C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Bid to take away SBI ATM
Thieves flee after seeing PCR vehicle in Sector 26, Panchkula
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 20
An attempt by thieves to take away an ATM of the State Bank of India (SBI) in Sector 26 here, containing Rs 17.96 lakh, failed in the wee hours today after they saw a PCR vehicle patrolling the area. The thieves were trying to remove the ATM with the help of their car.

On seeing the PCR vehicle coming, the thieves fled, leaving behind the rope and hook being used to pull the machine. Though the PCR vehicle (No. 6) tried to follow the thieves, it police failed to trace them. The thieves first sprayed a solution on the CCTV camera and then tried to lift the ATM. “They had opened the upper portion of the machine and had hooked the lower part with the rear side of their car. While one youth was standing outside to keep a watch, three youths were inside the ATM booth,” said a police official.

The youths sat in the car and fled. The PCR team followed them till Sector 30, but could not trace them. A forensic team examined the spot.

“We tried to check the footage, but the CCTV camera wasn’t working. The last recording available was of July 16. We have got some clues. The thieves have left behind some items used by them in their attempt to lift the machine,” said Assistant Commissioner of Polcie (ACP) Jagtar Singh.

There was no security guard at the ATM booth. Recently, the Panchkula police had sealed some ATM booths which were without security guards.

Bank told to deploy security guard

The police have asked the bank authorities to take out the cash and keep it with them. They have been asked to deploy a guard at the booth.

In 2013, an ATM of Punjab National Bank in Surajpur, containing Rs 16 lakh, was lifted by thieves.

There is a possibility that the same youths may have been involved the PNB ATM theft. Had the PCR acted swiftly, the youths could have been nabbed.



Mystery shrouds Panchkula youth’s death in Manali
Body fished out from Beas; injury marks on neck, back
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 20
Nineteen days after a Panchkula youth went missing from Manali, his body was fished out from the Beas in Manali yesterday afternoon. The victim, identified as Rajinder (25), hailed from Surajpur and had gone missing on July 1. Rajinder, who was a supervisor with a company, had gone to his office in Manali to give payments to the labour employed at a site there.

Injury marks were found on the victim’s body, found 4 km away from the site. The police have not ruled out foul play in the incident as the money which Rajinder was carrying with him was not found in his possession.

After failing to trace Rajinder, his brother Surinder lodged a missing complaint with the Manali police.

The investigating officer in the case, head constable Rajinder Kumar of the Manali police, said, “The body had bloated. The postmortem was conducted with a great difficulty. Investigations are on.”

There was a fracture in the right leg of the victim. Besides, there were serious injury marks on his neck and back. The police are waiting for the chemical examination report.

“On July 1, Rajinder had gone to give payments to the labour. However, he did not return. We want a fair probe into the matter,” said his father Ram Chandra.

Victim’s mobile missing

The mobile phone of the victim, Rajinder, has still not been found by the police. The family said they called up on his cell phone a number of times, but he did not take the call. After three days, his phone was switched off.



Tomato prices up Rs 10 a kg as rain hits supply
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
With the supply dwindling during the past four days, the cost of tomato has shot up by Rs 10 per kg and is now priced at Rs 40 a kg in the retail market. The price of tomato in the wholesale market has increased to Rs 25 per kg from Rs 20 per kg last week. Market sources said consistent rain in the region over the past four days had triggered a shortage in the supply as Chandigarh was majorly dependent on Himachal Pradesh for its tomato supply.

The cost varied slightly at Apni Mandi in Sector 34 today as the same quality of tomato was being sold at Rs 35 per kg.

An official of the Grain Market Committee, Sector 26, said, “The stocks were damaged during transportation in rain. This increase in tomato prices was expected. The cost of other vegetables is stable.”

According to the market sources, the prices of tomato are likely to increase further with the possibility of more rain. The cost of onion, meanwhile, is stable at Rs 30 per kg in the retail market and Rs 15 in the wholesale market. The prices of seasonal vegetables such as lady finger is under control.



Woman held for youth’s murder
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 20
The Panchkula police have arrested a woman for the murder of a youth in Pinjore. According to the police, the victim, Lakshman, was strangled to death as he had come to know that the husband of the woman, Geeta, had murdered his friend Ramji Das a few days ago in the Barotiwala area. Lakshman was allegeldy murdered by Geeta, her husband Sanjay and father-in-law Jagdeesh.

Last week, the body of a youth was found in the Maddawala area near the Barotiwala border in Pinjore. The postmortem of the victim, Lakshman, revealed that he was strangled to death.

According to the police, the provocation behind the two murders was that both youths, known to Sanjay, wanted to marry his sister.

The SHO of the Pinjore police station, Inspector Jangsher, said, “The two youths were known to Sanjay and both wanted to marry his sister. Sanjay stabbed Ramji Das. When Lakshman got to know about the murder and threatened to inform the police, Sanjay and the others planned to kill Lakshman.”

Sanjay, along with Geeta and her father-in-law Jagdeesh, strangled Lakshman at their residence and then dumped his body,” he said. While Jagdeesh is on the run, Sanjay has been arrested by the Barotiwala police.



Scooterist dies in hit-and-run case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
A two-wheeler rider died while another one was injured when an auto-rickshaw hit their scooter near the Sector 39/40 chowk last evening. The police said Puran Singh and Surinder Singh, both 30 years old, were riding the scooter when a recklessly driven auto hit the scooter. The duo fell on the road. The auto driver fled from the spot.

The injured were taken to the PGI where Puran Singh succumbed to his injuries.

The police said Surinder was under treatment. The police have registered a case against the unidentified auto driver at the Sector 39 police station and have initiated an investigation into the case.

Motorcyclist hurt

In a separate hit-and-run case, a motorcyclist, Vikas, a resident of Behlana, Chandigarh, was injured after a vehicle hit his motorcycle between Tribune Chowk and Poultry Farm Chowk.



21-year-old girl ends her life
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
A 21-year-old girl, pursuing the Chartered Accountant (CA) course, committed suicide by hanging herself from a ceiling fan at her house in Sector 51 this morning. According to police sources, the girl, Shakshi Sharma, had completed her BCom and was staying with her parents.

The police said the incident took place at around 5.30 am when the victim’s father had gone for a morning walk. On returning, he found his daughter hanging from the ceiling fan. She was taken to a private hospital where doctors declared her brought dead.

The police said no suicide note was found from the house.

The police have also ruled out foul play in the case.

The body has been kept at the mortuary of the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, Chandigarh.

The post-mortem examination will be conducted after the arrival of the deceased’s brother from Ahmedabad.



Jan Aushadhi centres a mere eyewash

Reopened six months ago, the Jan Aushadhi centres, which faced closure last year due to erratic supply of generic medicines, have now managed to ensure sales. The key strategy for drawing the attention of visitors was to sell toiletries. To buy branded toiletries at cheaper rates at the Jan Aushadhi centres, a number of visitors throng the store and end up buying products at original costs.

CBI scare

After the CBI caught a UT police traffic cop in a bribe case on the road near PGI, they took him to the PU Law Department where they could interrogate him. As the CBI officials entered the PU campus, it created a furore among the PU authorities, who assumed it was a CBI raid.

Passing the buck

In a classic example of how UT officials pass the buck to each other was witnessed during the launch of 16 new citizen-centric services though the e-sampark centres across the city. At the e-sampark centre in Sector 21, members of the Federation of Sectors Welfare Association Chandigarh (FOSWAC), requested UT Advisor KK Sharma to visit the nearby market. The Advisor declined and asked the Home Secretary to visit the spot. The Home Secretary also left and finally DC Mohammad Shayin visited the market.

MC councillors seek ‘help’

Municipal councillors also take advantage of the recently launched toll free helpline of the Municipal Corporation. They make calls while posing as residents, thereby highlighting problems in their wards. A councillor said sometimes their requests to solve problems in their wards are ignored, so they call on the helpline to get their grievances addressed.

Panchkula, UT cops

The recent dacoity at Rajat jewellers in Mansa Devi Complex has become a ‘prestige issue’ for Chandigarh and Panchkula police. In the race to earn the credit, both might be ‘assisting’ each other but not sharing the leads.

Ignorant organisers

In a recent seminar on harmony between different religions, the organisers were baffled as they not aware about the seminar’s title when approached. Despite having brochures on the seminar, they failed to inform the participants about its name.

Budget blues

Excited about Modi’s railway budget, city MP Kirron Kher told mediapersons that a bullet train has been announced from Chandigarh to New Delhi by the railway minister. The MP was ignorant that a semi-high speed train had been announced for this route and not the bullet train.

Bag ‘full’ of promises

While travelling to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on July 16, Punjab Finance Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa was seen carrying a small bag compared to the one he was carrying during the budget session 2013-14, allowing his critics to say, “his bag full of promises shrinks every year.”

Pay for water at mall

No drinking water facility can be seen in malls such as DT and Elante. A few years ago, the DC of Chandigarh had ordered the cinema authorities to arrange water for people.

(Contributed by: Ritika Jha Palial, Aneesha Sareen, Rajinder Nagarkoti, Amit Sharma, Hine Rohtaki, Mehakdeep Grewal, Aarti Kapur, Rajiv Bhatia and Sunil Minocha)



Mohali robbery cases
Police search for clues
Scan old records of miscreants involved in similar crime cases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
Even after 40 hours of two robbery incidents in the town, the Mohali Police have not made any headway in the cases. The police are scanning the old records of criminals, involved in similar cases of crimes in the past, to get vital clues. In the case of theft of a cash van belonging to a local liquor syndicate, the police suspect the involvement of some staff members of the syndicate.

Three unidentified robbers had looted Rs 11 lakh from the cash van, Bolero jeep, at gunpoint near a liquor shop in Sector 70 around 10.30 pm on Friday. The van was later found abandoned about 500 metres away.

Mohali SSP Inder Mohan Singh Bhatti said the police had quizzed some staff members of the local liquor syndicate.

“The crime was carried out with precision. This shows that the robbers were aware about the routine of the cash van. Some insider may be involved in the incident,” said SSP Bhatti.

The police, however, did not find any fingerprints or other clues about the robbers from the cash van. An alert was subsequently sounded in the area, said SSP Bhatti.

In another robbery case — wherein two robbers armed with a pistol held the family of a granthi (priest), hostage in Phase 3B1 — the police suspect it to be a handiwork of some persons known to the family.

The robbers looted the family of Rs 35,000 and gold jewellery worth lakhs of rupees.

“The two robbers with masks made a ‘friendly’ entry into the house by opening the lock of the main entrance. The robbers were aware about the granthi’s routine as they entered into the house as soon as he left for the gurdwara,” said SSP Bhatti.

“One of the robbers was wearing a kurta pyjama and a small kirpan, indicating that he was a baptized Sikh. We are investigating the cases,” added the SSP.

‘Insider could be involved’: The crime was carried out with precision. This shows that the robbers were aware about the routine of the cash van. Some insider may be involved in the incident. In the other case, one of the robbers was wearing a kurta-pyjama and carrying a kirpan indicating that he was a baptised Sikh. — Inder Mohan Singh Bhatti, SSP, Mohali

crime scene: Three unidentified robbers had looted Rs 11 lakh from the cash van, Bolero jeep, at gunpoint near a liquor shop in Sector 70 around 10.30 pm on Friday. The van was later found abandoned about 500 metres away. In another case, two robbers armed with a pistol held the family of a granthi (priest), hostage in Phase 3B1. The robbers looted the family of Rs 35,000 and gold jewellery worth lakhs of rupees.



Pending Bills
Power supply to Shalimar Mall snapped as cheque for Rs 16 lakh bounces
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

A view of Shalimar Mall in Panchkula. A Tribune Photograph

Panchkula, July 20
The only multiplex in Panchkula, Shalimar Mall in Sector 5, is in troubled waters as the Electricity Department has disconnected its power supply after a cheque deposited by it to clear the pending bill bounced. The mall is currently running on a generator. Shalimar owes about Rs 25 lakh to the Electricity Department.

Executive Engineer DS Dhanda said, “They’ve not paid the bill for the past one month, which is about Rs 16 lakh. Even the current bill of Rs 9 lakh is pending. The cheque of Rs 16 lakh deposited by them bounced.”

Shalimar was the first multiplex to open in Panchkula in 2009.

The much talked about mall failed to attract shop owners, following which, only 30 per cent shops out of 100 were opened.

On March 14, the real estate giant, RK Aggarwal, owner of Shalimar Estate, was arrested by the Chandigarh Police for committing a fraud of Rs 10.20 crore with his business partner.

Sub-divisional officer (SDO) SK Goel said, “We issued them warnings before disconnecting the power supply. Even after disconnection, we haven’t received any intimation from them.”

The officials said as the cheque bounced, the firm lost its credibility and now they would accept payment only through draft.

The local in charge, Kashmeer Singh, said, “The movie halls and lifts are working on generators. The mall’s functioning has not been affected due to the disconnection.”

‘Not paid bill for the past one month’: The mall authorities have not paid the bill for the past one month, which is about Rs 16 lakh. Even the current bill of Rs 9 lakh is pending. The cheque of Rs 16 lakh deposited by them bounced. — DS Dhanda, Executive Engineer

Owes Rs 25 lakh to electricity Dept: Shalimar owes about Rs 25 lakh to the Electricity Department. The mall is currently running on a generator.



Open House response
Car pool, slip roads can help ease traffic snarls

Commuting has become a headache for residents of Zirakpur, who have to travel to the city for work every day. To cover a distance of just 5 km, it takes 45 minutes at times. Chandigarh Tribune asked its readers what needs to be done to decongest the busy stretch on the National Highway?

Flyovers of no use for locals

With the unprecedented development in and around Zirakpur, there is a population explosion in the past five years. Flyovers have only helped long-distance travellers.

SC Luthra, Mani Majra

Side road need of the hour

To overcome this problem, another side road parallel to cycle tracks on both sides of the highway should be constructed, especially for local users, between Zirakpur and Chandigarh.

RK Kapoor, Chandigarh

Need to introduce ‘special’ buses

There is a need to introduce ‘special’ local buses from different destinations of Zirakpur to various areas of Chandigarh after every 30 minute.

Sat Pal Kansal, Chandigarh

Faulty design of overhead bridge to be blamed

Faulty design of the overhead bridge is the main cause of traffic snarls on the Zirakpur-Chandigarh Road. A ring road starting from Dera Bassi to Banur (Kharar-Landran Road), Old Panchkula-Kalka Road, can help in decongesting the traffic. Traffic meant for Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and J&K can be diverted through this road without congesting the Zirakpur-Chandigarh Road.

Wg Cdr Jasbir Singh Minhas (retd), Mohali

Flyovers have worsened situation

Widening of roads was the only viable solution on the Zirakpur intersection. But to safeguard the ill-formed existing structures (houses and shops), the administration resorted to construction of flyovers, which had further deteriorated the situation.

MPS Chadha, Mohali

Two separate roads from Baltana, Pabhat needed

There is only a single connected road between Zirakpur and Chandigarh, which leads to the National Highway. Construction of two separate roads from Baltana and Pabhat for the local commuters may reduce traffic congestion.

Sukhpal Singh, Chandigarh

Expedite Chandigarh Metro Rail project

The Chandigarh Metro Rail project covering this area should be expedited. A signal-free ring road should also be constructed to prevent traffic congestion on this route.

Sanjay Srivastava, Chandigarh

Car pool a viable solution

People should try to car pool with their colleagues living nearby. Hiring a relatively larger number of traffic policemen to control and regulate traffic is the need of the hour.

Aishwarya, Mohali

Strict policing should be done

Strict policing should be done so that long queues of inter-state buses and trucks are stopped from being parked on both sides of roads. Commuters should find it easy to manoeuvre their vehicles.

Priya Darsh Growar, Mohali

Road needs to be widened

To ease the increasing traffic pressure on the road with every passing day, there is a need to widen the road and convert it into a double lane.

Ajit Singh, Canada

Unplanned growth added to woes

Unplanned growth in the periphery in Chandigarh without required infrastructure has created a serious traffic hazard. Installation of one more traffic light before the Airport turn has added to the problem.

Kishorechand, Chandigargh

Metro Rail a must

Implementation of the Metro Rail project is the need of the hour. Metro Rail has changed the picture of mega cities. Main areas of the tricity should be covered under this project.

Dr Shruti K Chawla, Chandigarh

Design of Zirakpur flyover faulty

The design of the Zirakpur flyover is faulty. Traffic going towards the Patiala side is the main cause of congestion. The only solution to decongest the Zirakpur stretch lies in providing a bypass on the southern side for the traffic from the Patiala side.

PS Bajwa, Chandigarh

Divert local traffic through alternative routes

To check traffic congestion, the government needs to accelerate the pace of putting in place essential combative measures. The local traffic should be diverted through available alternative routes, especially during peak hours. Commuters travelling within the tricity should be advised to go for car pooling.

Ramesh K Dhiman, Chandigarh

Broaden slip roads

The road from Tribune Chowk to Zirakpur cannot bear any more traffic load. There is an urgent need to explore solutions to decongest this road. There is a need to broaden slip roads on both sides of the highway with clear instructions for slow-moving vehicles to use only slip roads. A link road from Jagatpura village to Zirakpur should be constructed so that the road from Tribune Chowk to Zirakpur could be made free from heavy traffic.

Ashutosh Trakroo, Chandigarh

Need to speed up planning, execution of plans
Rajmeet Singh

With rapid urbanisation around Chandigarh, traffic jams and gridlocks on roads converging into the City Beautiful are becoming a daily affair. As per a study quoted in the UT’s Draft Master Plan, about 1,52,650 vehicles enter or leave the Chandigarh Urban Complex on a typical working day.

Since there is a lot of vehicular traffic in the city from the burgeoning new townships in the neighbouring states, it is time for the city to be pro-active in dealing with traffic bottlenecks on the major roads leading to the city. Be it education, entertainment or health, the entire region is dependent on the Union Territory resulting in chaos on roads. “Maha Chandigarh” is today a reality.

The traffic situation is especially pathetic on the Zirakpur-Chandigarh section of the National Highway. A reality check conducted recently by Chandigarh Tribune on the reasons for traffic snarls on the Zirakpur-Chandigarh Road revealed lack of synchronisation of traffic lights at the Zirakpur traffic junction, airport traffic light junction, and Hallo Majra junction. Many a commuter spend approximately 40 minutes to cover a distance of just 5 km between the main Zirakpur traffic junction and Tribune Chowk.

The UT needs to speed up planning and execution of plans to first identify and then decongest all such road sections. Obviously, the UT Administration will have to take up this issue with the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh so that underpasses, bypasses and flyovers could be planned to prevent much of inter-city traffic from entering the Chandigarh areas. Notwithstanding the fresh objections raised by Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher, there is a dire need for mass rapid system like metro or bus rapid transit system for the entire Chandigarh region consisting of the UT, Mohali, Kharar, Zirakpur, Panchkula and Mullanpur areas.

To regulate the intercity traffic, the authorities need to study the traffic management systems of other cities like New York, Washington DC, London and Sydney. In most of these places, field sensors and cameras to transmit real-time traffic data to a control centre are in place. This then helps traffic marshals to guide and divert traffic to other areas.

The plan to construct a ring road around Chandigarh to divert traffic through Zirakpur and Panchkula onto the National Highway towards Shimla and Ropar, which is moving at a slow pace, needs to be pushed. There is a silver lining for those coming from Panchkula as the road from Panchkula via Mauli Jagran railway underpass is nearing completion. But this is only one of the many things that need to be speeded up.

Open house question

Rising incidents of robbery across the tricity in the recent past have not only raised questions over the law and order situation but have also created panic among residents. What needs to be done to prevent such incidents in future? Write your comments to openhouse@tribunemail.com in not more than 100 words along with a passport-size photograph in JPG format.



Councillors raise questions over formation of panels
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
The committee constituted by Municipal Corporation Mayor HC Kalyan — to work out the rules and regulations of paid parking and taxi stand operators –- has received flak from many councillors. This is because the committee comprises members from the Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC), and it is the F&CC that has to further approve the report prepared by the committee.

The councillors claimed that the committee is a mere eyewash. “The committee that has taken the decision will be discussing its own decision in the F&CC. The committee should have those councillors who are not members of the F&CC, only then a decision can be taken over the issues,” said a Congress councillor not wishing to be named. Another councillor said the councillors — who are not members of the F&CC — should have been included in the committee.

The committee formed to decide the rules and regulations of the paid parking and taxi stand operators include Congress councillor Pardeep Chhabra, SAD councillor Malkiat Singh and nominated councillor Anoop Sunny Gill, who are also members of the F&CC. Congress councillor Pardeep Chhabra said he would prefer to call committees as a sub-group constituted from within the F&CC to have an in-length discussion over both the issues.

“The issues for which the sub-groups were formed were raised by the F&CC members during the meeting. It was then that the MC Commissioner decided that before taking any decision, a sub-group should be formed to have a preliminary discussion before deciding over the issues,” added Chhabra.

He further said the legalities of the issues were to be discussed following which the sub-groups were formed.

SAD councillor Malkiat Singh, another member of the committee, said the F&CC has several other members too, so even if they prepare a report and table it before the F&CC, then other members and MC officials can discuss it and suggest the required changes.

‘Decision necessary’: The committee should have those councillors who are not members of the F&CC, only then a decision can be taken over the issues. Councillor municipal corporation



Play on shades of great American dream staged
Tribune News Service

Artistes enact a play titled ‘Death of a Salesman’ at St Kabir School, Sector 26, Chandigarh, on Sunday. Tribune Photo: S Chandan

Chandigarh, July 20
Students from various schools and colleges of the Tricity staged their annual production “Death of a Salesman”, a play of 1940’s era written by an American playwright Arthur Miller at St Kabir School Auditorium, Sector 26, today. The play was directed by theatre exponent Zubin Mehta, who runs Wings Theatre Academy in collaboration with St Kabir School.

With a scintillating performance the young cast of 15 actors recreated the 40’s era all over again in a jam-packed auditorium.

The story of the play depicts the social question of the effects of capitalistic American dream myth had on an ordinary family. Confident diction of the artistes showcased the universal human questions about the nature of happiness and success, of aging and of family responsibility. Beautifully woven, the play addressed the loss of identity and a man’s inability to accept change within him and society.

Director Zubin said, “It is a montage of memories, dreams, confrontations, and arguments, all of which make up the last 24 hours of Willy Loman’s life.”

The protagonist Ranbeer Sidhu stole the limelight as he essayed the character of ‘Willy Loman’.

The costume designs by Preeti Malik and Reena Shahi added to the dramatic spectacle.

Administrator of the school, Gurpreet Bakshi, said, “After giving a number of successful plays which are diverse in theme, treatment and style, we have been able inculcate liking for theatre among students and young amateur artists which is an achievement.”

He added that when Wings Theatre Academy and St Kabir School collaborated two years back to bring theatre in education, it was a new concept for the city, but over a period of time Zubin made us believe that it has a lot of scope and personally help the students gain confidence, overcome their anxiety and make them sensitive towards life.



‘Nutrition at Re 1’ campaign

Protinex, a protein supplement brand, on Sunday announced the completion of their ‘Nutrition at Re 1’ campaign and made a grant of Rs 27 lakh to the Akshaya Patra Foundation, the world’s largest NGO-run mid-day meal programme that currently feeds over 1.3 million children across the country everyday. Protinex, manufactured in Punjab by French dairy and nutrition major Danone, adopted 3,500 students from 28 schools with the completion of this initiative.

Trade name announced

In a strategic move, getitBazaar, that helps small and medium businesses to sell their products to buyers from across the country, has announced its new trade name “askmeBazaar” for its operations. The rebranding is the outcome of the corporate entity rebranding itself as ‘askme’ for its entire consumer facing offerings.

Delhi franchise of ISL launched

DEN Soccer Private Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of DEN Networks Ltd, announced the launch of the Delhi Dynamos FC, the Delhi franchise of the Indian Super League (ISL). DEN also announced its alliance with Feyenoord Rotterdam, a leading football club and academy from the Netherlands - TNS



Senior Dy Mayor leads cleanliness drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
Senior Deputy Mayor Heera Negi along with residents of her ward carried out a cleanliness drive at Sector 32 colony here today. Heera Negi, who is also the area councillor, said the residents of the area complained that safai karamchari didn’t come regularly, which had led to heaps of garbage around the colony, following which they decided to initiate the cleanliness drive on their own.

The Senior Deputy Mayor and the residents of the area cleaned parks and streets of the colony.

Heera Negi said similar drives would be carried out in other parts of the ward if safai karamcharis failed to turn.

“I will also take up the issue with the Municipal Corporation to ensure that safai karamcharis regularly visit the colony in Sector 32,” she said.



PU sets new benchmark
Records highest cut-off of 94.4% for admission to Economics Department
Ridhima Singh

Chandigarh, July 20
This year too, the Economics Department of Panjab University has set a new benchmark for the cut-off for economic honours. As compared to last year there is a hike of around two per cent in the cut-off for the honours admission.

Records of the department revealed that this year for economic honours the cut off was 94.4 per cent while in 2012 and 2013 it was 91 per cent and 92.3 per cent, respectively.

In fact, the numbers of applicants have also increased this year. Around 308 applications were received by the department whereas the number was 270 in 2013. Candidates not only from the city but also from places such as Bombay, Himachal Pradesh, North-East and a large chunk from Delhi have applied.

Dr Indu Bala, head of the department, said we keep updating our curriculum as per the development in the economy. Feedback from the earlier students and quality of teaching also plays an important role in motivating the students to apply for the course.

One of the faculty members said one whole semester was earmarked for on-the-job training where students visit industrial groups, Planning Commission and Ministry of Finance to increase their market knowledge, which no other university in the country provides. Hence, it increases the demand of this department among students.

Although department’s poor infrastructure still remains an issue of concern which was quite visible throughout the admissions as students and teachers were seen slogging it out during the counselling sessions. Even the water coolers were not working properly.

“I believe if we come up with better infrastructure, then it can become one of the best course and department in the world as well across the country. Although, at present it seems like a stumbling block which needs to be taken into consideration for improvement.” said Panika Jain, an under-graduate student of the department.



NCERT admits to errors in biology books of Classes XI-XII
Mehakdeep Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
The NCERT today admitted that there are errors in the biology books of Classes XI and XII, the academic body stated that the textbooks are not the only source of teaching-learning process, in its reply to a PIL filed in Punjab and Haryana High Court regarding 15 errors in the textbooks. The PIL was filed by a local academic Dr Arvind Goyal.

Dr Goyal had first reported about errors in Biology exemplars 2013, he had citied references from books, after which NCERT had corrected 33 errors. In April 2014, he approached the High Court for correction of the errors left in the biology books which NCERT had failed to rectify. Following the HC orders NCERT corrected 45 facts in Biology textbooks and 21 questions in Biology exemplars. However, despite the court’s orders NCERT failed to rectify around 23 errors in textbooks and Goyal filed a fresh PIL.

After a fresh PIL was filed in the High Court, which again directed NCERT to rectify the errors within one month’s span. In response to the order, NCERT rectified only eight errors and agreed that there were 15 more errors in the textbooks but did not rectify them. NCERT in its reply to the PIL stated, “We do agree with the references cited (standard textbooks) and other reference books.”

Moreover, it was mentioned in the reply that the textbooks are not only source of teaching-learning process. Therefore, the information, process, illustrations are presented to provide opportunity for further analysis and drawing conclusion.

While commenting on the reply, Dr Arvind Goyal said, “Although the NCERT authorities have agreed with the textbook references which we had quoted, still they have not rectified all the errors citing the reason that detailed information is not required at this stage.” He further alleged that the NCERT had viewed the whole issue with a tunnel vision.

“These errors may not matter in the preparation of subjective board exams, but can affect rankings of students preparing for objective entrance exams. Even a single wrong fact can affect the merit of a student in a competitive exam. With AIPMT biology section primarily based on NCERT textbooks, it becomes mandatory that these books should be made error-free,” he said.

He further informed that the NCERT has invited him to visit their head office to discuss rest of the errors.

He said, “I will go to Delhi and convince the authorities to rectify the rest of the errors also in the larger interest of the students.”

Negative effects

These errors may not matter in the preparation of subjective board exams, but can affect rankings of students preparing for objective entrance exams. Even a single wrong fact can affect the merit of a student in a competitive exam. With AIPMT biology section primarily based on NCERT textbooks, it becomes mandatory that these books should be made error-free. — Dr Arvind Goyal, academic



From schools
Students visit orphanage

Chandigarh: The students of Mata Sahib Kaur Public School distributed items of daily needs such as clothes, books and fruits in Old Age, Mentally Challenged Home and Orphanage “Prabh Asra”, in Jhanjeri. A paper and PowerPoint presentation was also organised and students liberally articulated their opinion and beliefs on the different topics.

Investiture ceremony

AKSIPS-65 ushered in the newly elected office-bearers in an investiture ceremony. Executive Director of AKSIPS Group of Schools Jasdeep Kalra presided over the ceremony as the chief guest for the programme. The programme began with lighting of the ceremonial lamp followed by a cultural presentation which included a soulful rendition by the school choir and Ganesha Vandana by Class IXth and Xth girls. It was followed by the formal badging ceremony of the office bearers and administering the oath of the office to the members of the new student council. The chief guest urged the young leaders to take the mantle of responsibility and commitment for the welfare of community and mankind.

Salad-making competition

Saupin’s School, Sector-70, Mohali, organised a salad-making competition. Students of classes IV and V participated in the activity with lot of enthusiasm and displayed their culinary skill. Sonia Gandhi from Fortis hospital judged the entries and spoke about the nutritive value of vegetables and fruits in salads. On the occasion the Headmistress Goldie Kapany said such activities help to attract children towards healthy eating habits.

Vanamahotsava celebrated

Vanamahotsava was celebrated by the Eco-Club at Green Field Public School, Phase V, Mohali. The programme started with ‘Shabad’ recitation and was followed by skit, speeches and poem presentations.

Farmhouse exhibition

The tiny tots of Class II of Gian Jyoti Global School, Phase II, Mohali, put up an exhibition of their self-made farmhouses. The farmhouses were prepared with the help of thermocol, match sticks, ice cream sticks, old toys, thread, tooth picks, toy wheels, straws, detergent, waste material, dry grass, beads , buttons, paper, card board and many other things too. — TNS



ETT Teachers’ Union chief begins indefinite fast
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 20
Hundreds of ETT teachers today staged a protest against the state government before ETT Teachers’ Union (Punjab) president Jaswinder Singh Sidhu sitting on a fast unto death in front of the Punjab Director-General School Education (DGSE) office at Phase VIII here.

“This is a ‘do or die’ battle for us as the authorities have been befooling us for past over five years,” they said.

The ETT teachers raised slogans against the ruling SAD government.

Union leaders said the government was not paying heed to their demands that included shifting of ETT teachers coming under zila parishads to the Education Department.

“The state government had made such promise in 2007 but later they backed out. In 2010, we were given assurance that ETT teachers would be deputed in government schools but again nothing has been done so far,” said Sidhu.

They said the protest would be intensified if their demands were not met.



Student Centre cries for attention
Lacks basic facilities such as drinking water, parking and proper seating arrangements

Chandigarh, July 20
Panjab University campus student, which is the favourite hangout place for students, freshers and alumni needs to be revamped by adding more basic facilities. While talking to the regular visitors, a number of demands were raised by them regarding the insufficient seating arrangements. Majority of the students demanded that number of benches along with proper sheds should be installed by the authorities for the comfort of the visitors.

Even the sanitation and hygiene conditions need to be looked after. The toilets produce bad odour due to lack of cleanliness. The stray dogs roam around freely in the area feeding on the leftovers in the plates making it an unhygienic place to eat. Meanwhile, during lunch hours, the students face scarcity of drinking water. The authorities should install more water coolers at the centre to meet the requirement.

Also, there is not ample parking space leading to a chaos in the parking lot during the lunch hours.

One of the students, Anil Dhull complained that the quality of food was not up to the mark and the cost was also very high.

Another student said more tables should be put up in the front of eating joints.



Panjab University invites applications for MEd
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
Panjab University (PU), Chandigarh, has invited applications for admission to MEd (Regular) on the campus and in colleges in Punjab affiliated to the PU to participate in the centralised admissions along with admissions to MEd (correspondence) and MEd Special Education (MR).

The candidates who have qualified the entrance examination can apply online for admissions up to July 27 through website http://medadmissions.puchd.ac.in.

The last date for the submission of online forms will not be extended, said the officials.

The candidates, who are awaiting results of BEd Examination 2014 can submit the online form without waiting for the results. The last date for submission of the duly completed printout of the form for MEd regular candidates is August 1 and for MEd correspondence candidates is August 5.

The printout of the online forms must reach the CET Cell, Aruna Ranjit Chandra Hall, PU, before 5pm on the last date mentioned.

The one-on-one counselling of MEd regular candidates will start from August 11 till August 13 at PU campus. The counselling schedule will be notified on the website www.medadmissions.puchd.ac.in



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