Wednesday, July 26, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Students on RLA list miserable
By Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 25 — Among the miserable lot of students seeking admissions to Panjab University and affiliated colleges following delayed declaration of results are also a ‘silent’ suffering lot branded under the RLA category, results later (awards).

The silent suffering lot will naturally not feature in the merit lists drawn for fresh admissions. There is a possibility that their results would not be declared by the time the admissions are over. This would debar even meritorious students from seeking admissions to various courses and colleges.

Dr Deepak Manmohan, Dean, College Development Council, said it was sad that innocent students suffered for no fault of theirs. The system of receiving evaluated sheets from examiners and the tabulation in the examination branch needed more coordination.

The worst sufferers are those seeking admissions to new courses. Students on the waiting list because of awaited board results will be nothing more than hapless onlookers. “I spent the entire last year preparing specially for a seat in the local GCG, Sector 11. The RLA result leaves me nowhere. Even if I am adjusted in an alternate college later on, it will not be my first preference. Why should I suffer for no mistake of mine?” a student said.

Also students on the RLA list of final year of graduation will be an unfortunate lot while seeking admissions to postgraduate courses.

A senior functionary of the examination branch said teachers’ response to evaluation process was very poor in several cases. The evaluation process took more than expected period. There was often marginal attendance at the marking centres. A girl student was running from pillar to post at the administration block today because her result had not been declared as the university failed to put marks of her practical examination on the result card.

The college authorities maintain that her markslist had been dispatched to the university.

The Panjab University hopes to declare results of the BA and B.Sc. II by August 1 and the BA-I results are expected around August 4, a senior official said.

The university has declared results for minor faculties in postgraduation. Even for languages and social science faculties in postgraduation results are expected by August 7, sources maintained.

“The examination system here is nothing short of a mess”, a senior official said in a talk with the TNS. One urgent need was the identification of the head of the branch in absence of the controller. In 1984, the university created a special post of the Controller of Examination seeing the workload of the Registrar.

But with his recent arrest, the charge went to the Registrar . It was pointed out that the university created a special post for a joint controller of examination in 1998 who could have best fit the bill at the moment.

The B.Ed. results declared by the university had a total of 2783 candidates out of which 2538 passed. As many as 159 are on the waiting list. In BA III 20,560 appeared and only 12,427 cleared. The result was better in B.Sc. III where 1592 out of the 1752 who appeared cleared the papers.

The university rescheduled admissions on July 27 which were earlier to begin on July 12.


Over 2000 vehicles challaned
Drive to continue till July 30
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 25 — As many as 2,094 vehicles have been challaned by the Chandigarh police during the ongoing drive to bring defaulters to book.

The drive was started on the directions of the UT IGP, Mr B S Bassi on July 20 and will continue till July 30. Police personnel have been deputed at various entry and exit points of the city to check vehicles for violations, which include non functional brakes and back lights, defective number plates and indicators, and using black film without permission, besides other miscellaneous offences.

Today, only trucks and buses were challaned at the transport roundabout in the morning and the poultry farm roundabout in the evening. The entire operation was supervised by Mr Balbir Singh, SP, Traffic and was conducted by Mr S S Randhawa, DSP, Traffic.

As many as 200 vehicles were challaned for various offences and six trucks were impounded without valid documents and permits.

Besides this, the traffic wing will also clear all encroachments in Sector 22. While the encroachments in the outer markets have been cleared, those near the Neelam cinema are next on the agenda and will be cleared in a couple of days. In view of past experience, this time the solution will be permanent and the beat staff of the police stations will be held responsible for any recurring encroachments in the future, police sources said

The encroachments were being cleared following complaints from the public that there was hardly any space to move about in the market corridors. The open spaces in the markets of the city have been encroached upon by the shopkeepers, who display their wares, the display sometimes extending right up to the parking spaces. Back


Illegal mining in full swing
By Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, July 25 — Illegal mining operations are in full swing in the Saketri riverbed, with over 150 trucks leaving the place with sand and earth everyday. The auction was not held this year and the last term lapsed in March. Villagers admit that they have no say in the matter since the activity is being carried out in connivance with the village sarpanch and his brother. Beginning at 4 a m, usually four to five trucks are allowed at one time, while the others wait for their turn at the entry point, where a munshi, Ram Vriksh, supervises their entry and exit. To keep record and lend authenticity to the exercise, he gives a receipt at the time of entry to each driver.

Interestingly, the receipts hardly contain any information, being merely an eyewash. While no entry is made in the space for name, the truck numbers and entry time mentioned are jumbled up to make little sense. Moreover, no mention of quantity taken is ever noted and an indecipherable signature runs across the receipt

The munshi, pretending to be deputed by the government, later admitted that he was employed by the sarpanch of the village and was accepting Rs 100 per truck taking away mud and Rs 200 per truck taking away sand. He said quantity was not mentioned on the slip issued since a maximum of 250 feet could be loaded into a truck, though a full truck seen at the site was clearly much more than the reported quantity.

The sarpanch of Saketri, Mr Ranjit Singh, denied any knowledge of the mining operations. He said they had not bothered to check since they assumed that the trucks going in and out were carrying out work in the adjoining auctioned riverbed belonging to the UT. He further stated that Ram Vriksh had been a munshi of the contractor, who had taken the riverbed three years back, while adding that he was not working for him and was not aware that he was charging any money from the drivers since he had been in and out of the village for the past one week.

During a survey carried out at the site, two trucks and a trolley were being filled from the riverbed, under the purview of Haryana. The truck driver of CHW 1754 and driver of trolley HYN 2881, without papers or even a number plate, contended that they had no idea that the riverbed was closed for mining and that the munshi had charged them Rs 100 and Rs 200, respectively, to allow entry. They added that this was the first time they had come to the riverbed.

The activity was being carried out under cover of the auctioned riverbed of Chandigarh. The drivers issued receipts were given the impression that both riverbeds were actually one, had been auctioned and they had the sole right of letting them take away sand from the riverbed.

Moreover, they villagers of Kaimwala added that the brother of the sarpanch, Karam Singh, had rented the shamlat from the panchayat for grazing his cattle. However, he was allowing trucks to take away mud on the sly, which had led to huge craters on either side of the bed. Nobody could be caught because this was usually done in the wee hours or at night.

Mr Karam Singh refuted the allegations levelled against him. He said the land taken by him was being used only to graze his cattle and that whatever mud was being taken away, was being done without his permission and knowledge.

Meanwhile, the Director, Mines and Geology, Mr S.N. Roy, said the Saketri riverbed had not been auctioned this year. “The auction is not carried out in all river beds in the state. This is usually done only when there are many customers and it is a lucrative offer. If such a situation exists and mining work is being carried out, we will put it under the hammer as soon as possible,’’ he said. 


Posts readvertised after interviews
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 25 — Even after completing the process of interview for filling two posts of medical officer for urban health centre, Department of Community Medicine, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, has advertised these posts and watered down the job requirements, leading to resentment among deserving candidates.

Sources revealed that the applications were earlier invited for the two posts on May 12, 2000, and the applicants were required to possess an essential qualification of MBBS degree from a recognised university, besides experience of one year house job in specialities like paediatrics, gynaecology obstetrics, general medicine etc. The candidates were also required to clear a qualifying examination in community medicine.

They further alleged that all candidates, whether they had the experience or not, were allowed to take the examination. Of these, 10 who qualified were called for an interview. Normally, candidates are selected on the basis of their rank in the examination and required experience. But this time, even those who did not have the requisite experience were called for the interview and selected on the basis of their rank in the examination.

Sources further pointed out that selections were marked by alleged favouritism as the only two candidates, who had the experience were ignored. When the two candidates objected to the unfair selections and brought it to the notice of the panel, the authorities, instead of having a relook into the issue, cancelled the selections and advertised the posts again on July 10. However, this time, they eliminated the requirement of essential experience, which had always been required earlier. This has perhaps been done only to accommodate the "favourites".

One of the candidates has questioned as to how the authorities can rate the topper of a theoretical examination better than a person with clinical know-how about patient management, treatment and

referral, which comes only with experience. The toppers had no experience, while two who had experience of house job were not considered. The aggrieved candidates, who feel harassed and cheated, have demanded that the ongoing process be cancelled and suitable candidates on the basis of previous qualifications be recruited.

Dr V.K. Kak, Director-Principal, GMCH-32, admitted that the clause of experience was wrongly incorporated in the earlier advertisement of May, for as per the recruitment rules, no experience was required for selecting a medical officer and all they needed to have was an MBBS degree from a recognised university. This is also true of medical officers working in primary health centres all over the country.

"But since candidates, who had experience and had applied earlier, would have gone to court and filed public interest litigations, we decided to advertise the posts as soon as the mistake in the advertisement came to our notice and to have fresh appointments. Fresh applications have been invited and selections will be made on the basis of test and interview. The last date of submitting applications is July 24. As the standard of MBBS course varies at college and university levels, test is the only fair way to evaluate merit. On the contrary, the experience clause may have left scope for favouritism," he added. Dr H.M. Swami, Head of Department of Community Medicine, was not available for comment.


20,000 names deleted from voters’ list
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, July 25 — Names of at least 20,000 voters have been deleted in the final voters’ list of the SAS Nagar Municipal Council following afresh revision of the electoral rolls by the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO). The elections to the civic body are scheduled for August 20.

Now the total voters in the electoral list stand at 76, 839 as compared to 95,538 in the earlier voter list. An official at the office of the ERO said at least 6708 claims and 381 objections which had been filed against the new voter list had been rejected. Around 700 new votes in the Wards no 2, 9, 10, 11, 21 and 22 were likely to be added to the new voters’ list. The new votes were of the area which had been left en bloc during the door-to-door survey by the enumeration staff.

According to the information available the number of votes ward-wise were as follows: Ward no 1 (2468), ward no 2 (2925), ward no 3 (2488), ward no 4 (2506), ward no 5 (2419), ward no 6 (2493), ward no 7 (3732), ward no 8 (3462), ward no 9 (3498), ward no 10 (3560), ward no 11 (3614), ward no 12 (2877), ward no 13 (2694), ward no 14 (2437), ward no 15 (5423), ward no 16 (2929), ward no 17 (2307), ward no 18 (3185), ward no 19 (3588), ward no 20 (2340), ward no 21 (2817), ward no 22 (2843), ward no 23 (2565), ward no 24 (2689), ward no 25 (1802), ward no 26 (1776) and ward no 27 (1885).

It may be pertinent to mention that following the ERO writing to the Punjab State Election Commission regarding existence of fake votes in the electoral rolls, the latter had postponed elections to the civic body earlier scheduled for June 17 last.


Two faces of Chandigarh

Is Chandigarh a city worthy of contempt and hatred? Is it really City Beautiful? The truth is that it is Janus-faced. It has two personalities — the bright and the blighted.

It is developing and decaying simultaneously. The City Beautiful will remain so only in the publicity brochures of the Administration for a few decades. It threatens to “develop” into a sprawling slum with some patches of beauty here and there.

Its houses may be an architect’s delight but are dwellers’ despair. An Indian family, by and large, desire and leads a sheltered life. It wants to live in modern India, not France.

“The city has radiant homes and its buildings are orchestrations of pillars, soaring archways, interwinding ramps, random openings and tense facades.” Flattering prose.

What about the residents of these radiant homes? They are as passive and indifferent as residents of any other dull city. With chronic housing shortage, two families in a low-type quarter, sky-rocketing rents and filth all over. In “Radiant” houses, dwell dull, bored residents.

It is because the massive concrete and steel structures reduce man and decimate his aesthetic sense.

Visit the smoke filled coffee houses, the rendezvous of the bored and the bearded, indolent and the intellectuals, modish young unwillingly sharing table with plebeians or draining beer bottles in liquor vends, mindless rush at food jaunts and you will be convinced that they are all seeking some kind of satisfaction which money cannot buy.

This commonality brings no genuine closeness of relationships. Like the houses in Chandigarh, people are pieces of ill-fitting mosaic.

The rehri markets are favourite shopping “Malls” of the lower and middle-class housewives. The upper crust loves to be fleeced in the 17 Sector Piazza.

The pavements of most markets are laced with squatters selling T-shirts, skirts, bhelpuri and bananas. They are hounded by the Administration but re-appear after a few days. It is not difficult to guess how and why.

The city is a centre of education with a prestigious (?) university and a large number of schools and colleges. Their significance, however, has been dimmed considerably by a staggering number of teaching shops.

The younger generation is in sharp contrast to the housewives. The former are a bouncy lot; the latter a bored one. The former love their fun (some with the gun), the latter their limited life.

Open spaces, lungs of the city, attract walkers of all shades and hues. However, the number that pours out before the sunrise is small. I suspect, the city is the abode of indolent, perhaps because most are in-service whose main job is to get ready for the day’s ordeal in office and return fatigued in the evening. The lively ones are those who go to office late, a la Charles Lamb, and compensate by leaving early!

Chandigarh is a city of carnivals, “fests,” festivals, fashion film shows and sundry other activities. But all these are confined to the day time. It has no night life. It is deserted soon after dusk. In a way, it is good: there are few “owls” fluttering their wings late at night.

Of late, a couple of dailies have put shop here. I surmise that they did so thinking that there is always room at the top — the position held by The Tribune. I will not hazard a guess on their future. This is the job of the stars-foretell-columnists. I keep my fingers crossed.

However, one thing looks certain — too many newspapers for a city of about 9 lakh will benefit raddivallas more than the residents.

The younger generation is more interested in pub-crawling. After all, it belongs to the generation which is “safe inside” (judicial custody) than at home. — I.M. Soni


An uncommon commuter

It was a normal day at the lab when Amar, our lab attendant, approached me, seeking medicine for his child. As I offered to help, he began narrating how his wife did not look after their child who fell ill frequently. As he left the lab, I forgot all about him and got down to my daily routine.

In the afternoon, Veena, a steno in our lab, started telling me about Amar. And I had in front of me the sad story of this person. She told me that he travelled from a village 5 km beyond Ucha Pind and I was surprised to learn that out of his salary of Rs 3000, he spent Rs 1200 per month travelling to his workplace. With the rest, he supported his father, wife and two children.

The next day when I did not see Amar, I enquired why he had not arrived. I started thinking about his problems and asked Veena to tell him that he should shift to Chandigarh. As we talked, he arrived with a tired face but ready to work. I stopped him and asked, “Why don’t you save money and shift to Chandigarh?”

Nonplussed, he replied; “My village friends will say that I have broken away from the family and gone to Chandigarh after my mother’s death.”

“But you can stay here and visit your village on weekends” I continued, offering a solution.

“Saheb, my wife will not agree to this. She already suspects if I work at all and keeps telling me that her father can open me a shop in our village. She does not look after my children. I curse the friend who persuaded me to marry her.”

“But what is the point in spending about half your salary on travelling?” I persisted. I wanted to know why he was spending all that money and time coming to the Institute. Veena explained; “He is hoping to get a permanent job.”

Amar interrupted; I actually save money, Dr Saheb. Otherwise, I might have to spend up to Rs 60 daily”. He continued to explain; “I walk five or six miles in the morning up to Ucha Pind and then take a bus to the barrier.”

“Why don’t you take a direct bus from your village?” I inquired.

“Because you wouldn’t get one there,” Veena explained.

Amar continued unfazed, “then I take a cycle from the barrier cycle stand to the Institute”.

“Daily!” We all exclaimed, almost in chorus.

“What to do?” at least Roti, pani chal raha hai” he said, looking at Veena, who nodded in affirmation. “I have been thinking about all this for quite some time but it seems to work well with me”, he said, and left us, to start dusting and cleaning the labware.

I become wise to the fact that he was supporting a family of four on an amount equal to my telephone bill. I decided to cut my expenses and vowed to help him get a permanent job

— Akshay Anand


6 Punwire men booked
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, July 25 — Investigations into the functioning of Punwire have unearthed large-scale embezzlement of funds by its officials, running into several crores of rupees. In the latest case, at least six first information reports (FIRs) against six officials of the company, including Managing Director Gurpal Singh and Executive Director, Ved Pal, have been lodged at the Phase 1 Police Station here.

In the six cases Mr RK Gupta, Manager (Accounts), Mr AP Singh, DGM (F and A), Ashok Jerath, AGM (Accounts) and late PC Sharma, a cashier, are said to have allegedly embezzled company’s fund to the tune of over Rs 22 crore. Cases under Sections 406, 409, 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC have been registered on the basis of a complaint

lodged by Mr PS Mundra, Associate Vice-President with the company.

Earlier on July 16 last, Mr Mundra had got registered a case against the same officials for allegedly embezzling Rs 25 lakh from the company’s funds. Last month also the local police had registered two separate FIRs against the same persons for allegedly embezzling funds of the company to the tune of Rs 83 lakh. The amount had been embezzled by making fake entries during the course of transferring the money to Punwire Mobile Communications Limited ( PMCL), a subsidiary of the company.

The case had come to light when the newly appointed GM (Finance and Accounts), Mr Devinder Singh, and Chief Executive Officer, Mr NP Singh, sought confirmation from PMCL whether the amount shown to have been transferred to it had actually been done. In an other case, bungling in the accounts of the company had been made by producing fake bills of freight allegedly issued by Mohali LCV Transport Union. At least Rs 6.41 lakh was drawn against four fake bills.



Schoolgirl crushed by truck
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 25 — A schoolgirl was crushed by a truck near the Sector 20/21 traffic lights here this morning.

According to police sources, Jyoti, a resident of Sector 30, was on her way to school on her bicycle at about 7.30 p.m. when a truck, PB 12 5469, ran over her killing her on the spot. The driver of the vehicle ran away from the spot. The truck has been impounded and a case under Section 279, 304-A, IPC, registered.

30 arrested: The police has arrested 30 persons following a special drive against anti-social elements in the jurisdiction of the central police division by Dr Sagar Preet Hooda, ASP.

As many as 23 persons were arrested from various places for consuming liquor at public places. They were booked under 34/5/61 of the Police Act. Similarly, three persons were arrested for roaming under suspicious circumstances.

As many as four persons were arrested under Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act for driving under the influence of liquor.

Theft reported: Sector 28 resident Rohit Grover reported that someone has stolen 10 silver glasses and Rs 12,000 in cash from his house after breaking the lock of the main door. A case under Section 457, 380, IPC, has been registered.

Car stolen: Sector 31 resident Laloo Gupta reported that someone has stolen his car, CHOI 9161 (T) parked near the football stadium in Sector 17. A case under Section 379, IPC, has been registered.

One arrested: The police has arrested Mohali resident Dalip who had taken away the car at gun point from Sector 17 some time back. Ironically, he was spotted by the complainant near the ISBT who informed the police. He was arrested and after initial interrogation, admitted to stealing a scooter from Sector 39.


Judicial remand for SI: A Sub-Inspector of Punjab Police, Surjit Chand, involved in the torture of a constable, Gurpreet Singh at Tangori village, was today sent in judicial custody till August 8. Yesterday the suspect had been given one-day police remand by the duty magistrate at Kharar court.

Meanwhile, the injured constable has been admitted at Civil Hospital in Phase 6 here. The SI, who was recently transferred to the Ropar police lines, has been planned under suspension.


DoT Internet growth remains static
By Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 25 — The Department of Telecom(DoT), Chandigarh, introduced its Internet services in Chandigarh almost four years ago and its initial base of 3000 plus subscribers remains static as the first anniversary of the private Internet Service Providers (ISPs) approaches in a segment of business where growth is otherwise exponential.

Compare this with the subscriber base of 6000 plus of Satyam Online and 12000 plus of Glide in Chandigarh alone. In spite of having a better infrastructure at nominal costs, DoT in Chandigarh is the most expensive ISP (see table). This is not all, the private ISPs don't need your ration card or your telephone number or a bank draft of a specific bank, they come to your house and install the software, configure your computer and release the connection instantly.

DoT, on the other hand, still expects you to trudge two storeys up, first to find out that the amount you have to cough up, go down get a draft made and submit it with an application in duplicate for renewal. And then wait. It can take anything between five days to two months.

There is no software to get you started, no engineer to help you configure it, no helpline (even during office hours). Both Satyam and Glide have a 24-hour helpline for customers who come across any problem.

Generally, the most common problem one comes across while trying to go on the Internet is of connectivity. Both Satyam and DoT are using the voice lines of DoT to connect to the servers and since these are being used for high-speed data transfers and not just voice, there are many problems of connectivity. All related problems of phone lines, like bad weather, loose connections and even exchanges will affect the connectivity. Also related is the problem of disconnections and these again are high in case of DoT. Glide has its own optic fibre cable network with its nodes to the telephone exchange and hence the connectivity and disconnection problems are the lowest.

Another major problem is that the speed of data transfer is very slow with DoT. Ask DoT engineers and they will blame it on the fact that most sites are in the USA and it takes time to download information from them. Also the band width available is too little to cater to the rising demand. To overcome this, DoT has plans to link up to the mesh of Internet nodes being set up by VSNL Delhi all over India and they have their infrastructure ready for that. Similarly, Satyam has decided to buy more band width from the International Private Lease Circuit (IPLC).

With VSNL's monopoly over Internet band width ending, and every ISP, including MTNL and VSNL, having joined the price war, tariffs are being slashed and a host of freebies being given, DoT still remains insulated and is waiting for a policy decision to improve its ISP facilities.



Running from pillar to post for loan
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 25 — Mr Hemant Kumar, a resident of Mani Majra, is a harassed man. For the past over two months he has been running from pillar to post to get his sanctioned loan from the Sector 26 branch of the Punjab and Sind Bank.

Mr Hemant Kumar, an ITI diploma holder, was sanctioned an amount of Rs 67,700 for the purchase of a three-wheeler, under the Prime Minister’s Rozgar Yojana by the local District Industries Centre (DIC) on May 5 this year. When till May 25 he did not receive any reply from the bank despite repeated visits, he visited the main branch of the bank, where he was told that his case had been sent to the branch on May 13.

After about a fortnight, a letter from the bank came. Since he and his family were not at home, the postman asked his neighbours to send Hemant to the bank next day. Hemant alleged that he was asked to bring a guarantor, who should be a government servant. This condition, he alleged, was against the guidelines of the yojana, which said “the loans would not require any collateral guarantee. Only assets created under the scheme would be hypothecated/mortgaged/pledged to the bank”.

In the meantime, he found a guarantor in the shape of Mr Surinder Singh, a constable with the local police. But the loan still eluded him though he had completed all formalities along with the guarantor. Again he was asked to bring another guarantor — a Grain Market shopkeeper, where Hemant works as a casual labourer.

Finding no other way, Hemant filed a written complaint with the DIC Office on June 26. In the meantime, he found two government employees as guarantors, including his brother-in-law. The bank, apparently offended by his complaint, now found another excuse for delaying the loan, saying that he had changed his address, according to Hemant.

Hemant alleged that the bank staff misbehaved with him when he went to the bank on July 20.

Meanwhile, the Manager of the bank, Mr Samundari, said that he had played a fraud with the bank as he was not living at the address mentioned in the application form and registered letters and couriers had been received back by the bank.

Terming the allegations of “misbehaviour” as baseless, Mr Samundari alleged that it was actually Hemant who had threatened the bank staff.


Sweetmeat sellers go on strike
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, July 25 — The sweetmeat shop owners observed a strike in the city today to protest against the decision of the Haryana government to impose 10 per cent sales tax on their items.

While shops remained closed throughout the day, no sweetmeat item was available as offering by devotees visiting the temples, today being a Tuesday. The owners admitted that the day had been specifically chosen to mobilise public opinion in their favour.

They added that the tax was unreasonable, especially since they were being taxed on the purchase of items required for their preparations. They contended that the tax would force the small shop owners to shut shop, while those with good businesses would be able only to break even.

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