Saturday, September 13, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


It’s clean sweep by PUSU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
The Panjab University Student Union (PUSU) today captured all seats in the Panjab University Campus Students Council elections held today. The panel won all posts.

Malwinder Singh Kang was elected president by securing 1,694 votes. He defeated Khushbaz Singh Jattana of the Student Organisation of Panjab University, who polled 1,024 votes. Saurabh Joshi of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad got 823 votes; Pawan Singh of the Haryana Student Association secured 442 votes; Gurparvez Singh Sandhu of the PUSU (Shailay) polled 254 votes; and Ravinder Singh secured just one vote. For the post of vice-president, Nimrat Punia of the Department of Psychology got 1,549 votes. She defeated Annapurna Sharma of the ABVP, who polled 1,075 votes.

Sharanjit Singh Bains
Sharanjit Singh Bains
Joint Secretary

Nimrat Punia
Nimrat Punia

Vijay Inder Karan
Vijay Inder Karan

Moshina Manraw of the SOPU got 1,056 votes; and Rishwant Kaur of the HSA secured 494 votes.

For the post of secretary, Vijay Inder Karan of the Department of English polled 1,493 votes. He defeated Satinder Pal Singh Sidhu of the SOPU, who secured 1,135 votes.

For the post of joint secretary, Sharanjit Singh Bains of the Department of Mathematics got 1,603 votes against Narinder Singh Negi of the SOPU, who secured 1,237 votes.

The margin of 670 votes for the president’s post is seen as a very big margin and is surely well above the pre-poll predictions. The Haryana Student Association, which had been the traditional PUSU ally ever since the commencement of the elections in 1997, had parted ways with the PUSU. The group loss was seen as a major blow to the PUSU. The calculations were further upset with Gurparvez Singh Sandhu announcing another faction of the PUSU.

A total of 4,240 votes were polled for the post of president, out of the total of 6,332 votes. The votes were scattered amongst the candidates in the overall perspective because the list showed four presidential candidates with strong groups backing them.

Kang led in all major blocks on the campus and the results showed consistency in his lead in a majority of the departments. At the University Institute of Engineering and Technology, both Kang and Joshi were tied at 154 votes each. In the Law Department, Kang headed with 267 votes against 160 by Jattana. Jattana led in the Botany and Zoology Departments by scoring 107 votes against 81 by Kang. Kang cleared the BMS block by securing 173 votes against 166 by Jattana.

Kang had a big margin in the Chemical Engineering Department, where he scored 174 votes against 50 by Jattana. In the Arts block III, Kang had 186 votes against 91 by Jattana.

Supporters of PUSU break out into a dance
Supporters of PUSU break out into a dance following the declaration of results to the Panjab University Campus Student Council in Chandigarh on Friday. — Tribune photo by Pankaj Sharma

Kang said his previous achievements had borne fruit. He said his work would continue unabated for the students’ cause and without any difference on party lines.

The differences that were witnessed during the election process should be buried and a new beginning should be made to promote academic and extra-curricular activities.

The results were declared by Prof Nirmal Singh, Dean Student Welfare, at the gymnasium hall.

Saurabh Joshi of the ABVP said: “In matter of votes, only we have gained as compared to last year’s elections. We accept the voters’ verdict.”

Pawan Singh of the HSA said: “Victory and defeat are part of the game. I am still committed to work for the students’ cause.”

Gurparvez Singh Sandhu, presidential candidate of the PUSU (Shailay), said: “I have learnt from my mistakes. Timely alliances could have worked in our favour.”


Victory margin baffles many
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
The victory margin for the Panjab University Student Union (PUSU) at the elections to the Panjab University Campus Student Council has surprised many. The difference of 650 votes polled by Malwinder Singh Kang has not just upset the pre-poll calculations of various rival organisations but also baffled several “poll pundits”, including sources in the police intelligence.

In the first major blow during the pre-poll scenario, PUSU lost its traditional ally in the Haryana Student Association, which had been supporting it since 1997. The emergence of Gurparvez Singh Sandhu, who contested the poll as the presidential candidate for the PUSU-Shailay group, was seen as another blow to PUSU.

It is felt that the sympathy wave for Kang in wake of a murderous assault on him allegedly by the rival group, Student Organisation of Panjab University, has had a big bearing on the final results. In addition, visits by founders of the union to the campus also had a telling impact on students.

In contrast, visit by senior workers of SOPU and even those who held posts in the council office in the past failed to make their presence felt during canvassing.

Gurparvez Singh Sandhu, the presidential candidate for the rival PUSU, polled just 254 votes. One of the section of his supporters included senior PUSU workers who deserted the Kang group because of personal differences. This category was only interested in the ouster of Kang from the office and their support never attempted at projecting Sandhu as a fit candidate.

Sandhu apparently spent “plenty” on the poll, which seems interesting as he could not find even a single candidate to stand with him for other posts of the council. It is also worth pointing out that his car rally was the most impressive one, with 47 vehicles in the campaign. There were a number of college students in his camp as well.

The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad this time had the brightest chance on the campus. Understanding the absence of major alliances this time, the ABVP spent a sizeable amount of money on the poll. The camp also had a large number of outsiders.

The ABVP struck a poll alliance with the HPSU in an attempt to attract the vote bank of students from Himachal Pradesh. The Himachal group broke into two new alliances, nullifying the potential of impact, if any.

Regional character plays a crucial role during elections in the university. The university is dominated by Punjabis, which is substantiated by the fact that each year PUSU and SOPU poll maximum number of votes.

The Haryana students who combined under the HSA banner were claiming more than 1,200 voters. However, they bagged only 442. Saurabh Joshi, despite being a popular figure, could not attract many votes because the organisation is known largely for its political lineage.

The Haryana Student Association, at a late-night meeting, discussed the reorganisation of the group and there was also a suggestion to do away with the stress on “Haryana” in the organisation.

Lifting voters is another interesting aspect of the polling scenario that occurs every year. This year was no exception. The most affected are the students of Chemical Engineering and the University Institute of Engineering and Technology. These are the youngest inhabitants of the campus. They are either “bribed” for movie shows, taken for outing or threatened to leave the campus.

There is no real agenda for any organisation. It is just that the printed material spells a volume. There is near unanimity in accepting the fact that the material was just a gimmick, which had “no impact on the voters”. The campaign is a war of words in voicing allegations and counter-allegations. Issues like education, particularly in context with job scenario for the students, rarely find a mention.

The open house by candidates at a common platform is a big “hoax” and the university has done little to increase its utility for the past six-years. The same trend was witnessed this year. Not a single person among the audience lent an ear to those on stage.

However, there were certain positive trends as well. The expenses on the poll material were on the lower end compared with the past. The police role in handling certain unpleasant situations also deserves a mention as the campus remained largely calm.


Independents emerge victorious
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
Elections to the students’ councils in city colleges passed off peacefully here today. The voter turnout varied considerably, depending upon the number of contestants and the number of posts for which elections were slated. Mixed results came in from colleges with no party securing a clear victory. The day clearly belonged to Independents in girls’ colleges.

With results in most colleges declared by noon, the college campuses came alive with an air of jubilation and celebration all pervasive. Victory processions were held with supporters dancing to the beat of the dhol and blaring music played in cars and jeeps.

At Government College for Girls, Sector 42, the college campus reverberated with the sound of the dhol as girls performed giddha following the announcement of results which went in favour of Independents. The girls made merry the entire afternoon.

MCM DAV College, Sector 36, after yesterday’s agitation by students, remained calm today. Few students turned up to cast their vote amidst heavy police deployment. With most hostellers away and students keeping away from election to the one post of Joint Secretary, the new Council took over without fanfare.

After the declaration of result at Sri Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26, the Khalsa College Students Union (KCSU) students took out a procession to celebrate their victory. Blaring Punjabi numbers added to the festivities and students and supporters accompanied the council members during the thanks-giving ceremony.

The announcement of election results brought smiles on faces of the winners at Government College for Girls, Sector 11 where celebrations were a quiet affair. However, at Government College, Sector 11, where every party got representation in the students’ council, celebrations were held in true Punjabi style, all broke into a bhangra to the beats of the dhol. Here, the Panjab University Students’ Union bagged two seats.

At Dev Samaj College of Education, Sector 36, and Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45, the new councils were in place by afternoon. Sweets were distributed by winners. At GGDSD College, Sector 32, students went out of the college in a procession and joined the celebrations at Panjab University. The results are:

Dev Samaj College of Education: president: Ritu Bali (118); vice-president: Shuchi Vasudeva (65); secretary: Ramandeep Chugh (129); joint secretary: Cheenu Puri (71).

Dev Samaj College for Women: president: Harpreet Kaur (271); vice-president: Ritu Gupta (199); general secretary: Ekta Chhetri (188); joint secretary: Ishani Sood (unanimous).

MCM DAV College: president: Rupali Slathia-BA III; vice-president: Shefali Kwaria-BA II; general secretary: Maninder Kaur Thind-BCA I; joint secretary: Preeti Chauhan-BA I.

GGDSD College: president: Sarvdeep Singh Brar (554); vice-president: Namita Joon (845); general secretary: Gaurav Chakra-varty (710); joint secretary: Sirjant Singh Chahal (858).

GCG-11: president: Annapurna Singh-BA III; vice-president: Nandini Shukla-BA III; general secretary: Gangandeep Aulakh-BA II; joint secretary: Surbhi Verma-BA I.

GGS College: president: Madhumeet-BCA III; vice-president: Manmeet-BA III; joint secretary: Navreet-BA I.

SGGS College: president: Sandeep Verma-BA II (594); vice-president: Kirti Gupta-B.Sc I (592); general secretary: Anukriti Sharma-BCA II (601); joint secretary: Ravi Walia-BA II (606).

GCG-42: president: Gayatri-BA III; vice-president: Seema Satti-BA III; general secretary: Man-deep-BA III; joint secretary: Kamaldeep-BA II.

GC-11: Karanbir Singh-BA III (PUSU)-BA III; vice-president: Sudhir Singh (ISU); general secretary: Abhishek Sood-BA III (PUSU); joint secretary: Ajit Chahal-BA II (GCSU).

GC-46: president: Harish Attray-BA III; vice-president: Amarpreet Singh Chattha-BA II; general secretary: Anil Bhonsle-BA III; joint secretary: Khemraj Billa-BA II.Back



Development becomes Morni’s bane
Five new link roads threaten fragile ecology
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Morni, September 12
Two state government departments are working in diametrically opposite directions for the development of the only hill station in Haryana.

While the Wildlife Department is going all out to declare 12,000 hectares fragile forest area in Morni as a wildlife sanctuary, the state Tourism Department, aided by the Shivalik Development Board, is working overtime to develop Morni as a tourist destination.

Irrespective of the delicate and fragile nature of the hills, the Shivalik Development Board (SDB) proposes to have at least five new link roads to Morni for popularising this as a tourist destination. This even as the lateral cutting and toe-cutting of hills for creating and widening of roads, coupled with large scale deforestation in the area, has made this area vulnerable to soil erosion and landslides. The board also proposes to set a tourist complex at an estimated cost of Rs 2.5 crore here.

The Chairman of the Board, Mr B.R. Lall, today said other than the existing Panchkula-Morni road, the SDB proposed to complete five more routes to Morni which would not only be shorter in distance than the existing route, but also have a less hill distance. These routes — Pinjore-Thapli-Morni; Thapli-Badisher-Morni; Raipur Rani-Tikkar-Morni; Bhud-Trilokpur-Morni; and, Chandimandir-Burj Kotian-Morni — will be made operational by next year.

He said the complex to be made at Morni would serve as a perfect weekend getaway for residents of nearby areas. The complex would have two three-storey structures, flats for government employees posted in Morni, water sports, tree houses, and a 700 square metre roof water harvesting structure for meeting most water demands of this project.

Residents of Morni are already paying the price for the development and urbanisation of the area. This year, beginning mid-July, several areas of Morni remained inundated for days because of landslides after each heavy downpour. The laying of more roads and widening of existing roads, would only disturb the ecology further. Several years ago, when the Public Works Department had planned to widen the roads and extend them, the Forest Department had objected to this because of the fragile nature of these hills. The matter had even been taken up with the Union Ministry of Environment, before the final nod was given.

Though Mr Lall claimed that they had already got the clearance from the Forest Department for the new roads, it remains to be seen how the Forest Department will manage the tourist inflow keeping in mind the tranquility required for the proposed wildlife sanctuary here. The proposed sanctuary is being developed in lieu of denotification of two sanctuaries - Saraswati Forest , which falls partly in Kaithal district and partly in Kurukshetra and spread over an area of 4400 hectares; and, in Bada Ban in Jind in an area of 400 hectares.

The area of the sanctuary proposed at Morni includes Khol Raitan, protected forest area in Balwali, Mandana, Asrewali and Bir Ghaggar. Originally, the Wildlife Wing of the Forest Department had earmarked an area of the over 50,000 acres, including 14 different bhojs in Morni. They were, however, asked to shrink the proposed area under the sanctuary to 12, 259 acres.

The Department of Forests has sought the permission of the Supreme Court for the setting up of the sanctuary as the area has rich flora and fauna. Other than fruit trees , herbs, shrubs and other vegetative growth is also present here. The last wildlife census, done in 2002, has revealed the presence of leopards, cheetahs, sambhars, wild boars, barking deer, wild boars, jungle foul and a wide variety of birds in this reserved forest.


Hawk deal a turning point in defence ties, says Rob Young
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
The British High Commissioner in India, Sir Rob Young, today termed New Delhi’s decision to buy the Hawk advanced jet trainer (AJT) as a turning point in defence ties between the two countries.

He was addressing a ‘‘meet-the-press programme’’ at the Press Club here.

Earlier, the High Commissioner who is on a farewell visit to the city talked about Bollywood movies, music, cricket, curries and the overall impact of the Indian community in the UK.

He also recollected how much he had liked by being at Anandpur Sahib during the Khalsa tercentenary celebrations in 1999. ‘‘ It was the most moving spectacle. We will never forget it,’’ Sir Rob Young said.

About the hawk deal, Sir Rob Young said “this move will open the face for new technology transfers between India and the UK” and added that the UK believed that the purchase of the aircraft was the right choice for India.” He assured there would be no difficulty for the Indian government in acquiring spare parts for the jet trainer. Pressing India to consider the issue of contributing troops to Iraq, he said Indian troops “could do an excellent job in that country.”

He said Iraqi leader Saddam Hussain had ignored several UN Security Council resolutions on handling of weapons of mass destruction. The UK was already in the process of restoring Iraq to Iraqis. On the Indo-Pak relations, he said. “The Government of India has managed the situation with Pakistan with skill, care and reputation.” Maintaining that both UK and India would have to work together to end the menace of terrorism, he said “if all governments around the world carried out a series of actions to stop support to terrorism, then it (terrorism) would be stopped in most of its forms.”

When asked by mediapersons as to why the UK could not attack terror camps in Pakistan or occupied Kashmir, Sir Rob Young skirted the subject but added there was no justification for any form of terrorism. “Pakistan has undertaken to end support to terrorism. We (UK) are working with Pakistan to ensure it is implemented.”

The UK was proud to be associated with India in the fight against terrorsim. He said the UK and India faced challenges like terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, drugs, illegal immigration and trade policies.

Earlier, the High Commissioner talked about his stint in India. He talked about Hindi film music and how curries had become among some of the most popular foods in Britian. Without taking names he referred to an English cricketer of Indian origin and how Punjabis had a special bond with the UK.

Announces reward for tracing UK student’s murderer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
The British High Commissioner, Sir Rob Young, today announced a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh for anybody who helped trace Maninder Pal Singh Kohli, a man wanted by the UK police in a case of kidnapping, rape and murder of a British girl.

Kohli is suspected of abducting, raping and murdering a 17-year-old student Hannah Foster, on March 14 this year in Southampton, the British High Commissioner said at the “meet-the-press” programme here today.

Hannah was abducted while she was walking home alone on the night of March 14. Her body was found later by the roadside and a post-mortem report said she had been raped and strangled. Kohli, who lived in Southampton, was suspected to have committed the crime and believed to have fled to India on March 18. According to a Hampshire police handout distributed to the media, the last time anything was heard about Kohli was that he was seen in the Chandigarh region on March 29. A photograph of the accused was also circulated.

Hampshire detectives, who are currently on a visit to India, are in touch with the Punjab police which has been trying to trace Kohli.

The Hampshire Constabulary and the British newspaper, The Sun have also announced rewards of Rs 5 lakh each for any information about his whereabouts.

Meanwhile, the Punjab police, in a press note, said the UK police had offered a reward of Rs 10 lakh for anyone providing information regarding an NRI “Mr Narinderpal Singh Kohli.” The police here probably got the name wrong. The UK police says his name is Maninder Pal while the Punjab police says it is Narinder Pal.

A spokesman of the Punjab police said he had been seen mostly in the vicinity of Chandigarh, Patiala and Ropar. Anyone who knew his whereabouts, or had any information which could help the police trace Kohli, was requested to contact Assistant Inspector-General (Crime) Mann Singh of the Punjab police on either of the following telephone numbers: Punjab police Control Room — 0172-740298, Assistant Inspector-General of Police (Crime): 0172-740971 and AIG cell phone numbers: 9417021955, 0172-3104455.Back


Mishap stops his march to modelling
Tribune News Service

Amresh Rana - A Tribune photographChandigarh, September 12
His journey to fame ended before he reached his destination. A budding model-cum-medical representative, Amresh Rana, was driving down a road in Pathankot, when his career came to a halt following a road accident. He was riding a bike when a car allegedly rammed into his vehicle.

It’s been almost a year since Amresh also a social worker, suffered multiple fractures in the mishap. He has still not received any compensation. Worse, the organisation he was working for has allegedly refused to help him out.

Now, the 27-year-old son of an agriculturist needs Rs 1.5 lakh for bone graft, but has no money left. “I do not wish to burden my parents,” Rana asserts during his trip to Chandigarh for consulting a doctor. “You see, they are agriculturists and the condition of farmers in the state is not very good. This is not all. I have a kid brother studying in college. Money is required for his education also”.

Carefully placing the crutches next to a chair, he adds: “All my savings have been exhausted. I have already spent Rs 2 lakh on my medicines and diet supplements — all for no fault of mine”.

He asserts: “My case for compensation is pending before the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal. It will obviously take some time before I am granted compensation. Till then, I do not know what to do”.

He adds: “I was initially getting a basic salary from the organisation I was working for, but for the past four or five months they too have stopped making the payment, leaving me in the lurch. I have written a number of letters to the authorities, but to no avail”.

But is he in favour of receiving assistance from a voluntary organisation? “No, strictly no,” he says in a determined voice. “I am a social worker. As such, I have been helping others. How can I accept help from others?”

Giving the details, Rana adds: “As the founder-member of a social organisation — Vishwa Manav Sewa Sangh — I have so far donated 34 units of blood, besides undertaking other social activities. No, I do not want anyone’s help. All I want is assistance from my organisation till I am able to stand on my own feet again — without crutches”.

Rana reveals in a voice chocked with emotion: “I was into modelling before the mishap occurred on September 13 last year. In fact, I have done over three shows. I had big dreams, all shattered now even though I was not at fault. Now, I sit at home looking at walls. How am I going to get through? I have no idea”. 


City-Chennai train from Dec
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
Decks have been cleared to run a direct train between Chandigarh and Chennai. Announced in the Union Railway Budget in February this year, the much-awaited train will start in December, confirmed a senior officer of the Northern Railways.

Enquires made with the railway authorities today revealed that though the Railway Board had already cleared the long- distance train, the Southern Railways were trying to arrange rake(s) for the new weekly train.

The officer said the railway authorities at Chennai had already intimated the office of the Chief Planning Traffic Manager (Passengers), Northern Railways, about the tentative date to start the train.

The railway authorities at Ambala reveal that certain details, including technical aspects like space for berthing of trains at the Chandigarh railway station are being worked out. Work was in progress in the yard of the Chandigarh railway station to allow berthing of the Chandigarh-Chennai link express for a night.

The departure time from Chandigarh railway station on every Monday would be 7.10 am( train number 6034 A) and arrival time on every Sunday would be 6 am ( train number 6033 A). The exact date to flag off the train was yet to be decided.

Each pair of the new train would comprise 22 wagons. At least two of them would be AC coaches. Railway officials said the train coming from Chennai would travel up to Saharanpur via Delhi. At Saharanpur, 11 of the coaches would be routed towards Dehra Dun and the rest would be brought to Chandigarh. On way back, the wagons from Chandigarh and Dehra Dun, respectively, would join at Saharanpur to form one train and then move to Delhi for onward journey to Chennai.

Sources said that the Chandigarh station has berthing space for only three trains. This means at a given time only three trains can be parked here. The problem will arise on Sundays as three trains are already scheduled to be berthed here. These include the Chandigarh Lucknow Sadhbhawna Express which arrives here at 11 a.m and is here till 7 p.m. On Saturday evening the Jan Shatabdi berths here and leaves only on Sunday morning. Otherwise the Jan Shatabdi berths in Kalka. Another train which berths here is the passenger train between Chandigarh and Ambala. Now if the train from Chennai berths here, one of the trains has to be moved to Kalka .

The problem could be solved once the yard at the Chandigarh railway station was remodelled, said an officer.


IT survey yields Rs 62 lakh
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, September 12
Unaccounted income of Rs 62 lakh has been surrendered by two leading toy stores in the city during an intensive survey carried by the Income Tax Department.

The survey ended late last night.

An officer of the income tax department said on suspecting certain discrepancies in the stock position by two leading toy stores, Budhi Raja Toys in Sectors 17 and 22, a survey had been undertaken.

The stores are run by two different persons. While the Sector 17 store yielded unaccounted income of Rs 45 lakh, the Sector 22 store yielded Rs 17 lakh. IT officers from range-II and range-III , physically checked the stock position and studied the accounts books.

ROPAR: An income tax team from Panchkula along with local officials of the department raided the premises of the Ram Lal Puran Chand Traders here on Friday.

The IT officials, when contacted, declined to comment.


Two kids die of chicken pox

SAS Nagar, September 12
Two children have died due to suspected chicken pox or measles in the past few days in Balmiki Colony near Dara Studio. It is reported that two daughters of a vegetable seller, Om Parkash, died due to high fever and some eruptions on the body.

It is reported that a six-month-old son of the vegetable seller is also suffering from similar symptoms. The children were taken to a private doctor who had advised the parents to take them to the GMCH, Sector 32. OC

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