Of men, their muscle power
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

The newly opened premium gym in the posh model town area throws all norms to the wind.
The newly opened premium gym in the posh model town area throws all norms to the wind.

Jalandhar, January 24
This is just one example that mirrors the open connivance of the bureaucrats with the politicians, that too at the risk of the lives of the commoners. Even more interesting is the fact that the politicians involved in this case are of the rival party.

The fifth floor of an under-construction, unsafe shopping complex owned by a kin of a former Congress MP in the posh area of Model Town has been given out on rent and has been in use for the past one week. While the MC officials are yet to give a completion certificate for the building, a hi-class gym - Gold’s Gym - is already open on the top floor here.

Even more amazing is the fact that such a violation of building bylaws is happening right in front the MC’s zonal office. Clearly, the officials would have been aware of the fact, but have rather turned a blind eye to it.

The incident is occurring at the time when the MC officials have been taking stern action against the deterrents. Recently two shopping malls on Mall Road that did not have adequate parking space were sealed. Even in this building - Rampaa Centre Point - both parking lots in the basement are still under construction. The MC has been putting up a bolder image by even trying to tighten a noose around the architects by issuing warnings to them but perhaps not in this case.

The building is so unsafe that there are no railings along the staircase-cum-ramp leading to the top floor. Even the edges on various floors have not been closed by a wall or any obstruction. “I dared to use the staircase on the opening day last week but I cannot forget my experience. There were two elevators functioning that day but they were too busy. (There is a third one still under-construction.) I was wearing high heels and when I was coming down I slipped and fell down as there was very little space after the last step on all floors and no boundary ahead,” said Preeti, a collegiate.

MC commissioner C.S. Talwar feigned ignorance on the matter saying that he was in Delhi and did not remember anything off hand about the building. However, officials requesting anonymity owing to political pressure, said that the owners had blatantly flouted the MC orders. “They have been asking for a completion certificate, which had not been given to them as yet. We asked them to first complete everything, including the finishing part and railings along the ramp. A notice was issued to the owners after they failed to comply with the orders. But no further action could be taken due to obvious reasons.” they added.

Despite serious violations, Akali MLA Jagbir Brar was invited as the chief guest on the occasion and deputy commissioner Ajit Singh Pannu was the guest of honour. The DC, when asked about it, said that he had not gone at the time of opening but he did pay a visit later. Asked whether he brought the matter into the notice of the MC officials, he said, “They would be knowing about it otherwise as well.” MLA Brar too confirmed that he had gone there. He admitted that it was a case of complete violation and he would put up the matter before the officials concerned.



IT, biotech: PTU has grand designs
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 24
Having started schools of excellence for total quality management and manufacturing technology, Punjab Technical University (PTU) is now planning to open three new schools for biotechnology, design and IT.

While the biotechnology school is expected to come up in the proposed biotechnology park coming up near Chandigarh, the university is looking for suitable private entrepreneurs who could collaborate for opening schools of excellence for design and IT.

The university had started the first school of excellence with Gyan Jyoti Institute at Mohali nearly four years back. The second one for manufacturing and material technology was started on the Kapurthala road, in a tie-up with the Caparo group.

Keeping tabs

The university authorities also plan to put up a proposal for setting up an independent committee to monitor nearly 700 centres falling under the distance education programme.

“No one, including me, will interfere in their independent judgement and suggestions about the centres which they will directly present to the board of Governors”, the VC said, adding that nearly 70 to 80 centres were already on the verge of being shut down. He added that distance learning centres had been set up at Manipur, Ladakh and other remote areas across the country.

Vice chancellor Dr S K Salwan said the biotechnology school would be set up only after a biotechnology park comes up in a time of three years or more. “In the meantime, we are looking for parties that could help start two more ventures of the sort in fields related to principles of design and IT.”

PTU will only be contributing a corpus fund of Rs 1 crore and offer land for the purpose if the proposed schools will be set up on any of its vacant sites”, he explained.

The other terms and conditions will be the same as in Caparo or Gyan Jyoti. “Every institute becomes self-reliant in three years’ time as it is able to bear the expenses of infrastructure and faculty on its own out of fee collection. In the third year, there are usually 300 students who collectively pay fee close to Rs 3 crore. Till five years time, every amount collected will be re-invested in the institute and thereafter, the university and the other party will share a 50:50 profit”, he explained.

Meanwhile the university is likely to tie up with four Canadian institutes for a dual degree option. A delegation from the institutes was here for a visit to the PTU two months back and is expected to be back again by February-end with a draft of MoU. The delegation had taken a copy of the syllabi of B Tech, B pharmacy, bachelor in hotel management and MBA, which it has already mapped and approved.

The VC said students taking the above degrees as per the programme would be taking the last year of the course in the Canadian institutes but the fee structure to be levied by them was yet to be negotiated upon.

The VC said nearly 16 affiliated colleges of PTU were likely to be enrolled in the programme, which would be visited by the delegation in the scheduled visit. Chitkara Institute, CIIS Mohali, DAVIET Jalandhar and IET Bhaddal stand a better chance.



Lost hopes, shattered dreams
Kusum Arora

Tribune News Service

Despite ban, the practice of child labour goes unabated in the city.
Despite ban, the practice of child labour goes unabated in the city. — A Tribune photograph

Jalandhar, January 24
It has been more then a year since the Child Labour Prevention Act was amended on October 10, 2006, banning children below 14 years of age to work as helps in households, dhabas, restaurants, hotels, and other hospitality sectors. However, not much seems to be changed, as one can easily spot children working, often in miserable condition, in various establishments.

According to the information available with the labour department, there are 3,720 child labourers in the district, out of which 1,615 are females. Majority of these labourers are from states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttrakhand. On the condition of anonymity, one of the department officials admitted that the number of child labourers has increased in the city.

The kids generally work at roadside tea stalls, garages, repair shops, handlooms industry and sports goods manufacturing units. Their average earnings are somewhere between Rs 200 and Rs 400 per month. However, Project director, National Child Labour Project and assistant labour commissioner, Inderjeet Singh said, “It is not that department is not working. Regular raids have been conducted to keep a check on this menace and till December 2007 as many as 116 employees have been challaned. Besides, we try to motivate parents to allow their children to join the NCLP Schools.” Interestingly, there are around 3,193 children studying in these evening schools.

He said the department has identified 3,299 child labourers till date. “Out of these 678 worked as domestic workers, while 1,254 were found working in sports goods manufacturing units. Besides, 153 were employed in hotels, whereas 318 were working as helpers in shops. Apart from these, 515 have been spotted working as rickshaw drivers, rag pickers and 381 were spotted working in other establishments.

When asked about the number of children working right under the nose of the district administrative complex the assistant labour commissioner said, “We are helpless as the kids do not want to loose their job and the owners generally direct them not to reveal their ages.”


Young World
Time management, Russian style
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 24
Apeejay College of Fine Arts organised a guest lecture on importance of time. The event was organised by the department of psychology and a Russian research scholar Anna Petrova was the resource person.

‘Nritya Utsav’

The students of Mayor World School are celebrating India Week at its campus. A cultural program ‘Nritya Utsav’ was organised as a part of the event. The function included dance performances in Bharatnatyam, Kathak and Rajasthani folk dance. Besides, patriotic songs were also sung by the students.

Fighting viruses

The computer science department of Guru Nanak Dev University College organised a seminar on ‘Virus and its prevention’. During the seminar, Dr Harsh Verma, associate professor, NIT, Jalandhar, told the students about the causes, symptoms and prevention of viruses.

Chat show

A chat show on conservation of flora and fauna was held at Innocent Hearts School where students were taught how to conserve the nature. The kids also made drawings, composed poems and wrote short stories on the theme.

Helping hand

The students of State Public School, Sofi Pind, Jalandhar Cantt in association with NGO Smile Foundation helped the under privileged children and asked for help for them.

Seminar held

A one-day seminar on ‘Career planning and opportunities in financial sector’ was held at the Prem Chand Markanda SD College for Women, where the guest speakers spoke on topics like e-filing of returns, locating PAN through internet and e-money transfer.



Tax sleuths raid rly station
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 24
Excise and taxation department confiscated around 15 dozen packets of goods from city railway station during a special raid to check the evasion of tax.

According to sources, a mobile enforcement wing team of the department conducted the raid and confiscated the 15 dozen packets without proper bills. The defaulters would be fined as per the provisions after assessing the exact irregularities, a senior officer said.



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