Monday, September 4, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Vocational courses fail to deliver results
By Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 3 — Launched with great fanfare by the University Grants Commission, the fate of vocational courses in Panjab University hangs in balance.

The UGC launched these courses in 1995 with a view to offering specialised course at the undergraduate level for early employment. The courses covered diverse fields ranging from science to arts — bio-technology, micro-biology, accounts and English application besides others. The university offers 37 different courses in various colleges.

A general survey and talk with teachers and principals revealed that the courses had failed to achieve the dreamed results. The absorption level in jobs was marginal, revealed a college principal.

One of the major problems that the programme faces is the end period of the grant assured by the UGC for beginning the courses. The UGC had offered Rs 15 lakh and a term of five years to start the courses. Then the state governments and universities were expected to take the responsibility for carrying on the work on the streams.

Another major problem the courses are facing is the connectivity with the postgraduate classes. A common grievance for the past few years has been the refusal of the university to offer higher classes to these students.

University regulations clearly provide that postgraduate classes will be open to those completing regular undergraduate courses recognised by the university.

Following protests last year, two seats have been created in one of the science streams for these students.

Dr Deepak Manmohan Singh, Dean College Development Council, said the future and related aspects concerning the courses was under serious deliberation in the academic circles. “The entire issue needs to be discussed in totality before action”, he said.

Dr A.C.Vaid, principal, GGDSD College, Sector 32, said in certain cases there was an absolute overlooking of the students’ benefit in the related courses. In Bachelor of Computer Applications for example, admissions had been offered to students who had the arts stream at the plus two level.

The masters course has a condition that the student should have mathematics as compulsory subject at the undergraduate level. This puts a question mark on status of the degree.

Prof Charanjit Chawla, general secretary of the PCCTU, says the university needs to wake up to the issue and decide a future plan of action for the success of the courses.

The state governments are expected to take up the responsibility of at least the salaries of the staff for success, it was pointed out. There are other related expenditure with the courses — which need the intervention of the funding agency.



Irate residents block traffic, damage vehicles
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 3—Residents of the Colony No 5 went on the rampage late last night as they blocked traffic and damaged vehicles and injured a few persons near Mataur Chowk in protest against the failure of power supply in the colony for the past two days.

Hundreds of the colony residents gathered at the chowk and blocked traffic and pelted stones at the vehicles passing through the area. A number of the motorists were at the mercy of the unruly crowd as they smashed the window panes of the vehicles and assaulted the occupants. Panic gripped the area, said A S Mann, an eyewitness.

Mr Mann informed that Mr Deepak Khanna, a resident of SAS Nagar, who was travelling along with his wife and a child, was injured when his car rammed into the roundabout when he tried to escape the wrath of the mob. He was later admitted to the GMCH, Sector 32.

Even as the agitationists went berserk, the police took its time to reach the spot. By the time the police took control of the situation, enough damage had been done. Interestingly, the supply of power was restored and this, pacified the irate residents.

According to the police, at least five vehicles, were damaged. A few persons, including certain CRPF personnel in uniform, were also allegedly beaten up by the unruly mob. They were also admitted to the GMCH, Sector 32.

The police later arrested at least six persons—Razak Mia, Dia, Ram Yadav, Duni, Raju, and Kamlesh. A case under Sections 147/148/149/307/332/353/506/427 of the IPC had been registered.


Damaged causeway cries for help
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Sept 3 — It has been over three months since the causeway linking Nadha village with Nayagoan, North-West of Chandigarh, collapsed during the monsoons but no official of the Punjab Public Works Department has visited the site.

Residents of Nadha village lament that the causeway over the Nadha Nadi had been on the verge of collapse for the past several months. Being the only link with Chandigarh, the residents are being forced to take a detour of additional 7 km through Perch village as the Nadha Nadi ( Patiala Ki Rao) is swollen during the rains in the catchment area.

‘‘Earlier the government agency had made no effort to repair the causeway and just a sign board indicating that the causeway was collapsing put at the site’’, said Mr Parminder Singh. He said the strong current of discharge in the seasonal rivulet had washed away a major portion of the causeway.

Worst affected are the residents as a majority of them have to go to Chandigarh to eke out their living.

Built at a cost of Rs 2 lakh during early nineties, the causeway had seldom been repaired. Mr Jeet, another resident of Nadha, said illegal sand mining in the Patiala Ki Rao was the main cause for the collapse of the causeway. Though the entire area, through which the rivulet passed, was a closed area under Sections 4 and 5 of the Land Preservation Act, yet sporadic cases of mining are still taking place. Moreover, erosion of banks of the rivulet due to the mining close to the causeway is posing threat to other flood protection structures erected up and down in the stream.


A road motorists prefer to avoid
By Bipin Bhardwaj

ZIRAKPUR, Sept 3 — Wide cesspools, deep potholes, slush on the roads at the intersection of the Chandigarh-Ambala and the Zirakpur-Patiala highways have been putting the commuters, shopkeepers and customers to inconvenience for the past over three years.

The low-lying surfaces along the sides of the Zirakpur-Patiala highway at the traffic-light-point have virtually turned into death traps and have resulted in a number of accidents.

A light shower is enough to fill these potholes and to make the road slushy and filthy. The problem aggravates during monsoon, as the area turns into a pool disrupting traffic on the highway.

Shopkeepers of the market complain that despite repeated representations to the Punjab Public Works Department the problem has worsened. Though the Punjab Government keeps claiming that crores have been spent on the maintenance of roads in the state, little has been done here in this regard, alleged Mr Mohan Lal, a shopkeeper.

Mr Sunehari Lal, president, Zirakpur Market Welfare Association, complains that rain water accumulates on the road and the pedestrians have to wade through knee-deep water or opt alternative paths to cross this particular stretch.

Commuters have a tough time in taking buses as bitumen has peeled off at this particular stretch and deep potholes have come up. Vehicles often stop near these potholes putting the commuters to inconvenience. Some times, the speeding vehicles splash mud on commuters waiting for the bus.

“Passengers and two-wheelers often meet with accidents due to the potholes right in the middle of the road. Moreover, choked drains add to our woes” complained Mr Amit, a shopkeeper.

Mr Krishan Sharma, a local resident, alleged that the Punjab Public Works Department had ignored the road completely. It filled the potholes with loose soil and boulders which further complicate the problems. Though the department had constructed drains along the Zirakpur-Patiala highway yet the problem of the accumulation of water had hardly been solved, he complained.

Mr Ravinder Singh Sohi, a former chairman of the zila parishad, alleged that Capt Kanwaljit Singh’s claim of the “rubber carpeted roads” in the state could be well imagined from the condition of this highways.

Shopkeepers alleged that the problem aggravated at night in the absence of any operational street light on the Zirakpur-Patiala and Zirakpur-Ambala highways. The Punjab Public Works Department had not constructed a bus leeway on the Patiala road while that on the Ambala highway was being used by the autorickshaw owners to park their vehicles.

The PWD authorities were not available for comments.


Kala Devi Award presented
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 3 — Air Marshal K.S.Bhatia(retd), while describing information technology as vehicle for knowledge, said today that there was no dearth of finances and infrastructure for the development of IT in Punjab.

Delivering the 4th AS Sekhon Memorial Lecture at the 56th annual general meeting of Punjab and Chandigarh state centre of the Institution of Engineers (India) here, Air Marshal Bhatia emphasised that there was need of recruitment of IT professionals whom he renamed as knowledge workers.

He advised that the quality of education in Punjab needed to be improved. Stressing the need for bringing the IT down to the village level, he said the political will now existed in Punjab.

Dr R. Prakash, Principal of the local Punjab Engineering College, and Dr R.N.Nauharia, Professor and Head of the Production Engineering Department of the college, delivered lectures on "Innovation in manufacturing for global competitiveness". The meeting coincided with the 33rd Engineers Day celebrations.

Brig K.S.Khatri, Director, Survey of India, North-Western Circle, described the techniques of modern days in preparing survey maps through slides and projections.

Mr Jagman Singh, president of the Institution of Engineers, in his presidential address stressed the need to acquire latest technology.

Earlier, the 2nd Kala Devi Award for the year 1999, instituted by Mr Jagman Singh in the memory of his wife, was presented to Mr Amanpreet Singh Dhody, gold medallist in mechanical engineering from PEC in 1999. He is currently working with Tata Consultancy Services.

An exhibition of precision surveying instruments, maps, digital mapping techniques were arranged by the Survey of India.



Folk songs reflect social message
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 3 — The origin of folk dances and songs, along with their eternal relationship with the changing times and mores, was discussed here today at Punjab Kala Bhavan, Sector 16.

The occasion was an interface with Nahar Singh, the noted contributor to the field of Punjabi literature who has conducted a lot of research in the field of folk songs and dances. The writer was introduced by Prof Jagjit Singh who described the writer as a man of sensibility as far as the folk culture is concerned.

Nahar Singh threw light on folk culture as enshrined in the folk songs and dances. He said that this culture was not merely a form of entertainment. “In fact, it has a binding relationship with the changing customs and mores and dogmas. We write songs on occasions and each folk song reflects a social message,” he said.

He said the dances were performed on the occasion of harvesting and the songs were written on specific occasions. “Punjabi boliyaan contain a message which is socially relevant,” said the writer.

Later Aditya Arun shared his poetry with the gathering. His poems reflected political and social concerns, and a section of it was devoted to the Kargil tragedy. He spoke on the issues which effect the day-to-day living. Solutions were also suggested in his poems, although in a somewhat subtle manner. Some of the poems were titled Kaagaz ka bayaan, Calendar, Line mein khade log.

Later S.S. Cheema, co-convener of the Sahit Chintan, which organised the function, also spoke.


Seminar on Canadian immigration
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Sept 3 — A seminar on "Canadian immigration process", organised by Can-Asia Immigration Consultancy Services Ltd, was held at Tagore Theatre, here today. Mr Ron Batth, Managing Director, and Mr Doug Macaulay, Director of the placement and education cell, spoke on the occasion.

The seminar was attended by a large number of professionals, including doctors, scientists, software experts and social workers.

There was shortage of skilled professionals in Canada. The demand of software professionals is high. Software professionals are allowed work permits if they come under the Software Pilot Project.


Police calls meeting of school heads
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Sept 3 — In the wake of recent cases of kidnapping of school-going children for ransom in Punjab, the local police has called a meeting of the principals of local schools at the Phase 1 police station. The Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), City, Mr Sukhwant Singh Gill, said the principals would be asked to adopt certain measures to prevent any such incident.

The principals would be asked to furnish the details of the children and photos of their guardians who come to drop and pick-up the children. This the police believes would help the watchmen at the gates of the schools concerned to keep a tab on the movement of anti-social elements. The principals would also be asked to equip the gatekeepers with licensed weapons.


Punwire unions trade charges
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Sept 3 — The Punjab Wireless Systems Employees Union and the Punwire Employees Coordination Committee have accused each other for working against the interest of the employees. The issue came to light during a gate meeting of the two unions in front of the Punwire unit in Phase 6 here today.

While the group led by Mr Saheed Ahmed accused the group led by Mr Hans Raj Verma and Mr Rakesh Kalia of working in favour of the government and for highlighting the issue of corruption when the unit was running, the other group accused the former of being working at the behest of the Executive Director of the company. Both the groups are holding rallies at Chandigarh on September 4 and 5.

Tribune employee bereaved
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 3 M.L. Sharma, father of Mr Sunil Sharma, Sectional Head, working in the Internet section of The Tribune, died here today.

The rasam chautha and uthala will be held on September 6 at the Arya Samaj Mandir, Sector 9, Panchkula, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.


Disabled presents painting to Adviser
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Sept 3 — On the occasion of Millennium Handicapped Children's Day, a function was organised by the Roshini society at Shivalik Public School, Sector 41 here today. Ms.Vineeta Rai, Adviser to the UT Administrator was the chief guest.

The function began with the lighting of the lamp by a disabled girl Gurmeet Kaur. A beautiful painting made by a talented artist Swapna Augustine, who was born without both hands and paints with her toes, was presented to Ms Rai .

The Roshini was established with Fr Thomas K.J caring for one polio-affected child in 1988 and since then the society has helped in rehabilitating hundreds of disabled through its various programmes. Till now as many as 805 polio victims belonging to rural areas of Punjab and Haryana have benefited through various camps organised by the society.

Ms Rai, while addressing the audience, praised the efforts of the society and said that Chandigarh Administration was going to allow wheelchairs to disabled children while attending classes.


Gaiety marks Onam celebrations
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 3 — The Chandigarh Malayalee Association celebrated Onam at the Banga Bhavan in Sector 35 here today.

Cultural and sports activities and traditional Onam feast consisting of 21 varieties of dishes such as rice, sambhar, aviyal and adapradaman were the highlights of the function.

Onam is celebrated all over the world by the Keralites to commemorate the reign of Mahabali, in whose rule peace and prosperity were the watch words.


Quraishi a multifaceted personality 

THE appointment of Dr S.Y. Quraishi as Principal Secretary to the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Parkash Chautala, may have surprised many. An IAS officer of the 1971 batch, Mr Quraishi is a multifaceted personality with a doctorate in social marketing. He is also well versed in German, Arabic and Persian, besides being an expert in media and communication, social marketing and communication for women and children.

Dr Quraishi had once headed Nehru Yuvak Kendra Sangathan with offices in more than 500 districts all over the country. He has a long experience of handling public relations. As Assistant Commissioner under training, he started as District Public Relations Officer at Karnal, became Additional Director Public Relations, Haryana (1975-77), Director Public Relations (1977-79) and Special Secretary, Public Relations (1989-92) and now finally he is also Secretary, Public Relations.

Mr Chautala, it appears, has given a fair representation to each and every section of society in his personal staff. The new Chief Secretary, Mr Vishnu Bhagwan, is from Bania community, Mr Quraishi is a Muslim; Mr D.S. Dhessi is a Jat Sikh, Mr S.C. Chaudhary represents SC; Mr Sanjiv Kaushal is a Brahmin and Mr Vidya Dhar from Backward Classes thus giving a secular outlook to his personal staff.

Vendors arrive
Though the new ISBT-2 in Sector 43 generally wears a deserted look with few people frequenting it, it is now coming alive with activity as some smart hawkers are trying to tap the business prospects there.

A number of vendors selling eatables can now be seen on the road leading to it. These include chatwalas, golgappawalas, juicewalas and the like. In the absence of suitable refreshment facilities inside the bus stand complex,these makeshift eateries are the only eating spots for the stray travellers coming here.

So far, no permanent restaurants or dhabas have come up near it for providing wholesome, hygienic food to the passengers. It seems it will be a long time before ISBT-2 gives rise to a lucrative hotel and dhaba business around it as in the case of the main bus stand in Sector 17. In the meantime, CITCO can perhaps take an initiative in this regard.

Free paper
With the UT Administration planning to double-lane the road leading from the intersection of Sectors 46,47,48 and 49 to Sector 39 at a cost of Rs 4.9 crore and to make it part of the proposed new national highway, the petrol stations located on the route are likely to do brisk business.

Already, a petrol station in Sector 49 has an interesting offer to lure travellers on this route. All vehicle owners coming here for fuel between 8 a.m. and 9.30 a.m. are given a copy of an English newspaper free of cost. And stamped on the paper is the message,” Have a safe journey”. This gesture is likely to really pay off when this road becomes part of the national highway.

The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (CMC) executed its anti-encroachment drive with a vengeance before recarpeting city roads recently. That it reduced the well laid-out gardens to rubble in the process was unfortunately of no concern to the powers that be.

In certain sectors, the mess still lies strewn along the roads. Though no one disputes the CMC’s right to keep the roads free from encroachments, keeping the city roads clean is also its business.

The drive was ostensibly launched to facilitate smooth human as well as vehicular traffic, especially within the sectors. Whether the drive has achieved its objective is debatable. Its aftermath has certainly left the roads in bad shape. In certain sectors the residents have got the malba lifted at their cost. In others it is still lying on the roads, presenting a shabby sight.

As an alternative the CMC can allow the residents to use vacant spaces near their houses as gardens or parking places on the payment of a nominal fee. The scheme can be worked out in consultation with residents welfare associations in various sectors. This is not difficult, more so in view of the fact that an exercise is already on in the administration to amend the building by-laws for residential areas.

Star speak
The grandson of Ms Sonia Gandhi, born on August 29 at 4.04 p.m. to Ms Priyanka will join the political arena in 2022, Mr Madan Gupta “Spatu”, a local astrologer and president of the Indian Council of Astrology and Sciences, has predicted.

Having Sagittarius ascendant, Virgo zodiac and Leo sign with Magha constellation, he will enter politics in Sun-Rahu dasha as Sun is his fate lord which is positioned in the same house as per his birth chart. But basically he will remain a businessman and will not be successful in politics.

He will be influenced by the foreign culture. For seven years he would struggle in this field and unlike his grandmother he would not assume any important office. However, he will always remain in the news as he appeared on the front pages on his birth, the astrologer adds.

Naples bound
Chief Architect and Secretary, Department of Urban Planning, Chandigarh Administration, Mr Sarbjeet Singh Sandhu, is visiting Naples, Italy, to present two separate paper related to urban planning.

Universita Degli Studi Di Napoli Federico II, has invited Mr Sandhu to participate and deliver a lecture on “Chandigarh as Sustainable City”.

This will be a part of plenary session of an international meeting being held on the theme, “Man and City-towards a Human and Sustainable Development”. The meeting is being held from September 6 to 8.

Mr Sandhu will also present a paper on the topic ‘’ The Illustration of Indian Urban Experience with particular reference to the case of Chandigarh, new town planning and modern architecture problems’’ in a contiguous seminar being organised by the order of the architects in Naples on September 8 and 9.

Change at the top
There has been a change at the top of the telecom hierarchy in Punjab Telecom Circle and the Chandigarh Telecom District. The Chief General Manager Telecom, Punjab Circle, Mr R.N. Sharma, has retired while the Principal General Manager, Telecom, Chandigarh, Mr Prithipal Singh, has been promoted as CGMT and shifted to Rajasthan.

Both had started several projects and were at the helm of affairs when the IT boom hit the country requiring very rapid changes in the public sector, besides facing competition from private Internet service providers, paging companies and mobile phones.

Punjab has achieved the highest teledensity amongst all the circles in the country. In fact, the teledensity in the Punjab telecom circle at 5.5 per hundred population is way ahead of an all India average of 2.6 per hundred. The number of telephones has grown from about 5 lakh to about 13 lakh in as many as 1200 exchanges with an average growth of about 25 per cent during the last four years. All the telephone exchanges have been made electronic and there has been an increase of about five times in TAX capacity to about 1,00,000 trunk lines.

In Chandigarh the growth has been phenomenal. More and more ISP’s, which require use of telephone lines are being launched. The technology being brought in is the latest. The numbers of lines has increased, so have value added services like automated enquiries. Among the pending but cleared projects is a DoT operated cell phone service for Chandigarh and Ludhiana.

A few days ago, a pickpocket was nabbed by the police from the Sector 17 ISBT. His name? Diplomat! Perhaps it is his favourite drink. He has been arrested earlier also many times. A policeman asked him the tricks of his trade. He gave a practical demonstration amid the crowd. He gently touched someone’s pocket and his purse disappeared. Everybody present was astonished. Jail holds no fear for him.

According to the policeman, he also works as a tout to get driving licences or vehicle registration at the Estate Office. He says he took to the life of crime because he has no job. Because of legal loopholes, such culprits get bail and flourish underground.

– Sentinel


Petrol prices
The recent hike in petrol prices in the city has hit the middle class the most. In September, 1997, the price of petrol in the city was Rs 20.58 per litre. It now stands at Rs 27.60 per litre, an increase of 34 per cent in less than three years. Chandigarh is already the costliest city in the country and the hike in petrol prices has added to the burden of its middle class. I urge the Chandigarh Administration to withdraw this hike by persuading the oil companies to open their depots in the city. This will help in removing the prevailing disparity in the rates of petrol in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula.

Sanjay Khurana

Woes of a sector
Sector 36 is the best sector in the City Beautiful so far as layout is concerned, but it is also the most neglected by the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation and the UT Administration.

The small market in Sector 36-D is the only market for the residents of the entire sector. Forty per cent of the booths in this market remain locked. There is no properly carpeted parking area in front of these booths or the SCOs. One-third of the market area is lying vacant and is being used as a public toilet and a dumping ground for waste building material. It is also full of wild growth. Several complaints have been made to the CMC and the Administration without any result.

The Horticulture Department has not been maintaining the four main parks in this sector and the smaller parks in each sub-sector in spite of several representations to the department. There is no pruning of trees on the sides of the roads as used to be done earlier.

The open spaces near the power sub-stations in the sub-sectors are full of wild growth and are being used as dumping grounds. Residents of Attawa village are using the open space on both sides of the nallah near Guru Nanak Public School as a public toilet.

In spite of several complaints to the Health Officer, roads remain unclean and garbage keeps piling up and spreading stench all around. The main sewerage lines are no longer cleaned regularly. Similarly, blockages in storm water drains remain unattended.

The roads in Sector 36-D have big potholes and depressions that cause damage to vehicles.

I urge the CMC to wake up to the situation and provide efficient service.

Lt Col B. S. Sekhon (Retd),

Humanise police
The recent spate of thefts and murders in the city, particularly the double murder in a wine shop in Sector 24, has created horror and a feeling of insecurity among the residents of the city. Such incidents leave a question mark on the security of the common citizen from the onslaught of criminals.

The Chandigarh Police deserves appreciation for solving the double murder case within a few days of the incident by arresting three of the four accused and recovering Rs 54 lakh from them. However, we cannot ignore the fact that despite effective strategies adopted by the police, incidents of murder and theft are on the rise. Part of the blame for such incidents goes to TV serials like “Kaun” and “Suraag” which show simulated murders and thefts from real life. Several such programmes are telecast by various channels every day.

The IGP and the SSP, Chandigarh, have frequently been talking about the need to improve interaction between the police and the public by holding contact programmes. The custodial death of Amanjeet Singh in the Sector 39 police station, however, shows the brutal behaviour of the “cooperative” police force. Of what avail will the contact programmes be, if this is how the policemen behave? The common man has no respite from harassment and torture by the police. False cases are often registered against innocent people. The people believe that action against guilty policemen is taken only when the aggrieved party happens to be an influential person or has the support of some political bigwig.

Physical fitness of the policemen is another cause of concern. Pot-bellied cops are not an uncommon sight in the city. They feel comfortable on motor-cycles and in Jeeps, but find it difficult to walk.

During the past decade or so, there has been a lot of improvement in the arms and weapons and other gadgetry used by the police, but little headway has been made in humanising the force. It is the need of the hour that the policemen should be exposed to the latest concepts of behavioural sciences and techniques of stress and strain management under the guidance of experts.

Kavita Bhardwaj

Anandgarh project
The impact of the Anandgarh project on Chandigarh can be positive only if the pressure on the limited resources of the city is eased. Shifting of Punjab Government offices to Anandgarh is likely to bring down the rents in Chandigarh to a realistic level. This purpose will, however, be defeated if the town turns out to be just another satellite town like Mohali.

Living only a few km away, residents of Mohali make use of the amenities in Chandigarh, putting an additional burden on the city’s resources. Anandgarh should, therefore, be built as a self-sustaining township. This will require resolute political will on the part of the government and a broad consensus among the political parties. The idea should also have full endorsement of the people of Punjab in order to attract the huge investment in the infrastructure sector that will be required at Anandgarh. This is the only way to ensure that the project does not meet the fate of the SYL canal or Goindwal town.

Hari Krishan Chaudhry

Educational cruelty
It is incomprehensible why parents do not protest against the cruelty perpetrated on their school-going children by the school authorities. Recently I got my son admitted to the third standard in a school in Panchkula. After I had paid Rs 4,000 as admission fee, the secretary to the Principal gave me a list of books and notebooks to be purchased from the school’s bookshop. The 20 books and a few notebooks cost me Rs 1,010. The next day when my son was going to the school a string of his satchel broke down under the weight of the books and he fell down. Prescribing 20 books for a third standard student is cruelty of the worst order. I urge the Director of Primary Education to take steps to lighten this burden on innocent children.

Ram Niwas Malik


Without playgrounds, life is no child’s play
By Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Sept 3 — In the meticulously planned city boasting of wide roads and lush green gardens where youngsters are on a trip of their own every evening, those on the better side of the 30s take time off for a brisk walk while the old sit together and chat till late into the evenings, little children believe they are virtually existing in no-man’s land.

Aggrieved with the “dead city”, they contend they have practically no place to call their own even though playing for them is definitely serious business. Though each sector has an area enclosed for a playground, the place has been usurped by bullies who take pleasure in driving the children away.

“Boring” is how seven-year-old Niyamat Bal describes her evenings in the Paris of India. Questions on appealing “Paris” being boring bring out an emphatic,“Yes”. She adds, “I can only play with my dolls with no place to go. Mummy is always breathing down my neck to make sure I don’t stray on to the road. I listen to music locked up in my room. Without a playground, I have become my best friend and I don’t enjoy it one bit.”

With a mischievous glint in his eyes which speak his mind, in calculated terms and not-so-many-words Arjun Surjewala says, “I cycle and play with one friend only though I dream of a park with lots of swings and many more children vying for their turn. A lot of vivacious children with echoing laughter and a playful disposition is my idea of a fun evening which is nowhere to be found. So, I make do with indoor games, without friends and my bicycle.” For him, life is a big merry-go-round but for the evenings which continue to stretch on each day to end just short of eternity.

Vivacious Sidharath Joshi, aged nine, has another reason to be unhappy. “There is a park next door but has been taken over by big bad boys who play cricket. Their only reaction to any move I make to take over a corner is “Chabhag” and scared, we take to our heels. Mummy doesn’t allow me to cycle on the road. Tell me what should I do then,” he asks in disgust.

Abhinav Katiyal and Saumay Bhasin are the best of friends and spend most of their waking hours together. At nine years, they have formed their own opinion of the city — a “lacklusture affair” with nothing in it for them. In unison, they contend, “A little space for cricket is all we ask for in addition to presence of over 1000 children at one given time. For the sake of the many children, this is surely not asking much.”

Little Nikhil Malik wants to skip in the open and prance around with his friends but ends up with his eyes glued to the computer screen. “I don’t enjoy it but have no other option. Life is a big drag for us with no games to play and no swings. For a change, I cycle and play cricket on my terrace,” he explains.

Kaastha Khullar’s busy mom finds it difficult to take her to the garden everyday and won’t let her play with children on the road. “It can’t get any worse for me. In movies you see smartly dressed children led by their mothers have a ball in a playground, on swings and with the rest of the herd. We can only dream of such things and I am beginning to believe they don’t really exist,” she rues. Ten-year-old Aleena echoes her views but hastens to add that the dream park exclusively for children would include a place for games like basketball also.

Prakarti Bansal as also her neighbour, Ishan Sahdev, express their displeasure over the fact that no thought was spared to make it a children-friendly city even though other things have been planned to the minutest detail. “A little area earmarked for us with swings, candy-sellers and ice-cream vendors would have sufficed. When there is so much for the rest, we deserve to have some representation at least,” they continue. Without hesitation, one adds, “Yeh shaher to boodhon ke liye hi bana hai. Isme hum kya karen?”

There is no charm in the city for Sheenu Goyal who oscillates between her books and television.``There are restrictions on playing on the roads and TV is not good. So, my books keep me company, slowly but surely transforming me into a couch potato. It is disdainful and pathetic,” she adds.

With nothing to cater to childish charms, the entire strategy of bringing up a child stands altered. The parents have been forced to focus on table-chair games in the absence of playgrounds in the vicinity where the children can let out all that is vibrant in their attitude, laughter, impetuosity, zeal and exuberance, all blended into one.

The race of delight being short and the formative years quickly slipping by, these children won’t have much to recall of their childhood and fewer memories to preserve, the parents regret but there is really little they can do.


One killed in accident
From Our Correspondent

ZIRAKPUR, Sept 3 — One person was killed and another injured in an accident between a truck and a scooter on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway at Dyalpura village, 2 km from here, on Saturday night. Both are residents of Dyalpura village and travelling on a scooter.

According to sources, Darwara Singh, was crushed to death, while Gurbachan Singh, who sustained injuries, has been admitted to the PGI, Chandigarh.

The police has registered a case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC and impounded the vehicles.


Pedestrian dies in mishap
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 3 — Two deaths have been reported from the city during the past 48 hours.

According to the police, pedestrian was hit by a scooter (CH01-B-535) driven by Hirda Ram near the water works of the PGI. He was seriously injured and admitted to the PGI where he later succumbed to his injuries.

A case has been registered against the scooter driver.

In another case, Mr Chandeshwer Pandit, a resident of Pandit Colony (Kajheri village), reported that a mason, Raj Kishan, of the same colony fell down while he was standing on the wooden pad and doing the construction work in a house in Sector 43.

He was seriously injured and rushed to the PGI where he was declared dead by the doctor on duty.

A case has been registered.

Case registered
A case has been registered against Surinder Singh, a resident of Sector 39, on a complaint of Mr Darshan Kumar of Sector 22.

In his complaint, Mr Kumar alleged that the accused had stolen five empty trays of Verka milk from his residence. The accused was caught red-handed, the police said.

Scooterist injured
A scooterist, Mr Sandeep Kumar of Sector 47, was injured when he was hit by a CTU bus (CH01-G-5353) driven by Ajmer Singh near the PWD Store, Sector 47, yesterday evening.

He was admitted to the PGI. A case has been registered against the driver.


Youth booked for kidnapping girl
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Sept 3 — The Sohana police has booked a youth of Kumbra village for allegedly kidnapping a girl of Sohana village.

According to the information available the girl, aged around 18 years, had an affair with the boy, Sham for the past one and half year. On September 2, the boy and the girl eloped and remained out for two days.

After waiting for the girl, her family approached the police. But raids at the house of the boy failed to yield any result. This morning the girl suddenly appeared. A relative of the boy has also been rounded up by the police. It could, however, not be confirmed whether the medical examination of the girl had been conducted or not.

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