C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Vaseela owes govt Rs 65 lakh
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 28
“Vaseela”, a heritage resort on the Zirakpur-Rajpura road, owes the Punjab government over Rs 65 lakh. The resort is owned by Gurshinder Aulakh, wife of Punjab’s former cop M.P.S. Aulakh who is related to current DGP N.P.S. Aulakh.

The owners have not paid the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) the external development charges (EDC), the change of land use (CLU) charges and the licence fee due to them.

Interestingly, the amount due to the resort was initially calculated to around Rs 1 crore but was reduced to Rs 65 lakh in April this year.

No request was made by the owners to reduce the amount, claimed M.P.S. Aulakh.

Since last year, GMADA has issued a host of notices to the owners to pay up, the latest of which reached the Aulakhs a fortnight ago.

M.P.S. Aulakh said in response to the latest notice of June 12 that he had asked GMADA to give the details of the rules and regulations under which the amount was due.

“The CLU for the resort was approved in February, 2002 and the building plans sanctioned in November, 2003. If any charges were due why were these not taken then?” said Aulakh.

Sources in GMADA said the CLU approval letter for “Vaseela” was issued on February 25, 2002 and it clearly stated that CLU charges would have to be paid as and when fixed by the authority.

“In that case, the calculation of the EDC and the CLU should be done on the basis of the cost of my land then not on the basis of the cost of the land now,” said Aulakh, adding that he was ready to pay an amount that was “reasonably” calculated.

In July 2004, the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) had demanded Rs 2.47 lakh from the resort owners due towards security and scrutiny fee. This amount has also not been paid. “We want to know how this has been calculated,” said Aulakh. Then in August last year, GMADA had asked the owners to pay Rs 1.04 crore. Out of this, the EDC was over Rs 80 lakh, conversion charges were over Rs 21 lakh and licence fee Rs 2.6 lakh.

Besides, the owners were also asked to pay Rs 2.47 lakh as security and scrutiny fee. The same notice was repeated by GMADA in September last year and then in January.

The only response that GMADA got from the owners was in February when Gurshinder Aulakh clarified to GMADA that her postal address had changed from Sector 7, Chandigarh, to the resort and all letters sent to her at Sector 7 address be sent again at the resort’s address.

Following this communication, GMADA sent a fresh notice to the owners in April after substantially reducing the amount due to them.

The EDC was reduced from Rs 80 lakh to around 50 lakh. The conversion charges were reduced from Rs 21 lakh to Rs 10.68 lakh but the licence fee was increased from Rs 2.67 lakh to Rs 5.34 lakh.

The reason for the reduction given by GMADA in the April notice states that “a field report of the resort of March, 2008 points out that there is no marriage palace running from the resort. Instead, traditional culture is being promoted here. As a result, the EDC and CLU are being calculated again for cultural institutions,” stated the notice.

According to M.P.S. Aulakh, no request was made to GMADA to reduce the amount. “We have no idea how these dues were calculated and re-calculated. It is for GMADA to show that we owe them any amount,” he said.



Rain Fury
Man washed away; city roads flooded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
A 30-year-old man went missing in a swollen seasonal rivulet while negotiating a temporary bridge at Fadian village here today. Mathura Ram, working as a mechanic in the motor market, Sector 48, could not be traced till the filling of the report.

The met department recorded about 33 mm rainfall. The low-lying areas in Mauli Jagran, Ram Darbar, Hallomajra, Colony No. 5 and Bapu Dham were the worst affected.

The tall claims of the administration on city’s efficient underground drainage system were washed away today after the monsoon unleashed its fury, flooding the city and it’s surrounding areas. Roads and parking lots turned into virtual pools, throwing normal life out of gear.

The covering of old drain inlets during the widening or recarpeting of roads and parking lots was largely to blame for the flooding. Also, clogged curb channels on the edges of roads had not been cleared.

Moreover, silt and malba dumped around pavements and open spaces flowed into gullies and gutters, thus blocking them. The heavy rain, which drastically reduced visibility, affected local as well as long-distance traffic. Though the rain caused inconvenience to residents, it also brought respite from the sultry summer by bringing down humidity.

Rainwater entered the basement of Sector 19 Palika Bazar, causing hardship to shopkeepers. Large portions of the Dakshin Marg and the Madhya Marg saw water accumulating on them, particularly near rotaries.

Most roads in the city’s southern parts were inundated. Water also accumulated in parking areas adjoining markets and commercial centres, particularly Sector 34 city sub-centre. The entire stretch of the road separating Sectors 20 and 33 was flooded. Residents complained that several recently constructed speed bumps in various parts of the city restricted the flow of rainwater. The rain also exposed the substandard work on newly constructed slip roads.

Mud on road corners made things worse for motorists, especially those riding two-wheelers. A number of minor accidents were reported during the day on account of rain and slippery surface.

Several rotaries, including Tribune Chowk, Sector-32 hospital chowk, housing board chowk, bus stand-17 chowk, cricket stadium chowk, Piccadilly chowk-35, witnessed traffic snarl-ups due to heavy water accumulation.

Bus shelters and market corridors were crowded with commuters seeking shelters from the pouring rain.

Water and slush got collected around slums and unauthorised colonies. In some slum areas, straw and tarpaulin roofs of jhuggis were damaged, while some mud tenements were washed away.



PU go-ahead to OBC quota
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
Panjab University has given green light to 27 per cent reservation for OBCs. The syndicate at a meeting held today gave its nod to implement the reservation in three phases spread over three years. At the same time, the syndics observed that the estimated budget to increase 54 per cent seats (27 per cent OBC and 27 per cent general category), amounting to about Rs 1,044 crore, should be sanctioned by the Centre. Besides this, the university has also asked for 250 acres at Chandigarh for setting up additional infrastructure and hostels.

The syndics also allowed teachers re-employment up to 63 years. For this period, they will not get pension and other officiating charges.

The syndics have also approved charging Rs 5,000 as laboratory fee from students of the third and fourth semester of MBA (biotech). Besides this, they also endorsed UGC’s directive to consider a patent equivalent to a publication for promotion from the post of a reader to professor under the career advancement scheme.

The members also approved the VC’s recommendations on giving equal financial powers to coordinators of departments as well as centres as are enjoyed by chairpersons.

The name of the department of mass communication and journalism, which was earlier changed to the University School of Journalism and Mass Communication, has been changed to School of Communication Studies. The syndics also approved extension in the submission of PhD thesis/synopsis up to July 31.

The UGC’s guidelines to lower the qualifying percentage from 50 per cent to 45 per cent for candidates to sit in the entrance examination for BEd was also endorsed.



Land prices turn brother against brother
Arun Sharma

Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 28
The fast pace of development in the town has not only led to spiralling prices of property, but is also resulting in animosity among families.

Police officials said numerous property disputes were being reported and in several cases even brothers had usurped property. Disputes over land and other properties had been pouring in from rural as well as urban areas of the district, the police said.

Everyday, at least one complaint reaches the SP’s office in this regard.

“While 194 complaints regarding property dispute were reported in the district last year, around 80 persons have already sought police intervention in such disputes, SP Sandip Khirwar said.

This figure was in addition to those cases filed in the courts directly, he said.

In a majority of cases, people tried to pressure the opposite party to get the police involved in the matter, which otherwise was found to be of civil nature, he said.

The ASP who handled several cases of land dispute in the Morni area said the increased demand for land had led to a steep hike in property prices and also greed among landholders.

In a majority of cases, there was no demarcation of share in the land of joint families and one shareholder sold prime land without the consent of other family members and the buyer had to face the resistance of the family at the time of taking possession of the land.

Similar was the case in the Ramgarh and Barwala areas where a lot of land was bought by residents of Chandigarh and Panchkula following the development of IT sectors and proposal for a nano city.

Forcible occupation of vacant plots and houses in Panchkula is common now. The police got at least two such prime properties vacated here recently.



City’s oldest gaushala getting PFA makeover
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 28
The gaushala in Sector 25 is being renovated by the People For Animals (PFA), an animal welfare organisation run by animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi.

The renovation will help increase the existing capacity of the gaushala from 125 animals and to 175.

Currently, the gaushala, nearly as old as the city, is home to 117 cows and eight bulls. For years, this gaushala has been getting donations from various sections of society, including the rich and the mighty who visit it to feed fodder to the animals.

Apart from regular donors, the gaushala is occasionally visited by families with a sick member to donate “roti”, fodder or jaggary.

The municipal corporation handed over the charge of the gaushala to the local chapter of the PFA in April after two years of hectic pursuit.

The city has another gaushala at Malloya village and a cattle pound in Industrial Area.

Payal Sodhi, founder trustee of the PFA, told the TNS that when they took over the place three months ago, their immediate task was to remove cobwebs, clear drain blockages and replace some dysfunctional fans and tubelights.

The PFA raised Rs 2 lakh for the renovation of the gaushala by selling Raja Ravi Varma’s oleograph last month at the Arts Gallery, Sector 10.

“We need Rs 15 lakh for the renovation. Congress MP Pawan Kumar Bansal has spared us Rs 1 lakh from the MP local area development fund. We want to make the gaushala a self-sufficient unit by making optimum use of space. A number of local residents are contributing to the renovation by volunteering donation of bricks, cement and sand. Donation of this nature by cash or kind fetches the donors tax exemption under Section 80 G of the Income Tax Act.”

Sodhi said the PFA had introduced a system that ensured vaccination against foot and mouth disease (FMD) to any new cow that came to the gaushala.

“When the municipal corporation sends us an abandoned cow or a bull, it is first quarantined for two to three days and vaccinated. FMD is a contagious cattle disease that is transmitted from one cow to another. It is a fatal viral infection. We keep cows, bulls and male calves separately. To ensure that cows and bulls don’t eat up the feed meant for weaker cows and calves, we feed them in segregated areas. We plan to construct a separate enclosure for pregnant and weak cows,” said Sodhi.

The PFA founder trustee said it was easier to get people to contribute to a gaushala than for any other animal welfare project.

“It is strange that we never think twice before feeding a cow but are insensitive to her. In our daily lives when we buy milk from the milkman, we should ensure that the dairy farmer does not use oxytocin, a schedule “H” injection (banned for animals). We don’t realise that a cow goes through indescribable pain thrice a day to give us milk. This disturbs her hormonal cycle.”

“When we throw away leftover food, we throw it in plastic bags and cows eat the bag along with the food. On the road, we don’t have the patience to wait for an old cow to pass by. We ought to remember that cow is not supposed to understand traffic rules and is a non-milch cow that may have been abandoned by its owner.”



MC Poll
Congress pushed Punjab downwards: Kanwaljit
Our Correspondent
Rally organised by Punjab cooperation minister Captain Kanwaljit Singh as part of the municipal elections at Zirakpur.
Rally organised by Punjab cooperation minister Captain Kanwaljit Singh as part of the municipal elections at Zirakpur.
Rally organised by congress as part of the municipal elections at Zirakpur.
Rally organised by congress as part of the municipal elections at Zirakpur.
Rally organised by N.K. Sharma group as part of the municipal elections at Zirakpur.
Rally organised by N.K. Sharma group as part of the municipal elections at Zirakpur. Tribune photographs

Zirakpur, June 28
The SAD-BJP combine today took out a scooter and motorcycle rally on the last day of campaigning. Rally was flagged off by Punjab cooperation minister and general secretary of SAD Captain Kanwaljit Singh. Beginning from ward no. 6, the rally passed through various wards of the city before it concluded at ward no. 6.

Addressing the rally, Kanwaljit Singh today blamed the Congress for pushing its growth downwards and shattering its economy due to its wrong policies. He said the Congress had always proved harmful for the state. He said wrong economic policies of the Amarinder Singh-led government during the past five years had shattered the economy of the state.

He added that not a single person was provided employment during his tenure, the facilities provided by the erstwhile SAD-BJP government were withdrawn and every section of society was forced to live a miserable life.

He said on the other hand, the SAD-BJP government, after assuming power a year ago, had not only restored the previous facilities but was trying hard to work for upliftment of every section of society. He added that his department had initiated an ambitious Mai Bhago Scheme for making women economically stronger and develop leadership qualities in them.

Meanwhile, Kanwaljit has clarified that Anju Sharma was the official candidate of the SAD-BJP combine from ward number. 13 and neither he and nor SAD had anything to do with Alka Saini contesting elections as Independent from the ward. He appealed to the voters to vote in favour of Anju Sharma.

Zirakpur owes development to Cong: Bhattal

The Punjab Pradesh Congress president Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, while addressing three election rallies in support of Congress candidates for municipal council election, at Zirakpur, said yesterday she would never tolerate any kind of nuisance during election.

Bhattal claimed that people of Punjab shall oust the Akali-BJP government as swiftly as they had brought them into power.

She said cooperation minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh was too busy taking care of his own family and least bothered for the interest of the public.

Bhattal claimed that whatever development has taken place in Zirakpur has been only because of the Congress.

Prominent leaders Jaspal Singh, Rakesh Sharma, Pawan Kumar Sharma, Uday Singh Rathore, Harkesh Sharma, Baljinder Balli, Bhagwant Singh Baltana and many others were present during the rallies.

Sharma promoting terrorism, says Verma

Senior BJP leader K.K. Verma has charged former MC chief Narinder Sharma and his team for promoting terrorism and widespread corruption during his stint as the MC chief.

Addressing an election rally in ward no. 10, he said almost two months ago, this team had organised an Akand Path after which they took out a rally in the city. He added that some of the youngsters leading the rally had raised slogans of "Bhindranwala Zindabad, Khalistan Zindabad". He said this clearly proved the mentality of these people.



Filing of IT Return
Problems galore for taxpayers
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
When the last date for filing of IT returns, especially for salaried class, approaches every year, problems seem to come in plenty for the income tax department as also the taxpayers.

With July 31 fast approaching, the number of taxpayers visiting the receiving centres to file their return has been increasing.

Confusion prevails as taxpayers have started complaining that their returns are being rejected for non-availability of suitable records, which do not arrive at the changed wards for matching with the returns.

Reasons for most rejections being non-availability of file records concerned or absence of PAN number.

Change in jurisdiction and failure to inform the taxpayers in advance are also to blame for the confusion.

On the condition of anonymity, an assessee said: “When I went to file income tax return at Bassi building (falling under jurisdiction range-I), the staff refused to accept it as my record was not available there.” He added that when he went to another building, where the records had been shifted, he got the same reply from the officials there.

Officials in the department maintain that the problem over change in jurisdiction of IT wards with regard to restructuring of the department, taken up here just a month ago, was nearly over.

Tax consultant Susheel Singla said: “The department should inform assessees about the change in jurisdiction and where their files have been transferred.”

Commissioner of range I, II and III G.S. Randhawa said the changed jurisdiction for filing of returns had been publicised through newspaper. He said the problem was expected to be resolved within the next 15 days.

According to some senior officials, the problem of file dislocation and submission and re-submission of returns at changed wards, even for corporate and salaried assesses, had become more acute.

Officials said income tax payers of Mani Majra were required to file their income tax returns at range III at income tax office near Hot Millions, Sector 17, instead of filing it at the income tax office in Bassi building.

Similarly, all income tax payers based in SAS Nagar are required to file their income tax returns at range VI.



All-India essay writing competition soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
The Jat Sabha, Chandigarh, is organising ‘Bhai Surinder Singh Malik memorial on the spot all-India essay writing competition’ for college/universities/school students of Classes X, XI and XII, on July 4 at Jat Bhawan, in Sector 27, from 10 to 11 am.

According to Dr M.S. Malik, IPS (retd), president Jat Sabha, Chandigarh, the competition vividly offers an opportunity to the students to play a significant role in promoting the creative interests for educational and cultural activities through their rich thoughts.

The topic of the essay will be announced before the start of the contest, which may be on the burning problems/current events of society.

The competition will be for college/university and school students from Class X and above in two categories, rural and urban area.

The best essay will be awarded a gold medal and cash prize of Rs 1,100, the second and third runner ups will get silver and bronze medals and cash prizes of Rs 900 and Rs 700, respectively, and four consolation prizes of Rs 400, Rs 300 and two prizes of Rs 200, each, will be given in each category.

The results will be conveyed by post after checking of the papers by scholars of Panjab University Chandigarh.

The winners will be honoured on the occasion of Basant Panchmi function, which the Sabha will organise to celebrate the 127th birth anniversary of Deen Bandhu Sir Chhotu Ram, on January 31, next year at Jat Bhawan in Chandigarh.

This contest is held every year and sponsored by Bhai Surinder Singh Malik Memorial Institute of Medical Science and Educational Research, Nidani, Jind (Haryana).



Lawyers write to Laloo on Shatabdi timings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
Eleven advocates have sent representations to the union railway minister, Laloo Prasad Yadav, protesting the change in the timings of the morning Shatabdi.

They have stated in their individual representations that as per the new timings, the train will leave Chandigarh at 6.53am and reach New Delhi at 10.15am.

They said a large number of lawyers have to travel to New Delhi throughout the week to appear in the Supreme Court or the Delhi High Court where work starts at 10 am.

They said they would get late for appearances in the apex court and would be forced to travel by car.

It was mentioned in the representations that if the Shatabdi-2006 reached New Delhi at 10.15 am (which is normally delayed by five to 10 minutes), advocates would not be able to reach the courts on time.

They urged the minister to advance the departure of Shatabdi from Chandigarh by 30 minutes so that it reached New Delhi by 9.45am.



Boom time for liquor lovers at Zirakpur
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, June 28
Elections come, and it is a boom time for the liquor lovers. Money is flowing along with liquor in municipal council elections in Zirakpur. “Note do, vote lo” and “Vote uski, Daru jiski” are slogans being used by liquor lovers to express their desires before the candidates.

Apart from the candidates trying their luck to make it to the Zirakpur municipal election on the June 30, the liquor lovers were sloganeering various wards of Zirakpur to express their message to the party organisers.

People have slight belief in the policies and agendas of any party as their main concern always remains that they should be supplied with liquor as per their choice and requirement.

“My slogan is note do, vote lo,” said Ramesh, a resident of Baltana. Coming home from the party, he said, “I know these candidates will never be seen again in these wards. It is the best time to bargain with them for votes.”

A resident of ward number 2 said, “This one month of election is bonanza time for me. I mostly attend the night parties organised by the supporters of the candidates.”

The candidates claimed that they were trying to secure votes of the people by presenting their projects and programmes before them. However, for removing the tiredness of the supporters after campaigning in evening something is required to get fresh, they added.

According to police sources, the smuggling of liquor from other states might increase during the election. Sources added that the police laid nakas at various places to stop smuggling of illicit liquor in the area.



Campaign on first aid begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
Over 500 persons took part in a free emergency response and care awareness campaign at Sukhna Lake today. The campaign was organised by Safety Circle, the Indian arm of the National Safety Council, USA, in association with a mobile service provider.

CITCO managing director Jasbir Singh Bir inaugurated the campaign.

The two-month-long citywide awareness programme will be held on first aid, fire safety and other basic safety exercises. A certified team of doctors is conducting the programme.

The objective is to ensure that each family has at least one member equipped with adequate safety education.

Such training can be instrumental in saving the life of a family member or a person in the event of an emergency situation. A special feature of the programme was the demonstration on dummies about saving the life of a person suffering a heart attack.

An awareness workshop on life saving techniques was also conducted for the boating staff of CITCO.



Be aware of rights, duties: Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
The International Commission for Justice (ICJ) Section (Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh) and Dr Ambedkar Centre, Panjab University, jointly organised a seminar on ‘Justice for the poor,’ on PU campus.

Pawan Kumar Bansal, Union minister of state for finance and Parliamentary affairs was the chief guest on the occasion and Prof R.C. Sobti, VC, PU, presided over the same.

Bansal emphasised that things will change at all levels when people are aware of their rights and duties.

Dr Balram Gupta, legal advisor of the ICJ Section and a senior advocate said justice is costly, technical and dilatory. Education for the poor, particularly for women, could be a great source for receiving justice, and poor must be backed up with financial assistance for the same.



Hike in school bus charges from July 1
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
The Chandigarh School Bus Operators’ Welfare Association has planned out a hike of Rs 50 in the school bus charges from July 1. Manjeet Singh, president of the association, said due to increase in the rate of diesel, lubricants, tyres and spare parts, the increase had become unavoidable.

The hike ranging between Rs 40 and Rs 50 would depend upon the distance to be covered by the respective school bus. “Though the overhead increase in the charges was around 15 per cent, the association had decided to pass on a hike of 10 per cent to the parents,” said the president.

The association has urged the school authorities to take up the matter with the respective state government so that the bus operators could be supplied diesel at subsidised rates and the parents were not burdened.



City has too many taverns

City beautiful is rapidly becoming a hub of drinking and related crimes. One often finds young motorcyclists without helmets roaring the roads without silencers and high-speeding cars with tinted glasses and with music on a high volume. This gives a sense of insecurity and lack of law and order to the residents.

Opening of taverns near the wine shops everywhere add gruesome oil to the existing fire. Administration knows very well that people in a drunken state comes out of tavern and thereafter they drive their vehicles which is not only an offence under law but also causes major accidents, this means administration is encouraging crimes. Interestingly, smoking is not allowed in a public place in Chandigarh, however, drinking is allowed in a tavern, which is also almost a public place, but the government approves it. In many cities, including Delhi, such taverns do not exist. The execution of law is more important than law itself. Otherwise law loses its credibility and fidelity.

Vipin Parashar, Chandigarh

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600 principals to discuss college funding
Smriti Sharma

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
Panjab University is going to guide the managements and authorities of all the colleges in Punjab, on various funding agencies available apart from the UGC in a principals’ meet on July 3. The university for the first time in the history is going to organise a joint meet on the directions of Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal. Around 600 principals from all colleges from Punjab, irrespective of the universities they are affiliated with would be attending the meet. Vice-chancellors of Punjabi University, Patiala, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar and Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, have also been requested to join in.

“The objective is to create awareness among the principals of these colleges that there are other agencies as well which are willing to fund various schemes and programmes for the students. Normally, what happens is, that we all only look up to the UGC for funding various students’ oriented programmes, courses and other academic proposals. All of which don’t get the required resources owing to limited funds.

Consequently, many worthy schemes never see the light of the day,” said Prof R.C. Sobti, vice-chancellor of PU.

We are going to create awareness among the principals on how to apply for funding from different agencies, how to make the right proposal and what all details should be included besides others, he added.

“It’s a great initiative wherein all the principals representing different colleges will meet and come together under one roof and exchange ideas. Many times one college knows about a certain scheme by an agency abroad and has already benefited from it, other colleges can also do the same after taking information about the same,” said a principal from a college in Malout.



Now, it’s not only about academics
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
Toppers of Chandigarh having achieved 98 per cent marks has led to a cut-off percentage for admission to various courses reach the mark of 90s and the craze of job-oriented courses has become the need of the day. All these facts are enough to prove that the city students are taking academics very seriously.

But it does not mean that extracurricular activities have taken a back seat.

Drama, music, painting, sculpting, dance and sports are integral part of the city’s education system. The long list of artistes and sports persons produced by the city is a standing proof.

Whether the sports heroes like Kapil Dev, Yuvraj Singh, Jeev Milkha Singh, Irina Brar, R.V. Singh or artistes like Jagjit Singh, Diwan Manna, Shiv Singh, Anupam Kher, Kanwal Thakur Singh, Kiran Kher, Poonam Dhillon and Nek Chand, all speak for the talent this city contains.

The Tribune team checks out with the scope and trend in extracurricular field.

Jagmeet Bal a music video director based in Mumbai is an alumni of Government College of Arts, Sector 10, think that gone are the days when graduation in music or fine arts was nothing more than just a time pass with no job values. “The popularity of talent shows and the craze of youth festival are clear evidence that apart from studies there are many fields which has attracted students. No doubt now a painter too can think of earning in thousands.”

Media creations, animations, graphics, advertisements et al, have opened up job opportunities for the creativity of the students, whereas new music channels and news channels have given a boost to singers, musicians and anchors.

Ankit a student of animation said, “Now a degree in commerce is not the only way of getting a high package, creativity in other grounds can also spin money for you.”

Ashok Garg, dean of extracurricular activities, DAV College, believes that cultural activities have their own charm in comparison to the glamour of high profile academic subjects. “We have 25 seats in our dramatics club ‘Aaghaaz’ but for them we receive nearly 500 applications. Our students have made their name in all arts. We have won the dramatic trophy for second consecutive year at Mood Indigo, IIT Mumbai, Asia’s biggest college festival. There is no lack of enthusiasm in students for other activities apart from studies and colleges too are providing a platform for this talent.”

Mansij Bhan who directed movie the ‘Ants’, Puneet Khanna, assistant director, Jodha Akbar, and Don, and Ayushman Khurana, VJ at MTV, all are from Chandigarh.

And if we think that the academic students do not go for extracurricular activities then the notion needs to be changed, as there are many like Sumedha and Sitakshi Chateerjee, Government College, Sector 42, who excel in academics long with achieving laurels in other activities. Sitakshi who is a biotech student has brought glory to her college by winning prizes in debates, declamations and paper reading. Sumedha an intelligent student of the college has reached up to the finals of ‘Sa Re Ga Ma.’

Shashi Malik, principal Government College, Sector 42, said, “No doubt academics play a pivotal role in education system but extracurricular activities have proved their own importance. City is full of talent and colleges always try to tap it. Even parents want their children to explore different avenues along with academics.”



Students’ body rolls out free info booklet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
For the convenience of students, Indian National Students Organisation (INSO), has come out with a free information booklet of various courses provided by Panjab University. Disclosing this at a press conference today, INSO chairman Sukhdev Kundu said around 40,000 such booklets had been published for free distribution in PU and all city colleges of the university.

Kundu, outgoing PU students’ council general secretary Sunny Bhardwaj, campus president Deepak Hooda, and Chandigarh INSO state senior vice-president Neeraj Malik dedicated the information booklet to the students of PU in a press conference organised here today.

Kundu said the cost of PU prospectus was too high and PU authorities should keep it free or at a reasonable price so that students can get all the information.

The booklet has all the essential information for an admission seeker right from the number of courses available in PU, number of seats, important instructions regarding how to fill an admission form, admission schedule, hostel formalities, guidelines for entrance tests, sports related information, specimen performa of various applications and affidavits.

The booklet also contains useful post admission information for students. Details regarding city’s undergraduate colleges are also given in it.



Assn to move HC against CHB scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) seems to have joined the bandwagon with speculators in jacking up the property prices to justify the rate of premium housing projects like the IT Habitat at the IT park.

A scheme of the CHB, promoting indirect bidding under the assured allotment scheme, has come under scrutiny. “While the UT administrator has been talking about affordable housing, the board is least concerned,” said Angrez Singh, chairman of the Pind Bachao Committee.

R.P. Malhota of the Property Owners Welfare Association said the association would move the Punjab and Haryana High Court to seek interim injunction to maintain status quo on the allotment of the draw under the assured allotment scheme and seek a permanent injunction to withdraw such a scheme through a PIL petition.

A person bidding Rs 1 crore for a one-bedroom flat or Rs 1.65 crore for a two bedroom flat is not realistic. And the highest bidders secured the flat by paying an amount equivalent to the lowest bid for the specified number of flats. “The bid has to be in consonance with the market forces. This indicates fixing at some level to increase the bid money,” Gurpreet Singh, a resident of Sector 48, alleged.

Political parties, too, joined the chorus against the board today. “The board was constituted to watch the interest of the common man. The prices are beyond the reach of the middle and the lower middle class. After the record-breaking inflation having hit the common man hard, for many owning a house in Chandigarh would merely remain a dream,” Satya Pal Jain, a BJP leader, said.

The assured allotment scheme does not go with any of the two methods to dispose of property; one by allotment at a price decided by the authority concerned and the second by open auction.

Deepak, a business consultant, said: "The CHB is, in a way, carrying out an auction. The plea of giving all flats at the lowest price is a cover-up for the indirect auction. The board is promoting houses only for the rich just like property dealers.



Relief for runaway couples soon
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
A joint committee of home secretaries and legal luminaries from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh will soon evolve a “compassionate and humanitarian mechanism” for redressing the grievances of runaway couples, and their parents.

Trudging towards the formulation of the mechanism for preventing the couples from hiding behind the pillars of law in the corridors of justice, and the parents from sobbing their hearts out, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ordered the constitution of the committee.

It is expected to comprise advocates-general of Punjab and Haryana, besides the standing counsel for Chandigarh, along with the homes secretaries of the two states and the UT.

Besides this, it has been proposed to include three Bar members - senior advocates Rajinder Singh Cheema and M.L. Sarin, along with advocate Rajiv Godara.

Haryana advocate-general being the senior-most would act as the convener.

Till the committee submits its report, the high court has ordered stay on the proceedings in cases registered against couples before the court. The protection to the petitioner-married couples, earlier granted by the court, too, would continue.

The directions for constituting the committee follow the high court’s suo-motu cognisance of rising number of cases involving runaway couples. Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia had made it clear that the high court wanted the state to evolve a “compassionate" mechanism to redress the grievances of the couples, and the parents, and to reduce backlog.

Justice Ahluwalia had even asked the home secretaries to inform the court on the system they intended to develop.

Taking up the matter again, Justice Ahluwalia observed: Counsels appearing for the three states submit the police intervention is not the answer to this kind of problem.

He said the police, non-government organisations, family counsellors, senior officers and this court should all contribute in harmony to evolve a compassionate and humanitarian mechanism, which is not only friendly to the couple performing marriage, but is also sensitive to the concerns of the parents.

Justice Ahluwalia also observed: After thoughtful deliberations, as consensus, it has been suggested that this court should appoint a committee, which after discussing various facets and dimensions of the problem, should report the matter to the court for further action.

The Judge asserted: Since the proposal has emerged not only as a consensus, but unanimously from the Bar members - about 50 Bar members are before me - I want to make an effort and try this proposal. Therefore, I accept the joint prayer made by counsel for the parties. Accordingly, a committee, including officials and the members, as suggested be constituted.



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