C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


It’s SOPU-ABVP all the way
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
The SOPU-ABVP alliance, supported unconditionally by HPSU and NSO, swept the Panjab University Campus Students’ Council elections held here today.

All the four seats, including president, vice-president, general secretary and joint secretary, were bagged by candidates belonging to the alliance with record margins.

The polling percentage was 60.4 per cent as compared to 51.8 per cent last year. Despite being a triangular contest, the main battle was between archrivals SOPU and PUSU.

Sahil Nanda of UIET was elected president with 2,718 votes. He defeated his nearest rival Jashandeep Singh Randhawa of PUSU-NSUI combine who got 2,003 votes, followed by Sukhdev Kundu of INSO-SOI who managed only 918 votes.

Parul Chaudhary was elected vice-president with 2,569 votes. She defeated Navjot Sharma of the PUSU-NSUI alliance who got 1,998 votes, followed by Deepika Gupta of INSO-SOI with 1,031 votes.

Prashant Sharma was elected general secretary with 2,351 votes. He defeated Gaurav Behl of PUSU-NSUI who got 1,925 votes, followed by Paramvir Singh ‘Sunny’ of INSO-SOI who managed only 1,330 votes.

Deepak Thakur was elected joint secretary with a record number of 3,090 votes. He defeated Kuldeep Singh who managed 2,435 votes.

The voting that was held for one hour from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. went off peacefully barring a stray incident of a verbal duel. A few voters in the University Business School created ruckus when they tried to enter the department forcibly while counting was on.

Even as the results were declared at around 3.30 p.m., the celebrations started as soon as the trends started pouring in. Leaders of student organisations with their supporters converged at the Students’ Centre dancing to the beats of ‘dhol’ much before the formal declaration of the results.

Hundreds of supporters of both the organisations went around the campus, hostels and even UIET to thank voters in advance. Enthusiasts raised slogans and danced for hours till the official announcement.

Meanwhile, a total of 95 department representatives were elected for 53 departments, out of which 43 were elected unopposed. Five members were elected to the executive committee out of 10 nominations. Three candidates had withdrawn their nominations and seven were in fray. Those elected include Rahul Bhatt (pharmacy), Manjot Kaur (English), Yash Birla (bio-chemistry), Rajat Singla (mathematics) and Saurabh Khatar (dental sciences).



Defiant students ‘elect’ president
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
The confrontation between students and principal of MCM DAV, Sector 36, sparked off by the unilateral nomination of college president by the latter, refuses to die down.

Even though the principal, under apparent pressure from the PU authorities and the Chandigarh administration, relented late last night and agreed to defer the elections, thereby making her nominee Himani Walia step down, the defiant girls continued to tow the belligerent line by “choosing” Geeta, whose nomination was earlier rejected, as their “president”.

The university authorities are unhappy with the way things have gone and have threatened strict action if any attempt is made by the agitating girls to take over the students’ union.

“It will be dealt with sternly and squarely,” was the comment of Nawal Kishore, PU’s dean student welfare.

After launching a vilification campaign yesterday, the agitating girls, provoked by a human rights activist, today attempted to lend “communal” colour to the entire episode by approaching a local place of worship for support against Himani Walia, whom they accused of using derogatory remarks against a particular community.

Elders at the place of worship advised the girls to resolve the matter amongst themselves and approach them only after verification of the allegations.

“It’s sad that the protest, an internal matter, has now been taken over by certain undesirable outsiders, who are misguiding these girls for their vested interest,” said the principal, Dr Puneet Bedi.

Bedi, who in a bid to ward off any trouble, had declared a holiday today for day scholars and thrust the boarders with a “night out”. She blamed “vested interest” for provoking Geeta.

However, for the 80-odd girls, who had gone on hunger strike last night, the “crowning” of Geeta as the president was an occasion to celebrate with dhols.

“We gave enough time to the authorities to come to senses but when they failed we had to do it. We have done justice and I will upkeep the faith the girls have vested in me at all cost,” said Geeta.

On the criticism of the authorities of involving outsiders, Geeta said: “What choice did we have? This is a democracy and we will not tolerate any sort of dictatorship.”

While the agitating girls were not allowed to enter the college building, they sat in the lawns within the campus and conducted their “election”.



Anti-incumbency factor won the day
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, September 12
Change is the buzzword in Panjab University and a testimony to this is the results of student polls declared today. With anti-incumbency factor playing a major role, it’s SOPU-led council this time after the PUSU-INSO alliance last year. It has turned out to be more or less a depiction of the rotational cycle of politics in Punjab where incidentally the Congress and the Akalis have shared power alternatively.

In a lighter vein, a political commentator said: “Punjab’s paddy-wheat cycle has caught on for good with the campus politics too”. While Akalis are sharing power with the BJP in Punjab, the student’s wing of the latter has won the PU polls in alliance with a student body with Congress leanings.

Nevertheless, the results have marked a fresh beginning for the ABVP in PU, the representatives of which have been elected to the council after a gap of seven years. In 2000, ABVP had three representatives in the students’ council during PUSU-ABVP regime.

In 2000, ABVP’s Mukta Sharma was elected vice-president, Vivek Chauhan general secretary and Harpreet Singh ‘Bobby’ as joint secretary. Since then, ABVP had not been able to win in PU council elections.

ABVP’s comeback after eight years in PU coincides with ABVP’s comeback in Delhi University students’ council after a gap of six years.

For the 11-year-old SOPU, today’s victory has marked its revival on the campus. SOPU’s win is largely seen as a result anti-publicity of its president Brinder Dhillon’s. Dhillon had been in the news throughout the year for the wrong reasons, believe insiders. But his stick-to-ground attitude had made him popular among the students.

Also, UIET proved to be a major vote bank for SOPU followed by UILS. SOPU also managed a comeback in the Dr H.S. Judge Dental College, Sector 25, where more than 150 votes were polled this time. 



Poll Snapshots

( Clockwise from top left) THREE CHEERS: Simran Bedi (president) along with the elected office-bearers after winning the college elections of Panjab University at Government College for Girls, Sector 11, Chandigarh, on Friday. Tribune photos: Manoj Mahajan, Pradeep Tewari and Himanshu Mahajan

SPOILSPORT: Unsuccessful candidates vent their ire on a car outside Shri Guru Gobind Singh College in Sector 26

RIGHT TO CHOOSE: DAV College students line up to cast their vote 

VICTORY IS OURS: Supporters celebrate their candidate’s victory at DAV College, Sector 10

( Clockwise from top left) DANCING TO DHOL: Girls at MCM DAV College

WHOOPS OF TRIUMPH: SOPU and ABVP supporters take out a victory procession 

UNABASHED JOY: A supporter of SOPU

WINNERS’ DAY OUT: ABVP & SOPU supporters in high spirits 



Panchkula Encroachments-1
Squatters rent out HUDA land, earn lakhs
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 12
With the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) preferring to look the other way, squatters have not only been using the HUDA land to run a parking lot for years, they have even rented out a portion of it to a publicity agency and telecom companies.

Surprisingly, this all is being done right under the nose of the authorities, near the mini-secretariat on the Old Panchkula Chowk.

The publicity agency has put up large hoardings alongside the National Highway in violation of the Supreme Court orders.

According to sources, the squatters are also earning lakhs per month by renting out the encroached land to telecom companies, which have installed towers on the land on the basis of registration deeds still lying with them, even as they have received crores of rupees as compensation of the acquired land from HUDA.

The authorities, however, woke up from slumber after a Panchkula resident, Parmanand, brought the matter to the notice of Panchkula deputy commissioner and HUDA officials.

When this correspondent made inquiries on the contact numbers displayed on the hoardings, he was told that a hoarding could be booked by paying Rs 30,000 a month. The price, however, was negotiable for longer period, said the publicity agency.

Panchkula deputy commissioner Rajinder Kataria, however, said the orders to remove hoardings have already been issued and HUDA officials have been informed about the complaint.

Confirming the complaint, HUDA estate officer Mahavir Kaushik said that inquiry had been ordered into the matter.



Another First For City
Chandigarh grows faster than India
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
Credit it to the retail revolution, Chandigarh is growing at a faster rate than the rest of the country. In a development that may bring cheers to the corporate sector and the MNCs, the city has registered a higher growth rate in the number of establishments during recent years.

In fact, figures from the Fifth economic census-2005, which was released here today, revealed that the city has registered a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.2 per cent in the number of establishments, leaving the rest of the country, which has grown at 4.69 per cent, far behind.

A careful analysis of the 2005 census indicated that there were 64,805 establishments out of which 1,419 were agricultural and 63,386 were non-agricultural establishments. When compared to the results of the Fourth economic census-1998, the CAGR, regarding establishments during the period 1998-2005, was at 7.2 per cent. In 1998, there were only 39,836 establishments in Chandigarh.

The comparative figures for India as far as total establishments were concerned were 30.34 crore (1998) and 41.82 crore (2005), registering a growth rate of 4.69 per cent.The farm sector grew at a much faster rate of 8.32 per cent than the non-farm sector which could manage a growth rate of only 4.16 per cent.

On the other hand, the farm sector establishments grew by only 3.45 per cent as compared to the non-farm sector whose growth was an impressive 7.3 per cent. With a view to collect broad information for both organised and unorganised sectors, a detailed census was organised to plan the country's economy in a better way.

However, the employment grew at the rate of 2.01 per cent per annum for the city during the period 1998-2005 as compared to the all-India figure of 2.78 per cent. While on the employment front the non-farm sector scored impressively in Chandigarh, the growth at the all-India level was to the tune of 2.34 per cent.


PU Student Elections Special
Polling peaceful, courtesy cops
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
The tight security and strict checking at entry gates on the campus did the work as the students’ council elections passed off peacefully here today.

During its quick survey at all election centres, the Tribune team found the election process going smoothly. Students were seen going in queues to cast their votes.

On roads and Student Centre, one could see more cops than students till afternoon. Barring one or two minor incidents, the whole day went peaceful thus giving chance to local cops to watch the movements of the students in a relaxed manner.

Timely intervention by the cops averted a clash between two student groups immediately after the result was out in favour of SOPU. Members of both groups, SOPU and PUSU, who had gathered in front of their tents, started charging allegations towards each other but the police intervened and dispersed them.

Meanwhile, the spirit as well as the momentum was evidently missing among the students. Barring the staunch supporters, most students returned to their places after casting their votes.

Till 12 noon, the police, over 250 in number on special duty, resorted to strict vigil all around. To avoid any untoward incident, a water cannon and two riot-control vehicles were called at the university.

Heaving a sigh of relief over the peaceful election, ASP Madhur Verma said, “The police will remain more vigilant during the nights”.

Meanwhile, the police tightened the security outside all hostels, especially at the vice-chancellor’s residence.

About 50-60 personnel were deputed on special night duties on the campus to check the student movements.

The arrangement would be in place for next two days, added Verma.

Cops were in a major shock when they found that a youth they have nabbed for throwing a stone on a group of students was a trainee journalist of an English daily.

“The police has identified him who threw a stone on the other group. When we caught him, he denied it and showed us his identity card”, said a police officer.

However, the police let him go, when he disclosed his identity

SOPU hogs limelight

In spite of having been the gainer in the elections, the ABVP was denied its share of contribution as SOPU hogged the limelight. Though a handful of ABVP supporters raised slogans, they were eclipsed by SOPU’s sloganeering.

No time to rejoice

Around 95 department representatives were denied celebrations to mark their victory. Soon after being elected, they were made to sit in a room and wait for around two hours till the DSW announced the final results. Even as the parties celebrated, the DRs could not join them, as they had to elect the student council executives immediately.

The kingmaker

Even though Dhillon, SOPU president campus, could not contest the elections as he failed to fulfil the eligibility criteria of candidates prescribed under the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations, he emerged as the kingmaker. None of the winning candidates wanted to be photographed without him even as mediapersons thronged the place.



Sluggers, lathis found near SD College
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
After the Panjab University Students Council Elections, the police found some sluggers and lathis, allegedly lying outside SD College, Sector 32, here today.

While some students of the college alleged that these were recovered from students of the winning party by the college security and staff when they were trying to beat the members of losing party after the result was out, the police as well as the principal of the college refuted the allegations.

“We did not recover any weapon from any student. It might be the mischief of some students”, was the statement of Sector 34 SHO Sudarshan Kumar on the issue.

The college principal also denied the allegations stating that nothing had happened there. “Everything went smooth during the election”, he said.

On the other hand, a student alleged that his group was standing outside the college, when the boys, who belong to the SD Hostel Union, came with weapons to beat them up.

“The college security and the staff stopped them and seized the ‘weapons’. However, the police remained standing there as mute spectator”, he alleged.



Curtains up soon for a more aesthetic Tagore Theatre
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
The good old Tagore Theatre is getting bigger and better. After being shut down for over a year for renovation, the Chandigarh Administration is set to reopen the theatre soon.

While the outer facade of the theatre, created by P Jeanneret and Aditya Prakash, has been retained, it will now boast of a complete makeover with added facilities for visitors and performing artistes.

UT chief engineer SK Jaitley told Chandigarh Tribune here today that the need for renovation was felt as the theatre was constructed in 1960 and some of the facilities were outdated. "Keeping in view the changing requirements of theatre buffs and performing artistes, it was decided to give it a facelift," he added.

Renovated at a cost of about Rs 5.36 crore, architectural firm Satnam Namita and Associates were appointed consultants for the project.

The renovation had even kicked up a controversy with eminent film and theatre personalties opposing the triangular stage and other additions and alterations in the theatre complex.

Sources said while the impressive entrance would be through a glass door, there has been a 180-degree shift in the stage for better view from all corners of the theatre whose capacity is being increased from 585 to over 850. Cushioned seats, better light and sound system and better parking facilities are the other highlights of the project.

Besides, the interior decoration has been done to give the theatre an aesthetic look. More green room for the artistes and better toilet facilities for the visitors are also in the offing.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the theatre is likely to be thrown open to the public in October or November. Earlier, the administration toyed with the idea of opening the theatre on September 27 - World Tourism Day - which seems a remote 
possibility now.



Getting a locker an uphill task
Banks seek FDs to the tune of Rs 50,000
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
Getting a bank locker is not an easy job these days, especially for those residing in the so called “posh” neighbourhoods. The banks are now demanding fixed deposits (FD) or term deposits ranging between Rs 50,000 and Rs 100,000 in order to allot a locker/ safe, in case you do not have a savings account in the same bank.

It is not just banks in posh neighbourhoods, but also others, who demand an FD so that its interest accrued can be taken by the bank as the annual rent of the locker. The amount of the FD is so determined that the interest earned is equal to the annual rent of the locker. But this may not hold true for all banks, as many of them like the Punjab National Bank and State Bank of India are demanding FDs worth Rs 50,000 and Rs 20,000, respectively. Most of the other nationalised banks too are demanding a similar amount as FD.

This practice has been going unchecked even as the RBI has advised public sector banks not to insist for a fixed deposit as a prerequisite for allotment of lockers. Banks have been permitted to either seek a deposit (but not as a condition for allotment), the interest on which may cover the annual rent or alternatively advance locker rent could be collected up to three years. It was also advised that in case of default in payment of locker rent, allotee should not be allowed to operate locker till the arrear rent is cleared.

The reasoning offered by bankers for demanding such huge amount as FDs in posh areas is that there is a shortage of lockers available, but there is a huge waiting list of hirers. “Locker allotment is not really a part of banking operations. It is just a value added service provided by the banks, mainly aimed at those having savings account in the bank. However, only eight to 10 per cent of these customers have a locker in the same bank branch. Banks have been incurring losses because of huge locker rent arrears,” said a senior officer in the Oriental Bank of Commerce.

Another official in the Allahabad Bank informed TNS that FDs are being demanded so that they can be kept as security. “Hundreds of lockers allotted in various bank branches had not been operated by the allottees for years. These allottees have not paid the rent, and in order to retrieve these lockers, the banks have to spend RS 4000- Rs 5000 for each locker. In case we have an FD of allottee, these costs can be realised from the FDs,” he said.



No second line drug for HIV+ patients
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
While the National AIDS Control Organisation has successfully provided the first line treatment for HIV+ patients throughout the country, the treatment for the next step still remains a distant dream for them.

Over 130 persons living with HIV/AIDS were assembled together here expressed their concern over the non-availability of second line drug, which is required for patients who are resistant to the first line. K.K. Abrahim, president of the Indian network for people living with HIV/AIDS, said out of 150 anti-retroviral centres across the country, only two centres are offering these drugs.

However, many patients are in need of second line treatment. As per the NACO figure, over 1.62 lakh persons living with HIV+ are enrolled in 150 anti-retroviral centre for the treatment across the country. But, only 15 per cent are getting second line treatment, as this drug therapy is available only in Mumbai and Chennai.

President of Chandigarh Netwok Pooja Thakur said almost 3,500 persons living with HIV/AIDS are registered at ART, the PGI and out of these 100 need second-line drug therapy. But due to non-availability of these drugs they are forced to go private setup.

“I need the second-line treatment for living and being able to raise my eight-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter. I want to live long enough to see my children grow up. I want to live for her. I hope we start getting the new medicines soon,” said Amanpreet, an HIV positive mother who came at the capacity building workshop organised by the Indian Network for people living with HIV/AIDS in association with Chandigarh network.

According to experts, the drug will help her body contain the deadly virus and perhaps stop her from moving to the AIDS-level.

Though this single parent’s CD4 count, used to assess immune status, susceptibility to opportunistic infections, need for ART and for defining AIDS (if CD4 count is less than 200) is over 600, she has suffered severe weight loss for a year now.

“I cannot afford to take the medicines from a private centre, as it very expensive” she added. The cost of second line treatment is Rs 5,000-15,000 but it would be available free of cost for the patients who enrolled at ART centres, said Manmohan Singh, executive director voluntary health Association, Punjab. I hope the government would provide us the medicines through the ART centre. Amanpreet, like hundreds of others in the region, is waiting for the NACO programme to roll out this year in northern region comprises Chandigarh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu Kashmir.

Earlier this year, NACO announced the commencement of the second line of drugs after patients reported resistance to the first line of drugs being given since 2004 through ART centres across the country. But till date it is being available only Mumbai and Chennai ART centres. “There is a need to speed up the process,” said Jahnabi Goswami, general secretary of Indian Network for People living with HIV/AIDS.



4-party alliance sweeps PU polls
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, September 12
In perhaps one of the stunning victories ever, the SOPU-ABVP-HPSU-NSO alliance today swept the Panjab University campus students’ council elections, which were held today. All four seats of the council — president, vice-president, general secretary and joint secretary — were bagged by the candidates belonging to the alliance with a record number of votes.

Sahil Nanda of UIET was elected president after 2,718 votes were polled in his favour defeating his nearest rival Jashandeep Singh Randhawa of PUSU-NSUI who got 2,003 votes followed by Sukhdev Kundu of INSO-SOI who received only 918 votes. Parul Chaudhary was elected vice-president with 2,569 votes defeating Navjot Sharma of PUSU-NSUI alliance who polled 1,998 votes followed by Deepika Gupta of INSO-SOI who got only 1,031 votes.

Prashant Sharma was elected general secretary after 2,351 votes were polled in his favour. He defeated both Gaurav Behl of PUSU-NSUI who got 1,925 votes and Paramvir Singh Sunny of INSO-SOI who got 1,330 votes.



Kundi Connection
Admn to go tough on defaulters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
The Chandigarh administration has decided to get tough with those using kundi connection to draw power.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the administration officials under the chairmanship of finance secretary Sanjay Kumar.

Senior officers from the engineering wing of the administration and municipal corporation were also present at the meeting.



Campaign for ’84 riot victims
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
The Panthak Vichar Manch has initiated a campaign to raise voice against the atrocities committed by the police and injustice done to the 1984 riot victim Sikh community. The manch pointed out that the Prime Minister Relief package for the resettlement of the victims had not reach the aggrieved families.

Addressing mediapersons here today, Baljit Singh Khalsa said: “The Panthak Vichar Manch has raised the issue several times with the Chandigarh administration and it has been urged to look after the well being of 1984 riot victims and ensure that the PM’s relief benefits reach the victims, who had come to Chandigarh to begin a new life.”

He resented that present circumstances had created such a tense atmosphere that if any sect came forward to help these victims out, the administration took action against them. “Every request made by the manch has proved futile. The condition is such that we are not allowed to conduct any programme for the riot victims at any of the gurdwaras in the city. This is a cause for concern in a democratic set-up.”

Meanwhile, the manch announced to hold a programme tomorrow at the Sector 40 gurdwara from 7.30 to 9.30 pm where Bhai Balbir Singh ‘Bir’ would address a gathering and the audience would also be given time to express their views.



4 PGI workers suspended for drinking on duty
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
Four class IV employees of the PGI were placed under suspension as they were found drinking during duty hours in a laboratory of Engineering Central Workshop here today.

The incident happened this afternoon when someone complained to security guards about the illegal activity of Madan Lal, Ram Singh, HB Sood and Anil Kumar. Acting swiftly, the guards nabbed them for drinking in the premises during duty hours.

Immediately, they were taken to medical examination at GMSH, Sector 16. After the reports that they consumed liquor, the PGI authorities suspended them.

The accused were handed over to the police.



Students’ welfare a priority: SOPU
Himani Chandel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
Just after the announcement of the winners of student council elections in the PU, the leaders did not waste anytime to go ballistic on their promises.

Victory brought ecstasy to leaders of the SOPU-ABVP alliance, who bagged the unexpected votes and emerged as the winner. “We want to thank all students of the university for extending their support to us,” said Sahil Nanda, new president of the PU Students’ Council.

The polls witnessed not only the remarkable performance of SOPU but also the emergence of the ABVP as a major force, besides the two traditional rival, SOPU and PUSU. The newly elected leaders said they would work to make the campus student-friendly.

“We will work for the betterment of the campus and will solve problems of the students, be it providing transport facility or better infrastructure,” said Deepak Thakur, joint secretary.

However, SOPU has admitted that its alliance with the ABVP served as the main contribution behind their victory. “The ABVP has helped us a lot in the campaigning as they have good support in the various department,” said Sahil.

“All posts are important as we have to work collectively for the students and more than party politics, our priority should be the welfare of the students.’’ he said.

Parul Chaudhary, vice-president, said she would put an extra effort to encourage women participation in the university affairs. “Women empowerment on the campus is important and I am committed to encouraging more and more girls to come forward and take the stage,” said she.

‘‘The entire campus has voted for us as they wanted a change in the student representation. We have introduced a new ideology among the students and their thinking is changing on a large scale,” said Prashant Sharma, an ABVP activist and general secretary.



Some prefer books to voting
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
The Panjab University campus looked like a big polling station for the voting hour today except the main library of the university. Between 10 am and 11 am when the students queued up for casting their votes in different teaching departments of the university, a visit to the main library revealed the flip side. A large number of students were busy jotting down notes from reference books and many engrossed in their studies unmindful of what’s happening outside.

Well, the studious lot had reasons fair enough to be away from the polls.

Rahul, a second year student of geography who did not cast his vote said, “ I do believe in polling but I was in a fix whom to vote for. All are my friends and I don’t want to make any one unhappy by choosing one over another. So I decided better not to vote for anyone this year”.

Amrita Gill, a student of M.Sc (environment) said, “ I wanted to go and vote but for me study schedule comes first and I could not have left my studies for voting”.

Sandeep from the department of Urdu, however, differs from them. “I have come here to study and not to participate on such unproductive activities”, he said.

Meanwhile, though the overall percentage of voting has gone up considerably as compared to the last year’s but the turnout in most of the departments offering traditional courses and sciences has dipped considerably.

For instance, in the department of physics, where the strength of students is above 300, only 50 per cent votes were polled. Also, the absence of girls has remained a major reason for low turnout this time. It was the same situation for political science, public administration, sociology and others department.

“Girls do turn up but for the elections of the DR as they are the ones who we are going to approach in the hour of need ultimately and not the president or the general secretary”, observed a final year student.



Three colleges fall in INSO’s kitty
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
While polling passed off peacefully in various city colleges today, the results turned out to be a bag of mixed surprises for many. Facing a rout in PU polls, INSO had some reasons to smile as it bagged presidential posts in three colleges - DAV, Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College and GCM.

Unlike the PU where over 60 per cent students turned up to exercise their franchise, polling remained a low-key affair in the colleges with a turnout of 51 per cent. However, colleges, particularly GGSK, Sector 26, and DAV had long queues of enthusiastic voters.

Karam Vir Singh, president, INSO, DAV-10 said: Undoubtedly, I’m very happy. But with this comes a major sense of responsibility today. The faith that students have put in me and my vision has made me all the more confident. One of the major promises that I will prioritise is to act as a communication channel between students and the authorities.

Jarnail Singh, INSO president of Shri Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College, said: “The only thing I had to offer to students was practical solutions to their existing problems. I never made any big promises. One thing that I will ensure during my tenure is to act like a friend to all my college mates and ensure that even the smallest problem is given full attention. I will also try to be the voice of students and will ensure amicable solutions of all our problems.

Ravinder Kumar, president INSO, GCM-11, said: I am happy to have been provided an opportunity to serve students. More than a student’s leader, I will try my level best to be a representative. I will work for the welfare of larger section of students. Every single act of mine will ensure bringing the college authorities together and developing the college. I will make my college campus more students friendly.

Simar Bedi of GCG-11, said: “I always knew that I would win because I had full faith in my dedication towards college mates. I have always worked for the betterment of the college as a result people have chosen me. I will ensure a free channel of communication between the college authorities and students. I will try my best to make the authorities and students realise that we are one big family”.

Rahul Bhagta of SD College said: “I have always been active in college welfare activities. Now when I am chosen I promise everybody that I will consider their problems as mine and will give my utmost efforts to resolve them. I will ensure that being students representative I can extend full support to the college authorities for developmental work. I am not a leader but a servant and will always voice student opinions and justified demands.”



Art works on display
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
The Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi organised Annual Art Exhibition-2008 in the memory of Prof Aditya Prakash at Punjab Art Council, Sector 16, here today. Adviser to the UT administrator Pradip Mehra was the chief guest at the exhibition. An award ceremony was also organised. A total of 103 art works, including paintings, photographs and sculptures, were showcased at the exhibition out of which, 16 winners got the awards. The awards were given in the professional and student categories.

Emphasising the significance of art and culture, Mehra said it was as important as economic activity, trade and functioning of the government in the region.

“The administration is committed to improve the quality of art and culture in the city. We assure to provide necessary help in popularising and promoting the art and culture,” said Mehra.

The exhibition was dedicated to Prof Aditya Prakash, former chairman of the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi and former principal of the Chandigarh College of Architecture. UT public relations and tourism director Vivek Atray and chairman of the akademi Diwan Manna were among others present.



Mid-day Meal: School heads to list shortcomings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
The Chandigarh administration is committed to provide the best quality food prepared in hygienic surroundings to the students under the mid-day meal scheme. Taking all precautionary measures to ensure proper cooking, transportation and distribution of mid-day meals in schools, the UT administration had assigned various duties to its officials.

To make the system transparent, the administration introduced mid-day meal feedback forms, which have to be filled by the students and received from each school to counter check the reports.



Zirakpur MC
Promoters to pay development fee
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, September 12
The Zirakpur Municipal Council has decided to charge development fee from promoters of unauthorised colonies in the area.

A resolution to this effect was passed in the meeting of the municipal council held yesterday. The meeting was chaired by MC president Narinder Sharma. All the councillors from the opposition were present at the meeting.

The council decided to levy development charges on promoters who had over the years set up unauthorised colonies within the municipal limits. The decision has been taken following directions from the Punjab government.

The MC will henceforth charge Rs 350 per square yard for commercial buildings. For residential plots, it will charge Rs 175 per square yard and Rs 110 for above 250 square yards. There are no charges for up to plots up to 50 square yards and notified slum areas.

There will be 10 per cent annual increase in the development charges and the development of the street, road, area will only be carried out when at least 75 per cent of the old holders deposit the development cost with the ULB.

The council also cautioned the buyers to cross check the details of the ownership of land and to check whether the project was approved or not.

The council decided that no construction/ building plans would be passed on the sides of Singhnallah. It also constituted a two-member house tax sub-committee for assessment of house tax.

Municipal council president N.K. Sharma said, “We are planning to auction the kulha lands which are basically useless. The money collected after auction will be used for development of the area.” However, the opposition councillors were not in favour of auctioning of ‘kulha’ lands. They asserted the land be used for constructing hospitals or colleges. 



Nominated councillors resent BJP walkout
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 12
The three nominated councilors of the Panchkula municipal council condemned the walkout by the BJP during the recent meeting of the civic body here today.

The councilors, J. S. Sangari, Sube Singh and Chandbir Hooda, in a press conference, said the walkout by BJP councillors only embarrassed their family members, friends and supporters, who reached there to witness the oath-taking ceremony, which was arranged for them at the meeting.

Five BJP councillors had staged walkout from the meeting of council on Wednesday, when senior BJP leader and councillor V. K. Sood raised objection on the presence of persons other than councillors in the meeting hall.

“It was merely highhandedness on the part of V. K. Sood and his party colleagues when they decided to walkout of the municipal council meeting on the pretext that our relatives and supporters had reached the spot to attend the oath taking ceremony,” said Sangari. Their action only brought a bad impression on the people present there about the opposition, claimed Sube Singh.

It happened despite the prior approval of the council president, Ravinder Rawal, was taken by the relatives and supporters of the three nominated councillor, they claimed.

BJP councillor V. K. Sood said the husband of one of the councillors was asked to leave the place under similar circumstances by the same people two months ago only. “So how the relatives of the nominated councillors were allowed to attend the meeting of municipal council now,” he said.



CM inaugurates Haryana Akademi Bhavan
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 12
“Literature and language of a region reflect culture, aspirations, lifestyle and tradition of its people. It’s imperative to promote literary activities and all four academies of the state - the Haryana Sahitya Akademi, the Sanskrit Akademi, the Urdu Akademi and the Punjabi Sahitya Akademi - are fairly contributing to this cause,” said Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda here today.

The chief minister was speaking at a function after inaugurating a 4.5-cr Haryana Akademi Bhavan in Sector 14.

He said the four-storey complex housing the four akademis would ensure better coordination among the functionaries, who were otherwise forced to operate from different rented houses. “A writer endowed with vision and selfless devotion can bring about a change in the mindset of people and help build an ideal society,” said Hooda.

Earlier, K.L. Zakir welcomed Hooda, who was the chief guest, and other guests, while Rajan Gupta, an IAS officer, presented the welcome address.

Hooda also laid the foundation stone of the Prosecution Bhavan to be constructed at a cost of Rs 97.47 lakh in Sector 14. The building will be completed by April, 2009 and will house the office of directorate of prosecution.

He later inaugurated Saini Bhawan in Sector 12 A. Paying tributes to the founder of Saini Samaj, Maharaja Shursaini, the chief minister appreciated the decision of the Saini Welfare Association, Panchkula, to construct the bhavan. He also announced Rs 11 lakh out of his discretionary fund for the association. The chief minister war urged to give due representation to the Saini community in the government.



14 parking contractors challaned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
It seems the Chandigarh municipal corporation is busy pinpointing the faults of paid parking contractors and has forgotten to do its own job of putting up poles for the installation of CCTV cameras.

The corporation had recently ordered that the paid parking contractors should install CCTV cameras in their respective parking areas, but it has not fixed poles for the purpose till date.

The mayor challaned 14 contractors and issued notices to those who were found violating the terms and conditions, including those dealing with inadequate manpower, underaged and without uniform staff, excessive vehicles and haphazard parking.

Pointing out various irregularities at different paid parking lots during a surprise visit today, mayor Pardeep Chhabra warned the parking contractors to follow the terms and conditions strictly failing which action would be initiated against them. He asked them to get CCTV cameras installed at entry and exit gates of the parking areas for recording the registration number of the vehicles and to use handy machines instead of old system.

Chhabra visited Sector 35-C, Sector 34 Zone-I, Piccadily cinema, Sector 34, Sector 35-B, parking in front of MOH, Sector 17, Sector 34 Zone-II, Shanti Kunj, Sector 16, Bank Square, Sector 17, CMC, Sector 17, Gurdev Studio parking, Sector 17, Sahib Singh and Sons parking, Sector 17, Empire store, Sector 17, Jagat and Anand theatre, Sector 17.

At the Sector 34 parking area, one parking attendant was not wearing uniform and also there was no attendant inside the parking area within a distance of 50 metre. Similarly, at the parking of Sector 34 Zone-II, one attendant was not in uniform and 12 vehicles were haphazardly parked. There was no attendant within a distance of 50 metres inside the parking area of Gurdev Studio, Sector 17, and 22 vehicles were found parked haphazardly there too.



No arrests in rape, acid attack cases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
The police is still on the lookout for the culprits involved in the yesterday’s incidents of rape in a hotel room and acid attack by a jilted lover.

In both cases, in which both accused belong to other states, no arrest has been made so far by the police.

In the first incident, Ram Chander of Dharal village, Mandi district (Himachal Pradesh), had allegedly raped a 22-year married woman belonging to Karnal at Himachal View Hotel at Kajheri.

The incident happened around 5 am in a hotel room when the victim was alone there.

Ram Chander has been absconding ever since and the police has dispatched a party to his native village.

In the second case, a jilted lover, Vishal, threw acid on his former girlfriend following their breakup yesterday afternoon.

Vishal, who hails from Assam, has been missing from his room after the incident, while the 16-year-old girl, who received 30 per cent burns, is recovering at the GMCH, Sector 32.

The station house officers of the respective police stations said their investigation had been affected by the students’ elections at Panjab University.



Woman dies of burn injuries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
A 26-year-old woman, Jahnvi, a resident of Vikas Nagar, Mauli Jagran, succumbed to her burn injuries at GMCH, Sector 32, today morning.

She was admitted to the GMCH last night with 90 per cent burn injuries. While her husband Rajesh Maurya said that it was an accident, the victim’s parents alleged that her husband had set her on fire as they shared strained relations. Rajesh said that Jahnvi was putting oil in a lantern when the oil spilled on the floor and caught fire.

The police, however, said that in her statement before the magistrate, Jahni had said that it was an accident. In an effort to save his wife, Rajesh, too, received burn injuries on his hands and legs.

The couple was taken to GMCH, where Jahnvi succumbed to her injuries today morning.

The couple was married two-and-a-half year back and had a eight-month-old son. 



Being HIV patient still a stigma
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
Living in society as an HIV patient continues to be a stigma. The government efforts to educate people that HIV is a non-communicable disease do not seem to be achieving the desired result. Ignorance continues, much to be humiliation of the patients suffering from the disease.

Narrating her woeful experience after being diagnosed HIV positive, 25-year-old Amandeep Kaur said the reaction of others towards her swung from sympathy to aversion, and even fear of standing in her presence.

Amandeep is not alone. Violation of human rights in case of people living with AIDS has become a serious concern in dealing with the disease. A private company at Patiala asked one of its employees to leave after he was diagnosed HIV positive. Similarly, a resident of Ludhiana was forced to leave her job by her employer under the same circumstances without giving any reason.

“I have two children and one of them has been found to be HIV positive. The diagnosis for the other child is awaited. Being HIV positive myself, I know it is a matter of time, when I will succumb to the disease. But my prime concern is how my children will be looked after I die,” said a city resident, while narrating her plight.

Similar was the view of a student of Goa, who said he came to know seven years ago that he was a victim of HIV. He said, “I met with an accident, when I was 13 year old, and during blood transfusion, I got infected with HIV virus. Since then, I am living with this deadly disease and my friends don’t know about it.” Highlighting the plight of HIV-positive patients, Pooja Thakur, president of Chandigarh network of people living with HIV/AIDS, said not only HIV-positive elders were facing social stigma, but children were also victim of it in one form or the other. Many cases had been reported at the centre, where children had refused admission because they were found to be HIV positive.



Road projects worth Rs 2.7 cr passed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
The roads committee of the Chandigarh municipal corporation met today and passed the projects of Rs 2.70 crore. The meeting was chaired by Ravinder Pal Singh.

The committee has approved various agenda items, including providing and fixing 40mm thick reflective type mat-finished pavement blocks on road berms, judges houses in Sector 24 at a cost of 15.22 lakh, rough cost estimates (RCE) for widening of the Phirni road in Kajheri village in Sector 52, RCE for 60mm thick pavement blocks in Sector 33, RCE for the construction of parking and beautification of the central green belt in Sector 35-C, RCE for 60mm thick pavement blocks around the mini rose garden in Sector 24.



e wild wild web
The Browser war

A web browser is a software application which enables a user to display and interact with text, images, videos, music and other information typically located on a Web page at a website on the World Wide Web or a local area network. Web browsers format HTML information for display, so the appearance of a Web page may differ between browsers.

Some of the Web browsers currently available for personal computers include Internet Explorer (with several versions; the latest IE8), Mozilla Firefox (also with several version, the latest is 3.0), Safari (developed by the Apple and used in the iphone), Netscape, Opera etc. The latest to join them is the Chrome, developed by the Google. It has unleashed a browser war. The Economist calls it the second browser war but another expert calls it the third one.

The introduction of the Chrome amounts to the declaration of war -albeit a pre-emptive one, in Google’s mind - against Microsoft. So far, Google has been coy about admitting the rivalry (whereas Microsoft’s boss, Steve Ballmer, is obsessed with it). In web search and advertising, Google dominates roughly as Microsoft does in operating systems and office applications.

To the extent that Google has challenged Microsoft’s core business at all, it is through its web-based word-processing, spreadsheet and presentation applications. But these, so far, have few users. Chrome isn’t competing with IE, it’s competing with Windows. This is a long-term strategic play about creating tomorrow’s web, not improving today’s.

It seems to be “The third browser war”. A few years ago, the Netscape, another browser, was destroyed by the Microsoft (developer of Internet Explorer). But the Microsoft practically stopped doing anything meaningful with IE. When the threat from the Firefox, also with several versions and developed with the covert support of Google, grew, the order was reportedly given directly by Bill Gates himself to dedicate more resources on IE.

Therefore, features such as Tabbed browsing, available in IE, are a direct result from competition from Firefox, which could be described as the Second Browser war. In the meantime, Firefox rose to become the largest browser after IE, capturing almost 20 per cent of the market.

A user of the Google’s product said he did not have to click Bookmarks to find his pages. The Chrome gave it to him before he could think of it. Similarly, upgrading the “deleting history” feature on IE (a popular one with the surfer of porno sites) the Chrome has many good extensions for that function (automatically deleting history, etc incl. Trash). Another user said that the new browser started much faster compared to Firefox, used lesser RAM space and seemed to have most of Firefox’s functions for example the “google search + url address bar”. But the users are also waiting for Chrome’s add-ons. Another user described it undoubtedly lean and mean, besides remaining simple, elegant and fast.

At the same time, the ongoing browser war seems to be a three way fight. The Chrome is expected to make inroads into the IE market, and it will be a while before the Firefox users switch to the Chrome. Expect the three to battle for market share in the next few years and expect more frequent upgrades from all three.

Another comment noted that the Chrome definitely shakes up the (free) browser market, but all hype fails to take into account that this is a beta product with significant shortcomings: no integrated RSS reader, no extensions currently available, and memory usage that matches the (also beta) IE8 and far exceeds that of Firefox.

But a browser should not be confused with a Web search engine. A browser is essentially the program or software through which one can surf the Internet. For example Internet explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari...or the recently launched Chrome... All of these are the browsers in which we surf the various websites.

Interestingly, there is a site http://acid3.acidtests.org/ which tells a user about the effectiveness of the browser which the user is using; and best up till now has been the Opera latest beta version. And Google’s Chrome, even after being recently launched, only scores 73 out of 100.

However, the question remains that are the majority of the Internet users willing to use the upgraded facilities? No! Leave aside the awareness of innovation, bulk of the users prefer not to pay attention to the full range of the options, available to them, especially to those which are not part of the basic package. IE is embedded with the Ms windows. Moreover, in our country, several important and useful sites such as the State Bank of India site (Onlinesbi.com), the site of Syndicate Bank prefer to use IE only and remain ignorant about the long strides, taken by the Mozilla Firefox and now the Chrome in the realm of Browsing.

AnilM is an editor with Instablogs.com



Celebrate Pankaj’s feat too

Pankaj Advani has won world championship in billiards for the sixth time. But the euphoria in the media for Abhinav Bindra and other medal winners at Beijing Olympics is missing in his case.

Laurels brought by Olympians had great merit, but it is unfair to ignore Advani’s achievement.

The media and the sports associations must be liberal enough to highlight the achievement of every player and to reward suitably. This is in the interest of Indian sports.

Dilbag Rai, Chandigarh

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Schools to host senior citizens
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
The Chandigarh administration has come forward for assimilating the senior citizens in the social activities so that the coming generations could take the benefit of their rich experience. The administration has decided to provide free access to senior citizens as guests in the schools.

The schools will make arrangements for the transportation of senior citizens residing in the nearby area or from old-age home as per their choice and also as per requirement of the school.



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