Friday, September 5, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PU students’ poll only for president’s post?
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
For the first time since 1997, when students’ council elections recommenced in Panjab University, there is no tie-up between various groups so far. One reason for this development is that no group wants to compromise on the president’s post.

“Give us the post of president and all other posts can be yours” is the line each one is telling the other. There have been a series of discussions among them and no one has named any other student from their group for other posts in the council, namely the secretary, vice-president and joint secretary.

Malwinder Singh Kang, presidential candidate of the Panjab University Students’ Union, said attempts were being made to reach out to organisations like the Haryana Students’ Association and the Himachal Pradesh Students’ Association. However, nothing concrete had happened so far. The HSA had been a PUSU ally since the election process recommenced.

Pawan Singh, presidential candidate of the HSA, said there was no question of a tie-up with any organisation under the current circumstances. He said the HSA had now established its individual identity among the student community.

Saurabh Joshi, presidential candidate of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, said parleys were going on for other posts with rivals. The ABVP will finalise its list of other candidates only after discussions with the other groups.

Khushbaz Singh Jattana, presidential candidate of the Students’ Organisation of Panjab University, said as SOPU had a special place in the student politics on the campus, there was question of any compromising on the post of the president. “We are open-minded over a tie-up for the other posts,” he added.

The PUSU and HSA had been allies since 1997. This time, however, initial rounds of talks between the two organisations have failed. The scenario was different when Pawan Singh took over as the president of the HSA following a scuffle at the Students Centre, after which Satinder Dahiya, the president, had to resign. The ABVP was once an ally of the SOPU.



Confusion over PUSU compounded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
The confusion over which is the real Panjab University Students’ Union has increased with a group led by Gurparvez Singh Sandhu claiming to be office-bearers of the union and pasting its posters all over the campus. The group led by Malwinder Singh Kang, outgoing president of the students’ council, got itself registered as the Panjab University Students’ Union (Association). This led to the Sandhu group claiming to be office-bearers of PUSU. The Kang group got a correction done in the official records and renamed itself as PUSU.

Meanwhile, Sandhu has approached the court claiming to be the rightful custodian of the original PUSU. The Kang group is learnt to have met the Senior Superintendent of Police for sorting out the matter. The problem has compounded because the Sandhu group has pasted its posters all over the campus.

Mohit Sareen, press secretary of PUSU, said this would create confusion among the student community and the university should immediately look into the matter.

Campaigning has picked up on the Panjab University campus and the student groups are getting bigger with each passing day.

Saurabh Joshi was declared the presidential candidate of the ABVP at the general house held at Gandhi Bhavan. Joshi said the organisation had repeatedly protested the proposed fee hike and got it deferred. He claimed that the ABVP had raised issues concerning problems of hostellers, BSc (honours school), University Institute of Engineering and Technology and the Law department.

The PUSU, in a press note, highlighted its list of achievements, including the installation of lift in the Kasturba hostel for girls, canteen facilities in the Chemical Engineering Department, five-day schedule for UIET students, water coolers in different departments and beautification of girls’ hostels.

ABVP clarifies: The ABVP has given a clarification regarding a news item published in The Tribune, “All presidential candidates have police record”. In a press note issued here today, the ABVP said its presidential candidate, Saurabh Joshi, was not involved in any brawl or fight and had a clean record.



Hope wilts as Kalam leaves city
Bipin Bhardwaj

Chandigarh, September 4
After waiting for two hours to welcome the First Citizen of the country, Diwashi, a young school-girl, returned home disappointed as security personnel prevented her from going anywhere near the PGI auditorium to present a flower and interact with Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.

Holding a flower in her hand, the repeated requests of the young fan fell on deaf ears as the police personnel and woman Sub Inspector deployed outside the auditorium did not permit her to go inside.

While talking to The Tribune Diwashi, a student of Shishu Niketan School, said she had been impressed by the books written by Dr Kalam and wanted to see him personally. While comparing Dr Kalam with the first Prime Minister of the country, Pt Jawaharlal Nehru, she observed that Dr Kalam was an efficient and honest man as compared with politicians and other government dignitaries of the country.

A police officer on duty expressed his helplessness by saying that they had been directed to only allow those who had been officially invited to the function, so there was little they could do to let Diwashi inside.

The police had almost sealed the auditorium two hours before the President reached the venue at 5.50 pm. Tight security arrangements were made at the buildings and a canteen adjacent to the auditorium.

Escorted by a Gypsy of Army Police, 12 motorcyclists of Army, including three of the Air Force, Dr Kalam stepped out of his car outside the main gate of the auditorium. He was received by the top brass of the UT Administration as Home Secretary, Mr R.S Gujral, and other dignitaries escorted him inside.

The PGI employees, posted in the Research Block, adjacent to the auditorium, left their offices early as police commandos informed that they would be delayed if they stayed inside as no one would be allowed to leave till the function was over and the President had left the venue.

Police personnel in plain clothes, commandos with high-tech weapons had been deployed atop almost every building within the PGI premises. To keep an eye on each and every activity, certain security guards who were stationed atop the buildings were equipped with binoculars. 



Media shut out
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
The media was practically shut out of the President’s visit, here today, barring the two minutes given to photographers for “shooting” Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam at the Bhargava Auditorium of PGIMER, here this evening.
After a couple of shots, the photographers, too, were shown the door by security personnel, sent out almost unceremoniously.

Waiting outside, the reporters, almost immediately surrounded the, trying to get as much information as they could get of the siting arrangement inside, how the President looked like, what he said et al.

Despite the categorical “No” to the media regarding coverage of the session, reporters of most newspapers chose to hang around the venue much to the dislike of most policemen trying to “shoo” them away. They were there almost two hours before the President arrived and for half-an-hour after he left.

While all attempts to get inside the hall proved to be futile, the reporters, posted outside the venue, were asked to move time and again “for security reasons” and to accommodate the many cars in the President’s cavalcade.

The UT Administration, till the very last, was emphatic that the media had been denied entry as per orders from Rashtrapati Bhawan, though no reasons were cited for the same.

A senior official of the Administration, when contacted, said, “We have a statement from the President’s office saying that no media persons should be allowed inside the hall where the interaction is supposed to take place. The photographers, too, would be barely given a minute or two”.

Interestingly, a call made to the Press Secretary of the President, Mr S.M. Khan, belied all these claims.

“We have absolutely no objection to media presence. Infact, we had said that the media should be allowed to cover the hour-long interactive session.

However, the officials of the UT Administration said that the press could not be allowed inside the hall since it did not have enough seats,” he added.

Mr Khan reiterated that disallowing the media inside the hall was the decision of the UT Administration alone and that they had no role to play in keeping the media out. “Why would we shy away from the media,” he asked.

The hall accommodated nearly 1,000 people. A few mediapersons would have had the hall bursting at its seams? Was that the worry?



Kalam bowls over teachers
Calls them ‘best minds of the nation’ 
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
Down-to-earth Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, President of India, bowled over the teaching fraternity of the city at an interactive session at Bhargava Auditorium at PGI, here today. Advising the teachers to prepare children to take calculated risks to progress in life, he said a teacher’s mission was to ignite young minds which were the most powerful resource of a nation.

Addressing the teachers from private and government schools as “Friends”, the President, striking an immediate chord with the crowd, spoke on “Best minds of the Nation”, a phrase he coined for the teachers. Recommending them to lead by example, he said the foundation made in school was very difficult to shake.

“Education is important with a view to the type of society we want to build “ he stated. Stressing the need for imparting value-based education to the generation which would be the “future pillar”, he added that a teacher’s way of life transferred into the life of children.

On the eve of Teachers’ Day, he asked the teachers to remove societal discrimination from classroom and schools. “A teacher has to play a conscious role of addressing this problem and treating children equally, without social and gender bias,” he asserted.

Harping on popularising vocational education, he said it would not only arm the students with a degree but provide scope for employment as well. He added that vocational education was also an answer to the many universities which were opening educational centres in the country and attracting students, most of who remained unemployed despite clearing various examinations.

Opining that an individual must be given due importance in the classroom, he strongly favoured use of technology in classrooms. Scientific-tempered Dr Kalam, while suggesting innovation in the school curriculum, strongly favoured use of technology in the classrooms.

“We are facing a problem of the decline in number of teachers. With a limited number of teachers available, most of them going into other fields, a larger number of students can be addressed through use of technology. A teacher teaching a class of 50 students can, now, address 500, even 1000 students in one go,” he explained.

However, he was categorical that there was no replacement for a teacher in the classroom. “Machines cannot give us mobility, it cannot give us a dream,” he said as teachers present in the packed auditorium hung on to his every word, pin-drop silence prevailing in the auditorium all through the 25 minutes he spoke.

Quoting a few lines to sum up his speech and give direction to their teaching, he said, "Where there is righteousness in the heart, there is beauty in the character, where there is beauty in character, there is harmony in the home, where there is harmony in the home, there is order in the nation and where there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world.”

Beginning his interactive session, Dr Kalam, in response to a question, said that expenditure on the military needed to be minimum and education needed greater funding. While he said no substitute had been found for the marking scheme in examinations, he said that it was more advisable for parents and teachers to identify the areas of interest of their children after they reached Class VIII.

“The parents must nurture what the child likes. Parents must encourage the child and explain to him that a failure does not mean failure for life,” he said in reply to a question on poor results in examinations leading to suicides at the time of declaration of results.

Guiding the teachers to create better laboratories at the school and college levels, he said better opportunities for research would check brain drain in the country. In reply to another question, Dr Kalam said value-based education would ensure that the ill-effects of television and internet are nullified.

Answering over 10 questions in half-an-hour, the President left saying he had a flight to catch and that all those left out could send their questions to his e-mail address “” and they would definitely get an answer.

Over one-and-a-half hours behind schedule, the President stayed for exactly one hour at the auditorium, accommodating as many questions as possible in the limited time at his disposal.



Decked up for the day
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, September 4
Twinkling stars glittered at the borders of alluring sarees as enthusiastic teachers, dressed up in their best, waited for their turn to enter the auditorium at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) for meeting President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam during his maiden visit to the city.

As they shifted weight from one leg to another in long unending queues outside the main gate facing Panjab University campus, diamond rings and pearl strings sparkled in the weak afternoon sun. Others could be seen patting their hair in position outside the New Out Patients’ Department gate.

This was not all. Many teachers had put on Devdas jewellery with elegant earrings and necklaces — made so popular by serials on the small screen.

Baby pink and charming yellow was the colour of the day. Few were also seen in fiery crimson and alluring green. Though majority of them were wearing sarees, some were also clad in attractive suits with heavy crystal work. “It appears that at least some of the teachers have come to attend a marriage party”, instead of interaction with the President”, a school Principal commented.

However, it was not all that smooth for the teachers. At about 1 pm, doubts were created among the teachers about the possibility of wearing the clothes of their choice.

As imprisoning rains forced the residents to stay indoors at least during the lunch hours, the instructors paced the room alone, worrying about their dresses. Finally as the sun managed to push aside the blanket of clouds, gloom vanished from their faces and they started getting ready for the “big event”.

The preparations for the “once in a life time chance” had started early. Infact, almost a week ago. Eager to make the maximum out of the opportunity chance had thrown in their way, the teachers had started organising “round table conferences”. No, not just for preparing a catalogue of suggestions for presenting to the President, but also for discussing the attires.

The dresses have to be attractive — that was thing all the teachers agreed upon. No wonder, the dresses stored so well in the cupboards were taken out before being handed over for ironing.

Men, on the other hand, had no such “problems”. Rather, they were not involved in any preparation. That’s the reason why they had no problem waiting for the President till 6 pm in cotton shirts over comfortable trousers. “I do not think the President will have time to notice clothes,” remarked a male teacher just before the visit. “And I am sure he is not going to throw any of us out just because someone is not immaculately dressed”.



Kalam with teachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
The city today played host to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam amid excitement among residents who wanted a closer glimpse of the man as his cavalcade was driven from the airport to the PGI in Sector 12 for an interaction with teachers and back in the evening.

The President, who had gone to Ludhiana to inaugurate the Kisan Mela, arrived in a helicopter in the city more than an hour behind schedule at 5.30 p.m. amid tight security to a traditional gun salute at the airport before leaving for the PGI. Due to security considerations three helicopters were deployed to ferry him from Ludhiana to Chandigarh.

Accompanying the President helicopters was Governor of Punjab O.P. Verma.

The VVIP was received at the airport by the Governor of Haryana Babu Parmanand, Chief Minister of Haryana Om Prakash Chautala, Chief Justice of the high court Justice B.K. Roy, city Mayor Subhash Chawla, Army Commander S.S. Mehta and Haryana Chief Secretary A.N. Mathur.

The Adviser to the UT Administrator, Mr Virendra Singh, The Home Secretary, Mr Raminder Singh Gujral, the IG, Mr Rajesh Kumar, the SSP, Mr Gaurav Yadav, and the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, were also present. 



President meets ex-colleagues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam met his former colleagues at the airport before departing. These included some from the Terminal and Ballastics Research Institute (TRBL), including its founding Director, Dr Sampooran Singh. The Director of the TBRL, Dr V.S. Sethi, was also among those who met the President. Probably some notes about technology were exchanged, but those are classified secrets, sources said, adding that at least six persons from the scientific community met the President before he arrived to be with the CMs and Governors for tea served in the airport’s VIP lounge.

* * * * *

When such VVIPs come, there is usually an elaborate arrangement for what in official parlance is called tea and snacks. Today, the Chandigarh Industrial Tourism Corporation (CITCO) was called for catering. The CITCO has specially trained waiters to serve such dignitaries.

** * * * *

Tea for the President was served at an exclusive meeting with the Chief Ministers and Governors of Punjab and Haryana. Even the ADCs of the President and the Governors, who normally accompany them everywhere, were not there inside.

* * * * * *

People stuck in traffic jams craned their necks just to catch a glimpse of the cavalcade of the President. Mrs Sheetal Maini, who was waiting for the traffic to clear near The Tribune chowk, took her children out of the car to show them the stream of cars passing by.

* * * * *

Policemen were also eager to catch a glimpse of the grey-haired scientist sitting in the car. After the cavalcade passed, a constable told his colleague, “yaar je apni duty airport yaa PGI te hondi te asi vee vekh lende President Saheb nu.” (Had we been posted at the airport or the PGI, we could have also had a glimpse of the President). Some policemen said they had been on duty since 12 noon as they were also required to keep a watch on activities along the route and not just stop traffic when the cavalcade arrived.

** * * *

Just outside the PGI, there was a huge rush of people wanting to see the President. These included students of Punjab University, PGI employees, young doctors and schoolchildren, besides bystanders. They were shooed away by the police due to security reasons. Young reporters of several newspapers hovered around Bhargava Auditorium to see the President.



Traffic thrown out of gear
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 4
Commuters near the Transport Chowk traffic light point had to bear the brunt of the President’s visit to the city this evening as there was a massive traffic jam there, which took over 40 minutes to clear. He arrived in the city about one hour late.

There was also a jam on The Tribune chowk and Grain Market chowk. Almost similar scenes were witnessed during the return journey of the President towards the airport.

The arrival of the President coincided with the closing time of the offices and thus the chaos near The Tribune roundabout and on the Transport Chowk. Sources in the police claimed that had the President arrived in the city on his schedule time, there would have been no traffic jams. ‘‘We had a mock drill in connection with the visit but as the President got late and the situation went out of control but was soon brought under control’’, said a senior police official.

At PGI, where the President addressed the teachers, however, there was no chaos.



Is asking for bribe criminal misconduct?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
A single instance regarding an attempt to obtain bribe, where no amount is actually received, is not criminal misconduct in the discharge of duty — the important question of law will come up for consideration before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The question was raised by junior engineer Nihal Singh working with the Punjab State Electricity Board at Gidderbaha in Muktsar district. He was booked on June 30, 1998, under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

According to the prosecution, Nihal Singh was booked after ex-sarpanch Amarjit Singh furnished an affidavit that the engineer had demanded Rs 2000 from him for getting some work done.

Seeking the quashing of a first information report registered against him, the engineer also relied upon a judgement in support of his contention. No money was demanded, he asserted.

Claiming to have been implicated, the engineer had further asserted that the affidavit was submitted due to enmity. He had added that till date challan had not been filed before the court of competent jurisdiction by the police.

Arguing before the court, his counsel submitted that the petitioner was due to retire in January, 2005. Till date, there were no allegations against him. Moreover, his service record was “good”

Taking up the case, Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall of the high court issued notice to Punjab’s Advocate-General. The Judge also fixed November 3 as the next date of hearing in the case.



Villager electrocuted
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 4
A resident of Raipur Khurd village, Rajinder Kumar, was electrocuted in the 3BRD area here today.
According to police sources, Rajinder Kumar, 24, was cutting grass in an open area in 3BRD, when the accident took place. A live electric wire had reportedly fallen into the water accumulated on the ground. He was a daily wage labourer and is survived by his wife and a son.

Meanwhile, an unidentified old woman, seemingly a beggar, was found dead on a footpath in PGI here today. Police said no external injury marks were found on her body and apparently she died a natural death. The body has been kept in the morgue of the PGI, where a post-mortem will be conducted on it. 



1 killed as truck falls into river

Kharar, September 4
One person died while another was injured seriously when a tanker filled with acid fell into a river on the Kharar-Ropar road, near Khanpur village, last night.

A tanker (number HR-39-1203) was going from Nangal to Hisar. As soon as it reached the Khanpur bridge, the driver lost control and the truck fell into the river.

Driver of the truck Surinder Kumar managed to escape but the cleaner was buried under the tanker. His body was taken out today. The driver and the cleaner belonged to Hajipur village in Hoshiarpur district. OC



Pregnant woman found dead
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 4
The body of an unidentified pregnant woman in her twenties was found in Devinagar village near Sector 3, here tonight. A resident of Sector 19 spotted the woman and took her to the General Hospital, Sector 6, where she was declared brought dead. The body has been kept in the mortuary of the hospital.



Two arrested for possessing liquor
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, Sept 4
The police today arrested two residents of Mauli Jagran Colony and claimed to have seized 975 pouches of liquor from their possession here. The two — Raj Kumar and Ram Bahadur — were carrying the pouches in a rickshaw, when they were intercepted by a police team near the CTU Workshop. The two have been booked under the Excise Act.

Bag stolen: Mr Daya Gupta of Sector 21 reported to the police his bag containing some cash, a watch and documents had been stolen from his car, which was parked at the Government Arts College, Sector 10, here yesterday. A case has been registered.

A scooter (CHL 6361) of Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra resident, Mr E.K Mathur, was reported to be stolen from a parking lot near D.C Office, Sector 17 here yesterday.

One injured: Satish Kumar was injured when a Maruti car hit him on the dividing road of Sectors 38 and 25 here yesterday. He was rushed to the PGI, where his condition was said to be stable. The car driver sped away from the spot. A case under Sections 279 and 337 of IPC has been registered against the car driver. 


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