C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT ignoring SCs’ welfare: Buta
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9
The UT administration’s claims of welfare measures for the Scheduled Castes went for a toss today with the administration getting a rap from Buta Singh, chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes.

In fact, Buta Singh fired salvos at the administration on issues ranging from its alleged failure to satisfactorily implement the reservation policy, injustice to SC students and sweepers and not filling vacancies meant for the SC category.

Buta Singh, who along with a high-level team of the commission held a review meeting with the UT top brass here today, alleged that basic infrastructure and civic amenities were deficient in most of the Scheduled Caste clusters.

"Though Chandigarh claims to give the maximum attention to education yet implementation of reservation in schools and colleges is far from satisfactory. The dropout rate of SC students, particularly girls, is very high and one of the reasons for this is administration's failure to make books available to them even after two semesters,” Buta Singh told mediapersons here today.

Training his guns on the municipal corporation of Chandigarh for "gross injustice" to the safaikaramcharis, the veteran politician alleged sweepers were at the mercy of the contractors as they were being paid just about Rs 2,500 as against Rs 7,000-8,000 they used to get earlier while in government service.

On the reservation front, he asserted that the administration was not maintaining a roster which was mandatory under the reservation policy.

Certain posts reserved for SC candidates have not been filled for a long time and some of them had been filled through the general category, he added.

Buta Singh also highlighted two cases: first, where a national-level judo player Rajesh Kumar had allegedly been expelled from his college here due to his caste; and second, where two professors of Punjab Engineering College had been "harassed by their own college just because they had chosen to take up with its governing council the implementation of the reservation policy".

It was flak all the way for the administration as he informed that solid waste was being dumped by the authorities near the colonies inhabited by the SC/STs which makes them prone to "health hazards".

"Also, there are certain SC clusters where liquor vends have been opened in large numbers," he said, adding that for most of the problems being faced by the SCs, the administration had assured the commission that it would take necessary steps.



SCs to get certificates in a month
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9
The long wait of thousands of members of the SC community in Chandigarh born in or migrating to Chandigarh after November 1, 1966, for getting the SC certificates is set to be over.

Coming to the rescue of the hapless SC members, the national commission for the SCs today promised a one-month time limit for a decision on the issue.

"It is unfortunate that the matter had been stuck up in the law ministry for over six months. We will resolve the issue within one month and, if need be, approach Prime Minister Manmohan Singh," commission chairman Buta Singh claimed here today.

After the clearance by the ministry of home affairs, the ministry of social justice and empowerment delayed the matter following which the issue had been pending in the law ministry, he said, adding that no more delays would be tolerated on the issue.

In July last year, minister of state for finance Pawan Bansal had showed clearance of the SC certificates issue by the SC commission as the Congress’ “major victory”.

However, thereafter the issue had become a political football among major political parties — the Congress, the BJP and the BSP — which missed no opportunity in indulging in petty politics on the issue of public importance.

It may be mentioned that from 1966 to 1995, the Chandigarh administration issued SC certificates to eligible members.

However, in 1995, the administration put “illogical” conditions like production of residential proof of Chandigarh prior to November 1, 1966, or SC certificates from the native states for the issuance of the certificates.

In fact, Bansal has been on the firing line of Satya Pal Jain and Harmohan Dhawan for allegedly not resolving the issue despite being a minister in the UPA government.



PU student leaders scoff at poll code
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9
The Panjab University authorities seem to be turning a blind eye to violations that are taking place in the poll process for the campus students’ council elections.

The authorities have been acting like mute spectators to the offences that various students leaders have been committing ever since the elections were announced.

It began with the allegations that the university authorities delayed the announcement of elections so as to facilitate PUSU to carry out a massive car rally. Since then, violations in all its forms continue on the campus.

As was reported by The Tribune earlier that student leaders are wooing students with free movie tickets and parties and fun get-togethers, it again came to notice today that the INSO-SOI alliance had taken nearly 100 students of Department of Chemical Engineering for movies at PVR cinemas. The first-year students were ferried in buses specially hired for freshers.

If sources are to be believed, many freshers were even found complaining that they did not want freebies and were under tremendous peer pressure to go for the movie.

Many students even said to the extent that they were hostellers and it was out of fear that they went out for a junket.

According to the sources, the students watched “Mera Pind” and “Rock On” in the morning and afternoon shows.

The students were also treated with popcorns and cold drinks. Some of the students revealed that during the interval, a student leader even delivered a speech right there. After the movie got over, the student raised the slogans in favour of the INSO-SOI alliance.

This is in violation of the code of conduct that says, “All activities which are considered to be corrupt practices and offences such as bribing and intimidation of voters is strictly prohibited”.

However, INSO state president Vikas Rathee rubbished the allegations and said, “Other organisations have been frustrated due to the support we are getting for the alliance and are hatching a conspiracy against us”.

Moreover, all student bodies have been campaigning in the ongoing classes whereas it is mentioned in the code that the classes should not be disrupted.

Secondly, printed posters and other election material still dot the campus walls even though it is not permitted. Outsiders, including political party affiliates, are actively canvassing for youth wings on the campus though this is against the code of conduct. Campaigning in girl hostels continues after the permissible time of 9 pm.

The authorities, even being in the know of things, are choosing to keep mum over the issues, which exposes their non-seriousness in following recommendations of the Lyngdoh Committee and the PU’s own code of conduct.

Top it all, canvassing continued till late evening though the univeristy authorities had announced earlier that no canvassing would be allowed after 5 pm on September 9. Meanwhile, none of the PU officials could be contacted for comment.



Sex Ratio
Slums score over urban areas
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9
The efforts of the Chandigarh administration and awareness campaigns undertaken by the Central government in the last eight years to save the girl child seem to have a little impact as the child sex ratio (0-6 years) remains almost the same in the city as was in 2001.

As compared to the ratio of 845 females per 1,000 males in 2001, the figure in 2007 stood at 882 females.

Surprisingly, the sex ratio is dwindling at a fast pace in the urban areas in contrast to the rural and slum areas.

This indicates that the so-called educated and the opinion builders of the society still prefer to have a male child.

If the figures provided by the district health and family welfare department are to be believed, the female sex ratio in the slum areas of the city stood at 901 in 2007, whereas it was 847 in urban areas and 853 in rural areas.

However, as per the PGIMER survey in 2006, the sex ratio showed a different picture as the city touched a highest sex ratio of 926, which was higher than the 2007 survey as the health department recorded 882 females per 1,000 males in 2007.

Officials of UT health department said the survey conducted by the PGIMER had not covered all the areas, while the health department conducted the survey by visiting every household.

According to a demographer, migration of male population to urban areas distorts gender ratio. He adds that between 1991 and 2001, 37.6 per cent of the male population migrated from smaller towns to bigger cities for employment throughout the country.

In comparison, a mere 3.2 per cent woman shifted from one city to another during the same period.

Similarly, 6.2 per cent men migrated for education, while only 1.3 per cent women migrated for the same reason during 1991-2001.

Since the UT provided opportunity for both employment and education, it attracted more men than women and this distorted the sex ratio.

According to 1961 census, Chandigarh had a sex ratio of 652. It touched 749 in 1971, 769 in 1981 and 790 in 1991. However, it dropped to 777 in 2001.

Medical health officer Dr G. Dewan argues that in all the cities, sex ratio was low and Chandigarh was not an exception.

“Since Chandigarh shares its socio-cultural milieu with Punjab and Haryana, it reflects similar demographic trends,” he said.


Universal Society Row
Illegal members resort to ‘kundi’ connection
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9
The unauthorised members of the Universal Cooperative House Building Society in Sector 48, who have illegally encroached upon the dwelling units, have again restored the electricity supply through ‘kundi’ connections.

A maze of loose and naked power cables can be seen at the entrance of the society, posing a threat to the lives of the people, especially the children.

Some members, who failed to pay dues, broke open the locks of the dwelling units and occupied them illegally without getting the physical possession from the society.

Sub-divisional officer, electricity, Jitender Kumar assured to streamline the power supply in the society.

He said that as a special case, the society members could ask for permanent electricity connections on production of allotment letter and an indemnity bond.

About the physical possession of flats, he said the dispute could be sorted out at the society level.

Three days back, the administrators appointed by the deputy commissioner, Amarjeet Singh and Udham Singh, had ordered to disconnect power connections to the dwelling units of members who had not paid their dues.

This led to a scuffle between the authorised and unauthorised members leaving two persons injured.

Udham Singh said he had told the SSP about the chaos being created by the unauthorised members, but in vain. “I have also submitted the defaulters’ list to the SSP,” he added.

When contacted, sub-inspector of Sector 31 police station Nirmal Singh said the society members indulging in anti-social activities would be dealt with strictly.



MC indifferent to encroachment of service lanes
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9
While the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation is going all out to remove small time squatters from commercial areas, it has done little, or rather nothing, to tame city bigwigs who are encroaching service lanes behind their bungalows with impunity.

A visit to posh Sectors 7, 15, 16, 21 and 23, where incidentally a lot of bureaucrats reside, reveals the failure of the MC to counter these modern day ‘encroachers’.

The service lanes, meant to provide access to various household workers, have been turned into parking lots, gardens and at some places the roads have been blocked with locked iron gates under the garb of security.

These service lanes were cemented at a cost of Rs 2 lakh by the corporation. When this correspondent visited Sector 16 it was found that one of the service lanes in the residential area had been closed with a cemented wall from one side and the owner of the house had developed a ‘garden’ on the other side.

In some of the service lanes the residents had put the construction material on the roadside and no challan had been made for this encroachment by the department.

Even in some sectors of the city it was found that small pillars made of cemented concrete have been demolished by the people to park their vehicles.

Even the residents were using their own locks to close the entry gates of the service lane so that it could be used by them for parking their vehicles during night.

During a visit to Sector 21, it was found that in some areas, service lanes had been encroached upon for the construction of temporary jhuggies by the washermen.

At some places people have removed even the entry gates fixed at service lanes so that these could be used by passerbys as a short cut.

While talking to The Tribune some residents stated that they have made a number of complaints to the encroachment department of the corporation, but in vain. Though enforcement team came twice to this sector, every time they went back without removing encroachments.

The residents added that notices have been put on the entry of the service lanes that trucks, car and scooters are not allowed in this lane, but most of these lanes were being used for parking and the enforcement department had taken no action against the violators.

MC chief engineer S.K. Bansal stated that to solve the problem of encroachment in the service lanes a new policy is being framed by the corporation in which views would be taken for deciding whether residents be allowed to use service lanes.



Bid to burn Buta’s effigy
Tribune News Service

Chanidgarh, September 9
The police today thwarted the move of the BJP’s Scheduled Caste Morcha to burn the effigy of Buta Singh, chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, New Delhi.

Taking “technical flaw in the language written on the effigy” as an excuse, the police took the effigy in its custody.

Leaving nothing to chance, the police also rounded up the supporters of the morcha to avert any untoward incident.

The Morcha had given a call yesterday to burn the effigy of Buta Singh at Sector 22 Nehru Park in protest against the tedious process for making the Scheduled Caste certificates. Buta Singh was in the city to conduct a press conference here today.

According to sources, at around 11 am, the morcha squad gathered at the Nehru Park. The proceedings were at its initial stages when the police team led by SHO KS Pannu took the effigy in its possession.



Sahara India told to pay Rs 2.5 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed Sahara India to pay a compensation of Rs 2.5 lakh to a resident of Sector 35 for deficiency in services.

The forum has also asked the Sahara India to refund Rs 2,91,750 deposited with it for allotment of land.

The petitioner, Ranvir Singh, availed Sahara City Home Township under the swaran/rajat yojana in Chandigarh. The plan was proposed in 2005.

The petitioner had deposited Rs 2,01,750 for allotment of a three bedroom flat. The company had informed Ranvir that the flat, priced at Rs 27.7 lakh, would be completed by December 31, 2007.

The petitioner stated he did not deposit the amount as the company failed to give him a satisfactory reply regarding completion and possession of the flat.

He alleged that neither the flat was constructed nor did company refund his amount.

Sahara India argued that it had not committed to the petitioner regarding possession of the flat.

The company said that the petitioner had also failed to deposit Rs 2.7 lakh.

The forum observed: “The company has not produced any document to suggest as to how many persons/applicants applied along with the complainant for allotment of this type of flat and on what dates. Based on the discrepancies, it is evident that the company has been guilty of deficiency in service."



Play dwells on intricate ties
S.D. Sharma

Panchkula, September 9
The belief that fiction is of greater philosophical importance than history represents the things as they are while fiction represents them as they might be and ought to be found expression in the immaculate staging of a play “Begum Jaan” at the Inderdhanush auditorium here today.

Written by Javed Siddiqui and presented by the Ekjute Theatre group from Mumbai in Hindustani, the play flourished to perfection under the direction of thespian actress Nadira Zaheer Babbar.

The play baring the interpersonal relationship between three characters, eulogised the pristine-old cultural heritage and also juxtaposed the degeneration of ethical values in all spheres of life.

The absorbing theatrical spectacle revolves around the life of the protagonist, Begum Jaan, a legendary classical singer at the fag-end of her life and relives the memoirs while being looked after by her granddaughter, Zarina.

An investigative journalist knows the Begum had a treasure of letters written by the likes of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in her possession.

He with a view to getting these published and earn money manages to be their paying guest while Begam Jaan wants him to marry Zarina.

The multiplicity of motives of all three generate interesting situational comedy and also touching the issues ailing the society.

Nadira Zaheer Babbar created a spell with powerful portrayal of Begum Jaan as also Juhi Babbar displaying emotions and dormant love for the journalist played by Anup Soni. The star cast was given a standing ovation by the audience.

Earlier, KK Khandelwal, DPR, Haryana, welcomed the chief guest HK Dua, Editor-in-Chief of Tribune group of newspapers, who lighted the traditional lamp.

HK Dua lauded the aesthetic prominence of actors and also honoured the artistes after the play concluded.



India has the best theatre actors: Nadira
S.D. Sharma

Panchkula, September 9
“Besides offering engrossing entertainment, good theatre must be loyal to its language, people and social realities. What it offers should have meaning for the lives that we live and the society we live in,” maintained the acclaimed theatre actor Nadira Zaheer Babbar.

In city for staging her popular play ‘Begum Jaan’ in the National Theatre Festival organised by the NCZCC and DPR Haryana, she shared her views on contemporary theatre scene with the Tribune at the Inderdhansuh auditorium here today.

“Our rich cultural traditions have given us something of eternal value which need to be propagated for the benefit of the next generation,” asserted Nadira.

Drawing upon her observations during her assignments abroad, she claimed that India had the best theatre actors and directors.

“However, we woefully lack in technical virtuosity, modern theatre infrastructure, multimedia visual equipment, light and sound technology. There is no patronage from the government even for my own Ekjute theatre company,” she rued.

Credited with the production of 60 drama spectacles which ran into innumerable shows, Nadira sees the future of Indian theatre very bright.

Recalling the rarity of theatre shows in the seventies when she graduated from the National School of Drama (NSD), she feels the scenario has changed today.

However, due to lack of awareness, a devout theatre actor with decades of experience is ignored while a novice TV actor is adulated.

“My upbringing and grooming under my father Syed Sajjad Zaheer, a Marxist, and mother Razia Sajjad Zaheer, a college lecturer, shaped my aesthetic sensibilities,” she said.

A prolific playwright, poetess, actor and director, she married cine star turned politician Raj Babbar.

Her collection of poems in a form of book is ready for release. Accompanying her was her elegant daughter Juhi Babbar “Though I acted in a couple of movies, theatre was always my first love,” said Juhi.

Under the guidance of her mother, Juhi acted in her home productions and bagged critical acclaim.

“I had my guru at home and learnt the finer nuances of theatre from her,” she said. The duo disclosed that they would be back in the city with their new production ‘Pencil Se Brush Tak’ in November this year.



183 votes in a house!
Fake votes made for Kharar MC poll: MLA
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 9
Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu alleged that the government had indulged in irregularities while making votes for the Kharar municipal elections scheduled to be held on September 14.

He demanded action against officials who overlooked such irregularities.

While addressing a press conference here today, the MLA questioned as to why a new voters’ list had been prepared for the municipal polls when no fresh delimitation of wards had been done.

He said names of a large number of persons who were Congress supporters and had voted during the earlier municipal elections held in 2003 were allegedly deleted from the present list As such, all these persons would be deprived of their right to vote.

Sidhu said a large number of fake votes in wards 4, 5 and 8 were allegedly made when the new list was being prepared.

A single house in ward number 4 had 183 votes. He wondered how so many persons could live in one house. He said he had gone to the court in this regard.

He said fake votes were allegedly made because the government feared to lose the elections. He said Congress candidates were contesting the civic body elections on the party symbol whereas SAD candidates were in the fray as Independents.

Rajeev Gupta, SDM-cum-returning officer, said the names of all those who had attained the age of 18 on Januray 1, 2008, were included in the voters’ list, the final publication of which was done on January 10, 2008. No objections were received before the final publication.

The list was then split in 15 parts after which some residents approached complaining that their names were figuring in the voter list of another ward and not where they lived.

An inspection in this regard was then done by the executive officer of the civic body and his staff after which 1200 votes were shifted with the approval of the state election commission.

He said the summary revision of the voters list was done from time to time but no complaints of irregularities were received at that time. He would, however, try to find out why a single house had 183 votes.



Now, Sidhu in the role of a crusader
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9
“Soch ka andolan” seems to be next on feisty Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu’s mind after the success of his first movie “Mera Pind — My Home” which he said had the power to change the mindset of the youth of the state.

The MP, who was here along with director of the film Manmohan Singh to attend a special screening today, tried to put the point across in his own inimitable style.

“There will be no more green or white revolutions. The next revolution is of the mindset and my role in ‘Mera Pind — My Home’ is an attempt to change the mindset of the youth of the state who hanker to go abroad to do menial work but will not apply brains to excel in their own state.”

Sidhu said if people wanted change in Punjab, it could only happen if the youth of the state stayed back and worked for its welfare rather than going abroad seeking fresh pastures.

“The dhaba opened by Harbhajan Mann in the movie is an example of the novel entrepreneur skills a person can use to make himself a useful member of the society,” he added.

The MP said the government should screen the movie in remote villages as it conveyed a strong message in an entertaining manner. “Such means are much more powerful than political rallies,” he said, adding the movie touched actual problems faced by youngsters and tried to come up with answers.

That the film had already started showing positive results could be judged by the fact that some youngsters in a village in Patiala district had taken up the onus to clean their village after watching the movie, according to news reports. “I want to make this a mass movement,” said Sidhu.

Film director Manmohan Singh said his purpose was to make a movie that the Punjabis could relate to.

“For this I have to think in the present and take up problems of the youth of today,” he said.

Manmohan felt we cannot force our culture and language on our children. “They need to imbibe it and it is here that I feel Punjabi movies can play important role.”



Free legal aid on your doorstep
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9
In a first-of-its-kind initiative aimed at coming to the rescue of the harassed litigants, particularly those belonging to the underprivileged sections of society, a local NGO has started a mobile van for free legal consultation.

To be formally launched by Justice R.S. Mongia, chairperson of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC), and Pardeep Chabbra, mayor of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC), here tomorrow, the "justice-on-wheels" endeavour by NGO Global Human Rights Council (GHRC) would help in mitigating the sufferings of the common man, representatives of the NGO told The Tribune here today.

To begin with, the mobile van is being started in Chandigarh and its satellite towns of Panchkula and Mohali.

However, the operations would be expanded depending upon the response, the representatives added.



Tribune employees union organises
blood donation camp

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9
More than 150 employees of The Tribune group of Publications donated blood at a camp organised by The Tribune Employees Union on the occasion of the 110th death anniversary of the founder of the Tribune Trust Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia on The Tribune premises here today.

A team of doctors led by Dr Neelam Marwaha, HOD of Transfusion Medicine, PGI, Chandigarh, conducted the camp, which was the 31st camp organised by the union since 1989. Dr R. Bambah, a trustee of the Tribune Trust, inaugurated the camp.

Underlining the importance of such initiatives, Dr Bambah, said, “Donating blood is our social duty. By doing so we indirectly save many lives.”

This was a more befitting tribute to its founder, he added. He lauded the efforts of the union in organising the camps.

Dr Bambah said the union was a vital part of this institution and had always worked for the welfare of the employees and the organisation.

H.K. Dua, Editor-in-Chief, The Tribune group of Publications, emphasised the
need to catalyse and accelerate more and more blood donation by creating
requisite awareness.

He said such initiatives created an awakening in the society and the group was thankful to the PGI team for taking up this noble cause.

Such events created a pool of collective responsibility and provided a great feeling to be of some help to someone in need, he added.

Addressing the donors, Sanjay Hazari, general manager, The Tribune, said, “We should encourage others to donate blood.”

Balbir Singh Jandu, president, Tribune Employees union, stressed on the role of the union in spreading the message of blood donation in the region.

Among those who donated blood more than 25 times included Arun Kaushal (72), S.S. Pathania (44), Rajan Raikhy (43), Vinod Kumar (40) Ashok Kumar (37), Dharamvir (34), Sukhvinderjit Singh (28), Haresh Vasisshth (26), Bhajan Singh (24), Jitender Awasthi (23) and Kamal Kumar (23).



Pistachio intake cuts risk of diabetes: Experts
By 2025, India will become ‘diabetes capital’ of the world
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 9
The comments of US President George W. Bush linking world food crisis with the prosperity in India recently created flutters in the Indian diaspora, notwithstanding the international organisations and companies involved in food business have started venturing out to tap the dramatic change in eating habits of people in this country.

The expected huge increase in the diseases relating to lifestyle in future as well as the economic development of this Asian giant was sufficient to attract the business houses to reap the dividends projecting that the incorporation of their product in daily diet would ultimately help in reducing the risks of the diseases.

Finding the opportunity to increase the consumption of its produce in India, Paramount Farms, the world’s largest supplier of California pistachios and almonds, has tied up with two leading organisations -- the Diabetes Foundation (India) and Global Healthcare Limited -- to conduct research on heart-health benefits of pistachios among Indians. Paramount Farms is not the only company in the line hoping to increase its sales on the basis of health benefits in the country.

International Olive Council (IOC) started its campaign to create awareness about the qualities of table olive and olive oil citing its health related benefits last year.

The total consumption of pistachio in India was merely 10 million pounds, which was far less than its neighbourhood China where more than 100 million pounds of pistachio is consumed every year, says Dominic Engels, vice-president, Global Marketing, Paramount farms.

In fact obesity and its related problem are a big concern for India now and according to the World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, 29 per cent of men and 45 per cent of women in urban India were overweight compared to just two to three per cent in the 1970s.

Moreover, it is estimated that 40 million people in India suffer from diabetes and the number is expected to double by the year 2025, making India the ‘diabetes capital’ of the world, said Dr Anoop Misra, who will lead the study by Diabetes Foundation.

The foundation will be conducting a study to evaluate the beneficial effect of pistachio nut intake on cardiovascular risk factors in subjects with the metabolic syndrome through a case-control study.

Similarly Global Healthcare Ltd’s study will determine the effect of dietary consumption of pistachio nuts on vascular structure and function.

“Pistachios seem to be a very interesting food item with many important properties, including phytosterols, antioxidants and fibre which may benefit the dysmetabolic state of the Indian population, reducing the risk of diabetes among the people,” says Dr Misra.

Similarly during past five decades, the rates of coronary disease among urban populations have more than doubled from four to 11 per cent.

The WHO estimates by 2010, 60 per cent of world’s cardiac patients will be Indian.

There is no way out to treat this big number of patients even if all the resources available globally are used, said Dr Ravi Kasliwal, director, cardiology at Global Healthcare Ltd, New Delhi.

“Consequently, there is a growing recognition of the need to emphasise prevention which has motivated extensive research on the development of effective preventive strategies, including lifestyle management involving dietary modifications and increased physical activity,” he said.

“Recent studies have shown nuts, including pistachios, have a beneficial effect on the lipid profile resulting in an overall reduction in total cholesterol while increasing HDL-C, the ‘good’ cholesterol. It has yet to be demonstrated, however, whether these beneficial effects translate into similar benefits related to the progression of atherosclerotic disease, which will be the focus of our study,” added Dr Kasliwal.



Thumbs up to ‘D-day experiment’
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9
With the participation of five Panjab University scientists, Chandigarhians have given a thumbs up to the “doomsday experiment” being carried out near Geneva.

Even as orthodox people across the country debate the effects of the Big Bang experiment at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) leading to the formation of the mini black hole, which many fear could destroy the whole world, Chandigarhians are not averse to the experiment.

“The scientific extravaganza should lead to greater scientific collaboration among the world scientific community. We should be wary of soothsayers predicting the end of the world through such experiments as it goes a long way in promotion of scientific temper among general public,” says businessman Suresh Sharma.

In fact, the construction of the large Hadron Collider (LHC) was itself a scientific marvel and excellent example of technical collaboration among the scientists of 85 countries around the world, says Amrik Singh, a government employee.

It is for the first time that a concerted, coordinated and comprehensive contribution made by India towards such a huge international scientific programme was watched by the world, scientists said.

Scores of scientists from eminent Indian research and educational institutions, including Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai; Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai, Punjab and Vishwa Bharati, Kolkota; and Panjab University (PU), Chandigarh; are collaborating in the international project.

The experiment has aroused much interest in Chandigarh as five scientists from PU — Manjit Kaur, Suman Beri, I.B. Singh, I.M. Kohli and Vipin Bhatnagar — are part of the great experiment.



Day of alliances
SOPU- ABVP shake hands; PUSU, NSUI, HSA share seats
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9
The Congress and the BJP may be baying for each other’s blood at national level, but their “little avatars are brother in arms” in Panjab University students election.

A testimony to this fact is the new alliance that was formed today between SOPU and the ABVP.

While the ABVP is the BJP’s student wing, SOPU is reportedly being backed by former deputy chief minister of Punjab Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

SOPU broke their one-day-old alliance with the NSUI to form a new one with the ABVP. The ABVP will field its candidates for the post of vice-president and general secretary while SOPU will contest for president and joint secretary.

According to sources, the alliance between the two parties reached after the nominations of a few candidates projected by them got cancelled.

Meanwhile, SOPU’s loss seems to be PUSU’s gain. Till yesterday, PUSU was contesting elections singlehandedly but by this evening it formed alliance with the NSUI and the HSA (Haryana Students Association). PUSU will contest on two posts while the HSA and the NSUI for one post each.

The present scenario indicates that no student organisation is in the capacity of contesting the student council elections all by itself and, therefore, had to no choice than to enter into alliances.

Today being the day of nominations as well as scrutiny of applications, most of the candidates failed the test and new candidates were fielded.

Though the biggest surprise of the day was the NSUI withdrawing its support to SOPU and forming alliance with PUSU. Insiders believe it has happened because of infighting and bickering in the NSUI camp.

According to the sources, the NSUI snapped the alliance as it was not done in consultation with the national head of the NSUI.



Students’ bodies bank on unfulfilled promises
Himani Chandel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9
The students’ organisations are by no means different to the political parties when it comes to implementing the long list of promises made in their election manifestos

With only two days left for the Panjab University students’ elections, various student organisations have included the same promises in their poll manifestos which have remained unfulfilled for years, no matter who wins the elections.

Tall promises by the student organisations to woo voters like reduction of annual fees and construction of hostels have never been fulfilled.

“The manifestoes are hardly taken seriously as we have not seen any improvement on the campus for years,” rued Ankit, a law department student.

“The student organisations raise same issues every year, including poor infrastructure and hostel problem, but none of these are taken up with the higher authorities after the elections are over,” said one of the student leaders.

The students have alleged that the last year’s ruling leaders failed to fulfil the promises made in their manifesto.

“PUSU had made a clean sweep last year in the Dental School by promising to cater to their problems. They had assured the students of creating better parking facilities and providing water coolers in the department, but nothing has been done so far,” said a student of SOPU.

The PUSU had also promised a students’ hostel in Sector 25, but the matter is still gathering dust in the files.



Confusion over canvassing deadline
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, September 9
The Panjab University authorities are a confused lot when it comes to the campaigning deadline for the student elections.

As per the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations, the campaigning should end 24 hours before polling.

Even the nomination forms mention that the campaigning should end 24 hours before the casting of votes begins.

However, the elections schedule, which the university had circulated earlier, mentioned September 9 as the day when the students had to stop campaigning by 5 pm (72 hours before polling).

The leaders of various student bodies looked baffled by the evening as nobody knew if they could still canvass in groups or not.

They were seen complaining about the university’s contradiction of its own
code of conduct.

As per the code of conduct, after the deadline, the students can only campaign personally from door to door. No election material can be used and students can’t move out in groups.

But making most of the lapse on the part of the authorities, supporters of various candidates continued canvassing in groups and processions till late evening.



SCA polls a low-key affair
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, September 9
While all eyes are set on the Panjab University Campus Students’ Council (PUCSC) elections, a body representing around 8,000 students, little attention is being paid to the Students’ Central Association (SCA) of the department of evening studies, which also goes to the polls on September 12.

Though the SCA has a strength of 575 students, including some bureaucrats, it is getting a raw deal because of being in ‘minority’ vis-à-vis its counterpart.

“It is the strength of voters which has been instrumental in fulfilling the demands of the students. With just 575 students, including part-time employees, things do not really move here. Many of the facilities enjoyed by the day students are denied to us,” said Manjinder Bhullar, a student of MA Hindi.

The students of the department of evening studies have been demanding that they be allowed to avail the in-house dispensary facility and given the same ‘status’ as compared to the other day students of various departments.

Students of the department of evening studies said: “The university is not treating us on a par with the students of other departments and while granting the funds, there is favouritism.”

Major student organisations like INSO, SOI, Satya Parishad, ABVP, HSA are going to contest the SCA elections that are held every year.

The INSO-SOI alliance hopes to win the elections this year. Most probably no other party will file nominations.

INSO leader Channdeep Singh said: “We are having an alliance with the SOI and that’s why we have a hope to win the election unanimously.”



Campaigning ‘ends’ in colleges
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9
Campaigning in the city colleges officially ended today. Candidates and principals were busy obeying the most feasible directives of the Lyngdoh Committee.

“I made sure that nowhere on my campus printed posters were used. Yesterday only, I tore off all such posters. A directive like this can easily be implemented, but keeping a check on the expenditure by the candidates is tough in the absence of any mechanism,” said A.C. Vaid, principal, SD College, Sector 32.

Conceding that some of the directives were impractical, another college principal said it was better to have unanimous elections and eradicate all student groups to have clean politics as was a practice in some of the city colleges.

The student leaders, too, chose to obey the directives that suited their scheme of things. “Expenditure limit of Rs 2,500 is absurd,” said a leader adding that this wasn’t sufficient to meet even the additional petrol and mobile bills due to poll-related works.

Admitting that much more was being spent to woo the voters, another leader said that everything was being done on the sly.

“My candidature got cancelled last time because of a party and I am abstaining from it this time. Is it possible to have full control of campaigning styles and costs in a democracy?” questioned a student.

Many candidates admitted to have planned parties for tomorrow and day after as one of them stated, “The Lyngdoh recommendations are applicable to the official campaigning. Next two days will be the real test for the race to the finish.”



Selected UT staff to be treated on duty
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 9
Employees of the administration who are selected for coaching camps/training in India or abroad as athletes, coaches or other attached officials like doctors, masseurs, managers in connection with the 2010 Commonwealth Games will be permitted for the aforesaid purposes.

The Chandigarh Administration keeping in view the upcoming Third Commonwealth Games, 2008, to be held in Pune from the October 12 to 18, as part of Commonwealth Games 2010, has taken this decision.

The absence of these employees will also be treated as duty for the entire period of stay in the coaching camps and for participating in competitions till 2010 Commonwealth Games.



Save democracy

The police indiscriminately lathicharged and fired at the guest teachers who were peacefully demonstrating in Rohtak, resulting in the death of Raj Rani of Jind district. It is one of the worst things to happen in a democratic society.

Even though the Home Ministry has circulated important guidelines, as directed by the Supreme Court, for the police departments across the country, the police officials rarely follow them while making arrests.

While there is an immediate need to stop police from crushing democratic means of voicing genuine grievances, a disciplinary action and initiation of prosecution must be carried out against delinquent officials.

Rajesh Krishan, Chandigarh

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