C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Cops battle it out with Aanganwari protesters 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
The Chandigarh police arrested 454 women members of the Punjab State Aanganwari Workers Union, who sat in protest on the road separating Sector 16 and 17 near Cricket Stadium here today afternoon.
Protesting Aanganwari workers were dispersed with water cannons in Sector 17, Chandigarh
Protesting Aanganwari workers were dispersed with water cannons in Sector 17, Chandigarh. A couple of women were injured in police action Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

When the police failed to persuade the workers to lift the blockade, it tried to disperse them by using water cannons. That, too, failed to lift the blockage and the protesters were finally arrested around 5.15 pm.

The protesters were demanding that they should be allowed to march towards Vidhan Sabha to submit their charter of demands, which included a hike in their wages, to Punjab officials.

When union president Usha Rani announced that they would sit on the road until their demands would be met, the police swung into action.

In an effort to clear the road, the police first used water cannons on the women protesters and then decided to arrest them.

The policemen had a tough time dealing with the protesters as they refused to get into the police buses after being arrested. The police force, including women cops and commandos, had to use force to bundle them into the vehicles.

In the melee, clothes of some workers were torn off while some complained of losing their gold jewellery like earrings and gold chains.

It was not only the local police but also city residents who bore the brunt of the protest by these workers. At many places of the city the traffic flow was disrupted when around 1500 protesters started their march from Sector 34 to Vidhan Sabha around 1 pm. They reached the stadium chowk around 2.45 pm where the police had made elaborate arrangements to stop them from moving further.

Around 5 pm, Dr Daljit Singh, adviser to Punjab CM, came at the spot to receive the memorandum but the workers refused to give the same to him.

The protesters were taken to Police Station, Sector 17, where they continued to raise slogans against the Punjab government, Chandigarh administration and the police.

Except four aanganwari workers, including president Usha Rani and general secretary Harjit Kaur, all other protesters were released around 8.30 pm.

“Police case has already been registered against the four,” said ASP Madhur Verma.

These workers have been sitting on hunger strike for the past 64 days at Sector 34 under a CITU banner.



Dengue targets12 in Mohali 
Residents blame MC for poor sanitation
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 8
The number of persons suffering from dengue fever in Mohali has risen to 12 even as residents blame the Municipal Council for failing to maintain proper sanitation in the town.

It is reported that out of the 12 cases, five are from Phase III B 2 alone and are undergoing treatment in various hospitals. Cases have also been reported from Phases II, III A, III B 1 , IV and Sector 71.

According to information available, two minor girls, Gurleen Kaur (11) from Phase III B 1 and Diksha (9) from Phase III B 2 have been tested positive for dengue fever and are undergoing treatment at the PGI, Chandigarh.

Municipal councillor Kuljit Singh Bedi, who lives in Phase III B 2, said five persons from his area were tested positive for dengue. While Pinky, Sareen and another person were admitted to General Hospital, Sector 16, Chandigarh, Ramandeep Kaur was undergoing treatment at the Fortis.

He said sanitation was in a state of neglect in the town because of which residents were suffering.

Similar views were aired by Gurjeet Singh, father of Gurleen, who was undergoing treatment at the PGI. He said heaps of garbage were lying in the town and councillors were not taking any action in this regard. Fogging was also not being done on a regular basis. District health officer S.P. Surila said one case of dengue fever was also reported from Pandwala village in Dera Bassi subdivision.

He said the rapid response team had visited every house from where cases were reported and contact slides were made.



UT unmindful of water wastage
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
Water may be in shortage in rest of the country but in Chandigarh, it seems to be going down the drain.

Water conservation efforts of the municipal corporation (MC) notwithstanding, the wastage of the water continues in the city. At least, this is the inference one can draw from the number of unmetered water connections in the city which stood at 26,322 during 2006-07.

The figures, culled from the "Statistical Abstract" recently released by the Chandigarh Administration, showed that the latest figures were slightly lower than the 2004-05 figures which were pegged at 26,346.The figure touched a high of 26,873 in 2005-06.

In fact, the wastage of water has been witnessed at a time when there has been a continuous rise in the water consumption. The domestic water consumption, which stood at 5.48 crore kilolitres in 2004-05, jumped to 5.8 crore kilolitres the next year. In 2006-07, the consumption increased touching a figure of 5.81 crore kilolitres.

And the water consumption for the commercial/industrial use was reported to be 2.6 crore kilolitres in 2006-07. The consumption during 2004-05 and 2005-06 was reported to be 2.5 crore kilolitres and 2.3 kilolitres.

Sources said thousands of persons having unmetered water connections tended to waste water as they were being billed on an average basis by the civic body. A substantial number of these water connections were in slums and villages, which formed a major vote bank of all political parties. With Lok Sabha elections round the corner, the conversion of unmetered connections into metered ones seemed to be a remote possibility, a senior official said.



Undertrial escapes; 2 cops booked
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 8
An undertrial escaped from the police custody while being produced in district courts today.

The under-trial, Gurdeep Singh alias Rhoda, a resident of Chamkaur Sahib, was arrested on August 21 this year. He was arrested for attempt to murder and beating up Balwinder Singh from Chamkaur Sahib. The police had lodged an FIR on August 20, 2006 against Gurdeep Singh and his accomplice Lakhwinder Singh alias Babbu.

Both, Gurdeep and Lakhwinder, were being taken to be produced in the court of Judicial Magistrate First Class, Deepti Gupta.

Taking advantage of the chaos on court premises, Gurdeep managed to give a slip to the police and escaped.

A case has been registered against head constables, Balvir Singh and Jaswinder Singh, who had escorted Gurdeep to the court. A case has also been registered against Gurdeep.



Punjab teachers besiege SAD office
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
Punjab’s ETT teachers outsmarted the Chandigarh Police and laid a siege on the Sector 28 office of SAD for two hours this afternoon.

The teachers, who were supposed to stage a protest at the SAD office in pursuance to the demands of improvement in education system, barged their way in and took the Chandigarh Police and the Punjab Police by surprise.

Much to the frustration of party workers and the CRPF jawans, present at office, these agitated teachers raised slogans against Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Badal and demanded that both leaders should come at the spot to collect the CDs in which they (Badals) were shown making “false” promises with the teachers during their election campaigns.

ETT Union, Punjab, president Jaswinder Singh Sidhu addressed the teachers, condemning the Badals in their office.

Earlier, the union had sent teachers of Ropar and Mohali district to participate in a rally at Sector 17 to befool the police. On the other hand, these protesters reached Gurdwara Gursagar near Sukhna Lake where they also had “langar” before proceeding towards the SAD office.

Though the local police reached the spot within 20 minutes, but it was too late as the protesters were successful in their plan.

The leaders of the union, including Ranjit Singh Baath, Sawarnjit Bhagta, Balraj Ghalauti and Hardeep Sandhu, were adamant that they would leave the premises only after giving the CDs to the Badals.

On being told by DSP (East) PK Dhawan that both leaders were not in the town, the protesters gave the CDs to Daljit Singh Cheema, adviser to Punjab Chief Minister.

They also issued an ultimatum that if their demands would not be met within seven days, they would release the CDs at Chandigarh Press Club on September 15.



Ban on smoking? Prisoners free to puff
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
Had cinestar Sanjay Dutt been lodged in the city’s Burail jail, perhaps he would’nt have faced the controversy over smoking in the barracks of the Yerawada jail. Believe it or not, smoking is permitted in this jail of Chandigarh, which incidentally is the first city in the country to go ‘smoke free’.

Although there is a ban on smoking in public places throughout the city, there is no such ban in the barracks of the ‘model jail’ and the prisoners are free to have a puff in the specially earmarked areas on the premises. Though these “smoke areas” may erroneously convey an impression of legality like the smoke rooms at airports in some foreign countries, this is the sheer violation of the Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places Act.

In a query sought under the RTI Act as to whether smoking was banned on the model jail premises, the jail authorities replied: “Smoking is not banned on the jail premises. However, it is not allowed in the prison’s canteen, interview room, chakar office, mandir and gurdwara sahib, main gate and other important places where people assemble. In the barracks, some area has been earmarked for smoking.”

Hemant Goswami of the Burning Brain Society said it was the sheer violation of the ban on smoking in public places. As per the Act, smoking was banned in all public places like shopping malls, cinema halls, public and private work places, hotels, banquet halls, discotheques, canteen, coffee house, pubs, bars, airport lounge and railway stations.

Elaborating the act, he said the retiring room of the Chief justice of India was a public place even though it was not accessible to the public. The premises of the jail was also considered to be a public place as per the Act, he added.

On May 30, 2008, the union government modified the existing rules on smoking indoors in private offices and other establishments where there were designated rooms for the purpose.

In this context, union health minister Anbumani Ramadoss stated that smoking inside rooms would be more harmful than on roads or streets. Therefore, there was dire need to modify the rules.

While the health ministry is greatly exercised over the matter saying that the passive smoking is more harmful to the smoker's immediate family members and close acquaintances as they are exposed to smoke, on the other, the jail authorities are permitting prisoners to smoke in a barrack that has a capacity of around 250 prisoners.

Interestingly, the Chandigarh administration claimed that as per their survey, in 70 per cent areas, ban on smoking was effective. 


Musical soiree for visually impaired
S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh, September 8
“Strange are the ways of the Almighty with contradictory attributes of the creator and destroyer, the blind or persons with low vision are blessed with wisdom and special qualities,” opined H.K. Dua, Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune Group of Newspapers, who was the chief guest at a special musical concert and prize-distribution function at the Institute for the Blind, Sector 26, here today. The blind students securing top positions in sports and studies were a testimony to this belief, he added.

After having visited the complex, H.K. Dua complimented Major General Rajendra Nath (retd) and his team for making the institute a vibrant vocational centre for academic, sports and creative activities for the visually impaired. He called upon generous people to contribute to this noble endeavour. This centre undeniably was one of the best institutes in India, he added.

Earlier, the institute chairman welcomed the chief guest and guest of honour Vivek Atray, DPR, Chandigarh, who inaugurated the musical programme by lighting the traditional lamp.

A group of visually impaired students, including Halima, Asma, Issrael, Jaspreet, Parveen, Mamta, Deepak, Mamta Sharma, Deepak Madanpal, Himani and Akhil, presented ‘Saraswati vandana’ and a song specially composed on eye donation by Kuljit Kaur. The best singer of the institute, Rama Saran, while articulating melody meter on tabla doled out a Punjabi song accompanied by Navjot Singh on harmonium.

The duo of Kumar Bandhus Anup Kumar and Hemant Kumar enjoined by students later took the centre stage to enthral the audience with devotional and Sufi songs. Opening up with Ganesh stuti, they brought alive the spiritual fervour in ‘Tum meri rakho laaj hari’ and ‘Mein toh saanvre ke rangg rachi’. In their second spell, they presented Amir Khusro’s ‘Nit khair manga’ before concluding with the boisterous ‘Dama dam mast qalandar’.

Aparna Kaushal compeered the programme. Brig I.K. Kumar, Naresh Kaushal, Editor, Dainik Tribune, also graced the occasion.



Onam with leprosy patients
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
Onam, the harvest festival of Kerala, is round the corner. Malayalis in the tricity have already started their celebrations in right earnest.

There are five Keralite organisations celebrating the festival this year. Among them, the Kerala Sastra Kala Manch has a unique way of celebrating it.

As usual, this year, too, the Manch is planning to share the joy of Onam with the inmates of the Chandi Kusht Ashram at the ashram premises in Sector 47 on September 11, the first day of Onam.

A major highlight of the function will be the distribution of “onakkodi” (new clothes) among all the leprosy patients, many of whom have been cured of the disease.

Thereafter, all the invited Malayali families will sit together with the inmates and have the traditional feast of nearly two dozen dishes, served on banana leaves. It will be accompanied by a rich cultural programme.

Dr John V. George, Director-General of Police (Prisons), Haryana, Mr Saji Mohan, Director, Narcotic Bureau and Prof Kumara Verma, Director, Indian Theatre, Punjab University, will be the guests of honour on the occasion.



A comedy with mythological plot
S. D. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 8
Theatre aficionados were treated to another genre of old Sanskrit drama evolved in Bundeli dialect on the sixth day of the ongoing national theatre festival at Indradhanush auditorium here today. Weaved in mythological orientation, the play, a crisp comedy, was presented by the Nat Bundele theatre group of Bhopal. Written by Bodhayan, the play was directed by Alakhnandan.

The play progresses as two hermits take a stroll in a garden, where a few contemptuously known dancers perform. Meanwhile, messenger of Yam Raj, coming to take away the life of one Basant Sena, instead takes the wrong person. The contrasting characters involved in the wrong exchange are a saintly hermit and a prostitute. Realizing the mistake, the celestial messenger restores the life of the prostitute but with the soul of a hermit. They soul and body behave in different styles, which generates the genial laughter.

Earlier, K. K. Khandelwal, DPR, Haryana, welcomed chief secretary Dharamvir, who honoured the artistes.

Nadira Zaheer Babbar will present her play, ‘Begum Jaan’, tomorrow at the same venue in which cine actress Juhi Babbar will play a role.



25 pc Group ‘A’ posts vacant in UT: Census
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
About 25 per cent Group "A" posts are lying vacant in the Chandigarh Administration. This has been revealed in "the Census of the Government Employees the Chandigarh Administration-2007 and the Census of the Public Sector Undertaking and Local Bodies Employees of the Chandigarh Administration-2007" released by the Directorate of Economics and Statistics here today.

The publication provides data regarding sanctioned posts, filled posts, basic pay, etc. It also indicates the number of employees belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, ex-servicemen, handicapped persons, religion-wise, sex-wise and on deputations from Punjab, Haryana and other states.

Total recruitment made on ad hoc and regular basis and number of employees retired on superannuation, voluntary, compulsory, died in service, terminated, resigned and backlog of posts reserved for SC, ST and OBC and posts abolished during 2006-2007 had also been shown.

While there are 424 sanctioned Group "A" posts, the filled posts are only 312 (75.71 per cent). In the case of Group "B" posts, the situation is more satisfactory with 1,156 (84.69 per cent) of the 1,359 sanctioned posts being filled.

According to a press note, 14,826 (83.4 per cent) of the 17,767 posts are filled for the Group "C". The percentage in case of Group "D" was to the tune of 83.17 per cent with 2,673 posts out of the total of 3,214 being filled. 



Gold medal for scientist
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
S K Mittal, scientist at the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation, here has been conferred with the 19th IETE-Hari Ramji Toshniwal Gold Medal for the year 2007 in recognition of his contribution to research, design and development of advanced public safety instrumentation for snow and avalanche studies and the Railways.

The award is given annually for outstanding innovation for application in the industry, preferably in electronic instrumentation leading to development and production of electronic and related system in India and abroad.

Instruments developed by him for snow and avalanche studies and the Railways are already functional in user departments. In June, 2006, he installed a landslide monitoring system near Hardwar, which provided early warning for the first tile in the country. He has published 35 technical research papers and has filed patents for two indigenously developed instruments.



Corbusier’s furniture to be restored
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
In a step towards preservation and restoration of the rich cultural heritage of the city, the Chandigarh Administration has decided to identify and restore the heritage furniture designed by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret. Small-scale movable articles like furniture, small carpets and related things used by Le Corbusier or created in his time would be restored.

UT home secretary Sanjay Kumar said a team would visit all government offices, institutions, boards, corporations and identify the heritage furniture. They would restrict any kind of heritage furniture being auctioned as condemned furniture. He further said this was a step towards the preservation of the rich legacy of Le Corbusier.

The administration is already in the process of setting up the Le Corbusier Centre at Sector 19, which would be inaugurated on October 8. The Centre would exhibit life and works of the legendary architect. 



‘Reading young authors inspired me to write’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
Dressed in a pretty pink frock and engrossed in Harry Potter, Tishaa evades the much professed image of an author, and comes across as just another eighteen year old bubbly girl mesmerized by her dreams and untouched by ground reality, till she opens her mouth.

Talking about her maiden book, Tishaa reveals that what motivated her to write a book at such a young age was reading books of young authors. “I have read these several times. Every time I pick up a book, always read about the author, who wrote the book and at what age. It was this that helped me to overcome the apprehension every first-timer, like me, faces.”

She starts off excitedly as she settles on stairs and she retrieves her story. “I always wrote diary, and when I thought of writing a book, nothing seemed more interesting than my teen years. As I grew older, I always had my share of ‘Pink and Black’ moments. Even before I knew I had them, I voiced my thoughts,” she avers.

Giving a low-down on her book, she says, “My book is not about me only, but all characters are from my school days,” she says, smiling with pride.

An alumnus of Lawrence school, Sanawar, Tishaa spent her teenage in the uphill town, where the motto of her life gradually shifted from possessing best Barbies to books, and probably to films now as she aspires to join New York Film School.

“It’s a little different when you are away from your home during your teens as there are no restrictions. I am what I chose to be. Your life is fruit of your choice,” she chuckles.



MC sans vice-chiefs for one year
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 8
Democratic norms have been thrown to the winds by the district administration which has failed to hold the yearly election to the top posts of senior vice-president and vice-president of the Mohali Municipal Council.

The town has been deprived of the two elected persons of the most important elected body for over a year, thanks to the dilly-dallying approach of the SDM and the deputy commissioner. In fact, the one-year term of the two posts expired on August 16 and it’s almost a month into another term with no signs of the poll being held.

The two posts have been lying vacant after the one-year term of Rishiv Jain, senior vice-president, and Harmanpreet Singh, vice-president, ended on August 16 last year. Both of them were elected after council elections were held on July 30, 2006.

Despite repeated demands from various quarters for the holding of elections, the SDM has failed to act, giving rise to speculation of pressure from SAD leaders, in particular those owing allegiance to minister Kanwaljit Singh, to delay the poll.

Nine councillors, belonging to the ruling group in the council, had on May 23 made a written request to deputy commissioner Rahul Bhandari to direct SDM Raghbir Kaur Khaira to hold the elections to the two vacant posts.

Bhandari said he had asked the SDM to get the elections conducted at the earliest. However, he did not give any deadline to the SDM for holding the elections.

Kuljit Singh Bedi, municipal councillor, belonging to the opposition group, said councillors had been deprived of their democratic rights by not holding the elections which was unjustified.

Council president Rajinder Singh Rana said the elections had been delayed due to political interference. It is alleged that a Punjab minister wanted to have his candidate as senior vice-president of the civic body but could not get the numbers to win the poll.



Pak girl gets new life in Fortis
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 8
The Rotary International and the Fortis today announced that the heart surgery on 11-month-old Pakistani baby girl, Yusra, had been successful and she had been discharged from the hospital.

Yusra was brought to Mohali from Karachi by the Rotary (Chandigarh chapter), where her father Fida Hussain worked in an airline company and her mother Bushra Hussain was a home-maker.

Yusra's parents found her turning pale and blue when she was barely 2-month old. On consulting various doctors in Pakistan, they were told that Yusra had no chance of surviving. But the father did not give up hope and began searching for international medical help for his daughter. He searched for hospitals on the Internet and zeroed in on the Fortis.

Talking about the surgery, Dr T S Mahant, executive director - cardiac surgery, said, the child had tetrology of fallots (TOF), a congenital heart defect which was causing her body to turn blue. After investigations, heart surgery was conducted on her which proved successful and would help Yusra to lead a normal life now.

Commenting on the successful surgery, S K Duggal, president, Rotary Club, said the Rotary had helped 30 patients from Pakistan and now Yusra was able to get the best medical help at the Fortis here.



Central business district to outclass Chandigarh: Sukhbir
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 8
If the Akali government has its way, the city will soon outdo Chandigarh, as far as ultra modern infrastructure was concerned.

SAD president Sukhbir Badal made the claim while laying foundation stone of two mega integrated housing projects, TDI (Phase II) and Preet Land City here.

Presenting an outline of the blue print for the city, the SAD chief said the city would be showcased to the world in many ways.

Initiating the development of Mohali, the Punjab Chief Minister would lay the foundation stone of the central business district (CBD) in Sector 62 here by next month. A Singapore-based consultant, Jurong Ltd, has been entrusted with the task of planning the facilities in the CBD, which would be much better than not only Chandigarh, but also Delhi and Gurgaon, claimed Sukhbir.

The government was pumping around Rs 2,000 crore to upgrade the basic infrastructure of the city. A trade centre spread over 100 acres had also been planned. “One has to be prepared for the pressure that builds up once multinational companies start investing here,” he admitted.

Coming of the Indian School of Business (ISB) and a convention centre-cum-hotel are going to be new additions here. To tap the potential of the city, private sector was being encouraged to invest here. The upcoming Chandigarh International Airport would boost the economy of the region as a number of big names in the real estate sector are coming here to invest in residential and commercial ventures.

Wide roads had been planned to link the airport with proposed express highway running through the Mohali district. The proposed National Agrifood Biotechnology Institute and a bio-processing unit in Sector 81 here would be another feature here. The Prime Minister is proposed to lay the foundation stone of the two projects later this month.



Industrial Plots
UT amends conversion policy
Tribune New Service

Chandigarh, September 8
The Chandigarh administration has amended the conversion policy for industrial plots in the Industrial Area.

According to a press note, the Chandigarh Conversion of Land Use of Industrial Sites into Commercial Activity/Services in Industrial Area, Phase I and II, Chandigarh Scheme, 2005, would now be called the Chandigarh Conversion of Land Use of Industrial Sites into Commercial Activity/Services in Industrial Area, Phase I and Phase II, Chandigarh (Amendment) Scheme, 2008.

Two or more adjoining industrial plots allotted under the less than two kanals’ category can also be considered for conversion if after the amalgamation of these plots with the permission of competent authority the area becomes two kanals or more, it added.



Guv reviews MC’s work on waste management
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
Sticking to his commitment made to the residents of Dadu Majra Colony a week back, UT administrator S.F. Rodrigues today visited the site of city garbage collection near the municipal solid waste management plant. He took stock of the situation and reviewed the work in progress for managing the solid waste by the municipal corporation.

The residents of the colony brought this hazardous problem to the notice of the administrator during the public hearing session on  September 1.

Accompanied by secretary to the Governor M.P. Singh, General Rodrigues discussed the issue with finance secretary Sanjay Kumar, MC commissioner Roshan Sunkaria and other senior officers. He directed the officers to manage the waste in a scientific way by adopting advanced technological measures as the polluted environment poses a serious risk to the residents and could lead to infection and diseases. He told the MCC officers to make this project environment-friendly by constantly monitoring the work, followed with corrective measures.

Later, Rodrigues also visited the renovation site at Tagore Theatre and discussed the seating plan, light and sound system, interior decoration and other infrastructure  support.



Opening of apple market faces roadblock
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 8
The opening of the apple market at New Grain and Vegetable Market seems to be delayed as commission agents at the grain market have moved the court pleading that the opening of the apple market in the area would lead to the drastic change of layout plan of the market.

The defendants chief adminstrator, Haryana State Agriculture Markteing Baord, secretary, market committee, Panchkula, and chief engineer, HSAMB, have been issued notices for September 9 by civil judge, senior division Anshu Shukla.

The petitioners Om Parkash and four other shopkeepers have pleaded that the construction of the apple market has reduced the parking area in the market. It has reduced the width of road on the back of their shops. The defendants have changed the layout on which basis the plots in the market were sold, contended the petitioners.

There is a road of 30 feet on the back their shops which is used to load and unload the goods, said the petitioners.



‘Sukhna can be desilted at lower cost’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
Former engineer-in-chief of the Haryana irrigation department SP Malhotra today pleaded that there was no need to desilt the Sukhna Lake at a high cost.

In a letter to the UT Administrator, Malhotra said there were two drawbacks in the management of the lake. One, it did not have any mechanism for preventing the entry of unwanted silt into the lake and as a result it was silting very fast. Two, the gates of the exit regulator had been leaking for the past 15 years. This leakage could empty about one quarter of the lake in a year.

Both these drawbacks could be removed by a simple device costing less than Rs 1 crore and there was no need to invest Rs 50 crore for desilting, the letter added. 



Bus stop lacks shelter

Hundreds of persons commute from Badheri local bus stop to various destinations in the city daily by bus. But there is no shelter at the bus stop, in absence which people face great difficulty as they have to stand in the sizzling heat and incessant rains.

The Welfare Association MIG-I Houses, Sector 40C, Chandigarh, has already made number of letters to the department concerned in this regard, but to no avail. The authorities concerned must take notice and construct a shelter.

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, PUSU focus on UIET
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
As the PU campus reopened today after two days, it was a race among different student bodies on the campus for canvassing since morning. Evidently, various leaders of the student bodies wanted to outdo each other in reaching out to students and went from one department to the other thoughout the day.

As the day for student council elections draws near, the activity on the campus is gradually gaining momentum. After waiting for rival parties to announce their candidates first and trying out various permutations and combinations, by evening most of the student bodies broke the suspense and came out with the actual contestants.

When it comes to issues, there seems to be a huge scarcity of real issues as none of the student bodies has so far mentioned these in their manifestos. Also, to create a good impact of their parties on the freshers, all leaders belonging to different groups are even listing the university’s developments and decisions as their own achievements. For instance, more than one party is claiming that they are the ones who didn’t allow any fee hike this year. Each party is also making promises of getting hostels constructed for the students.

Meanwhile realising the importance of nearly 2,000 votes of the students on the south campus, two major parties on the campus, SOPU and PUSU, today focused on UIET (University Institute of Engineering and Technology) and Dr H S Judge Dental Institute. This also explains the reason that both PUSU and SOPU-NSUI has fielded their presidential candidates from UIET.

While UIET is known to be a vote bank of PUSU, this didn’t deter SOPU from canvassing there. What followed was many round of speeches and convincing the engineering students in canteen and corridors by both parties.

The ABVP took out a procession to garner support for their candidates in the afternoon in the name of central status and assuring students of quality education. Meanwhile, PUSU was missing in action, thanks to the alleged bickering in their camp. Though PUSU leaders tried to defend themselves and refuted any division in their camp, sources claim that there is a difference of opinion within their party over the candidature of presidential post.



PU set to get new leaders 
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
The stringent Lyngdoh Committee recommendations have once again pushed back the “faces” of the major student bodies on the campus. Blame it on the cases registered against the student leaders or their lack of fulfilling the required condition of 75 per cent attendance or even having no examination arrears. The fact is that those who have been the poster boys of PU politics throughout the previous year are ultimately ineligible for contesting council elections.

In the given situation, one question stares every one in the face. Are student polls going to set a new era? With stringent Lyngdoh recommendations, the individuals are out and only party reputation stays and underdogs once again hog the limelight pushing back the seasoned leaders.

“If this is to continue then that would mean the university politics stands to get a new breed of student leaders who are academically sound and have leadership qualities as well. But how much is that practically possible?” said an old campus president and now a senior politician.

“To be a student leader one has to be constantly on toes taking care of even the minutest need of students. How is that possible if one has to meet with 75 per cent attendance condition of Lyngdoh? Either one has to compromise on leadership or academics, both cannot be achieved simultaneously,” said Gurveer Brar, former chairman SOPU.



SOPU raises slogans against law dept
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
Student elections are not only causing difference of opinion among various student groups but also among the university authorities. This was evident when a group of students led by SOPU president Brinder Dhillon created a ruckus inside the compound of the VC’s office today for more than an hour.

Students gathered outside the VC’s office and protested against the chairman of the department of laws for his alleged biased attitude.

Accusing him of being prejudiced against him, Brinder Dhillon said, “Only one day is left for canvassing and we had gone to the law department to address students but the chairman did not allow us to do so. However, INSO members were allowed to address the students in classes, which is against the recommendations of the Lyngdoh Committee.

The code of conduct should either be made applicable to all parties or for no body”.

The students demanded action against the department authorities and raised anti-chairman slogans in front of the VC’s office, which is a prohibited area for students for any agitation or protest.

How and why the university authorities allowed them to go inside and protest puts a question mark on the authorities themselves.

Immediately after that, the VC came out and tried to pacify the students. He even called a meeting of the faculty of the department of laws in his office wherein the chairman was asked for his side of the story. Sources revealed that chairman had, however, denied giving permission to any student organisation.

Dean, Students Welfare, Naval Kishore, said, “We have sought a written report from the chairman with regards to the incident following which appropriate action would be taken against those who have violated the code of conduct”.

Shashi Sharma, chairman of the department of laws, said, “I cannot allow outsiders to enter my department and for that matter Brinder Dhillon is an outsider since he is not the student of the university.

I cannot stop him from entering the university because that is up to the authorities but I certainly can stop him from entering my department. This is against the code of conduct”.



Poll round the corner but frenzy missing
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, September 8
The electioneering in Panjab University seems to have lost all colour. Gone are the days when elections used to electrify the campus and turn it into a happening place - posters all around, young boys and girls thronging Students’ Centre for discussions and debates over a cup of “chai”, campaigning at odd hours of the day and the late night parties where the distinct flavour was politics.

With stringent implementation of the Lyngdoh Committee norms, which have shortened the campaigning time and imposed all sorts of restrictions, with election just three days away, the university hardly looks like a poll-struck campus. There are virtually no posters, campaigning has been a low-key affair and the poll fever is missing.

“Yes. You hardly feel that there are elections on the campus,” says an old student. In contrast to the “old days” when hostels used to be the bustling with activity during the elections, most of the students this time have gone home and only those who are committed to any political outfits in the fray remain here, said a hostel warden.

“It seems just like a formality now,” says another student, adding that the ban on posters had deprived the polls of its “colour”. However, there are many on the campus who strongly feel that this silence is better than the violence that used to be a trademark of student politics in the university.

“I have seen last seven elections, but this time everything is changed, nobody can guess, this is the time of election in the university. Otherwise in the past years these days were the crucial days, which used to make or break a student leader, ” said Mohit, a shopkeeper at Stu-C.

Even parties have declared their panel of candidates, but the posters, stickers and banners of the disqualified candidates still dot the campus. Barinder Dhillon, SOPU president, could not contest elections as his admission status is yet not clear, but for the students he is the one who is contesting as the banners with his name in big bold letters dot the hostels and campus.

Both major parties, SOPU, PUSU, have not even made any hand-made posters of the candidates, which are allowed by the authorities. Only three days have left for the election and only two days have left for campaigning.

Not only the students, but also leaders are accepting the fact. Vicky Midukhera, a senior leader, said, “This time the students have no craze for the election, most of the students have gone back to their homes. Only 50 per cent votes will be caste in the election.”



Violence at PU: No action against erring students
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
Violence is the hallmark of the Panjab University politics. Incidents of violence involving members of different student unions are a routine affair during every elections. The police, too, fulfils its responsibility by registering cases against the students, but there is rarely a case in which conviction takes place despite many gory incidents like vehicle smashing, assaulting, firing bullets etc.

From 2005 till date, 25 cases have been registered against the students under different sections of the Indian Penal Code. As many as 14 students have been booked on the charge of attempt to murder in five different cases.

The names of Barinder Singh Dhillon and Harpreet Singh Multani, both related to SOPU, also figure in two such cases. Almost every student leader has his name in the police’s black list, but none of them has been convicted so far.

In 2005, five different cases, including an attempt to murder case, were registered against 12 students. In three cases, all accused, including the murder accused, were acquitted while two cases are still pending in the court.

In 2006, seven different cases involving 28 students were registered. In one case (later the FIR was cancelled), the charges of firing bullets on Amandeep’s car were also made. Out of these, three FIRs were quashed while three students were acquitted by the court.

The story in 2007 was not different when as many as seven cases were registered against 24 students. Out of these, one FIR, involving six students, was cancelled while two cases are lying pending in the courts. Three are still under investigation. This year, till date, six cases have been registered against 13 students. In four cases, challan has been submitted in the courts.



Mid-day meal: HRD ministry raps admn 
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
The shocking revelations by the ministry of human resource development (MHRD) that majority of the students - 84.23 per cent in rural areas and 94.97 per cent in urban areas - in the city schools were deprived of cooked meal under the mid-day meal scheme in the past fiscal has come as a rap on the knuckles of the Chandigarh administration.

An embarrassed administration is now taking refuge in the figures and claiming that the inconsistency was not based on ground realities and was a result of some ‘mistake’. However, the mistake, if any, has still not been rectified and no one has been held responsible for it even though four months have elapsed since the MHRD made the revelations.

The ministry has directed the administration to “critically examine the cost norms and avoid pilferage and leakages”. These astonishing observations have been written in the 66th Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA) report presented by the ministry’s department of school education and literacy 2008.

Pointing out considerable mismatch in the utilisation of foodgrains, cooking cost, coverage, attendance and enrolment of children, the ministry, at its meeting held in New Delhi, has instructed the administration to bridge the gap in coverage of children in Alternative Innovative Education Centres expeditiously.

As per the SSA data, the number of children in AIE centres were 6,033 for the session 2007-08 whereas the administration counted only 3,261 students enrolled as on September 30, 2007.

Due to this discrepancy, the food grain allocations and expenditure on monitoring and evaluation by the administration could not be maintained according to the prescribed ceiling under the MDM guidelines. The cooking cost and overhead charges, too, according to the MHRD, were at a very higher side i.e. Rs 8 per child per school day.

S.K. Setia, project director, SSA, who presented the UT’s Annual Work Plan and Budget, 2008-09, at the meeting, clarified: “Actually, the discrepancy in counting had occurred because there would generally be about 30 per cent absenteeism in the AIE centres. The reason is that the children who go there are by and large engaged in doing petty jobs on daily wages and seldom go to these centres. But we are revamping the system.”

To overcome the high overhead charges in preparing meal, the Chandigarh administration had engaged the services of the NGOs and private players to execute the mid-day meal in Chandigarh schools under the private-public partnership (PPP). 



Pledges mark Literacy Day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
Fresh pledges and promises to spread literacy marked the World Literacy Day today in a function organised by adult education unit at Government Model Senior Secondary School (GMSSS), Sector 10. Jean Rodrigues, president, Indian Council For Child Welfare, congratulated the efforts taken by ‘preraks’ to widen the horizon of education and appreciated their achievements in making 'continuing education and income generating programmes' of National Literacy Mission a success.

Don Bosco Navjeevan Center: In another function organised by Don Bosco Navjeevan Center, Raji P. Shrivastava, UT special secretary, finance, informed about various schemes being run by the department to reduce dropout rate. NSS units of various colleges around the city also organised functions to celebrate the day.

GCG-11: NSS unit of GCG-11 organised various activities like poster making, slogan writing, essay writing, poem recitation on the college campus.

Dev Samaj College: The NSS volunteers of Dev Samaj College of Education, Sector 36, donated an entire library consisting of more than 200 books to Shiksha School.

Guru Gobind college: The NSS unit of Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26, organised a workshop on the role of literacy in personality development and scope of women entrepreneurship, in collaboration with IMS Learning Resources Pvt Ltd.

DAV school-15: The DAV Model School, Sector 15, organised an adolescent education programme drawn up by HRD ministry in collaboration with UNFPA. The CBSE is the implementing agency for the four-day programme.

Aanchal International: Aanchal International also organised a trip for students to slum schools and enrolled 50 slum children for free membership of their library.



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