C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Literacy up, so is foeticide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The declining sex ratio in the city has set the alarm bells ringing for the medical fraternity which got together today at the GMCH-32 to analyse the implications of inverse proportionality between the existing literacy rate and foeticide figures.

The seminar was jointly organised by the Indian Radiological and Imaging Association and IRIA, Punjab and Chandigarh state chapter, in association with the ministry health and family welfare.

“The 2001 census has revealed an alarming trend. The female foeticide rate has not gone down. It is more disturbing as it shatters the notion of lack of awareness being the prime reason as the literacy rate has improved over the years,” Prof Suman Kochhar from PGI said in her introductory address.

Agreed Prof Raj Bahadur, director-principle of GMCH-32: “We need to rethink on what we have been professing for the last decade. The figures call for eradicating the greed. Not only the prospective parents, but the medical fraternity should also realise their moral and social duty.

Health secretary Raji P. Srivastava, who was the chief guest on the occasion, stressed the need for action at the grassroots level. She said that the girl child should not be singled out and the mindset of the society must change. She explained that the UT Administration, along with different NGOs, was trying to sensitise the people about the issue, especially the students.

Senior Associate Editor, The Tribune, A.J. Phillip said: “I realise the role we can play in triggering a revolution and are ready to take the onus on us with utmost dedication. We make sure that every single word we pen down makes a difference in this direction.”

President of Indian Radiological and Imaging Association Dr N. Kulasekaran reiterated the association’s commitment to implement the PNDT Act in the right earnest. Secretary general of the association Dr Rajesh Kapur the and co-coordinator of the PNDT Act Dr Jignesh Thakker also spoke.

Legal advisor of the association Meet Malhotra explained the legal aspects of the PNDT Act and how the problems being faced by doctors could be addressed. Director, PNDT, Punjab, Dr V.K. Goel presented the data on female foeticide in the state and the steps taken to deal with the menace.

Over 200 delegates attended the seminar from Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.



Wife, daughter among 6 booked for murdering ‘missing’ man
Tribune News Service

Kharar, September 7
Six persons, including three women, have been booked for the murder of a man who was assumed missing since January this year. Three of the accused were arrested today.

In his complaint to the police, Gurmeet Singh, a resident of Mundi Kharar, stated that his brother-in-law Amrik Singh (42) from Bhago Majra village had gone missing on January 29 and his missing report was lodged at the Gharuan police station.

Later, Gurmeet Singh alleged that he suspected one Balbir Singh alias Bheera, a resident of Baghwali village in Mullanpur Garibdass, of being instrumental behind Amrik's sudden disappearance.

The CIA police investigated the matter. Gurmeet Singh told the police that Amrik's wife Harvinder Kaur, her paramour Bheera and four others had murdered him. "Gurmeet came across some local resident in whom Bheera had confided to kill Amrik with others," said CIA in charge Tejinder Singh. On January 26, around 9.30 pm, Amrik Singh was strangulated by six persons, including his wife. All six disposed of the body into the Bhakhra canal the next night.

Harvinder Kaur and Bheera had illicit relations. Harvinder had promised Bheera Rs 50,000 in lieu of killing her husband Amrik Singh as well as asserted to marry him.

Bheera also had illicit relations with one Gurmeet Kaur from Bhago Majra, who, too, wanted to get her husband killed. Harvinder, Bheera and Gurmeet Kaur got together and approached one Naib Singh and Sandeep from Baghwali to kill Harvinder's husband. On January 26, all five of them strangulated Amrik to death, while his 19-year-old daughter Manpreet was also present in house. They later disposed of the body on January 27.

The police has booked Harvinder, Gurmeet Kaur, Sandeep, Naib Singh and Bheera, along with deceased Amrik's daughter Manpreet. While Bheera surrendered before the police, Gurmeet Kaur and Naib Singh have been arrested.



Two teachers get national award
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
While the UT administration evaded city teachers on their day, two of them have brought laurels to it by bagging national awards. Dharam Pal Sharma, principal, GMHS, Sector 37, and Jasmine Jhakkar of GMSSS, Sector 35, were awarded with prestigious national award for excellence in teaching for 2007.

Talking to The Tribune, both teachers, overwhelmed with their success, credited it to God and their students. They have decided to work with more dedication.



After hurdles, Jashan is PUSU face
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, September 7
PUSU has finally nominated Jashan Deep Randhawa as their presidential candidate. The division of the party in two groups was creating hurdles in the announcement of their candidate. One group led by PUSU chairman Navjot Saini backed Simranjit Dhillon as presidential candidate while the Tejpal Singh Cheema’s group was in favour of Jashan Deep Singh.

Both groups even had a scuffle over the announcement of their favourite candidate late last night.

Interestingly, Navjot Saini was the man who announced Tejpal Cheema as the party president last year. But now, Cheema is against Saini’s choice. ‘Everything is fair in politics’.

The party members had announced their presidential candidate last night at a meeting, but later, they changed their decision. The whole day PUSU leaders were busy. They did no campaigning and their tent remained empty.

Meanwhile, leaders of the other parties were pleased to know about the internal bickering in PUSU just a few days before the elections.



City card for tourists from Sept 27
Pradeep Sharma/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
Chandigarh Tourism is all set to offer bonanza to the tourists from World Tourism Day that falls on September 27. In a bid to make the city a tourist destination of the North India, the Chandigarh Administration will launch the city card that will offer a slew of benefits to the tourists on that day.

Launched as a part of the Tourism Action Plan 2008-09 to boost tourism, the city card, priced at Rs 100 each, will entitle the tourists to a few additional facilities.They would be able to purchase the card from the tourist information centres and popular tourist spots,including Rock Garden and the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector- 10, sources said.

Based on the pattern of the established tourist destinations all over the world, this card will enable the tourists to visit Rock Garden and the museum and ride the hop-on-hop-off bus. Besides this, the tourists will be entitled to discounts at the CITCO hotels, the Hotel Chandigarh Beckons in Sector 42 and selected private hotels interested in being a part of the tourism promotion campaign of the administration.

As a special gesture,the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) has agreed to offer free travel for three days to the tourists having the city card, the sources claimed.

On offer

  • Complimentary visits to Rock Garden, museum
  • Free ride on hop-on-hop-off bus
  • Free travel on CTU buses for three days
  • Discounts at CITCO, private hotels

"This card will go a long way in popularising Chandigarh as the tourist destination in line with the commitment of the administration to offer extra facilities to them," said Vivek Atray, director tourism, and the brain behind the introduction of the city card.

In fact, the administration has worked out an innovative way to reimburse parts of proceeds to the outlets giving discounts to the tourists.The Society for the Tourism and Entertainment Promotions (STEPS), which would be coordinating agency for the city card, will distribute the proceeds among a few stakeholders as per a mutually agreed-upon formula.


CHB plans another 13,000 flats
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
In a development that will boost the apartment culture in the city, the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) is planning to construct over 13,000 flats in different parts to cater to the housing needs of different strata of society.

However, the construction of thousands of flats by the housing board, besides converting the city into a concrete jungle, will strain the already-stretched civic amenities, particularly in the Phase III sectors (from Sector 48 onwards) and the villages.

The phase III sectors already have thousands of dwelling units of the group housing societies and their complaints against bad civic amenities seem to be never ending.

In fact,the biggest upcoming housing project in the city will be in Sectors 53, 54 and 55, adjoining Mohali, on sprawling 90 acres where the board is planning about 4,500 flats.

The architectural drawings are being finalised and the scheme will soon be floated after working out the details of different categories of dwelling units, official sources said here yesterday.

The Maloya-I (33.51 acres) and Maloya-II (10.38 acres) and another housing schemes in Dhanas (32.4 acres) are also set to roll out as a part of housing board’s 13,000-flat project.

With Chandigarh bursting at seams in the wake of the coming up of the mega projects, including the IT Park, quality housing was the need of the hour, a senior official said.

Meanwhile, in the backdrop of the proposed influx of thousands of professionals in the city due to the setting up of the mega projects, the administration has also decided to handover more housing projects to the board.

These include integrated general housing complex (20 acres) in Kishangarh, complex for economically weaker sections (EWS) on 10 acre in Kishangarh, housing complex on 30 acres in Sarangpur and integrated low-cost housing in Hallo Majra (25 acres).

A senior official said different pockets had been selected to cater to the housing needs of the professionals working in major projects like in the IT Park and the Sarangpur institutional area (Film City, Theme Park and equestrian academy).

Sector 63: Has land dispute been resolved?

Has UT’s land dispute with Punjab, which virtually derailed the Sector 63 housing scheme, been solved? It seems the administration itself is not sure on it. While an administration press note claimed that the dispute had been resolved through a joint inspection with Punjab, another revised press note is silent on the issue, saying that the board will construct 2,200 flats on 42 acres. 



UT’s housing rules outdated, says welfare body
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
Satish Chandra Sharma, general secretary of the Chandigarh Social Welfare Council (CWSC), today flayed the Chandigarh administration for clearing mega projects post-haste while issues of public interest continue to hang fire for years together.

A case in point is the regularisation of general power of attorney (GPA) holders to effect transfer of flats on their names. Miffed at the alleged apathetic attitude of the administration towards genuine grievance of the GPA holders in cooperative housing societies spread over Sectors 48, 49, 50, 51, council has sought intervention of Sonia Gandhi, chairperson of the UPA, to rescue the hapless GPAs. Gandhi has been apprised that while the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana follow a “people-friendly” transfer policy for the buyers of cooperative-society flats, the administration is adamant in imposing hefty charges for transfer in UT and that is being widely resented.

The council has decided to constitute CWSC sangharsh samitis in every cooperative housing society. Council has launched a signature campaign to protest the imposition of allegedly outdated and unrelated rules for transfer of flats on the names of GPAs, he added.



More covered area demanded in SCFs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The Shop-cum-Flat Landlords’ Union, Sector 7-30, Chandigarh, has demanded more covered area in the SCFs on the pattern of shop-cum-offices (SCOs).

In a representation to the Chandigarh Administration, the union rued that the administration had not released the new model for the SCF building plan since the 1959 model enforced on over 1,000 SCFs.

The union said the flat portion should be a separate unit from the shop 
and stairs should be provided from the backside to keep privacy.



Mohali city centre to be linked with 8-lane roads
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 7
The proposed central business district in Sector 62, city centre, here will be linked with eight-lane roads. The process to widen the existing roads at a cost of around Rs 17 crore has already been initiated and is targeted to be completed in the next six months.

The wide roads would allow access to the proposed international convention centre-cum-hotel and other projects in central business district. Officials in GMADA feel that wider roads would go a long way in attracting investors to the city centre.

Learning from the experience of Sector 17 commercial centre in Chandigarh, the GMADA had decided to provide infrastructure keeping in mind future needs. By the time the business district takes shape, there will be a sharp rise in the number of people coming for jobs and business activity, said Vivek Pratap Singh, chief administrator, GMADA.

After the construction of PUDA buildings some years ago, no other major project had been planned for the city centre. One of the major projects in the Sector was the 16-acre site of the convention centre (located next to the YPS chowk) that had been finalised by Jurong Ltd, the Singapore-based consultants of GMADA.

The site is being developed in the public-private partnership (PPP) mode through the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB).

GMADA was also planning to auction a commercial site next to the Fortis Hospital. The Singapore-based consultant was also working on a detailed plan for the development of this Sector.

Sources reveal that under the expansion plan, the roads diving Sectors 61 and 62, Sectors 62 and 63 and Sectors 51 and 62, were being taken up. However, the road diving Sectors 62 and Sector 69 was not being widened due a court case.

Apart from widening the roads around the city centre, providing better connectivity to the city was also high on the agenda of the GMADA.

The convention centre-cum-hotel, a first of its kind in north India, is going to be the anchor project for Sector 62. The convention centre will have a capacity of over 5,000 seats and the hotel will have at least 300 rooms. 



Ivy Hospital to start laser angioplasty
Opens high-end cath lab 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The Ivy Hospital is all set to introduce laser angioplasty facility with the opening of a high-end cath lab here yesterday .

Addressing a press conference, Gurtej Singh of Ivy Hospital claimed that though the facility of laser angioplasty was not available in India, the hospital would provide it within six months.

"Angioplasty is not always done in a conventional way," said Dr N. Vikramaditya, one of the very few cardiologists trained in laser angioplasty. He said that the laser technology is a non-surgical procedure. "A 100 per cent block cannot be opened with a wire in a normal angioplasty operation. But a laser can, thus preventing the need for a by-pass surgery," he added. Blocked arteries can also be treated with stents (a mesh-like spring that holds the walls of the artery open).

“Lasers help to reduce a lot of problems associated with cardiac surgery. First of all, there is no surgery. As a result, there is no post-operative care and no loss of blood. The patient does not feel the extreme fatigue and weakness that he would after a by-pass surgery,” he added. And the cost is about the same as in a by-pass operation, he said.

Dr Vikramaditya had done more than 500 complex angioplasties, including left main, bifurcations and primary angioplasty. He performed more than 4,000 coronary angiographies. After working with Manipal Group of Hospitals and Escorts Heart Institute, Nagpur, he has now joined the Ivy Hospital, Mohali as director, cardiac sciences.



Admn fails to adopt career advancement scheme
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The Chandigarh Administration’s failure to adopt the Punjab government’s notification regarding the career advancement scheme (CAS) has invited ire of the librarians of UT cadre and those on deputation from Punjab.

This discrimination is being meted out to the librarians despite the fact that the Punjab Governor and the UT Administrator, vide notification no 10/39/01-SE.1/2460, dated November 20, 2007, had specifically stated that as per the recommendation of the University Grants Commission (UGC), the advantages of the CAS should be extended to all the university and college librarians with effect from July 27, 1998.

The Chandigarh Administration had recently adopted the recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission whose first phrase was to strengthen the library scenario and transform an unequal society into egalitarian and progressive knowledgeable society.

The Chandigarh Librarians’ Association, however, questions that when such an injustice is meted out to them, how could an egalitarian progressive society be formed? “We had approached the Finance Secretary and the Director of Higher Education to restore the parity in pay-scales, but to no avail,” said general secretary of the association Jaspal Kaur.

The librarians rued that the CAS pay-scales had been implemented by the Punjab government for its lecturers/librarians working in the state after getting a nod from the UGC and the Government of India. “Chandigarh follows the pattern of Punjab Civil Services rules and when it is applicable to the Punjab employees, why does the UT administration hesitate to adopt it?” questioned the aggrieved librarians.

“Even the UGC deviated from its stand during the revision of the pay-scales of the university and college lecturers in 1996 and released the usual grades barring the CAS and pay fixation at Rs 14,940. However, after a battle for more than 10 years, we succeeded in convincing the UGC and the notification was issued on December 19, 2006, which was adopted by the Punjab government on November 20, 2007. Now we fail to understand why the Chandigarh administration, which usually follows the Punjab pattern, is indecisive about adopting it,” they rued.

Former general secretary of the association I.D. Verma said that they had been ignored by the administration. “We were denied the gazetted status as per the notification of the Punjab government in 1996, as the administration declined to accept it. We moved to the court and after a long battle of eight years, we got the status when the Punjab government issued another notification regarding job classification,” Verma said.

Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar was not available for comments despite repeated attempts. 



‘Children have the right to be heard’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
In its monthly interaction programme, a special lecture was organised by the First Friday Forum on "Child-friendly cities" here today. It was aimed at creating awareness among the residents of the city about this novel concept with respect to their own "city beautiful".

A power-point presentation was made on the subject by Baldeep Toor, student-intern in the Applied Social Sciences, University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada. Toor is currently on an internship at the Canadian Studies Centre, Panjab University here.

S.S. Bhatti, founder, First Friday Forum, and former Principal, Chandigarh College of Architecture, said in today's rapidly urbanising world all political debates and processes had failed to take care of children's unique needs and tender human rights.

He highlighted the dangers of suppressing children's creativity and the price that our future generations might have to pay for our ignorance.

He stressed the need for creating an environment in which children and youth could express their opinions freely without any fear or favour.

In his well-illustrated presentation, Toor said the growing population, in the context of rapidly-depleting natural resources, was forcing many families to live in slums, far from a safe and healthy environment needed for the holistic development of a child.

He pointed out that research had shown children, when given an adequate opportunity, could identify their problems themselves and develop such suitable solutions as adults could not even see looking through the glasses of their age-hardened prejudices and rigid mindsets.

Toor underscored the importance of Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which stated that children had the right to be heard in order to have their views taken seriously. 



‘Kath Gulab’ depicts woman’s struggle for identity
S. D. Sharma

Panchkula, September 7
The ongoing National Drama Festival at Inderdhanush here has been so far a unique melange of various theatre genres, performance styles, languages and aesthetics. But the sleek and vibrant staging of a play ‘Kath Gulab’ by Sambhav Arts Group, Delhi, defined the complex concerns relating to the womanhood and the ailing society. Woman’s rise from the slumber of subjugation, her inevitable struggle for seeking parity and degradation, and her credible achievements assumed as threatening dimension for the male chauvinism, was effectively delineated.

However, the absorbing presentation in modern theatre form, marked by crisp dialogues matching eloquent stage movements and emotional expressions, translated the concept of novelist Mridula Garg with utmost perfection. The play, another masterpiece of the directorial spectacle by thespian Dev Raj Ankur, bared the predicament of women and, relevance of marriage besides clash of ideologies for self respect, exploitation and sufferance.

The play also traced the eventual impact of the growing empowerment of women, who had, from the times immemorial, grudgingly given a secondary status. The actors, Kavita Sharma, Gita Guha, Pavita Pande, Laxami Ravat and Ramji Bali, made instantaneous shifts to diverse roles without any exit or fade out on the stage. Utpal Jha and Govind Yadav provided chiaroscuro effects.

Chief guest Chander Mohan, deputy Chief Minister of Haryana, and guest of honour A. J. Philip, senior associate editor of The Tribune, lighted the traditional lamp.



Contractor’s laxity puts commuters’ life at risk
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 7
Negligence on the part of a road contractor nearly cost 35 rifle-shooters their lives. In the absence of any warning signal about the ongoing digging work, their bus fell into the dug-up potion of the road in Phase 2 here last night.

Caring little for the norms and safety of road users, the road contractor, on behalf of GMADA, was carrying out the work of widening the road from Phases I to V without putting up any signboard. Any major tragedy could happen. Such an act on part of the contractor or GMADA should be viewed seriously and stern action should be taken against the contractor, feels Sukhjit Singh, a resident of Sector 59.

In the name of warning, some poles and loose plastic bands had been placed. Following heavy showers on Friday night, the dug-up portions along the road section got filled with water. “I could not differentiate between the road and dug-up portion,” said Tejinder, who escaped falling into the dug-up portion of the road.

Due to slow pace of progress of the digging work, the dug-up portion is lying as such for many days. No official of GMADA has noticed the anomaly in the work being executed at a cost of crores of rupees. As a cover-up operation, the contractor has placed whitewashed blocks of concrete along the road. 



Education sans politics
Raveen Thukral

Frankly speaking, I was quite surprised the day the Punjab government agreed to recommend Central status for the Panjab University. Having covered Punjab politics for over a decade, the move appeared to me to be out of sync with the parochial politics that has unfortunately become a hallmark of the state.

However, the surprise was a pleasant one as it gave a feeling that finally these parochial taboos had been broken and the Akali Dal-led government in Punjab had risen above petty politics and taken a rational decision in the interest of the university. But, as always, politics finally had the better of sanity and last week the Punjab government did a volte-face and withdrew its "no objection" letter to the Centre.

What is disheartening is that this change of heart was motivated not by any genuine concern for the institution or its students but parochial attitudes, manifested by a section of intelligentsia, some Congress leaders and radicals who claimed that the move would dilute Punjab's claim over Chandigarh and have serious political repercussions.

With eyes on the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls and the fear of being branded "anti-Punjab", the Akali government has, unfortunately, succumbed to the pressure and backtracked from its promise, much to the disappointment of all right-thinking people.

While I would not like to bore you by going into the details of the merits and demerits of PU getting the Central status, as a lot has already been written on it, there are a couple of things that need to be mentioned. But before that, I would like to state that many, including this writer, don't totally agree with those clamouring for the Central status that the change will transform academics at the campus. Even now, nothing prevents willing students, researchers and academicians from performing.

But having said that, additional funds made available to the university after obtaining the Central status can certainly be put to use to change things for the better, especially for the students, and put the institution on a higher pedestal of excellence. PU, like all other state-run universities, is cash starved. The university's current budget is of Rs 187 crore, of which Rs 91 crore is supposed to be generated by PU from its own resources, and the balance of Rs 96 crore deficit is to be met by UT and Punjab on the 60:40 ratio.

However, instead of paying Rs 38 crore, Punjab has promised to pay only Rs 16 crore and the UT, instead of its share of Rs 58 crore, will pay only Rs 33 crore. The shortfall of Rs 47 crore will obviously be met by cutting corners and those at the receiving end would be students as despite paying higher fees they wouldn't get the required infrastructure.

For even a layman the obvious solution for ending this financial crunch would be to agree to the Central status. So what possible objection can Punjab have when even today it has no functional control over the university as it was established by an Act of Parliament. None, except political, one would say.

It's a sorry state of affairs that our politicians, irrespective of their party affiliations, don't see beyond the end of their noses and take decisions that can be detrimental to an institution. They have mixed politics with religion and further divided the already fragmented society. The least they can do is to spare education from their political agendas and not play with the future of the coming generations. But will this ever happen?

Write to rthukral@tribunemail.com



Buta Singh to visit tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh,September 7
A team of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes led by Buta Singh, chairman, will visit the city on September 9.

According to a press note, the delegation will hold a state-level review meeting with representatives of a few associations on September 9 at 9.30 am at the UT Guest House, Sector 6. The participants from groups or associations can also attend the meeting. 



Check drug menace

All the intoxicants are smuggled into the city from foreign countries, and Chandigarh is considered as the transit station where certain conduits are maintained. The nexus of police-smugglers-politicians helps a lot in the running of the business.

Youth of the city are victims, who can go to any extent to get money to fulfill their desire. Thus the intoxicants germinate many diseases and crimes.

To check the menace, the police should start a drive to bust the racket of smugglers by adopting stringent measures.

S. K. Khosla, Chandigarh

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



PU Student Elections
SOPU goes door to door to woo students
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, September 7
The Students’ Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) has started its campaign in a new way this year. The supporters of SOPU are campaigning on cycles and bikes instead of cars. They are going to the houses of students as they found it the best way to meet everyone personally.

Senior leaders of the party, Dalveer Singh Goldy and Gurveer Brar addressed the party workers and told them the achievements and history of the party.

“There are only five days left for the elections and this is the best way for campaigning. Our members are meeting the students personally and telling them our achievements and our manifesto. All this is according to the recommendations of the Lyngdoh Committee,” said Barinder Dhillon, president, SOPU.

Other members are also campaigning in hostels. The girls are also working very hard.

The party is going to announce its panel tomorrow. “We are divided in groups and going to houses, boys’ and girls’ hostels, and sending messages on cell phones and Internet,” added Barinder Dhillon.

Robin Brar, a SOPU activist, said: “This is the right time to approach the students, only a few days are left and we have to cover the whole university.”



Freshers with high expectations
Himani Chandel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
With the announcement of date for the students’ elections in Panjab University, the fresh students have started aspiring for dynamic leaders to win the elections so that they can work to make the campus student-friendly.

“Role of students' unions have always been important in producing a best lot of youngsters having better perception and broader viewpoint,” says Neha, a students of economics department.

The freshers want leaders who can successfully lead, whenever there is exploitation of students’ rights. “There are many issues in the university that need to be concentrated upon, like cleanliness. The leaders are also required to help the students, especially girls, at the time of admissions,” she says.

The new students want their involvement in the routine activities carried out by the party leaders and to advise them with their opinions on the infrastructure and problems faced by them in the campus.

“Whoever leaders win the students’ elections, they should have right sense of taking decisions so that we are able to trust him in the time of crisis,” said Anika, a student of MSc (biology). “A students' union focuses on issues strictly relevant to the university. The leaders have to go hand-in-hand with the political party they are affiliated with,” she says.

They also feel that there should be an eligibility criterion for candidates to pave way for competent and talented students, who could better serve their fellows on the campuses.

“There can be no better platform other than these unions that enable even middle class students to emerge on the political scene,” says Raghuraj, a law student. 



PU hostellers taking cops for a ride
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, September 7
Interlocks are new effective tool being adopted by Panjab University hostellers to evade the ongoing police searches in view of the student elections on September 12.

The search team is often greeted by locked doors. “Yes, we are aware that somebody is inside but are helpless as these locks can’t be opened. All we are left with is repeated knocks that are obviously never answered and we cannot damage the hostel property so we are forced to move on,” admitted Ramesh Chand, SHO of Sector 11 police station.

On condition of anonymity, various hostel students confirmed lodging of outsiders and even smuggling of arms and liquor by student leaders.

According to one student, “Many a time, student leaders approach us to adjust their guests in the rooms, having interlock facility. We know what to do during police raids”.

Lashing at the university authorities, a cop questioned, “How can they put interlocks when these are banned by the PU?”

“The authorities know everything. Don’t they know the rule? Then how come it is happening? They are hand in glove with “influential” offenders and try to save them”, asked the police.

However, on being questioned on the attitude of the hostel authorities on implementation of this rule, Ashvini Kaul, boys’ hostel warden, expressed his helplessness saying, “I agree that despite the ban, these locks are being used in hostels. All I can say is we will try to remove these locks and punish the offenders.”

However, even after repeated attempts, dean, Student Welfare, Naval Kishore, could not be contacted.



Kalgidhar Trust to open 150 academies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The Punjab government will take the help of private agencies to set up schools on donated land in rural areas. The Punjab chief secretary, Ramesh Inder Singh, said for the purpose, the state had proposed an investment of Rs 2.5 crore.

He was speaking at an exposition on ‘Rural Education Revolution’ organised by Kalgidhar Trust of Baru Sahib at Shivalik Public School in Phase VI here last evening. Punjab Mandi Board chief Ajmer Singh Lakhowal presided over the function.

The chief secretary said the government was determined to promote education in rural areas. One such school would be set up in every block.

Iqbal Singh of the Sant Attar Singh Mastuana sect said the trust would open 150 academies in villages. Moral education and spiritual concepts would form the basis of education.



Pondicherry varsity inks pact with Grey Matters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
Grey Matters became the first institute in the region to sign MoU with Pondicherry University, a central univesity, when its director, Munish Dhawan, signed the MoU with S. Loganathan, registrar, Pondicherry University, to offer MBA under the twinning programme of the university.

Sonia Dhawan said that twinning was an innovative educational concept which widened the scope of educational opportunity and access for students, keeping in view of their weekly schedules of learning time. This concept gave a gamut of choices to the student community to learn and assimilate the nitty gritty of the subjects of the various programmes through a well-designed and meticulously executed academic rigour, with standard courseware, learning kits and virtual ways.

The MBA programmes launched are in marketing, finance, international business, human resource management and general.

Sonia further said that armed with MBA from Pondicherry University, successful management graduates could enter into the job market with much more confidence as compared to a degree or diploma from a state or technical university.

Besides, MBA programme, Grey Matters would also be offering MA (English) under the programme.



Industry ignores ITI students
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, September 7
Students of information technology at the local Government Industrial Training Institute (ITI) face bleak job prospects, thanks to the uncooperative attitude of the industry.

Despite the ITI, meant exclusively for women students, being upgraded to a “centre of excellence” (COE) in information technology under a Central Government scheme, the local industry has been ignoring its students. At least, 19 industrial units in the Mohali-Chandigarh area were approached by the ITI for training and help, but none agreed to entertain its students for the specialised training module in IT.

The CII, Chandigarh, too, has not responded to the institute’s requests for cooperation. The ITI has, therefore, been compelled to send its IT students to local small entrepreneurs in the unorganised sector for the purpose.

The two-year course at the Phase V institute extends over broad-based basic IT training (first year) after which students can opt for a six-month advanced module in specific areas. The advanced module is followed by six months’ training in the industry.

Head of the institute R.P.Singh says the whole objective of the COE scheme to produce a multi-skilled workforce of world standards gets defeated. A huge amount of Rs 1.60 crore was allocated to the institute out of which Rs 92 lakh has been spent - Rs 20 lakh on the building and the rest on the infrastructure, including the latest computers and tools. Most of the 115 IT students, he says, are from the rural areas. It is a pity that the industry is not fulfilling its corporate social responsibility. There is no backing at all from the industry in the matter of training and jobs, he adds.

The ITI was started in 1979 under the aegis of the Directorate of Technical Education and Industrial Training, Punjab. It started with conventional courses with new ones being added with the changing times. It now has 300 women students.

At present, three schemes - the COE, the craftsman training (CTS) and the hi-tech - are running at the institute. The CTS scheme is the oldest at the institute and it covers courses like cutting and sewing, embroidery and needlework, secretarial practice and draughtsman (civil).

The hi-tech scheme was started in 1998 to impart training to skilled manpower in the industry, helping them upgrade their skills.

With new training schemes planned for the future, the student strength is expected to rise to 1,000 with the campus requiring extension. The GMADA authorities have promised to vacate 1.78 acres adjacent to the institute for the construction of new blocks and workshops. The formalities for land transfer have been completed, but the ITI has been waiting for an offer letter from GMADA for the past one year.



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