Wednesday, May 28, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PU set for major fee hike
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
Panjab University is all set for a major fee hike on the campus and its affiliated colleges from the forthcoming academic session (2003-2004).

A formal decision to this effect has been taken by a high-level committee, “in protest” against the Punjab Government’s fee hike decision. The committee was assigned the job by Prof K.N.Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, when the fee hike ordered by the Punjab Government was not accepted by the university Syndicate recently.

The Punjab Government, in a letter of the Director Public Instruction (Punjab) dated May 13, had communicated the revision of fees and funds being charged by government, aided and non-aided colleges and the state universities.

A student is now required to pay an admission fee of Rs 750 for undergraduate courses, Rs 1,000 for postgraduate courses and Rs 1,250 for M Phil and PhD courses. In addition, a student pays Rs 350 per month for undergraduate courses as tuition fee, Rs 550 per month for professional courses and Rs 650 per month for postgraduate courses.

This is as compared to the existing tuition fee of Rs 70 in the case of PU.

Students will also be required to pay enhanced amounts in the case of the amalgamated fund, annual charges, library, hostel charges, building construction, besides several others.

The committee members included Dr M.L.Anand, Principal Tarsem Bahia, Principal A.C.Vaid, Principal P.S.Sangha, Principal B.D.Budhiraja, Mr Rajinder Bhandari, Mr Mukesh Arora and Mr Ashok Sachdeva.

The committee’s decision, however, needs a final clearance of a sub-committee of the Syndicate.

The matter had figured in the university’s last Syndicate meeting. The university first decided to accept the fee hike in principle. Prof Charanjit Chawla, however, differed on the subject and wished to have his dissent recorded. Principal P.S.Sangha also showed his reservations against passing the fee hike. The university finally decided to reconsider the matter.

It was pointed out that the government needed to keep in mind that at least 70 per cent students came from rural colleges and that a majority of the colleges in Punjab would face problems on the likelihood of decrease in the student strength due to higher price for education.

The committee cleared the fee hike because colleges were dependent on the government for funds to support financial activities, which include salaries for the staff, had no option but to accept the dictates, a Principal said.

Principal A.C.Vaid pointed out that the fee in the university and affiliated colleges was not the prerogative of the government. The government had acted against the autonomy granted to educational institutes.

The committee also pointed out that the government had totally ignored the fact that a majority of the student strength in the affiliated colleges came from the rural background and it was economically not very well-placed.

The committee also suggested that the government should work out a differential fee structure. This would mean charging fee according to the financial status of the family of the student.

The committee has also allowed colleges to charge additional funds, as the need may be, under the supervision of the university. The need to revise the aid to colleges and the number of teaching posts as per the student strength was also highlighted today.


Noisy scenes at MC meeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
Noisy scenes was witnessed at the Municipal Corporation meeting today, with the report of the all-party committee against privatisation of sanitation being put to the vote despite the ruling Congress’ opposition, followed by Mayor Subhash Chawla’s surprising decision to withdraw the vote.

As a result of the politicking, the issue of privatisation of sanitation, which has divided the Congress and sparked off an agitation by the Sweepers Union, was put on the back burner without any alternative arrangements for sanitation in the city being suggested.

The hotly-debated issue nearly became a showdown when the Mayor allowed voting on the recommendations of the nine-member committee led by his party member Lalit Joshi against privatisation on the demand of a majority of nominated councillors. The latter rubbished the report, saying that it was prepared “under pressure” without suggesting any alternative to the contract system or going into the financial implications.

Nominated councillors P. C. Sanghi, Amar Kulwant Singh, Dildar Khan, C. K. Sawhney and Major General A. S. Kahlon (retd) sought a vote on the recommendations of the committee. Dr K. S. Raju and Dr B. M. Verma also participated in the debate.

In the post-lunch session, Mr Pawan Bansal, MP, spoke against voting, apparently to avoid a potentially lose-lose situation for the Congress, which is divided between the direction of the party to oppose privatisation and the Mayor’s proposal that has won the appreciation of the people. Hectic lobbying had preceded the vote, with sources saying that the Mayor was certain to win in the showdown that would have left the party leadership red-faced.

The stand of Mr Bansal asking for giving the report of the committee, consisting of several Congress members, left nominated councillors disappointed, who said they would withdraw their proposal for a vote on the issue to “keep the sanitation of the city in ICU”.

The change in the stand followed Mr Chander Mukhi Sharma’s intervention. The latter told the councillors during lunch that if privatisation in its present form won support in the House, it would be a defeat of the decision of the Congress. He also reportedly told members that he would take up the issue with party leaders at the national level.

Congress councillors Balraj Singh, Surinder Singh, Chander Mukhi Sharma and Sohan Lal supported the recommendations against privatisation while nominated councillors said it would be against the interests of the city and leave the city at the mercy of “inefficient” sweepers.

Seemingly losing face on the floor of the House due to the party’s insistence against privatisation, the Mayor sought to borrow time to again take up the issue at a meeting on June 5.

The Mayor engaged in verbal duels with Mr Gian Chand Gupta and Mr Chander Mukhi Sharma when Mr Gupta wanted to know who would be responsible for the expenditure incurred on advertisement of the new contract without the approval of the House.

Ms Harjinder Kaur said the committee was not an all-party one as her party, Akali Dal (Harjinder Kaur), was not part of it.


Octroi staff on looting spree?
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 27
With barely a month to go before the abolition of octroi in Punjab, residents of the township have alleged that the private contractor responsible for the collection of the tax at the SAS Nagar border is on a last-minute “looting spree”.

The Municipal Council office here has received scores of complaints against the contractor’s employees who are allegedly stopping people at various octroi posts, harassing them, trying to extract money for any item that is found with them.

Reiterating that the contractor is trying to make as much money as possible in these months before octroi is abolished, sources in the council have warned that the pressure on the contractor to extract even more money is likely to increase next month.

The private contractor, on the other hand, has stated that he and his employees are free to stop anyone at any point in the township or at the borders to check if he is carrying anything on which octroi or transit fee has to be charged.

The MC here had given octroi collection on contract in December, 2002, for one year for Rs 16.59 crore. The amount is paid to the MC in the form of weekly instalments calculated at Rs 28 lakh per week. “In the week in which the contractor is able to collect more than Rs 28 lakh they take the extra amount from the MC. In the week in which the contractor is unable to collect Rs 28 lakh, he has to pay the MC the amount it is short of. There is thus an economic logic behind the aggression being shown by the contractor to collect more than Rs 28 lakh per week. This leads to people being harassed unduly as almost everyone is stopped and checked,” explained an MC employee.

Denying that the township’s residents are being harassed unduly, the octroi contractor’s partner, Mr M.S. Bhatia, stated that whatever they were doing was within the rules laid down in the agreement between them and the MC.

At one octroi post, an employee manning the post said the maximum complaints were being received from the posts which were not manned by the MC’s own employees along with the contractor’s employees. “There are two posts out of the 13 which are not manned by a government employee,” he pointed out.

Residents have also brought to the notice of the MC office that the contractor’s employees at the Phase IX-X dividing road in the township are routinely stopping people going from one phase to another in the township and demanding them to show what they are carrying.

“I had gone from Phase X to Phase VII to get my shoes repaired and I was stopped on my way back. They rudely told me to open the box in which I was carrying shoes and when I refused they started arguing with me. This show of muscle power by the octroi collector is not acceptable,” informed a resident of Phase X here.

Daily labourers carrying their equipment from the outskirts to the township are also reportedly forced to pay a transit fee of Rs 10 every time they cross over with the equipment.


Inmates’ dance ‘show’: probe ordered
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 27
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr M. Ramsekhar, today ordered an inquiry into yesterday’s incident of a dance performance by three girls lodged in the Burail jail on the charges of flesh trade.

Official sources said the SDM (South), Ms Madhvi Kataria, has been directed to submit the report within a week.

Sources in the jail, however, stated that some of the officers were present during this “entertainment” show along with their families. “In fact certain jail officials provided the music system for the show,” revealed an employee. The Superintendent of the Burail jail also submitted a detailed report today on the charges of flesh trade against the three girls.

The Deputy Superintendent of Jail, Mr D.S. Rana, while confirming the incident, clarified that contrary to the reports that the girls were forced to perform, it was on the request of the women inmates that they performed.

Mr Rana stated that a small function was organised by the female inmates of the jail in the female ward. He added that when he visited the ward during routine inspection about 7 p.m., he saw the girls performing.

He said on making inquiries the women inmates said while the authorities had provided means of entertainment like indoor games for male inmates there were no means of recreation for them. On their plea he allowed the performance to go on for about half an hour. One of the girls was granted bail yesterday by a local court but she was not released as no one had come to furnish her surety. Two city residents today furnished her security and she was released.


I found spiritual strength in India: Yana
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
Yana Synkova Gupta has endless charms. Even while you are still struggling to crack the mystery behind her adorable peaches and cream complexion, the calmness of her persona mystifies the affair further. The immediate urge is to scratch her past — from her birth in Brno in the Czech Republic and her early foray into the world of fashion to her escapades in Europe and Japan and her final ‘refuge’ in the spiritually-rich India.

Settled in Pune for the past three years, Yana blushes the moment you mention the man in her life — Satya Gupta, her Indian husband, who is quite averse to publicity, unlike Yana, whose tryst with fame doesn’t seem to end. She has just been glorified as Ms Christian Dior. In the city today for the launch of Dior watches, Yana looked stunning, as always.

Happy to be in India, among Indians, the foreign model talked of her transformation into an Indian wife as also her carefree way of living that took her places. Having started modelling at the age of 16, Yana was naturally comfortable with the medium. But she was never complacent with what came her way. The urge to discover herself through the profession took her places, from Vienna and Milan to Hamburg and Prague. She modelled for Calvin Klein and Victoria’s Secret, clients which models can only dream of; she was splashed on the cover of Man’s World, a high-profile lifestyle magazine; she then rocked Bollywood with her gyrations on the sultry item number ‘Babu ji zara dhire chalo’ in the Vivek Oberoi starrer ‘Dum’.

Replacing Bipasha Basu, the earlier choice for this small, yet coveted role, Yana infused life into the song. ‘‘Dancing was not new to me. I have been a ballroom dancer. Only the style was different and very Indian. Ganesh Hegde got the best out of me.’’ After ‘Dum’ Yana has been flooded with film offers, which she is busy scrutinising. ‘‘I am weighing my options. The idea is to work in a project that makes sense at some level. It has to be concrete and it has to touch people somewhere. There is ample run-of--the-mill stuff being made. I would rather be a part of something like ‘Dil Chahta Hai’.’’

A die-hard fan of Farhan Akhtar, Yana wonders how he could etch out so many roles so wonderfully. ‘‘Every character fitted the scheme so well. If I were to choose from both Hollywood and Bollywood films, I would vote for ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ as the best,’’ says Yana.

On the modelling front, she is moving towards ramp shows, apart from doing campaigns like Lakme, LG, Toyota and Sony.

As you get up close and personal with Yana, you realise how much of Indian element she already sports. She finds India spiritually gratifying and loves spending time with her painter husband Satya at her Pune home. Interestingly, she has loaded her home with plants, thanks to the graduation degree in park architecture and gardening that she took a student. ‘‘By studying plants I learnt more lessons in life. Once you discover the bounties of nature, you gain awareness regarding your own role in the cosmic cycle. You realise that you are there, because God wants you to be.’’

Perhaps belief in this philosophy is the guarded secret behind Yana’s peaches and cream complexion. Who knows? 


Mild quake in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
A mild earthquake was felt in the city at 9.54 a.m. today. Its epicentre was about 260 km from the city.

This was stated by Dr M.A. Shamshi, Head of the Geo Scientific Instruments Division of the Seismological Observatory, Central Scientific Instrumentation Organisation (CSIO). The magnitude of the earthquake was 4.8 on the Richter scale.


MC to issue fresh guidelines to parking contractors
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh has decided to issue fresh guidelines to contractors of paid/pass parking sites in the city following several complaints by residents regarding the allocation of these sites and the parking fee being charged from non-government employees and the public.

Most of the complaints pertain to the demarcation of pass parking sites exclusively for government employees whose vehicles bear a sticker issued by the MC.

As per the rules, if there is vacant space available after parking of vehicles by government employees, the public can park vehicles in it by paying Rs 2.50 for cars and Re 1 for scooters.

Most of the complainants have alleged that contractors prohibit non-government employees and the public to park their vehicles in pass parking sites at subsidised rates and force them to park their vehicles at paid parking sites, where the rates for public vehicles are double those for pass parking.

A senior official of the MC told Chandigarh Tribune that a team of corporation officials had visited all paid/pass parking sites last week to assess the situation that had led to the confusion and the complaints.

The official said fresh guidelines were being issued to all contractors to comply with the rules and regulations framed by the MC. “There was a lack of awareness among contractors and their staff regarding the rules and regulations of paid/pass parking sites,” observed a member of the MC officials’ team which went for assessing the situation.

The MC officials have also observed that the proper dress code issued for employees of the contractors prior to the allocation of the contract was not being followed at most of the parking sites.

The fresh guidelines being issued to the contractors include polite behaviour with the public, parking fee to be collected at the point of parking and not at the point of entry; employees should follow the dress code; removal of confusion regarding paid/pass parking sites by not forcing the public to park their vehicles in paid parking sites if there is vacant space in pass parking sites; and maintain a complaint register at the parking site so that the public can lodge complaints.

“The officials concerned of the MC will examine the register regularly and initiate appropriate action accordingly,” the official said.


MC meeting on cantilever issue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
The Municipal Corporation here today reiterated its March 27, 2002, resolution demanding delinking the issue of removal of cantilevers and development in five villages and Mani Majra, at a meeting held here today.

Congress Councillor Surinder Singh said as there were no rules governing bylaws in these areas and there was an exemption to these villages from the rules or laws prevailing in the city, the corporation should reiterate the resolution against which a show-cause notice had been issued by the Chandigarh Administration to the Municipal Corporation.

MP Pawan Bansal suggested when there were no rules available, how could NOCs be denied to residents. He also said that the corporation should frame bylaws for these areas. Commissioner MP Singh suggested that there was a need to propagate whatever governing rules were available to residents of these areas till new ones were framed.


House flays anti-encroachment drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
The Municipal Corporation House here today condemned the style of anti-encroachment drive and demanded a CBI inquiry into the “collusion” between those officers, who had allowed encroachments to take place during the past 20 to 30 years, with encroachers.

Though the House avoided a resolution on the issue yet it decided to write a letter to the Chandigarh Administration against the drive. The Mayor promised the House that a formal letter would be sent to the Administration after watching the video recording of the proceedings.

Participating in a debate, which was demanded by Chandigarh Vikas Manch councillor and the Chandigarh Housing Board Residents Welfare Associations’ Federation president Jatinder Bhatia, MP Pawan Bansal alleged that a violation of the Master Plan could be seen at the Raj Bhavan where a building was being constructed in place of a green area.

He said the drive also did not respect the July 29, 2001 agreement between the Housing Board and the federation, signed in the presence of all political parties. Mr Bansal demanded an explanation for the participation of the Municipal Corporation in the drive and use of machinery donated from the MP Local Area Development fund for the purpose.

The Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla, said he or any of the elected members was not informed about the participation of the Municipal Corporation in the drive and that had he known that a gurdwara was to be demolished, he would have preferred to quit.

Mr Chawla said he had already written a letter to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the rights of Mayor.

Mr Gian Chand Gupta of the BJP said there seemed to be a lack of coordination between the Mayor and the Commissioner. Ms Kamla Sharma also said during her term she used to get information regarding anti-encroachment drives.


HUDA discusses transfer of roads to MC

Panchkula, May 27
The Haryana Urban Development Authority today initiated discussions for transfer of roads and public parks to the Municipal Council here.

Among others present at the meeting were the SE, HUDA, Mr S.C. Malik, the SE Horticulture, Mr Jogi Ram, and the Executive Officer of MC, Mr O.P. Sihag, the MC President, Mrs Seema Chaudhary and the Vice President, Mrs Kuljit Waraich. About 400 km of roads in the developed sectors of the town and about 200 parks would be transferred to the MC.

HUDA officials offered that besides transferring the maintenance of roads, 60 employees also be deputed to the MC. They even proposed that the staff employed for the maintenance of various parks be also be taken over by the MC. The MC officials declined these proposals on the pretext that they wanted to privatise the maintenance of roads and parks. TNS


One-day trip for visually impaired kids
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, May 27
Visually impaired children from HP, Haryana, Chandigarh and Punjab were taken on a one-day trip by the National Society for the Child Artists here today. The trip was organised in connection with the 39th death anniversary of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru.

The tour started from Chandigarh and the first half was made at the Rose Garden in Phase III B1 here where children were given refreshments and gifts.

The children were taken to Thunder Zone, an amusement park near here, where they had a good time enjoying various rides at the park. They also presented a cultural programme dedicated to Pt. Nehru. Children presented shabads, bhajans, and patriotic songs. They recited poems and sang songs linked to Nehru chacha.

The children then went to Nirmal Dera at Hansali in Fatehgarh Sahib district where they presented shabads and also took the blessings of Sant Baba Ajit Singh Hansali.

Mr Kulwant Singh, president, municipal council, who was the chief guest at the cultural function, said the civic body would be receptive to various suggestions that were made for the benefit of visually impaired children.

Mr Ajit Salani, chairman of the society, demanded that the government should set up a separate department which could develop the hidden talent in the physically challenged children and artists and gave them more opportunities to express themselves.


Tributes paid to Pt Nehru
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
The Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee today paid homage to the first Prime Minister of the country Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru.

Tributes were paid to the first Prime Minister.

Important among those who were present in the function were MP Pawan Bansal, Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee president B.B. Bahl and Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress president H.S. Lucky.

The leaders said Pandit Nehru had laid the foundation of the modern India and provided the framework for scientific development.


Sukhna shramdaan rescheduled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
The opening ceremony of the Sukhna shramdaan, which was scheduled for tomorrow, has been re-scheduled for 7 am on May 30 at the regulator end of the lake. The UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma, will inaugurate the shramdaan.


Burn injuries

Chandigarh, May 27
A 26-year-old resident of Palsora, Ms Ramakanti, was admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 16, here with 60 per cent burn injuries today. She reportedly sustained the injuries after a stove on which she was cooking food burst this afternoon. OC


One held for stealing diamonds
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 27
The police yesterday arrested Harmanpreet Singh, a resident of Amritsar district, for allegedly stealing 126 pieces of diamond worth Rs 2.50 lakh from the Sector 34 residence of Mr Mohinder Singh here yesterday. The stolen items had been seized from the possession of Harmanpreet. A case under Sections 380 and 411 of the IPC has been registered.

Meanwhile, Ms Binder Pal Kaur of Sector 8 reported to the police that someone stole 40 gm of gold and two FDRs from her residence here yesterday. A case under Section 380 of the IPC has been registered.

A Maruti Zen (CH03 J 9791) of Mr Arun Bharti, a resident of Sector 16, was reportedly stolen from his residence on the night intervening May 25 and 26.

Arrested: The police arrested Mukesh Kumar Sharma of Darwa village for eve-teasing from near Transport Chowk here yesterday. He has been booked under Section 294 of the IPC.

Two held: Sonu of Kumhar Colony, Sector 25, was arrested for allegedly smuggling liquor here yesterday. The police also arrested Raj Kumar of Palsora village for allegedly satta gambling from Palsora yesterday. Sonu has been booked under various Sections of the Excise Act, while Raj has been booked under the Gambling Act.


3 held for stalling demolition drive
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 27
The police has arrested three persons- Surjan Singh, Kulbir Singh and Niranjan Singh on charges of stalling a demolition drive by the Block Development and Panchayat Officer, Raipur Rani and encroaching on the government land.

A case under Sections 323, 148, 149, 332 and 506 of the IPC has been registered against Gulzar, Kulbir, Lal Singh, Rambir and Sant Ram, besides the above mentioned on the complaint of BDPO Kanwar Mann.

The accused had reportedly tried to encroach upon a pond.

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