Wednesday, January 22, 2003, Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Govt apathy leaves students in the cold
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, January 21
Completely indifferent towards the plight students huddled together to keep themselves warm on hard wooden benches, the authorities have not cared to ensure replacement of broken windowpanes in some government schools in the city and villages around it to prevent chilly winds from increasing their discomfort.

This is not all. The students are forced to study in dimly-lit rooms on foggy mornings as low-wattage bulbs in classrooms fail to drive away the darkness. On sunny days the classes are held in the open for “the convenience of students and the teachers”, but on bleak cloudy days — the students have to strain their eyes to be able to read.

Letters and representations reportedly addressed to the Education Department by the school authorities have failed to evoke any response, at least that is what the staff of the affected institutes claim on condition of anonymity.

“Don’t quote us please, least we lose our jobs”, requests teachers instructing the students in the classrooms with shattered doors and broken windowpanes.

Education Department officials, in an attempt to pass the buck, claim that repair work is the job of the Engineering Department. Senior Officers in the Engineering Department assert that executive engineers are responsible for replacing the windowpanes and carrying out other repair work. The executive engineers, on the other hand, blame school principals for not informing them about the matter in time.

All government schools, after remaining closed for a few days due to the prevailing cold wave conditions, resumed regular classes last week, but apparently little was done to keep the chill out of the classrooms. Even as some private schools in the city have installed electric heaters and blowers in classrooms, little has been done to ensure that government school students are kept reasonably warm.

A visit to government schools in the city and surrounding villages brought to the fore the sorry state of affairs and utter callousness on the part of the authorities concerned. In a Sector 26 school, students could be seen rubbing hands in a desperate attempt to keep them warm.

It was the same in a school in Sector 19. Students shivered as blazers and sweaters failed to protect them from the cold breeze coming from windows with broken glasses.

The situation was worse in schools situated in Khuda Lahora and Khuda Jassu — less than 2 km from the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research. Low boundary walls failed to resist to the chilly gust, forcing the students to huddle together three on a bench.

“The broken windowpanes were replaced over a year back, just before the UT Administrator’s visit,” a teacher revealed. “Nothing was done after that though we have been writing letters after letters to the authorities”.

Denying the allegations, District Education Officer Rajesh Chaudhary said: ‘’The principals of all government schools are issued directions time and again to check the conditions of schoolbuildings before the winter session begins. In case of major problems, the principals have to write to the Education Department or to the maintenance wing of the Engineering Department responsible for carrying out repairs in all government schools. Minor repair work is the responsibility of the principals”.

Executive Engineer S.L Bhandari, on the other hand, asserts: ‘’We have set up booths in different sectors where the school authorities can complain. It is their responsibility to inform us. Otherwise too our staff carries out repair work after conducting periodical inspections. As of now, I am not aware of any such problem”.


Probe says Section 307 was unnecessary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
A departmental inquiry into a two-month-old incident of assault by the son of UT DSP on a resident of Sector 38 has indicated that the Section of attempt to murder included in the First Information Report (FIR) was unnecessary. A case under Sections 307, 452, 323, 147 and 148 of the IPC had been registered against Sanjeev, alias Sonu, on December 8 last.

The inquiry has been conducted by the Superintendent of Police, City, Mr Baldev Singh. The SP was, however, not available for comment. The inquiry has reportedly been sent to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Chandigarh, Mr Gaurav Yadav.

The victims, Anant and his brother-in-law, Achhardeep Singh, had alleged that Sanjeev, along with his six friends, allegedly attacked them at their Sector 38 residence with a sickle and other sharp-edged weapons. Anand suffered a head injury.

Acting on information, officials of the Sector 39 police station arrested the son of DSP, Om Parkash. The injured were admitted to General Hospital, Sector 16. The reason behind the alleged attack was said to be Sanjeev’s ‘‘affair” with a neighbour of Anant. Mr Achhardeep too, was attacked and he received injuries on his head and palms, while Anant received injuries on his arm. Anant and Achhardeep Singh managed to catch hold of Sanjeev while the others escaped. Later, Sanjeev was locked in a room and the police was called.

Mr Janak Raj Singh, father of Anant, alleged that Sanjeev and his father were putting pressure on the police. However, the police registered a case under Sections 307, 452, 323, 147 and 148 of the IPC.

The then SSP, Mr Parag Jain, had assured the matter would be thoroughly investigated. The DSP had lodged a complaint with the IGP, alleging that his son had been targeted as the SHO had a grudge against him.


Surprise checks on scrap dealers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
Suspecting that unfired mortar shells and grenades could be lying in the yards of scrap dealers in the city, the police today carried surprise checks at the shops of scrap dealers in Burail village. Such surprise search operations would continue at other places in the city in the coming days. The search operations are being carried out by the operation cell in coordination with the police station concerned. No mortar shell or grenade has been found so far.

An official said it had been observed that in the past junk dealers purchased scrap along with mortar shells. Some incidents of mortar shells exploding in the yards of scrap dealers had been reported in Panchkula. A senior police official said the surprise checking was part of the preparedness for the coming Republic Day. 


SU-30 squadron to move to city
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
For those familiar with the sight and sound of combat aircrafts flying over the city, there would soon be a perceptible difference in the silhouette of the airframe and the thunder of engines. For it would be the mighty SU-30, the IAF’s frontline fighter, that would be flying over the city.

The Chandigarh airbase is now set to be the new home of this awesome fighting machine. A squadron of SU-30 is being shifted to Chandigarh and the MiG 21 squadron which was based here earlier has been re-located elsewhere.

At present, two IAF squadrons, No. 20 and 24 are equipped with SU-30, aircraft. Both are based at Lohegaon airbase near Pune. With Russia having delivered 10 more aircraft during the past few months, a third squadron is in the process of being re-equipped with this aircraft.

“We are getting more SU-30 fighters and all of these cannot be based at Pune, which is becoming overcrowded,” an IAF officer said. Besides the two SU-30 squadrons, a squadron of Jaguars, tasked for maritime strike in support of the Navy, is also based there.

IAF officers, however, are tight-lipped over the squadron’s movements. They insist that Chandigarh would only be a peacetime location for the SU-30 squadron, with its operational commitments being elsewhere.

SU-30s are no strangers to Chandigarh or for that matter, the skies over north India. Though based in the south, the aircraft have visited Chandigarh several times since their induction into the IAF in 1997. SU-30s forming a part of the Republic Day flypast over Rajpath in Delhi have operated from the Chandigarh airbase.

It may be pertinent to mention here that a few months ago, the IAF had carried out trails at Leh to evaluate the SU-30’s suitability to operate from high altitude airfields. The MIG-29 has already been cleared to operate from the Leh airfield, which is situated at an altitude of over 10,000 feet.

With the SU-30’s range and armament carrying capability along with the imminent induction of aerial refuelling tankers , the power projection capability and the ability to reach deep inside the hostile territory can well be imagined.

The IAF is also engaged in improving the aircraft’s navigational and weapon aiming systems, along with increasing its ability for operating precision guided munitions. It has also been reported that the indigenous BrahMos supersonic cruise missile may be integrated with the SU-30.


PU exams need streamlining
Sanjeev S. Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
Handling the “quality” of question papers and evaluation process at PU still needs adequate care. This is despite the fact that the university has made commendable progress in timely declaration of the examination results during the past couple of sessions.

Each year the university continues to be flooded with complaints of ‘out of syllabus question papers’. The university repeatedly decides to give ‘grace marks ‘ to the affected students. Dissatisfaction of students with the original marking is evident from the number of re-evaluation of cases each year. To make the matters worse there are a sizable numbers of results that show a variation of more than five per cent marks compared to the original results.

The university has studied the matter at different levels and expressed its ‘concerns’. The issue figured once again at the Syndicate meeting of the university recently where minutes of the Revising Committee were taken up. Prof K.N.Pathak, the Vice-Chancellor, in his opening statement in the committee meeting had said ‘success of examination depends on the quality of question papers set by the paper-setters as well as the evaluation done by the evaluators’.

Principal Tarsem Bahia pointed out ‘ sometimes seniority of the teachers is ignored by the Board of Studies and a teacher with lesser experience was recommended as the paper-setter.’ Principal Bahia said there should be a seniority-wise roaster and paper setters should be appointed according to seniority.

Importantly, he said “paper-setters against whom there were complaints and who were debarred for a specific period should not be included on the roasters”.

Principal P.S. Sangha said ‘ lower rate of payment to paper setters is the main reason of their refusal for accepting the offer to be paper-setters.’ The Syndicate approved the names of paper-setters as have been recommended by the Vice-Chancellor earlier.

It is a well-known fact that a sizeable number of teachers abstain from examination related duty that includes paper setting, invigilation and evaluation. It is felt that being paid less for ‘paper-setting or evaluation’ was not a genuine reason for teachers to abstain from duties. Infact the university should consider a proposal to make all examination duties mandatory for teachers.

Professor Pathak had suggested in the meeting “ information should be obtained regarding the rates of payments to the paper-setters of Guru Nanak Dev University, Delhi University and Punjabi University. The matter then will be brought to the notice of the university Syndicate.”


UT police move to improve image
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
Corporate culture seems to be catching on in the Chandigarh Police. For providing better services in the woman and child support wing, the UT police is seeking ISO 9001:2000 certification from the National Productivity Council (NPC) of the Union Government. This would be a unique experiment in the country, particularly in a police department, to improve the image of the local police.

A six-month training programme, exclusively for the woman and child support wing of the Chandigarh Police, began here today for the purpose. Initiated by the NPC, an undertaking of the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industries, the training programme aims at providing better service qualities.

Mr Arun Kumar Singh, Senior Consultant of the NPC who would be conducting the training programme, told TNS that this experiment, first of its kind in a police department, would not only help to improve quality of work but also help to develop shared vision, teamwork and target-oriented results.

“It would be a constant learning process for individuals in this particular wing of the UT Police in developing an atmosphere of tolerance, healthy competition, self-control, positive thinking/attitude, sense of responsibility and adoption of best servicing practices,” he said.

During the lecture session, Mr Arun Kumar Singh asked the police personnel to identify public requirements, analyse the records or facts properly and then improve the quality of functioning. The identification and implementation of corrective and preventive actions ensure all-round quality improvement, cost-optimisation and waste minimisation.

The training programme would comprise daily lecture session for at least 45 days and then weekly or bi-weekly interaction programmes accordingly. There would be an internal audit by trained in-house staff and then external audit of the whole exercise by the Bureau of Indian Standards, the certifying agency, before finally awarding the ISO 9001:2000 certification to the woman and child support unit of the UT Police.

The SP (Operations), Chandigarh, Mr HGS Dhaliwal, said the certification would enable the Police Department to provide better services to the affected parties. It would ensure transparency and public-police interaction.

Other major clients of the NPC include Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation Limited, Punjab Alkalis and Chemicals Limited, Punjab State Electronics Development and Production Corporation Limited, Bajaj Auto Limited, International Tractors and many other enterprises. 


Sikh body for panel to monitor publications
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
The Chandigarh chapter of the Sikh Core Group, which raised the issue of objectionable references in the NCERT textbooks about “wrong” representation of facts about Gurus, inviting the SGPC President Kirpal Singh Bandungar’s reaction, has demanded from Mr Badungar the constitution of a permanent committee for regularly monitoring various publications.

At its meeting held here today, the group asked Mr Badungar to constitute a body of scholars to check any wrong representation of facts regarding the Sikh history and philosophy. The group appreciated Mr Badungar’s statement against “misrepresentation” of facts in the NCERT textbooks but indicated that to avert any future wrong references, a committee of scholars was required under the aegis of the SGPC.

The committee also appreciated the SGPC for announcing the implementation of the Nanakshahi calender from April, urging the Sikh parliament to adopt the Nanakshahi calender developed by Canadian scholar Pal Singh Purewal. The group demanded that Mr Purewal be suitably honoured for his contribution towards Sikhism.

The group urged the Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti to revive an umbrella organisation of scholars at the global level for evolving a consensus on Sikh affairs of far-reaching consequences.

It urged Mr Vedanti to stick to the formulation of the Nanakshahi calender developed by Mr Purewal. The group said that the SGPC had also approved the calender developed by Mr Purewal.

Dr Gurcharan Singh, Principal Gurbax Singh Shergill, Dr Gurcharan Singh Kalkat, Brigadier Gurdip Singh (retd), Dr Gurmit Singh, General Jaswant Singh (retd), Dr Kharak Singh, Dr Kirpal Singh, Mohinder Singh, Col Parminder Singh (retd) and Dilawar Singh from the USA attended the meeting.


Panchkula MC chief to be from general category
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 21
The post of President of the Panchkula Municipal Council was declared a general category seat during a draw of lots held by the Urban Development Department at the Municipal Council office in Sector 4 here this evening.

The draw of lots for 16 municipal committees/municipal councils in the state was held today. While two seats were reserved each for SC, SC women and BC category (one each was reserved for BC women and BC category. The draw of lots was held in the presence of Additional Director, Urban Development, Mr N.K. Singla, and SDM, Panchkula, Mr Inder Singh.

The post of President of Kalayat, Haili Mandi, Pataudi, Tavra, Narnaund, Indri, Uchana, Bahadurgarh and Pinjore, including Panchkula was declared a general category seat.

With the Urban Development Department now having decided on the total reserved seats, the notification for elections is likely to be issued within the next one month. Once this is done, elected councillors will be sworn in. This would then pave the way for selection of presidents.


Amritsar, Hisar coldest in plains

Chandigarh, January 21
Dense fog at many places in Punjab and Haryana continued to play spoilsport, disrupting rail and road traffic with Amritsar and Hisar recording similar minimum temperatures at 2.0°C.

After declaring the closure of schools for a brief period keeping in view the harsh climatic conditions, the Chandigarh Administration once again decided to push back the timings of the government schools by 30 minutes from today.

According to the Met Department, a thick blanket of fog engulfed several stations, including Jammu, Bathinda, Amritsar, Pathankot, Halwara, Sirsa, Ambala and Chandigarh.

The night here was, however, warmer by two degrees than yesterday at 4.4°C, while the neighbouring town of Ambala also recorded a two degree below-normal minimum temperature at 4.6°C.

Bhuntar and Sundernagar in Himachal Pradesh groaned under piercing cold as both towns recorded sub-zero minimum temperatures. Shimla was once again much warmer in comparison recording a low of 8.6°C, up by seven degrees.

People in most parts of the Kashmir valley received no respite from cold as mercury dropped by a degree at Srinagar recording a low of minus 2.5°C while Jammu at a low of 3.3°C was down by six degrees from normal. With four more persons being killed in road accidents due to poor visibility in Punjab, the death toll in the state, besides Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, rose to 61 since January 1. PTI, UNI


Enforcement panel to seek suggestions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
A seven-member Enforcement Committee for evolving a policy has been constituted in the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh under the chairmanship of Mr Pardeep Chhabra.

Other members of the committee are: Mr Surinder Singh, Mr Balraj Singh, Mr Jitender Bhatia, Ms Amar Kulwant Singh, Ms Harpreet Kaur Babla and Mr Gian Chand Gupta. A decision to this effect was taken in the House meeting held in October. However, the committee was notified on December 31 but members got the information late.

The committee at its introductory meeting held here today decided to seek suggestions from traders and the public, including residents welfare associations, for encroachment removal and surveillance apart from curtailing "corruption" in the Enforcement Department.

This is the second time a committee for this purpose has been set up. The first committee had been constituted under the chairmanship of Mr Subhash Chawla, the then Leader of the Congress in the House. The first committee had a couple of sittings but could not provide any guidance for improvement in the position of encroachment. After the constitution of the first committee rotation of six months for enforcement staff had been started to stem the corruption in the department.

The committee today asked the member secretary-cum-Tehsildar, Mr Bhagwan Dass Bishnoi, to provide details of deployment of the staff by the first week of February when the second meeting of the committee is scheduled.

Mr Chhabra-led committee also sought minutes of the proceedings of the last committee's sittings and suggestions from each member to improve the functioning of the crucial department of the Municipal Corporation. Mr Chhabra also sought a report on a newspaper report that the staff was busy in "hafta" collection.


Inquiry marked in harassment case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
The SSP of Chandigarh police, Mr Gaurav Yadav, has marked an inquiry into the incident of ‘harassment’ of a woman Constable Rajni Bala by a policeman of Sector-19 police station.

The woman Constable, Rajni Bala, who was transferred from woman and child support wing to Sector-19 police station yesterday when called up the police station to report on duty, she overheard someone (later identified) “commenting” on her.

The constable, who appeared before the SSP this morning, complained about the incident and demanded action against the guilty.

It is learnt that the SSP called up an official of the local police immediately and asked him to record her ‘verbal’ statement and inquire into the matter.


Truck owners get compensation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
The Army has paid Rs 3.16 crore as compensation to truck owners, whose 154 vehicles were destroyed in a fire at Bikaner on January 12 last year.

A press note issued by the defence wing said here today that 161 civil trucks hired by the Army authorities were destroyed in the fire.


NCC cadets suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
The NCC authorities today suspended five cadets who were picked by the police yesterday for allegedly smoking a narcotic drug at a public place.

According to Cdr Gursharan Singh, they had shown conduct unbecoming of NCC cadets.


One killed, 3 hurt in road mishaps
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 21
One person was killed and three others were injured in two separate road accidents in different parts of the district today.

Thirty five-year-old Mohammad Anwar was killed when his Santro car (HR-03D-9417) fell into a gorge on the Morni-Raipur Rani road. The victim, who was dealing in poultry products, was on his way to arrange for eggs to be transported to Bareilly. He was residing in Sector 4 here and is survived by his wife and two children.

In another accident, a truck (HR-37A-0714) carrying gravel overturned near ITBP Complex, Bhanu, at around 4 pm today. Three persons, including the driver, received serious injuries. The truck was coming from Barwala and was on way to Panchkula, when the accident took place. With gravel spread all over National Highway-73, traffic remained disrupted for over one hour.

ITBP personnel, led by Subedar Major Rattan Chand and Inspector Bhagwati Prasad, rushed to the spot and immediately began to evacuate the injured persons. The injured were rushed to a private hospital after first-aid.


82 pirated VCDs seized
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
The Chandigarh Police seized 82 pirated VCDs from a shop in Sector 22 here this evening. According to the information available, an agency guarding the copyrights of Bollywood films had complained to the police that certain shops in the city were selling pirated VCDs of some recently released Hindi movies.

On the information, the CIA wing of the police conducted a raid at VK Video Gift Shop in Sector 22 and arrested Naresh Kumar. The pirated VCDs were being sold for Rs 100 each. All 82 VCDs were seized by the police.

A case under the Copyright Act has been registered.


ARRESTED: Hans Raj, a resident of Bhagsi village, was arrested by the police while carrying 80 pouches of country-made liquor, here last night.

Following a tip-off, the police managed to nab him on the Dera Bassi-Barwala road, carrying the liquor in a scooter (PB-70-3986).

The police also impounded the scooter and a case under the Excise Act has been registered against him in the Dera Bassi police station.


Aesthetic Bengal comes calling
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
At a time when inclination towards arts is on the decline, certain organisations committed to the cause of aesthetics are engaged in a battle for preservation of culture.

Among the many bodies working in this direction, Karuja in West Bengal is contributing its bit to the revival of dying arts, while following a strategy to promote eco-friendly crafts. Bardhaman district in West Bengal, which serves as headquarters for Karuja, is full of many lines of crafts. A section of these crafts have now been brought to the City Beautiful.

More a show of heritage than a formal exhibition, the West Bengal’s display is delightful in more ways than one. The high point of the show is its rooting in tradition. Every product being shown at the exhibition, that forms part of the golden jubilee celebrations of the resurgence of handicrafts in India, reflects the grandeur and passion which works wonders for artisans at the Crafts Village in Bardhaman.

Spread over 5.3 acres of land in Malkita village (close to Bardhaman), the Crafts Village, supported by Kajura, is home to many a celebrated art and craft traditions of the land.

Many of the items brought to the city belong to an era gone by. Dokra art is one of the many rare arts which are being pursued at the level of Kajura. Made out of brass metal, Dokra works are unique in the sense that each work of art emerges out of a single metal casting. The moulds are specific to every work and have to be discarded after the work comes to life. Bapi Kormokar of the Crafts Village is in Chandigarh for a verbal demonstration of the art form which has brought Bengal to the crafts map of India.

Terracota is another form, rich in themes and execution. However, Kajura team has not brought many terracota works to town. Wood carving is yet another area of interest. Not only have the artisans lent form to dead wood, but also created many musical instruments out of wood. Tapan Bhaskar, the attending wood carving artiste explained the nuances of wood carving.

Shola (pithwork) is the most attractive of the lot and also the most expensive. The works of art in this form are created out of layers obtained from shola stem, found in abundance in the coastal areas of West Bengal. Ashish Malakar is the master pith worker who is attending the show. Cane and leather products have been brought by Sanjoy Das and Dyal Das, respectively.

Where on the one hand art works lend a visual edge to the exhibition, inaugurated this evening by Mr Abhijit Chatterjee, News Editor, The Tribune, at the Trade Centre, in Sector 22, crafts from West Bengal further enriched the display. As always, the counter for kantha was the most frequented. Developed and fed for ages by master craftspersons of West Bengal, kantha is an internationally- recognised craft.

Not only has it made to the most prestigious shows of crafts across the country, it has also found home in many museums of the country. Aparna Shah and Beauty Khatoon from the Crafts village have brought the tradition to an urban location once again. 

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