C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

MCM students go on strike
Student caught talking on cell phone "slapped" by teacher
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
Students of MCM DAV College here boycotted classes today, alleging that a student of the college had been "slapped" by the physical education teacher for using a mobile phone on the college campus.

The incident, which took place on Saturday, snowballed into a showdown this morning when hundreds of college students came out on the roads and blocked traffic for over four hours. Angry students raised slogans against the college principal and the teacher concerned, demanding that she be expelled immediately and the ban on use of mobile phones also be lifted. A group of students came out in open support of the teacher, leading to angry spats and some students roughing up each other.

Shivani was reportedly calling her mother on Saturday afternoon to inform her that she would reach home late because of heavy rain when she was caught by physical education teachers Jagdish Bains and Anju.

No ban on mobiles: DPI 

The DPI Colleges, UT, Mrs Raji P Srivastava, said she would ask the college to give details of the incident, adding that the UT Administration had not banned the use of mobile phones in its colleges. "Students have been asked not to use mobile phones within the academic areas of the college campus and keep their ringers off while in college," she said.

"I got scared since using mobile phones is banned in the college. One of the teachers twisted my arm behind me and the other slapped me, breaking my glasses," said Shivani.

Shivani, a student of BA and a resident of Mohali, came with her parents to see the Principal of the college, Mrs Puneet Bedi, this morning where Ms Bains reportedly expressed regret over the incident. However, students alleged that the other teacher told the principal that it was Shivani who had pushed her and could have caused her harm as she was pregnant.

Further decision today 

Student leaders had announced that they would continue the strike tomorrow and that everyone should come dressed in black but talking to this correspondent in the evening, they said they would review the decision tomorrow morning. "After our meeting with the college principal, we will see if we have to continue our agitation or not," said Anjali.

Despite the apology tendered by the teacher concerned, the news of the incident spread like fire in the college and within an hour most students had left classes and collected outside the college gates.

Police presence outside the college did not deter the agitating students from blocking the college gate, preventing the teachers from leaving the campus while the strike was on.

The college principal came out to placate the students but found them adamant. She told mediapersons that she would ask for more details of the incident and take a decision as per the rules of the college. The police was seen asking other college teachers, who came outside, to reason out with the students to stay inside the college building.

Meanwhile, another group of students led by students of Ms Bains opposed the strike, stating that their teacher "was the best" in the college and was like a "mother" to them. These students tried to stop the striking students, leading to two students catching each other by the neck. Police intervention alone brought the situation under control.

"If the college teachers can use mobiles, why cant we? All other colleges allow students to carry mobiles. Why are there so many restrictions here?. These questions were raised by Anjali, one of the student leaders. But the principal reasoned that there were restrictions on use of mobile phones by the teachers too.

"In any case rules for students are different from those for teachers. Also, the college campus has 10 STD and 10 local lines which they can use for an emergency," she said.

"What if one of us has an accident or needs help while on our way to college," asked a student. The principal said, "in that case the student will not be in a position to call. Onlookers will use their phones to call for help." While the agitating students focused on the demand for lifting the ban on use of mobile phones, many students complained about other problems. A student pointed out that the Class IV staff of the college was extremely rude.

Students also alleged that the college principal was mostly inaccessible. "This is false," said the principal, adding that her mobile number had been announced during the college assembly and students were free to call her.

Students also pointed out that there were CCTV cameras fitted everywhere and they had no privacy, "even in the canteen." The principal said it was her duty to know what was going on in the college.



Debt, depression, disease kill 4
All suicides by hanging

Chandigarh, August 28
Four city residents, including a woman today ended their lives in the various parts of the city. While one was suffering from diabetes, the other took the extreme step due to depression, while the third ended his life due to financial constraints. No reason was attributed to the fourth suicide.

The police said Rani (45) was found lying listless by her son Jabber, on floor at her Sector 4 residence this afternoon. In her suicide note she held no one responsible for her death.

She had sustained a head injury and a broken plastic chair was also lying beside her. The injury happened after she fell on the chair due to snapping of a nylon string with which she was suspected to have hanged herself.

Her told the police that his mother was suffering from depression and was also undergoing treatment.

In another incident, 35-year-old Jasbir Kumar, a peon in government school in Phase XI, Mohali, ended his life by hanging himself this morning at his Daddu Majra Colony residence, here. He was suffering from diabetes. Though no suicide note was found on the body, the police termed it a case of suicide as no one expressed any suspicion behind the death.

Jasbir Singh is survived by his wife, who is working as a domestic help, and three minor children. His body was handed over to the family after a post-mortem examination.

The third person who committed suicide by hanging in the city, has been identified as 35-year-old-Darshan Singh of Palsora Colony. He was found hanging by his neighbour at around 2 pm who then informed the police. A police officer quoting victim’s wife said Darshan Singh, a private car driver, was tormented by financials problems and may have ended his life due to this reason. He had two children.

In yet another incident of suicide, a 25-year-old man today hanged himself to death at his brother’s residence in Bank Colony in Mani Majra.

The police said the victim has been identified as Shushil Kumar. He was unemployed and had come to meet his brother. — TNS



Round-the-clock water on anvil

Chandigarh, August 28
In a major step towards improving water supply in the city, two major projects submitted by the Municipal Corporation to the Ministry of Urban Development have been given the go-ahead. After their implementation, the city can boast of being the only city with the 100 per cent coverage of its horticulture/irrigation requirement.

One of the projects is conservation of potable water by harvesting the tertiary treated sewage, which is used for irrigating green spaces. It will cost about Rs36.80 crore. The second project involves installation of a computerised surveillance system to monitor round-the-clock water supply at a cost of Rs 21.36 crore.

The implementation of the second project will cut down losses both in water and revenue. The projects are likely to be completed within next 18 months. — TNS



UT to levy fee on Pb, Haryana autos
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
Hundreds of auto-rickshaws on the city roads bearing Punjab and Haryana (PB-12 and HR-68) registration numbers will soon be paying a tax to the Union Territory. The auto-rickshaw inflow and outflow from the city and the adjoining towns of Panchkula and Mohali continues without any charges from the pliers from the adjoining states over the past several years.

A high-level meeting of the Chandigarh Administration is scheduled very shortly with the Transport Secretaries of Punjab and Haryana to sort out the matter, reliable sources said. A nominal counter-signature fee will be charged for the permits from auto-rickshaws bearing registration numbers of the neighbouring states. The matter has already been informally discussed.

The issue of tax has cropped up because these vehicles are covered under commercial ventures and are required to pay the tax as is being followed in case of the buses and truck services all over the country.

Auto-rickshaw pliers say a very big number of the pliers in the city were having very old three-wheelers under their registration in the UT. A number of them had pulled off the roads, which was one of the biggest reasons for the heavy inflow of vehicles from the adjoining states.

A senior official said, “The traffic inflow of auto-rickshaws from the adjoining territories and vice versa was stopped a few years back. This led to public resentment because of which we had to open the roads. We don’t have a written agreement with the government of the neighbouring states. Working out a functional understanding was necessary because place of work and residency were very dependent on each other in the tricity. We are working out a very nominal fee,” he said.

He said, “The traffic mobility without any charges was allowed for public conveyance, including buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws. We ultimately had to allow the new cab service in the adjoining towns of Panchkula and Mohali after initial hiccups. Similarly, we agreed to the need of extending the auto service to the adjoining states as well.”



Dharna to press for removal of encroachments
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 28
The Panchkula Joint Welfare Association Forum began a dharna against non-removal of encroachments outside the office of Administrator, Haryana Urban Development Authority, Sector 6, which saw participation by representatives of 27 residents’ welfare organisations.

All associations were of the unanimous opinion that the jhuggis should be removed early to improve sanitation and law and order in the city. All representatives emphasised that HUDA, the Municipal Council and the police authorities should ensure that no fresh encroachment was allowed to take place in connivance with the field staff. Similarly, encroachments should be removed from Bhainsa Tibba, which was under the Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board.

Sewak Shambu Nath, social activist and a Sector 7 resident, said dhobis were getting their ration cards made by giving wrong addresses. Mr C.L. Salwan, president, House Owners Welfare Association, Sector 4, pointed out: “The Sports Stadium and Olympic Bhawan in Sector 3, Panchkula, where national-level sports are being conducted and badminton sports at the national level are scheduled for November 2006, has about 5000 jhuggis in the surrounding area.”

A deputation consisting of Mr J.S. Sangari, Mr Hemant Kinger and Mr S.D. Daid met the Administrator and the Estate Officer (HUDA), Ms Neelam Pradeep Kasni, and Mr S.P. Arora, respectively. They were of the view that such a decision could not be taken at the local level though she was open to discussion.

With regard to mushrooming of new encroachments, she directed the Estate Officer to take necessary action as per the law and carry out an anti-encroachment drive in every sector.



Further remand for Gaganjit

Chandigarh, August 28
A local court today extended the judicial remand of Gaganjit Singh Barnala, son of Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala, who allegedly raped his maidservant at his Sector 3 residence on August 12, for 14 days. — TNS



Chandigarh Calling
Door-to-door through sun and rain

With many women forced to work to supplement the family income, there is a sizable brigade of women who are walking or cycling long distances to sell detergents and toiletries to women buyers. Tribune photographer Karam Singh clicks a photograph of Bimla Devi, who cycles every day with the goods hanging in plastic sacks on the bicycle to deliver things women need at their doorsteps. She leaves a young child in the care of her daughter who is but seven. To guard her skin against sunburns, she veils herself, and it is door-to-door through sun and drizzle.

Monsoon masti

When the City Beautiful residents had almost given up on the hope of the refreshing rain splashes, it finally happened. Yes, the rain Godot did decide to descend upon the city, and with full vigour. And so we've been having a slice of monsoon masti-roaring skies, groaning clouds and some sizzling forks of lightning cutting across the skies. No body seems to mind those choked roads, swelled gutters, and coughing drainpipes. For, aren't we finally having our own little share of monsoons? After swinging not-so-merrily on the sea-saw of sweltering-summer-like heat and sticky humidity, we finally have pleasant weather- cool breeze setting the tree- leaves rustling, heady fragrances emanating from rain-kissed grass and frogs croaking in pleasure.

Crusader's legacy

When the wife of late Dr D.C. Saxena donated his books to the Department of Laws, there was many a teary-eyed student who mourned the death of a crusader. Despite ill health, Dr saxena had an indefatigable, never-say-die spirit. It was this resilience that spurred him on to travel as far as Srinagar to teach the students whose studies had been affected by the militancy. Many knew the acerbic, often brusque, temperament of the Professor who rubbed many people up the wrong way but not many know behind the fire and brimstone was a man with a heart of gold. Another less known, softer side to Dr Saxena's character was how whenever he came home, he would have one or two scruffy kids from the street sitting behind him on his scooter. The family had to find clothes for them as they were ordered to have a bath and given a fresh set of clothes. "This happened so often that we had a room where we kept clothes for such children at hand", says his son Shailesh.

Punjab brigade

For actor Divya Dutta the length of her roles are not as significant as the character she plays and of all the arty and 'masala' films coming her way, she is waiting to sink her teeth into Anil Sharma's Apne starring the hunky Deols-all three of them! "This is really exciting because the four Punjabis are coming together," she laughs. What makes it even more exhilarating is that Dharam Paaji and she come from the same village in Punjab. "It was a very emotional moment for me when he told me he was really sceptical about his 'daughter' coming into films. But then he went to say that I had made him very proud." After all village is thicker than water!

Well appointed

Mr K.K. Sawhney, a former district governor, Lions Club International District (321-F), has made the city proud by his appointment as chairman of the Lions Club International Foundation, a fund-raising organisation. He is the first member of the Lions Club from the city who has been appointed for this coveted post. He will be in-charge of all nearly 1,000 clubs in Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, New Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir. The foundation is the biggest charitable wing in the world that contributes generously specially during natural calamities.


Here is a funny yet quite true to life SMS doing the rounds on city mobiles: You love someone and you marry someone else. The one you marry becomes your husband/wife. The one you love becomes the password for your email identity.

Contributors: Aruti Nayar, Gayatri Rajwade, Anandita Gupta, Vishal Gulati, Parbina Rashid & Nirupama Dutt



Orientation course begins at CRRID
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
A five-day orientation course on issues relating to women and children for representatives of Panchayati Raj issues began at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) here today.

The objectives of the programme is to acquaint the participants with schemes and programmes launched by the government for the welfare of women and children, orient them about social issues like infanticide, child marriage, dowry and domestic violence, and to sensitise them about existing legislative measures.

In her presidential remarks, Ms Alka Lamba, vice-president, National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD), New Delhi, stressed upon the members to empower themselves financially as well as socially so as to contribute towards development of society at the grassroots level.

She also dwelt upon issues of current relevance like domestic violence, declining sex ratio and discrimination against the girl child.

Chairperson of the Rashtriya Mahila Shakti Abhyan, Ms Rajinder Kaur, highlighted the role of members of the Panchayati Raj institution and the contribution they could make in tackling social issues and ensuring the welfare of women and children.

NIPCCD joint director, Dr Ashok Kapur, gave a presentation on the history and role of the Panchayati Raj institution. Dr B.K. Pattnaik from CRRID gave an overview on the status of women in India while Dr Jyoti Seth, lecturer in sociology from Government College for Women, Chandigarh, gave an overview on the status of children in India.



Fauji Beat
Remembering the Hero of Jessore

The passing away of Maj-Gen Dalbir Singh (retd) on August 22, 1999, at his farmhouse in Ambala, brings back to memory the honour that he brought to the Army and the country in the 1971 war.

On December 6, 1971, General Dalbir Singh, the then General Officer Commanding (GOC), 9 Infantry Division, was given the task of advancing along the Bojra-Jessore-Khulna axis to capture Jessore and Khulna. Jessore was not only heavily fortified and well defended by a brigade-size force but also the headquarters of the enemy’s 9 Infantry Division, which was commanded by Major-General Idris, was also located there.

Gen Dalbir Singh planned to punch a hole through the Jessore defences at Durgabati, 15 km west of the former. His division moved so swiftly that by December 8, Jessore was captured. This bold action brought to Gen Dalbir Singh the title of the “Hero of Jessore”.

Thereafter, the enemy fell back to Khulna, which is 40 km south-east of Jessore. Moving on the heels of the enemy, Gen Dalbir Singh’s division captured Khulna on December 16. On December 17, the Pakistani Brigade Commander surrendered to Gen Dalbir Singh. For his daring action in Bangladesh, Gen Dalbir Singh was awarded the Param Vashisht Seva Medal (PVSM).

The General had also commanded the famous I Jat (Light Infantry), which had earned the title of “The Royal Jats” during the British regime. It is now re-designated as 2nd Mechanised Infantry Battalion (I Jat LI).

Rank pay benefit

Many retired officers have asked us in the past few weeks about the fate of the “rank pay” arrears case.

Consequent to the acceptance of the Fourth Pay Commission recommendation by the government, the officers from the rank of Captain to Brigadier and equivalent in the Navy and the Air Force became entitled to the rank pay in addition to the basic pay. But while fixing the pay in the integrated scale, the rank pay was deducted from their total emoluments. This resulted in a financial loss to the officers, even in their DA, pension, gratuity, etc.

It was Maj A. K. Dhanapalan (now retired) who had filed a case in the Kerala High Court against this decision in 1996. The high court had directed the government to re-fix the basic pay after including the rank pay in it with effect from January 1, 1986. Upon this, the government filed an appeal against this judgment before a larger Bench of the high court, which was dismissed. After that, the Union of India filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court, which too was dismissed on July 10, 2005. As a result of this, Maj A. K. Dhanapalan’s pay has been re-fixed by including the rank pay in it and he has got the arrears of pay.

The officers, both serving and retired, who were serving in the rank of Captain to Brigadier on January 1, 1986, are claiming that they should also get the arrears of pay like Major Dhanapalan (retd). The case, it is reliably learnt, is in the Ministry of Defence now.

Sixth pay panel

The only way to do justice to the armed forces in their pay and allowances and pension is to convene a separate pay commission for them. This is because of the reason that their terms and conditions of service are vastly different from those of the other Central Government employees.

The point that there should be a separate pay commission for the armed forces, as it is in most other countries, has been taken up with the government several times in the past. But the latter has ignored it every time.

— Pritam Bhullar



Cong govt must go, says former minister
Tribune News Service

Lalru, August 28
The former Punjab Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, today demanded the resignation of the Capt Amarinder Singh government in the wake of Rs 1,000 crore irregularities detected by the CAG in utilisation of the Rural Development Fund by the government.

Addressing a protest march organised by activists of the Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD) in protest against the August 11 Lalru incident, the former Finance Minister said the Opposition parties would approach the Punjab Governor and seek the dismissal of the government for the alleged irregularities.

Terming the allegations of politicisation of the Lalru incident as “baseless”, Capt Kanwaljit Singh claimed that the residents were fighting for “restoration of honour”.

Meanwhile, a four-day protest, started by the party from here, reached Sardar Pur village.It will conclude at a rally outside the SDM Office, Dera Bassi, on August 31.



Ram Darbar Case
Blood samples of mothers, newborn taken
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
To establish the parentage of children swapped at the ESI Hospital, Ram Darbar, a team of medicos from the General Hospital, Sector 16, along with experts from the Central Scientific Forensic Laboratory (CSFL), today took blood samples of women and their newborns and send these for DNA tests.

A team of doctors led by Dr Deepak Bakshi, SMO, General Hospital, visited the ESI Hospital and took blood samples of Usha, her baby, Prem Sheela and her baby. The blood samples were taken under the guidance of a team of the CSFL scientists in presence of the local police.

Talking to The Tribune, Dr Bakshi claimed that the CSFL had been asked to submit the report as soon as possible so that the ESI Hospital authorities and the police could take action accordingly.

It may be recalled that a newborn boy of Usha was allegedly swapped with a newborn girl of Prem Sheela, another woman admitted to the same hospital, by the hospital staff soon after birth on Friday. Hailing from Uttar Pradesh, both women reside in Colony No 4 and were admitted to the Ram Darbar hospital on Friday.

The complainant Usha was firm on her statement saying that she gave birth to a boy but the hospital staff in connivance with family of Prem Sheela swapped the child. She also claimed that the ‘doctor’ who had indulged in “baby swapping” was not seen on the second consecutive day in the hospital today.

Usha’s husband, a resident of Khazirabad in UP, claimed that he had gone to get clothes for the newborn when the incident occurred.

On the other hand, Prem Sheela, wife of Ashok, a resident of Azamgarh in UP, claimed that she had given birth to a baby boy 10 minutes from Usha’s delivery.

When contacted, Mr Ramesh Chand, Medical Superintendent, said the case would be solved only after DNA reports. He claimed both women were likely to be discharged only after the arrival of DNA reports from the CSFL.



70 safe road users rewarded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
The UT Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Satish Chandra, today rewarded 70 safe road users at a function held at the Sector 23 Children Traffic Park for complying with traffic rules and regulations. The function was organised by the Chandigarh Traffic Police in association with The Tribune Trust and Ford Motors.

The Chandigarh Traffic Police said these 70 road users fully obeyed traffic rules and regulations and were never challaned. The police divided road users into various categories like car, bus, truck, auto-rickshaw drivers, rickshaw-pullers and cyclists. They were given caps, mementos, stickers and the car drivers were given washing fluids and perfumes. There was one woman among the winners.

While addressing the gathering, Mr Satish Chandra, who was also the chief guest on the occasion, said: “This is a good move and it will encourage road users to obey traffic rules. Earlier, the police was known for punishing violators. We need public co-operation to make city roads safer.”

Mr O.P. Arora, ADG, The Tribune Trust, stressed on the need for creating more awareness about traffic safety rules and regulations among the public in general and students in particular. The UT SSP (Traffic), Mr Dinesh Bhatt, spoke all various programmes being organised by the traffic police, including announcements on FM radio about traffic jams and road blockades in the city.

Among those present were Mr Amit Aneja, regional marketing manager, Ford Motors, the UT SSP, Mr Gaurav Yadav, the SSP Headquarters, Mr Vivek Gogia, and the Station Director (AIR), Mr K.C. Dubey, senior citizens and traffic marshals.



Sun shines on Punwire
Locks opened, puja performed
Tribune News Service

Mohali August 28
Today was a red-letter day in the life of Punwire employees who have been jobless for six years now. The Sun Group enterprises took over the possession of the land and building of the once blue-chip company, in accordance with the orders of the Supreme Court. The group has purchased all three factory buildings, plant and machinery etc and is committed to restart production.

The employees of Punwire today celebrated the occasion by distributing laddoos, an ardas was performed by Sant Baba Mohinder Singhji, and pooja by Pandit Shivanandji at the time of opening of locks and taking over of the possession. Mr Satyadeep Misra of the Sun group handed over a draft of Rs 50 lakh to the employees union on account of ex-gratia as ordered by the Supreme Court.

The company was under liquidation following closure, leaving thousands of its employees jobless. The employees had carried a long struggle to get the company restarted.

The struggle of employees saw a ray of hope on April 12, 2004 when Mr B.S.Baidwan, former president of Mohali Industries Association, and member of the State Planning Board presented a 10-year revival plan in a meeting of the Core Group For Revival of Punwire headed by S.Lal Singh, the then Finance Minister, Punjab. After this meeting Mr Malkiat Singh, ED of PSIDC, was appointed as OSD-PUNWIRE-Revival and Mr Baidwan was asked to talk to the financial institutions.

The second meeting of the core group was held under the chairmanship of Mr Surinder Singla, and it was decided to approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court for staying the sale process of Punwire and study the technical and market viability of revival plan submitted by Mr Baidwan.

The Sun Group purchased 20 out of 22 lots of Punwire property for Rs 23.64 crore on April 20, 2006 in an open auction conducted by the High Court. The Supreme Court vide its order dated August 8, 2006, also stated that Rs 50 lakh be given to the employees as ex-gratia, Rs 8.80 crore to the Official Liquidator to be distributed among employees and other creditors as per companies Act.

“The rehabilitation of Punwire by way of purchase of assets at market price without any past liability is an excellent example and may be followed in other such cases,” pointed out a jubilant Mr Baidwan today.

The leader of the employees, Mr Shahid Ahmed, stated that the role of state government in the whole process and particularly of Mr Bir Devinder Singh, MLA Kharar, was praiseworthy because they formed the core group for revival of Punwire and thus exhibited their confidence in the company, further they were able to create confidence in the Sun Group to come to Punjab and invest in the revival of Punwire.



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