C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


A cultural extravaganza at PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
A colourful cultural evening, marked by myriad forms of songs and dances, had a capacity crowd swaying right till the end of “Aagaz”, the annual welcome function held for freshers at Panjab University here today.

In the absence of a proper auditorium for university functions and keeping in mind the usual rush for the welcome function each year, suitable arrangements had been made in the ground opposite the Students Centre. Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, political adviser to the Chief Minister of Punjab, was the chief guest for the evening. The opening items included Anmol David's “Purani jeans”, Gurpreet's “Baija mere kol” and Ravinder Mann's “Tange rahinde”. Parminder's “Nimmi Nimmi been” was well appreciated by the audience.

Shveta and her group had the group tapping their feet and loudly clapping to a group dance. The group performed once again on demand. “O dil diwaane” by Sandeep Kumar and Punita's “Boohe baarian” are also worth a mention.

One clear winner for the evening was the dance performance by Komal and popular Punjabi number “Challa” by Rajbir Bhullar. Randeep with his mimicry item aping film actors, including Amitabh Bachchan, Dilip Kumar, Jeevan and Dev Anand, to name a few, received a big applause.

Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi appreciated the students for the cultural programme and urged them to indulge in fruitful activity and refrain from drugs and alcohol. He announced Rs 50,000 for the university gymnasium.

Malwinder Singh Kang, President of the Panjab University Campus Council, thanked students for showing faith in the council.


PU to restructure honours exams
Tribune News Service


  • A student should have secured at least 50 per cent marks in the aggregate of three years (normal graduation minus the papers in honours) at the undergraduate level to qualify for a degree in honours.
  • A student should secure at least 40 per cent marks in each individual paper of honours to qualify for an honours degree.
  • A student who secures at least 25 per cent marks in the honours paper will qualify for a compartment.

Chandigarh, October 21
Panjab University has decided to restructure the examination in the honours classes of undergraduate courses in the affiliated colleges. The changes pertain to the science and the arts streams.

A student should have secured at least 50 per cent marks in the aggregate of three years in the undergraduate classes to qualify for a degree in the honours school. Earlier, a student needed only 50 per cent in the first year to qualify for admission in honours school, which began from his second year. This often led to results which had a student with third division succeeding in receiving the honours degree as well.

Prof R.D. Anand, a fellow, had moved a resolution in this regard, which a committee has accepted. A student now requires 50 per cent marks in the aggregate of normal graduation (minus papers in the subject of honours). The issue features in the forthcoming Syndicate meeting and is seen as a move to lend more grace to the honours degree of the university.

The resolution of Professor Anand was taken up by the committee comprising Prof R.J. Hans Gill, Dean University Instructions, Principal S.C. Marriya, Prof Charanjit Chawla, Prof S.L. Sharma and Dr Deepak Manmohan, besides others. It was felt that a university degree in the honours school should have academic grace. Instead of giving a degree to even third class holders, the university should fix a decent limit.

It may be remembered that the university earlier had the condition of a student securing at least 50 per cent in the honours class to qualify for a degree in the honours class. The university was not specific about marks needed per paper.

The university has decided that the pass percentage be reduced from 50 per cent to 40. A student will, however, be required to get 40 per cent in each paper separately. The university has also introduced the provision for compartment. Any student who gets at least 25 per cent marks in his honours subjects qualifies for a compartment. There was no provision for a compartment in the honours subject earlier.

The PU has the option of honours classes in undergraduate classes in colleges from second year onwards. This is separate from the honours classes in science subjects on the campus, which is from the first year onwards. The admissions to the honours classes on the campus are based on merit of a written entrance examination.

Several universities in the country, including Delhi University, give the option of honours from the first year onwards.


PU flouting quota norms in jobs, says Wangyal
Tribune News Service

Mr Tanzin WangyalChandigarh, October 21
Panjab University is flouting the reservation norms in campus recruitment with impunity. This was said by Mr Tanzin Wangyal, director of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, while talking to The Tribune here today. Mr Wangyal was visiting Panjab University in connection with a talk on “Amelioration of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes through reservation: myth and reality.”

Mr Wangyal said, “Near-nil representation in universities, particularly in the teaching wing, exhibits the apathy towards these classes even more than 50 years after independence.” During the review of service safeguards in the university by the commission in August, 2002, it was “shockingly” revealed that out of 205-odd lecturers and 224 readers, only eight were from the SC category. Candidates from the ST category did not occupy even a single post in the university. There is not even a single professor from the reserved categories.

He said, “In the garb of autonomy, the universities were making their own rules in complete disregard to rules on reservation issued by the University Grants Commission.”

He was of the opinion that contrary to the myth that all jobs in the government segment were dominated by the reserved categories, only a fraction of these classes had been actually benefited.

A new menace for entry in the government sector had started which was procuring false caste certificates. More than 1,000 cases came to the knowledge of the commission and as many 100 were followed up to the dismissal of the false beneficiaries, he said. The maximum cases were reported from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnatka and Maharashtra.

Mr Wangyal said, “It can be said with a degree of certainty that assimilation of the reserved categories into the mainstream can be achieved only when they have a secure source of income. It is also a bitter truth that the country cannot boast of even a single SC or ST industrialist of any recognisable stranding nor are there any entrepreneurs. These people cannot be put into the category of landowners having more than 10 acres of land nor in any economic venture of significant standing.”

He said that the sound policy matters of the centre had not been adequately backed at the ground level where the delivery mechanism had failed. The financial institutions were not granting any loans to the members of the reserved categories because they do not have the assets to mortgage in lieu of the loans. The situation is “self-defeating”.


Accused in drug case let off as sample fails test
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 21
In a major setback to the police, a local court has discharged an SAS Nagar resident in a case of drug peddling, after the sample of drug seized from him failed the test at Forensic Science Laboratory, Madhuban.

The Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr L N Jindal has discharged Manjit Singh, a property dealer and building material supplier from SAS Nagar, in a a case booked under the NDPS Act from whom the police had claimed to have seized 2 kg of heroin in August last year. The accused was discharged after the laboratory report said the material sent to them was not a narcotic or a psychotropic substance.

Panchkula CIA staff had arrested a resident of SAS Nagar from here on August 7 and seized more than 2 kg of heroin from his possession. The seized drug was valued at Rs 2 crore in the international market.

The police had then alleged that Manjit Singh was a drug supplier based at SAS Nagar and had come to Panchkula to sell heroin. They said when they learnt that he was waiting for a customer near the bus stop in Sector 18 on his motor cycle (CH-03H-9490), they reached at the spot and nabbed him.

A police party led by the then CIA Staff in charge, Mr Rajiv Deswal, had nabbed the accused. The police had then maintained that Manjit was carrying the heroin in a polythene bag. The police party whisked him away and later his bag was searched in front of the Additional Superintendent of Police, Ms Bharti Arora. The police had maintained that he was getting his supply from Delhi and was then selling it in SAS Nagar and Chandigarh.

This is not for the first time that a drug sample seized by the police and sent to the laboratory has failed test. The 3 kg of smack, valued at Rs 3 crore in the international market and seized from a foreigner, Tazudin Adesola, in May 2001, had also failed the test.

The accused was on his way by bus from Delhi to Panchkula and was nabbed at a naka on the Zirakpur-Panchkula highway. The “smack” recovered from Tazudin was packed in 30 packets weighing 100 grams each. One of the packets sent to the laboratory for chemical examination had proved negative for smack last year. The accused had then moved a local court that the entire “drug” seized from him be tested at Forensic Science Laboratory and the case property was handed over to it. However, when the parcel reached Madhuban laboratory, two of the packets ( from a total of 29) were missing.

This has landed seven policemen, including three Station House Officers posted at Sector 19 police Station in the dock. The case is now being investigated by the CID, Crime Branch.


Accused may benefit from amended Act
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
In less than two years after amendments were made in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act enabling the accused possessing small quantities of drugs to get bail, the suspects in at least some of the cases are attempting to get the benefit after suggesting the division of quantity among themselves, thereby reducing the quantity from commercial to non-commercial.

As per the amended Act, the accused apprehended with non-commercial or “small” quantity can be granted the benefit of bail. The maximum sentence in such cases can extend up to 10 years. In the case of commercial quantity, the minimum sentence is 10 years.

In one such case, counsel for the accused booked in a case under the NDPS Act claimed that even if the recovery of 110 kg of poppy husk was considered to be true, it would come out to be 36.3 kg when divided into three.

Seeking the grant of bail, counsel added that the recovery, once divided, would come within the preview of “small quantity” as specified in the Act. Going into the background of the case, counsel asserted that one of the accused was apprehended at the spot, while two others were later caught. He had added that a case under the provisions of the Act was subsequently registered on August 24, 2000.

Counsel added that the accused, if held guilty for possessing small quantity, would have been sentenced to six months of rigorous imprisonment, while they had already undergone 10 months of imprisonment.

After hearing the arguments in the matter and going through the documents, Mr Justice Amar Dutt of the High Court ruled: “The ramifications of accepting the stand at the stage of trial are so grave that it may be possible in certain cases for a large number of persons who are not even arrayed as accused to appear before the trial court and claim ownership of the contraband articles recovered from a person and subvert the process of law and neutralise the deterrent punishment that has been provided....”

In his detailed order, the judge concluded: “It may not be possible for the petitioner’s counsel to seek bail on the plea that they cannot be deemed to be in joint possession unless or until they take up the plea at the time of charge framing and bring on record material in support thereof to enable the court to dispose of the case on the basis of the stand so taken.” The Judge also dismissed the petition.


St. Anne’s new uniform irks parents
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
It’s a new dress code for the students of the junior wing this winter at St Anne’s School, Sector 32, and it has already come under fire from angry parents. Forced to buy the changed uniforms from school, the parents are resenting the orders, alleging that the school is overcharging and, in turn, giving inferior stuff.

The new uniform for LKG entails a check cotton shirt instead of a white one and a grey cotton pant. Also, the school has made it compulsory to purchase a maroon jacket with the name of the student and a blue sweater along with a pair of socks. The total set costs Rs 890 while the jacket alone is priced at Rs 400.

The Principal, Sister Rose, was out of station and was not available for comment. However, the Vice Principal, Sister Nirmala, said that the school usually made uniforms available at the premises every season.

“We have even mentioned the uniform in our diaries. Also, the new uniform was introduced to provide a separate identity to the tiny-tots. Later on, we might earmark a building only for them. This is the first step in that direction. However, we have not displayed any sample uniform because these are being sold at the campus itself,” she added.

Though the parents have taken the change in uniform in their stride, they were irked by the fact that the uniforms were being made available only from the school premises.”The stuff is too inferior and it won’t even last one winter. For this kind of material, we are being made to pay through our nose when we would rather buy our own material which would last a couple of winters,” a parent rues.

Another parent complains that while most other schools display the uniform on their boards and suggest a few shops from where it is available, the parents are not bound to buy from these shops. Besides, no sample of the uniform was provided to the parents to ready the winter uniform.

“The school has hardly given us time to get a uniform stitched since the children are supposed to be dressed in their winter uniform from November 1. With 10 days to go, I had already made my purchases and the colours don’t match with what I have bought. One of the shops has opened a counter at the school premises to make these available. The school is selling these uniforms today and tomorrow,” a harried mother said.

Another parent informed that the school had told them that the uniforms would be available at two shops only and that for two days, one shop would sell these at the school.”Also, interestingly, the shops, too, are guiding the parents back to school. Besides, a slight change in size means we have to pay more which is rather absurd,” he laments.

While the school has gone in for a complete makeover as far as uniforms for LKG students are concerned, girl students of classes UKG to III are also in for a new look. The school has switched from skirts to trousers for these children to ensure that they can keep the cold at bay.


Device to reduce train accidents
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
In a step to reduce accidents, the Indian Railways has initiated an expansive project to install hi-tech electronic devices in locomotives to monitor the alertness of drivers and take preventive measures in case the driver fails to respond to its signals.

Termed as vigilance control devices (VCD), these are among several microprocessor controlled devices being installed in trains under the Railway’s strategy to enhance safety measures.

The VCD’s microprocessor is programmed to monitor the alertness of a loco driver through his normal actions. If the driver does not perform any action for 20 seconds at a stretch, the device will emit an audio-visual signal. If the driver still does not react, the brakes will be applied automatically, bringing the train to a halt. The VCD is entirely different from the anti-collision device.

“All locomotives in service will be retrofitted with VCDs,” a senior Railway officer told The Tribune. “While these devices are inbuilt in some of the recently procured General Motors locomotives, all indigenous electric and conventional ALCO locomotives would be equipped with these devices in the next few years,” he added.

According to sources, the Railways plans on procuring about 1,100 VCDs and electronic event recorders along with associated paraphernalia. Funds to the tune of Rs 275 crore under the Railways’ capital expenditure would be required to execute this project.

The microprocessor controlling the VCD would also be linked with the train’s other systems and safety measures. “For example, the locomotive’s whistle would be linked to the VCD to ensure compulsory whistling by train drivers at unmanned level crossings,” the sources said.

A recent report released by the Railways revealed that the average number of accidents at level crossings is 72 per year, resulting in 176 fatalities. The number of accidents has shown an increase of 23 per cent over the past decade.

The Railways is also switching over from the electro-mechanical speed recorders in locomotives to microprocessor-based paperless speed recorders. “The majority of speed recorders in use are of older technology, resulting in reliability problems,” the sources said.

In another novel development, the disc brake system with microprocessor-based “wheel slip” control system has been introduced. According to the sources, all new coaches are being equipped with this brake system and retrofitting of other coaches is being considered. This system provides faster braking and reduces the stopping distance during emergency braking by as much as 30 per cent.


Canadian PM to fly by private jet
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien will use a chartered jet of a private airline during his visit to Amritsar and Chandigarh on October 25.

The Challenger Jet is being chartered from Sahara Air and will be used by the visiting Prime Minister’s entourage for his New Delhi-Amritsar and Amritsar-Chandigarh sector flights. Mr Jean Chretien thus becomes the first Prime Minister to use a private aircraft for his official visit to India.

The Canadian Prime Minister is all set for yet another first as at the end of his two-day visit, he will fly off to Oslo in Norway in his official aircraft, an Airbus, from Chandigarh itself. Normally, all visiting VIPs take their international flights back home from one of the cosmopolitan airports in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata or Chennai.

For Mr Chretien, it will be his second visit to India. He had led a 300-member strong team during his first tenure as Prime Minister of Canada in 1996.

Mr Chretien will also be the first Canadian Prime Minister to visit the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar where the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, will felicitate him in recognition of his personal contribution, and the contribution of the Government and people of Canada towards the overall development of the Sikh community in Canada.

The visit assumes significance as Canada had imposed sanctions against India after the 1998 nuclear tests at Pokhran. Though the sanctions were gradually withdrawn, the bilateral trade between the two countries suffered a severe setback as it dropped by as much as 33 per cent.

“We always opposed imposition of sanctions,” says Mr Gurmant Grewal, a second-time member of Canadian Parliament representing the official opposition party, CanadianAlliance. Mr Gurmant Grewal, who is currently visiting India, is also the pioneer behind Canadian-Indian Parliamentary Friendship Group and is its founder Treasurer.

He hopes Indian Parliamentarians will also form a similar group and work for the betterment of bilateral relations between the two nations. Mr Grewal, a product of Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, holds the distinction of getting into Canadian House of Commons in less than six years of his landing there as an immigrant.

“I feel proud that I have been proved right as the Liberal-government has now seen reason and taken a step step in reviving cordial relations with India,” says Mr Grewal in a chat with The Tribune here today.

Mr Chretien’s visit, which will come at the end of his week-long tour of South East Asia, besides trying to revive pre-Pokhran cordial relations with India, also attempts to appease the 1.2 million strong Punjabi community in Canada which has been one of the main supporters of the ruling Liberal party.

Though the Canadian Government had set up a trade and business office in Chandigarh in 1997, yet the demand for upgrading it to a full-fledged Consulate-General office had been hanging fire since then.

Initially, the Indian government opposed the demand on the plea that no foreign consulates are permitted outside the four cosmopolitan towns of New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai. But in September 2001, the Indian Government relented and changed the convention in allowing both Britain and Canada to open their Consulates in Chandigarh or Punjab to cater to the Punjabi community.

During his visit here, Mr Chretien will visit the new Consulate-General office which will be formally functional from April next year.


Purse snatched from girl
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 21
Two motor cycle-borne youth allegedly snatched a purse containing Rs 10,000, an ATM card and other items, from a girl in Sector 10 here this evening.

Ms Nikita Thakur, a resident of Sector 16, was returning home on a rickshaw after withdrawing money from an ATM booth in the sector, when the incident took place. She reportedly told the police that the youth were probably following her from the ATM booth.

In a similar incident, two scooter-borne youth had reportedly snatched purse of Ms Renu Khanna, a resident of Sector 9 last evening. The incident happened in a residential area of Sector 8. The purse contained Rs 1,600, an ATM card and some documents. The victim had also sustained minor injuries when she tried to resist the snatching attempt.


Approval of building plans to be simplified from Nov 3
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
Getting building plans passed in the city will be simplified from November 3 under a new system announced by the Chandigarh Administration today.

The Chief Administrator-cum-Finance Secretary, Mr Karan Avtar Singh, has given nod to the new system.

The Estate Officer, Mr Arun Kumar, today issued detailed orders regarding the building plans. The Plan Approval Committee (PAC) will meet on a weekly basis each Thursday in this regard. The PAC will take a decision in each case in not more than two sittings.

After approval or rejection in PAC, the same will be conveyed to the applicant within two weeks. If any composition fee is involved, the applicant will be advised to remit the same within two months, otherwise the plan will be deemed to be rejected after the expiry of two months from the date of intimation to the applicant.

Detailing the sequence, the orders say that before submitting the building plan to the Estate Office for approval, the applicant will seek a no dues certificate (NDC), depicting the proof of ownership and an extension letter. Then he will submit the building plan in duplicate to the Estate Office with the receipt of Plan Security, copy of proof of the NDC, extension letter and plot size verification carried out by a Surveyor on scrutiny proforma itself. One complete set of building plan will be submitted by the applicant to the Urban Planning Office with the proof of ownership, dues and extension letter, if required with detailed site report submitted by private architect on the prescribed check list.

It further says that after the receipt of building plan, two copies by the Estate Office and one copy by the Urban Planning Department, the processes of scrutiny and submission for presentation in the plan approval committee (PAC) will start. The Urban Planning Department after scrutinizing from the point of zoning and control will forward the same to SDO (Buildings) for presentation in PAC. Meanwhile, the SDO(B) will also scrutinize its two sets and put up the same after the receipt of one copy from the Urban Planning Department in PAC for approval.


UT employees stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
The Federation of UT Employees and Workers today gave a call asking employees not to observe any special duties in case their demands are not accepted before “Divali”. The Administration will be responsible for any inconvenience to the public during the festival season, claimed the federation at a dharna held here today.

Employees manning even emergency duties will observe a gazetted holiday on October 25, said the federation.

UT employees held a dharna and demonstration. On a call given by the federation, thousands of employees working in various departments of the Administration and the municipal corporation had joined the dharna held at Matka Chowk, Chandigarh.

Employees of the Electricity Wing, the water supply, the transport, roads, the Capital Project, the horticulture, the maintenance and the Indian Council for Child Welfare, the central craft, the air-conditioning, general hospital, the sewerage, MOH, UT Secretariat, and Estate Office, participated in it.

The main demands of the federation include restoration of service conditions of UT employees as on November 1, 1966, grant of last six-year bonus to the UT Employees on the Central pattern; regularisation of services of all daily wages and work charged employees as per court judgement and implementation of EPF scheme. The leaders while addressing the dharna criticised the “anti-employees policies” of the Centre and the Administration. They blamed the government for implementing, World Bank and WTO-dictated anti-national policies.


Traffic disrupted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
Traffic management on the busy Madhya Marg went haywire for more than 30 minutes as a local employee union protesting against the Chandigarh Administration burnt an effigy right in the middle of the important intersection near the Government Press Sector 18 this afternoon.

The Chandigarh UT Subordinate Services Federation held its protest demanding bonus, among other things. The employee leaders said the Administration had itself admitted that bonus was not a service condition and hence it should be paid. The federation has also been demanding that Saturday should be a closed day for all employees.


4 hurt in mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
A Mercedes Benz car allegedly being driven at high speed collided with a Maruti car on the road separating Sectors 46 and 47 here this evening. Four persons were injured, one of them seriously. The injured — Viramjit, Karamjit, Puru Bharadwaj and Harpreet Singh — were hospitalised. The condition of Karamjit was serious.

HUDA extends deadline

Panchkula, October 21
The Haryana Urban Development Authority has again extended the last date for applying for residential plots in various parts of the township from October 24 to October 31. Officials in HUDA confirmed that the date had been extended after a large number of aspirants complained that they had not received their money deposited earlier with HUDA for plots in Sector 12, 12- A, and Mansa Devi. TNS


UT IGP interacts with cops
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 21
The UT Inspector General of Police interacted with a group of policemen drawn from all units of the police and listened to their problems and suggestions during a ‘sampark sabha’ held at the Police Lines, here today.

While addressing cops, the IGP, Mr Rajesh Kumar, asked the police to remain vigilant during the ongoing festival season. He asked the cops to make sure that Divali passed of peacefully.

All senior officials of the police, including the SSPs and SPs, were also present.


Police Day Parade
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 21
Contingents of Chandigarh, Haryana and Punjab police participated in the Police Commemoration Day Parade at the Sector 17 police station here today. The day is observed in states and the union territories since 1959, when 10 jawans of the police were killed in a Chinese attack.

The UT Inspector General of Police, Mr Rajesh Kumar, read out the names of 960 officers and jawans, who lost their lives on duty between September 1, 2002 and August 31, 2003.


Chocolate exhibition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
The lure of scrumptious and delicious chocolates, however, sinful is difficult to resist whether one is 6 or 60. Young and old, all succumb to the temptation of biting into soft and melting chocolates. With more and more people preferring to gift chocolates during weddings or at festivals — be it Divali or X-mas or the New Year — the demand for these has increased manifold in the past few years.

Though branded as well as imported chocolates are available in the market, yet it is the home-made chocolates that are fast becoming popular.

A three-day exhibition of home-made chocolates by Rameet Bakshi got under way today at Sector 17.

Moved by an urge to give vent to her creativity and to do something different Rameet, an MBA in finance, ventured into this field about three years ago. ‘‘I wanted to start an enterprise from home so that my children were not neglected’’. She did a course in chocolate making from Mumbai and since then there has been no looking back. Personal touch is the USP of home-made chocolates and it is reflected in the taste as well as in the attractive packing. ‘‘I take special care in maintaining the uniformity of taste and personally oversee the whole process, whether it is roasting the nuts or mixing the basic ingredients’’, she says. “Apart from the taste the attractive packing in innovative ways also adds a distinct touch to the product”, says Rameet.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
123 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |