Saturday, November 2, 2002, Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PUSU panel sweeps PU poll
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
The Panjab University Students Union-Haryana Students Association-Himachal Pradesh Students Union alliance made a clean sweep in elections to the Panjab University Campus Students Council here today.

The other two major groups in the fray were the Students Organisation of Panjab University-Association of Panjab University Students alliance and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarathi Parishad. The ABVP finished a weak third.

The result has cemented the fact that no student party of national standing has been able to make a place among students in the city as is visible from the results. Both major parties-PUSU and SOPU-have the backing of the Congress party workers.

However, the university has no presence of NSUI, the official student body of the party. The presidential candidate Malwinder Singh Kang who polled 1965 votes defeated his nearest rival Harveer Singh of the Students Organisation of Panjab University who polled 1099 votes and Deepak Balyan of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarathi Parishad who polled 455 votes. The victory margin of 866 is the highest ever recorded in any elections which recommenced in 1997-98.

Satender Pratap Dahiya who was elected general secretary polled 1648 votes against 962 by Birjyot Singh ‘Brandy’ (Students Organisation of Panjab University panel) and 874 by Saurabh Joshi (ABVP). Kanika Sachdeva who was elected vice-president polled 1867 votes against 1057 by Tapinder Kaur (SOPU) and 560 by Poonam (ABVP). Vijay Chauhan polled 1808 votes against 1055 by Raman Chandel (SOPU) and 618 by Vishal Diddi to be the joint secretary.

The university also declared 70 out of 72 results for elections to the Department Representatives. Two seats were declared vacant. As many as 35 candidates were declared unopposed.

Harveer Singh( Economics), Ruby Charak (Psychology), Rajwinder Singh (Laws), Praveen Kumar(Physics) and Dinesh (Education) have been elected to the executive of the student council.

The voting was held till 11 a.m. and went off peacefully but for a stray incident of a verbal duel. A number of voters in the University Business School were not allowed to cast their vote because they arrived a little late than the scheduled time.

There was also an exchange of hot words for the post of Department Representative in the English Department.

The university for the first time had shifted the counting centre to the Gymnasium hall to check the routine rush witnessed in front of the Administrative Block during elections.

However, a large crowd converged at the hall before the formal declaration of the results dancing to the ‘dhol’ beats. Open Gypsies and cars flashing loud music were the carriers for groups of merry-makers.

Malwinder Singh Kang said the victory was the faith reposed by the student community in return for the work he had undertaken for their cause even while out of power during the previous session.

The opposition did not have a single academic issue on the agenda except seeking my ouster which showed how shallow their standing was. “I assure to initiate my work on different activities- academic and extra curricular- which suits the five star status of the campus,” he added.

Besides the anti-incumbency factor, SOPU this time also saw breaking away of certain names which carried along a big bunch of voters. The first casualty was Prince Harmanpreet Singh, an old SOPU workers who also held an office in GGDSD College under the SOPU banner. Next came the news of Bhupinder Beniwal, one of the founder members of SOPU, shifting his alliance to PUSU.

Accompanying Beniwal was the general secretary of the last student council who was also a SOPU candidate during last elections. The ABVP still has to find its feet on the campus. Despite a costly affair during campaigning this year and adding the glamour of the Delhi University winning president and the secretary besides the Bollywood star Jatin Grewal, voters were not affected.

PUSU witnessed a heavy rush of the former president including Bhupinder Singh Bhuppi and Munish Anand and other supporters(Rohit Sharma, a presidential candidate earlier) which was also lacking in SOPU although two time president Dayal Pratap Singh Randhawa did make a late entry.

What makes PUSU click Why only Congress at PU

The Panjab University Students Union and its closest rival the Students Organisation of Panjab University are known to be backed by Congress workers. The majority of influences on the two parties are from members of the Panjab University Senate. Interestingly, the official Congress student organisation, NSUI, has no standing on the campus.

The main reason is that the student politics on the campus is largely dominated by students from affluential families of the state and few have made any name in the academic field. ‘’Punjabiat’’ reigns supreme on the campus, although students from Haryana and Himachal have added their distinct identities, particularly from the past few years.

During days of no election( days of terrorism in Punjab), Kuljit Singh Nagra, then PUSU chairman, was the only voice of students on the campus for more than a decade and it established itself as the real party. The SOPU came in as the first alternative with similar leadership. The election results have always shifted between the two groups constantly, since then.

The Congress in one form or the other is the only ruling students’ organisation on the campus from the of the elections. The main reason is that the organisation is backed by fellows of the Senate from the same organisation. PUSU despite claiming itself a non-aligned students’ organisation is flooded with names which have the Congress stamp.

The old student leaders, including Mr Anmol Rattan Sidhu and Dr Ajaib Singh are known Congress workers. Kuljit Singh Nagra, the biggest name in PUSU, after Makhan Singh is now an office-bearer with the Congress. A former president Rajinder Singh Deepa and Mr Pawan Valecha, a Fellow and Mr Ashok Goyal are known Congress supporters.

Munish Anand, a former president of the student council, also joined NSUI, the official Congress student organisation at one point of time. Another council president Bhupinder Singh Bhuppi is also openly working for the party these days.

From the biggest opposition camp Mr Gopal Krishan Chatrath, known patron of SOPU, is a known Congress party worker.



Bitter-sweet taste for factions in colleges
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 1
Excitement and anticipation among college students finally ended with the declaration of results by respective polling committees of various colleges this afternoon.

The polling started at 10 am this morning amid tight security measures, including deployment of police force at the gates to check unwanted entry. Most of the colleges witnessed peaceful polling with lavish last-minute campaign modules that included some supporters carrying huge balloons with colourful posters on them. The counting began at 1 pm in majority of the colleges.

While the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad made a clean sweep in DAV College, Sector 10, bagging all four major posts, the other parties i.e the Students Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) and Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) had a mixed luck. Vikash Kaushik of the ABVP beat his rival Gurpreet Singh for the post of president. The other successful ABVP candidates include Karanbir Singh Mann as vice-president, Arun Dhiman as secretary and Samson Waikhom as joint secretary.

Election this year in Government College saw more than overwhelming response as it came after a gap of three years. Harpal Singh Bedi representing Government College Students Union (GCSU) was elected president, while Vijaiyinder Katoch of PUSU and Maninder Singh of the GCSU bagged the posts of vice-president and general secretary, respectively. Another candidate of PUSU, Devinder Singh, was elected joint secretary.

Girls’ colleges, where Divali spirit outweighed election spirit, saw lukewarm response today. In the Government College for Girls, Sector 11, most of the students had left the hostels to celebrate Divali back home. Rupinder Kaur was elected president, while Sunita Sharma bagged the post of vice-president. The other winning candidates were Ambika Sharma as general secretary and Gagandeep Kaur as joint secreatry.

SOPU made a clean sweep at the Government College for Girls, Sector 34, with all four major posts going to them. Rimmy was elected president and Harmaninder Kaur become vice-president. The others who were elected from the party were Tapinder Dev as secretary and Gayatri as joint secretary. GCG-42 recorded a voter turnout of 443, which according to sources is an all-time low.

In the other two women colleges Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45 and MCM DAV College, Sector 36, students contested the election independently. In Dev Samaj College, Jaskaran Preet Kaur Bhatia was elected president, Suruchi vice-president , Ramanjeet Kaur secretary and Saranjeet Kaur joint secretary. In MCM DAV, Rauchi Kaushal won the election uncontested, while Nidhi Bishnoi was elected as vice-president, Satwinder Kaur Makkar secretary and Shefali Kularia joint secretary.

Polling at SGGS Khalsa College, Sector 26, witnessed a lathi charge by the police. The losing presidential candidate, Sunil Kumar, said he was beaten up by the police while protesting against the college for not having allowed his supporters to enter the campus despite having I-cards. The college authorities said the cards were not properly attested. Ranbir Singh Grewal won the elections. The “harassed” candidates forwarded a letter to the office of the Vice-Chancellor and said they would approach the court. Students alleged “partial” behaviour by the college authorities, which has been vehemently denied.


Industrialist commits suicide
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 1
A local industrialist reportedly committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance at his Sector 16 residence in Chandigarh last evening.

R.C. Jain (61) left a suicide note addressed to “all those who were connected” with him at the residence of his business partner Mr Chandra Mohan in Sector 36.

Mr R.C. Jain was the Managing Director of Twentyfirst Century Battery Limited, that started operations in the Industrial Area Phase 3A here on September 24 this year. Mr Chandra Mohan, a leading industrialist of the city is the chairman of the company.

According to the information provided by the police the death of Jain is a case of suicide as the note he left clearly states that he has no grudge or complaints against anyone. According to the police, Mr Chandra Mohan reported to the police last night and stated in a written note that he had received Jain’s suicide note when he reached home from SAS Nagar in the evening. He also informed that Jain had not come to office yesterday.

Jain’s wife, Aruna was away to Ludhiana for the day visiting her relatives and on returning found him lying in the guest room. She raised an alarm after she realised that he was not sleeping and called relatives and friends. Jain’s body has been taken to Sector 16 for post-mortem. The deceased’s son and daughter are settled in the USA and will be arriving tonight.


HoDs asked to submit lists of ‘inefficient’ staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
A circular of the Chandigarh Administration has asked all Heads of the Department to make two lists of employees who are aged above 50 and 55 years, respectively, and are not working satisfactorily.

This circular is under Government of India instructions to keep a list of employees, who are not performing well. Senior Chandigarh Administration officials clarified that there is no drive of sorts to sack employees. It is just a routine matter. Sources said this was the first time that HoD’s had been asked to prepare such lists of employees who may not be doing very well.

The Government of India says employees, who are found to be not working satisfactorily, should be retired compulsorily from service. The terms and conditions of retirement or the benchmarks, if any, for poor performance are not mentioned in the circular of the Chandigarh Administration.

A large part of the middle level officialdom in the Administration comprises deputationists from Punjab and Haryana. The UT cadre employees are largely class II, class III and Class IV employees. In the past few years the Government of India has been laying stress on downsizing of governments. In Chandigarh this rule may not be that applicable as several of the departments are under-staffed while others are over-staffed.


ITO held for taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 1
Sleuths of the Central Bureau of Investigations today nabbed an Income Tax Officer and an Inspector in Income Tax department here, allegedly for demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs. 3000. Sources in the CBI informed that Inspector Jai Prakash Verma and ITO Govind Ram Gera of Ward No. 3, Panchkula, were caught red- handed by a team of the CBI led by a Deputy Superintendent of Police from the Income Tax Office in Sector 2 here about 5 pm.

The duo had demanded bribe from the wife of the complainant, a resident of Sector 21 here. The woman had filed Income Tax return, but inadvertently did not mention the nature of business. The two accused were harassing the assessee for this lapse and threatening her that she could " end up in jail for this lapse."

The complainant had recently approached the CBI and a trap was laid for the two accused. After the complainant handed over bribe money to the accused in presence of two sleuths , they counted the money and kept them in their pockets. The CBI then seized the money and arrested the two. They have been booked under relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act. 


Rs 100 cr canal water project plan for Mohali
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 1
The Public Works Department, Punjab, in collaboration with the Punjab Urban Development and Planning Authority (PUDA) has planned a project that will bring water to the tune of 40 million gallons per day (mgd) to this township from the Bhakra main line canal’s Kajauli water works. This canal water project complete with a water treatment plant will cost the state a whopping Rs 100 crore.

SAS Nagar is one of the few urban areas of Punjab which due to its peculiar geographical location is moving towards an acute shortage of drinking water with the situation becoming alarming enough for the authorities to start holding special meetings to discuss the matter and find immediate solutions. In a special meeting of Mr Bir Devinder Singh, MLA, Kharar, Mr Yashvir Mahajan, ACA, PUDA and President MC, Mr Kulwant Singh, held here yesterday , it has been decided:

* Mohali residents will have to bear longer water cuts.
* Municipal Council has been asked to appeal to the residents to reduce wastage of drinking water.
* PUDA will sink two more tubewells in Sector 71
* Three new tubewells, one each in Industrial Area Phase IX, Phase X and XI have been tendered for by the MC.
* Rs 1.28 lakh has been released for the construction of a pipeline from the main line to Mataur village by the MC.

Two pipelines of 20 mgd each will be directed towards SAS Nagar from Kajauli through a water treatment plant being set up in Badh Majra/Bahlolpur. While the land for the laying of these pipelines has been acquired by the government, work will start shortly on the first pipeline. The 90 acre land for the water treatment plant is, however, yet to be acquired.

The laying of the two pipelines will cost Rs 56 crore and will be in addition to the four-phase canal water project of supplying water to Chandigarh from Kajauli. While work on three of the four pipelines to Chandigarh has been completed, the work on the fourth is still underway.

This decision has been taken following an alarming situation that has been projected regarding the drinking water situation in the township in the coming years. According to sources, the total demand of drinking water here is 18.4 mgd and is expected to go up to 23 mgd in the next five years.

Currently part of this demand is being met by two sources — 7.5mgd of water is being received as share from the water supply to Chandigarh from Kajauli headwork, approximately 5mgd is generated from the tubewells operating in the various sectors here.

The problem of water shortage has started as most of these tubewells have started drying up and the daily discharge of water has gone done by almost 50 per cent. The problem has already started surfacing in Phases 1 to 7 as these have the oldest tubewells that have been in operation for almost 10 years, the daily discharge of water has gone down from approximately 17000 gallons per hour to 7000 gallons an hour. Sources also state that in some areas, which are on a gradient, the tubewells do not last even 10 years and some of the new ones in Sector 71 are already showing signs of declining water levels.

The situation according to the authorities is indeed alarming and the ‘‘Kajauli project will now be our top most priority.’’ says the MLA from Kharar, Mr Bir Devinder Singh. 


Burial ground to be developed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
The Sector 25 burial ground for Muslims will see an improvement in its condition with local MP Pawan Bansal sanctioning Rs 3.5 lakh from the MP Local Area Development Fund.

Mr Bansal wrote a letter to Deputy Commissioner M. Ramsekhar on October 29 releasing the amount for filling up the low-lying areas, landscaping, making a provision for a water tank and improving the existing dilapidated structure being used as the maulana’s residence and for community purposes.

The MP released the funds following an appeal from the community leaders to improve the burial ground’s condition.

A team of councillors, including Congress Leader in the Municipal Corporation Subhash Chawla and officials, this week visited the burial ground to see its condition.

The officials made an estimate of requirements, following which the MP released the amount.

During the visit, the team saw the bad condition of the building with seepage and worn-out electricity wires. Mr Chawla also asked corporation officials to remove the wild grass growing in the area.

Muslim leaders communicated to the corporation that with the filling up of depressions, the ground would create an extra space for burying the dead.


Create new division, demand employees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
The state government should set up a new dam design organisation to the execute work on the existing multipurpose projects and construction of new dams. There was no justification in retrenching the employees, who had contributed to the state economy and were still capable of enriching the state economy, said Mr Sucha Singh Mattu, president, Ranjit Sagar Dam Design Employees Co-ordination Committee (Pb), Chandigarh, here yesterday.

After presenting a memorandum to Mr Harchand Singh Barsat, Political Secretary of the Punjab chief minister, he said: “The government should accept the demands of the employees otherwise they would be forced to intensify their agitation.’’

According to union leaders as per the original plan, three other downstream dams are to be constructed on the Ravi. These include 168 MW, Shahpur Kandi Project, 57 MW, Shahpur Kandi Extension Hydel project and 75 MW Ravi UBDC Hydel Project. However, the state government had decided, they added, to disband the dam design division in a phased manner. About 40 per cent of the engineers and other staff in that division had already retired over the past few years. Now the government had decided to formally abolish all the vacant posts.

The union leaders urged the state government to consider the problems of the employees in the wider interest of dam and state. Mr Barast assured the union leaders that a meeting would be soon arranged with the state Chief Minister to sort out the matter. 


Shenoy for open labour policy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
Dr P.D. Shenoy, Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, visited the office of the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner here yesterday. He was welcomed by Mr A.D. Nagpal, member CBT EPFO and president of the All-India EPF Staff Federation, and Mr N.N. Sharma, Regional Provident Fund Commissioner of Punjab and the UT.

Dr Shenoy talked about the role of social partners being played by trade unions, workers/employers and government in providing social security and implementing labour laws, including the EPF and MP Act of 1952.

He said he believed in an open-mind and open-door policy. The growth of the organisation should see the huge uncovered working population being brought under the social-security cover. This would provide the organisation with an opportunity to benefit workers in a manner that won their confidence and trust. He praised the role being played by the CBT members and the Chief Executive of the EPFO.

Mr Nagpal brought to his notice the problems being faced in securing compliance in the unorganised sector in Punjab. He stressed the need for making workers aware of the scheme and provisions and obligations of employers, for better dispensation of social-security benefits.


Krishak Samaj activists hold havan in jail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
Activists of the Haryana Krishak Samaj and the Haryana Kisan-Khet Mazdoor Congress (HKKMC), who had courted arrest here yesterday, performed a “yajna” in Burail Jail today, where they had been lodged.

While the “purohit” was a former MLA, Mr Roshan Lal Arya, the “yajmans” were about 40 activists, including Mr Shamsher Singh Surjewala and Mr Tejinder Pal Mann, presidents of the samaj and the HKKMC, respectively.

The “yajna” was performed to reiterate the commitment of the activists to continue their struggle against the Chautala government’s move to open casinos in the state and to demand a CBI inquiry into the killings of five Dalits.

The Leader of Opposition, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, along with Dr Raghbir Singh Kadian met the arrested activists. 


Babu Parmanand opens CII fair
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
The CII Chandigarh Fair was formally inaugurated by Haryana Governor Babu Parmanand at Parade Ground today. The Governor, who went around the stalls, interacted extensively with exhibitors.

Sprawling over an area of 16, 000 sq m in Parade Ground, the infrastructure and support services of the mega event unfortunately come to the fore today. In a freak accident, a visitor was injured when a plastic water tank fell on him. The injured was immediately rushed to a hospital in a first aid vehicle. The accident occurred in a stall near one of the gates.

The Governor, accompanied by the first lady of Haryana, Ms Sudesh Kumari, was received by the CII (NR) Chairman, Mr S.K. Bijlani, the CII Chandigarh Council Chairman, Mr Y. Saboo, and a host of senior CII members and industrialists.

Seventh in the series, the fair started yesterday. Over 250 companies are showcasing their products in six focussed expositions covering categories including IT, communication, automobiles, banking, finance, investments, consumer durables, and healthcare.

The fair has some interesting highlights too. While the display of vintage cars of yesteryear is drawing good crowds, rock band ‘Taan-Triks’ will perform on Saturday and Sunday.

Sony Vision exhibition is proving to be a major draw for electronics enthusiasts. The special attraction here is the live demo of the company’s latest range of car audios.


PNB presents high-tech gadgets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
Punjab National Bank has presented its high-tech banking gadgets at its informative stall in Finmart section of the CII Consumer Fair. Mr Harwant Sngh, Zonal Manager, PNB Northern zone, Chandigarh, inaugurated the exhibition stall of PNB. With high-tech PNB theme, the bank is giving live demonstration of how-to-use the ATM, tele-banking and tele-faxing facilities available at its branches.

Coins of various denominations are being provided to the large number of visitors through coin dispenser machine, mini packs of coins are also available.

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