C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Candidates pick on one another
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
The otherwise lacklustre campaigning for the students’ elections came alive during the open house at Panjab University here today. The most-awaited part of the elections, the open house began two hours late. Once it began, tempers ran high among the candidates and the supporters.

Open house an ugly show

It was personal attacks and finger-pointing with no concrete discussion on any issue. Presiding teachers were pushed around as they tried to calm tempers

The police led by Madhur Verma had a tough time tackling the students groups who climbed the stage time and again interrupting speeches. Each time an altercation took place, police personnel overcame the offenders.

Things turned ugly when the contenders of three parties -- ABVP, SOPU/NSUI/HSA and PUSU/INSO -- traded allegations against one another. It was personal attacks and finger-pointing with no concrete discussion on any issue.

The only presidential candidate who reached the venue on time was Dinesh Chauhan of the ABVP.

He was also the first speaker. He said students needed to be freed of dirty politics. He condemned the bill on 10 per cent fee hike every year.

Parminder Jaswal, presidential candidate of PUSU/INSO spoke promised to work for student welfare. Uday Bhan, presidential candidate of SOPU/ NSUI/HSA, recounting his predecessor’s achievements, said they would continue to work for the welfare of students as in the past.

Trouble began when spokespersons of various parties spoke for their candidates. Presiding teachers were pushed around as they tried to calm tempers.

Dalvir Singh Goldy, former president, students’council, and Abhishek Puri, president, PUSU, resorted to personal attacks in their speeches. Goldy was barely civil with teachers when told to hand over the microphone as his speech time was up.

Vikas Rathi of PUSU/INSO listed 25 achievements of his party. He talked about rationalisation of fee structure, uniform fee in government and private colleges, group insurance and a cell to tackle ragging.

PU Polls Today

In 120 polling stations on the campus, voting will be held between 10 am and 11 am. Students with identity cards alone will be allowed to vote. The entry will be through Gate No. 2.The results will be declared by 4 pm. Voting will be held simultaneously in colleges. As many as 8,800 students will cast their vote.

In fray

PUSU-INSO: President - Parminder Jaswal; vice- president-Gagandeep Kaur; general secretary - Sunny Bhardwaj

SOPU/NSUI/HSA/ HPSU: President - Uday Bhan; vice-president- Isha Gupta ; general secretary - Naveen Chahal; and joint secretary - Jasdeep Dhillon

ABVP: President- Dinesh Chauhan ; general secretary - Dalbir Singh

SOI: secretary - Manmohan Singh

No outsiders

The police has made elaborate security arrangements. No outsider into the university will be allowed. The police has deployed anti-riot vehicles, a bomb squad and two reserve forces on the campus. For the victory procession, arrangements are in place.



PUDA official kills himself in office
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 4
A 40-year-old junior draftsman working with the town and country planning department committed suicide by hanging himself with a rope from the ceiling fan in his office in the PUDA building here today.

The incident took place last night. Gurpreet Singh, a resident of Phase 3B1, stayed back at the office yesterday and was found dead by his family members this morning. A suicide note was found stating that none be blamed for his death. Gurpreet has, however, levelled, allegations against his wife, hinting at her being “unfaithful”.

This was Gurpreet’s second marriage. His wife, Sukhpreet Kaur (23) worked as an apprentice in the PUDA office when she met Gurpreet. They decided to tie the knot last year, even though both families were opposed to the match.



Pak fans to be fetched from Wagah
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 5
To keep a watch on fans from cricket who will be here for the Indo-Pak ODI on November 8, the Punjab Police will transport them from the Wagah border to Mohali.

Talking of arrangements at the PCA Stadium, DGP N.P.S. Aulakh said: “We expect them to cross the border on November 6 and 7 as a four-day visa has been granted to the guests. So we have made arrangements for frtching them from Wagah.”

PCA president I.S. Bindra said the political situation in Pakistan was unlikely to have a bearing on the fans from Pakistan.

Describing the crowd here as the best in the country, Aulakh said the spectators had never created a problem for the police or for the visiting team during international ties.

“We do not expect any untoward incident from our crowd, but in there will be a DSP in each block to keep a watch. CCTV cameras will be installed at sensitive points. Anyone caught passing racial remarks or provoking players would be thrown out of the stadium and legal action will be taken against him,” said Aulukh.

Sukhbir Badal, member of Parliament and chairman of the organising committee, PCA, visited the stadium this morning to take stock of the situation.

  • Four-day visa for cricket buffs
  • DSP in each block to keep watch
  • CCTVs at sensitive points
  • Action against fans rude to visitors



Water tank collapses in Ind Area

Chandigarh, November 4
A tragedy was averted in Phase-I of Industrial Area here this evening when a dilapidated water tank, which was being dismantled, collapsed and fell on the road.

Several labourers were put on the job to dismantle the structure. Spot inspection indicated that adequate safety precautions were not taken, said a police officer. A tree and a part of the boundary wall were crushed. The tank was being pulled by steel ropes, which were tied with a peepal tree. At 5.45 pm, the tank began to tilt, creating panic. The contractor called the police and the fire brigade department.

The fire officials asked the electricity department to switch off power to the area, apprehending that the tank may fall on electricity cables.

The water tank was over 20 years old. It was constructed by Pfizer, which had sold the plot and the building about six years ago to some other company. Almost half of Phase-I remained engulfed in darkness for two hours.The police has recorded a daily diary report. — TNS



In Basta
Salesgirl’s death: Report pending for nine months
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
Even after a lapse of seven months, the Chandigarh police failed to crack a mystery shrouding the death of 27-year-old Monica Cheema, whose decomposed body was found in a drain near Dhanas on February 6, this year.

The body was detected by a passer-by who noticed a hand protruding from slush of a drain. He informed the police about the incident.

A police team, after putting efforts of more than an hour, managed to retrieve the body and washed it for identification. No visible injury marks were found on the body, but recovery of the body from the drain raised all sorts of doubts over some foul play behind the death.

The woman was wearing a white shirt, black trousers and a necktie. On seeing this, a resident of the colony said he had seen her in Gurukul company office in Dhanas.

The police came to know later that the deceased was a widow, Monica Cheema, a resident of Chaman Colony, Dhanas. She was mother of two daughters and was working as a sales executive with a private company dealing in slimming equipments.

She was living in rented accommodation and her husband had died seven years ago in an accident in Delhi. She had joined the company about three months ago.

Inquiries by the police revealed that Monica went from the office to Kharar on February 2. The branch manager of the company told the police that and they also contacted her brother to know about her whereabouts, but he also had no information about her.

The police said she had reportedly met her brother-in-law on February 2. But no one had any information about her since then.

The police sent the body to the Sector-16 hospital for a post-mortem examination. The police also sent the viscera report to ascertain the cause of the death.

The police said the investigation had hit a roadblock as the viscera reports were awaited. They received a report recently, but it was inconclusive.



These have-nots have a lot to offer
Candles, diyas and much more
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
A pre-Diwali function was organised by the underprivileged children of Hamari Kaksha - A class apart at Government Nursery School in Sector 7, here, today.

Apart from underprivileged and dropout students, teachers and students of Government College-11 and Government College for Girls-11 volunteered to make this function a success.

The children displayed articles like gel candles, diyas, moulis, beads, crystal sitaras, gota etc. “The idea is to let these children have the feel of being self-reliant. Side by side, they are being taught the sale-purchase, profit-loss lessons, too,” opined Arun Joy, a BSc-III student, who regularly teaches these students in the evening.

Working for these children gives a sense of satisfaction to GC-11 students Vikram Singh and Sunil. Earlier, adviser to the UT administrator Pradip Mehra, who was the chief guest, inaugurated the function by lighting a lamp. The adviser expressed that education was must for every individual but only education was not enough, participation in other activities like sports, arts, dramatics, etc was equally important.

Hamari Kaksha is an NGO working for the personality development of the underprivileged children. This is not only an academic effort, but a multi-task and multi-skill programme.

DPI (S) S.K. Setia, president of Hamari Kaksha Dr Anuradha Sharma and other senior officials were present. 



Agriculture possible in cities, says Belgian expert
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
Can there be agriculture in urban areas? Yes, says Jan Verheyden, a Brussels-based Belgian urban planner currently in the City Beautiful to complete his research work on the subject.

“I intend to meet the Chandigarh Administration to share my ideas on the issue,” said Verheyden.

Verheyden is in love with India. He has been to various parts of the country on his vintage motorcycle. The Himalayas, especially the Kashmir Valley, had a mesmerising effect on him.

“Of course, agriculture in urban areas cannot be done on a scale that is possible in rural areas but it can be done on a small scale in cities like Chandigarh, Jalandhar and Amritsar,” he adds.

Chandigarh as a city started growing about 50 years ago. For several years, large chunks of land in the city remained vacant which served no purpose except for dumping city waste or as open toilet. Those spaces should have been utilised for agriculture purpose, he said.

According to him, fresh vegetables and fruits can be easily grown in the backyard of houses measuring 2 to 6 canals and bigger ones. “ I am for all-inclusive growth of cities and agriculture. Horticulture should be an integral part of their landscape.”

“I am writing a thesis to prove that there is certainly scientific possibility of urban agriculture,” he adds.

“If urban planners had given a bit of attention to the idea I am developing now, cities like Chandigarh would have become self dependent in meeting their day-to-day requirement of fresh vegetables,” asserted Verheyden.

Green spaces are a must for cities to ensure a good environment and for ecological balance. Instead of keeping vacant spaces for dumping garbage, they should be utilised to grow crops. There is a lot of scope for floriculture in cities and even small 500 yard houses can mint good money by growing flowers, he said.

He said in densely populated countries like India and China every inch of land will become important in the near future to meet their food and other soil-based requirements. “It will be in the interest of all that urban planners, policy makers started paying attention to this factor at this stage,” he said.

He said that the concept of periphery had not worked well in case of Chandigarh. The periphery should have been reserved as a zone exclusively for agriculture purpose to fulfil every man’s desire to live close to nature. Planners should have preserved some space to maintain the natural character of the area on which the city grew, he said.

Verheyden said that from Chandigarh, he would move to Israel for expanding the scope of his research work on urban agriculture.



18 Mech celebrates silver jubilee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
The 18th Battalion of the Mechanised Infantry, more popularly known as the “Indomitables”, celebrated its silver jubilee in Hisar yesterday. A series of events were organised to commemorate the event.

Addressing officers and men of the battalion, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Lt Gen H.S. Panag, who is also the Colonel of the Mechanised Infantry, stressed upon the need for maintaining the highest levels of regimental spirit. He also released a First Day Cover issued by the Army Postal Service to mark the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Colonel M.P.S. Gill, the battalion’s Commanding Officer, said that the battalion had, in its 25 years of existence, achieved commendable applause in operational, training and related aspects in all kinds of operational environment. The battalion was raised on March 1, 1983.

A large number of retired and serving officers, junior commissioned officers and soldiers from the battalion participated in the silver jubilee celebrations which began on November 1.

The Mechanised Infantry Regiment was raised in 1983 under the aegis of Mechanised Infantry Regimental Centre, Ahmednagar, in order to fulfil the requirement of providing greater mobility to infantry battalions operating in an armour predominant battlefield. This was one of the first battalions raised on the all-India, all-class mixed composition concept for the mechanised units. On successful completion of its raising, the unit was assigned to a mechanised division and moved to the western border.



Prof B.S. Khanna dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
Prof B.S. Khanna, professor emeritus and founder head of the Department of Public Administration, Panjab University, breathed his last today morning.

Born on May 5, 1915, Prof Khanna had set up the department of Public Administration on May 15, 1961. During his academic career, he also provided academic leadership to the university as dean of university instructions.

Prof Khanna was MA in political science from Panjab University, Lahore. He obtained his Ph.D degree from London School of Economics and Politics. For post-doctoral study in public administration, he spent a semester at Maxwell School, Syracuse, USA. He was a senior fellow (specialist) at East West Centre, University of Hawaii, USA, for six months during 1965-66.

Dr B.S. Khanna was invited as a visiting professor of political science by Punjabi University, Patiala, Kurukshetra University and Magadh University, Bihar during 1979-80.

He worked as a consultant at UN-Asian Pacific Development Institute and at the Centre of Integrated Rural Development for Asia and Pacific during 1980-83. He was resource person at the state government institutes of public administration in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.

In 1979-80, he was nominated by UGC to deliver national lectures in political science at several Indian universities. He also delivered lectures at many universities abroad during his academic trips to Asian and north American countries.

He has published books including Rural Development in South Asia (four volumes). Prof B.S. Khanna retired from Panjab University on May 5, 1978.

In the light of his impressive accomplishments and administrative experience, Panjab University had recently bestowed the status of professor emeritus to Prof Khanna. He is survived by his wife, a son, a daughter and grandchildren.

Professor Khanna’s cremation will take place at 3 pm tomorrow at cremation ground, Sector 25, Chandigarh. Dr R.C. Sobti, vice-chancellor, PU, expressed shock and said that in his death, the country has lost an eminent educationist and the university fraternity a wonderful senior who inspired everyone who came in his contact.



Family, fans join hands to preserve Virk’s works
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
In an effort to preserve compiled works of Punjabi writer Kulwant Singh Virk, who passed away 20 years ago, his family today launched a website at Punjab Kala Bhavan, Sector 16, here on his death anniversary.

Successive state governments, during all these years, has failed to preserve the works of the writer, who played a major contribution in giving a new dimension to modern Punjabi prose and short stories. Virk’s short stories have been translated into several languages, including Russian by Leo Tolstoy’s granddaughter Natasha Tolstoy and Japanese by Dr Tomio, Mizokami, Osaka University.

The Kulwant Singh Virk Memorial Committee and Virk’s family presented a sketch of the writer to Dr Nahar Singh, secretary, Punjab Sahit Akademy.

Virk’s elder son Sarabjit Singh Virk said: “It is purely a family effort. We approached none for the job and decided to do everything on our own. Staring from collecting his writings in Punjabi and English, which remained scattered, to designing the website, the family worked in unison for over a year to present the website to readers”.

The website www.ksvirk.in <http://www.ksvirk.in> provides information about the author in Hindi, Punjabi and English. It also has information in Shahmukhi (Persian script) for Pakistan Punjabis.The website projects all works of the author, his life history, achievements and awards along with photographs.

A film based on Virk’s short story Khabbal (The Grass) depicting the story of a woman who loses everything during the 1947 Partition, was screened on the occasion. Eminent Punjabi scholar Surjit Singh Hans drew a sketch of Virk before the audience, narrating several incidents in the life of the writer. Prof Piara Singh Bhogal and Dr Sarabjit Singh read papers on the nuances, technique and style of Virk, who they said was deft in recording the social changes in his times and captured human emotions minutely. “His works reflect his sensitivity.”

Punjabi writers N.P.S. Rattan, Gulzar Singh Sandhu, Mohan Bhandari and Prem Gorki also presented their papers.

Born on May 20, 1921, in Phullarwan in Sheikhupura (now in Pakistan), Virk served as a second lieutenant with the British Army during World War II. He joined the Punjab civil services as a public relations officer in 1949. Virk received the National Sahitya Academi Award in 1968 for his short story “Dudh Da Chappar”.

He edited two magazines "Advance" and "Jagriti". He later worked with the ministry of information and broadcasting. 



Bal Niketan inmates get gifts

Chandigarh, November 4
Members of the Kalpana Chawla Memorial Education Society, Chandigarh, celebrated the festival of lights with the orphans of Bal Niketan, Sector 15, here, today.

The members presented a pair of shoes each to 47 inmates of Bal Niketan. Led by Prof S.C. Gupta, chairman of the Kalpana Chawla Memorial Society, the members also gifted crackers and distributed sweets among the inmates. — TNS



Organisation to uplift tribals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
To establish a just and equitable society, a new organisation for the welfare of the tribals, Sanghra, was inaugurated by cardinal Telephore P Toppo on the premises of St Annes School-32, here today.

A cultural function was also organised on the occasion in which a large number of people hailing from different parts of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Orissa, who are now settled in the northern states, demonstrated various aspects of tribal culture.

DIG, Computers and Communications, Punjab, Dr Arun Kumar Urao, said, “ This organisation has been formed for the Central-Eastern India and the motive is to uplift the tribal people.



Child falls from 3rd floor, dies
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 4
In the second incident of its kind, a four-year-old boy today died after a fall from the third floor of an under-construction society in Sector 20, here, today. 

The boy, Lacchu, son of labourer Ashok Kumar working at the site, fell while he was playing with children of other labourers employed at the site of group housing society 75.

The incident took place yesterday. Lachhu sustained head injuries and was immediately rushed to General Hospital, Sector 6, from where he was referred to the PGI. He succumbed to his injuries today.

A couple of months back, two girls, residents of a society in the neighbourhood, had fallen from the window of their house on the second floor of the society.



’84 riots victims hold candle march
Tribune News Service

Relatives of 1984 riot victims hold a procession with candles in Mohali on Sunday
Relatives of 1984 riot victims hold a procession with candles in Mohali on Sunday. —Tribune photo by Vicky Gharu

Mohali, November 4
The 1984 riot victims today held a procession with candles in hand. More than 80 family members of the victims participated in the march to pay homage to the hundreds of Sikhs who had died in the November 1984 riots.

The victims’ relatives also highlighted the pending demands of the victims. Harjit Singh, vice-president of the 1984 Sikh Riot Migrant Welfare Society, Chandigarh, said his father Jaswant Singh was travelling from Guhawti to Delhi when the train was stopped at Maripath near Ghaziabad and nine Sikhs were killed. He was also among those. “My mother was with him. We have been applying for compensation since then but no one has listened to us,” he said.

He added that many such cases put up by the victims’ relatives had not been considered.

“These were not riots but mass murders,” said some of the Akali leaders present.

Kashmir Kaur, president of the Mohali counterpart of the association, also participated in the march.



Six-year-old suffers burns, critical
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 4
Six-year-old Munni, a resident of Rathpur Colony in Pinjore, sustained 35 per cent burns after her clothes allegedly caught fire while she was playing with a matchbox in a jhuggi.

She was referred to the PGI from General Hospital, Sector 6, here today, and her condition is stated to be critical.

Sources said Munni, daughter of a washerman, suffered burns a fortnight back in her jhuggi while she was lighting matchsticks and playing with a matchbox. Her father, Shahid, was busy ironing clothes outside while her mother was also not around.

According to information available, a lighted matchstick fell on her clothes which caught fire, injuring her.

Though the family members managed to put out the flames quickly, she was given treatment by a local doctor.

Not realising the gravity of the injuries and faced with a financial crunch, the family continued with the same treatment, the sources added. However, after the child failed to show any signs of improvement, she was taken to General Hospital, Sector 6.

Realising that infection had set in already, doctors at the hospital referred her to the PGI. After the doctors told the victim’s mother that she would need to be taken to the PGI, she met the secretary, District Red Cross, Vijay Lakshmi, and sought financial aid.

Maintaining that it was an accident, she said they were poor to afford any treatment for their daughter. She left for the PGI with Rs 500 in her pocket.

At the PGI, doctors said though the 30-35 per cent burns sustained by the patient were curable, her case had become complicated due to severe infection. The police today recorded the statement of the girl’s parents and began investigation into the accident.



Stop harassing patients

My wife Nasrin had gone for a medical check-up at the gynae OPD of the PGI on October 27. She was advised to get TSH and PRL tests done, for which, we paid Rs 250.

She stood in a queue for 45 minutes and when her turn came, she was asked to bring a syringe and a needle for taking the blood sample. She again went to the chemist shop.

When she came back, she again had to stand in the queue because other patients, who were already lined up, did not allow her to enter the lab out of turn. It took two-and-a-half hours just to give blood samples.

In my opinion, the cost of syringe and needle i.e. Rs 7 should be included in the test fee or the authorities should put up a notice regarding this, outside the lab. This will avoid unnecessary harassment of the patients.

Raheim Bakash, Mohali



4 Dhanas children go missing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
Four children from Dhanas had gone missing since this morning under mysterious circumstances. They went from their houses for playing in the morning and did not come back till late in the evening, said the police.

Sources in the Sector 11 police station said the parents of the four children had lodged a complaint with the police. The missing children belonged to Milk Colony, Dhanas, and were studying in class VI in Saraswati School in the locality.

They have been identified as Gursimran, Pardeep Mohan, Vivek Bhatt and Myank. The police said efforts were on to trace them, which might have gone to the city for fun and forgotten the way back home.

11 held for gambling

The police arrested 11 persons for indulging into gambling at a public place from Sector 21 on Saturday. Those arrested have been identified as Rajesh Kumar of Sector 9, Satish Katial of Sector 28, Ajay Kumar of Sector 26, Rajinder Kumar of Maloya, Ravinder Singh of Sector 28, Ashok Sharma of Sector 27, Dharampal Singh of Sector 39, Gursewak Singh of Phase VIII, Mohali, and Sukhwinder Singh of Phase I, Mohali. The police recovered Rs 22, 560 from their possession.

A case has been registered.



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