C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Atta-Dal Scheme
BPL families fall ill after consuming flour
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Bassi Pathana/Rajpura March 25
Families living below the poverty line in various wards of Bassi Pathana, who are beneficiaries of the government’s ‘atta-dal’ scheme, say they have been dealt a raw deal. They have alleged they are getting substandard flour that is not only discoloured and unsavoury but causes ailments in those who consume it.

Talking to The Tribune, ration depot holders in Fatehgarh Sahib and adjoining Rajpura admitted many residents had complained about the poor quality of the flour.

Beneficiaries of the scheme from ward number 8, Gillzian Wala Mohalla in Bassi Pathana, narrated their tales of woes today. They also submitted three samples of half kilogram each to the district health officer in Fatehgarh Sahib today, who assured to get it tested from laboratory.

District food supply controller (DFSC) in Fatehgarh Sahib HS Mokha said he would look into the complaint. However, no formal complaint has been received by him so far. Deputy commissioner Yashvir Mahajan said he would conduct an inquiry into the allegations.

“Most of the beneficiaries of the scheme have either returned 10 kg packs of the flour or have thrown it away after they found it unfit for consumption,” said Surusti, a 55-year-old woman in ward number 8.

She said the flour had a bitter taste and the chapatti got dried up even before removing it from gas stove. Those who had consumed it fell ill and complained of stomach ache.

With syrup bottle in her hand, which she claimed to have got from a nearby doctor after falling ill a few days ago, Dwarki Devi rued that she had to go all the way to the ration depot to get flour, which was poor in quality.

“The ration depot is quite far away from my place and I have to take half-day leave to buy the ration. What is the fun of going so far when all I am going to get is bad quality product,” she rued.

The flour is made available to the beneficiaries at Rs 4 per kg. Earlier, the governments provided wheat, but for the past two months, the BPL families are being given flour.

A ration depot holder in Rajpura admitted that a similar problem was witnessed last month and the BPL families complained of “incon sumable” flour. As a result a large amount of flour had to be returned.

“But this month, the supply is a bit better and we have got good quality flour. We faced similar problem with wheat as well in the past. We got good quality wheat for two months and then bad quality for the next three months,” he said.

Ravinderpal Singh, a ration depot holder in ward number 8 of Bassi Pathana, admitted that some people have complained about the flour. “Some say the flour is tasteless, others say it is bitter and chapatti gets dried up while cooking, only a few say that it has no problem,” he said.



Whopping Rs 47 lakh for players’ security
Who will foot the bill?
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Policemen deployed: 113; Manpower hours 3,277; Vehicles deployed: about two dozen; Projected cost of security for the five IPL matches in the 29-day period: Rs 47 lakh for what the police describe as a ‘commercial venture’. In contrast to the cost of providing security during the first edition of the IPL held in 2008, the Chandigarh Police has this time expressed its seriousness to recover the cost.

Notwithstanding the deployment at such cost to the state exchequer, the police has been finding itself helpless to prevent cricket players such as local lads Yuvraj Singh and VRV Singh along with Virendra Sehwag to slip past the security network much to the consternation of the local police.

The city’s SP (Traffic and Security) H.S. Doon said the police had already taken up the issue of these players violating security norms with both the IPL and their team managements who, in turn, have assured that action would be taken against the players. Both the IPL and the team managements have assured that they would inform the police about action taken against the players.

“The police action is confined to writing letters to the IPL management regarding the issue as the practice has been going on unabated for years. What is the purpose of putting so much efforts of the players go on endangering their lives,” said a police officer while speaking on the condition of anonymity.

For the Chandigarh Police, however, the issue is equally about recovering the cost of security, which is eating into their budget. But the expense, however, actually works out higher. For, not included in the cost are the amounts spent on both the escort and pilot vehicles along with the cost of deploying additional police personnel provided by police stations deployed along the route of the players from the hotel to the PCA Stadium in Mohali. The route is located in the jurisdiction of four police stations and passes through over two-dozen traffic intersections. “We have to stop traffic on both ways at the intersections to allow free passage to teams”, said the officer.

“This time we will pursue the matter with the teams as well as with the administration to charge the money,” said the city’s senior superintendent of police, S.S. Srivastava, who was unsure about the details of the cost of providing security to the players during the IPL matches held in Mohali in 2008. The police has sent a letter to Nitin Mehra, Operations Kings XI on March 11 seeking reimbursement of Rs 47,44,732 lakh for the job, said a senior police officer.

The UT SP (Traffic and security) HS Doon said the police had written Kings XI, the host team, for reimbursement of security expenses.

The Chandigarh Police has deployed round-the-clock security comprising four deputy superintendents of Police, five inspectors, 24 assistant sub-inspectors and sub-inspectors, 13 head constables and 67 constables for the players. Each team has been assigned one inspector, four sub inspectors / assistant sub inspectors, two head constables and six constables.



Leaking Roof
Girls spend night at warden’s house
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Panjab University’s tall claims of revamping hostel infrastructure fell flat yesterday when two girls of the Hostel No. 4 were forced to spend a night at the warden’s house due to the leaking roof of their hostel room.

While the warden concerned Sabina Saleem denied any such incident, the students had a different story to tell.

“Our hostel is in a shambles and some construction started around two weeks ago. Though we had urged the warden to wait for sometime, as exams were going on, but no one listened. The roof of two of the hostel rooms started leaking when labourers watered the constructed wall. When the matter was reported to the authorities, they asked the girls to shift to a common room, which they refused. The matter was then taken up in the student council. It was after their intervention that the girls were made to go to the warden’s house,” said one of the students.

According to other inmates, leaking roofs is a permanent problem with the hostel, where they have to struggle with wet walls even during fog and dew.

Confirming the fact, Amit Bhatia, president, Panjab University Student Council, said: “They claim to allocate lakhs of rupees to hostels, but infrastructure has never improved. The girls came to us and we spoke to the Dean Students Welfare, who then urged the warden to take students home. I think the incident is a classic example of the fact that while basic infrastructure continues to suffer at the PU, the authorities are busy beautifying the campus.”

The authorities have meanwhile stalled the construction process and want to take students’opinion before restarting it.



Brilliant career cut short in USA
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
“A star is born.” This was how the director of the department of Astronomy and Physics, where he was studying, described him when he first set his foot in the Lousiana University in the United States. Aiming to soar high, Sarvnipun Chawla, a silver medalist graduate from Panjab Engineering College (PEC), had moved to Lousiana with numerous dreams in his eyes which were put to an abrupt end on March 15 when he fell from one of the university buildings.

It was not just the dreams of this 27 year-old but the hopes of the entire Chawla family which came crashing with their son’s sudden demise.

“That unfateful morning, Sarv Nipun had left his home promising his mother who was visiting him in the US to have a breakfast with her.She is waiting till date but we know he will never come back,. He was a very brilliant child who even on the day of his death had delivered a lecture on his research on the phenomenon of the ‘black hole’ and had received an offer to do a Post Doctoral research from Germany. But before we could even congratulate him we got the news of his sudden death,” said his father JS Chawla, who works in a bank in Chandigarh.

“I still remember that Sarvnipun would never do his homework and his teachers would send written notes to us. Suspecting that he may have a low IQ, I got him to take an IQ test. Much to my surprise, they told me how unique my child was. He could not do homework because his mind would think faster than he wrote. He always said papa why repeat one thing 10 times over when I can do ten new things. I wish I could repeat those years with him,” recalled JS Chawla while trying hard to hold back his tears.

An alumini of St. Annes School, Sector 32 in Chandigarh, and a graduate in Production Engineering from PEC, Sarvnipun was pursuing his Doctorate in Astro Physics at Louisna Univerity. He was discovered lying in a critical condition on the concrete in front of the west side of the building at about 10:30 a.m on March 15.

Though a number of witnesses provided Chawla with first aid before taking him to the hospital, he eventually succumbed to his injuries. The local police are still trying to determine why Chawla fell. While on the one hand the police say they found no evidence to suggest either foul play or suicide, yet strangely they found his personal items on the roof - book bag, wallet, cell phone and shoes.

“Every indication we have at this point shows he must have taken those things out before he fell,” Tabor said. Family sources said that Sarvnipun had been facing a personal problem, but his father declined to speak about it. His body is expected to arrive in India on Saturday and the cremation held on Sunday.



Police Complaints Authority for UT
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
The Union Home Ministry today decided to set up a Police Complaints Authority in all the Union Territories including Chandigarh, Delhi and Puducherry, among others.This is in line with the Supreme Court directions in the famous and oft-quoted case of Prakash Singh & Union of India.

The Authority will inquire into allegations of “serious misconduct”, including death in police custody, grievous hurt, rape or attempt to commit rape, arrest or detention without due process of law, extortion, land/house grabbing or any incident involving serious abuse of authority against police personnel. The authority can take suo motu notice or act on a complaint received by the victim or any person on his behalf.

The National or the State Human Rights Commission, the police, or any other source can also lodge a complaint. The inquiry into the complaint will start only if the authority is prima facie satisfied about the veracity of the complaint.

In suo motu cases the Authority on completion of the inquiry, can communicate its findings to the police officer heading the police force in the UT with a direction to register a FIR or initiate departmental action based on such findings. The evidence will be handed over to the police.

An important clause in the order is that the directions of the Authority shall ordinarily be binding, unless the UT Administration disagrees, in writing. The Authority will be bound and will get 60 days to submit a report. A delay, if any, will have to be recorded in writing.

The ministry today said the Authorities at Daman & Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Lakshdweep, respectively, will have a single member each. In the case of Chandigarh, Puducherry and Andaman Nicobar islands, there will be a chairperson and two members. In case of Delhi, the authority will have a Chairperson and three members. To ensure autonomy, these members can be removed only after giving them opportunity to be heard and after prior approval of the Central Government.

All appointments to these Authorities at Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Delhi and Pondicherry will be made by the Administrator of the UT concerned.


14 persons hurt in collision
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, March 25
More than 14 passengers, including five women and two children travelling in a mini-bus, were injured after their bus collided with a multi-axle trailer at the Dhillon factory light point here today.

The injured have been admitted to the Dera Bassi Civil Hospital.

The accident caused traffic-jam for over half-an-hour, leaving the commuters high and dry under the scorching sun.

The incident took place around 11 am, when the overloaded mini-bus was moving towards Zirakpur from Dera Bassi.

The bus passengers sustained injuries on their forehead, face and legs. They were rushed to the Dera Bassi Civil Hospital by residents and highway patrolling team. Those injured, included daily wagers and residents of Dera Bassi and Zirakpur villages.

The injured have been identified as Rita Devi, Ram Inder Parasad, Raju, Rani, Shanti Rani, Manish Bhardwaj, Amit, Amrish, Harjit Kaur, Shiv Kumar, Ram Kumar, Joginder Kaur, Harjinder Kaur and bus driver Balbir Singh.

One of the passengers said the bus driver was driving at a high speed and lost control.

The investigating officer Naib Singh said injured passengers had been discharged from the hospital after first-aid. However, no case has been registered till filing of the report.

Meanwhile, in another accident two persons were injured yesterday when their car got turtle near Zirakpur.



Killer stretch: Authorities fail to act
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, March 25
At least 14 passengers, who were travelling in a mini-bus, sustained injuries on the killer stretch between Zirakpur and Lalru today. The bus collided with a multi-axle trailer near Dhillon factory light point.

The mishap has once again brought to the fore the failure the authorities concerned to make this stretch safer even as the number of road accidents here is increasing every day.

Even after more than one year of the four-lane of the Chandigarh-Ambala highway, no improvement has been seen in terms of rising number of accidents on this stretch.

According to police sources, more than 12 road mishaps have been reported in Zirakpur police station till March 20. Around 54 accidents occurred in Zirakpur last year in which 22 persons were killed, including 16 men, five women and one child. More than 70 persons were injured. In 2008, 36 accidents were reported out of which 21 persons died.

Sanjay Khurana, a resident of Panchkula says, “It is for the local administration to make the highway safer for the commuters.”

The residents have demanded that the administration should take steps in order to prevent mishaps in the accident prone areas.

They have also urged the local administration to check violations by truck and mini-bus drivers who drive the vehicles recklessly on the highway.



Reprieve for JP Associates 
Granted stay against MC orders to forfeit bank guarantee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
In a temporary relief to Jai Prakash Associates, the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Raj Rahul Garg today granted a stay against the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation orders to forfeit the bank guarantee.

The company has been asked to appoint an arbitrator within a period of one month, failing which the MC will be authorised to take action against it.

The company had filed an application under Section 9 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act for the grant of interim stay, asking the MC not to encash bank guarantee of over Rs 1.16 crore on March 22.

The MC had signed a memorandum of understanding with the company on July 8, 2005, and implementation agreement on December 30, 2005, for setting up a garbage processing plant within 12 months after taking the possession of the land or receipt of statutory approval with a period of four month.

In persuasion of the provisions of the agreement, the company had furnished a bank guarantee of over Rs 1.16 crore, equal to 5 per cent of the project cost.

To watch and supervise the functioning of the plant and compliance of provisions of implementation agreement, a monitoring committee was constituted, which stated that the company had assured that the intake of the garbage in the plant would be increased gradually whereas it failed to comply with the terms and conditions to make the plant fully operational by due date, following which a show-cause notice was issued on the company.

In its reply, the company submitted that it had stuck to the desired schedule and had set up the plant, a day in advance, at a cost which far exceeds the cost given in the detail project report.

Talking to The Tribune, RD Sharma, DGM, JP Associates, said, “The waste processing unit at Dadu Majra started accepting entire garbage of the city on March 30, 2009. As per the mutually agreed time schedule, the company was supposed to start accepting full load of the city’s garbage by March 31, 2009.”

“The minutes of the meeting of the monitoring committee bear just one side of the story. The minutes never carried the company’s version, despite requesting for the same several times,” he claimed and added: “The minutes of personal hearings of the show-cause notice are unknown and were never revealed to the company.” 



Eyewitness Account
GMCH staff could do with a little more courtesy
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Compared to the Government Multi Specialty Hospital, Sector 16, the Government Medical College & Hospital (GMCH) in Sector 32 is vast, both structurally and infrastructure wise. Hence expecting problems and shortcomings there too to be huge is only logical.

While there is no denying healthcare facilities in the city’s government hospitals in general and in GMCH in particular are crying for attention and require cardiopulmonary resuscitation like procedures to pump back life into them, the emergency services in the hospital were found to be quite satisfactory last night. However, a little more politeness and professional approach from the staff would do no harm and make the experience for patients a little better.

As part of its ongoing series on emergency services in government hospitals, this reporter visited GMCH’s ‘SOS’ ward and spent almost four hours from 8 pm to midnight to have a first hand account of the situation. In contrast to GMSH, which only has one emergency ward with a small section bifurcated for paediatric patients, GMCH has separate wards for surgical, gynaecology, orthopaedics, paediatrics and medical emergencies.

Posing as a patient with acute abdominal pain, this reporter first approached the gynaecology emergency ward. The junior resident on duty asked a couple of questions and clearly told this reporter her condition did not exactly fall in the ‘emergency’ category so she should wait for the senior resident and get her card made.

Before the junior resident could rush to the labour room where she was headed to, a middle aged woman with “pregnancy complications” was brought in on a stretcher. The patient appeared to be in great pain and was wailing. As the junior resident started conducting preliminary enquiries about her past health record, the senior resident too arrived and got busy with her and also called for two interns for help, as the case was said to be “complicated”.

Attempts by this reporter to get the senior doctor’s attention proved futile. “You look fine, come in the morning OPD. We have to attend to this case”, she said with a straight face. At the outset the remark sounded quite offending but on second thoughts the truth was that the other patient’s need for medical attention was much more than “mine”.

A visit to the other emergency wards also revealed doctors were on duty and were working too as the inflow of patients was quite steady. In the span of four hours almost 50 odd patients must have come in.

The surgical and medicine emergencies were the busiest and overcrowded. One fails to understand why the hospital authorities cannot enlarge these two emergencies to accommodate more patients even when they have huge capabilities.

An attendant who doubles up as EMO

In the absence of the emergency medical officer (EMO), a part of his task of referring patients to different wards was surprisingly being handled by an attendant. The EMO was not in the room from 9 pm to 10 pm and the attendant was filling the emergency admit cards and referring the patients to different wards. “Go to the Orthopaedic emergency”, he said to the parents of a young boy who had come with an injury on the upper arm. When confronted on how he was capable of referring patients, the attendant said, “I’ve been working here for years…experience has taught me the basics”.



NRI’s family suspects foul play 
Wanted to settle in India after racial attack in Australia
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 25
Devinder Singh Rawat, an Australian NRI, who was found dead in Morni yesterday, had planned to settle here after he had faced a racial attack in Melbourne last year.

The body of Devinder (30) was found hanging from a tree in the forest area in Morni yesterday.

Devinder had a decent property in Australia, but he was not willing to go there after his return to India on Diwali. He had been trying his luck in the real estate business, said his brother Varinder Singh. Devinder did not inform his family about the racial attack on him in Melbourne. However, when he returned during Diwali last year to stay with his family and arrange documents to take his wife along with him to Australia, he started giving a second thought on his decision, said Varinder. Though he was selected to the Australian army, he was planning to settle here, added Varinder.

Devinder went missing after he dropped his wife Ekta at her office in Mani Majra, said Varinder. This was the second chance that he remained absent from the house without telling anybody in this month.

On March 8, too, after dropping his wife at the office, Devinder came back home and left after some time without informing anyone. He did not even pick his mobile phone and returned the next day only to tell that he had gone to Haridwar. His mobile phone was also missing, he said.

The family has other reasons as well to believe that it could be a murder. The body was bearing injury marks on the right eye and face, said a doctor at the hospital. Moreover, the mobile phone and keys of the car were found in the back pocket of his trousers while the relatives claimed that he never kept the phone in his back pocket.

Meanwhile, doctors at General Hospital, Sector 6, have sent the body to PGI, Rohtak, for post-mortem. The body was maggot infested and putrefied, said doctors.



MC mulls hike in fine, feeding charges 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
After failing to check the stray cattle menace in the city, the Municipal Corporation plans to increase the fine and feeding charges on owners of these animals. The issue will be discussed in the House meeting scheduled for tomorrow.

The MC has proposed that till the owners get their animals released from the authorities, they will have to pay the amount spent on feeding of these animals. In the proposed agenda, the MC has suggested doubling the amount of fine and feeding charges, category wise.

The fine for sheep, lamb and goat has been proposed at Rs 700, which was Rs 350 earlier, while for camel, horse, pig and donkey, the fine would be Rs 2,000 which was Rs 1,000 earlier. For buffaloes, the fine will be Rs 4,000 instead of Rs 2,000, for cows Rs 3,000 instead of Rs 1,500 and for bull, the fine will be Rs 1,500 instead of Rs 1,000.

The feeding charges of impounded cattle have been proposed at Rs 300 instead of Rs 150 and Rs 100 for others animals. Besides, officials have proposed to incorporate a provision to auction the animal if it is impounded twice.

Meanwhile, in a pre-house meeting held under the chairmanship of Mayor Anu Chatrath, it was decided to condemn the attack on Hari Shankar Misra, husband of councillor Raj Kumari Mishra. It was also decided to raise the issue of the recent cement scam and to revise the policy for raw material maintenance in stores of the MC. 

Babla seeks exemption

Congress councillor in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation Devinder Singh Babla has sent a request letter to the Mayor from jail for exemption from the house meting scheduled for Friday. The Mayor has asked the officials to table the agenda for discussion in the House. 



Power board staff held hostage for 5 hrs
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 25
Entering Saketri village to check electricity theft proved costly to the employees of the Haryana electricity department when a team, including two SDOs, junior engineers and several linemen, was held hostage by residents here today.

More than 12 employees were let free only after 5 hours of their illegal confinement on the intervention of the local police and the administration.

Maneesh Dhaliwal, an SDO, informed the police that he and another SDO Sanjiv, along with six junior engineers and several linemen, equipped with handy cams, swooped upon a house on finding a ‘kundi’ connection.

Piqued over it, the house owner started a scuffle with the employees. Meanwhile, one of the family members made an announcement from a local gurdwara loudspeaker to assemble at the spot and gherao the officials. The residents alleged that the staff members were taking pictures of their womenfolk. Following this they were taken into illegal confinement by residents of the area.

The authorities were informed following which the police and the tehsildar reached the spot to pacify the villagers. Finally, the hostages were freed around 11.30 am.

Following the incident, a formal complaint against Kuldeep Singh, Balwinder and some unidentified persons of Saketri village was filed with the police, said the SDO.

Meanwhile, HSEB workers’ union has served an ultimatum seeking police action against the accused villagers. The union stated that the employees would be forced to resort to a strike in case the accused were not arrested.



Tribune Impact
Dept marks probe into illegal mining
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 25
A few days after The Tribune highlighted several instances of illegal sand quarrying in Chandigarh’s periphery, shocking incident of several trees of shisham, kikkar and neem being felled in the forest area has come to light.

Smelling involvement of a forest official of the area in allowing the large scale tree felling, inhabitants of Parol and Nagal village in a representation to the principal chief conservator of forests, BC Bala, have pointed out the forest guard in the area, Baldev Singh, should be held accountable for felling over 100 trees. A list of the trees has also been furnished to the senior forest officials.

It has been pointed out that large scale sand quarrying was also going on in the area and the forest officials concerned had failed to arrest it. In a recent incident, a JCB was caught red handed while being used in sand quarrying.

It may be mentioned that few days back it was highlighted in these columns the manner in which the sand quarrying in the forest area was resulting in several seasonal rivulets changing their tracks, making agricultural land and human settlements vulnerable to erosion.

Truckloads of sand for construction and earth for brick kilns were being removed without being checked by forest officials. The ecologically fragile forest area is locked under various provisions of the Forest Act.

Following The Tribune reports of large scale quarrying in the Mullanpur-Siswan belt, the top brass in the forest department has marked a time bound thorough inquiry into the issue.



Girl sustains burn injuries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Rekha, a 16-year-old girl, sustained burn injuries when she caught fire at her thatched hut in Sector 19 here this afternoon where government apartments were being constructed.

The police has ruled out any foul play behind the incident terming the incident as an accident.

Sector 19 police station SHO Inspector Ram Gopal said someone informed the police control room about the incident and the victim was rushed to the PGI in a police vehicle. The doctors said she sustained 90 per cent burns on her neck and arms. The police is yet to ascertain the cause behind the fire.

The victim’s parents are working at the construction site. The police said the doctors had declared the victim unfit to record her statement. 



Bilingual play staged to perfection
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, March 25
The ambitions, aspirations, constraints and anguish of farming community constituting 70 per cent of the Indian population were brought alive in a bilingual play “The Land Weaver”, which was staged to perfection at the open air theatre, Kalagram, here today.

Meaningful production with potent content sponsored by NZCC, Patiala, staged in the history of Kalagram by Bigul Delhi was well received by a large audience present, despite the IPL matches going on in the tri-city.

Actors from National School of Drama and Delhi University enlivened every moment or sequence in the play bringing alive the predicament of innocent farmers committing suicides. The play, directed by Gagandeep, an alumnus of NSD, and written by Kuldeep Kunal, a literary exponent of the poor peasantry in India traced the genesis of suicides by farmers, which provides an analytical review.

However, the play remains suggestive for farmers to get proper education, avoid drugs, dowry and other evils from their life.

The audio-visual effects supported the concept of the writer. Another NZCC sponsored play “Chhevan Drya” was staged by the Chandigarh Art Theatre Group at the Punjab Kala Bhavan here.

Written by Baldev Singh and directed by acclaimed young director Gaurav Sharma, the play deals with socio- economic problems.



PU Budget
Beautiful campus on mind, students given a miss
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Riding high on its “dream wagon”, Panjab University in its recent budget allocation has come out with an ambitious makeover plan, which, ironically, has failed to address needs of students.

While most of the students are awaiting repair of their department roofs, separate libraries or even water coolers in some cases, the authorities are busy mulling over the campus beautification proposal.

Enraged by the university’s prioritising gardens and re-carpeting of roads over ailing examination system or non-existent placement policy, the Panjab University Students’ Council is all set to officially “apprise” the Vice-Chancellor of the “true” needs of the students.

According to sources, this charter of demand would include issues like incomplete computerisation of various departments, ailing examination cell, non- existent placement policy, online attendance, no buildings or infrastructure for newly launched courses, hostel infrastructure, etc.

“Students are the most important part of the so-called PU family and probably the most neglected one. It’s strange that they do not see what we actually need. While they plan a sand wash for the Gandhi Bhawan, hostels’ rooms continue to be in a need of urgent repairs. The university year after year has just given us some dreams, which continue to be in pipeline. We think that probably the VC does not know about our problems, so on behalf of all students we will make him see them,” said Amit Bhatia, president, Panjab University Students’ Council.

The views find support from the Panjab University Teachers’ Association as general secretary Prof Akshay asserted, “Mindless proliferation of the courses is one of the examples of the university’s ideas being out of sync. We neither have infrastructure nor faculty for most of them, but we admitted the students who now are being neglected.”

It may be noted that one of the reasons of this “indifference” is probably minimalist students’ participation in the decision-making process and lack of accountability of the authorities.

According to students’ representatives, while they were promised full participation in all decision-making committees, there involvement is restricted to signing attendance sheets and the university till date has not come out with any policy to make the authorities answerable.

“All that we were asked to do even during the budget meeting was to sign the attendance.

We had come up with the evaluation system just to make these people accountable, but they are not ready to apply it and when we sit on a protest they come up with yet another promise,” added Bhatia.

Needs raised by students

1. Separate departments and laboratories for 50 newly launched courses

2. Immediate renovation and repair of old buildings like Arts Block I and II

3. Separate libraries for each department and upgradation of existing ones

4. Renovation and revamping of department canteens like English hut

5. Immediate replacement of old ceiling fans and installation of exhaust fans

6. More sheds and water coolers at the Student Centre

7. Renovation of hostels’ rooms and bathrooms

8. Completion of pending computerisation of the examination cell

9. Streamlining of examination process

10. Introduction of projectors in all departments

11. Resolution of faculty crunch

12. Upgradation of placement cell, specially for specialised courses

Budget dreams

1. Facelift of all PU buildings

2. Re-carpeting of roads

3. Allocation of funds to hostels

4. Revamping faculty housing

5. Initiating undergraduate students into research



Birth Certificates
Council notice to DPI (S)
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
The Global Human Rights Council today served a legal-cum-demand notice to the DPI (Schools) for having a standard policy regarding birth certificates of children.

It is to be mentioned that government schools ask for original birth certificates from the students who approach them for admission in pre-nursery and nursery standard. Original certificates are not required for the students who are taking admissions in first standard onwards.

The chairperson of the Global Human Rights Council said people belonging to other states come to the city to get the admission of their kids in the city, but don't posses original birth cerfificates and are, therefore, denied admission.

“The schools should have standard policy - either to have original birth certificate or affidavit,” he said and added that “schools accept the affidavit from the children who are taking admission in class one and onwards, which is not acceptable in pre-nursery or nursery. Due to this, many people are moving towards private schools.



Vehicles go missing from PU
Simpal Sakalani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
After laptops it’s vehicles, which have caught the fancy of thieves on Panjab University campus.

In the last two months, four vehicles have been stolen with the latest incident being today.

Manjit Virk, a student of BSc final year of zoology department, has reported to the police alleging that someone had stolen his Hero Honda motorcycle (PB-30-E-8173) from the parking of hostel no 6 during the intervening night of March 23 and 24. He said he had left his motorcycle in the parking of the hostel before leaving for his home on March 23. When he returned today, he found his motorcycle missing.

The issue of lapses in the security system in the university is not new. It seems that the PU authorities are not concerned about the security issues in the university, added Manjit.

He immediately reported the matter to the chief security official, PU, but no action was taken and instead was asked to report the matter at the Sector 11 police station. Manjit was disappointed when his report was not lodged and he was told to wait for a day.

According to sources, the expenditure estimates incurred by the PU authorities on the security is around Rs 73.5 lakh for the current fiscal year.

The university security today nabbed Rajender, alias Bali, a resident of Sector 41 D, from the campus suspecting him to be a thief and handed him over to the police. The police said during interrogation, it was found that Bali was not stealing anything. He was a drug addict and was under the influence of drugs when nabbed. He is booked for loitering aimlessly.



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