Thursday, August 9, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Of monkeys, snakes and pigs
Tribune News Service

For the 200 residents of the Panjab University’s Hostel Number 6 for boys, their hostel is the best in the university “inspite of the problems that we have”. Their problems are also different from those of other hostels.

“We have a jungle next to our boundary wall. So having monkeys as dinner guests or finding snakes in the bathrooms is common,” the residents laugh. “We have killed so many snakes that now we are not even scared of them and as far as the monkeys are concerned, they are a nuisance. They steal our food and clothes. They have made the scooter parking lot virtually unusable. The monkeys tear the scooter seats to pieces.”

Monkeys and snakes are not the only wildlife the residents have to deal with. “Sometimes late in the night we are visited by a herd of wild pigs, grunting and squealing.”

What else? How is the food?

“The food is the best among all the boy’s hostels in the university. Our contractor is a gem and the quality of food is good,” say the residents.

But maintenance seems to be a major problem. “The grass around the hostel grows wild and no one bothers to clean even the ground on the hostel campus. Plastic bags, old shoes and discarded junk litter the ground.”

“Look at the guest room, the table has not been cleaned for weeks and webs have been there on the walls ever since we came here,” shows another resident.

“Many students are sharing rooms with their friends since their rooms have been under repair for almost a week. The furniture too is in bad shape. But the best part is that we have never shared a room with anyone. But this time, since the number of seats has been increased, we will have to share rooms,” say the residents.

And what about the new block that was to start functioning this session? “The block is ready, the rooms are OK, but there is still no water in the bathrooms. We are all looking forward to moving there, but so long as the authorities do not start allotting these rooms, we will not be able to shift.”

“There is another problem. There is one block which is used by sportsmen on a temporary basis. Since they are to stay here only for a short period, they create so much uncleanliness that it becomes impossible to live there.” The bathrooms on the upper floors are in bad shape since there is a perpetual water shortage there and neither the rooms not the bathrooms are cleaned properly.

“As far as the telephone facility is concerned, we are the best-connected hostel. We have four telephones for our use, two in the STD booth which remains open till late in the night and two in the hostel. “We are happy in this hostel, in spite of the problems. We are only a few students here, and we live like a family. Everyone knows everyone else and its is so much fun to be here.”



DPI, principals invited to Kalagram
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 8
The UT, Director Public Instructions (Schools) and District Education Officer along with 65 principals of government high schools and senior secondary schools were invited to Kalagram by the Director, North Zone Cultural Centre, Mr R.T. Jindal. The principals were apprised of various activities of the Centre .

The North Zone Cultural Centre has organised various workshops in collaboration with CCRT, New Delhi. The main objective of such workshops is to make teachers aware of the rich cultural heritage of India so that they can link education with culture. The Punjab, Governor, Lieut Gen, J.F.R. Jacob (retd), is the chairman of the centre.

For the first time the North Zone Cultural Centre has chalked out a detailed programme for schoolchildren. All programmes would be without any financial burden on students or school. The detailed programme includes three-day study visits to Sanghol in September in collaboration with CCRT .

A five-day workshop on songs in regional languages for children will also be organised at Kalagram in collaboration with CCRT in September .

Slide shows on different topics which include Indus Valley Civilization , Medieval India and crafts of India would be organised in October.

Various competitions for students on the Children’s Day on November 14 would be held at Kalagram. Children’s theatre workshop would be organised in December in collaboration with the National school of Drama, New Delhi.

Regular workshops of dance, music, fine arts, theatre and literary topics would go on simultaneously at Kalagram.

The Education Department is having close liaison with the cultural centre for the past two years. Last year the cultural centre had selected 175 children from different schools of the city for participation in the Republic Day parade held at New Delhi. The students had performed “ghoomer,” a folk dance of Haryana before the President of India. The participants were issued certificates and mementoes by the Defence Ministry.



Boys’ expulsion sparks off debate
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 8
For the past three days, after Ajay, Sahil and Kartik were expelled from Sector 22 Shishu Niketan for urinating in a polythene bag in the classroom, a debate of sorts is going on all over the city. Residents are talking about the incident which took place on Monday morning.

Some residents are of the opinion that the students should have been left after being warned as this is the time for them to be naughty, while others believe that the action was justified. You have to set example for other students, they assert.

Ms Rani Neelu, Kartik’s aunt who is a social worker, says that the kids were “not acting naughty”. “They had no other option but to urinate in a polythene bag as they were refused permission to go out of the classroom”, she says. “How can they be punished for answering the call of nature? I want Kartik to study in this very school and will do my best to ensure that he is taken back”, she says.

However, the school teachers do not agree. The Vice-Principal of the school, Ms Amita Khurana, says, “It was not an innocent act. The trio first urinated in a bag, then pierced it with a compass before spilling the urine on other students. This kind of act is not justified and such incidents set wrong examples. We have nothing against them, all we want is that they should be shifted to some all-boys school”.

Even as the parents and the teachers are continuing with the debate, the UT Director Public Instructions, Mr D.S. Saroya, says, “I was astonished to know about the incident. But I will only be able to comment on the matter after looking into the facts and circumstances of the case in totality”.

It may be recalled that the trio, while attending a period, urinated in a polythene bag in the classroom. According to sources, they had asked for permission to go to the toilet, but were not allowed by the teacher as only 15 minutes had elapsed after the recess. The matter was reported by the teacher to the Vice-Principal who took action against the students.



Now girls too can join DAV-10
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
Traditionally a male bastion, the local DAV College has opened a new chapter by offering admission to girls in postgraduate classes.

The course in Master of Commerce, which began last year, has more than 20 girl students out of the total strength of 30. The two toppers of the college are toppers among all local colleges and second and third in the university merit list, both being girls. This session has also begun classes in M.Sc Information Technology), where girl students have joined.

The change is being seen as a major event because majority of the DAV colleges in the region have separate institutes for boys and girls, particularly in the local scenario. The college in Sector 10 had only boys, while only girls studied at MCM DAV, Sector 36.

Principal R.C.Jeewan said largely the co-educational facilities were not being extended at the graduation level. There were more cases where the coeducational facilities were extended to postgraduation institutes.

A girl student said, “We did not face any problems in the college. I had apprehensions in my mind, but the classes and the surroundings have not let me down. We have supportive classmates, particularly boys”.

A senior boy student said, “I have been in the college for the past four years. With the joining of the girl students there has been a change in the outlook. Boys and girls should not be made to study separately. This separation has allowed building up of certain irrational taboos of social behaviour.”

Principal Jeewan said, “girls get an equal share of attention in the class. This is visible from the overall merit positions. Adjusting to any change is a matter of mental attitude. Positive vibes and a corresponding change in outlook during the changed times of the day ask for certain changes, which can be guaranteed only by the students.”



Classrooms unfit for students
Our Correspondent

As the rains come, the students of Government Primary School in Jandpur village sit outside their classrooms or all the 80 students have to be huddled in one room. The roofs of the other two rooms leak heavily and are in danger of collapsing any time.

Mr Didar Singh, Sarpanch of the village, said that the roof of the school needed repairs urgently but nobody had paid any attention to it although the matter had been brought to the notice of the authorities several times.

The school has 80 students on its rolls and has three rooms. The roofs of two of these rooms are in bad shape. The sarpanch and other members of the panchayat have asked the headmaster to shift the student from these rooms and hold all classes in one room. The school has four teachers.

The sarpanch said that the big rooms which had leaking roofs had been closed by the panchayat. He said that the condition of the school had been the same for the past five years and no step had been taken by the government to repair the building. He said these rooms did not have any doors and animals such as horse and pigs get into the rooms after school hours.



Hardial Kaur is DPI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
On promotion, Ms Hardial Kaur has been posted Director Public Instructions, Directorate of Primary Education, Punjab. An order to this effect was issued today by Mr R.S.Sandhu, Secretary, Education Department( Schools).



GJU directed to hold fresh CEET on Aug 26
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
Directing Guru Jambheshwar University at Hisar and other respondents to conduct the entrance examination for admitting students to engineering colleges in the state of Haryana on August 26, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today asked them to declare the result on August 31 and start the counselling process from September 5.

Issuing the directions, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice Amar Bir Singh Gill and Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar, further asked the respondents to publish, and display on the university notice board, the rank and the marks obtained by the students on August 31 or immediately thereafter.

The Judges also asked the respondents to “ensure that the courses commenced on time, in any case before September 30”. They further instructed the respondents to publish the date of the entrance examination and other dates in the leading newspapers, particularly those of the northern region.

In their detailed order, the Judges clarified that the test would be conducted only for those candidates who had earlier appeared for Common Engineering Entrance Test — 2001. The respondents were also asked to grant admission to the students strictly on the basis of merit as per the terms and conditions in the brochure.

The High Court had cancelled the entrance examination conducted by the university for admitting students to Bachelor of Engineering, Architecture and certain other courses in the engineering colleges all over the state. The order is significant as over 30,000 students had taken the test for 7,000 seats.

Notice to PUDA on tax returns

In a case relating to the Income Tax Department issuing a show cause notice to the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) to file its tax returns, a Division Bench of the High Court today issued a notice of motion to the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (North-West), and to the concerned assessing officer of the department.

Hearing on a writ petition filed by PUDA, a Division Bench comprising Mr Justice J.L. Gupta and Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohunta issued the notice of motion to the respondents for August 31.

The Income Tax Department had issued notices to PUDA to file its returns. But PUDA had contested that the notices in light of the provisions of Section 10(20A) of the Income Tax Act, 1961. Rejecting PUDA’s plea, the Income Tax Department had directing the former to file its return. The authority had been directed the authority to issue instructions to various banks to deduct income tax at source in respect of PUDA deposits.

Protesting against the action of the Income Tax Department, PUDA filed the writ petition. Pleading the case, its counsel said once PUDA was covered by the provision of Section 10 (20A) of the Income Tax Act, commencement of proceedings by the tax authorities were without jurisdiction. A reference was made to the instructions of the Central Board of Direct Taxes wherein the tax authorities in New Delhi had been instructed to consider the Delhi Development Authority as a local authority within the meaning of Section 10(20A) of the Act thereby not subjecting it to assessment.

Fine stayed on ex-minister

Admitting an appeal filed by Punjab’s former Jail minister Upinder Sharma against the orders of an Additional District and Sessions Judge, convicting and sentencing him to life imprisonment, besides a fine of Rs 10,000, in a murder case, a Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Mr Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice A.S. Garg, today stayed the recovery of fine.

Sharma, along with other accused in the case, was earlier booked by the Punjab Police for murder and attempt to murder under Sections 302 and 307 of the Indian Penal Code after BJP leader Raj Kumar Garg died in 1992. According to the prosecution, Garg was killed and nine others were injured after a group of protesters were fired upon outside a police station. They were protesting the arrest of another leader.



Railways taken to task for delay
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 8
Taking serious note of the harassment suffered by commuters due to the negligence and deficiency in services shown by railways authorities, the UT Consumer Court has directed the Divisional Railway Manager, Northern Railways, New Delhi to pay compensation and refund the tickets of a city resident.

The complainant, Mr Sanjeev Kakar, stated in a complaint that he had reservation from Bangalore to New Delhi and then onwards for Chandigarh for him and his family. On July 4, 1998 the complainant boarded the Karnataka Express from Bangalore to New Delhi. The train was scheduled to reach New Delhi on July 6, at 12.10 P.M. But, it reached late by seven hours at 7.05 p.m.

The complainant alleged that as a consequence he missed the connecting train from New Delhi to Chandigarh. The complaint said he apprised the Station Master of the same but tickets were not refunded.

The complainant was later offered a refund of 50 per cent of the amount of the fare, but he refused to accept this condition. The complainant hired a taxi and paid Rs 2000 for the journey to Chandigarh and claimed to have suffered mental agony and harassment along with his family members.

A bench comprising of members, Mr R.P Bajaj, Mr H.S Walia, and Ms Urvashi Agnihotri observed “Where a passenger holding ticket, with or without reservation, misses the train at any station owing to the late running of the train by which he had travelled, fare for the un-travelled portion shall be refunded without charging any cancellation charges at such junction-station”.

The court directed the authorities concerned of the Northern Railway to refund the amount of Rs 990 towards the costs of tickets of Shatabdi Express from New Delhi to Chandigarh to the complainant.

The railway authorities were further directed to pay Rs 1000 towards the costs of the case and compensation for the harassment suffered by the complainant and his family members. The amount is to be paid within a month of the receipt of the copy of the order with interest at the rate of 12 per cent on the amount of Rs 990 from the date of filing of the complainant till the actual payment of the compensation awarded.



On a mission to preserve heritage
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The Punjab Sangeet Natak Akademi is on a mission to preserve the traditional heritage for the future generations. At least that is what appeared after a casual glance at the programme list for the current year, which the Akademi released at Punjab Kala Bhawan premises here this morning.

The idea is to promote customs and traditions by developing audio, video aids as also by publishing books which reflect the great Punjabi lineage. The first in the line of programmes which aim at the preservation of Punjabi culture of “diyaan da mela”, which will be underway at the Sector 16 Shantikunj here tomorrow. The Akademi will organise this programme in collaboration with the UT Administration.

The coming month will see a bigger fair in which the Akademi will bring student artistes from Punjab colleges and universities on a common platform.

The fair will have items related to dance, music and theatre and will be organised jointly with the Sangeet Natak Akademi, Delhi.

A two-day drama festival is also in the pipeline, apart from a cultural fair in November, which will feature all folk dances of Punjab including jhoomer, sami, ludi, dhamaal, giddha, bhangra and bazigars. A video coverage of this fair will also be ensured.


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