortem.

Auto-rickshaw overturns

Meanwhile, an auto-rickshaw overturned during the rain that lashed the city this morning. The auto-rickshaw got stuck in the ditch on a link road at Makhanmajra village near Industrial Area. There were three schoolchildren in the auto-rickshaw, who escaped unhurt. Sushil, the driver of the auto, received minor injuries. He was discharged from a hospital after preliminary first-aid. — TNS



Foul smell, choked sewerage at Sec 26 market
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Waterlogging at the vegetable market; and (right) an open manhole at the market in Sector 26 in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Tribune Photos: S Chandan

Chandigarh, July 2
Monsoon is here and so are problems related to foul smell, choked sewerage and cleanliness at the vegetable market in Sector 26 here. Early morning showers left commuters struggling to walk through dirty water across the vegetable market. The irregular flow of traffic inside the market made the condition worse. Till afternoon, foul smell started emanating from the accumulated rainwater. The situation worsened after the footfall increased at the market.

The market witnesses a regular footfall of more than 5,000 people and movement of over thousands of vehicles coming to unload the goods on a regular basis. Poor drainage system and encroachments make the situation more complex.

Tough time for motorists: Early morning showers left commuters struggling to walk through dirty water across the vegetable market. The irregular flow of traffic inside the market made the condition worse. Till afternoon, foul smell started emanating from the accumulated rainwater.

“The conditions are poor here. No additional measures during the monsoon season make commuters as well as vendors suffer more. Rainwater accumulated in the market area can result in the outbreak of diseases. The Market Committee, the Municipal Corporation and the Administration should come up with a solution. The market should at least have a rainwater drainage system,” said Shiv Lala, owner of a fruit shop.

Gurcharan Singh, a regular commuter to the market, said: “Foul smell and accumulation of rainwater are a regular feature during the monsoon here. Strict measures should be taken to ensure good environment here.”

The grain market, right behind the vegetable market, is also facing the same problem. The market was constituted here in early 90s on the land auctioned by the UT Estate Office with a purpose to provide best of the facilities to the farmers of the region.



Mohali roads, Sohana health centre flooded

Rainwater inside a dispensary at Sohana village in Mohali on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, July 2
The preparedness of the Department of Water Supply and Sanitation for the monsoon got exposed today after heavy rain caused flooding on many roads in parts of the town, adversely affecting the flow of traffic.

Rainwater also entered the Sohana subsidiary health centre, which did not function and patients had to return without getting treatment. The main road leading from the Madanpur chowk to Chandigarh and several roads in Phase IV, Phase XI, Sector 70 and some other parts of the town got flooded. It took quite some time for the water to drain out. Roads also caved in near the Bassi theatre in Phase II and near the III-V traffic light point.

Former councillor SS Barnala said storm water pipelines in Phase XI got blocked and work on cleaning these was in progress. He said the employees concerned generally cleaned the road gullies, but no one bothered to clean the blocked pipelines, which often led to flooding.

A pharmacist working at the Sohana health centre, Manjit Singh, said the level of the street in the area had been raised because of which rainwater flooded the health centre building. There was knee-deep water in the building and it was not possible to attend to the patients. He said it was an immunisation day today, but no vaccination could be given to anyone. The office records and medicines stocked at the centre had got damaged, he added. — OC



Traffic snarls irk commuters
Tribune News Service

Rainwater overflows on a road near the police post (right) of Baltana in Zirakpur on Wednesday. Tribune Photo: S.Chandan

Zirakpur, July 2
The rain this morning brought misery to residents of the low-lying areas, besides flooding the busy Chandigarh-Ambala, Kalka-Ambala and Zirakpur-Patiala highways here this morning. The rain threw normal life out of gear in the village-turned-town and also caused traffic snarls on the highway for more than an hour. While residents were stranded inside their homes, commuters got stuck on the roads flooded with muddy water.

Vehicles moved at a snail’s pace on the highways and the link roads.

The rainwater entered residential colonies in Baltana and flooded streets and roads. The swirling water of Sukhna Choe flooded the road leading to the police post at Baltana village, MC Park and restricted access to this building for a long time.

Knee-deep rainwater, which accumulated on the Ambala-Kalka Highway surrounding Baltana T-point near the K-Area, entered into shops on the Zirakpur-Patiala Highway near Lucky Dhaba.

The Baltana-Zirakpur link was disconnected due to the flooding of Sukhna Choe.

Residential colonies, including Saini Vihar, Ravindra Enclave, Vikas Nagar, Wadhawa Nagar, Highland Society, Pabhat godown area, Pabhat link road and others were the worst affected areas.

Without proper storm water drains in the Godown area at Phabhat village, the rainwater also accumulated on roads.

After receiving information regarding the rainwater accumulated in the residential areas in Baltana, Phabhat and other villages, Parminder Singh, Executive Officer (EO), Zirakpur Municipal Council, rushed his men and machinery to make way for the water to move out. The EO said that the situation was normal, expect some residential areas located in the low-lying areas in these villages.



Admission woes
PU single-window counter without power; students hit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
Hundreds of students who visited the single-window counter of Panjab University (PU) today to deposit their admission forms or get information about their result had to return disappointed as there was no power at the counter the whole day. Adding to the students’ woes were the “ignorant staff” at the counter, who were clueless about the decision of the authorities that the last date had been extended till July 4 from July 2.

Heated arguments were witnessed between students and the staff, who refused to deposit fresh forms saying no official circular was received by them.

The worst affected were the students who made online queries to the counter. Records of the university reveal that on an average, 300 to 400 mails are received by the single-window counter regarding queries from students from India and abroad.

Surprisingly, for the three help desk telephone numbers, only one person has been deployed by the university to reply to the students’ queries.

Sources said recently the authorities had received around 100 complaints from students that the staff at the helpline number did not respond. Senior officials had visited the counter and recommended that two more telephone operators be deployed at the counter, but till date no action has been taken. The sources said last month, it was decided to deploy three computer operators at the counter to specifically deal with the result queries of BA, BSc and BCom students. However, the order had not been implemented so far.

Power back-up arrangements soon: DUI

PU Dean University Instructions AK Bhandari said the authorities would soon make arrangements for power back-up at the single-window counter and administrative block of the university for the convenience of the students.

Girls stage protest

Girl students of hostel numbers 3, 4 and 6 staged a protest late at night at the Panjab University Student Centre against the power failure in their hostels.



Changing trends
BA, BSc courses in demand this year
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
This year, BA and BSc (non-medical) courses are in high demand in city colleges, both government and private. In a withdrawal from the earlier trends when the BBA and BCA courses were high on the priority list, students are seeking admission to the arts and science courses in 11 colleges.

According to data received from city colleges, the maximum number of applications received by them are for admission to the BSc (non-medical) and BA courses. The third preference of the students is the BBA course.

This year, each college has seen an increase of around 10 to 12 per cent in the applications for BA as compared to last year. Similarly, the number of applications for BSc (non-medical) has increased as compared to last year.

Records of the colleges revealed that for the past three years, there had been a great attraction towards the BCA and BBA courses, but after a slump in the computer market, students were once again opting for BA and BSc to prepare for the IAS examination.

According to the records of DAV College, this year, around 2,000 applications have been received for BA, while for BSc and BBA, the number of applications is around 1,300 each. Similarly, at MCM DAV College, around 1,400 applications have been received for the BSc course so far. The last date for submission of forms is July 5. GGDSD College, Sector 32, has received 710 applications for 150 sanctioned seats for BSc-I (non-medical).

The maximum number of applications received at government colleges are for BSc (non-medical). Post Graduate Government College, Sector 11, has received around 2,060 applications, the Post Graduate Government College for Girls, Sector 11, has received around 1,640, while the Post Graduate Government College for Girls, Sector 42, has received around 1,024 applications. Each college has 200 seats for this course.

Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26, has received more than 600 applications for BA this year, which is far more than last year. GGDSD College, Sector 32, Chandigarh, has received 1,500 applications for BA against 550 seats.

In some colleges, the number of applications for BBA is quite high as compared to other courses. At the Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45, the maximum applications are for the BBA course. Similarly, GGDSD College, Sector 32, has received more than 1,000 applications against 120 seats for the BBA course.



Venod Sharma’s protest halts Panchkula
Hina rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 2
Panchkula was in a mess due to the high drama by former MLA of Ambala Venod Sharma and his supporters while they were demanding the scrapping of Haryana State Selection Commission with immediate effect. Sharma staged a protest with his supporters at the office of the Commission in Sector 2 here. He said he would go only after locking the office.

Venod Sharma was taken into custody along with his supporters by the Panchkula police and later released in the evening.

Employees of the SSC office disappeared from the spot after seeing Vinod Sharma in the office with the protestors. Apprehending risk to their lives they left the office.

The roads in the heart of the city Sector 5 faced heavy traffic congestion due to the protest leaving commuters a harried lot. Already seven various groups of different departments are agitating in the area for the last many days against the Haryana Government. The situation worsened with the agitation led by Sharma.

From 1.30 pm to 5.30 pm until Sharma and his protestors were taken into custody, the road separating Sector 2 and 5 saw traffic congestion. Later traffic cops were deployed to manage the situation. Vehicles including 15 police vehicles, ambulances, riot control vehicles, tear gas were parked along the main road leading to jam.

Also, the work came to a standstill in the mini secretariat Sector 1 after the Deputy Commissioner (DC) and other officials of the administration reached the spot to request Sharma to call off his protest. The police force in the police stations was also on the spot to control the situation. Additional force from Madhuban was also called.

“I had come all the way from Kurukshetra regarding a case of mine but the officials say that everyone is busy in controlling the situation due to the protest,” said Vikram Sharma. Meanwhile, blind students who had come for an interview for clerical posts returned a harassed lot after they were not allowed to enter the premises by the police and Sharma’s protestors.



Special onion kiosk fails to wipe off tears
Residents say the stall set up by Administration at the Grain Market in Sector 26 is not identifiable
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The UT Administration’s initiative to set up a special kiosk to sell onions at cheaper rates — Rs 22 per kg — at the Grain Market and Vegetable Market in Sector 26 has failed to garner the attention of visitors. The kiosk has been set up amidst a number of other stalls without any signage or board, making it difficult for residents to identify it.

A visit to the Grain Market revealed that one has to walk several steps and search tirelessly to locate the kiosk. The entire exercise takes about 15-20 minutes, compounding the woes of residents.

“I read about the special kiosk in the newspaper today. I went to the market and had to seek help from two-three persons in locating the stall. Not many people know about it. I was informed by passersby that the stall was near shop no. 40 in the market. I spent another 10 minutes in finding the shop. Though a small board has been put up at the kiosk, it is not clearly visible. It should be set up at the entry point of the market,” said Raghubhir Singh, a retired government officer, who had come to purchase vegetables at the market.

In the wake of rising retail prices, the Administration set up the stall so that residents can purchase the vegetable at wholesale rates. Against the retail cost (in other sector markets) of Nasik onions and Rajasthan onions, Rs 40 and Rs 30 per kg, respectively, the onion is being sold at Rs 22 and Rs 15 per kg in the wholesale market.

Meanwhile, UT Deputy Commissioner M Shayin remained unavailable for comments.


I went to the market and had to seek help from two-three persons in locating the stall. Not many people know about it. I was informed by passersby that the stall was near shop no. 40 in the market.

I spent another 10 minutes in finding the shop. Though a small board has been put up at the stall, it is not clearly visible. It should be set up at the entry point of the Grain Market. — Raghubhir Singh, SHOPPER at the grain market



municipal corporation
4 months on, sub-committees yet to be notified by Admn
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
Even as four months have passed after Mayor HC Kalyan constituted the sub-committees of the Municipal Corporation (MC), these are yet to be notified by the UT Administration. Following the delay made by the administration, the nine committees are lying defunct as not even a single meeting has been held.

The sub-committees comprise the Fire and Emergency Services Committee, Electricity Committee, Environment and City Beautification Committee, Slum Colonies and Village Development Committee, Sanitation Committee, Apni Mandi and Day Market Committee, Women Empowerment, Art and Culture Committee and Enforcement Committee.

These committees can approve fiscal matters up to Rs 15 lakh.

BJP councillor and leader of opposition Arun Sood said these committees should have been notified immediately to streamline the functioning of the MC.

“The delay in notifying the committees shows the lack of coordination between the UT Administration and the civic body,” said Sood.

Deputy Mayor Davesh Moudgil said there are several development issues that can be discussed at length in the sub-committees before these are raised in the General House Meeting. But in the absence of these committees, discussions cannot take place.

“If the committees are in place, we won’t have to wait for the House’s approval on development issues up to Rs 15 lakh,” added the Deputy Mayor.

The sub-committees are constituted in the MC every year under the provisions of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Law Act, 1994.

SAD councillor Malkiat Singh said by this month, each committee should have met at least four times to discuss various issues.

Mayor HC Kalyan said “We have taken up the matter with the UT Administration for notifying the committees so that they can start functioning. The committees will be notified soon.”

The nine panels

The sub-committees comprise the Fire and Emergency Services Committee, Electricity Committee, Environment and City Beautification Committee, Slum Colonies and Village Development Committee, Sanitation Committee, Apni Mandi and Day Market Committee, Women Empowerment, Art and Culture Committee and Enforcement Committee. These committees can approve fiscal matters up to Rs 15 lakh.

‘Lack of coordination’

The delay in notifying the committees shows the lack of coordination between the UT Administration and the civic body.

Arun Sood, BJP councillor



Malaria thrives in city, 13 cases reported so far
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The onset of monsoon may have provided respite to residents from the scorching heat, but it has also raised red flags with the UT Health Department as 13 cases of malaria have been reported from different parts of the city in the last few days.

Most of these cases were reported from Indra Colony, Mani Majra, Dadu Majra, located in the city’s periphery, where waterlogging is common, as per officials in the Chandigarh unit of the National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP).

While the officials stated that the cases were sporadic, having no epidemiological link, the city needs to gear up against the spread of malaria.

“We found that Indra Colony and Mani Majra are the most malaria-prone areas in the city as these areas are unhygienic,” said Dr Anil Garg, nodal officer for NVBDCP, Chandigarh unit.

“The good news is that our entomological survey has shown lesser breeding of the Aedes mosquite — that causes dengue — this time in the city so far. However, prevention needs to be ensured at all levels,” added Dr Garg.

Guard yourself

  • Do not allow stagnation of water in the neighbourhood.
  • Do not throw tyres on rooftops.
  • Avoid storing water for more than two days.
  • Clean coolers every week.
  • Cover your body well while stepping out in the evening.
  • In case of fever, undergo malaria blood test immediately.

Malaria-prone areas

Indra Colony and Mani Majra are the most malaria-prone areas in the city as these areas are unhygienic.

Dr Anil Garg, nodal officer for NVBDCP, city unit

Health minister Seeks information

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan convened a meeting with representatives of various states of North India, including Chandigarh, in New Delhi today. The minister sought details on the preparedness of the states in checking malaria and dengue. UT Director Health Services, Dr VK Gagneja and Dr Anil Garg, nodal officer for NVBDCP, gave details of the meeting of the rapid response team.



Mohali MC plans to levy cow cess
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, July 2
The Mohali Municipal Corporation is planning to levy cow cess in the town to raise funds for tackling the problem of stray animals. Sources said the civic body is considering a proposal to levy a new cess on the purchase of liquor, power and registration of new vehicles.

A person who gets a two-wheeler registered at the office of the DTO would have to pay an additional Rs 200 as cess while those getting a four-wheeler registered would have to dish out Rs 500 in addition to the registration fee fixed for the vehicle.

Those purchasing a countrymade bottle of liquor will have to pay an additional Rs 5 per bottle as cow cess while those buying foreign liquor will have to pay Rs 10 extra. In the case of beer, the new cess proposed was Rs 5 per bottle.

Under the plan, power consumers will be charged 2 paise per unit as cow cess. The civic body hoped to collect about Rs 7 crore by levying the new cess, which would be used to construct a gaushala to accommodate stray animals in the town.

At present, the gaushala of the civic body, constructed on about 1 acre, can only accommodate about 350 animals.

Commissioner of the corporation Uma Shakar Gupta said a resolution in connection with the new proposal would be passed after which objections from the public would be sought in 30 days time. Further course of action in this regard would only be taken after considering the objections raised by residents.

He said the civic body can levy such a cess under the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976. The corporation should have a facility to keep 2,000 animals. Maintaining gaushalas was a recurring expenditure and income earned from the cess would only be spent solely on the welfare of stray animals.



GMCH-32 MBBS seats
NRI candidate’s parent meets Health Minister, seeks clarity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The aggrieved parent of one of the candidates — who had applied for admission to MBBS in the GMCH-32 but could not get through as the seats were reduced from 100 to 50 by the Medical Council of India (MCI) –- met Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan in New Delhi today.

Dr Harbir Sekhon, a US-based surgeon, whose son had applied under the NRI quota, submitted an application (a copy of which, bearing the Health Minister’s noting, is with Chandigarh Tribune) to the Union Health Minister citing his disappointment over the last-minute announcement on the reduction of seats in the GMCH-32.

“The quality of education, student-teacher ratio, volume of OPD in the GMCH easily surpasses all the private and state medical colleges in the area (Punjab). It is perplexing that most of these institutions (across Punjab) have been granted an increase in the number of MBBS seats, yet the best one, the GMCH has seen a 50 per cent reduction due to minor issues such as toilets, gymnasiums, etc,” read the application.

Shortcomings pointed out by MCI:

No common room
Inadequate toilets
No demonstration room
No gymnasium
No lockers



Relief for 2 disabled ex-servicemen

Chandigarh, July 2
Coming to the aid of disabled ex-servicemen, the Defence Services Welfare Department (DSWD), Punjab, today gave a financial assistance of Rs 10,000 to Mohinder Singh, a resident of Banaur near Mohali.

A cheque of the said amount was handed over to him today. The department has also taken up the matter with the Kendriya Sainik Board for providing him monetary assistance under their schemes and a case is being taken up with the pension authorities for grant of pension to him.

Rashpal Singh, a 100 per cent disabled ex-serviceman, has been employed as a peon with the DSWD’s district office in Mohali on compassionate grounds. — TNS



Road safety policy-2014 unveiled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
In view of the high rate of accidents and increasing vehicle population in the city, the Chandigarh Administration has come out with a Road Safety Policy-2014. In the policy, the UT Transport Department has pointed out that road safety needs to be addressed holistically, taking into account the number of vehicles, quality and design of roads, besides safety of drivers and commuters.

The need to enhance road infrastructure is vital for the safety of road users.

A senior UT official said the main objective was to develop a reliable traffic and accident data base and improve the process of data collection, transmission and analysis.

The policy aims at using data analytics on challan data, accident data, traffic jam data, parking space and usage data.



Class XI admission in govt schools
SC category: Students denied admission
Mehakdeep Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
On the first day of depositing fees for Class XI in government schools, confusion prevailed among students of the reserved Scheduled Caste (SC) category. Some students who had their names mentioned under the Scheduled Caste category on the school allotment list were denied admissions under the reserved seats.

Parents of the applicants rued that they were being harassed by the school authorities and were made to shuttle between schools and grievances cells but to no avail.

Educationalists said applicants seeking admission at Government Model Senior Secondary School (GMSSS), Sector 35, under the SC category were refused admission on the grounds that their category did not fall under the 36 castes and tribes mentioned on the official website of the Chandigarh Administration.

Bhag Singh, father of an applicant seeking admission under the SC category, said: “Despite my son’s name being mentioned clearly under the SC category on the allotment list, the school authorities asked me to deposit fees of general category. They refused to admit my son under the reserved category.”

The fee structure for applicants seeking admission under the reserved SC/ST category is half of the general category. The fees of science stream for the general category (boys) is Rs 1,500, while for girls its Rs 1,200, in case of applicants falling under the SC/ST category the fees is Rs 700.

In commerce stream, the fees for boys in the general category is Rs 1,300, for girls it is Rs 1,000 while for students falling under the SC/ST category it is Rs 600.

When Director of Public Instruction, Schools (DPI-S) Kamlesh Kumar was contacted over matter he said: “We will strictly adhere to the mentioned list. However, no deserving student would be denied admission.”

Among the other objections that were raised by the parents at the grievance cells included errors in CGPA mentioned on the merit list, names and categories.

The helplines also continued to be flooded with queries regarding fee structures and second counselling dates.

Education Department officials said the second counselling would begin from July 16 for admission to around 1,800 seats that were lying vacant after the first counselling.



Biology textbooks of Classes XI, XII
NCERT wants more time to rectify errors
Mehakdeep Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
After failing to meet the deadline issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to rectify 25 errors in the Biology Textbooks and in the Exemplars of Classes XI and XII, National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has demanded 15 days more span to look into the errors.

The high court had issued orders to the NCERT to rectify the mistakes by June 30. However, after failing to rectify the errors, the NCERT in its fresh reply has stated that the department is relooking the matter from the content and pedagogy point of view. This will take around 15 days to work out.

The HC had asked the NCERT to rectify the errors after a city resident, Dr Arvind Goyal, had filed a petition in the court pointing out 75 errors in the textbooks of both classes and 23 errors in the exemplars. However, despite the court orders, only a few errors were corrected by the department concerned.

The glaring mistakes in the textbooks include factually incomplete information.

The petitioner, a local PMT trainer, alleged, “I fail to understand why the NCERT is taking so much time and procrastinating the issue. The errors pointed out by us are crystal clear and we have sent references of undisputable standard textbooks for each erroneous fact pointed out.”

He said the delay would cause undue confusion in the mind of students who would first learn the wrong fact and then later unlearn it and further relearn the correct fact.

“These corrections should be carried out expeditiously and not like the previous time when the NCERT waited till the eleventh hour and made corrections just prior to the AIPMT that caused undue stress and a situation of total chaos for AIPMT aspirants” he added.



Counselling schedule for more Panjab varsity depts declared
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
Panjab University (PU), Chandigarh, today declared the counselling and interview schedule for more departments at the university. All candidates are required to be present with their original certificates and documents. The common entrance test (CET)-qualified candidates are to compulsorily submit the PU admission form. The admission form is available on the PU website - www.pu.ac.in. It has to be submitted at the respective department before July 4, 2014.

The interview of the candidates who have qualified the entrance test conducted by the PU for the regular admission to MA Semester I in English in the Department of English and Cultural Studies will be held on July 8.

The aptitude test for the admission to MA first semester in Sanskrit will be held on July 10. The interview for admission to MSc 2 year course in the centre for systems biology and bioinformatics will be held on July 15.

The interview for admission to First Year M.Sc. environment science for the candidates who have qualified in the common entrance test (CET PG) will held on July 11.

The interview for admission to Master of Library and Information Science two-year integrated course in the Department of Library and Information Science (Semester-I) will be held on July 9.

The merit list of MA first semester department of Urdu would be displayed on July 4 and interview would be conducted on July 7.



Department prepares fresh merit list of teachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
Acting on the Punjab and Haryana High Court orders, the Education Department has finally prepared a fresh merit list of teachers who were hired in 2009 and according to the new list, two teachers’ service has been terminated.

As per information, the high court had directed the department to prepare a fresh merit list of the 536 teachers hired in 2009 by deducting the five marks assigned to the descriptive test from the criteria finalised on July 21, 2009.

While the two teachers from Government Model High School (GMHS) Sector 39 and Sector 38 (W) have been served termination notices, Arpana Mahajan, a teacher, who was sacked and whose case resulted in the court judgment, along with Savita Devi have been given appointment letters.

The court had taken the decision after it found that five marks assigned in the descriptive test were illegal and against the conditions of the department’s advertisement published in 2007 for the posts.

One of the officials from the department on condition of anonymity said: “According to the advertisement, in 2007 the objective paper of only those candidates had to be checked who would have scored minimum 30 per cent marks in the subjective paper. But in violation of the advertisement in 2009, several teachers were recruited who had failed to score the minimum 30 per cent in subjective test.”

The authorities from the department confirmed that the fresh merit list had been prepared.



Student parties to meet today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
Panjab University Dean Student Welfare (DSW) has called an all-student party meeting tomorrow to decide as to what action should be taken against students of two representatives of PUSU and SOI on whose name the help desk tents were allotted.

Source said this year the authorities had allotted the help desk on the name of two students of parties who were to be held responsible for every activity in it.

For the whole day today, rumours were afloat in the campus that a cold war is going on between PUSU and SOI workers over the clash which took place yesterday.

PUSU president Satwinder Moulviwala alleged that SOI workers threatened their workers not to place stickers and posters of their party on their vehicles.

They also complained that the vehicle of Meet Jatana, a senior leader of SOI, was located on the campus during the day. The security staff came into action and found the vehicle near the site where the clash took place yesterday. Later, it was handed over to the police by the PU security staff.



Govt colleges
Counselling for UG, PG courses from July 7
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The counselling for various undergraduate and postgraduate courses of government colleges of the UT will start from July 7. The provisional merit lists for various courses would be displayed on the Education Department website on July 4, 2014. The applicants who observe any discrepancy in their respective cases may approach the respective college on July 5, 2014.

The applicants are required to be physically present on the day of counselling and must bring original testimonials, affidavits regarding gap year and single girl child failing which their admission will not be considered. The fees will be deposited at fee counters set up by e-sampark on the college campus or nearest e-sampark centres in Chandigarh on the same day, failing which the admission would be cancelled.



International conference from July 14

Mohali, July 2
With the objective of boosting research-based education, Chandigarh University, Gharuan, will be hosting a three-day international conference-cum-symposium on “Product Design” in association with Columbia University, USA, from July 14.

This was stated by Satnam Singh Sandhu, Chancellor, Chandigarh University, at a press conference on the campus. He said China topped in filing industrial product design applications with more than 6.5 lakh industrial designs filed per year, followed by South Korea and Germany. India, which produced the highest number of engineering graduates, does not figure in the top 15 countries, according to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). “It’s a matter of concern that India lagged behind in research and patents while leading in producing the highest number of technocrats in the world,” said Sandhu. At the conference, research scholars from the USA, industry experts and entrepreneurs would share their experiences with the university students and the faculty. — OC



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