C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Service charge illegal, eateries told
Those failing to comply with orders to face legal action, says Excise & Taxation Dept 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Hotels, restaurants and eating outlets in the city will no longer be able to levy service charge on their customers. Orders in this regard have been issued by the Excise and Taxation Commissioner.

Heeding a long-pending demand from different quarters for stopping the illegal levying of service charge, the UT Excise and Taxation Department has categorically told the owners of restaurants and hotels not to levy the charge. Legal action will be initiated against those failing to comply with the orders.

City-based social activist Ajay Jagga had taken up the issue with UT Administrator Shivraj Patil, who directed officials to look into the matter. Subsequently, the UT Home Secretary asked the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Commissioner, Excise, Taxation and Consumer Affairs, to conduct an inquiry and submit a report. The issue was also taken up with Finance Secretary Sarvjit Singh.

The UT Excise and Taxation Department had stated that the service charge was levied by restaurants for the services rendered such as serving food. The charge was not levied by the government and was collected by the restaurants themselves. Restaurants levy different service charge, ranging between 5 per cent and 10 per cent of the food bill, which is quite substantial.

Multifarious taxes and other charges inflate the foods bills due to which there is a lot of resentment among the public, particularly regarding the service charge. At times, customers are not satisfied with the services rendered by restaurants, but even then they are compelled to pay the service charge, which is illegal as well as unethical. Customers also end up paying tip to the hotel staff, besides the service charge.

What the rules say

According to the rules of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, service charge cannot be levied on food served on the table. Throwing norms to the winds, restaurants have been fleecing consumers by levying 5 per cent to 10 per cent as serve charge on the food bill. Following directions from the ministry, the Administration had declared the practice illegal in 2006. However, with no check in place, several restaurants continued to indulge in the malpractice.


There is no statutory law under which service charge is levied though some restaurants pay service tax on the service charge. — Ashok Bhalla, assistant excise and taxation officer 

The decision should be applicable all over the country. The service charge includes expenditure incurred at the ‘back end of the operations’. The issue will be taken up with the All-India Association of Hotels and Restaurants. — Arvinder Singh, president, hotel and restaurant association of chandigarh



UT not to reduce VAT on diesel
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
As city residents today welcomed the cut in fuel prices as a result of a fall in the global prices, there is some bad news for them.

The Chandigarh Administration has now decided not to reduce valued added tax (VAT) on diesel in the city from tomorrow.

UT Finance Secretary Sarvjit Singh said, “Punjab is planning to increase VAT. We were thinking of reducing VAT to bring parity with Punjab. We need to wait for a few days.” The rationale is that since the UT follows the Punjab pattern, the decision has to be taken in light of the taxes in the neighbouring state.

Earlier, the UT Administration had announced to reduce VAT on diesel from November 1 to bring the prices on a par with Punjab. At present, there is 12.5 per cent VAT on diesel in the city. The UT had proposed to bring it down to 9.7 per cent. At present, the difference in the diesel prices in Chandigarh and Mohali is of around Rs 1.40. Earlier this month, UT MP Kirron Kher had announced to reduce the VAT on diesel. Amanpreet Singh, general secretary, Chandigarh Petroleum Dealers Association

"The Punjab lobby is working against the interests of city residents, who are paying more for diesel than those in neighbouring towns of Panchkula and Mohali. The higher cost of diesel is hitting the sales of local petroleum dealers and resulting in a loss of around Rs 35 crore to the UT annually.

Earlier decision

Earlier, the UT Administration had announced to reduce VAT on diesel from November 1 to bring the prices on a par with Punjab.


MC officials suspend work
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 31
A day after a clash between a Municipal Engineer (ME) of Municipal Corporation and a contractor, the staff of the MC today refused to work and staged a protest outside the MC office in Sector 14, here today.

Alleging inaction by the cops against the contractor RD Sharma, all the employees sat in favour of the ME Vijay Goyal who was allegedly thrashed. Later the cops lodged a case and arrested the contractor.

Visitors to the MC office had a tough time as no work was carried out today till afternoon.

No works like the preparation of birth certificate, marriage certificate, or redressal of any complaint like that of streetlights or parks was entertained due to the strike.

The police said the contractor has been arrested and after he was produced in the court, he was sent to Ambala jail.

The police lodged a case under Section 352 (Punishment for assault or criminal force otherwise than on grave provocation), 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against Sharma.

The contractors union also met the Panchkula Mayor Upinder Ahluwalia stating that the contractor may be blacklisted but a case may not be registered. Yesterday, Vijay, ME with the MC alleged that he was beaten up by bricks and thrashed by the contractor who was allegedly forcing him to approve the samples. Vijay was coming out of the office when he was attacked. He was later rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 6. 



Differences in BJP to the fore, again
While MP praises Shivraj Patil, BJP councillor raises slogan “Administrator go back”
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Differences between the local BJP unit and MP Kirron Kher are seemingly far from over.

While MP Kirron Kher had recently said she was happy with the UT Administration and even thanked Administrator Shivraj V Patil and UT officials for their cooperation in solving residents’ problems put forth by her, BJP councillor Saurabh Joshi during the MC House meeting today targeted Patil and even raised a slogan “Administrator go back”.

In her recent interaction with media, Kirron had said the Administration always helped her in resolving the problems of city residents.

During the MC House meeting today while discussion on revision of house tax was on, BJP councillor Saurabh Joshi said city residents don’t want such an Administrator, who tries to put an additional burden of house tax on them. “Our party has only one agenda that Administrator should be transferred,” he said.

Joshi even raised a slogan, “Adminsitrator Go Back”, in the House.

Satinder Singh, BJP councillor, said the Administrator and UT officials want to kill the democratic system in the city. “Change is required for the welfare of city residents,” he suggested.

It may be mentioned that besides councillors, the BJP’s senior leadership, including local unit president Sanjay Tandon, has on a number of occasions complained to the Union Home Minister about the Administrator’s style of functioning.

Besides the issue pertaining to the Administrator, there are differences between the local BJP unit and Kirron Kher on formation of metropolitan council in the city. While Kher is against any such move, senior leaders of the local unit are in the favour of metropolitan council. 

Congress has a dig

On the differences between BJP leaders and MP Kirron Kher, Congress councillor Mukesh Bassi said the BJP was never a united front. The BJP leaders only befooled the city residents by saying that they were united, he added. But when it came to important issues like metropolitan council, the party leadership had always been divided, Bassi claimed.



MC House rejects revision of house tax
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
The general house of the local Municipal Corporation (MC) today rejected the agenda to revise rates of house tax.

The UT administration had recently written to the civic body to revise the rates. In 2013-14, the tax on residential property was Re 1 per sq yard annually. In its letter, the UT administration stated that exercising the power conferred by Sub-section (4) of Section 90 of the MC Act, it directs the MC to reconsider and revise its earlier proposal for imposition of tax on residential land and buildings to bring it in conformity with the Act and make it financially more reasonable and viable. The Administration ordered that the above direction should be complied with by the MC urgently.

MC officials placed the letter as an agenda item in the House meeting. But all MC councillors rejected the proposal. BJP councillor Arun Sood said the Administration can only issue directions under relevant sections to impose only new taxes. But as the house tax is already imposed, they legally don’t have any power to revise the existing rates, he said.

Nominated councillor MP Kohli said, “Last year, the Administrator forced us to bring house tax agenda and promised that it will not increase its rates. Now, they are putting pressure on the MC, which is not acceptable.”

BJP councillor Saurabh Joshi said they don’t want an Administrator who wants to impose house tax on residents. 

At present, house tax not applicable: Commissioner

Commissioner Vivek Partap Singh clarified to the MC House that the notification of house tax, which was issued last year, is only for one year 2013-14. At present, house tax was not in force in the city. Therefore, the Administration has right to impose fresh house tax, he said.



Personal behaviour, not alcohol, behind ruckus after drinks: Club owners
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
During the evening hours of Wednesdays and Saturdays, one can easily spot women going out and drinking in popular clubs and pubs of the city. In less than a fortnight, two cases have surfaced where women created ruckus after getting drunk.

Clubs apparently do not check the age of persons whom alcohol is offered. Even minors are reportedly served liquor if the October 24 incident wherein two women and a minor girl created ruckus after getting drunk and tore the uniform of women cops.

Most pub owners claim that their business is clean. They cited personal behaviour as the reason behind drunk people creating ruckus. They say women who create ruckus consumer liquor outside and come to the club in an inebriated state. They don’t take liquor at their pubs.

Ginny Chawla, the owner of Altius Hotel, said, “We follow strict rules and allow only selective entries. We have not encountered episodes of women getting drunk and creating ruckus. However, I feel it is not alcohol but the person’s nature which should be blamed for such incidents. So many woman come to our club and drink, but we don’t see such incidents happening at our place.”

The owner of another hotel claimed that over the period, the clubs have acquired an image of being the source of crime in the city, which was not true. He said, “We have opened pubs so that people can enjoy a drink, dance and leave happily. The last thing we want is a bad publicity for our business.”

Echoing the same opinion, the owner of F-Bar, Gunkaran, said, “Whether it is a man or a woman, they both are supposed to drink responsibly and only that much which they can handle. We cannot stop offering alcohol at clubs though our staff has been instructed not to offer more alcohol to any person who is not in a state to consume more.”

Recent incidents

Two women, who were allegedly in an inebriated condition, created ruckus outside a night club during wee hours of Thursday and broke the windowpanes of two cars parked near the club.

Two women and a minor girl, all were allegedly drunk, thrashed two women constables and tore their uniforms at the roundabout of Sectors 18/19/20/21 in the wee hours of October 24.

Speaking out

There is nothing wrong in social drinking. But one needs to know his or her response to alcohol and plan the limit well in advance. Whatever happened yesterday was seemingly under the influence of alcohol. Before drinking, one must ensure how secure he or she is at that place. — Dr Simi Waraich, Consultant psychiatrist, Fortis hospital, Mohali

Following gender equality, it was expected from females that they will be more sober in their behaviour. However, after these incidents, it appears that we have landed in such a mess that we are losing our values and rich culture. — Prof Rajesh Gill, sociologist, PU

Why cannot the authorities concerned go back to the schedule of shutting down restaurants at 11 pm and give permission to open beyond the fixed time only on specific days. This will help avert such incidents at public places. — Ajay jagga, advocate

Drinking in public and creating ruckus do not define the freedom that girls these days demand to show how modern they are. Rather than taking lesson from the incidents where boys end up indulging in fights after consuming alcohol, girls are toeing the same line and finding it interesting too. — — harjeet kaur, PU hosteller

It has become a fashion among youth to have drinks with their friends without caring about the consequences that they would have to face. It is unfortunate that girls, who consume alcohol at public places, behave indecently and create problems for others. — Ramandeep Kaur, Anthropology student, PU



Unbiased Press necessary for country’s progress: Minister
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 31
Punjab Rural Development and Panchayat Minister Sikander Singh Maluka said today that nowadays the print media and the electronic media were being controlled by corporate houses and politicians.

Expressing concern over such a state of affairs, Maluka said despite efforts by journalists, the chances of the truth coming out would lessen.

Maluka, who was speaking at the installation of office-bearers of Mohali Press Club here, said the Press should be free and individuals should not run it according to their whims. A strong and unbiased Press was necessary for the progress of the country and society.

The minister said land would be allotted to the club for the construction of a building at Balongi and financial help would also be provided for the purpose.

He announced a grant of Rs 3 lakh for the club.

Among those present was MP Prem Singh Chandumajra.

Earlier, the newly elected club president, Darshan Singh Sodhi, welcomed the chief guest.



Cases of voluntary HIV testing double in 5 yrs
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
In what indicates the rising awareness on HIV transmission and its devastating effects, the number of individuals getting themselves tested for HIV infection has doubled in the past five years.

Among these volunteers, the number of those actually testing positive for HIV has fallen 50 per cent over the same period.

Going by records available at the 14 Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres (ICTCs) in Chandigarh, the number of persons undergoing test for detection of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) has increased from 22,253 in 2009 to 43,228 this year (till September). Out of these, the number of those testing positive for the virus has reduced from 1099 in 2009 to 611 this year (till September).

Experts said both these trends signify increasing awareness on HIV and its prevention as more people walk in for tests while taking precautions also.

According to experts in the field, those walking into the ICTCs are mostly youth, aged 25 to 40, and also many couples, including married and unmarried persons, are seen going together for testing.

“While these figures pertain to ICTCs in Chandigarh, the social stigma attached to the disease often forces individuals to keep themselves anonymous. But this is certain that not many people are scared of these tests now and they are coming out in large numbers to ensure that they are free from the infection by undergoing tests,” said Dr Dr Vanita Gupta, project director, UT State 

AIDS Control Society (SACS).

The transmission of HIV in homosexuals and their stigma in opening up with general society still remains a major concern in the country, experts said.

NACO Joint Secy visits city

KB Agarwal, Joint Secretary, National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), on Friday visited AIDS control facilities in Chandigarh and explored possibility of testing one blood sample for various HIV-related tests so that the number of visits of patients to the testing labs is reduced.

National conference concludes

The 38th national conference of the Indian Association of Sexually Transmitted Infections and AIDS commenced on Friday. Raising concern over lacking awareness on other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), Dr Sunil Sethi from the Department of Immunopathology, PGIMER, pointed out that dependence on quacks had been threatening drug resistance in individuals suffering STIs. This problem is more common in women, experts said.



Panchkula gears up for cleanliness drive
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 31
The Panchkula administration is gearing up to start Clean Panchkula Mission, tomorrow, on the directions of new Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

ADC SP Arora has formed clusters of five villages each, falling in the district, for the purpose. He also said that sarpanchs, patwaris and villagers have been roped in for the campaign.

“The most neat and clean area will be suitably rewarded. We have ensured public participation through various programmes,” said Arora.

“I have also directed that the schools may hold functions related to the drive which includes slogan writing and exhibitions and parents may also be involved in the same,” added he.

Though the drive will be from November 1 to 7, but it would be conducted for the entire month.

Offices at the Mini secretariat were being cleaned by the staff.

Not just the home guards department, but various other deparmtnets, Residents Welfare Associations will be found cleaning the city tomorrow.

DC SS Phulia and MLA Gyan Chand Gupta will flag off the drive from Industrial Area, Phase 1, Panchkula.

The Municipal Corporation has hired six more tractor-trailers for the removal of garbage and two JCBs. 



City-Jaipur Volvo bus service from today
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 31
A Volvo bus service is being started by the Haryana Roadways from Chandigarh to Jaipur. Interestingly, the bus will be flagged off tomorrow at Narnaul by Haryana Transport Minister Ram Bilas Sharma.

The Volvo will start from the Sector 17 ISBT at 7.40 am and will reach the Pink City at 8.30 pm. The fare has been fixed at Rs 820 per passenger.

General Manager of the Haryana Roadways Pradyuman Singh said, “The bus will go via Narnaul. The next day, the Volvo will start at 8.20 am from Jaipur and reach the city at 8.50 pm through the same route.”

At present, the Haryana Roadways plies only ordinary buses to ferry passengers from the city to Jaipur, that too via Delhi.

This Volvo will take the Rohtak-Dadri-Mahendragarh-Narnaul route. More Volvo buses will be introduced according to the requirement. Advance online booking has been introduced for the bus service. Water and a magazine will be provided to the passengers on board the bus.

The service is being introduced following a demand from passengers for a Volvo bus from the city to Jaipur, one of the busiest routes.

How much you have to shell out Fare Rs 820

Departure from Chd 7.40 am

Arrival in Jaipur 8.30 pm



Two women create ruckus outside night club in Sec 26 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Two women, who were allegedly in an inebriated condition, created ruckus outside a night club in Sector 26 during the wee hours of Thursday and broke the windowpanes of two cars, including that of local Congress president BB Bahl, parked nearby.

The accused, identified as Anu and Navi Brar, both resident of Mohali, visited the Crystal Lounge and Bar along with their friends. The police said heated arguments broke out among the friends, which led to a scuffle in which one of the male members sustained an injury.

The police said after coming out of the club, the accused broke the windowpanes of the Congress leader’s car and a windowpane of a car owned by a resident of Mani Majra, with a brick. Sources said the friends accompanying the women fled from the spot leaving them behind. The injured male member didn’t lodge a police complaint.

However, a case was registered at the Sector 26 police station and the women held. They were released on bail.



Suspected dengue death in Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali , October 31
A former Lions Club President died of suspected dengue here.

According to reports, Jiwan Goyal, a resident of Phase III-B1 here, was earlier suffering from fever and admitted to a private hospital in Phase II. He was later shifted to Fortis Hospital here.

Civil Surgeon Neelam Bhardwaj said she was not aware of any such death as she was busy at a workshop today. She said that if the patient had died of dengue, Fortis Hospital must have sent a report in this regard.

Bhardwaj said the health officials concerned would review the case tomorrow. Only after that it would be clear whether the patient has died due to dengue or some other disease, she added.



Over 700 participants run for unity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
More than 700 participants from varied segments, including prominent citizens, college and school students, senior citizens, morning walkers, enthusiastically participated in the “Run for Unity” from Sukhna Lake towards Rock Garden today.

The Run for Unity was organised by the Chandigarh Administration to celebrate National Unity Day (Rashtriya Ekta Diwas) on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Free India, who was popularly known as Iron Man of India.

The Run for Unity symbolises the expression of solidarity and unity among the citizens of the country with varied cultural and traditional background.

Chandigarh being a cosmopolitan city truly reflects the unity in cultural diversity and the participants would enjoy the flavour of the spirit of nationalism with unification and brotherhood amongst all Indians.



Study tour: MC throws rules to the wind
Violates guidelines framed by Chandigarh Administration
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
The Municipal Corporation threw rules to the wind to organise study tour. The fact was revealed when BJP councillor Satinder Singh presented guidelines framed by the UT Administration and the MC itself before the MC House today.

The UT’s guidelines framed in 2007 for study tour read, “Once the panel (who will go on study tour) is selected, it may be placed before the House of the MC for approval. The process could be made transparent and justifications for the selection should be shared with the House. Unnecessary secrecy tends to foster intrigue and subsequent allegations of nepotism or misconduct”.

But in the present study tour, names of councillors, officials and their family members, who had gone to the study tour, were not presented before the MC House for final approval. BJP Councillor Satinder Singh said UT’s guidelines clearly mentioned that there should be no secrecy, but MC officials were not disclosing the names of family members who went along with councillors.

Similarly, the MC in its 107th meeting dated September 27, 2006, had resolved, “Preference will be given by the study team to those cities, which have the Municipal Corporation/Municipal Councils. But if any of the functions transferred to the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, is being performed with development techniques and methods by any other authority in other states, the same could be studied”.

But the MC councillors and officials visited Havelock Island in Andaman Islands, which do not have any MC. In today’s MC House meeting, some of the councillors even demanded judicial or CBI enquiry into the study tour.

The UT Administration had given permission for study tour only to councillors and officials of the Municipal Corporation (MC). But MC councillors and officials, during their nine-day study tour to Chennai, Port Blair and Kolkata in September, went for sightseeing along with their family members.

SAD councillor Malkiat Singh, who was also a part of the study tour, had died early this month. His condition had deteriorated during the tour and was admitted to the AIIMS, New Delhi, where he died on October 6.

Mayor, officials maintain silence on how they finalised agency

Sources said MC officials did not follow the mandatory norms while finalising the travel agency as no tenders were invited. In its reply to BJP councillor Satinder Singh’s query on how the tour and travel agency was finalised, the MC did not give any clear answer. The sources said the mandatory public notice for inviting quotations was also not issued before zeroing in on the Panchkula-based travel agency. In today’s House meeting, Mayor and MC officials again did not give any answer in this regard.

Rates of air tickets were increased to adjust kin

BJP councillor Satinder Singh said ticket rates were increased by the travel agency only to adjust expenditure of family members of councillors. The tour was for 26 councillors and officials, but 13 family members were also accompanied them, he said. Another councillor Gurcharan Dass Kala, who had gone to the study tour, said initially they were told that fare was Rs 23,000 but later they said fare was increased to Rs 30,000 per person.

How MC violated rules

Rules Status

* Names should be placed before MC did nothing the MC House before the study tour

* Preference should be given to Study tour team even those cities that have MCs visited islands

* No secrecy should be maintained MC is still hiding names of family members

* Study tour report should be MC yet to submit submitted within 10 days the report

*n Details of expenditure should be It is yet to be submitted submitted within fortnight



Auto operators resort to vandalism on Day 2
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Commuters were at the receiving end for the second consecutive day as striking operators of diesel-run autos resorted to vandalism. They forcibly stopped CTU buses and LPG-run autos from entering Mohali and Zirakpur, as the UT authorities watched helplessly.

Irritated commuters said despite knowing that the auto operators would hold the city to ransom, the UT authorities should have tied with their Punjab counterpart to ensure that the commuters were not at the receiving end. There seems to be no coordination between UT and Punjab officials.

In the evening, the Secretary, Transport, UT, wrote to her Punjab and Haryana counterparts explaining the UT’s stand on banning diesel-run autos.

The auto operators are protesting against the UT’s move to phase out diesel-run autos by March next year.

Total lawlessness prevailed in the bordering areas of Chandigarh in Mohali and Zirakpur as the striking auto operators broke windowpanes of LPG-run autos which were seen ferrying passengers between Chandigarh and Mohali. At Landran, a CTU bus on way to Chunni was damaged by a group of striking auto operators. An FIR was lodged at the Sohana police station in Mohali.

The Mohali Police had to resort to mild lathicharge as the unruly crowd of auto operators was seen disrupting the traffic moving on the Chandigarh-Kharar Road.

SSP Mohali Inder Mohan Singh Bhatti said today auto operators were warned not to create ruckus. From tomorrow, they would be arrested if they create any lawlessness.

On several routes, the local bus service run by the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) to Mohali and Panchkula was disrupted as the buses were stopped from entering Punjab. Commuters travelling by LPG-run autos were the worst affected as they were forced to end their journey abruptly by the striking auto operators.

Kamal Kant, Chairman of the Tricity Auto Rickshaw Joint Action Committee, said they had decided to intensify their agitation if the UT continued with its decision to ban the diesel-run autos.



Auto-rickshaw union continues strike
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, October 31
Members of the Shan-e-Punjab Auto-rickshaw Union, Zirakpur, continued their strike against the UT Administration’s decision to restrict the entry of diesel-run auto-rickshaws to Chandigarh.

The union members have decided to intensify their agitation from Monday onwards if the UT Administration fails to withdraw the decision.

A large number of union members assembled on the Chandigarh-Ambala Highway and stopped other auto-rickshaws and some CTU buses ferrying passengers to Chandigarh and Zirakpur.

“The union members also raised an objection to the decision of the UT Administration for permitting entry to one auto-rickshaw in a week and also refused to accept other conditions,” said Surinder Singh, alias Babal, the union president.

Balwinder Singh, general secretary of the union, claimed to have given a representation of their demand to local MLA NK Sharma, but to no avail. The decision of the UT Administration will hit their livelihood hard.

“The decision will render over 1,000 persons, who are earning their bread and butter from this profession, jobless,” said Harbans Singh, an auto-rickshaw driver.



From today, RLA to affix HSRPs of CH-01-AD series
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
From November 1, the Registering and Licensing Authority (RLA) is going to start affixing High Security Registration Plates (HSRP) on vehicles having registration numbers of CH-01-AD series.

The number plates will be affixed at three notified RLA offices - in Sector 17, SDM office in Sector 42 and Industrial Area, Phase I.

Officials said the owners of the vehicles having registration numbers of CH-01-AD series should apply for affixation of HSRP at the RLA office concerned within one month. They will have to give a request on a plain paper mentioning the details of vehicle, including chassis number, engine number, make and model, along with a copy of registration certificate and valid insurance.

The number plates will be affixed till November 30. After that, the Traffic Police would initiate the process for challaning vehicles of CH-01-AD series without HSRP.



Business news

Startup weekend begins

The Startup Accelerator Chamber of Commerce (SACC) launched the three-day Startup Weekend to help students to develop their ideas into business plans. Sunny Singh, a serial entrepreneur with offices in USA and India, who was the chief guest, said this is the best time for the youth to explore immense opportunities for entrepreneurship in the country. He advised that it is not the IT domain alone, the country needs newer ideas in every aspect of life to improve quality, efficiency and prompt delivery of products and services, in which the youth can develop workable solutions, which can be scaled up into profitable ventures.

First online national proficiency test

Smartur.com, a digital education solutions company, today announced its ‘Smartur.com National Proficiency Test (SNPT)’ for students of classes 1st to 10th. It is available on www.smartur.com. Starting this year students of these classes can test themselves in the science modules along with the mathematics which they have used to test themselves last year.

Ola launches ‘Ola Mini’

Ola, mobile application for cab booking, today announced the launch of its popular ‘Ola Mini’ segment of hatchback and compact cabs on its mobile app in Chandigarh. With this launch, ‘Ola Mini’ is now available across 14 cities including Bangalore, Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Chennai and Pune. At Rs 49, for the first 3 Km, Ola Mini aims to provide affordable personal transportation in the city. Additional distance covered will be charged at Rs 10 per km. — TNS



PU to have new fee structure
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
From the next academic session, Panjab University will have two fee structures for inmates of hostels as the authorities are going to renovate a block in every hostel with modern facilities, especially for research scholars. This was decided at a meeting chaired by Vice-Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover with the members of a special committee constituted for this purpose today.

In the meeting, a decision was taken that in every hostel (boys and girls) a block will be renovated with extra facilities, which will be allocated to research scholars only. It was also decided that two fee structures will be prepared by the authorities for the hostel inmates - research scholars and other inmates. The proposal would be tabled in the next Syndicate meeting scheduled on November 22.

Sources said it was proposed in the meeting that in the special blocks, renovation would be done in rooms and these would also have an attached bathroom and a small pantry. Electric wiring would be replaced so that scholars could install air conditioners also, in case they want to do so.

Officials said due to shortage of funds the authorities were not able to construct more hostels. As a result, this option would increase the finances of the university and also give better facilities to the scholars.

The university had proposed to construct first women’s research scholar hostel on the campus.

During the meeting, the Dean Student Welfare (DSW) said for the construction of women research scholars hostel, around Rs 23 crore was required. But the PU authorities had only Rs 5 crore as feed money for the project.



Fervour marks celebrations at PU

Chandigarh: Rashtriya Ekta Diwas (National Unity Day) was celebrated at Panjab University, Chandigarh, with fervour and enthusiasm. More than 1,000 students, researchers, faculty and non-teaching staff members, including PU Vice-Chancellor Prof Arun Kumar Grover, Registrar Col GS Chadha and all senior officers, participated in various activities conducted during the day. They also remembered the contribution of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his birth anniversary.

Hundreds of PU students, teachers and officers participated in about 2-km run for unity. Earlier, a function was organised at the Old Convocation Ground in which Prof AK Grover informed the students about Sardar Patel’s connection with the PU.

He said Sardar Patel had addressed the first PU convocation after the Independence on March 5, 1949.

Later, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Swami Vivekananda Studies, PU, also organised a panel discussion and a lecture at Guru Tegh Bahadur Bhawan at the university.

The panel discussion was conducted on the topic “leading youth towards the values of national unity, integrity and harmony”. — TNS



PU youth festival ends on high note 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
The last day of the 56th Inter-Zonal Youth and Heritage Festival was inaugurated by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar at DAV Sector 10, Chandigarh.

The programme began with ‘Run for Unity’ in which the Haryana Chief Minister, all guests and students of DAV College participated.

Khattar said this was his first pubic function after taking oath as the CM. He appreciated the efforts of DAV College to organise this event on the 137th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. He elaborated the contributions of Patel, who was the first Home Minister of India, to maintain the unity in the country.

He admired the efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking an initiative to make the ‘Highest Statue of Unity’ in Gujarat. He also appealed the students to work hard for maintaining the unity, safety and security of the nation.

The inaugural session was followed by a classical dance, bhangra, group folk orchestra and group general dance performances.



School bags best academic ranking
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Bhavan Vidyalaya, Chandigarh, clinched the all-India rank 1 on the parameter of academic reputation with a score of 95/100 in the Education World India School Rankings.

While taking pride in the school’s new glory, the authorities said the ‘Education World’ was a human resource development magazine which specialises in education news. ‘Education World’ commissioned the survey through the Centre for Forecasting Private Limited (C Fore), a Delhi-based research company. The EW-C fore survey, 2014, of India’s best schools has rated 1,000 of the country’s well-known schools on the basis of perceptual rating scores awarded by a carefully constituted sample respondents base of 8,263 parents, principals, teachers and educationists nationwide on 14 parameters of excellence.

School principal Vineeta Arora, said: “It is indeed a moment of great pride for the school, especially as the news comes close on the heels of the CBSE ranking where our school received the All-India Rank V for its stellar performance in Class XII board exams.”

He further added that the students of Class XII performed outstandingly in the board examinations conducted by the CBSE in March 2014. In the overall results of the 191 students appeared, 128 students scored above 90 per cent marks. The first three positions in the tricity were clinched by students of the school.

Arora commended the sincere efforts put in by the students and the staff. She said it was her sincere endeavour to delve into the true purpose of education by providing students an environment which was academically sound and concurrently a launch pad for meaningful blossoming, honing of skills and effective use of endless talents.



Students end fast

Chandigarh, October 31
Ramanpreet Singh from anthropology and Gursimran and Navjot from geology departments withdrew their indefinite fast.

Students were protesting against the credit system in the science departments. They were requesting for allowing promotion within BSc. Promotion within the BSc requires certain credit points that is 80 pc of the total credits which were earlier 50pc. Those who could not cross the stipulated 50pc requested for a special chance. It was granted to students with a condition of 70pc. DSW Navdeep Goyal resolved the matter — TNS



Vivek High School to celebrate founder’s week
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Vivek High School will celebrate its 19th founder’s week from November 1 to 8 in the memory of Sardar Bhagwant Singh.

The school authorities said the theme for this year’s founder’s week is ‘World Within’. Students will exhibit their artistic creativity through their work in performing arts, craft and technical skills.

They said the inaugural day would see display of art by students. The exhibition will showcase their artistic talents through activities such as painting and sketching and fabric designing. The main attraction of the celebrations will be a play, ‘Gone with the Wind’, based on American classic of 1939. It will be staged by the senior wing on November 2. The play has been directed by principal PK Singh.

The week will also witness a musical show, an adaptation of ‘James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl’, by the junior wing and a march past and a spectacular field display by over 400 students, choreographed by Uma Shanker from Mumbai.



PECFest 2014 begins with fun-filled events
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
The annual techno-cultural fest of the PEC University of Technology, ‘Hero PECFest 2014’ began today. It witnessed a footfall of hundreds of people from colleges across the country. The fest started with the inauguration ceremony. Dr Manoj Arora, Director, PEC University of Technology, declared the fest open.

To celebrate Ekta Divas, a marathon was also held under the title ‘Arundhati’, marking the unity of students of the institute in promoting the cause of women safety.

The ceremony was attended by TV actress Savita Bhatti as chief guest, who flagged off the marathon that turned out to be a blockbuster with around 500 students participating for the noble cause.

As the day progressed, various technical and cultural clubs of the college hosted a melange of events at the college grounds. There were fun-filled cultural events such as ‘Drama rama’ and ‘Rangmanch’, which entertained the crowd and literary events such as FLAME Quiz and Scrabble evaluated the vocabulary and knowledge of the participants. Technical events such as ‘Virtual flying challenge’ and ‘Robo wars’ put to test the technical temperament of students and provided a treat to technology-lovers.

However, the highlight of the day was the evening event.

‘Titled Groovz and Glitterati’, the event began with enthralling dance performances and ramp walk by the talented students.

The enthusiasm of the audience was doubled as the campus princesses walked down the ramp showcasing their beauty and talents, adding a considerable amount of glitz and glamour, with the lucky ones receiving a direct entry into the auditions of Miss Femina India 2015.



Students take out cleanliness drive 

Chandigarh, October 31
Following the footprints of the father of the nation and to turn his dreams into reality, the Department of Gandhian and Peace Studies, PU, today started a cleanliness drive of the Gandhi Bhawan pool on the campus.

Chairpersons and heads of various departments, including faculty members, research scholars, participated in the drive and made it a grand success. Participants pledged to contribute to maintain cleanliness of the campus. — TNS



Play spreads awareness on breast cancer

Chandigarh, October 31
Saupin’s School, Sector 32, Chandigarh, in collaboration with the Chandigarh Breast Cancer Trust staged a play, ‘Zindagi ki Chhah’ today.

The play was directed by Harjit Singh. Students of Classes VII and VIII gave a splendid performance. It was staged to spread awareness among people that breast cancer is a treatable disease. Early detection and medical intervention can help save lives of affected people.

The audience comprising many cancer survivors and activists applauded the efforts of the children. The school authorities claimed that there were plans in the pipeline to take the play to other educational institutions of the tricity. — TNS



From schools

Tricity schools remember Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

Rashtriya Ekta Diwas (National Unity Day) was celebrated at Tribune Model School, Chandigarh, to commemorate the 138th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. A special assembly was also organised. Speeches on the life of the Iron Man were also delivered.

Valley Public School

Valley Public School, MDC, Panchkula, celebrated Rashtriya Ekta Diwas. Principal Col GC Mittal, students and staff of the school pledged to serve the nation with sincerity and devotion to establish its unity and integrity. The principal also highlighted the contribution of the Iron Man towards the unification of the nation.

Govt Middle School

The birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was celebrated at Government Middle School, Sector 26, BDC, Chandigarh. An oath-taking ceremony was organised in the morning assembly. An essay-writing competition was also organised.

Govt Model Sr Sec School

Rashtriya Ekta Diwas was celebrated at the school. Students and teachers took an oath in the morning assembly. Vice-Principal KR Sharma delivered a lecture. An easy-writing competition was held to mark the occasion. NSS volunteers and Scouts and Guides took out a rally in Bapu Dham Colony along with the school teachers.

Govt Model Sr Sec School

To commemorate the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, students of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 19-C, Chandigarh, participated in various events and activities. Rashtriya Ekta Diwas pledge was taken by students in the morning assembly. It was followed by “run for unity” in which students from Class V to Class XII participated.

Mount Litera Zee School

To observe Rashtriya Ekta Diwas, Mount Litera Zee School, Panchkula, showed a documentary on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to the students. An inter-house GK quiz was also organised in which questions related to the great personality and his good deeds were asked.

Govt Sr Sec School

Government Senior Secondary School, Dhanas, was abuzz with activities during the National Unity Day celebrations. A special assembly was held in which poems and speeches were delivered by students. Students and teachers took part in ‘run for unity.

Satluj Public School

National Unity Day was celebrated at Satluj Public School, Sector 4, Panchkula. Rashtriya Ekta Diwas pledge was taken by students in the school assembly.

Blue Bird High School

Floral tributes were paid to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his 139th birth anniversary. A rally was organised to convey the message of integrity, unity and solidarity among one and all. — TNS



From colleges

Technical fest

Desh Bhagat University is organising a technical fest ‘CARPEDIEM-2014’ on its campus on November 4 and 5. University Chancellor Dr Zora Singh said faculty of engineering and technology was organising this national-level event in which colleges from various parts of Punjab and other states would take part. Around 4,000 students were expected to participate in the fest who would exhibit their talent and skills in different technical, non-technical and cultural events.

Workshop on business communication

The PEC University of Technology, Chandigarh, organised a workshop on business communication. Participants were from among the faculty members of different departments. The workshop was organised under the aegis of the Training and Placement Department of the institute. The main resource person of the workshop was Anita Sotgel, director, Business Coaching Academy, Munich, Germany.

Book fair held

The Sanskrit department of the Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45, in collaboration with the Sanskrit Academy, Chandigarh, organised a two-day book fair-cum-exhibition. Principal, Dr Meera Modi, lit the traditional lamp to inaugurate the exhibition. Students participated in large numbers.

Seminar on food service industry begins

‘INFUSION -2014’, a two-day national seminar and workshop on food and beverage service industry: modernisation, innovations and opportunities, started today at the University Institute of Hotel Management and Tourism, PU, Chandigarh, on Friday. The seminar was inaugurated by UT Home Secretary Anil Kumar. World Association of Chefs Societies -approved culinary judge and former vice-president, ITDC, chef Sudhir Sibal delivered the keynote address. The day also witnessed a technical session where delegates shared their research work and made aware the audience of latest trends and issues in the food and beverage service Industry. — TNS



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