C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Dejected PU athletes leave for home
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
After being turned away by the Panjab University authorities, despite having arranged personal loans to fund the trip and running around trying to secure reservations in the Karnataka Express, the 15-member Panjab University team of athletes was left high and dry last night.

The hopes of getting reservations were dashed. They sat at the bus stand, agitated, pained and dejected. They had failed to cross the hurdles in time to make it to the inter-university cross-country race to be held in Karnataka beginning September 10 for no fault of theirs. Remorseful over the entire episode some of them boarded buses to return to their homes.

Thanks to the red-tapism afflicting the Sports Department of Panjab University as well as the indifference towards promoting games and sports persons, the inability to secure reservations in the Karnataka Express decided the fate of the team. They chose to drop out of the event, claiming that they would not be able to perform on ground if they chose to travel without reservation.

Before giving up, the team did make frantic efforts to get reservations and all on their own without any help from the authorities. “One of the team mates’ sister is employed with the Railways. We even contacted her and were leaving for Delhi when she called to say that reservations were out of question. Anyway, how was the university expected us to get reservations when the cheque was released only a day before our departure. The authorities should learn a lesson from this episode,” team members said.

The callousness of the university manifested itself again when they were handed over the paltry sum of diet money for the four-day camp they had attended on the campus, especially after their failed attempt to participate in the event they were looking forward to enthusiastically.

While some of them left late last night, others left during the day, putting an end to their dream of racing down the track and getting weightage in marks the event could have earned them. Meanwhile, contrary to his claims of the team having left for Karnataka, the Dean Student Welfare, Dr Nirmal Singh, also the Director, Sports, backtracked today and washed his hands off the entire episode which left the university authorities red-faced and looking for excuses.

“I am only an honorary Director who has been given the charge on a routine basis. I have no financial powers. If I get a cheque, I sign it. If I don’t, I don’t go looking for it. I have no role in this. The entire onus lies on Mr Kewal Singh who is responsible for organising the event or the president of the Panjab University Sports Committee (PUSC) who is the Principal of some out-station affiliated college,” he claimed.

Sources said the previous practice was that the teams were given their finances a fortnight before the event to enable them to organise the reservations. In the case of this particular team and the chess team which went to Bihar after arranging its own finances, the university failed to release the payment on time due to lack of coordination among the various departments involved.

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, said he had sought the facts of the case from the DSW who is also the Director, Sports. “I will look into the facts since we are getting contradictory versions on what actually went wrong,” he said.



Only 14 pc city women work
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
Despite having a good literacy rate and professionally qualified women, only 14 per cent of women in the city work. A total of 56,003 women are working in Chandigarh out of a population of nine lakh. The Union Territory has a total women population of 3,93,697, according to the first report of ''2001 Census Data on Religions''.

Of this, Hindu women form the largest chunk of the workforce and nearly 24 per cent of them work. Among Sikhs, 19 per cent women work, while among Muslims, about 17 per cent woman work. About 36 per cent of Christian women work while 16 per cent of Jain women work.

The total workforce in Chandigarh is 3,40,422 and of this 2,84,419 are men. Chandigarh has few cultivators or agricultural workers. There are a total of 5,06,938 men and about 55 per cent of them are working.

Interestingly in Chandigarh, Sikhs have the highest literacy rate at 92 per cent of there population. A total of 80.5 per cent among Hindus are literate. Hindu women are less literate in Chandigarh at 74.2 per cent than Sikhs at 88.5 per cent. Likewise the sex ratio is poor at 756 among Hindus as against 910 among Sikhs. This is largely due to the fact that labourers who come to the city in search of a livelihood do not bring with them their families.

However, Hindus score over Sikhs in respect of the sex ratio in 0-6 years in Chandigarh.

It is 847 girls per thousand boys among Hindus as compared to just 781 among Sikhs. Hindus comprise 78.6 per cent of the population of Chandigarh while 16.1 per cent are Sikhs.

The effect of nuclear families is clear. Chandigarh has one of the smallest household sizes in the country. A family in Chandigarh on an average comprises 4.4 persons, which is on a par with places like Daman and Diu and a shade bigger than Tamil Nadu at 4.3 persons per household. In Punjab and Haryana, the size is 5.6 persons and 5.7 persons, respectively.



Senate poll: pro-establishment group wins 3 seats
Tribune News Service

S.K. Singh
S.K. Singh

S.S. Sangha
S.S. Sangha

S. Handa
S. Handa

Chandigarh, September 8
The pro-establishment group won two of the three seats of the Senate from among the constituency of technical colleges affiliated to Panjab University, here today. The results for the seats were declared late in the evening.

Dr S.K. Singh, Assistant Professor, Department of Urology, PGI, was declared elected in the first round of counting that began one-and-half hour behind schedule. He secured 149 votes.

In the second round, Dr S.S. Sangha, GHG Khalsa College of Education, Gurusar Sadhar, Ludhiana, won with 122 votes, while Dr S. Handa, Assistant Professor, Department of Dermatology, PGI, was the third candidate to be elected with 110 votes.

Dr Shashi Kala from Abohar polled 108 votes, while Mr Satinder Singh Giddha polled 68 votes, the least in the election. A total of 479 votes were polled, of which 18 were found invalid.

The election for the principals from these colleges was also slated for the same day as those of lecturers from technical colleges. However, Dr Satinder Dhillon, Mr R.P. Asija, Ms Ravinder Pal Kaur, were declared elected from this constituency unanimously.



Auto drivers’ strike from today
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 8
Autorickshaw drivers in the township have decided to go on an indefinite strike from tomorrow in protest against the ‘indifferent’ attitude of the Chandigarh Administration towards Punjab autos plying in Chandigarh.

Hundreds of school children and office-goers who use autos to reach Chandigarh from Mohali will be affected due to the strike.

According to members of the Sahibzada Ajit Singh Auto-rickshaw Union, the UT Administration had banned the entry of Mohali autos in Chandigarh and started impounding their vehicles. Mr Rajinder Singh Randhawa, president of the union, said since their autos were registered in Mohali, they had the permission to ply within 16 km of Mohali and this would include Chandigarh. ‘‘However, instead the UT Administration did not allow them entry into Chandigarh, fined them, impound their vehicles and charged Rs 4,000 to release these,’’ he said.

Mr Randhawa said the UT Administration allowed entry of Punjab autos only after the payment of the road tax. ‘‘We are ready to pay for the counterfoil voucher, but they do not allow us to pay it. We are being harassed for the past eight months and many of us have got our vehicles released after payment of thousands of rupees.” he said.



Literacy rate in city goes up by 4 per cent
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
This day belonged to learners who have made UT’s ambitious adult education programme a success. About 3,370 adults took examinations to various classes from I to VII this year.

Self-help groups gain strength

Members of the 138 self-help groups working under the aegis of the Adult Education Department, UT, are growing from strength to strength not only in terms of literacy but also in terms of economic empowerment. Ms Sudershan Kalra, Deputy Director, Adult Education, said they recently deposited Rs 10 lakh in banks across the city. The interest would be used to run vocations like tailoring shops and refrigeration units.

Not only did they battle adversity at home and workplace to attend classes at the adult literacy centres being run at 400 locations in the city, 3,270 of them even cleared the tests. The ages of the adults who acquired literacy over the past one year ranges between 15 and 60 years. Many among the women who attended classes during this period were grandmothers.

The literacy rate in the city has registered a rise of 3.95 per cent from 77.81 per cent in 1991 to 81.76 per cent in 2001. Though this is the second lowest increase in the literacy rate in the country, it is heartening for the 40 nodal “preraks” (instructors) who laboured to lend dreams to reality. Each nodal “prerak” has 10 centres and 10 “preraks” under him.

The male and female literacy rates increased by 3.61 per cent and 4.31 per cent respectively, while the rural and urban literacy rates are 76.23 per cent and 82.36 per cent, respectively.

Though the Adult Education Department has many reasons to cheer, courtesy dedication of learners and instructors, they would do well to replicate outstanding models of functional literacy programmes as introduced by some states like Maharashtra.

At a special function organised at Bal Bhavan to mark the International Literacy Day today, litterateur, Dr K.L. Zakir, who has been associated with the literacy programme for four decades and is also Honorary Chairman, Jan Shikshan Sansthan, mentioned about the Gram Shikshan Muhim launched by Maharashtra in the 1960s.

Dr Zakir stressed on the role of NGOs by advising them to link education with vocation. He said, “The Administration must provide ample material to sustain literary achievements of people.

The reading material must be made available to fresh learners lest they relapse into illiteracy.”



Irregularities in police recruitment alleged
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 8
A candidate claims to clear the race in time, snaps seven measuring tapes while his chest is measured by police officers to meet the physical test parameter. But is rejected in the physical test for the 230 posts of constable in the Chandigarh police, for which there are 1.34 lakh applicants.

The chairman of the recruitment committee, Mr Amitabh Dhillon, however said the rules for the physical test were strictly followed and there was no question of any irregularity. Asked about the allegations levelled by Parvesh and Vikas, he said there was no such case in his notice. He said the chest measurement was tricky as candidates had the tendency to retain breath during measurement.

Such complaints are common among the candidates who say they were rejected despite meeting all requirements of race, chest and height.

The police, however, says that every stage is videographed and every person is measured at least thrice. Parvesh Kumar from Banswal Kalan village of Sonepat district claims he was rejected despite having cleared the race and physical test on the very first day of the recruitment on September 1. He alleged that during his measurement, the officers were “reluctant” to clear him and five measuring tapes were snapped as these were held so tight around his chest.

When he took up the matter with the Chairman of the recruitment board, Mr Amitabh Dhillon, he measured his chest and even there two tapes snapped. He claimed Mr Dhillon measured him at 5.7 feet and chest 33 cm. (unexpanded) and 35 cm (expanded) and the same was marked on his chest. However, he was rejected after passing the tests. Parvesh had cleared the Chandigarh Police tests for the post of constable in 2002. But he couldn’t clear the interview.

Another candidate from Sonepat district, Vikas, alleged that he was rejected despite having measured 5.7 feet, chest 33 ½ cm (unexpanded) and 36 (expanded), by the Chairman himself.

A candidate is required to measure 5.7 feet and 33 cm unexpanded and 34 ½ cm with expanded chest. A candidate is required to cover 1,600 metres in six minutes.

Satnam, who came from Sangrur with five other candidates, alleged that many irregularities were committed in the measurements of chest and height. He complained that the race track was about 200 m longer than the stipulated 1,600 m mentioned in the form.

There were many who questioned the method of measurement. A candidate from Khanna, said the examiner had measured his chest much below from where it was actually measured.



CBMs paving way for PM-Musharraf talks
PPS Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
The former Foreign Secretary, Mr Salman Haidar, today said that the recently concluded talks between India and Pakistan were indicative of the direct involvement of the Prime Minister, and that a series of small, slow positive steps were being taken to keep the two countries “engaged” in dialogue.

This was a positive sign despite “different complexions” that one saw due to unofficial, unattributed briefings both sides gave to the media. Nevertheless, the road to all issues between India and Pakistan, engaged in solving historical problems, was through Kashmir.

Dr Manmohan Singh’s suggestion to think “outside the box” and visible “incremental measures” like opening more road and rail links or encouraging people-to-people exchange programmes, talk of gas pipeline from Iran to India via Pakistan or India’s desire for a pipeline from Punjab to Pakistan for diesel etc. were significant indicators.

Such small steps on a difficult road would help build mutual confidence and were, in fact, an essential pre-condition, when the Prime Minister meets the Pakistan President in New York on the sides of the UN General Assembly session, later this month.

Mr Salman Haidar was delivering the P N Haksar memorial lecture at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development here. Though his topic was “Contemporary situation in South Asia — a perspective”, he devoted a major part of his extempore lecture to India and Pakistan and made only passing reference to the happenings in Nepal. He did not touch upon other countries in South Asia.

Nevertheless, he did say that smaller countries, members of SAARC, were keen India and Pakistan pulled on together. These had even shown legitimate interest in good relations between the two for the overall regional co-operation and development but were often dismayed as the two had followed their own “course and discourse”.

Being nuclear states was yet another important aspect of the relations between the two. The speaker said, “This was obvious given the fact that India and Pakistan were engaged in talks, yet they faced opposite directions. This was because Jammu and Kashmir remains a core issue through which the road to future engagement passed”. To substantiate this, Mr Haidar said India had learnt to “handle and control” J and K, not crying for change.

As a seasoned diplomat, Mr Haidar chose his words carefully even when he sought to interpret the finerprint of the outcome of the India-Pakistan talks and did praise the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who had taken the initiative to extend the hand of friendship to Pakistan. “He had the commitment and ability to deliver. In that sense there is vision of what is realisable and what will be realised for the larger benefit of the people of the region”.

There was a word of caution on India-Pakistan relations. Just as India was apprehensive of “security aspect” of a oil pipeline from Iran through Pakistan and about which India could not be expected to be casual, the same way, viewed in the context of historical background of the problems that persist, it would be inappropriate to fix any “time-frame”.

CRRID Director Rashpal Malhotra introduced the speaker to a select audience that included retired senior personnel from the defence forces.



Govt library at Mohali cries for upkeep
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 8
Even as the municipal council is set to invite a Chandigarh-based private bookshop to establish a library in Mohali, over 20,000 books are lying in a state of neglect at Government Library here.

The library located at the Public Works Department complex in Phase I Industrial Area is housed in an old resthouse building. The three rooms do not have enough space for racks to stack the books. As a result, a large number of books have been dumped in sacks and kept in a corner of the library.

The racks in one of the larger rooms are placed too close to one another, leaving little room for the reader to walk around and browse.

The condition of the building is even worse. The walls are damp with seepage and are playing havoc with the books. Many old books that were added to the library over 13 years ago, are getting spoilt due to the humidity. The building seems to have never been repaired.

‘‘Some years ago we were told that we would be shifting to the new municipal library building but now we have come to know that the new library building is being given out on contract to a private library-cum-shop in Chandigarh that would open its branch here.” Ms Bhupinder Kaur, the librarian, said.

Pointing out that there is a large collection of English novels and Punjabi books she said the library had over 800 members. The life membership fee was as low as Rs 30 and that too was refundable. “We have been writing to the Department of Higher Education, Punjab, to increase the membership fee so that we can upgrade the facilities,’’ she said.

The library stopped buying new books in 2001. The library has many retired persons as members but no one likes to sit there and read. ‘‘We have over 10 journals and an equal number of newspapers but we are short on sitting space,’’ she said. 



ISKCON founder’s birth anniversary celebrated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness ( ISKCON ) celebrated the 108th Vyas Puja Mahotsava of Srimad A.C. Bhakti Vedanta Swami Sril Prabhupada, founder of ISKCON with fervour at Hare Krishna Dham, Sector 36-B, here today. Devotees thronged the temple on the occasion, according to Akinchan Priaya Dasa, a spokesman of ISKCON.

Sril Prabhupada who was a Sanskrit scholar and an ambassador of Ancient Indian Vedic culture, wrote the running commentary on Srimad Bhagvad Gita and Srimad Bhagvatam to propagate sacred message of Gita in the world. Pabhupada’s books were translated into more than 29 languages of the world.

The programme started at 4.30 a.m. followed by Vaishnava bhajans at 10 a.m. ; Attraction of the programme was the Kalas Abhisheka of Sril Prabhupada followed by distribution of prasadam among devotees.

H.G. Kanti Prabu, H.G. Bhakti Vinod Dasa Prabhu and Nand Maharaj Dasa Prabhu, temple presidents and appealed to people to follow of path spiritualism shown by Srimad A.C. Bhakti Vedant Swami Sril Prabhupad for peace in life.



Gurbax Malhi’s assurance to CITI
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 8
Mr Gurbax Singh Malhi, PC, MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, Federal Government of Canada assured all support to the ‘Made in Punjab Show’ to be organised by Centre for Trade and Industry (CITI) here with the support of Government of Punjab.

The show would be held from April 14 to 17, 2005 at Toronto, Canada, on the occasion of Baisakhi. This was disclosed during his interaction with members of Citi this evening at the PCA Club, Mohali.

Mr Gurmeet Singh Bhatia appreciated the approach of Mr Malhi. He further stated that MNCs could sub-contract their manufacturing to source quality products from Punjab at competitive prices and market them around the globe.

It was also suggested that Made in Canada Show can be organised in India to showcase the strength of Canadian products in industrial segments of Punjab.



IAF high grounds celebrates 40th anniversary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
The Air Force Station High Grounds celebrated 40th anniversary of its raising at its location here today. A function was organised to commemorate the occasion, and several other events, including games, debates and quiz competitions are scheduled to be organised over the next few days, a statement issued here said.

The station commander, Gp Capt P.P. Khandekar presented a life-time achievement award to Mr Karam Singh, a civilian employee for his services over 35 years.



Women councillors get tips
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
A three-day programme to train and educate women councillors from Punjab about their rights, and various schemes of the government concluded at the ICSSR, Panjab University, here today.

Organised by the Centre for Women’s Studies and Development in collaboration with the State Urban Development Authority (SUDA), Punjab, and the Department of Local Government, Punjab, the event saw the participation of 40 women councillors.

The councillors were given information regarding how and who prepared MC budgets.

“It is time we stopped being mute spectators in the council and started questioning decisions, which are often taken without taking us into confidence” said Paramjit Kaur, acting president of the Kurali Municipal Council.

“We also learnt that we can make self-help women groups for which the government readily gives a loan of Rs 25,000. We had no idea about this. The information never reaches us,” added councillor Shakuntala Devi from Ropar.

“The programme has taught us about our rights, which we may not have learnt during our tenure”, said another Ropar councillor, Neelam.

This module, “Local Action, National Change”, hopes to bring change at the national level through local action. Besides budgeting, the councillors were taught about the importance of networking and lobbying, interacting with the media and had an opportunity for a face-to-face with the authorities, including government officials and bureaucrats.

Among them were Dr S.S. Dhaliwal, Additional Project Director, SUDA, and Dr Shalini Rajnish, Director, Women and Child Development, Ministry of HRD, Government. of India.

Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, Minister, Urban Development, lauded the efforts to empower women councillors and promised financial support.

The councillors also put forth their demands, including enhancement of allowances, which were accepted by the minister. The councillors came from a number of councils, including Ropar, Mandi Gobindgarh, Zirakpur, Kurali, Dera Bassi, Anandpur Sahib and Khamanu.

The programme will be an on-going activity of the Centre for Women’s Studies and Development, which will impart training to all 800-odd elected women councillors of Punjab, the Director of the Centre for Women’s Studies and Development, Dr Aruna Goel, said.



Ashna gets bravery award
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
The Junior Red Cross Bravery Award was presented to Ashna Sonic of Swami Sant Dass Public School, Jalandhar, by the Governor of Punjab, Justice O.P. Verma at the Punjab Raj Bhavan here today. She exhibited courage on October 15 last, while in the captivity of anti-social element.

Speaking on the occasion, the Governor urged college students to come forward to donate blood at various camps. Presiding over a meeting of the managing body of the Punjab State Red Cross Branch, he said the Red Cross should be associated with all blood banks and should not be confined merely to schools.

DPI (Colleges), Punjab Nisha Sharad, also the chairperson of the Red Cross Society, Punjab, said the work of the Red Cross would be taken to new heights.



Three held for stealing vehicles
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
The police has arrested three vehicle thieves including two juvenile, and recovered four stolen two-wheelers estimated from them.

However, one of their gang members gave the police the slip. While two juvenile thieves were sent to juvenile homes, their gang member Rohit was remanded in the police custody. Rajinder alias Kaka slipped out of the police clutches when Rohit led them to his hide out. The gang struck in Sector 34, Sector 40 and Sector 39. The three auto-lifters from Maloya were arrested yesterday at the Shahpur road while going on a stolen vehicle.

The recovered vehicles are a Splendor (PB08 AA 3728), a Kawasaki (CH03 A 6630), Bajaj Chetak Scooter (CH01 Z 5449) and a cycle.

Illicit liquor

The police has arrested two persons for carrying liquor from the jurisdiction of Sector 36, police Station, according to the information released today.

Ramesh Kumar a resident of village Khuda Lahora was caught from near Verka Booth in ISBT, Sector 43 with 15 cartons of Rocketv whisky. While Laxman Mandal, a resident of Nehru Colony, Kajheri, was arrested with one carton of Officer’s Choice whisky, two cartons of halves of Hero whisky and two cartons of halves of Rose whisky, from his house.

The police has registered two cases against both the accused under section 61, 1, 14 of Excise Act, in Sector 36, Police Station.


T. Raj, a resident of sector 5 reported to the police that his Lap top computer was stolen from his residence, yesterday. A case under section 380 of Indian Penal Code has been registered.

In another incident, Mr. Davinder Kumar a resident of village Narike, district Sangrur reported that two rear tyres of his Santro car were stolen, which were parked out side a house in Sector 15-D, during the intervening night of September 6-7. A case under section 379 of IPC has been registered.

Vehicle theft

Vijay Kumar, a resident of Sector 46, reported that his Boxer motorcycle (PB-11-R-2910) has been stolen from Piccadilly Theater parking in Sector 34, on September 1. A case of theft has been registered.


The police has arrested two persons accused of assaulting a Ram Niranjan Lab assistant of Punjab Engineering College, near Kansal Village, on august 26.

Sarvan Singh and Balbir Singh, both residents of Kansal village, were arrested from their residences. The car they used in the attack was also impounded by the police.

Ram niranjan a Lab assistant was going on his two wheeler when the accused who were in the car bumped in him from the front and then attacked him with hockeys and battons. They also took him in their car to Kansal village and beat him publically. They also kept him in illegal confinement.



Unemployed youth commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 8
A 22 years old, unemployed youth ended his life by hanging in his house in Sector 29 here, today evening.

According to the police, Kulwant Singh committed suicide at 6 pm, when his mother was engaged in some household activities at the ground floor of the house. He went to the top floor, where there was a makeshift store. He tied a dupatta to the girder of the roof and hanged himself with it.

In the meanwhile his mother came there and found him hanging and in pain. She tried to untie him and during her efforts he fell on the floor and died. The police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of CrPC in Industrial Area, Police Station.


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