C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Low turnout in senate polls
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
The elections to 31 seats of Panjab University’s senate, including 15 in the registered graduates’ constituency and eight each in the teachers of affiliated college constituency and principals of affiliated colleges constituency, went off peacefully today.

Recording a polling percentage of around 15 per cent, the poll passed off peacefully, though the percentage of the voters came as a big disappointment to the 42 candidates in the fray.

Meanwhile, outside the polling booths across the city, supporters kept their spirits high, distributing pamphlets and cards and urging voters to vote for their candidates. The tents of candidates, most of which were put right in front of the polling booths, were decorated with posters and banners, while those who could not afford tents had to make do with putting up banners to seek support.

At SGGS College, Sector 26, only 123 of the total 750 votes were polled, while at Government College for girls, Sector 42, only few more than 200 votes were polled out of the total 1700 votes. Government College, Sector 46, also saw some 400 votes polled out of a total of 2400. The situation was more or less the same at other polling booths too.

At Panjab University, where venues for polling were Ankur Nursery School, Law auditorium and English auditorium, anxious candidates, flanked by their supporters, made last-ditch efforts to woo the voters. They distributed cards with their names and constituencies and appealed for support.

Though polling in the city was peaceful barring a minor argument at a polling booth in Sector 21, which was later sorted out, there were some incidents of ballot-snatching and booth-capturing reported from different parts of Punjab. According to sources, there was a commotion in Malerkotla after a supplementary list of voters was sent later today. According to information, some voters had requested for a change in their addresses and the list wrongly put the names of people in Lehragaga.

When the corrected list was sent again to Malerkotla, the presiding officer in Malerkotla refused to accept the list even after the registrar sent the letter by fax to him. “The polling went peaceful. Overall polling was recorded at 22-25 per cent. The trends from Punjab are yet to come, and the overall percentage may go up,” said registrar S S Bari.



PU Senate Polls
PU fails to revise voters’ list
Was last updated in 1953
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, September 21
Low voter turnout seems to have become the hallmark of Panjab University Senate elections going by the records of the past elections. The situation was no different today with the poll percentage dropping to an all-time low of nearly 15 per cent in the city. Even in 2004, the polling was less than 20 per cent.

The reason for low voter turnout, as per election observers, could be non-revision of the voters list. As many of the voters have died and many others moved to other places, it has adversely affected today’s polls for the registered graduates’ constituency. The voters list has not been revised since 1953.

While the number of voters is over 2 lakh spread across north India, the university officials have no mechanism to review to the electoral rolls. As a result, most of the voters who exercised their franchise today were freshly-enrolled graduates. As per the official records, around 60,000 fresh graduates had enrolled themselves this year. Also, one has to bring an acceptable identity proof preferably with photograph of the voter that also proves deterrent for many to cast their vote, said an election observer.

Moreover, there was a confusion regarding polling booths and many voters even had to look out for the polling booth where they were entitled to vote, which also could be the reason for low turnout in the city.

“It was an unusually low voter turnout in today’s election to the 15 seats of the registered graduates’ constituency of the Panjab University Senate. In contrast, the response of the teaching fraternity and the principals of affiliated colleges of the university to elect their representatives to eight seats each in the Senate was far more encouraging,” said a presiding officer at a polling booth.

The counting would be held on September 23 after all the ballot boxes, including those from outstation ones, would reach the PU campus. The counting would first begin for teachers and principals of the affiliated colleges’ constituency and the results are likely to be out on the same day. For graduates’ constituency, counting would begin late on September 23 and the results are likely to be declared by September 24 evening, said registrar and returning officer, PU, Prof S S Bari.



Pink Rose case
UT officials given 3-week time
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
The Pink Rose Cooperative Housing Society case continues to haunt the UT administration with four officials, including the DC, facing the contempt of court from the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

On a petition filed by some original members of the society, Justice Permod Kohli of the high court gave three weeks' time to then home secretary and cooperation secretary Krishna Mohan, DC and registrar cooperative societies(RCS) RK Rao, additional RCS RS Verma and administrator of the society Amarjit Singh to either comply with the court orders or face contempt of court.

"Insofar as the present contempt proceedings are concerned, the court's directives have not been complied with despite holding that the respondents are prima facie guilty of non-compliance of the court's directions, " the high court order said.

"In the interest of justice and to provide a fair opportunity to the respondents, the last opportunity of three weeks is allowed to report compliance and file affidavit with regard to compliance before this court, failing which the respondents will appear in person," the order said while adjourning the case to October 4.

In its order dated April 25, 2007, the high court had directed the RCS to hold elections to the executive committee of the society on the basis of the original list of 151 members supplied by the Chandigarh Housing Board. However, in the election held on June 11, 2007, 25 original allottees were allegedly restrained from voting by RCS officials.

Smarting under this "injustice", the members had filed a contempt of court petition in the high court. The high court, acting on the petition, issued a show-cause notice to the UT officials on February 2 this year asking them why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them. Later, the high court had stayed the election of the executive committee of the society and appointed RCS as the administrator of the society.

It was not for the first time that the society had brewed trouble for the bureaucracy. A few years back, throwing norms to winds the names of at least four Punjab IAS officers, Dalit Kumar, KAP Sinha, Alok Sekhar and DK Tewari, were allegedly included on the list of allottees while replacing the original members. The officers were later shown the door following an inquiry ordered by the UT administration.



Accused girl questioned, 2 youths absconding
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 21
The local police has today identified three of the accused, including a girl, in the gangrape that took place here yesterday.

While the girl is found to be a resident of Sector 10 in Panchkula, a boy involved in the crime is studying in a Chandigarh college and resides there in Sector 15.

The police on the basis of the details of calls made from the mobile numbers mentioned by the victim in her complaint was able to identify the girl involved in the crime. The phone number was mentioned by the victim in her complaint lodged with the police. The victim had alleged that she had got calls from the accused girl from the said number.

The accused girl revealed the name of another accused and even talked to him in the presence of police personnel on the cellphone and asked him to meet her. The boy, however, told her that he was in Delhi and could meet her only after he returned from there.

The other accused form Sector 15, Chandigarh, was also away from the city.

Meanwhile, the youth accused of driving the Swift car which was carrying the victim along with two of the accused up to Chandigarh was let off after preliminary questioning when it was found that he was not involved in the rape of the girl. Though police officials have denied that the youth was given a clean chit in the case, sources said the victim had informed the police that the youth only accompanied the two accused till the Tribune chowk in his Swift car and after that he had returned and they had shifted to the Balero already parked there and left for a village in Punjab.

Another youth from Sector 12 A, identified as one of the accused yesterday, was also found to be innocent. The police picked up the boy from his house early morning today. However, the victim said he was not involved in the crime. 



Somnath's date with Sukhna
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee took out time to relax and enjoy the serene environs at Sukhana Lake here this evening. The speaker was in the city to inaugurate the 73rd Conference of Presiding Officers of Legislative Bodies in India.

He enjoyed a ride in a shikara and was delighted with the services and gave a tip of Rs 500 to the shikarawala, who hesitated to take money from him. It was only after Somnath Chatterjee insisted that he was “very delighted with the services" that the man agreed to take the money.

Somnath Chatterjee, accompanied by his wife and dignitaries from the Haryana and UT administration, arrived at the lake at 5:30 pm and spent about half an hour at the lake and appreciated the facilities and the neat and clean environs at the lake. He praised the Chandigarh Tourism for maintaining the lake well.

Sources said the speaker spent some time sitting and watching the natural beauty at the lake and was mesmerised by the panoramic view. Donning dark sunglasses, Somnath Chatterjee seemed to be in a perfect mood for a day out.

When he was about to go, it started drizzling, making the ambience more pleasant, said an official accompanying the speaker. The CITCO staff at the lake were all praise for the speaker for his benevolent gestures. A.K. Malhotra, manager, CITCO, said the speaker also asked about other tourist attractions in the city. 


UT panel to solve CTU-STA row
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
The administration has finally intervened to end the tug of war between the CTU and the State Transport Authority(STA) over the running of 30 buses that have outlived their lives.

Taking note of the infighting of the two transport wings, the administration has constituted a committee under DC RK Rao to determine the road worthiness of these buses which have reportedly been "rejected" by the STA.

"The administration wants to put an end to the ongoing tussle between two transport wings of the administration and decide the issue once and for all," official sources said here today.

Recently, the inspection board of the STA had rejected the passing of these vehicles, which had been on road since 1999, after their physical inspection. It was argued that they violated the Central Government's guidelines for the state-carriage vehicles which specified that the buses had to be condemned after completing eight years or five lakh km, whichever is later.

However, overruling the Central Government guidelines some of these buses were reportedly issued road fitness certificates following the intervention of the transport secretary a few months back.

With no recent purchasing of buses, the CTU has been facing an acute shortage of roadworthy buses both for long and local routes.The pulling off the buses from road would create a "crisis-like" situation for the CTU, already under attack for its lacklustre performance.

Interestingly, the finance department has accepted the proposal to condemn the buses after a specified period. The UT administration had earlier claimed that there was no notification under Section 59 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, and the guidelines being cited by STA were a letter of the ministry of surface transport to the administration for following the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) norms for scrapping old vehicles. 



Fish deaths not due to pollution: Admn
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
The UT administration has ruled out pollution as the cause behind the fish mortality in the Sukhna Lake.

This has been confirmed following the testing of Sukhna waters by the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee. Sources said the dissolved oxygen in the Sukhna waters was seven as against four which was necessary for the survival of the fish in a water body. Earlier, it was believed that the deaths could be on account of water pollution. However, the water sampling had put that theory to rest.

Officials said that deposition of silt in the grills of the fish could be the reason for their deaths. Scientists said the change of weather usually resulted in fish mortality. “In fact, when the temperature changes, the fish deaths are reported not only from the Sukhna Lake but from other water bodies in the region also,” they added.

“Studies should be conducted to know the exact carrying capacity of the lake. Overcrowding should be avoided and selective fish harvesting should be adopted. Selective harvesting will minimise inter-species competition,” they added.

The lake is home to 197 aquatic flora and fauna species, including 32 fish species. Even as the performance of rituals was banned at the Sukhna Lake, a number of persons could be seen feeding the fish. This enables the growth of parasites, especially when the water level is shallow, which could be one of the reasons for recent fish deaths, the sources added. 



Vendors defy MC ban, hold mandi in Sec 33
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MC) decision to close down ‘apni mandi’ of Sector 33, which was running illegally in a ground near the market, is still being violated by vegetable vendors. They were selling vegetables at the place today also.

Official of the corporation stated that the decision was taken at a recent apni mandi committee meeting as several residents had raised objections to the chaos in the area on the day the mandi. A review of the land records by the MC officials revealed that the spot where the mandi was held was a reserved area, earmarked for the construction of commercial booths.

One of the official stated that the corporation had issued an order to close this apni mandi last week but to keep a check on the encroachers the corporation would monitor the site regularly so that the order was implemented effectively.

Official said while corporation was charging a fixed fee from all other apni mandis in the city, at this particular area no fee was being paid and the mandi was 'illegal'. However, officials failed to give a satisfactory reply as to how the MC or the administration allowed the 'illegal' mandi to operate for such a 
long time. 



Price Watch
Veggie prices hit the roof
Himani Chandel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
The prices of vegetables have shot up following incessant rains for the past few days, shattering the household budget of the city residents.

Continuous rain has damaged vegetable crops in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh and has also affected their supply. Prices of veggies like peas, capsicum, tomatoes, lemon and have increased between 10 and 50 per cent in the last two weeks. Tomato and capsicum crops have been worst hit due to inclement weather. The price of green peas has doubled, surging to Rs 100 per kilogram from Rs 50 per kilogram. Similarly, the price of capsicum and tomato has risen to Rs 80 per kilogram and Rs 48 per kilogram, respectively.

However, potatoes and onions have witnessed a comparatively marginal hike. New potatoes are now available at Rs 15 per kilogram. “This is the most devastating spell of rain in the region in the past many years. This has also affected our business,” said Jagdish, a vegetable hawker in Sector 9, Panchkula.

Though the prices of common vegetables have been rising steadily for the past two weeks, there has been a sudden impact on their availability. The supply of high-value vegetables, grown in Himachal Pradesh, has been affected following landslides due to heavy rain.

"The price of capsicum and tomato has hit the roof in Chandigarh due to sudden fall in procurement of these crops in the past one week," said one of the members of the Association of Vegetable Market. "Excess rainfall leads to the loosening of soil which results in waterlogging of vegetable crops. The rain also impedes operations to remove weeds," he added.



1,500 examined at health mela
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
A health mela was organised under the National Rural Health Mission by the UT health department at Bapu Dham colony, Sector 26, here today.

Over 1,500 patients were registered during the mela. Specialty services, including medicine, surgery, paediatrics, orthopaedic, homeopathy, gynaecology, skin, and physiotherapy were also made available at the mela, besides ultrasound and X-ray facility.

In order to create awareness on different aspects of healthcare, extensive IEC activities were carried out under the different national programmes.

Special stalls were put up for IEC and BCC activities for giving on the spot education to the visitors about the preventing aspects of vector-borne and water-borne diseases.

Skits, drama, folk songs and street plays on prevention and control of diseases were also arranged during the mela. Dr Manjeet Singh Bains, director, health services-cum mission director, national rural health mission, was present on the occasion. 



Lok Sabha polls: BSP to declare candidates in Oct
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 21
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) will announce its five Lok Sabha candidates of the party from the state by the first week of next month. The names of four candidates from Himachal Pradesh would also be declared the same day. This was stated by BSP general secretary and in charge of party affairs in Haryana, Maan Singh Manheda here today.

Manheda while talking to TNS after addressing a well attended rally at Parade ground reiterated the stand of his party for contesting the elections without having any alliance claiming that the party would repeat its feat in the state by clinching the power through social engineering on the pattern of Uttar Pradesh.

The party has already announced its candidates on the five Lok Sabha seats of Ambala, Kurukshetra, Sonepat, Rohtak and Gurgaon and in addition to Scheduled castes and backward classes the representation has been given to Punjabis, Brahmins and Muslims by the party, claimed Mahheda. Now the name of candidate from Aggarwal community and Balmiki community has also been finalized for tow of the five remaining seats where names have to be declared, he said.

The party has already got the support of Kumhar community as the prominent people of Bhiwani and surrounding areas have decide to declare their support at Bhiwani on October 6. There are 1,70,000 voters of community in Bhiwani alone while it has a prominent presence in the adjoining areas with 1,50,000 in Hisar and 80,000 in Sirsa, he said.

The party believes in giving representations to every section of society in the elections while the Congress and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in Haryana remained shuttling between Jats and non Jats till now, alleged Manheda.

Earlier hammering out on the Congress government while addressing the rally Manheda said the party remained a failure on all fronts as the chief minister had become a property dealer and the resentment of public was being suppressed by using police forces as was done in case of teachers at Rohtak, alleged the BSP leader.

The Congress has announced the allotment of residential plots for the poor in villages, however, it was not sure whether the promise will be fulfilled, however, the BSP after coming to power would lease out 3-acre of land to poor in the state on the pattern of Uttar Pradesh, he said calming that 15 lakh poor people from all sections of society were allotted 3 acres of and in UP.

Taking a dig on the rumours of alliance between INLD and BJP Manheda said the INLD was day dreaming for coming to power by shaking hands with those who had merely 8,700 votes at Adampur, Goahana and Indri.



An evening of  timeless melodies
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, September 21
The magic of timeless film melodies came alive at Inderdhanush Auditorium as the acclaimed vocalists from Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi presented a programme, ‘Old is Gold’, which continued till late last evening. The melodic evening, designed and directed by Dr S.K. Punia, was organised by SM Vision in association with the information and public relation department of Haryana.

After ‘Saraswati Vandana’, the programme got off to a dazzling start as the artistes belted out hit songs from films of 1940 to 1975. Gaurav Sharma, Maushami Dev, Sunila Malhotra and Nishi excelled at enrapturing the packed hall. I.P.S. Bawa of Doordarshan, New Delhi, anchored the programme.

Earlier, the chief guest, Dharamvir, chief secretary, Haryana, lighted the traditional lamp. 



Global award for social activist
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
Hemant Goswami, a social activist from India, and Thailand’s health minister have been selected for the international “Global Smoke-free Partnership Award” in recognition of their work in controlling the menace of tobacco.

The honour is awarded every year by “The Global Smoke-free Partnership,” a joint worldwide initiative of over 20 international organisations formed to promote effective smoke-free air policies worldwide.

Hemant Goswami has been awarded in the category, “Extraordinary Award” for his exceptional and outstanding commitment as a dedicated smoke-free and tobacco control activist to promote the implementation of the guidelines on Article 8 (smoke-free policies) of the “Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)” treaty.



Documentary on Gurdial Singh screened
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 21
A documentary film on Gurdial Singh, who also happens to be the most prolific and only Punjabi writer to be bestowed with the prestigious Gyanpeeth Award and International Soviet Land Award,, was screened at Randhawa Auditorium yesterday. The litterateur was present on the occasion.

The film “Gurdial Singh Ji”, made by acclaimed city thespian and film maker, G.S. Channi, in his endeavour to introduce the genius of the novelist to a larger readership in India and abroad, depicts the life and literary achievements of the writer.

The director G.S. Channi, an NSD alumni, instead of depicting the biographical details, had added new dimensions to the film by capturing the nuances of the novelist’s writings through sleek dramatisation of episodes from his novels. Channi immortalised his characters from novels like Bishna, Parsa, Modan and Jagsir through the half-an-hour documentary film. 



Play traces communal bias in society
S. D. Sharma

Chandigarh, September 21
The audience was treated to a rare genre of theatrical experience with a play staged under aegis of the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademy here yesterday. As many as six accomplished actors, mostly alumni of National School of Drama (NSD) and department of Indian theatre of PU presented ‘Shahjahanpur Ki Shehzadi’ under the guidance of playwright Asif Ali at the Akademy auditorium.

Structured in the present-day environment of political bias, reign of communal prejudice and trembling humanity, the play offered a slice of history from the Quit India movement onwards, all through life of a family.

The play, with running clash of ideologies between the apparent and the hidden, operated at two different levels. With oblique references to the forced partition, riots, demolition of a mosque and attacks on temples, the playwright has juxtaposed the evils ailing the society without being suggestive.

NSD alumni Vandana Vashisht led the cast with Rahul Joshi, Ranjan Sehgal, Chakresh, Kumar Vijay and, above all, Saif Ali to bring out the poignancy of situation without the spectacle of conventional stage and lighting effects.



Onam celebrated
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 21
The Sree Ayyappa Seva Samiti, Mohali, celebrated Onam festival at Sree Sanathan Dharam Mandir, Phase IV here today. Kerala Legislative Assembly speaker, K. Radhakrishnan, and deputy speaker, Jose Baby, were present on the occasion.

Ashish Bhatia, regional director, Fortis Hospital, Mohali, inaugurated the function. Dr John V. George, DGP (prisons), Haryana, Saju Peter, district governor, Rotary Club, Chandigarh, and D. Ashok V. Chordiya, director, Fortis Hospital, Mohali, were guests of honour.

The Samiti has been giving away scholarships for the toppers in the tricity of Classes VIII, IX, X and XII. The winners of the scholarships are Rahul, Anoop, Mithun Nambiar, Vidhya Narayanan, Chippy and Bindiya Byju.



85-year-old  found dead
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 21
An 85-year-old ex-serviceman, Gurdyal Singh, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in his house at Farid Colony, Zirakpur, this evening. The victim was living along with son, Balbir (45), an employee with HMT, and daughter-in-law.

Though the police was yet to register a case, sources revealed that there was an injury on the head of the victim.

The victim’s son, who was the first to see his father dead, informed the neighbours that after returning from Patiala, he found his father dead. Daughter-in-law of the victim was also not at home at the time of death.

Not ruling out the angle of murder, sources said angle of robbery was also being probed. The body has been sent for a postmortem to Dera Bassi hospital.



Shifting of ISBT creating problems

Shifting of inter-state bus operations from Sector 17 to Sector 43 is causing inconvenience to commuters, especially women, for whom it is becoming unsafe to travel during late hours.

While the Sector-17 ISBT was such a relief for travelling to different states, hundreds of persons, who travel from the nearby states to Chandigarh, have to face many problems now as the ISBT has been tucked away into a corner of the city. Now, there is a need to start better auto-rickshaw and local bus service from ISBT-43.

Rajesh Krishan, Chandigarh

Student leaders’ cooperation

‘A Step Forward’ by Raveen Thukral published on September 15 provided an insight into what necessitated the setting up of Lyngdoh Committee. The thrust behind it was primarily to bring to the forefront the student leaders with clean image, who could take over mainstream political scene later. This has become more urgent in view of politics getting murkier day by day.

While complimenting the UT police and the university authorities in the implementation of the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations, we must not undermine the cooperation of students, who were being dubbed as “dummies”, and others dubbed as “kingmakers”.

Another aspect of the implementation of these recommendations, which has raised doubts, is in respect of the eligibility criteria for candidates and the need to address grievances and disputes arising out of such elections.

Dr I. M. Joshi

Clean mainstream politics also

'A Step Forward' by Raveen Thukral brought out the sad situation of student politics in our country. Though steps, like implementation of Lyngdoh Committee recommendations, are being taken now to change the situation, but it may be too piecemeal and too late.

It is sad to see that the students can stoop so low to achieve small gains during elections. We cannot blame the students only as they follow what in mainstream politics. Our present day politicians, who lack a sense of social responsibility, can hardly be termed as role models.

Sameer Gupta, Chandigarh

Ray of hope

Raveen Thukral opined in his write-up on student elections, published on September15, that Lyndoh Committee recommendations have served its purpose. Of course, it will bring about much-needed change in the student politics and will produce better and cleaner politicians in future.

While the student leaders elected this time are intelligent and hardworking, they will automatically become good leaders. The writer has rightly stated that instead of wasting time in small steps, we require drastic measures to stem the rot at the top if we really want to cleanse our politics. But it is also not bad idea to nip the evil in the bud.

Opinder Kaur Sekhon, Chandigarh



City Scope
Meeting terror threat
Raveen Thukral

I cannot call M C Sharma, the Delhi Police's braveheart who died fighting terrorists at Batla house on Friday, a friend but he was certainly an acquaintance. Though his name, when announced on the TV during the shootout, as such didn't ring a bell, his photographs published in various newspapers the next morning brought back some hazy but inconsequential memories of the couple of 'encounters' that I had with him during my days as a crime reporter in Delhi.

Sharma shot to fame in 1998-99, much after I shifted base to this city, and frankly I never kept track of his rising career graph. However, the news of his death or, rather the great sacrifice, turned me pensive. The fact that he left his ailing son to lead a dangerous operation speaks volumes about his commitment to duty.

I salute his courage and feel proud of having known him, albeit briefly, and sincerely hope that his sacrifice helps in giving a devastating blow to the Indian Mujahideen (IM) besides completely eliminating this particular module, responsible for the senseless killing of innocent people in Jaipur, UP, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Delhi.

And if this happens, we Chandigarhians will owe a lot to Sharma for this city was too on the list of prospective targets of this module of the IM. This disclosure was made by Abdul Bashir, a key player in the Ahmedabad blasts, at whose behest the Delhi police tracked down and shot dead Bashir alias Atiq and Mohammad Sajid.

On the face of it, the perceived threat to City Beautiful from this particular module may have receded but the moot question is whether the UT police is ready to combat this modern-day menace. Though the city police has launched a massive awareness campaign, through SMSs, and also undertaken certain precautionary measures like making installation of CCTV cameras at cyber cafes, malls and hotels mandatory, it's sad that it takes a couple of bomb blasts and deaths of innocent people to move our law-enforcers into action.

One wouldn't like to think so but such actions appear to be knee-jerk reactions. Terror, particularly to this city, is not new hence such steps should have been taken long before. Unlike Delhi or Mumbai, Chandigarh is a compact, planned and manageable place so steps like installation of CCTV cameras, a great investigating tool, at vantage points in crowded markets, parking lots, bus stands and the two platforms at the railway station is no big deal. Installation of cameras, capable of capturing the licence plates of vehicles entering the city from some important interstate highways is also not a farfetched proposal. However, the fact that this hasn't been done so far only reflects the triviality with which the administration deals with this threat.

I don't know about you, I sometime get startled when I see gun-totting men, presumably cops, roaming around in plainclothes in the busy Sector 17 market or the lake with automatic weapons in their hands. Though, mercifully, no untoward incident has occurred in the past, I fail to understand how one can distinguish them from terrorists. I can bet upon it that even the UT cops on the streets won't be able to do it.

Apart from the UT's own police, the city has a large presence of armed cops from Punjab, Haryana, ITBP, CRPF and CISF performing various static and VVIP duties. Differentiating them without their uniforms from terrorists is impossible and if someone claims to the contrary, he is surely lying. Under the circumstances it will do well for the city's security if the UT police has a proper synchronised co-ordination of the multi-state and multi-agency armed police and bans movement of armed cops in plainclothes.

Another aspect that perhaps needs to be looked into in order to get more professionalism in the UT police is to have some kind of inter-state (with Delhi, Punjab or Haryana) or inter-UT transfer policy for its personnel. In the absence of any such policy, police personnel serve their entire careers in this small city and as such develop strong vested interests at the cost of professionalism.

In a nutshell, security of life and property of the citizens cannot be compromised and the law-enforcing agencies and the administration need to do all in their power to protect it.

Write to rthukral@tribunemail.com



Gallantry Awards Quota
PU accepts it in one college, not in another
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
Strange are the ways of Panjab University (PU). After refusing admission in the Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology (CCET) under the gallantry awards quota to a candidate whose father had been decorated with Chief of Army Staff’s Commendation for Gallantry, the same varsity’s joint admission committee has granted admission to kin of other officers decorated with commendations in the Chandigarh College of Architecture (CCA).

Hence while kin of commendation awardees have been refused admission in the CCET, the same admission committee on the basis of the same common prospectus and same awards has granted admissions in the CCA, sources in Panjab University have disclosed.

In the CCET, the committee had refused admission to the son of an officer decorated with the Army Chief’s commendation on the flimsy ground that the Hindi word “prashansa” mentioned on the award meant “appreciation” and not “commendation”.

The committee also reportedly granted admissions to kin of non-gallantry awardees in the gallantry awards quota while refusing admissions to those who were actually eligible under the quota and had a higher entrance test rank.

The kin of non-gallantry distinguished service medal awardees have also reportedly submitted incorrect gallantry certificates to gain admission in the gallantry quota as was reported earlier, but till date no corrective action has been taken by the university authorities.

The Ministry of Defence has in the meanwhile already clarified to the Chandigarh Administration that Chief’s Commendation is an award for all purposes and recipients of commendations for Gallantry should be considered for admissions in educational institutions.

The matter is already before the Punjab and Haryana High Court. It is learnt that in its reply filed before the court, Panjab University has not mentioned that commendation awardees have already been granted admission in the CCA.

Parents and legal experts have contended that it would be illegal and unethical for the university to follow a different set of standards for the two institutes when the admission brochure and the rules governing admission in both are the same.

The Ex-servicemen’s Grievances Cell had also written to the UT Administration and the PU vice-chancellor about the perceived irregularities in admissions in the gallantry quota.



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