C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Campaigning begins, as does smearing
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
The ball has got rolling for the Panjab University students’ council elections. Even though the university authorities are yet to formally announce the election date, it was a massive show of strength by Panjab University Students Union (PUSU), which organised a car rally on the campus today.

However, the rally raised many eyebrows. Students alleged that when the UT administration had given its consent to the poll date yesterday, it should have announced it officially. Some of them even alleged that the university authorities had deliberately delayed the official announcement to “encourage” a particular group to organise the rally.

Brinder Dhillon, presidential candidate from SOPU, said: “We want to know why they didn’t announce the date when it was finalised yesterday. On the one hand the authorities want us to follow the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations which don’t allow such rallies, and on the other hand, the university authorities are allowing students to hold power shows. It only reflects their bias.”

“If the other group got permission, we should also be allowed to do so,” he added.

When asked, no official could tell if PUSU had been given permission to hold the rally.

Meanwhile, commuters were inconvenienced due to the presence of over 100 cars and two-wheelers that were carrying PUSU supporters for nearly two hours.

Students, teachers and other passersby were seen struggling to get out of the jampacked roads.

SOPU also began its campaigning today. Its activists went to the department of laws and spoke to students about various issues.

Though none of the parties have disclosed their panel of candidates, it is likely that most of them are going to field girl candidates for the post of vice-president. The situation would be clearer once the authorities officially announce the date of elections, which is September 12.



UT police to play ‘big brother’ to students
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
UT cops are all set to don the role of ‘big brothers’ for Panjab University students during the forthcoming elections on September 12. The police want only violence-free elections and the leaders of the different students unions were told about it during the police-student meeting, held recently, said ASP Madhur Verma.

Unlike the past practise, we are not going to make any preventive arrest prior to the elections and would try to act like ‘big brothers’ to the students.

“But this does not mean that there would be any laxity on the part of the police. Full-fledged police arrangements would be made during the election time”, added the ASP. Giving details, he said the students, carrying their identity cards with them, would be allowed to enter in the university from tomorrow.

“The police is going to start an intensive checking on the entry gates as well as the hostlers in a day or two. At every gate, minimum three cops would be deputed. Only freshers, who are not issued identity cards till date, would be allowed to enter the premises without the cards but only after proper verification”, the ASP said.

Apart from setting up two stationary contingents of cops, two PCR vans will be deputed at the university round the clock.

“Taking a lesson or two from the last year’s experience, this time the police personnel would be deployed even after the announcement of the result of the election”, said the ASP.

Last year, the members of a loser party vandalised some vehicles at a hostel parking while some students also pelted stones at the vice-chancellor house after the elections. Meanwhile, today the police recovered some weapons, including rods, baseball bats and sticks from the vehicles of students at the university.



66,000 in tricity mentally ill
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
Over 66,000 persons in the tricity suffer from various mental disor ders and more than 6,000 persons in Chandigarh are schizophrenic.

These figures are disturbing, but true. A recent study by the psychiatry department of the GMCH-32 reveals that mental illness is a major issue in the tricity, with over 66,000 persons suffering from it. More shocking is the fact that despite such a large number of patients, the tricity lacks the infrastructure for their rehabilitation.

Father Hank Nunn SJ, founder and director of the Athma Shakti Vidyalaya, Bangalore, said though there were some self-help groups at the GMCH, a lot needed to be done. He said the existing infrastructure only provided for daycare facilities even as some patients required round the clock assistance and medical attention.

Dr B.S. Chavan, head of the psychiatry department, admitted that there was no residential facility for these patients in the tricity. He pointed out that most mental diseases, including schizophrenia, were treatable, but not curable. However, the treatment required long-term care.

“We have a daycare facility for patients. But they need 24-hour care as many mentally ill people refuse to take medicines. Proper handling of such patients? can be possible only when there is a 24-hour facility,” he said. As per epidemiological surveys in India, mentally ill patients? do not seek treatment. “Overworked consultants have no time for one-to-one counselling,” O.P. Asija, a resident of Panchkula and father of a schizophrenic, said, adding that “I am worried about my sons as both are mentally ill. One of them is suffering with schizophrenia while the other is mentally retarded. What will happen to them after my death?”

Dr Chavan said it had been proved that this was due to chemical imbalances in the brain. Dopamine, 5HT, gaba, nor epinephrine, epinephrine and serotonin started malfunctioning in such patients. However, what caused the malfunctioning, was still a mystery.



Cop Code
Inquiries equal clean chit
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
The city police seems to have a penchant for giving a clean chit to its men.

Call it a coincidence, but the fact is that most departmental inquiries conducted by the police against its officials in the recent past have ended in a clean chit to the accused.

The recent case of departmental inquiries against DSP Satbir Singh and inspector Ram Gopal in different cases ended up in a similar manner. They were given a clean chit by their respective inquiry officers.

Ram Gopal, who was allegedly charged with getting a promotion by submitting a fake yoga certificate, was cleared of the charge by inquiry officer ASP Madhur Verma. He has been reinstated.

In a previous inquiry, DSP Satbir Singh had found him prima facie guilty of forgery and had suspended him. A case had also been registered against him.

Now, that he is “clean”, one wonders if anyone would be held accountable for the “lapses” in the first inquiry.

In a case of misconduct against DSP Satbir Singh, following a complaint by a woman police officer, he was given a clean chit last week.

This was despite the fact that the incident had occurred in the presence of two senior police officials and there were video clippings of the woman crying while making her complaint. These were viewed by the inquiry officer. The clean chit is a result of a “compromise”.

Inspector Jagir Singh, who was facing suspension following a custodial death case, was absolved of the charge following a judicial inquiry. However, the outcome of the departmental inquiry is yet to come. In an earlier case too, when a woman police officer accused him of misbehaving at the police station, Jagir Singh was given a clean chit.

Several officials, including DSP J.S. Cheema, inspector Har Sahai Sharma, SI Gurmukh Singh and inspector Bishi Ram (retired) faced departmental inquiries and all came out untarnished. Har Sahai was charged with custodial death while Gurmukh Singh and Bishi Ram were suspended on the charge of taking bribe.

SSP S.S. Srivastava said: “Every inquiry has been conducted in a fair manner and the facts are examined carefully. So, the question of getting clean chits by coincidence does not arise.”



Football players caught in transit
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
Chandigarh Hockey and Football Academy players are paying a tiring price for the lack of coordination between the UT sports department and the education department, for they been forced to shuttle between Delhi and Chandigarh on a daily basis to take part in Administrator’s Cup here and Subroto Cup in Delhi simultaneously.

“The dates of matches have clashed. Yesterday, we played in the morning here and left for Delhi to play the evening match there. Even today, we will reach Chandigarh by 11 am. Though it’s all part of sportsman’s life, travelling tends to be taxing,” a player told the TNS requesting anonymity.

“The boys are taking it quite bravely and performing outstandingly. I agree that they get tired of travelling but like a true sportsman they are ever ready to face the challenge,” said Tejinder Kumar, their coach.

“It gets tiring but we are trying to provide all facilities to our players. We have moulded their routine to minimise fatigue. Moreover, though the team has gone to represent the education department, we have arranged for a bus for them and are bearing the travelling expenses. At the end of the day, they are our players,” said Dr J.P. Sidhu, joint director, sports department.

On why the education department didn’t try to speak to the sports department to change the dates, P.S. Brar, sports organiser, UT, replied: “The education department knew that none of the dates could be changed, so it didn’t raise the issue. We are also concerned about our players and are spending from our own pocket. We have asked GMSSS, Sector 37, to spend and get reimbursement.”

However, an official confirmed that the department was not aware of the clash of dates till yesterday and it was the sports department that got in touch with the Subroto Cup authorities to try and sort out the issue.



Bed & breakfast scheme kicks off
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
In the true Indian tradition of “atithi devobhava” (guest is God), the Chandigarh Administration today opened a new chapter in social tourism by launching the ambitious bed and breakfast scheme in the city, intended to provide affordable homely accommodation to tourists.

The Ornoy family from Israel became the first tourist family to savour the hospitality at the house of Kuldeep Arora, a Sector 22 resident, here. The guest family, who apparently had a night stay yesterday, was all praise for the host and the administration for their warmth and affection.

The presence of Director, tourism, Vivek Atray at the welcome ceremony for the Israeli guests only underlined the commitment of the administration to make Chandigarh a tourist destination of north India. With Chandigarh acting as a gateway to Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana and 7 lakh domestic tourists and 40,000 foreign tourists visiting the city last year, the scheme is set to be a huge success here, official sources said.

A part of the “Incredible India” campaign of the union ministry of tourism to woo tourists, particularly foreign tourists, the scheme has been cleared by the Central government. The Delhi government is already implementing the scheme ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games to tide over the shortage of reasonable accommodations in the metro.

However, in Chandigarh though there is no shortage of accommodation, good accommodation is costly. The scheme, under which 16 house owners have registered themselves till date, will provide a homely accommodation to the tourists not having any corporate support.

It will be a symbiotic relationship between the guest and the accommodation provider. It will provide a homely accommodation to the tourists (Rs 900 for the gold category and Rs 700 for the silver category per night stay) plus meals. The owners, in turn, will be able to earn good money for their spare accommodation.

Bed & breakfast

The bed and breakfast (registration and regulation) ordinance 2007 allows people to offer their houses to guests through a system of registration by a prescribed authority. The condition is that there should be adequate space to house the guests. The owner should be able to provide quality food prepared under hygienic conditions and proper sleeping arrangements for the guests. The details of the house owners are available on the tourism department website:- www.chandigarhtourism.gov.in


Planning Panel
Admn puts forth Rs 200-cr demand
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
The Planning Commission is favourably inclined towards the Rs 200-crore demand of the Chandigarh administration for the completion of its various development projects.

An indication to this effect was given by a Planning Commission team, headed by its senior adviser Bhaskar Chatterjee, during a budget review meeting with top officials of the administration here today.

“We raised the Rs 200-crore demand and the team promised to take up the matter with the central government,” a senior official, who attended the meeting, told The Tribune.

The administration wants Rs 200 additional allocation under the plan head from the central government for the completion of various mega projects in th city.

With the cost of construction going up, the additional budgetary allocations were needed for the timely completion of major projects intended to put the city on the world tourism map and make it a commercial hub in this part of the country, sources said.

Officials highlighted that with Chandigarh set to contribute a revenue surplus of Rs 577 crore of the consolidated fund of India in 2008-09, the central government should not hesitate to sanction an amount of Rs 200 crore to the city.

Earlier this year, the union finance ministry had sanctioned a gross budget of Rs 1547.65 crore for Chandigarh.

An amount of Rs 12.43 crore and Rs 304.65 crore as non-plan and plan budget, respectively, was okayed for the city.

Meanwhile, the team reviewed various centrally-sponsored schemes under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) in the city, including slum rehabilitation, water supply and tertiary water schemes.

Senior officials of the various departments, including the municipal corporation, the Chandigarh Housing Board and the administration, reportedly put their best foot forward regarding the ongoing projects.

However, the team would make a random on-the-spot assessment of certain projects tomorrow before forwarding a final report of the visit to the central government.



BSNL services not yet restored
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
The BSNL services in the Sector 45 and 46 area continued to be affected for the second consecutive day today after miscreants tried to steal cable on Tuesday night.

In spite of assurances by BSNL officials to restore telephone landlines and Internet at the earliest, around 3,000 phones remained dead.

Subscribers rued that the disruption of services had become a regular feature and its restoration always took a long time.

“With a huge infrastructure and latest technology at its disposal, the BSNL could have removed the snag within 24 hours. The service provider could have made an alternative arrangement by providing bypass cables,” an expert said.

Local BSNL general manager Naresh Sharma, who was engaged in fixing the snag with technicians — where a bunch of cables was were snapped from underground manhole near St Stephen’s School — said: “We are trying to restore the lines as soon as possible. However, the services could be restored only by tomorrow.”

The official said the miscreants had cut the cable in such a way that these had been rendered useless.

According to a senior official, the BSNL had been losing lakhs of rupees due to cable theft.

The repair work on the damaged cable in Sector 45 and 46 is expected to cost around Rs 1 lakh, which excludes revenue loss due to nonfunctional phones and Internet lines.

R. Singh, a resident of Sector 45, said: “BSNL’s attitude has forced us to switch to other service providers. Snags have become a regular feature here. We have lost business worth lakh of rupees in the past one day.”



‘Andher Nagri’ bares degeneration of values
S.D. Sharma

Panchkula, September 4
The Swarag Rangmandal Allahabad staged Bhartendu Harishchander’s popular play ‘Andher Nagri’ on the second day of National Theatre fest-2008 at the Inderdhnush auditorium here today.

The play presented in the typical traditional ‘Nautanki form’ had been adapted by the director, Atul Yadvanshi, to cater to the taste of the theatre buffs. Relying mainly on the regional folk music, Yadvanshi, introduced innovations in tone and treatment especially in the modern multimedia effects in the background, which at times did not commensurate with the thematic content presented on the stage. Sometimes the long drawn sequences of farcical movements looked more absurd and diluted the overall impact but it generated humour to some extent. The play progressed to juxtapose the decadence and degeneration of value system in administrative governance or society, which is accepted as the order of the day by the poor public.

The audience, however, enjoyed the ‘Nautanki’ style of presentation, which is a rarity in the region. The musical renditions substituted for the conventional ‘narrators’ were immaculate and applauded by audience.

Earlier K.K. Khandelwal, IAS, welcomed the chief guest Raghubir Singh Kadian, speaker Haryana Vidhan Sabha. Parmod Bhardwaj, editor Amar Ujala and Anoop Lather were guests of honour.



15 illegal structures demolished
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
At least 15 structures were demolished during an anti-encroachment drive conducted by the municipal corporation at Dadu Majra village here today.

The demolition drive was peaceful and was carried out under the supervision of MC joint commissioner T.P.S. Phoolka.

Following the directions of MC commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria, the officials along with enforcement staff removed unauthorised encroachments on the government land amid tight security.

Land measuring 5 kanal 16 marla was vacated from encroachers and there were little resistance from the squatters.




Pay more to teachers

These days, many teachers abandon the profession after spending 2-3 years in the job.

Teachers’ frequent strikes indicate that their views are ignored by the decision makers. Low pay and low status are some other hardships for them.

Apart from giving awards and certificates, there is a need to do more improve teachers’ commitment towards nation-building process. Offering more monetary incentives, more chances for subject-specific training and exchange programmes would make their working lives better.

Rajesh Krishan

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030



PUTA to boycott Teachers’ Day celebrations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) has decided to observe Teachers’ Day as ‘protest day’ and would be wearing black badges as mark of protest. This was decided during the general body meeting held today.

PUTA has called upon the entire PU faculty and students to join hands in protesting against the double standards shown by the Punjab government in withdrawing the consent letter giving “No objection” for PU’s central status.

The meeting was held today to decide line of action by PUTA in the wake of Punjab government’s U-Turn. All the PUTA members would assemble outside the law auditorium to observe Teachers’ Day as ‘protest day’ bearing black badges.

The PUTA members discussed about the recent happenings and observed that it was really sad that the state government had gone back on their decision. Prof. Manjit Singh, former PUTA general secretary said, “We all at the meeting were of the opinion that nothing would be the outcome of silent protest and something seriously needs to be done. PUTA has given a call to boycott the teachers day celebrations in the varsity tomorrow to mark protest against the Punjab government”. Informing about the protest slated for tomorrow, PUTA secretary, Ashwini Koul said, “We would be holding a token strike tomorrow and would be wearing black badges as a mark of protest. However, scheduled official meetings, examinations would not be disturbed. After the protest we would be deciding the future course of action.”



Governor greets teachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
On the occasion of Teachers’ Day, the Punjab Governor and Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh, Gen. (Retd.) S.F. Rodrigues, PVSM VSM, extended his greetings to the teaching community and called upon them to mould the young generations into confident and competent individuals to contribute to the new India. He said, “Our teachers have a crucial role to play in this national endeavour, by combining the academic pursuits with values of secularism, humanism and good fellowship and developing good citizens instead of them being merely literate.”



Veteran educationists to be honoured
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 4
The Forum of Senior Citizen in Education had decided to honour professor O.P. Gupta and Pritam Singh Serai, veteran educationist of the district, for their contribution in the education system on the occasion of Teachers Day function being organised at Manav Mangal School, Sector 11, here tomorrow. Giving this information, president of the forum S.S. Kaushal said that Rajender Kataria, deputy commissioner, Panchkula, would be the chief guest and professor D.R. Chaudhary, member of Administrative Reform Commission, would preside over the function.

He said that the forum would also honour six teachers of the district for their outstanding performance. They were Renu Gupta, principal G.S.S. School, Saketri, Sandeep Sadana, principal Manav Mangal School, Panchkula, Dr Pradeep Kumar Rathor, principal, G.S.S. School, Sector 7, Panchkula, Anil Kumar Sharma, headmaster, Govt High School Hakeempur, Bheem Singh, Drawing School, S.G.I.M.S.S. Sector 12 and Kamlesh Sharma primary teacher, Govt Primary, Kharag Mangoli.



Harassment Case
Professor denies charge, blames scholar for poor performance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
The harassment case pertaining to the department of chemistry, has taken a twist with the ‘accused’ professor claiming that the allegations levelled against him by the girl research scholar, were motivated as he had evaluated her performance as ‘unsatisfactory’.

In a letter written to the chairman of the department, the professor has written before she was appointed as a project fellow, it was made clear to her that she must clear either UGC NET/ lectureship or Panjab University eligibility test to enrol for PhD program as per the rules of PU.

Also, the project in charge (PI), recommended the termination of the fellowship or the candidate quitting the project fellowship on her own. The professor said she is making a false allegations out of frustration for vested interests. The research scholar had alleged her PhD guide of harassing her. The student had accused the professor of commenting her on her bridal dress and forcefully discussed the issue of family planning with her.



Sabha for education in Pbi language
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 4
The mode of education should be Punjabi, this was demanded by ‘Kendriya Punjabi Lekhak Sabha’ in a protest here today at Sector 17 plaza.

As many as 38 writers from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Delhi with students and employees of various departments from Punjab came in large number to protest against the step motherly treatment to the Punjabi language. Speaking on the occasion, Sarbjit Singh, organiser of the protest demanded that all the government dealings should be done in Punjabi and warned the government that if their demands are not approved they will intensify the agitation.



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