Saturday, March 29, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Sushma opens building with cracks
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
No doubt the PGI presented a good show on the inauguration of the Rs 8 crore National Institute of Nursing Education(NINE) by the Union Health Minister, Mrs Sushma Swaraj, but the rooms having cracks, incomplete and leaking bathrooms and no water connection has added to the woes of the staff here, who were asked to shift in a haste in connection with the minister’s visit.

Even the 10-year-long wait for the institute to come up after it was granted approval by the Planning Commission in 1992 has proved futile as it has brought in more inconvenience to the faculty, staff and students studying here. “She was only taken to the office of the Principal and parts of the hostel while the fact is that ever since we have shifted here we have to walk almost 1km to reach the old office to drink water or use the toilet,” said a faculty member.

It may be recalled that after allegations regarding the sub-standard construction material two years ago, samples were collected by the investigating agencies. "It is true that there were such reports but we are still awaiting the report of the samples,” said PGI Director, Prof S.K. Sharma, in the presence of Mrs Swaraj.

The walls of room No. 125, 215, 311 and 125 have big cracks, bathroom fittings are missing and there is dampness. The faculty were asked to move in even if it meant placing all files and books on the floor as there are no almirahs or book racks. “The entire record of the institute has been lying on the floor of the hall as there are no almirahs to place them,” said a worried staff member.

The laboratories, library and hostel have still not been shifted. The institute was partially furnished minus water and toilets, say staff members.

We were not very keen to shift to the institute but the PGI authorities insisted that this has to be done come what may as the minister would inaugurate it ,” said one of the students .

No doubt the beautifully designed sprawling campus of the institute will possibly be the best in the country with facilities like hostels, open air theatre, gymnasium, laundry and health club . While 204 residential units have been constructed in the first phase, there is provision for the construction of another 106.



Degrees given to 500 PGI doctors
Tribune News Service

Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Sushma Swaraj with doctors at the 25th annual convocation
Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Sushma Swaraj with doctors at the 25th annual convocation of the PGI in Chandigarh on Friday. — A Tribune photograph 

Chandigarh, March 28
Expressing concern over corruption in the health sector, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Sushma Swaraj today urged PGI staffers to shun personal jealousies and bickerings in the larger interest of the institute, which had an illustrious faculty and state-of-the-art equipment.

Speaking on the occasion of the PGI’s 25th annual convocation, she said a report in the International Transparency, indicating that there was maximum corruption in the health sector in India, was a matter of great shame. “Even if we accept that there is only 10 per cent corruption, it is just not acceptable. Health is a very noble profession, which requires dedication and honesty,” she said.

Referring to the kidney racket, female foeticide and taking of commission by those in the medical profession, she said while it was easy to make money, earning name by serving the sick and ailing was much more difficult. “I have a very long and close association with the PGI in different capacities, as patient, attendant and Health Minister in the Haryana Government. It pains to hear when anyone remarks that the PGI is no longer the same,” she remarked.

She further said, “You all are on the threshold of starting your career. Do not forget that for a patient, a doctor is like a god. Even if there is work pressure, serve with a smile and a cool head. Let us all use the 25th convocation to sit together and assess our weaknesses and strengths. It is only through team spirit that the standards for which the PGI is known can be maintained or even bettered.”

Praising PGI doctors for their dedication and hard work, she told the students that some of the best names in the medical field had spent their lifetime at PGI despite having best offers from other places and countries. “My mother died at the PGI and the way the doctors here tried to save her till the last minute won my respect and admiration for them,” she said.

She gave away 500 degrees to students who had completed their PhD, DM, MCh, MD, MS, MSc and other courses. Dr Sutapa Bandhyopadhyay was given the Kataria Memorial Gold Medal for 2001.



PGI to have Dean soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, march 28
Going by the indication given by the Union Health Minister, Mrs Sushma Swaraj, PGI, could soon have a new Dean, a post which fell vacant after the setting aside of a Special Leave Petition filed by the PGI in the Supreme Court in this regard.

“Calling the governing body meeting for selecting the new Dean is hardly a task and the sooner the vacant posts are filled the better it is,” she said in reply to a question as to how soon the appointment would be made.

She, however, added that a final decision in this regard was yet to be taken. Interestingly the manner in which the two contenders for the post, Prof R.J. Dash, head of Endocrinology and Prof Sudha, head of Radiology, were vying to catch the attention of the minister was rather too obvious.

Infact, Dr Dash who is the seniormost doctor at the PGI, conducted the proceedings both at the convocation as well as at the inauguration of the National Institute of Nursing Education. “ It appears that Dr Dash is emerging as the hot favourite for the post and in any case he is seniormost”, speculate PGI sources.

Dr Dash’s name is at number one in the seniority list followed by Dr Sarla Gopalan, Dr Sudha Suri and Dr Promila Chari. 



Sushma takes a trip down memory lane
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
“Panjab University balle balle, baaki saare thalle thalle,” said Mrs Sushma Swaraj, the Union Minister for Health and Family Planning, in a talk during her visit to the campus here today.

Taking a trip down memory lane, the nostalgic minister said she had visited universities in the USA, Japan and several other countries. However, her visit to PU reminded her of one of the “best time of her life”.

Mrs Swaraj asked the Population Research Centre of the university to undertake a research project on ‘Population stabilisation and the impact of incentives and disincentives for suatainable stabilisation of population’. Responding to Vice-Chancellor, K.N. Pathak request for starting dental college here, she asked the university to submit a proposal for the project.

Later talking to The Tribune Professor Pathak said that work on the project proposal had already commenced and a copy would soon be forwarded to the Health Ministry.

In response to a demand by the Population Research Centre, the minister announced that the ministry had already released the required funds.

Mrs Swaraj inaugurated the Arts Block VI on the campus. The three-storeyed building has a covered an area of 15,123 square feet and has been built at an approximate cost of Rs 54. 5 lakh.

Professor Pathak said that Mrs Swaraj was a student on the campus between 1970 and 1973. Besides being an excellent student she also won the prestigious K.K. Grover and A.C. Bali debate and declamation contests. She is also known for her participation in drama events.

Professor Pathak presented the latest publication of the Women’s Study Centre titled “Narratives from the Women Studies-Family Recreating Knowledge” edited by Dr Pam Rajput to the minister. Prof K.C. Kaistha, chairman of the Department of Sociology, made a presentation on the status and functioning of the Population Research Centre.



HC quashes orders to close down bazar 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
Quashing the orders directing the winding up of Super Bazar with about 50 outlets in and around the city, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today allowed a bunch of petitions filed by the employees.

The order is significant as the bazar was offering household goods to the residents at reasonable prices. Medicines were also sold over the counter at controlled rates in the hospitals and other parts of the city. Over 200 employees were depending upon the bazar for their livelihood.

Challenging the orders of winding up the bazar and the appointment of a liquidator, Hem Raj and other petitioners had earlier contended that the same were violative of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

Arguing on their behalf, the counsel for the petitioners had submitted that the orders were also against the principles of natural justice as the employees were asked to hand over the charge even though they were not at fault. No logical reason was given for arriving at the conclusion that the bazar was no longer serving public interest, he had added.

In a related petition, the Super Bazar Chandigarh Employees Union and other petitioners had stated that no scheme had been formulated to rehabilitate the employees terminated after serving for 30 to 35 years under the “effective control of the Registrar of Cooperative Societies”.

Opposing fresh recruitment of employees by the UT Administration, the Union members had added that instead of recruiting new candidates, the petitioners with clean service record should be considered for appointment in the Super Bazar.

They had further submitted that ever since the liquidator took over the control of the bazar, salaries, even subsistence amount or other allowances, had not been paid to the petitioners. The counsel had asserted that the bazar had been closed due to the mismanagement by the administration.

Pronouncing the orders in the open Court, the High Court held that the report submitted by the committee formulated by the Registrar of Co-operative Societies could not be termed as “investigation” as envisaged under the provisions of the relevant Act. The report as such could not have been relied upon by the Registrar while passing the impugned orders directing the winding up of the bazar, besides the appointment of the liquidator.



Constable suspended for assault
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 28
A constable posted at Sector 5 police station, Ishwar Singh, has been placed under suspension on charges of assaulting an employee of a doctor in Sector 18.
Constable Ishwar Singh had allegedly beaten up Singlesh Singh, employed as a compounder in Dr Naresh Mittal’s clinic in Sector 18. He had gone to the Sector 10 branch of the State Bank of India, opposite the bus stand, for depositing some money in the bank yesterday, when the incident took place.

Singlesh had alleged that he was stopped by the policeman posted at the roundabout dividing Sectors 10, 11, 4 and 5 and was asked to show the documents of his two-wheeler. He alleged that the constable abused him and on raising objecting he beat him up with his cane. Singlesh suffered injuries on his right arm. After undergoing a medical examination, he lodged a complaint with the Superintendent of Police, Mr Ranbir Singh Sharma.

Mr Sharma instituted an inquiry into the incident following which Ishwar Singh was placed under suspension.



MC not to lay off sweepers
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
The threat by the Sweepers Union of Chandigarh to lay a siege to the officers and councillors against the partial privatisation of sanitation in the city comes in clash with the promise of more jobs, less infrastructure and better delivery of the much condemned sanitation situation of the city.

Amid stiff opposition to the scheme by the sweepers union, the Mayor Mr Subash Chawla, has declared that the MC has no intentions to retrench the sweepers. Instead, the MC has ensured direct service opportunities to at least 700 persons at minimum wages recommended by the Union Government from time to time.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, the Mayor said the partial privatisation of sanitation work aimed at creating more job opportunities for the Valmiki community at minimum wages recommended by the Union Government, reducing the burden of work on the sweepers of the MC, making the city garbage bin free and above all reducing the financial burden incurred by the MC to develop own infrastructure for the purpose.

It may be mentioned that the Finance and Contracts Committee (F&CC) of the MC had on March 14 cleared the proposal of the privatisation of sanitation in 20 sectors, including colonies and four villages, through a single contract, ensuring direct employment to at least 700 local residents.

Besides this, it would be mandatory for the contractor to raise infrastructure needed for collecting garbage, said the Mr Chawla.

He said the contractor would have to purchase at least five tractor-trailers, 300 wheelbarrows and 250 handcart within 15 days of getting the contract. “This would help the MC to cut cost on raising the infrastructure”, he added.

Meanwhile, Pradeep Chhabra, a Congress Councillor, claimed that the scheme had been welcomed from all corners of the city. “The very idea of collecting garbage three times a day, is worth appreciation”, he said.

Even the Opposition councillors, Mr Rajesh Gupta and Mr Gian Chand Gupta of the BJP, Ms Harjinder Kaur of the SAD and Ms Harpreet Kaur of the CVM, have requested the MOH to start this scheme in their respective wards. Confirming this, a senior official of the MOH claimed that former Mayor Gian Chand had organised two meetings of the Resident Welfare Association in this regard.

When contacted, Mr Gupta said the idea of garbage bin free scheme would be beneficial for the city. Regarding the controversial issue of stiff opposition by the sweepers union, he said: “It is not a big problem.

It can be solved by sitting across the table and streamlining the terms and conditions.” He said instead of hiring a single contractor, the work should be distributed among the Resident Welfare Associations or the NGOs interested in doing the work. 



LPG refills sold on road
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

LPG cylinders in front of a shop at Zirakpur
LPG cylinders in front of a shop at Zirakpur on Friday. — A Tribune photograph

Dera Bassi, March 28
At Dera Bassi and Zirakpur on can buy an LPG refill from paan-wallahs, cycle repair shops, fruit sellers , kiryana shops, auto mechanics or from housewives. The sale is at a premium which varies between Rs 35 and Rs 40 per cylinder. The clandestine activity is carried out right under the nose of the police, the local Administration, oil companies and also the Food and Supplies Department on the Chandigarh-Delhi road and the Chandigarh-- Patiala road.

There is no guarantee for weight or safety measures needed to keep the highly inflammable LPG under check.

Dera Bassi has only one Bharat Gas LPG agency and Zirakpur has none. So how do more than 1 lakh families living in these two townships get their LPG supply? Truck loads of LPG cylinders are brought to Zirakpur and Dera Bassi on Sundays, pointed out a source. All along the Chandigarh --Delhi road and also the Chandigarh-Patiala road. Small shopkeepers stock up to five cylinders in the open.

The idea to stock only five cylinders is to circumvent the Indian Explosives Act which says that a person cannot stock more than 100 kilograms of LPG without a licence. Five cylinders, each weighing 14.5 kg add up to less than 100 kg.

Trailing this explosive phenomena the Tribune team first went to Bhankarpur near the new railway overbridge on the Chandigarh--Delhi road. A man repairing cycles said he does not have cylinders of Indane, but pointed out to a house, saying "try there". Two women opened the door. As many as 20 Bharatgas cylinders were lying in the coutyard. At Mubarikpur, the cylinders are stocked next to a petrol pump on the Mubarikpur-Ramgarh road. At Zirakpur the sale is even more open.

Two years ago the oil companies asked all Chandigarh-based LPG agencies to supply LPG to Dera Bassi and Zirakpur. Officially they pulled out.



Contractor alleges harassment by 
Administrative Secretary
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, March 28
An earth work contractor working on the Chandigarh-Morinda railway line here and a land owner of Nagari village have alleged harassment by the Administrative Secretary, Grievances and Pensions, Punjab. They have accused him of using pressure tactics to get their mining work stopped.

The Administrative Secretary, Dr Manmohan Singh, has refuted the charges. He says the department concerned has taken action against them on the basis of complaints of villagers.

In a press conference held here today, Mr Gurmeet Singh, heading Gurmeet and Company, said he had undertaken earth work on a 25-km stretch of the Chandigarh-Morinda railway line, out of which he had completed work on over 12 km. “I lift soil from places where levelling of the landscape is required and that too only after permission from the land owner,” he said.

Mr Gurmeet Singh said he and a land owner of Nagari village, Mr Surjant Singh, had a mutual understanding. This was not appreciated by Mr Manmohan Singh, who also owned land in the village, he added.

Mr Surjant Singh also addressed the press conference. He maintained that Mr Gurmeet Singh’s five trucks were illegally detained by the police on the complaint of Dr Manmohan Singh and no mining work had been done by them since March 24.

On the other hand, Dr Manmohan Singh said he had no direct interest in the matter and some villagers had complained against mining being done by Mr Gurmeet Singh, following which the department concerned had taken action against them. “I have no role to play whatsoever,” he said.



Haryana, HP Sikhs to attend rally
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
Various Sikh organisations of both Haryana and Himachal Pradesh have in expression of solidarity with various Sikh and human rights organisations decided to participate in the March 30 rally in the union capital to seek a reprieve for Prof Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar.

Responding to a call given by the Prof Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar Defence Committee, these organisations today unanimously adopted resolutions to urge the Union Government for clemency.

The Parbandhak Committee of Gurdwara Paonta Sahib (Himachal Pradesh), the Haryana unit of the Akali Dal (Ambala), and the Haryana Sikh organisations based at Kaithal, Sirsa and other places have also decided to send big delegations to participate in the rally which will commence from the historic Gurdwara Bangla Sahib.

The SGPC and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) have not only declared their unanimous support for the success of the rally but the former has also taken the responsibility of looking after all aspects of the rally, including printing of leaflets, brochures and pamphlets.

In fact, it was the Professor Bhullar’s case that brought all major factions of the SAD together when they met the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, in New Delhi some weeks ago.

The Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, the Dal Khalsa, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), the Punjab Human Rights Organisation and others have also announced their decision to participate in the rally.

Besides, Sikh and human rights organisations worldwide have expressed their solidarity with the committee and extended their support to seek clemency for Professor Bhullar. The German Government, too, took up the matter with the Indian Government. A delegation also came from Canada to plead clemency for Professor Bhullar.

Talking to The Tribune, Jathedar Kartar Singh Takkar, who is a member of the Parbandhak Committee of Gurdwara Paonta Sahib, alleged that the award of death sentence to Professor Bhullar, corroborated the allegation of minorities that there were two sets of rules in the country.

“For the minorities, it does not make a difference whether the Congress or the BJP is in power at the Centre. The minorities have suffered heavily under both regimes. Professor Bhullar is a test case. He has been given death sentence even when it has been proved that he was not directly involved in the incident,” he said.



Nod to MC Bhavan construction
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, March 28
The construction of Municipal Council Bhavan in Sector 66 here at the cost of Rs 5.5 crore was okayed at the monthly meeting of the Municipal Council here today. Tenders for the construction of the bhavan on around 1.10 acres of land have already been invited by the council.

Among the other agenda items passed by the council were the much-wanted repair of the two fire engines owned by the SAS Nagar Fire Station at the cost of Rs 1.75 lakh. It was further decided that the Additional Executive Officer, Mr Sarbjit Singh, would hold an inquiry into the penalty of Rs 2.70 lakh on some council vehicles for the lack of registration. The council passed the agenda item relating to the ban on putting up of tents by commercial organisations or private parties for publicity on footpath in the township. It was also decided that the tube-well scheduled to be dug at Sylvie Park in Phase X will now be dug for residential use in Phase IX.

The agenda item relating to a decision to undertake a pre-audit of the council’s expenditure and income was put off for the next meeting, as no unanimous decision could be taken.

The council also decided not to grant permission to the Vigilance Department to present a challan against Padam Prakash, one of the three employees of the council, against whom the department was conducting an inquiry.



20 Home Guard orderlies withdrawn
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
The Commandant, Home Guard, Chandigarh, has withdrawn around 20 Home Guards who were working at the residence of a DSP and certain Inspectors leading to resentment among the officials concerned.

Objecting to the move, a delegation of the DSPs recently met the Senior Superintendent of Police. Though the outcome of the meeting could not be ascertained, sources said the matter was brought to the notice of the Inspector-General of Police, Chandigarh.

However, the officials concerned said as per the prevailing practice and rules they were entitled to keep one orderly at their homes and office. The officials had surrendered their sepoys to meet the requirement of the force at the police station, said a senior official.

As per the rules the salary of the Home Guard volunteers was drawn from the contingency funds of the Home Guards and they can be put on the job for which they volunteer. However, the 20-odd volunteers were working at the residence of officials and drawing their salaries against their duties shown in different units of the police. The sources said the department had to pay Rs 3,000 per month to each Home Guard volunteer. 



Give presidential govt a chance

THIS is in response to the letter to the Editor entitled ‘MLAs: then and now’, by Jaspal Singh Mann in The Tribune dated 19.3.03. I have neither any hesitation, nor does it prick my conscience now when I say that we Indians are clearly unfit for democracy. I am not even ashamed to accept that we were not ready or fit for Independence from the British either. Retrospectively, I must also admit that we were as a matter of fact, more at peace, happy and contented under British rule. Our politicians of yore, in general, were not a hungry lot. A person with full stomach not only has an able body but also a healthy, constructive mind. It is such a person alone that can govern or rule better than a hungry man does. The rajas, maharajas and princes of yesteryears at least had the welfare of their kingdom and their subjects at heart, unlike these pitiful excuses, the self-proclaimed kings of today.

Where have we come to in these 50-odd years of Independence? Who could have imagined an independent India, where corruption is rampant and all pervasive, where fickle mindedness and abysmally low morals make for a wobbly social structure? Who would have envisaged an India where lowest literacy rate goes hand-in-hand with joblessness, skyrocketing prices, and dark alleys of hunger and abject poverty.

Fit for democracy, we are certainly not. Our politicians have managed to make such a terrible mess of the democratic system of governance that the urgent need of the hour is that we should seriously consider turning to some alternative mode of governance.

It is only when there is peace and stability that prosperity and progress can possibly reign. For this to take place a presidential government in some modified form is worth a sincere trial. It is in its own interest that the public elects a person of known integrity, progressive outlook, good education, sound moral values and high social stature as the President. Then the President can nominate a council of advisers, again of an unquestionable integrity and high calibre in their respective field viz. law, economics or commerce, education, health, defense, and so on. On advice from such experts the President can nominate heads of state and their advisory councils.

Professor Vishvamitter

An unforgettable experience

This is in reference to Jaspal Bhatti’s Ulta Pulta column (The Tribune, dated March 21, 2003). Does Mr Bhatti intend his observations regarding virus software being programmed by the same people who peddle the antidote anti-virus software to be taken in lighter vein? Or does he actually mean it? I ask because this has been one of many strongly held suspicions of similar kind in my mind.

Take the case of those who market power back-up systems (inverters and generators), air-coolers and airconditioning systems. I recently had a bad experience with a bed-weaver that brought back memories of an incident related to me by my grandfather nearly three decades ago. My grandfather lived in a four-storeyed house in Lahore prior to Partition. A bed-weaver, who used to visit the locality every few days, was commissioned to repair a bed kept on the open terrace on the top floor. Through with his work, he came downstairs to collect his wages, when it struck my grandfather to just have a look at what he had done. He was astonished at what he saw. Though the man had repaired the bed, he had nicked the ‘nivaar’ of the bed at certain places, for it to rip open with use within a couple of days, so that he could be called in again to repair it! It was with a sense of deja vu that I was accosted with exactly identical situation a few days ago vis-a-vis a contemporary bed-weaver, albeit this time the ‘nivaar’ was of synthetic material, not the cotton one. I did not have the good sense to suspect any foul play, but was awakened into realisation when I fell off the bed with a thud as the ‘nivaar’ gave way at places where it had recently been nicked by the weaver!

Vivek Khanna, Panchkula

Why is PU in financial trouble

I am a final year student of 10+2 trying for admission in an engineering course. In order to avail various options, I decided to participate in the combined entrance tests of both Delhi University as well as Panjab University. While the form of Delhi University, including examination fee, is costing Rs 400/-, the cost for the similar form, including examination fee of Panjab University, is Rs 1300. Will the Vice Chancellor of PU explain for this yawning gap? Is it bad management or some other reasons? Whatever may be the reasons, to a commoner like me, those who are managing the affairs of Delhi University appear to have taken into account the spending capacity of lower and lower middle class and look keen to ensure participation from poorest of the poor, which unfortunately is not the case with P.U. It is fast getting the tag of being university in an elite city for the elite class with prodigal ways of doing things in tune with the ways of the elite class. And it also answers why P.U. is in financial trouble. The job which can be performed in Rs 400/ is being performed in triple the cost.

Malvika Sood, Chandigarh

POWs and Geneva Convention

During the US Iraq war several soldiers of allied forces have died and many captured by the Iraqi defence authorities. Al-Jazeera TV has relayed the pictures of these soldiers. The Iraqi leadership has been asked to treat them as per the Geneva Convention. According to this, POWs are not supposed to load or unload material or to do any menial work. They are to be treated gracefully in enemy country. The conventions provides that the use of force should be proportionate and used only when necessary. The question is whether the war is being fought in accordance with the provisions of the Geneva Convention. The allied forces are ruthlessly attacking civilians. The US President and Defence Secretary have blatantly violated the well-established resolution of the UN as the war is being waged in contravention to the wishes of the American people. The demonstrations against the Bush regime are being held daily. How do the allied forces expect that their soldiers should be treated according to the Convention when the act of the US amounts to barbarism?

On the other hand, the Iraqi leaders have publicly announced that POWs would be treated as per the Geneva Convention as well as other international laws.

S.K. Khosla, Chandigarh

Respect Syndicate decisions

Can PU override decisions of the Syndicate or Senate? If the answer to this question is ‘no’, then the following matter certainly deserves attention and pursuance of necessary action against the guilty university officials. After a thorough discussion in the Syndicate meeting dated 18.1.2003, it was finally resolved that a common price of Rs 1100/- for general category and Rs 550/- for SC/ST category be fixed for both CET and O-CET prospectus. Although the O-CET prospectus (2003) is yet to be released on( 28.3.2003), the CET prospectus (2003)was released by Panjab University on 28.2.2003, which has been priced at Rs 1300/- instead of Rs 1100/- for general category, as per the above-said Syndicate decision. Even Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have not been spared by the university authorities as they are being sold the CET prospectus (2003) at the counter for Rs 650/- instead of Rs 550/-, as approved by the Syndicate.

If this is the regard the PU authorities have for the decisions of its supreme bodies like the Syndicate and Senate, which frequently meet to look into the affairs of this university, one can well imagine the height of high-handedness and arbitrariness in implementing other rules and regulations, particularly the ones prescribed by agencies like the UGC, which have practically lost all effective check over the lawlessness prevailing in hundreds of universities and thousands of colleges in India.

Jaswant Singh Rana, Chandigarh

Blackmail by cable operator

There is lot of resentment among cable consumers at the unabashed exploitation, harassment and threats of disconnection from a cable operator in Sector 8, Chandigarh. Without even caring to reveal the identity of their owner, his minions go from house to house in Sector8-B and 8-C demanding Rs 200 to Rs 100 towards “fresh” installation and cable connection charges. Their modus operandi is that the old owner has changed although the fact remains that the premises and other infrastructure of the “new” owner are the same. Most of the consumers have already paid installation and cable connection charges at least twice and there is little force for fresh demands. The connections of more vocal residents who refuse to submit to their unreasonable demands have been disconnected without notice. Even servants of landlords owning a TV set are being blackmailed into submission.

Exercising powers bestowed by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the U.T. Administration has asked cable operators to furnish details of their costs incurred on providing the service. They have been told to submit a report listing the number of subscribers, monthly subscription fee and the amount each operator pays to the channels. It is an open secret that the operators blatantly cheat even the channels by understating the number of subscribers and so on.

Fed up with the continuing exploitation and high-handedness, the Sector 34 Houseowners Welfare Association has decided to launch their own cable distribution service. The association will be charging a mere Rs 50 p.m. from each subscriber. Even Ambala residents have floated a similar network and are charging as little as Rs 40 p.m. The Sector 8 Householders Welfare Association has called a meeting on March 31 to consider the issue.

The Centre has appointed U.T. Deputy Commissioner as the nodal officer to sort out the row between operators and consumers following lots of complaints of overcharging by the operators. It is hoped that the Administration will issue strict instructions to cable operators not to demand any fresh installation and reconnection charges till such time some cable policy is finalised.

Bawa Charan Pal Singh, Chandigarh



Power supply may be hit
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 28
Beginning tomorrow the Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam will have a three-day shutdown on its 220 KV double-circuit Panchkula- Shahabad line. This is likely to affect power supply here.

The Nigam authorities said that this has been necessitated for connecting a new 220-KV substation with this line , being constructed at Tepla near Ambala. The official press release said that power in Ambala and Yamunanagar will have to be regulated during this period. This could result in load shedding and some power cuts in these areas.



Photographer awarded

Chandigarh, March 28
Mr B.S. Sodhi, member of the Friends of Photography (FOP), has bagged a consolation prize for his black and white picture, titled, Family outing, at the National photo contest conducted by the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry in New Delhi, recently.

This information was given here today by president of Friends of Photography, Mr Adit Agarwala, who informed that the said prize was bagged out of over 1800 entries made in the contest. Coloured picture titled "Life in hills" by another FOP member Mr BSN Reddy was chosen for display in the prestigious show. TNS



Man held by Air Force authorities
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
The Air Force authorities arrested a 45-year-old resident of Muzzafarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, for moving within the prohibited area of the Air Force station under mysterious circumstances here today. According to the information, Mohammed Zahin, the suspect, was interrogated by the Air Force authorities before being handed over to the Chandigarh Police.

The police has registered a case of trespass against the suspect. The police has not ruled out the possibility of the man being a spy. It could not be ascertained which part of the Air Force station the suspect was caught in. He would be produced in the District Courts tomorrow.

Punjab Police raids: In connection with a case of leakage of MSc (IT) paper of Punjab Technical University, the Punjab Police conducted raid on the house of a Sector 21 residence. Sources in the Chandigarh Police said a team of Bathinda police raided the house of a suspect but he was away.

Raids on other parts of the city were expected to continue in the coming days. According to information, the Bathinda police had arrested two youths, Baldeep and Ravinder, for possessing the IT paper ahead of the examination. The paper had been downloaded from the Internet.

Opium seized:
In a major breakthrough, the Panchkula police seized 930 grams of opium at Jolewal village in Pinjore. The seized drug is valued at over Rs 90,000 in the international market.

According to information, the police got the lead with the arrest of a small-time drug peddler, Shanti, a resident of Sector 12-A, on March 26. The woman was arrested with about 155 grams of opium, while her husband, Ram Pal, managed to escape. The latter was caught by the Sector 19 SHO Jaipal Singh today and around 50 grams of opium were seized from him.

It was during his interrogation that the police learned about the local kingpin, Jeet, the sarpanch of Jolewal village. A team led by Mr Desh Bandhu and comprising Mr Jaipal and CIA in charge, Mr Surjit Singh, raided Jeet’s house and seized 520 grams of opium from him.

Jeet’s servant, Ram Saran, who hails from Solan district in Himachal Pradesh, was also arrested and around 210 grams of opium were found in his possession. Interestingly, one of Jeet’s customers from Baterla in Chandigarh, Jaspal Singh, had come there to collect his consignment. He, too, was arrested with 160 grams of opium.

Two held: Two persons who had impersonated as policemen in order to take away money by intimidation have been arrested by the police from MES Colony, Chandimandir.

Deepak and Karambir were arrested by the police yesterday and have been taken in judicial custody. The two have been accused, along with Surinder, Mama and another person, of forcibly entering into the house of Raj Kumar in Sector 20, with Surinder posing to be a CIA inspector.

The accused had beaten up Raj Kumar, threatened him with dire consequences and escaped in an Indica car after taking away Rs 27,000. A case under Sections 147, 148, 323, 452, 506 and 170 of the IPC has been registered. 



Sharif’s death due to truck hit: police
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
Reinvestigation by the Crime Branch of Chandigarh Police in the death of 25 year-old person Sharif of Dadu Majra Colony, has established that that he died of an accident. The case had been yesterday transferred to the crime branch from the Sector 39 Police Station after the family of the victim alleged that it was a murder.

The victim who was strolling along with his friends on the Dadu Majra road , had died of head injuries which he sustained after being hit by a truck coming from his back. It hit Sharif on the left leg. As a result he fell on the road and sustained the injury, The shards of a head light of the truck which were found on the road, had fallen after the vehicle hit the victim. 



Woman commits suicide
Tribune New Service

Chandigarh, March 28
A 23 -year-old woman who was married to Pardeep, a resident of Manimajra, died after allegedly consuming some poisonous substance. According to the information, the victim was being harassed for bringing insufficent dowry. The police has arrested the husband and a case under the Dowry Act has been registered against him at Manimjra police station.

Rape: An eight- year-old dumb girl was raped by an unidentified person in Bapu Dham colony here today. According to the information, the victim was allegedly taken out of the house by the suspect late last night. The girl was found standing in another slum area of colony. The girl has been admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital.The police has registered a case of murder on the statement of the victim’s mother.

Theft: Mr J.C. Kapoor, a resident of Sector 15 has complained to the police that gold ornaments worth Rs 26,000 and Rs 2,000 cash were allegedly from his house.



Bank timings for March 29, 31
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
The Reserve Bank of India has ordered that all banks, where government money is accepted will remain open after the normal working hours on March 29 and 31.

This has been done to ensure that no one is turned away without depositing tax payments, a spokesperson for the RBI said.


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