Friday, October 25, 2002, Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PU Students’ Council poll on Nov 1
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Panjab University today declared that elections to the Panjab University Campus Students’ Council will be conducted on November 1.

The day will also witness elections to the Department Representatives of all the teaching departments in the university. Elections for the Students’ Councils in colleges affiliated to the university located in the city will also be held on the same day. The university has received a formal clearance to this regard from the UT Administration.

This was announced by Prof Nirmal Singh, Dean, Student Welfare, while addressing a press conference. He said the candidates were required to file the nominations on October 29 and objections can also be filed on the same day. A list of approved candidates will be displayed on October 30 and candidates, if desiring, can also withdraw by the evening.

The university has also forwarded a code of conduct following communication from the administration for the students. It reads “ the time given for canvassing should be restricted or curtailed. We suggest that no more than one week should be allowed in any case for canvassing. Canvassing will not be allowed beyond 9 p.m. in girls’ hostel and beyond 10 p.m. in boys’ hostel. Outsiders will not be allowed to campaign on the campus’.

Students will be required to possess identity cards during the polling process; use of heavy vehicles and loud speakers will be banned; and gatherings of more than 500 needed to be informed to the DSW in advance.

A code of conduct separately forwarded by the university says: “Electioneering should be done in the true spirit of sportsmanship and no personal maligning of individuals should be done.”

Students have been asked that publicity material would consist only of pamphlets, cards and banners. No person or organisation will paste material on any wall, building, trees, poles or roads. The university will provide exclusive wooden boards.

Threatening or coercion by candidates or supporters will amount to misconduct. No electioneering will be done in classes and no class will be disturbed, the university note says.

Professor Nirmal Singh said the university will issue stickers to all vehicle owners of the campus which should be pasted on them, at least during elections. The university will appoint a three-member panel to look into complaints regarding the elections.

The campus has nearly 5500 students and the previous average of polling was about 60 per cent, Prof Nirmal Singh added.


Tribune’s quality, Mann’s humility win hearts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
For the many households of Mohali and Panchkula, that woke up to the vibrant smile of actor-singer Harbhajan Mann this morning, the day was surely laced with surprises. As two representatives of perfection — Harbhajan, the star in the making and The Tribune, the largest selling daily of the region — teamed up to honour subscribers of the latter, it virtually became difficult to give a fair deal to everybody around.

The catch was simple — Harbhajan Mann entered the households at random. Anyone who was found to be having a copy of The Tribune was loaded with gift hampers from Live in jeans, an audio cassette of Harbhajan’s latest Punjabi film ‘Jee Aayan Nu’ and other prizes like caps, pens, T-shirts and bottles of Coke. The first of its kind insofar as the association of The Tribune is concerned, the event garnered such a fine response that people were found waiting upon the actor outside their homes with copies of The Tribune in hand.

Finally there turned out to be more subscribers of The Tribune and less time to reward all of them. Even the actor was amazed at the way people talked of The Tribune as a symbol of journalistic conscience. Greatly satisfied with the support of The Tribune, Harbhajan said he would go anywhere to underline the newspaper’s worth. He covered 3BI, 3B2, VII in Mohali and Sectors 7, 8 and 15 in Panchkula. Tomorrow he will cover Chandigarh.

While the material reward was a natural outcome of the exercise that began at 10.30 am today, most people were interested in welcoming Harbhajan who, they said, “was the best man The Tribune” could have roped in. Said Mr K.S. Bhatia from Mohali, “In this age when consumerism has taken over everyone, it matters a lot to me that I choose quality. The Tribune has stood by us in sun and in shade, never compromising on the ethics of journalism. I am very happy to receive these gifts from Harbhajan. The coincidence is that I have created a website on the singer.”

From one knot of people to another, Harbhajan remained surrounded with respect because of The Tribune’s interest in him. The actor was as much happy to be a part of The Tribune as the latter was to be his ally. All through the process that lasted for over six hours, Harbhajan won over people with his humility. He touched the feet of elders, shared notes of love with the youngsters and cracked as many jokes as he could. No wonder where ever he went, most of the people stood at their doors to welcome him.

In the background played songs from ‘Jee Aayan Nu’, due for November release. Being directed by ace cinematographer Manmohan Singh, this modern Punjabi film operates at a realistic level. Talking with The Tribune about the film, Harbhajan said, “It means a lot that The Tribune has displayed faith in our venture. It is supporting us with promotion of the film which will usher a new beginning in the world of Punjabi cinema.”

Ironically, where most blockbuster Hindi films thrive on Punjabi music, Punjabi films have not been able to go it alone. Harbhajan is, however, hopeful from ‘Jee Aayan Nu’, in which ace technicians and professionals have spilled the magic of their art. The director is the man who was behind the camera for films like ‘Lamhe’, ‘Darr’, ‘Chandni’, ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayange’. Choreography has been done by Vaibhavi Merchant, who won the President’s award for ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’. She also choreographed three songs in ‘Devdas’. Sound recordist Narender Singh has to his credit a cine award for ‘Maachis’.

The film has been made at a cost of Rs 5 crore and has been shot in Chandigarh and Vancouver. 


Spinning Sardar’ spins kids into frenzy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
There was a flurry of activity in city schools today as the unassuming ‘Bhajji’ walked through schools’ gates and into the hearts of the children who jostled for a glimpse of the ‘Spinning Sardar’.

Beginning his road show, Khelo Harbhajan Naal, from Vivek High School, Sector 38, the star spinner of the Indian cricket team, Harbhajan Singh, obliged one and all with autographs.

Excited at seeing their hero, children could barely contain their excitement as they elbowed their way to the front in their attempt to see Harbhajan. Not only did they get autographs, but also miniature bats signed by him and T-shirts.

However, children hardly got a chance to play with the spinner as he stayed in schools for short durations. Moreover, children gave him hardly any time to speak in their attempt to express their own feelings.

At St Kabir’s, while some children were lined up for his welcome, others waved from the building. Students at St Xavier’s and St Joseph’s, however, were lucky to have the cricketer bowling to them though most of them were clean bowled on the very first ball they received.

At St John’s, the school cricket team got tips on spin bowling and players also got a chance to test their batting skills.

At Saupin’s School, he obliged the students by accepting challenge for a game and tossing a coin to mark its beginning. Later, he met senior boys and urged them to work hard and strive for perfection. He also visited St Stephen’s School, Sector 45, and Yadavindra Public School, SAS Nagar.

Relaxed in the company of children, Harbhajan seemed overwhelmed by the welcome he received from school authorities. Attention came not only from students, but also teachers who made it sure that they had an exclusive word with him amidst the crowd.

Accompanied by a team of the Bank of Punjab, he enjoyed every moment of his visit to the city. He urged students to not only play, but also study hard.

He is the Brand ambassador of the Bank of Punjab. The organisers said the purpose of taking him to various schools was to give a welcome break to students and to encourage budding players amongst them.


FM station may go private
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
There has been a move to privatise the local FM station of the All-India Radio early next year. The station broadcasts programmes of Vividh Bharati.

Though the AIR-station authorities here say that they are not aware of any such proposal, sources in the Union Ministry for Information and Broadcasting in New Delhi say that it may materialise. Reports from New Delhi quote the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Ms Sushma Swaraj, as saying that her ministry is in the process of privatising FM radio in 75 cities in the second phase. These include five cities excluded in the first phase.

The second phase of privatisation of the FM radio stations will begin in February next year and is likely to cover all state capitals and big cities. The switch to privatisation will be on revenue-sharing basis rather than licence-fee basis adopted in the first phase.

There are eight major private players in the field at present in India — Radio Mirchi, Sun TV, Radio City, RED (Radio Today), WIN, GO, Hitz and India FM — in Mumbai, Kolkata, New Delhi, Chennai, Indore, Ahmedabad, Pune, Cuttack, Jabalpur, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Vishakhapatnam, Coimbatore, Tirunelvelli and Lucknow.

The Vividh Bharati programmes were being broadcast by the AIR in Chandigarh on the FM band and medium wave till last month. These have since been discontinued on medium wave. The programmes now being broadcast on the FM transmitter at 103.1 MHz have excellent voice quality.

Meanwhile, the AIR has decided to extend its FM transmission timings by two hours from October 28, according to an official announcement here today. After this, the programmes will now be on air here and around from 6 am to 5.30 pm everyday, without a break. During the extended transmission timings, entertainment music programmes will be broadcast. This chunk will be open to sponsored programmes and sponsored in-house programmes, says Mr Bhupinder Singh, Programme Executive.


Early birds go home happy empty-handed
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, October 24
The preparations were in full swing. As the clock steadily ticked towards the “Husband’s Day”, wives, clad in their festive best, thronged markets here for “last-minute shopping”.

It all started early today. Even before the shopkeepers reached markets to open their showrooms, buyers had arrived already, not only for buying “the essentials”, but also for getting ‘henna’ applied on the palms, the back of the hands, the arms and the feet.

Little wonder that the rush was the heaviest in markets where ‘mehndi’ artists were sitting. In Sector 22, even at about 9 am, drivers had to shift gears furiously from reverse to forward to find parking space. Shopkeepers had hired private security guards for managing traffic, but they were simply helpless.

After parking their vehicles, the buyers reached the narrow corridors where scores of ‘mehndi’ artists were sitting on stools, where they were made to wait for over half an hour each for their turn. As they tried to make themselves comfortable while ‘henna’ was being applied, children carrying buckets of lemon juice mixed with sugar softly dabbed their decorated hands.

The rush was no less in Sectors 19 and 15. After finding no luck in Sector 22, the women reached these markets for getting the colours of affection applied on their hands. In these three sectors, wives and maidens alike, could be seen haggling with ‘mehndi’ artists, as the charges had been enhanced. “Just five days ago, they were charging Rs 35 per hand for a simple design,” said Dhruv Sharma, a businessman. “Now, the price has been increased to Rs 100 per hand, which is not fair,” he said.

In some of the markets, women also quarreled with ‘mehndi’ artists. “The colour turned black, instead of green,” a housewife was heard during such an argument. The reason for such incidents, according to Dinesh, a ‘mehndi’ artist of Sector 22, is not far to seek. “Even ‘rehriwallas have become ‘mehndi’ artists,” he said.

The rush at shops selling bangles and earrings was also heavy. By late evening, a large number of women had to go home empty-handed, as glass bangles and coconuts had been sold out. Sweetshops, too, had been decked up for the occasion.


CAT stays contractual teacher’s termination
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Issuing notice on an application filed by a maths mistress, accusing the Chandigarh Administration of exploiting the “educated lot” by offering contractual appointments instead of filling up the regular posts, the Central Administrative Tribunal has stayed the operation of an order vide which the applicant was relieved.

Pronouncing the orders on a petition filed by Meena Kumari, the tribunal observed: “The applicant was appointed as maths mistress on contractual basis. Counsel pointed out that the applicant is being substituted by another teacher who has also been engaged on contractual basis. It is stated that in view of the Apex Court decision, the services of a contractual employee cannot be replaced by another contractual employee. Notice on the application be served on standing counsel for the Chandigarh Administration. He shall file reply within three weeks. In the meantime, the operation of the impugned order dated October 16 shall remain stayed”.

In her application against the Union Territory, Sector 8 Principal of Government Girls Senior Secondary School and two other respondents, the teacher had earlier stated: “There are number of regular posts of lecturers, trained teachers, graduate teachers and others in the school cadre, but instead of filling up the posts on regular basis and with a view to exploit the educated lot, the Chandigarh Administration has resorted to the mechanism of offering appointments terming the same to be contractual for a fixed term on a fixed salary”.

She had further alleged that the respondents had been giving notional breaks in service “just for the purpose of not paying salary during the holidays even though the same was being paid to the regular employees”. The action, she had asserted, was “illegal” and “discriminatory”.

Challenging the orders, her counsel had asserted that there were over 21 vacant posts, but the respondents had still relieved her without assigning any reason. He had added that regular appointments had not been made as the “respondents want to appoint some other contract employee in her place”.


Beware of chain snatchers, advise cops
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 24
Flaunt it, if you have it — If that’s what you believe in, be careful. Chances are that the chain snatcher, observing you from behind parked vehicles, may be looking for an opportunity to strike. Aware of their lurking presence, the Chandigarh police has advised residents against moving about in markets wearing heavy jewellery, at least during the festival season.

“Though we have intensified patrolling in the markets and have asked the staff to be extra vigilant to prevent chain snatchers from succeeding in their designs, we are also asking the residents against giving them an opportunity,” says a senior police officer.

Giving details, the officer asserts, “We have constituted special teams to prevent incidents of snatching. They not only walk up and down the market corridors, but are also posted at parking lots. So far we have succeeded in our endeavour to prevent the re-occurrence of such incidents, but no operation can be 100 per cent successful without the co-operation of the masses. That is the reason we are asking the residents to take preventive steps”.

Agreeing with him, another official says, “Without the help of residents, it is not possible for us to formulate a fool-proof strategy. You see, as the rush increases with the approach of Karva Chauth and Divali, it will be easy for snatchers to mingle with the crowd and strike before making good his escape in the chaos. Think of it, can the police be actually blamed for it?”

The official adds, “An increase in the number of shoppers is a reality no one can object to. But then, so many residents make matters worse by wearing heavy jewellery”.


Reduce cable rates, says federation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
The Federation of Sector Welfare Association, Chandigarh (FOSWAC), has urged the UT Administrator, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd),to save cable TV subscribers from the ‘loot’ indulged in by operators.

FOSWAC, in a memorandum submitted to the Administrator after an impressive dharna at Sector 17 Piazza yesterday, demanded that the cable TV rates be reduced to the level as existed in January, 2001.

The rates ranged between Rs 50 and Rs 110 during this period.

It said the earlier rates should remain in force till the Central Government issued a notification of the amended Act and fixed new tariff as per the proposed cable operation bill.

The Administrator has been urged to ensure that the cable connections of those who do not pay the enhanced tariff are not disconnected.

Channel broadcasters should be directed to release signals to any multi-system operator wanting to provide a cable network to the public.

Any channel or its agent practising monopolistic practices by any means in violation of the MRTP Act should be debarred from operations, the memorandum said.

There should be transparency in the cable TV networking as only 25 to 30 per cent of the connections are said to reported to broadcasters.

The memorandum asked the Central Government to ensure that no cartel was formed by channels or broadcasters to monopolise the market.

FOSWAC has urged the Administrator to liaise with the Central Government to get this organisation involved in the fixation of rates in the future.

The memorandum apprehended that the cable operators were targeting to increase the subscription rate to Rs 450 for the Direct-to-home system.


Dogs grin again after HC order
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Dog lovers in the city will now be able to take their canine friends out for a walk without muzzling them. A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today modified its earlier order vide which pet owners had been asked to ensure that dogs were taken out on leash after “properly muzzling them”.

The directions were today issued in a suo-motu case by the Bench comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall. The Judges, in their earlier order, had also imposed a ban on taking the pets out to Sukhna Lake and parks in the city and had further directed the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh, besides the Chandigarh Administration, to implement the ban completely.

It may be recalled that Mr Justice Mehtab Singh Gill of the High Court had earlier taken suo motu notice of a news item on terror being unleased by increasing number of dog bites in the city.

Mr Justice Gill, in his order, had observed: “A news item states that in whole of Chandigarh, only 186 pet dogs have been registered with the Medical Officer of Health. In spite of public notices being issued by the Municipal Corporation in the local newspapers, only 14 people approached for the registration of dogs from January 2000 till date.

It has further been stated in the news item that no survey has been conducted about the number of pet dogs kept by city residents. Some of them are keeping more than one pet dog. The news item further states that 450 cases of dog bites were reported during the past three months in Sector 19 Civil Dispensary”.

The Judge had concluded: “It has been rightly pointed out in the news item that terror has been unleased and an increasing number of dog bite cases in the city bears a testimony to this fact. The residents, though aware of the registration process, have not taken any serious steps to get their pet dogs registered.

The Municipal Corporation authorities have also not cared to impose fine on the residents concerned. Taking suo motu notice of the news item. in the interest of justice, I deem it appropriate to issue notices....” 

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