C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


35-yr-old teacher set afire
Husband responsible, allege father, neighbour
Akash Ghai and Archit Watts
Tribune News Service

Vikramjit Singh, husband of the victim. Photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Chandigarh, September 14
A 35-year-old schoolteacher, Shubhwant Kaur, was admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, after she sustained 15 to 20 per cent burns under mysterious circumstances at her Sector 44 house this evening.

While her father-in-law Lt Col Prithpal Singh (retd) and mother-in-law Harbhajan Kaur claimed that it was an accident, a neighbour of the victim, Karamjit Kler, alleged that she was set on fire by her husband and in-laws.

“I had gone to drop Shubhwant’s children to her house when I saw her crying for help. She told me that her husband had set her on fire,” alleged Karamjit, while talking to the Tribune at the hospital.

Corroborating her statement, Karamjit’s husband Darshan Singh said they informed the police and brought her to the hospital. He also claimed that the couple was having strained relations.

The victim’s husband, Vikramjit Singh, a senior executive in a leading multinational telecom company at Lucknow, however, refused to comment on the incident. Though he was present at the hospital, he maintained a stoic silence while his parents at their house defended him, saying the allegations were baseless.

“She was lighting incense sticks for the evening prayers when she accidentally caught fire,” said Harbhajan Kaur, the victim’s mother-in-law.

However, the scrutiny of her house by this reporter did not reveal any signs of accidental burning and there was no separate place of worship as such in the house. They were no soot marks or any visible evidence of burning in the room, where they claimed she had sustained the injuries.

However, her father, who reached here from Ludhiana, was inconsolable and alleged that his daughter was being harassed on one pretext or the other by her husband and his parents ever since her marriage in 1995. He also alleged that his son-in-law was having an extramarital affair and this could be the reason for the discord between the couple.

At the time of the incident, Sukhwant’s children - Abhijit (11) and Akhil (9) had gone to play at Karamjit’s house.

Karamjit also accused Shubham’s in-laws of attempting to hide the incident from her when she went to their house. “When I inquired about her, they told me that she must be inside. It was only her shrieks that led me to her,” Karamjit claimed.

Significantly, neither her husband nor her in-laws made any claims about attempting to save her.

While the police has recorded statements of the neighbours, no case was registered till filing of this report as Shubhwant’s statement was yet to be recorded.

Shubhwant is teacher in Ryan International School here.



When nudity is art
Himani Chandel
Tribune News Service

Photo: Vinay Malik

Chandigarh, September 14
As a class of budding artists sets eyes on details of her body, she poses for them with utmost calm and serenity. After all, she has been doing it for the past 35 years.

Kaushalya, a 60-year-old illiterate woman, acts as a model for students of bachelor of fine arts (BFA) at the College of Arts, Sector 10 here. She helps students familiarise with the anatomy of a woman's body. She does so by posing nude and sits still for hours.

A group of 15 to 20 students paint her in nude or semi-nude postures as it is a part of their syllabus to practise painting of a human body composition. Nudity is an artistic expression here.

Kaushalya got this job when she was 25 years old and had no means to eke out a living. She is comfortable and satisfied with her work. She understands the importance of the study of human body in live form so as to broaden the sphere of imagination of artists.

The students feel that although people at large do not appreciate nudity as an art, given large-scale vandalism against painting exhibitions of renowned artists, the artistic freedom to explore human imagination, including nudity, is fundamental to artistic expression.

“We paint what we see or what is real. We are all the same under fancy attires, but when we are made to face it, we go red with anger or humiliation. A painter has to cross all these barriers created by society and see the actual image,” Sawan, a student, said.

“Students are given live study in the fourth year of the course in which they paint a nude or a semi-nude male or female posing in front of them. It is part of the curriculum to study the colour, bone, movement, skin texture, foreshortening etc of the body,” said Prof Ishwar Dayal, a senior professor at the college.

For them, nude study is as important as the study of natural objects like trees, birds, animals and water. Though Kaushalya is paid a meagre sum of Rs 140 for eight hours per day, she believes that it is one’s own perception that makes a painting decent or vulgar.



GMADA Shocker
Close rear gates by Sept 20 or face action
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 14
Development comes at a cost. Mohali residents are realising this to their disadvantage as the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has served a notice to residents to close rear gates within a week or face action. Officials do not rule out the possibility of GMADA initiating resumption proceedings initiated against habitual offenders.

For providing eight-laned roads around the proposed central business district in Sector 62, City Centre, the authority has cautioned residents of adjoining sectors to remove the rear gates and kitchen gardens by September 20.

Around Rs 17 crore was being spent on the widening of the roads. “ Since the City Centre is going to be the modern face of Mohali, residents should realise the importance of development. The space behind the houses would be beautified,” an official said.

By the time the business district takes shape, there would be a sharp rise in the number of people coming for jobs and business activity. This would require adequate space for traffic. The layout plan of the business district is being finalised by Jurong Ltd, a Singapore-based consultant of the GMADA.

Though a public notice was issued yesterday, the GMADA has revealed its plan to widen roads separating Sectors 61 and 62, Sectors 62 and 63 and Sectors 51 and 62. However, the road separating Sectors 62 and Sector 69 was not being widened due to a court case.

Officials have clarified that the notice to residents of sectors around Sector 62 does not affect the drive to close the rear gates in other parts of the town. The deadline for the other sectors ends on September 16.

The GMADA has also decided to target allottees of industrial plots who have opened rear gates in the Industrial Area.

Though no specific deadline has been given, sources said after its drive against residential plots, the GMADA would issue notices to industrial plot owners. “Rear gates hamper the widening of roads. The authority would initiate resumption proceedings against defaulters,” an official said.

Earlier, it had initiated resumption proceedings against three marriage palaces, including Dara Studio. The industrial sites were illegally being used to run commercial activity like holding marriage and social functions. Four such industrial sites were being illegally used for commercial activity.



PUTA president steps down
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
Ronki Ram, the newly elected president of the Punjab University Teachers Association (PUTA), submitted his resignation today.

Plagued with the allegations of being hand in glove with the Punjab government and diluting the stance of the PUTA’s struggle for central status for Panjab University, besides “evading” the closure of the university after the decision of the government on this issue, he decided to quit.

His decision of prioritising 100 per cent financial grant from the central government for the PU over the central status enraged a large number of members and if sources are to be believed, around 45 of them had signed a letter stating that they had lost faith in him.

A PUTA member said on the condition of anonymity: “His resignation is the solitary step that he has taken in the organisation’s favour. His ‘regionalist’ attitude was the major cause for factionalism in the association.”

Speaking to the Tribune soon after his resignation, Ronki Ram said: “I am resigning to save the organisation from a split as it would hamper growth and the university’s development. I would like to clarify that I prioritised the grant over central status just to pull it out of the ongoing financial crunch. Secondly, I took a stand against the closure of the university after the government’s U-turn as it would have been self-defeating. I am a man of conscience and favour dialogue, but not many share my view. So, I chose to resign.”

The decision on the issue will be taken at the meeting of the executive tomorrow. Ronki Ram would be attending the general body meeting to be held next week as a member.



Sector 49 Flats
CHB delays possession
Allottees hold protest, seek compensation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
To own a house in Chandigarh is still a distant dream for some. Courtesy: Indifferent attitude of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) in executing the specified official procedure on time.

The allottees of the CHB’s much-talked-about self-financing scheme (2005 and 2006) of one bedroom and two bedroom flats in Sector 49, today raised slogans against the CHB demanding rationalisation of pricing structure and payment of compensation for delay in possession.

They alleged that despite paying instalments of the dwelling units on time, they are not being given physical possession of the flats. Upset over slow pace of work, they alleged that the delay was due to CHB’s lethargic attitude. The allottees today asked the board to pay interest at the rate of 30 per cent for delaying the possession of dwelling units.

It may be recalled that the CHB had charged a penal interest at same rate from allottees who had paid the instalments late.

The possession of flats for the scheme 2005 was supposed to be handed over by September 2007 and for scheme 2006 by March 2008.

Preferring anonymity, sources in the CHB disclosed that the tenders for finishing of the pending jobs had been delayed due to a legal dispute.

The allottees resented that the delay is entailing financial burden on them as they were paying huge amount of interest on the loan amounts and were also paying for their rented accommodation.

The objective of the CHB's citizens' charter commits to construct well-designed, good quality and reasonably priced houses. This commitment to provide ‘reasonably priced houses’ can very be gauged from the fact that after including it’s net profit, which includes departmental charges, cost of development of land, maintenance of five years, interest per annum on land rate, the CHB has increased the cost of dwelling units by around 10 per cent.

An official document with The Tribune states that after including 10 per cent net profit, the tentative cost of two bedroom flat, which was fixed at Rs 21,48,311 for ground floor was settled at Rs 32 lakh. The first floor which was fixed for Rs 15,70,710 which went upto Rs 26 lakh and the second and third floors for Rs 25 lakh and 24 lakh, respectively.

Similarly, for one bedroom accommodation, the CHB has charged Rs 16 lakh, 15 lakh and 14 lakh ground, first and second floors, respectively.

However, the chairman of CHB Mohanjit Singh could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.



Journey of humanitarianism for Army battalion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
From international peace-keeping in Lebanon to the flood-ravaged plains of Bihar, it has been a journey of humanitarianism for 15 Punjab, the Army’s oldest infantry battalion.

The unit, which returned from the middle-east earlier this year, is now deployed in Madhepura district, one of the areas worst hit by the raging Kosi, with water levels touching 15 feet. As a part of the Army relief operations the battalion was the first to reach the people with medical aid.

The relief group comprises of six Army columns with about 900 troops led by Col Anurag Nag, 15 Punjab’s Commanding Officer. The group moved in with extensive relief equipment comprising nearly 60 motor boats, a large number of Engineer troops to restore essential services and team of doctors to provide much needed medical care.

Braving the fury of the Kosi, troops carried out relief operations relentlessly. Within a short span more than 6,200 stranded persons, including 1,271 children and 974 women, were rescued. Three doctors and medical support staff of the battalion worked round the clock to provide medical care and succour to 5,700 persons.

Several tragic incidents were averted by the quick response of the Army by rescuing victims of civilian boats capsizing due to the strong flow of water. Food and other necessary items as part of relief aid operations were also distributed. Besides, working in coordination with the civil administration, troops restored essential services in the area, including electricity, by repairing the power cables that had snapped due to the fast water flow.

The unit also briefed the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Central Command, Lt Gen H S Panag, on the conduct of operations when he had surveyed the affected areas last week.



A step forward
Raveen Thukral

The elections to the Panjab University Students Council held on Friday passed off peacefully. While the university authorities and the UT Police deserve credit for this, the feat wouldn't have been possible without the implementation of the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations.

Though one cannot say that the recommendations were implemented in letter and spirit and there were no violations, the mere fact that various students' bodies had to opt for candidates with relatively clean images and good academic records is no mean achievement. The lavish spending -- notwithstanding some parties, a couple of hill station sojourns and free movies organised by certain outfits - was, by and large, curbed and the 'dadagiri', which usually becomes the trait of such elections, was thankfully missing.

Going by these benchmarks, one would obviously be inclined to believe that within two years of its implementation the Lyngdoh committee's recommendations have served its purpose, at least on this campus. But will this bring about the much-needed qualitative change in our student politics? And will it help produce better and 'cleaner' politicians since student body elections are an initiation to state and national politics?

But before one attempts to answer these questions, a brief background on the Lyngdoh Committee. The six-member committee, headed by former chief election commissioner, J.M. Lyngdoh, was formed by the UPA government, on the directions of the apex court in 2005 with a mandate to examine - (i) alleged criminalisation in student union elections, (ii) financial transparency and limits of expenditure involved in such elections, (iii) eligibility criteria for candidates contesting in such elections, including the maximum age limits and minimum standards of academic performance, and (iv) the need to establish a forum to address grievances and disputes arising out of such elections.

Significantly, while examining these issues, the committee, against the backdrop of increasing influence of money and muscle power and interference of political parties in students' union elections, also went into the very basic question of keeping educational institutions totally free from students' politics by making them apolitical and banning elections altogether.

The committee was of the view that a ban on political activities would amount to an infringement of the fundamental right to form associations, freedom of speech and expression enshrined in the Constitution.

Coming back to the question of qualitative improvement in students' politics, these elections, and even the last year's, have given birth to a new breed of student leaders, who are being dubbed as 'dummies' - good in academics and clean image but with little or no political base. And this phenomena is not restricted to PU, as it's happening in Lucknow University, UP, too, where elections are due shortly.

While I am not trying to cast aspersions on the capabilities of the elected leaders, the truth is that a majority of those who contested the polls and won were never the real faces of the parties they now represent. They were there merely because the 'real' leaders couldn't contest due to the stringent criteria laid down by the Lyngdoh Committee. Though only time will tell who actually calls the shots, past year's experience shows that in the real sense kingmakers are actually the rulers too.

All right-thinking people would certainly want academically strong and clean student leaders to come forward and rise in state and national politics but is our system ready to accept them? I don't want to sound pessimistic but, unfortunately, politics, plagued by caste, creed and religion, has become a messy affair in our country. Money and muscle power -- not merit and good intentions -- are a key to winning most elections, be it to the Lok Sabha, state assemblies, urban and local bodies or even panchayats.

Many people would say that such small beginnings like the one made by the implementation of the Lyngdoh committee recommendations would go a long way in cleansing the political system. True, but I think that precious time has already been wasted in taking such small steps. What we perhaps require are drastic measures to stem the rot at the top if we really want to cleanse our politics. These piecemeal solutions may not be an answer to our problems.

Write to rthukral@tribunemail.com



309 posts for SCs lying vacant
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
The Scheduled Casts (SCs) constitute 17.5 per cent of the city population, but when it comes to jobs in government departments and public sector undertakings (PSU), their representation is negligible.

Surprisingly, there is a shortfall of 221 employees in the Class IV category in the city. This is not the only category having less SC representation, as there is a shortfall of 309 SC employees in various departments of the Chandigarh Administration and the state PSUs, a note submitted by the administration to a team of the National Commission for SCs, revealed.

A close look at the employment scenario of the SCs in administration reveals shocking facts. While the SCs find a representation of only 7 per cent in Class I posts with five vacancies, their representation in Class II posts is slightly better at 7.5 per cent with nine vacancies. Beside, there is a shortfall of 55 employees in the Class III category.

However, the situation is worse as far as SCs representation in the public sector undertakings (PSUs) is concerned. The PSUs in the city are facing a shortage of 181 Class IV employees, 18 Class III employees and one post of Class I officer is lying vacant.

These figures assume significance in the backdrop of National Commission for SCs chairman Buta Singh recently rapping the administration for giving a raw deal to the SCs, including non-maintenance of the rosters and de-reservation of the vacancies meant for the SCs in the city.

On the other hand, the administration claims that proper rosters are being maintained and guidelines of the Central government regarding de-reservation of the seats strictly followed.

A senior official claimed that the administration was left with no option but to de-reserving the vacancy for the general category in absence of a suitable SC candidate even after repeated advertisements. Keeping a seat vacant for a long time adversely affects the efficiency of the department concerned, he added.



Diabetes foundation reviews progress of retinopathy project
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 14
A high-level delegation from World Diabetes Foundation, Denmark, visited Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib (C) Eye Hospital, Sohana.

The delegation was here to review the progress of Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib Diabetic Retinopathy Project.

The project is being run by the hospital in partnership agreement with World Diabetes Foundation, Denmark.

The delegation, led by WDF’s project coordinator Astrid Elisabeth, reviewed the progress of the project and also inspected the hospital. The team, while reviewing the progress sheet of the tasks done by hospital team in regard to the diabetic retinopathy project, analysed each and every aspect of the project and showed its full satisfaction.

A seminar on “Diabetic Retinopathy - its causes and solutions” was also organised by the hospital on this occasion. The seminar was presided over by Elisabeth. Earlier, Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, chief advisor to the Punjab Chief Minister, inaugurated the seminar.

Various prominent ophthalmologists of the region gave their presentations. Dr Sunandan Sood, head of the eye department, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh, spelled out the drastic consequences of rise in diabetic cases in the region.

Dr Dharamvir, head of the eye wing, Government Rajindra Medical College, Patiala, in his presentation alarmed people of this region about diabetic retinopathy cases and its ill-health. He said India was going to be capital of diabetic retinopathy by 2020 as per WHO reports.

Dr A.P. Singh of Medical College, Patiala, too, discussed the scientific development of this disease.

He narrated that diabetic retinopathy increased the risk of blindness by 25 times and it was the sixth prominent cause for blindness.

Dr Gurmeet Singh Mangat, medical superintendent of the eye hospital, Sohana, said that there was a need to fight with this deadly evil by creating more awareness among masses.

Khushwant Singh, general manager of Sohana hospital, was designated by WDF as programme coordinator for SGHS Diabetic Retinopathy Project.

Describing about the aim, objectives and progress of the project, he said this project was to run for three years and during this period WDF had assigned the responsibility to train 500 medical practitioners, 1,500 paramedical staff and nurses in patient education, organise 90 camps, screen 45,000 people, to detect 5,000 diabetic retinopathy patients and to ensure that they had received adequate treatment for free in a phased manner.

He said during the past 10 months, 54 camps were organised during which 15,432 patients had been screened and 99 doctors and 247 paramedical staff were given training.

There was a plan to cover Mohali, Ludhiana, Patiala, Ropar and suburban areas of Chandigarh comprising total population of 50 lakh.



Yash Chopra’s new flick to be shot in city
Based on cricket, the film stars Rani Mukherjee, Rakhi Sawant
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
In a move that will give fillip to the tourism in Chandigarh, the Yashraj Films is all set to shoot for its unnamed flick in and around the city from September 20.

Based on cricket, the movie will star Rani Mukherjee and Rakhi Sawant.

With Chandigarh still basking under the glory of success of Akshay Kumar-Katrina Kaif starrer “Singh is Kinng”, which was extensively shot in the city and its vicinity, shooting of the Yashraj flick would go long way in promoting sports culture and making Chandigarh a tourist destination, said director, UT tourism Vivek Atray.

The Yashraj banner will return to city after over four years. In 2004, Yash Chopra shot “Veer Zaara” starring Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta in Chandigarh and surrounding areas.

Since the shooting of "Veer Zaara", several mega movies, including "Dosti", "Apne", "Jane Bhi Do Yarro", "Khusboo", "Heavan on Earth", "Singh is Kinng", "Sadiyaan" and "Dil Apna Punjabi" and Mannat" have been shot in the city.

Besides giving a boost to the hospitality industry, this would give an opportunity to the local artistes. Pragati Trikha, a local child artiste, who has been a part of several projects, would again be seen in the cricket movie.

Sources said the commitment of Yash Chopra, who also heads the Chandigarh Tourism Advisory Forum, to promote Chandigarh as the cinematic tourism destination, was well-known. The Chandigarh Administration will take advantage of Yashraj banner's presence in the city during the world tourism day on September 27 to market city as an important tourism destination.



Panchkula Encroachments III
Official gaffe costs govt crores
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 14
An apparent mistake on the part of the then land acquisition collector, Panchkula, who prepared two different reports on announcement of award proceedings possession and proclamation of Kharak Mangoli and Majri villages in Panchkula on June 26, 1988, has cost the state government crores of rupees.

Landowners have managed to claim more than 200 per cent interest on the amount of compensation even though when they were not entitled to it as HUDA never really got the possession of the said land. Parmanand, a resident of Railley village here, who brought the discrepancies to the notice of HUDA in his complaint, has alleged that the officials of HUDA and revenue department were hand in glove with the landowners in duping the authority.

Section 34 of the Land Acquisition Act states that “when the amount of such compensation is not paid or deposited on or before taking possession of the land, the Collector shall pay the amount awarded with interest thereon at the rate of 1[nine] per cent per annum from the time of taking possession until it shall have been so paid or deposited.”

The sub-section 2 of Section 34 further states “provided that if such compensation or any part thereof is not paid or deposited within a period of one year from the date on which the possession is taken, interest at the rate of 15 per cent per annum shall be payable from the date of expiry of the said period of one year on the amount of compensation or part thereof which has not been paid or deposited before the date of such expiry.”

As no possession of the said property was taken by the authorities concerned till now, no interest was to be paid on the award of the said land.

In fact the land owners who were entitled to Rs 12.5 lakh against one acre of their land managed to receive up to Rs 70 lakh for the same using the presence of two different reports on the same award to their advantage.

The records of the revenue department shows that LAC while announcing the award prepared report No. 416 stating that land measuring 59.93 acres has been acquired and took into physical possession, which was handed over to Jawahar Singh, Kanungo, HUDA.

However, the same day after preparing report No. 416, the LAC, on the representation of land owners, allowed them to harvest the crop standing on the land and did not take the possession of the land under crop. Thereafter, instead of mentioning change of decision in the same report, a separate report (No. 418) was prepared showing that instead of 59.93 acres only around 7 acres was taken over by the LAC at Kahrak Mangoli village. Similar reports were prepared in case of lands acquired at adjoining Majri village where report No. 417 was nullified by preparing separate report No. 419.

The land owners were able to receive the interest on the award by showing the report Nos. 416 and 417, showing that the possession was taken by HUDA on the day of acquisition on June 6, 1988, while the report Nos. 418 and 419 were dumped by the unscrupulous elements in the department, stated Parmanand in his complaint.



Civic amenities lacking at Baltana market
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, September 14
Civic amenities continue to elude the shopkeepers of the main market in Baltana.

Hundreds of shopkeepers have been demanding public toilets, proper streetlights, facility for drinking water, dustbins and recarpeting of roads for a long time. They allege that the authorities concerned are not taking their demands seriously.

“The absence of a toilet in the market forces visitors and shopkeepers to urinate in the open, it looks awkward besides making the place dirty,” said Vivek Gautam, a shopkeeper. He asserted, “We are demanding public toilets for the past two years, but everything in vain.” Since a substantial number of shops do not have water connections, the public is put to great inconvenience, says another shopkeeper.

It was after several years that sewerage system was laid in the area. The roads are also in a very bad shape. Huge potholes dot the roads and heavy traffic is allowed to move on the market roads. The shopkeepers have been demanding recarpeting of the roads so that accidents can be avoided.

“The streetlight poles are useless,” said Punit Kumar, owner of a mobile shop. The bulbs were not functioning for the past six months. At night, it was completely dark in the area and that helped miscreants, said Punit adding that the number of chain snatching and eve-teasing cases had increased.

In the absence of any action by the Zirakpur municipal council, encroachers on both sides of the Zirakpur-Panchkula link road are having a field day. The 22-foot wide road, which links Baltana with Sector 19 of Panchkula, has shrunk by many feet leading to the discontinuation of the bus service, said Karan Sharma, a commuter.

Streets, too, remain plagued with filth and dirt. “In the absence of safai karamcharis, the authorities concerned are not taking cleanliness seriously,” said Arvind, another shopkeeper. The vacant plots near the shops were used as dumping grounds. “We have brought this to the notice of the authorities concerned, but no action has been taken so far,” he added.

Councillor from Ward No. 1 Manisha Malik said the demands had not been brought to her notice. She said, “The patchwork on the roads would be done shortly for which funds were available.”

Executive officer of the Zirakpur municipal council R.K. Mittal said he would look into the matter and put up the demands before the council members. He added that the repair work of streetlights would be undertaken in two-three days. He also requested to the shopkeepers that they should suggest a place where a toilet could be put up.



Mataur village lacks civic amenities
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, September 14
It’s the place where the Congress held its Kamagatamaru session in the seventies. It’s also the village, land of which was acquired for Sectors 70 and 71 here. Yet it lags behind in development with poor sanitation, bad roads and with one-fourth of its population sans piped drinking water supply.

Mataur village, located right next to Sectors 70 and 71, where posh houses have been constructed, stands out like a sore thumb. “The village gave up 300 acres for these sectors and got a mere Rs 15 crore as compensation,” says municipal councillor Harpal Singh. “Nowadays, two showrooms in Sector 70 cost around that amount. Can’t GMADA spend some amount on the development of the village,” he asks.

Karam Singh, who retired from the Army and was now running an auto-rickshaw to earn a living, has been staying in the village for decades. He said he lived in an area, which was not provided piped water-supply by the department concerned. He and many others were depending on hand pumps for their water requirements.

Karam Singh said water of the hand pumps in the area was not fit for drinking, but even then they had to consume it because there was no other option. The water turned yellowish in colour if stored for a long time.

The state of sanitation in the village is in a state of neglect. Heaps of garbage can be seen lying here and there. Even the streets are not cleaned on a regular basis. Open drains, full of filth, can also be seen.

The streets were dug up by GMADA to provide sewerage connection to the villagers. Residents now want that the streets should be constructed again by GMADA, because these got damaged when sewerage connections were provided. It is learnt the GMADA is not interested in carrying out any development work in the village because it says it is the responsibility of the civic body to look after villages falling under municipal limits.

The municipal councillor said the villagers faced problems linked to power supply as well. One pocket or the other always faced darkness as cables were wearing out and could not take the load. He said an application in this regard was given at a ‘darbar’ held by the authorities concerned. An assurance was given to sort out the problem about eight months ago, but nothing had been done so far.



Sector 48-C part of UT, claim residents
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/Mohali, September 14
The Inter-state boundary dispute between Chandigarh and Punjab seems to be unending.

After the Chandigarh administration had written to the Mohali district administration to demarcate the boundary, residents of HIG houses, Sector 48-C (Mohali), have claimed that their land falls in UT as per the revenue record and maps of the survey of India.

The Residents’ Welfare Association, PUDA, HIG houses complex, has stated that the dispute was regarding the 14 acres of land. On the request of the residents, the Chandigarh Social Welfare Council has taken up the matter with the UT and Punjab officials.

Senior vice-president of the association N.R. Bhatia said the dispute arose in 1998 at the time of allotment of 226 HIG houses by the erstwhile PUDA. The farmer, on whose land the project was coming up, moved court stating that he had not been paid compensation and his land fell in UT. It was then the PUDA realised that it had wrongly marked the site.

General secretary of the Chandigarh Social Welfare Council Satish Chandra, who has taken up the case, said it was wrong on part of the UT to remain silent on the issue. Officials coming on deputation do not safeguard the interest of the UT, he added.

Attention of the UT Administrator has also been drawn towards the issue. “The UT is ignoring its claim on several acres along its border with Mohali and Panchkula. The matter needs to be probed,” said Satish Chandra.

There have been instances of counter claim over ownership of land along the border with Mohali and Panchkula. Sources in the revenue department said in case of zig-zag border with Mohali in Sector 63, the demarcation of two acres of land has not been done as yet.



Parking lots in disrepair as MC lacks funds
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, September 14
Parking lots in the shopping areas of the town are in poor shape and need urgent repairs as well as extension to accommodate the rising number of vehicles.

Most of the parking lots in the markets are damaged or have potholes and require recarpeting. Heavy rains add to the woes of thousands of shoppers who use the lots everyday, particularly in the evenings. The lighting arrangements, too, are inadequate.

With the rise in the number of vehicles, a number of parking lots, particularly in Phases I, II, 3A, 3B2, VII and X markets, become congested during the day. The parking lots in Sectors 63, 64, 65, 70 and 71 are also in a bad shape and residents have requested the municipal council to carry out immediate repairs.

Certain parking areas are located near greenbelts and a plan can be implemented to extend these appropriately to accommodate a larger number of vehicles.

Harbhajan Kaur of Phase VII (Sector 61) said the government was planning to make Mohali better than Gurgaon. The business hub in Sector 62 was being designed by a Singapore-based company, but nobody seemed to care about improving the parking lots in the Phase VII market.

Virender Kumar, a shopkeeper in Phase V, says the entry to the parking area in the phase market was potholed, but instead of finding a permanent solution to the problem, the authorities had been undertaking patchwork from time to time.

The MC, which is supposed to be responsible for maintaining the parking lots in the town, has been putting off the repair work on the plea that adequate funds were not available with the civic body. Council executive officer Amna Kumar Goel wrote to GMADA a few days ago urging the authorities to undertake repair work of the parking lots at their own level and to extend these wherever possible.



Traffic violators to face tough action
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 14
The district administration has decided to take tough action against the traffic rule violators to reduce the number of road accidents.

The authorities are creating awareness about traffic rules by organising seminars in the city. Seminars have already been held at Kharar and Mubarakpur. Traffic police personnel have been posted at various places in the district to check offenders.

Traffic challans will now be taken up for decision from 10 am to 12 noon and from 3.30 pm to 5 pm daily at DTO office here. Earlier, this was done on Saturdays, DTO Balbir Singh said.

Strict action will also be taken against those plying school buses on C roads and overloading auto-rickshaws. A special checking is being done to stop tax evasion by taxi and bus operators.

The passing and inspection of vehicles for use on the road and the test for granting driving licences will be held at the bus stand in Phase VIII here on Wednesdays and Fridays from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm.



Dy CM interacts with MDC residents
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 14
The roads in Mansa Devi Complex would be recarpeted before Diwali and others demand of residents would also be met soon. This was stated by Haryana deputy Chief Minister Chander Mohan here today.

Chander Mohan had been invited by the Resident Welfare Association to listen to the grievances of the public.

He also assured of improving medical facilities at the polyclinic in the area. The association president, Devinder Mahajan, said a doctor should be available at the polyclinic round the clock.

Mahajan also urged the deputy CM to give permission to construct servant quarters in the backyard of residential plots in Sector 4. The beautification of the upcoming tree garden was also sought by installing flood lights, and a music system and tower was also demanded by the residents of the area.



Seminar on medical emergencies ends
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
A two-day seminar on medical emergencies concluded at Command Hospital, Chandimandir, here today.

The highlight of the day was a session on neurological emergencies where doyens in the field, including Dr Manjari Tripathi from AIIMS, Dr Vivek Lal from PGIMER and Brig K.K. Singh from Delhi, deliberated upon various aspects of epilepsy, stroke and coma.

Besides, sessions on endocrinology, addressed by Dr Anil Bhansali and Dr Pinaki, both from the PGIMER, were held on the concluding day.

Another session covered fluid and electrolyte management in shock. Sessions on tropical and environmental medicine, which are of special importance to the armed forces operating in hostile terrains, were also held during the seminar.

The seminar concluded with a session on acute abdomen by Brig Rajan Choudhury and Dr J.D. Wig. The concluding address was given by Col A.N.M. Chengappa.



‘Govt to blame for mushrooming of pvt dental institutes’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
“Government is responsible to some extent for the mushrooming of private dental institutes across the country”, said Dr Anil Kohli, president Dental Council of India, who was at the Panjab University to inaugurate the academic session on Saturday.

He said the council has written to the government a number of times, bringing into their notice the mushrooming of the dental colleges but then there has been no outcome.

Talking about the dental institute here in the university, Dr Kohli, admitted the fact that the institute lacked in both infrastructure as well as the faculty. He stated that the problems are being taken into consideration to provide better facilities to the students.

Further talking about the plans for the dental institute here in the varsity, Dr Kohli, stated that with the consent of Prof R.C. Sobti, a laboratory for conducting stem cell research would be made. Informing The Tribune, Dr Kohli said, “We wish to set up the laboratory for the research work since Desidous (baby teeth) are quite helpful in the research. A big set up to add to the research work of stem cells would be made and great contributions are expected from the same”.



Onam celebrations conclude
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
Onam, the ten-day traditional and national festival of Kerala, being celebrated by the Malayalees in the city concluded today.

The Kerala Sastra Kala Manch, a voluntary organisation, which is working for the support the downtrodden, organised a special celebration at Diocesan Pastoral Centre, Sector-19.

The festivities brought alive the joy of Onam. A variety of cultural programme marked the celebration that was hugely attended by the people of the city. Among the special presentations were musical scores by the young participants of Kala Manch namely Sidi and Divaya.

Renowned dancer, Arunima Arti, presented a classical dance on the occasion. The cultural bonanza was followed by the lunch loaded with a variety of Onam specialties on banana leaves. About 21 different delicacies, curries and payasaam (special kheer) were served on the occasion.

Later, the families of Kala Manch members distributed food grains to the members of orphanage in Sector-23.



An evening of Sufiana kalam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
The Indian Council for Cultural Relations in collaboration with the Pracheen Kala Kendra organised a ghazal and Sufiana kalam by Janab Gulfam Sabri at Baskar Rao Stadium, Sector 35.

Janab Gulfam Sabri belongs to a lineage of traditional musicians and represents the 7th generation of the Sainia Gharana of Rampur, Moradabad.

He is the youngest sibling of the sarangi maestro, Ustab Sabri Khan, a Padmabhushan recipient in recognition of his contribution in the field of music.

Gulfam Sabri has performed world wide, including USA, Europe, Africa, Australia, South-East Asia and in India as well. He has also been awarded the Sangeet Bhushan award and Best Artist award from All India Institute of Medical Science.



Modify license norms

Anuj, one of the two victims who was hit by a BMW car, driven by a 19-years-old boy was later arrested on charges of critically injuring two people when he rammed his car into a motorcycle, also succumbed to injuries. Besides, grieving friends and family, the accident leaves behind a slew of unanswered questions. One such important question is how can teen relating motor vehicle injuries be prevented?

Generally, teens are more likely to underestimate dangerous situations and are perhaps less capable of recognising hazardous situations. Among teen drivers, those at a high risk for motor vehicle crashes are male drivers and newly licensed teens. While, the risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16 to 19 year-olds than among any the other age groups.

Licensing system thus needs to be redesigned to allow teens to get their initial driving experience under low-risk conditions. Parent’s contribution can indeed help enforce the laws to keep their teen drivers and others safe.

Rajesh Krishan, Chandigarh

Politicians lack vision, will

Apropos Raveen Thukral’s “Education sans politics” that appeared in Chandigarh Tribune (September 8, 2008), politics has entered every sphere of life, and it would be naive to think that education will be spared.

In the case of the central university status for Panjab University, the governments have given a purely academic affair a political dimension. Our leaders have shown that they are no less “tricksters” than our former rulers, the British.

I have served as a teacher at Panjab University for more than three decades. With the honest intention of a well-wisher of Punjab and Panjab University, I had complimented the state government on its magnanimity and farsightedness in giving consent for the central status to the university (Chandigarh Tribune, Letters, August 31). Many like me believed that the central status would be in Punjab’s interest.

But those who questioned the consent of the Punjab government carried more weight and the consent letter was withdrawn. The intelligentsia included former government officials, IAS officers and VCs --- as if their view alone mattered. It will not be out of context to quote S. Nihal Singh’ poem “Confetti” : “It is sad when

one’s life is metamorphosed into the dreaded word ‘former’, must we remain what we were because we are nobodies now.”

It is time to reflect on how the universities are starved of essential funds. It is where political heavyweights should enter the affairs of the university. Vice-chancellors who can resist pressure are a thing of the past.

Besides, any attempt to bring universities under the political control of a party or ideology would always damage scholastic character. The party in power would do well not to get its men nominated on decision-making university bodies. Only then, can we hope to protect institutions of higher education from unwanted interference.

Dr I. M. Joshi, Mani Majra


The article by Raveen Thukral on the central status to Panjab University was thought provoking. He rightly stated that our politicians have mixed politics with religion and further divided the already fragmented society.

There is no qualitative difference in teaching in central or state universities. The basic job of institutes of higher learning is to give a fillip to teaching and research.

In many cases, state universities have done excellent work and Panjab University, the oldest in the region, is one of them.

It exchanges academic and research activities with reputed institutes across the world. Since higher education is in the Concurrent List, the union government should not erode the autonomy of this university by declaring it a central university. It was set up in 1947 as an inter-state body corporate through an Act. If it is made a central university, how many more universities, out of the nearly 350 in the country, will be taken over by the centre for want of paucity of funds?

Undoubtedly, the university needs funds to complete the ongoing research and other projects. Hence, the Punjab government and the union government should release the required funds.

At the same time, there is a lot that needs to be changed. We need teachers capable of facing challenges of global competition and better monitoring of higher education institutions. The curricula is outdated and need to be changed with emphasis on skill development and research.

India cannot be a knowledge superpower unless we go in for innovation, diversification, expansion and quality upgrade. There is a greater need for the university-industry linkage.

S.K. Khosla, Chandigarh.


“Education sans politics” by Raveen Thukral is a simple truth duly recognised by those interested in the spread of quality education. The interference of politics and its subsequent impact, has destroyed the edifice of education. That is why parents prefer private institutions for the education of their wards.

A survey conducted by this writer revealed that principals of government senior secondary schools feel the brunt of this phenomenon. They are deterred by two things --- political interference even in trivial matters and poor infrastructure. Educational institutions should be autonomous with an element of accountability. Sadly, what Japan could do in 10 years of its freedom for education, we have failed to accomplish even after over six decades.

Dr S. Kumar, Panchkula

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



MCM protest turns worse
PU, administration has no plan of action
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
While the PU authorities have washed their hands off the entire MCM DAV fiasco and pushed the ball in administration’s court, the latter is yet to finalise the action plan to resolve the crisis, which was sparked off earlier this week over the students union elections.

Following the alleged ‘forced’ evacuation of the hostel by the principal yesterday, the agitating protesters of MCM DAV, Sector 36 eagerly await the promised intervention by either university or administration. However, authorities are yet to come up with any solution regarding the elections.

It may be noted that principal Dr. Puneet Bedi had nominated Himani Walia as college president in an alleged ‘undemocratic’ manner and following the aggressive protest by college girls the authorities did the ‘needful’ by deferring the elections till further notice.

Speaking to The Tribune, Nawal Kishore, dean Students Welfare Punjab University said, “This does not come under my jurisdiction. This college falls under Chandigarh administration and all we can do is to mediate negotiations if required. We will hold a meeting to accomplish it.”

While the buck was passed to administration, Raji P Shrivastava, director Higher Education said, UT had nothing more than a promise of meeting to offer. “ We did meet the principal on Friday. We have constituted a joint group that will meet the principal tomorrow,” she said.

This attitude is sure to shock the agitated protesters who have been eagerly awaiting an action as their representative Geeta says, “We had taken to hunger strike and then both University and administration had promised to intervene. We are waiting for tomorrow, if nothing happens, we will continue our strike.”

The indifference is also ailing the principal, who claims to have left alone in this sorry state of affairs, “I am not saying support me but at least intervene and do the needful. This indifference is being used by outsiders to mislead the girls,” she said.

Meanwhile, a local Human Rights activist who has been playing a proactive role in the entire episode has claimed to move to NHRC against the principal. He has also claimed to having filed a criminal complaint against the principal in police station Sector 36. The SHO, Devender Sharma, however, denied this and categorically stated that no case has been registered.

Meanwhile, the role of the activist has been criticised even by the protesting girls who regret the fact that outsiders are trying to grind their own axe and gain mileage at their cost.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |