C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PU to have no seminars in March
Exams keep students away
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Panjab University has finally woken up to the fact that seminars in March serve no purpose. These add to the knowledge of neither students nor faculty. All speakers, Indian and foreign, speak to almost empty halls and go back.

Despite being seen by most faculty members as an exercise in futility, various departments have gone ahead with holding special lectures and seminars, unmindful of vacant chairs. Subjects as vast as the state of education to dance to debating on the efficacy of schemes for the backward classes have been debated by a handful of participants.

The only idea of the seminars, it seems, is to exhaust funds earmarked for these literary exercises at the beginning of every year and before the financial year closes. All departments wake up to this realisation only in March.

Vice-Chancellor Prof K.N. Pathak feels it is time all this ends. Speaking at an international seminar on “Rural development”, he said, “It is a painful decision to make, but it has to be conveyed. Panjab University will not organise any seminar in March. All seminars are to be convened before February 28”.

Ruing that teachers and students were conspicuous by their absence in every seminar on any topic, he added that March was a busy month for them, with examinations round the corner. “We cannot expect them to sit, hear and add to their knowledge. So this tradition of holding seminars in March has to change,” he maintained.

A formal order to this effect would be issued shortly by the Vice-Chancellor’s office. For every seminar organised, the department concerned would have to inform the authorities three months in advance.

This was introduced to ensure that speakers invited for various seminars were not faced with accommodation problems. “With all seminars held in March, most of the rooms in guest houses are full. This leads to embarrassment when a guest cannot be adjusted. With seminars spread over the year, this problem will automatically stand solved,” Professor Pathak stated.



Poll process starts on April 16
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
The Deputy Commissioner-cum-Returning Officer, Chandigarh, Mr Arun Kumar, said today that the Chandigarh parliamentary constituency had a 5,03,930 electors, including defence voters. A total of 2,77,635 were male voters, 2,24,979 women voters and 1316 defence voters. Electronic voting machines (EVMs) would be used at all 405 polling stations.

The date of notification for conducting the elections in Chandigarh would be April 16. The last date for filing nominations would be April 23.

The scrutiny would be on April 24. The last date for withdrawal would be April 26. The date of poll was May 10, he said. He stressed upon the need for creating general awareness about the use of EVMs as the entire process polling in Chandigarh would be through EVMs .

He said the use of the machines would not only reduce the number of invalid votes but also leave no scope for tampering with votes. He said the use of EVMs was so simple, that a voter had to press a button only to cast his vote. If the voter had to press the button once which would be followed by a beep indicating that the vote had been cast.



Police gears up

Chandigarh, March 27
The Chandigarh police yesterday geared up for Lok Sabha elections in the city.
SSP Gaurav Yadav called a meeting of DSPs of divisions and all station house officers. They were told that the department would have to report to the Election Commission on a daily basis on the crime situation.

Mr Yadav asked his officers to ensure that their conduct was seen as fair. The officers were instructed to keep a vigil on bad elements so that they did not disturb the electoral process. The police would also make its presence felt to deter such persons from indulging in threatening voters.

The SSP asked the police officers to keep a special watch on illegal sale of liquor and illegal arms. He asked the officers to be vigilant against plans of booth capturing and rigging. — TNS



Vajpayee better PM than Nehru, says Dhumal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee has proven that he is a much better Prime Minister than Jawaharlal Nehru.
This was claimed by Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, a former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, while addressing a press conference of the Bharatiya Janata Party here today.

During the tenure of Jawaharlal Nehru, India had given away land in Kashmir and China. During Mr Vajpayee’s term, the Indian Army had proven its mettle by clearing Kargil of foreign occupation. Instead of reacting to situations, Nehru had tended to rely on the crutches of the UN, and to no avail, Mr Dhumal went on.

He said for the first time the Lok Sabha elections would not be contested on emotional renderings of politicians to garner votes. All earlier polls had ignored performance in office, he added.

Mr Dhumal said the BJP was contesting on the basis of its achievements during the past five years. The work, more than words, reflected that India was “really shining”. The government had scored massively in terms of growth rate of the economy. “During the tenure of Mr Chandra Shekhar as the Prime Minister, the country was forced to give its gold in lieu of unpaid loans. The BJP is not just paying back the interest on the loans but also ensuring that part of the principal is also paid back. India has now even given loans to 14 countries”, he said.

It was surprising that the Congress was not introspecting on why its tally was rapidly falling, he said.

The BJP leader said the Prime Minister was likely to visit Himachal Pradesh on April 26 and Mr L.K. Advani, Deputy Prime Minister, was expected on May 6.



Joining Cong was a blunder, says Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
“Joining the Congress was the biggest mistake that I have made in my political career”, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, INLD candidate from the city, said while addressing a press conference here yesterday.

He had joined the Congress during the elections in 1999. He had split with the Congress and had formed the Chandigarh Vikas Manch which would be merged with the INLD soon, he said.

Mr Dhawan’s entry in the fray has made the contest largely triangular . His main rivals are Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal (Congress) and Mr Satya Pal Jain (BJP).

He said he was dissatisfied with the functioning of the Congress. “I would like to apologise to the general public for having joined the Congress and it will never happen again”, he said, adding that he would support the anti-Congress government at the Centre.

Mr Dhawan was the Civil Aviation Minister in the Janata Party Government in 1989.

He said the city in the past 13 years had witnessed the shift of power between the Congress and the BJP camps. “Mr Bansal and Mr Jain need to answer the public about the scores of unfinished tasks pertaining to development,” he said.

Mr Dhawan said it would be interesting to read the manifestoes of both candidates over the past years. “They promised the sky but promises remained mere promises”, he said.

He said both parties had done nothing to do away with the leasehold system in the city and amend the building bylaws. Panjab University employees still had no pension and problems of government and PGI employees remained unaddressed.

He gave a list of three major projects taken up during his stay in parliament. These included Chandigarh Medical College, Kajauli Waterworks and the rehabilitation centre at Mauli Jagran. 



Rival Cong groups hold rallies for Dullo
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 27
Division among Congressmen came to the fore when two groups gave a display of strength at different venues here today in support of the party nominee for the Ropar Lok Sabha seat, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo. Mr Dullo started his election campaign from here today.

While a group led by Mrs Lakhwinder Kaur Garcha, OSD to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, gathered representatives of different organisations to garner support for Mr Dullo, another group led by Mr Balbir Singh Sidhu, member PPCC, held a rally in the evening in support of the same candidate.

While Mr Sidhu could draw much larger crowd as compared to the gathering in the morning, Mrs Garcha claimed that representatives, who had gathered at her call, had the support of 1,000 to 2,000 voters each.

Asked by newspersons about differences among Congress leaders, Mr Dullo admitted that they had differences.

He said they were making efforts to sink differences and in the next few days all three Congress leaders, including Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Kharar MLA, and Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, would be supporting him.

While addressing the gathering, Mr Dullo said the Central Government was not lifting sugar worth Rs 600 crore from mills in Punjab. He blamed Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD chief, and Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, a former union minister, for it. He said farmers were being harassed as they were unable to get money for sugarcane they had sold to the mills. Sugar was coming to Punjab from other states.

Mr Dullo said when the Akali government was ruling in Punjab, farmers had to spend a number of days in mandis to sell their produce. After the Congress had came to power in the state, the produce could now be sold the same day.

He said the major issues in his manifesto related to development, good governance, employment, helping the farmers, the Dalits and the backward classes.

He said if the government wanted to acquire land of farmers they should be given a good price for it. He felt that they deserved at least half of the profit that government earned after selling the land.

Mr Dullo said 1,209 villages fell in his constituency and he had personally visited 947 villages and distributed grants to them. He said grants even to villages, which he could not visit because the Lok Sabha was dissolved before the completion of five years, were also distributed despite that many of these had sarpanches who backed the SAD.

He said he had got a grant of Rs 10 crore and a balance of Rs 1.75 crore was still lying unutilised. 



Ex-servicemen condemn BJP, Congress
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
The executive committee of the Indian Ex-servicemen League has expressed unhappiness over the performance of both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress in securing benefits for the  families of the country’s  soldiers.

In a press note issued here yesterday, Brig Sant Singh, a member of the governing council of the IESL, said that at a meeting held in New Delhi recently it had been felt that both the parties “did not ing to protect the interests of ex-servicemen and their families. If anything,  they lowered the status of the ex-servicemen.”

“In their manifestoes for earlier elections both the parties had promised to ensure one rank, one pension, but they went back on their promise,” Brig Sant Singh added.



Residents threaten to boycott poll
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 27
Members of the LIG Residents Welfare Association, Sector 70, have threatened to boycott the Lok Sabha poll if development is not carried out in the area on a priority basis.

Mr Tejinder Singh Shergill, president of the association, told mediapersons at a press conference here today that the residents of the area had taken serious note of the indifferent attitude of PUDA and the municipal council which were not taking the problems of the area seriously. There were more than 500 LIG houses in the area.

He said roads in the area, which had been constructed more than six years ago, had pothole. A premix carpet had been laid in the adjoining areas twice over the years, but this colony had been neglected. There were not enough road gullies and the streets got flooded after it rained.

The water supply was inadequate. Water booster systems were available in the adjoining complexes, but LIG houses were given the supply of water only after fulfilling the needs of residents living there. There was water leakage at different points in the area.

Mr Shergill said a park in the colony had not been developed so far. The level of the park was lower than that of the surrounding area and it got flooded after rain. He alleged that estimates prepared for the development of the park had been cleared, but everything remained only on paper.

He said the community centre in the area had become a source of nuisance for them. Apart from blaring music that they were compelled to hear, the area next to the centre was littered with garbage after every function.



Take steps to check sexual harassment: HC
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Educational institutions in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh will have to initiate steps for preventing “acts of sexual harassment”. Responsible persons belonging to the institutes will also be required to ensure that the victims and witnesses are not discriminated against while dealing with such complaints in view of a judgement pronounced by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The High Court, in its judgement, had ruled on March 12 that the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court for preventing sexual harassment at workplaces were “fully applicable to educational institutes as well”.

The apex court had held that it was the duty of the employer or responsible persons at work places, and other institutes, to prevent or deter the “commission of acts of sexual harassment”. It was also their duty to provide procedures for resolution, settlement or prosecution by taking required steps.

Defining sexual harassment, the Supreme Court had ruled that it would include physical contact and advances, besides demand or request for sexual favours, along with sexually coloured remarks, showing pornography or any other unwelcome physical, verbal, even non-verbal, conduct of sexual nature.

The Supreme Court had further directed that the employer was required to initiate appropriate action in accordance with the law by complaining to the appropriate authority in case of sexual harassment. The court had added that appropriate disciplinary action was also required to be initiated by the employer where such action amounted to misconduct in employment as defined under the relevant service rules.

Referring to the judgement, a Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall, had ruled that “the guidelines, which had the force of law by the virtue of article 141 of the Constitution of India, were fully applicable to educational institutes as well”.

Speaking for the Bench, Mr Justice Nijjar had observed that the observations made by the Supreme Court, in their opinion, were “applicable to cases where students alleged sexual harassment from individuals who might be in dominant positions and were able to adversely affect the educational career of a girl student”.

Mr Justice Nijjar had added young women in educational institutes needed as much protection as working women required in offices. The Judge had further added that the observations made by the Supreme Court “left no manner of doubt that the courts had to adopt a special, protective and parental attitude while dealing with cases of fundamental rights violation of girl students guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India”.



Abattoir not fully utilised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
The abattoir of the city is underutilised. Against its work capacity for four shifts in a day, work is over in a single shift. As many as 300 heads of cattle are slaughtered per shift.

The Municipal Corporation plans to lease out the remaining-three-shifts of the abattoir to a private party in the current financial year. A report that will be taken up by the House for consideration says that “three shifts can be leased out to a private party, leaving one for the local needs”.

The butchering machines of international standard are in use since August 2002. The machines have a working capacity of 16 hours per day. The operational costs are high. As many as 12 butchers have been added to the staff at pay of Rs 4,60,800 per annum. The annual cost of diesel for the generation set and the boiler is Rs 3,00,000 and maintenance costs Rs 12,00,000.

The report points out “that a saving of approximately Rs 20 lakh will be made if the venue was leased out and the additional costs will be borne by the party taking it on lease. It will also mean more money”. There is, however, no mention of the estimated revenues. The Finance and Contract Committee of the corporation has agreed in principle for leasing out the abattoir.



Satish Aggarwal honoured for charity work
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 27
‘Charity is not confined to any boundary and distance cannot stop one from helping others’, was proved by Austria based Mr Satish Kumar Aggarwal. He was honoured by the Bharat Vikas Parishad for his service to the needy children in the city. The felicitation function was organised at Indira Holiday Home in Sector 24 here today.

This Austria-based Indian became part of Bharat Vikas Parishad’s “Sahyog”, a project for helping needy and deserving students. He adopted 300 students last year and helped them financially. Besides Mr Aggarwal also donated a sum of Rs 1.8 lakh to a diagnostic centre, run by the Parishad on the campus of Indira Holiday Home.

Mr Aggarwal once again adopted 300 needy students identified by the members of Parishad from 77 schools of the city and donated a cheque of Rs 8 lakh to take care of their needs.

Mr Aggarwal who migrated to Austria in 1975 and settled there, is also known for his charity works in his adopted country. Involved with many religious activities, Mr Aggarwal and his Austrian wife Ms. Ing Bourge constructed a temple in Austria. 



Pak couple doing book on Principal Ram Singh
Parbina Rashid

Chandigarh, March 27
It took them 50 years to know the existence of their successor — Government College of Art in Chandigarh and another three years to organise a trip to this place. History that separated both the offshoots of Mayo School of Art, Lahore, today united them together through an informal meeting of the two principals — Prof Brahm Prakash from Government College of Art, Chandigarh, and Prof Sajida H. Vandal, Principal of Lahore-based National College of Arts.

On a mission to find facts and personal details about Bhai Ram Singh who became the first Indian Principal of Mayo School of Art , now known as the national College of Arts , Prof Sajida, accompanied by her architect husband Mr Pervaiz Vandal, visited the college in Sector 10 today.

“It was only in 2000, when a former Principal, Prof Prem Singh, had invited us to take part in its golden jubilee celebrations, we came to know that Mayo School has a successor in India too,” said Prof Sajida as she looked around the college campus and interacted with the students this morning.

“We could not come then because of visa restrictions as well as for the fact that it coincided with the 125th anniversary function of our college,” she adds.

Prior to coming to the city, the husband- wife duo is working on a book on Bhai Ram Singh, visited Amritsar to meet the family of Bhai Ram Singh and also to see Khalsa College, one of the greatest creations of this great architect who holds the honour of being one of the first batch of Mayo School to have studied under Lockwood Kipling, father of famous Rudyard Kipling in 1875 and also the first native Principal of the college in 1909.

“He is one of the forgotten heros who deserves to be talked about, for he was the first person who successfully combined the elements of modernity and tradition through his architectural creativity,” says Mr Pervaiz Vandal who retired as a faculty of the Department of Architecture in National College of Arts some time ago. “In Amritsar we met two of his great grandsons and saw his works there, specially those he did after Partition,” says Mr Vandal.

Finding similarities between the two colleges Prof Sajida said visiting the college felt like seeing home away from home. “The work culture is the same, so is the vibrant energy of the students. It goes for the fact that both the colleges came out of the same root - a great institution like Mayo School,” she said.

Another objective of the visit is to trace history of the college from 1945 to 1948. “We started a National College of Art Archives in 2000 which has the entire record of the college except for information on this particular period which is extremely sketchy,” she said.

Optimistic about working out on exchange programmes as well as joint research projects between the two colleges in the near future, Prof Sajida said - “ we have a common heritage and even the needs are common for both the countries. We are grateful to both the countries for opening up a path of friendship and hope they continue in the right path so that we benefit from each other’s knowledge.”



Mohali Diary
Muscular dystrophy body meeting
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 27
The annual meet of the Chandigarh Chapter of Indian Muscular Dystrophy Association was organised by Mr Gurbir Kochar, president of the association, at Gill Estate this week. The meet was attended by patients from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi. The aim of the meet was to bring awareness of the disease and help patients and their families manage difficulties.

Dr Rubina Mirza from the Department of Physiotherapy, PGI, explained the importance of physiotherapy in muscular dystrophy with emphasis on chest care and prevention of complications. Several games were organised. Muscular dystrophy is a genetic disorder, and occurs due to alteration in the gene concerned. It affects muscle fibres and causes progressive muscle weakness.

Aks’ 04: The SAS Institute of Information Technology, Mohali, organised Aks’04, a cultural-cum-academic festival, at the college this week. Dr S. Lakshmi Narayana, regional officer, AICTE, presided over the function. Mr Sanjay Tyagi, director, STPI, Mohali, inaugurated Aks’ 04. He appreciated the efforts of the students, adding that the industry always looked for leadership and organisational team sprit, besides technical skills.

Dr J.S. Dhaliwal, chairman, Mr Sukhbir Shergill, general secretary, and Mr Jaskaran Singh, vice-chairman, congratulated the students and staff for their efforts. Mr I.S. Kaleka, Director, SASIIT, welcomed the participants and appreciated their performance. In the evening, Harbhajan Mann performed. Dr S.K. Salwan, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Technical University, was the chief guest. Dr M.S. Grewal, Registrar, appreciated the students of SASIIT, for their efforts.

100 pc placement: The Gian Jyoti Institute of Management and Technology (GJ-IMT) here has got all its management graduates placed. Mr Karminderjit Singh, co-ordinator, Corporate Relations, GJIMT, said HDFC Bank had selected five MBAs and India Bulls Securities had taken four. The other companies that visited the campus for placements included Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, LNJ International, Destination One, HBL Global Ltd, Ekadhiken, AGM Communication and HR structure.

Mr J.S. Bedi, chairman, GJIMT, said “Students have received offers in the range of Rs 1.8 lakh to Rs 1.25 lakh per annum for their training period, which is of six months to one year. By now, nearly 75 per cent of the students have been placed in different organisations. The batch will end its session in June 2004 and by that time, the target of 100 per cent placements will be easily achieved.”

Contest planned: The general body meeting of the Generation Saviour Association was held this week. It was decided that separate units of the association be formed at Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib. It was decided that an inter-school painting and essay-writing competition would be held in all districts across Punjab. An inter-school one-act play competition from different districts would be held in May.

Infosys bash: Families of employees of Infosys Technologies Limited held a get-together to celebrate Petit Infoscion Day on March 18. All Infoscions got together at Mohali Development Centre and participated in games and rides. The day was visualised to provide an opportunity for children and families to spend a day at Infosys and get to know each other.

New cables: The Punjab State Electricity Board laid new underground cables from Phase 3A and 3B1 to Phase II this week. According to the Deputy Chief Engineer, PSEB, Mohali, laying of new cables would avoid tripping and breakdown in the area.

Seminar on polio: Rotary Club here organised a seminar on polio eradication at Rotary Bhavan on Friday. Mr B.S. Khandpur, president of the club, said that eradication of polio was the top priority of Rotary.



Personality growth workshop today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Personal grooming, effective communication, stress management, self-confidence, instant relations and time and finance management are the areas that Dr Renee Singh, a Delhi-based psychologist who is in town, touches in her personality development workshops.

Dr Renee’s contemporary approach takes a spiritual high as she teaches people to reach a level of concentration through meditation. Her first workshop will be conducted on March 28, at Hotel Parkview, between 10 am and 5 pm.

She held her introductory lecture here today.

“I’ve always wanted to help people improve their self-confidence and develop their personality for I believe that we are spiritual beings looking for a human experience,” philosophises Dr Renee. She is working under the banner of ‘Renee Leadership’.



Tribune Engineer bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Mr Baldev Raj Dhall, father of Mr Sandeep Dhall, Asst Engineer with The Tribune, died today after a brief illness. He was 67. His cremation was largely attended. He is survived by two sons and one daughter. His uthala will be held on March 29 from 2 to 3 p.m. at Thakur Dwara Mandir, Mani Majra.



600 Punjab Secretariat files missing

Chandigarh, March 27
Nearly 600 files have been reported missing from the Punjab Civil Secretariat.
However, according to the police, the files were not “very important.” A case has been registered at the Sector 3 police station against a peon, Gurmeet Singh, who belongs to Ropar, the police said. The files went missing in November last year, but the department tried to investigate the matter on its own. When it could not find anything, it approached the Chandigarh Police.

Gurmeet Singh reportedly told the department that he had allegedly been selling them as waste paper to the junk dealers. TNS



Bus runs over woman
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 27
A resident of Phase V was seriously injured when a bus which was being reversed ran over her here today.
The accident took place at the Phase VIII bus stand. The victim, Ms Jasdeep Kaur, was taken to hospital by the police. The police impounded the bus and arrested the driver.



One held with poppy husk
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 27
The police yesterday arrested an Uttar Pradesh resident from Kurri village, Sohana, and seized poppy husk worth Rs 14,400 from him.
Rashid Khan, a resident of Muzzafarpur, used to regularly visit his relatives in Lalru, from where he would carry on his business of peddling poppy husk, according to the police. Twenty-four kg husk was seized.



Abhaya Jeevan savings scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Andhra Bank has designed a unique Abhaya Jeevan Savings Scheme in association with the Life Insurance Corporation of India. The scheme embodies insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh on the life of the account holder for normal death and Rs 2 lakh for accidental death, thus providing the social security cover with normal banking services.

The premium for the insurance cover is nominal and customer is not required to keep track of the premium payment. Mr S.V.V. Subramanian, Assistant General Manager of the bank’s New Delhi Zone, presented a banker’s cheque for Rs 2 lakh to the nominee of a deceased account holder at the Sector 17-C branch of the bank recently. The deceased had covered himself under the scheme against the increasing fragility of life.

The Chandigarh branch of Andhra Bank, which made a beginning in 1976, has an excellent track record in business growth and customer service. The branch provides the latest service in banking with state-of-the-art information technology. The branch is under the process of getting ISO quality certification.


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