Friday, December 7, 2001, Chandigarh, India

 

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

 

 

Canvassing for MCC poll ends
Heavy security to ensure free and fair poll
Tribune News Service

Even as the local police struggled to make manpower available for the MC elections, stripping various police stations and units of personnel, besides cutting down on guards and personal staff of middle-rung functionaries, no changes in the allocation of guards or personal staff have been made in the case of officers of the rank of SP and above at their offices or residences, it is learnt.

Chandigarh, December 6
While canvassing for the forthcoming MC elections drew to a close this evening, the local police finalised arrangements for ensuring security and law and order during the electoral process. A meeting of police officials concerned was held this evening to work out the final modalities and ensure allocation of duties.

According to police sources, as many as 400 commandos will be deployed around the city. “Six companies, numbering about 400 personnel, have been made available by the Punjab police,” a senior police functionary told TNS today.

It may be recalled that as per the directives of the Election Commission, the UT police had sought eight companies from the police organisations of neighbouring states to muster a force of 3,500 for ensuring adequate security arrangements. Two companies have been provided by the Haryana police.

“Commandos will be deployed at trouble-prone spots, besides being attached with sector police officers and for patrolling duties,” a police officer said. The police have identified 12 trouble-prone spots in the city, which mainly include labour colonies and slums.

A team of one inspector and seven constables will be stationed at each trouble-prone spot, besides those manning booths. Each booth will be manned by a Head Constable, a constable and a home guard volunteer. Police functionaries at the grassroot level have been authorised to deal with any law and order situation as per existing provisions of law. A procedure for flow of information and updates on law and order situation has been drawn up.

Mini control rooms have also been set up in counting centers. As per procedures, in case of a law and order problem arising, the Inspector at the spot will inform the police control room, which will flash the information to the Station House Officer (SHO) of the police station concerned as well as the Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO).

Police sources say that the SHO will be required to rush to the spot to assist the local team. If the situation so warrants, the SDPO would personally take stock of the situation. An SHO will have a reserve of seven men, while an SDPO will have a reserve of 13 men.

The same information will also be relayed up the hierarchy to the SP (City), SSP and the IGP. The operations will be supervised throughout by the SSP. To meet any exigency beyond the control of junior officers, a 200-strong reserve force has been formed. This includes a platoon each with the SP, SSP and the IGP, besides an emergency reserve force of about a 100 personnel.

Meanwhile, the police has hired around 90 light transport vehicles to ferry personnel. These are in addition to vehicles already available with the police control room, police stations, SHOs and DSPs and various other units.

Meanwhile, the 14-day campaign to the December 8 Municipal Corporation and panchayat poll ended today after largely door-to-door campaigns that became very visible on the last with all candidates taking out rallies and mass padayatras in a show of strength.

At 4 pm rallies, public meetings and loudspeakers, which were rarely heard during the campaign under restrictions from the Election Commission, stopped. The candidates are still allowed to carry on with a door-to-door campaign till the last minute. The last day of electioneering was witnessed to be colourful with candidates of the major parties, the BJP, the Congress and the Chandigarh Vikas Manch, taking out big rallies at different places.

The Election Commission today sounded tough action on an appeal of her Congress rival, Mr Kamaljit Panchhi, complaining against her rally by asking the matter to be investigated and add the expenditure in her account if the complaint was found to be true.

The Election Commission also indicated that likelihood of bogus voting will be dealt with a heavy hand and even those suspected of doing so will be taken in custody. It is going to inform the people, may be tomorrow, that bogus voting may invite a year's imprisonment and it may cite cases how many people are facing such cases.

The Commission also cracked whip against those Muslim organisations which are appealing or expressing support in the name of community as the police rounded up certain Muslim community leaders who supported the JD-U in the name of religion.

The Congress spokesman, Mr Amarjit Sethi, informed that Mr Shahabuddin, Mr Salim Akhtar and Mr Ibrahim of the Mulsim Rehnuma Sabha of Chandigarh, expressed full support to the party from the community at a meeting with local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal.

Reports of rallies held in support of the Congress candidate, Ms Anu Chathrath, the BJP candidate, Mr Gian Chand Gupta, the CVM candidates, Ms Harpreet Kaur, Mr Lal Bahadur Gupta, Mr Sandeep Singh, the Congress candidate, Ms Pushpa Sharma, the JD-U candidate, Mr Pawan Kumar, the BJP candidate, Mr K.K. Adiwal, and the Congress candidates, Ms Lalit Joshi, were received. All Congress candidates were reported taking out rallies and door-to-door campaigns.

The Congress leaders who campaigned today included AICC secretaries Mool Chand Meena, Subodh Kant Sahay and Bhubaneshwar Kalitha, HPCC President Bhupinder Singh Hooda, former Himachal Chief Minsiter Ramlal, Pawan Bansal, CTCC chief B.B. Bahl, former Indian Youth Congress president Munish Tiwari and a host of local leaders.

The Panthic Morcha today carried out a padayatra rally in all wards where its candidates are contesting.Back

 

Poll excitement ‘missing’ this time
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, December 6
No patriotic songs, no blaring loudspeakers mounted on decked-up rickshaws, a few motorbikes with bright cheerful flags fluttering in the cold December breeze and just about five or six cars in a procession — can anyone say that the elections to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh are just two days away.

The excitement is somehow missing in these elections. Residents, who had witnessed elections in 1996, remember the days when the candidates and their supporters in cars with loudspeakers blaring at full pitch used to come for seeking votes.

“The cacophony used to start at seven in the morning and continue till late in the evening,” recalls Raman Dhawan of Sector 32. “When there were no door-to-door canvassing candidates, it was autorickshaws playing recorded messages. Not only were they disturbing early morning sleep but also the afternoon siesta. Life used to be miserable, but fun.”

Another resident, Dhiraj Verma, a student at that time, still fondly remembers the days when he and his friends, used to patrol the city streets on their bikes.

“Every morning, an Independent candidate used to get petrol filled in our motorbikes for whizzing past the city roads and streets with the party flag tied to the handle bar,” recalls Dhiraj, now working as an executive with a multinational firm. “For distributing handbills and pamphlets among friends and neighbours, we used to get additional money.”

Things have now changed. The candidates silently descend upon your residence. With folded hands and plastic smiles, the candidates, accompanied by not-so-friendly neighbours, ask you to vote and support them. Before leaving, they thrust a bunch of pamphlets in your hands for further distribution.

Or else, they take out massive rallies with impressive hot-air balloon tied to the roofs of the cars. Rallies that go unnoticed if you are not standing outside your residence waiting for things to happen.
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Public holiday in Punjab offices
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
The Punjab Government today declared a public holiday on December 8 in all the offices of corporations/boards of the state government within the jurisdiction of the Union Territory of Chandigarh on account of elections to the Municipal Corporation and Panchayat Samitis, under the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, according to a press note. 
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Cong blunts Dhawan's assault
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
The Congress has sought to blunt former Union Minister Harmohan Dhawan's ''development'' card by fielding its former ministerial colleague Mr Subodh Kant Sahay.

Mr Sahay, who is now AICC Secretary, campaigned for party candidates in the city and showed his link to the city in the form of approving medical college and municipality for the city as a Union Home Minister.

The AICC Secretary told a press conference that though Mr Dhawan was an old colleague and friend of his, he had become politically cloutless after leaving the Congress.

Mr Dhawan today in another press conference said though Mr Sahay was a friend and had talked to him on phone, he should have known that it was not the Home Ministry that prepared proposals for these projects and nor did it approve them.

He said Mr Sahay in a way was only admitting that the CVM chief as an MP took up these proposals before the cabinet, which approved them.

Mr Dhawan reminded Mr Sahay that the then Prime Minister Mr Chandra Shekhar, had come to inaugurate Kajauli Water Works phase-II project, the GMCH and had approved Punjab cadre status to employees.

Mr Sahay said the Congress was the only secular force that could take on the communal NDA.

The former Union Minister said the NDA government had humiliated the Defence forces of the country by making them salute a tehlka accused, Mr George Fernandes.

He said the Congress had made greatest sacrifices to promoting secularism and fighting terrorism but would not allow POTO to be passed as the intension of the Central Government was to intimidate minorities.

Mr Sahay said the Congress was on a bounce-back in Uttar Pradesh and there was no possibility of their joining hands with Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party.

Another AICC Secretary, Mr Moolchand Meena, alleged that the NDA and its partners had ignored the oppressed and the poor and criticised the selling off of Public Sector Undertakings.

He asked Mr Vajpayee to give the figure of generation of employment during the time he had been playing into the hands of multinationals.Back

 

Dhawan lashes out at Cong, BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
The CVM Chief, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, today condemned the Congress and BJP’s alleged efforts to disturb cosmopolitan and harmonious culture of the city by seeking to appeal to the sentiments of different migrant communities that have integrated themselves in the local culture and society.

"Both parties have brought leaders from outside to whip up feelings of origin amongst migrants despite their having assimilated into the local culture and society," Mr Dhawan said in a press conference.

He said it was condemnable as it amounted to doubting migrants’ sincerity towards everything that the city was proud of.

Mr Dhawan said both parties were trying to promote a separatist culture in the city through such efforts.

He said after his 'padyatras' in each ward, he found out that the voter was going to give a referendum on the twin issues of right to recall non-performers from the corporation and non-political third tier governments.

Mr Dhawan said the Congress and the BJP were not visible in the door-to-door campaign that he had taken throughout the city and the manch was going to sweep the poll.

He said the manch had identified each voter during the past three months as its candidates were almost decided, they would not allow bogus voting.

Mr Dhawan said the manch had been training its workers on how to stop bogus voting.

He said the colonies and villages showed more enthusiasm during the campaign and the urban voter was apathetic to the elections due to dismal performance by the Congress and the BJP during the past five years.

He claimed that he might have travelled most amongst all leaders as he concentrated on door to door campaigns instead of rallies and public meetings.

He advocated that the nominated members should not have a voting right in the wake of reports that the BJP might try to control the corporation through backdoor by nominating its supporters.

Mr Dhawan said he would close formal campaign in the ward of his wife Ms Satinder Dhawan, which he did not visit earlier.Back

 

Sukhbir campaigns for Harjinder Kaur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is also a member of the Rajya Sabha and son of the Punjab Chief Minister, today campaigned for the Akali Dal-BJP alliance candidates for the forthcoming Chandigarh Municipal Corporation elections.

Addressing a gathering in the Sector 35 market from where Mrs Harjinder Kaur is in the fray, Mr Sukhbir Badal urged the people that it was in the interest of the nation to vote the Akali Dal-BJP alliance candidates to power. “Ours is a natural and lasting alliance. It is more like family relations,” quipped Mr Badal.

He, however, parried all questions from mediapersons about the factionalism in the local unit of the Akali Dal. Mr Gurpratap Singh Riar, president of the local unit of the Akali Dal, had been telling mediapersons that Mrs Harjinder Kaur was not sponsored by the party. Mrs Harjinder Kaur however, repeated that she was fielded by the Akali Dal and she enjoyed full support of the party.

Flanked by Mr Narinder Singh Minhas, and Mr Harcharan Singh Sahni, both Akali leaders, Mrs Harjinder Kaur later visited the Sector 35 market with Mr Sukhbir Badal. She appealed to the people to vote her to power and she assured them that she would come up to their expectations in the matter of development of the ward.

During the day a delegation of the BJP consisting to Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, president of the party, and Mr Satya Pal Jain, former MP, called on Mr Anant Kumar, Union Urban Development, and Mr Sukhbir Badal, and submitted a memorandum to them containing various demands of the people. These included enforcement of the Apartment Act, regularisation of internal alterations and changes in buildings, stepping up water supply and electricity, construction of more houses for weaker sections of society and release of more financial aid to Chandigarh for various development activities.Back

 

National leaders woo voters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
The BJP and the Congress here yesterday sought to lure Bihari, Pahari, Rajasthani, Haryanvi, Punjabi, Himachali and Uttaranchali population by fielding their national and regional leaders.

Subodh Kant Sahay, a former ministerial colleague of CVM supremo, Harmohan Dhawan, AICC secretary from Rajasthan, Mr Moolchand Meena, and another AICC secretary Bhubaneswhar Kalitha, swooped on the city. Mr Sahay took up issues of POTO, communalism and corruption.

Mr Sahay and Mr Meena are in the city to take care of Bihari and Rajasthani communities.

Followed by attempts to woo Himachali and Punjabi communities through former Punjab Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and former Himachal Chief Minister, Ram Lal, it was the turn of Haryana leaders to come in support of the Congress with the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee president, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, and former Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhajan Lal’s MLA son, Chander Mohan joining the campaign. The BJP-SAD alliance today brought the Punjab Finance Minister, Captain Kanwaljit Singh, Haryana BJP unit president Mr Rattan Lal Kataria and the Uttaranchal Chief Minister, Mr Bhagat Singh Koshiari, to cater to different segments. Himachal Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal had already done his round of the city.

The BJP secretary in-charge of Chandigarh, Mr O.P. Kohli, today took stock of the campaign and expressed confidence that the party would repeat its performance.

The Punjab BJP Minister, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, campaigned for party candidates asking the people to look at the achievements of the SAD-BJP alliance.

Mr Dhawan and his candidates concentrated on door-to-door campaigns. Mr Dhawan addressed rallies in support of Mr Jatinder Bhatia and Ms Neeru Manchanda. The former BJP Mayor, Mr Gian Chand Gupta, held a scooter rally.

The Nationalist Congress Party candidates took out a joint car rally in the city. The NCP local chief Gurbachan Singh held a door-to-door campaign.

The Shirdi Sai Baba Prachar Sabha Trust and the Mohalla Sudhar Welfare Association Sector 24 supported Mr Dhawan’s candidates. The Dhanas Market Association supported an independent candidate, Ms Poonam Sharma.

The Shiromani Akali Dal local chief, Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar, again rejected the Mayor, Ms Harjinder Kaur, as the party candidate and said the official candidate is Mr Darshan Singh, claiming that it was informed to the SAD chief Mr Parkash Singh Badal on telephone this morning by Mr Riar.

The SAD-BJP candidate Ms Paramjit Kaur was supported by Mr Gian Chand Gupta and Ms Ranjana Shahi at a public meeting.

The Hindustan Labour Party supported the Janata Dal (U) candidate Shamim Ahmed from ward number 20. An independent candidate from ward number 1, Mr Jagdish Chand Kapoor, appealed to the voter to go into his qualification of a CA.

The Mayor, Ms Harjinder Kaur, the official BJP-SAD candidate claimed the support of the Market Welfare Association, Sector 44D.

The Mayor also lodged a complaint with the Election Commission, asking it to take action against Mr Darshan Singh, who is claiming himself to be the official candidate of the SAD and the BJP contrary to facts as the BJP has left the seat for her as directed by the SAD national secretary general, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, to the BJP high command.
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Complaint against Cong candidate
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
An Independent candidate, Mr Madan Lal Gupta, has filed a complaint against his Congress rival, Mr Subhash Chawla, for allegedly getting certain pamphlets distributed in the name of the BJP candidate to defame Mr Gupta.

Addressing a press conference, he said pamphlets were distributed recently purported to have been circulated by the BJP candidate, Mr Kanhailal, saying “vote for Gupta for liquor”.

He said the press mentioned on the pamphlet was non-existent and it was an alleged ploy of Mr Chawla, whose prospects were getting damaged by Mr Gupta’s candidature.

He expressed the fear that the BJP and the Congress might resort to a large-scale bogus voting.

Mr Gupta said if bogus voting was not resorted to, he would win hands down.

He said regarding the pamphlet he had complained to the Election Commission in Delhi and the local police.

Mr Gupta said his workers informed him that the BJP and the Congress had called people from Haryana and Himachal Pradesh to cast bogus votes as around 4,000 to 5,000 out of around 19,000 voters were not traceable.Back

 

Koshiari seeks votes for BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
The Uttaranchal Chief Minister, Mr Bhagat Singh Koshiari, here today expressed confidence to get a large chunk of estimated 60,000 Uttaranchali votes for the BJP in the December 8 Municipal Corporation elections.

Mr Koshiari, who campaigned for the BJP-Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) alliance candidates yesterday, said in a press conference today that the BJP had been a favourite of the people from Uttaranchal as the party had created the state.

He said the party had been doing well since 1987 in the area even before the creation of the state as this was the time when the BJP ruled Uttar Pradesh and the Vidhan Sabha passed a resolution to this effect.

Mr Koshiari said the city voter hailing from his area liked the BJP in the national interest as the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, had established the tradition of alliance and coalition culture successfully.

He said that as the Uttaranchalis were a decisive vote in Chandigarh, the BJP and the SAD were on a strong wicket.

Mr Koshiari said that Mr Vajpayee had been able to lead a coalition government for the longest time and given stability to the country at a time when coalition governments had become necessity as well unstable.

He was indicating at past coalition experiences where the coalition governments had not last long.Back

 

JD(U) complains against Admn
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
The Chandigarh Territorial Janata Dal (U) today lodged a complaint with the State Election Commission against the Chandigarh Administration for imposing prohibitory orders under Section 144, Cr P.C. during the Municipal Corporation elections from Sectors 1 to 11 and Sector 26.

A press statement made by Mr Surinder Bhardwaj, president of the party, said this action of the Chandigarh Administration was against law, especially when parties were holding public meetings for the Municipal Corporation poll.

He claimed that the State Joint Election Commissioner, Mr D.M. Khaneta, took serious note of his complaint and promised to take immediate steps to restore democratic norms during the corporation elections.

Led by his party workers, Mr Bhardwaj apprised Mr Khaneta of “undue pressure of the Chandigarh police on certain political parties in the name of violation of the code of conduct and suppressing their election campaign”.

He alleged that the police had removed the flags of certain parties and did not allow them to canvass.Back

 

‘Mayor communalising campaign’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
Mr Kanwaljit Panchhi, Congress candidate contesting against Mayor Harjinder Kaur in the December 8 Municipal Corporation poll, today charged the Mayor with communalising the campaign.

Flanked by representatives of different sector welfare associations, association of Sector 35 gurdwara and a Sector 35 temple, Mr Panchhi said Ms Harjinder Kaur had been soliciting votes whipping up communal passions. She seems to be frustrated as she did not work for the ward, did not meet people and could not carry along sector welfare associations, he added. Mr Panchhi said the Mayor was speaking different things at different places and spreading rumours like the Congress candidate was an outsider. He said Congress is a secular party has given tickets to five Sikhs.

Introducing Mr Panchhi, Congress spokesman Amarjit Sethi, asked Ms Harjinder Kaur to let her tell from where she was an outsider — ward No 9 or ward No 6.

She had filed nominations from both these wards before finally withdrawing from ward No 6.

The Defence Residents Welfare Association Secretary, Major D.S. Sandhu, accusing Ms Harjinder Kaur of non-performance and non-cooperation and said she had been claiming credit for those works which the MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, had done. He challenged her to inform the people a single park which she developed in Sector 35. Mr Sethi said his party would institutionalise involvement of citizens in every ward to constantly monitor development.

Mr Panchhi promised to make the ward most developed in the city.Back

 

UT approves rules for division of buildings
Formal notification next week
Tribune News Service

* In case of residential properties, only one dwelling unit on each floor in plots less than 1400 sq yrds in size will be allowed.

* Independent water, power and sewerage connections to be given.

* Basements are not separate sub-divisions.

* In commercial buildings, sub-divisions permitted on ground floor but no more than one sub-division in each bay.

* Basement of SCOs or SCFs not to be allowed as separate unit.

* No sub-divisions allowed in industrial buildings.

* People making new houses can earmark apartments in drawings and get them approved.

* The rules will cover in detail provisions for common areas

* Occupants of all three floors will have to give consent.

Chandigarh, December 6
Rules which will allow division of buildings on an apartment-wise basis in the city have been approved by the UT Administrator, Lieut Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd). A formal notification is expected by next week as the legal cell is preparing the draft, UT Finance Secretary, Mr Karan.A. Singh, confirmed tonight.

About six weeks ago the Chandigarh Administration had invited objections on draft rules framed for the sub-division of buildings. Members of the public were asked to give comments and suggestions in this regard.

These rules referred to as the “Chandigarh Sub-Division of Buildings Rules-2001” are a precursor to the much-awaited Apartment Act. The modalities of the Apartment Act are being worked out and these will be out soon , official sources said.

The new rules will allow sub-division of a building into separate and independent units. Each such sub-building will be recognised as a distinct identifiable property to which the owner shall have a title along with proportionate rights in the declared common areas.

Recognition of each such sub-building as an apartment by the Estate Office shall be accorded by way of a fresh letter of allotment or a fresh conveyance deed, as the case may be in superession of the previous allotment letter. Each sub-division shall be the sole and exclusive property of the declared owners.

There is provision for separate water, power and sewerage connection. In case of residential buildings, which are less than 1800 square yards in the area, only one dwelling unit will be allowed on each floor. In case of plots bigger than 1800 square yards, one floor can have two dwelling units on each floor.

The basement shall form part of the sub-divisions on the ground. In case of more than one sub-division on the ground floor, each sub-division may have a separate basement if building regulations permit.

The garage, servant quarter, outhouse, mali hut or store, not forming part of the main residential building, shall not form a separate sub-division. In case of commercial property, SCO or SCFs may be subdivided into commercial units on the ground floor and a separate unit on each of the upper floors of the appropriate category. No more than one partition will be permitted in each bay.

On the upper floors of commercial buildings also, sub-divisions will be permitted but again no more than one sub-division per bay, say the new rules. In case of basements, a basement shall not constitute a separate sub-division and shall form a part of not more than one sub-division in the building.

In case of industrial buildings, no sub-division will be allowed. The rules say any work of additional alteration, change in external features and structures or excavation of basement should be prejudicial to the soundness and safety of the building. In case of more than one apartment on one floor, the estate officer shall permit amalgamation of such apartments and even of apartments on adjacent floors.Back

 

Jubilation all over after India’s victory
Arvind Katyal

Chandigarh, December 6
“Sorry, no prawns this time, try another excuse”, adorned the placards signifying how the youth reacted to mark the India’s magnificent 10-wicket win over the visitors. Just when the England team was all out for 235, students from a local college carried the tricoloured flags and marched in the various blocks by singing the song “London Bridge is falling down”.

Earlier, as the day progressed, the fans just waited for the wickets to fall and till lunch, three wickets were enough for the crowd to gear itself into momentum. A young fan was deeply engrossed in making placard which carried the message "Dil chahta hai, India must win". Another group of youngsters were carrying a placard which displayed "Dear Britishers, thanks for your kind visit".

Sidelights

  • The crowd behaved very decently and at every nice shot or wicket, they cheered their players. The National Flag was visible almost in every stand thus signifying the true spirit of patriotism the spectators carrying.
  • A 14-member team of youngsters from Gardeners Cricket Club were here for the past few days. This club had also done yeoman's service by playing three charity cricketmatches at Delhi and one at Jaipur prior to this Test. This was done for 'Butterflies', a charitable organisation. When asked about the poor performance of England players, they said it was poor batting which led to this fall. They said the selection was not proper and they do not foresee good results from their team in the days to come.
  • Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited led by its Deputy General Manager Kartara Ram ably assisted by SDO Gurmukh Singh along with other staff were praised by the mediapersons for their efficient services. The BSNL had provided with two Internet terminals priced at Rs 10 per 20 minutes, six STD machines, four Fax machines which helped also the laptop users from media who had come different parts of country.
  • Most of the spectators were anticipating Deep Dasgupta for the man-of-the-match award, but the moment Anil Kumble took sixth wicket, the scenario changed and the choice fell on this Bangalore boy.
  • There was a huge rush of youngsters and the moment match finished, they lined up outside the main pavilion to have autographs.Back
 

Varsities must work for ‘social engineering’
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
If flexibility and accessibility are juxtaposed with need-based technology and infrastructure in the present system of education, it will serve two purposes: generate “education for all” and “social engineering”. The concept of merely churning out students with a variety of degrees, like brand commodity, will not last long.

The galaxy of vice-chancellors assembled on the Panjab University campus here for their 76th annual conference are conscious of the emerging socio-economic, business, industrial and service sector demands and concerned about the “poor” employability of the students who pass out. Though used to the conventional system of education, the vice-chancellors are deliberating on introducing new concepts like “distance education” and “online examination/evaluation”. They talk of the need to inculcate a sense of confidence among the students equipping them with multiple skills to enhance their marketability. Introducing a work culture to bring about an attitudinal change in the “mind-freeze” of the faculty as also dovetailing administrative offices with academic departments is also on their agenda as is poor research.

TNS talked to a cross-section of vice-chancellors engaged in a debate on how to break the shackles that have imprisoned the faculty in the universities that have become bastions of the elite.

Dr Rupa B. Shah is Vice-Chancellor, SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai, that will play host to the next conference — 77th — of the Association of Indian Universities and the vice-chancellors.

While the teachers, university and college, are ensconced in a “comfortable zone”. It was the Indian youth whose energy was yet to be harnessed. The future of the youth must be at the centre-stage of the government and universities. Likewise, the “empowerment” of women was meaningless unless “no” by women, may it be in the bedroom or otherwise, is accepted by men.

Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, favoured radical changes in the courses and syllabi to jell with social needs, enabling students to get jobs and corresponding remuneration. He wanted a manpower data bank to know the future requirements. Already, the university had introduced a three-tier educational system: one, engaged in specialised training; two, graduate courses related to information technology and computers; and three, IT-enabling courses related to medical and legal transcription, industrial accountancy and banking, computer-designing etc.

Dr S.P. Singh was not bothered about strings usually attached to the financial grants that impinged on autonomy. Stress had to be laid on imparting knowledge and skills to students of all disciplines to enable them to earn while learning. Nearly 400-odd students got paid Rs 20 per hour for odd jobs in the library, computer-rooms, etc, at GND University. The maximum ceiling per month was Rs 1,000.

But his real worry was the growing influence of drugs on the youth. There had to be social awareness alongside education. Likewise, he wanted more improvement in government colleges and was all for full logistic support to colleges in the rural areas. The university was setting up a National Institute of Law in Jalandhar in the next academic session. The intake would be 80 students and it would be a residential course. To him, educational “diversification” was as important as “crop diversification”.

Prof Pandav Nayak, Vice-Chancellor, Utkal University, Orissa, said finance was a major constraint but the universities had as much autonomy as the system permited. For any effective improvement in universities and maintaining high standards there had to be a clear-cut policy on selection and appointment of vice-chancellors. Often vice-chancellors were caught in a pincer: in a conflict of interests between the state and the chancellor. It was the university that suffered; it was doubly unblessed.

The focus had to be on excellence. At the same time there had to be an administrative and academic audit for any meaningful changes. The students had utopian ideas and dreams. It was for the universities to give contours, making students realise them.

Dr Prem Sharda is Vice-Chancellor, South Gujarat University. For him, attending the conference at Panjab University was “homecoming”. He was a student of MBA here in the late sixties. He described his presence as an ‘’exciting’’ experience. Born in Charik village, near Moga in Punjab, he had had his education in Mumbai. To him there was nothing impossible. Everything could be achieved or sorted out by being “sehaj” (natural) and ‘saral’’ (upright).

Much of the malice in education was barely a decade old. Since teaching was perceived to be a “stable and secure job” an element of complacency had crept in. The urge and instinct in teachers to grow, innovate, change had extinguished. This had to be rekindled. For education to become purposeful interlining it with industry was important. Classrooms and distance education had to dovetail. The mindset of teachers had to change. Vocational courses were a must for every stream because the social sector had to be nurtured. There had to be an interface involving industry, the government and universities.

Dr Chandrakant Kokate is a multi-faceted personality. He is not only the Vice-Chancellor of Kakatiya University, Warangal, but is also the President, Pharmacy Council of India. His appointment as the Vice-Chancellor two months ago, itself was considered as recognition of the role of pharmacy in society. However, what really worries Dr Kokate are the implications of the WTO after January, 2005.

The pharmaceutical industry was big business. The annual turnout of drug formulations was worth Rs 21,000 crore with 88,000 different drug formulations manufactured by 18,000 units. The per capita per annum drug consumption in the country was Rs 150. It was a matter of pride that 95 per cent of the life-saving drugs were manufactured in India and the annual exports were worth Rs 2,500 crore.

Dr Kokate, however, was worried about the poor placement of students who were graduates in pharmacy while there still existed scope for M.Pharm and diploma holders. There was a mushroom growth of institutions (there were nearly 20 in Punjab and Haryana). The annual turnout was of nearly 20,000 students from 345 institutions offering diplomas; 14,000 per year from 220 colleges; and 1,200 per annum from 60 postgraduate institutions.

The stress was on biotechnology patented drugs. These would globally hit the market and India had to prepare itself for that. Therefore, bioresearch was on the central agenda. The target was that by 2010 at least 30 per cent of the drugs should have a biotech base against 10 per cent now. Herbal drugs was another area needing attention.

Dr K.N. Pathak is the host, being the Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University. He favoured creating islands of excellence in different disciplines, teaching and research. He subscribed to the concept of autonomy and accountability in education in general and higher education in particular. He wanted the university work culture to be improved through mind change and the application of technology. Back

 

Higher education in crisis’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
“Higher education is in deep crisis.... The college will not survive as a residential institution. Today’s (campus) buildings are hopelessly unsuited and totally unneeded”.

The quote of a management “guru” borrowed by Prof H.P. Dikshit, President of the Association of Indian Universities, sums up the concern over the prevailing education scenario while probing avenues of open and flexible learning at the ongoing conference of the AIU at Panjab University.

The day witnessed deliberations on the theme of the conference, “Technology-enabled flexible education and development”.

Prof G. Dhanrajan, President and CEO of the Commonwealth of Learning, Canada said open and flexible learning could cater to a diversity of learners. Learning could not be restricted to 18-25 years. Non-participants in the learning process had to be goaded to join the stream.

Professor Dhanrajan said the time had come to “free classrooms from time-bound regimes. Constraints of time to complete a class within a fixed time should go.” He said there also existed fear among the faculty in the changing scenario where some expressed anger, others showed disdain, dismay and even protested against the feared loss in quality.

Distance education was a growing phenomenon, especially in the developing countries. Seven out of the top 10 distance learning institutes were located in the developing countries. Here there was easier availability of learning for the poor facilities and women and there was also scope for those who could not learn earlier. It was high time for more change in the area.

He said in the Indian context, the growth of centres for a majority of the population was abysmally low because 70 per cent of the population was based in the rural areas. Only 600 students per 1,00,000 residents in the country availed themselves of higher education.

Prof H.P.Dikshit in his paper, “Open and Flexible Learning: New Initiatives and Challenges,” said “today conventional universities, the world over, are faced with more difficult challenges: to meet the need for productive employment, effective use of communication and information technology, globalisation and inherent competitiveness and networking and partnership”.

To meet such requirements, our universities needed to restructure, re-engineer and reform. University teachers, besides their commitment to research and extension, needed to “refocus” their commitment to learning, he said

Prof K.B. Powar, Secretary-General of the AIU, said in a democratic society access to higher education must necessarily be linked to equity. The categories identified for special consideration by the Indian Government were women, the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, the backward classes and economically backward classes. “Massification” of higher education had witnessed a lowering in the quality of higher education in average institutions in the country.

Dr R. Natarajan, VC of the IIT, Madras, in his paper on “Technology-Enabled Learning Initiatives’ said” there is considerable hope and some positive evidence that technology can expand and improve education at all levels with special reference to the content of infrastructural materials, delivery, assessment and feedback. The term “education technology” could be interpreted in two ways: “technology in education” and “technology of education”.

Dr M.D. Tiwari, VC of the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad, in his paper on “ICT-Enabled Education” said the Internet and World Wide Web were two most significant technologies while referring to the ICT. It had been recognised by the global community that the Internet was the most transforming invention.

Dr K.K.N. Kurup, University of Calicut, said “in the proliferation of courses in distance education, as a policy to augment educational facilities to underemployed and weaker sections, we have gone such a long distance that we have to further strengthen our programme, both in materials and methods”.

Prof R. Yamdagni, VC of Narendra Deva University of Agriculture and Technology, Faizabad, said “with the use of multimedia, e-mail and the Internet connection, students can get access to any library in the world. A research scholar of an Indian University can conduct research in collaboration with his counterparts in the country and abroad”.

Prof K.N. Pathak, VC of the host university, said “ there cannot be perhaps two opinions that the availability of much-needed technology and the infrastructure, if applied properly, could help society in general and the governments in particular”.

The other speakers included Dr S.N.Patil, VC of Amravati University, Dr(Ms) G.Pankajam, VC of Gandhigram Rural Institute, Dr R. Sethhupathi, VC of Periyar University, Dr M.Yusuf Kamal, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Science and Technology, Shalimar, Dr S. Chandrashekar Shetty, VC of Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, and Prof B.B. Dhar, Director (Research), AIU. 
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Sector 21 resident booked in fraud case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
The police has registered a case against a Sector 21 resident for allegedly defrauding a Hoshiarpur resident to the tune of Rs 4.15 lakh.

According to the police, Satnam Singh, in an FIR lodged with the Sector 19 police, has alleged that while he was working as a carpenter in Bahrain, he had suffered a kidney failure and had required a transplant, for which a local gurdwara and other charitable institutions collected about Rs 4.5 lakh.

He added that in September, 2000, he came in contact with a person in Bahrain, who advised him to approach his brother in Chandigarh. The said person assured him all possible help for the kidney transplant operation and took Rs 4.15 lakh from him in the presence of another Hoshiarpur resident.

The complainant added that the accused had also assured him to arrange a donated organ within a month, but failed to do so. On being contacted, the accused promised to return the amount and issued him six cheques. The cheques, however, bounced.
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Civic body employees cry for salaries
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, December 6
Agitated over the non-payment of salary after abolition of octroi in Punjab, employees from different civic bodies raised slogans against the state government while the Local Government Minister, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, was speaking at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the head office complex of the Local Government Department in Sector 62 here. The Union Minister of Urban Development and Poverty, Mr Ananth Kumar, and former Union Minister, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, were also present on the dais.

Many employees of the Khanna civic body along with some other employees, who were protesting against the abolition of octroi, were pushed out of the pandal by the policemen. The employees lament that six days had passed but the government had not provided funds to the civic bodies to compensate for the loss due to the abolition of octroi.

Seeing the mood of the employees, horse mounted police was called in to push back the agitators till the VIPs left the venue. One of the employees alleged that the minister had sent vehicles to every civic body to bring the pro-government employees. Reports reaching here said the employees of the Kharar civic body refused to board the ‘special’ buses.

Earlier, after laying the foundation stone of the bhavan complex, the Union Minister of Urban Development and Poverty said the municipal corporations and other civic bodies should improve the basic amenities. He said in the last two months, Punjab had been given Rs 3.50 crore for various development projects.

While presiding over the function, Mr Tandon allayed the fears of the employees about retrenchment. He said each civic body would be given money corresponding to its monthly revenue collection from octroi during the last year. However, it did not make it clear when would be the amount released.

He said the head office complex would be constructed in an area of 2.9 acres at a cost of Rs 15 crore. The complex would have three blocks, including the office block, auditorium and the residential-cum-training centre. Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal’s speech focussed on the achievements of the Akali-BJP combine.

Others who spoke on the occasion were the Chief Secretary, Mr N.K. Arora, and Mr Ajaib Singh Mukhmailpur, PWD minister. 
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Tribune scribe bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
Mr Bachan Singh (89), grandfather of Mr Sukhbir Singh, Trainee Journalist, The Tribune, died here tonight after a prolonged illness. 

He is survived by son Nirmal Singh and daughter Surinder Kaur. His funeral will take place tomorrow at 1 pm at the Sector 25 cremation ground.Back

 

Cop booked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
A constable with the Chandigarh police, Baleer Singh, has been booked for reportedly assaulting an employee of the General Hospital, Sector 16, while in an inebriated condition last night.

Baleer SIngh was accompanying a relative to the hospital when he got into a brawl with the medical staff on duty over an ECG report. When a hospital security man, Bahadur Singh, tried to intervene, the accused pulled his beard. The injured security man had to be hospitalised.Back

 

Drive against sale of illicit liquor, 11 held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
In a major drive against the sale of illicit liquor in the city, the police has arrested 11 persons, including two women, from various parts of the city during the past 24 hours.

The Crime Branch has arrested four persons from the Modela Light Point and recovered four boxes of Prestige Whisky and another four boxes of XXX Rum from their possession. The accused have been identified as Suresh Kumar, a resident of Ram Darbar, Ram Pal, Om Parkash and Surinder Kumar, all residents of Mauli Jagran.

Suresh Kumar of Dadu Majra Colony was arrested from the same colony while selling country-made wine. Two and a half bottles of wine and three empty quarts were recovered from his possession.

A Palsora resident, Krishan Lal, has been arrested from the Sector 53-54 dividing road with 13 bottles of whisky, while Jagtar Singh of Mauli Jagran has been arrested from Sector 20 with 160 pouches of Hero whisky. Rajesh, a resident of Ram Darbar, and Suresh Pal, a resident of Sector 24, have been arrested from Sector 20 and Sector 15, respectively, with 50 pouches and 94 pouches of whisky in their possession.

The two women arrested include a Dadu Majra resident, Bachni alias Mona, who has been arrested from Sector 38 West with 20 pouches of whisky, and a Sector 25 resident, Sunheri, who has been arrested from the same sector with 35 pouches of liquor in her possession.

One arrested

A resident of Bapu Dham colony, Ram Pal, was arrested by the police after his tractor (PB-05-E-4063) knocked down a motorcyclist in Industrial Area, Phase I. The motorcyclist, Jagbir Singh, a resident of Mani Majra, received minor injuries. A case has been registered.

Injured

A Panchkula resident, Varun Kumar, was injured and admitted to the PGI after his motor cycle rammed in a Maruti Esteem being driven by a Mauli Jagran resident, Prithi Singh, near the Housing Board light point. The police have registered a case.

Thief held

A resident of Uttar Pradesh, Amjad Ali, was caught red-handed by Hallo Majra resident Jagtar Singh, while the accused was attempting to steal the later’s bag at the Inter-State Bus Terminus. The accused was handed over to the police, who have arrested him and registered a case.

Stolen

A resident of Dehar village near Mandi, Nand Lal, has reported that his truck (HP-24-8181) has been stolen from the Transport Area. The police have registered a case.

Burgled

A Sector 16 resident, Surinder Singh, has reported that his house was broken into and a camera, two gold rings, a pair of ear rings, soap and tooth paste have been stolen. The police has registered a case.

Stolen

A Mohali resident, Ajaib Singh, has reported that his Maruti car (PB-12-E-7000) has been stolen from the parking lot adjoining the Central State Library, Sector 17. The police has registered a case.

A Ludhiana resident Vinay Khosla has reported that his Hero Honda motor cycle (PB-26-B-5211) has been stolen from Sector 16. The police has registered a case.

A Sector 37 resident Vishant Sinha, has reported that his Hero Honda motorcycle has been stolen from his residence. The police has registered a case.

SAS NAGAR

Two dead

Two persons died and at least four persons were injured in two separate road accidents in the town in the last 48 hours. A tailor of Phase XI, Balwant Singh, died on the spot when the auto-rickshaw in which he was travelling was hit by a speeding truck near the traffic lights of Phase VII here.

The autorickshaw driver, Anil Kumar and three students, Prithpal, a Class X student of Shivalik Public School, and Simranjeet and Gagan, both students of Gem Public School, received injuries in head and other parts of the body. Prithpal received multiple fracture in her right leg.

Due to the impact of the collision, the autorickshaw was badly damaged. The autorickshaw was coming from Phase XI and truck was coming Matour village side.

Besides, Parduman Singh, who was injured in road accident in Phase 3B 1 recently succumbed to his injuries at PGI, Chandigarh, today.

Theft: Ms Sashi Katari, a resident of Panjab University campus, complained that she was harassed by police for more four days on account of registering an FIR about the theft of car from in front of the PUDA office in Phase I here on December 3.

She alleged that after her car was stolen, she went to the Phase I Police Station to lodge the complaint. But the policemen adopted dilly-dallying tactics as the Station House Officer was away to the PCA stadium. The woman kept on coming repeatedly to the police station for two days before the FIR was registered on December 6.
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‘Need to promote event management’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
Northern India has considerable potential for holding events and exhibitions which have so far remained limited to metropolitan cities.

This observation was made here today by Mr Rajneesh Chopra, managing director, Buzzword Communications, while speaking at a seminar on “Future trends in events management and exhibitions”, organised by the Institute of Tourism and Future Management Trends (ITFT), Chandigarh. He said with changing industrial scenario in northern India and cities like Chandigarh emerging as fast growing markets, companies would require new creative platforms to promote their wares. Also, with better awareness levels among the masses and competing products and services vying for better visibility, exhibitions and events could provide better platform to foster expansion of the marketplace, which in turn would translate into better business opportunities.

Mr Chopra also discussed the potential for direct and indirect employment opportunities in this field. He stressed that as northern India provided a rich cultural heritage, it became imperative to take initiatives to promote such events regularly by holding events and shows to create awareness among the younger generation.

There is a tremendous potential to make Chandigarh an events destination if the UT administration and the private sector joined hands in this direction. Also, substantial improvement in infrastructural resources in key cities in the north could support hosting of international level events which would generate substantial revenue for the local industry.

He also discussed the changes that had taken place in the exhibition industry such as the shift from general to focussed shows, which led to a lot of awareness about new products and services among people.

Mr Rajneesh Chopra delivers a lecture on “Future trends in events management and exhibitions” at ITFT, Chandigarh, on Thursday.
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BIZ CLIPS

LAUNCHED: Bharat Petroleum has launched its “Pure for Sure” campaign named “Tick and win contest” in Chandigarh. The campaign oriented towards apprising the customers of their “Pure for Sure” outlets in and around the city will go on for one month, with almost 200 weekly prizes to be won. The prizes comprise washing machines, refrigerators, scooters, Parker pens, petrocard memberships. “Pure for Sure” outlets are outlets certified by TUV Sudeutschland of Germany, certifying that the petrol pump delivers correct quality and quantity of fuel along with high standards of customer services coupled with ultra-modern fuelling facilities. TNS

ENROLLED: Under its specially designed course ‘Vidya’ for the National Literacy drive, Aptech has claimed to have enrolled more 3 lakh students. A multilingual course, Vidya, which was launched in January 1999, is targeted towards working executives, government employees, self-employed professionals, traders and housewives to create a massive base of computer users. This was stated by Mr Pramod Khera, CEO, of the company. TNS
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