C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Violation of building bylaws
Notices to 17 institutions
G.S. Paul/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
Taking cognizance of building violations and the “habitable use” of basement for children, the estate office has issued notices to 17 schools, colleges and educational trusts here.

Assistant estate officer Ashwani Kumar said the defaulters had been served notices under Section VIII of the Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulation) Act and their appeal or hearing was under way.

After getting the go-ahead from the finance department, estate officials visited the school premises to verify the violations. The notice, depicting various violations, asks institutions to explain “why the lease of the said site together with building thereon not be cancelled and ground rent calculated to the date of cancellation order be not forfeited.”

At DAV Public School-15, it has been found that the school management has constructed an extra basement in front of the hostel block. The estate office has also objected to a basement constructed under the open stage at the rear side of the building and glazing in the front elevation without a sanction.

The other blatant violations are a temporary shed constructed along the boundary wall and the height of the wall. Officials said the “yagyashala” along the boundary wall was also not part of the sanctioned drawings. The estate office has scheduled October 24 as the date of hearing of the case in the court of the assistant estate officer.

A notice has been issued to Sandhya Educational Trust, Sector 37, for not getting plans and elevations of the building approved. The officials reported that as the level of the ground floor (plinth level) was raised from 4’ to 7’, the basement was found to be more than 50 per cent above the ground level.

Experts said in these circumstances, the basement would become lower than the ground floor, which increases the FAR in violation of the permissible coverage.

Also, the slope of the ramp was found to be in the ratio of 1:5 against the sanctioned ratio of 1:12.

The officials said some schools had constructed auditoriums and offices in the basement, which were not only against the building bylaws and national building code, but also the “habitable use” of the basement was a major fire and stampede hazard for students.

Those who have replied to submit a revised sanctioned plan include Chitkara Educational Trust-25 (W), Mount Carmel School-47, St Kabir-26, Bhavan Vidyalaya-27 and Shivalik School-41.

Chitkara trust had constructed temporary sheds in the playground and a check post at the front gate without permission.

Mount Carmel School has invited the ire of the estate office by constructing two temporary toilets and temporary sheds. The other schools include Shishu Niketan-22, Kendriya Vidyalaya-29, St Anne’s 32, Sanjay Public School-44, Ashiana Public School, Saupins Education Foundation-32, Dev Samaj College-36, Guru Nanak Public School-37.



PU boarders on a high
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, October 16
When the sun goes down, life assumes an altogether different meaning in Panjab University hostels. While for many students it’s a time for serious studies, for others it’s a time to party and “hit the bottle”.

Drinking in hostels is on an increase and if insiders are to be taken for their word, it has already assumed “nonsensical” proportions. Brawls and inebriated boarders shouting and abusing at the top of their voices have become a routine affair, much to the embarrassment and inconvenience of those wanting to study.

A visit to a hostel this morning bared the truth. The cycle of a junk dealer was stacked with empty liquor bottles, indicating last night’s happenings. “Everyday I pick up 10 to 12 bottles from each hostel,” he claimed.

And the aftermath of one such party was felt last night when students got involved in a brawl at about 10 pm. Though no case has been registered, the university authorities are aware of the incident but have not taken action against erring students yet.

Though the consumption of liquor is banned in hostels, students cock a snook at it. “I have been staying in the hostel for the past two years and no such ban has been imposed on us. We drink in our rooms and not in the canteen or the mess,” he says defiantly, adding that this “tradition” has been going on for years.

However, for those who have joined the university for serious studies, it is a sheer nuisance. “I can’t say anything to these people as they are politically connected and we fear them” an agitated student said, urging this correspondent to highlight their problem. “Even wardens are helpless,” he added.

The helplessness of a warden was evident from the fact that he and his family was “sick and tired” of this daily affair. “I am so troubled by these ‘sharabis’ and have told my family not to venture out alone at night,” a warden, who lives near a hostel, said.

The dean, students welfare, Nawal Kishore, said he was aware of last night’s episode. “We take steps to curb this menace and have issued strict instructions that all such instances of students drinking in their room be brought to our notice,” he said.



Cops drag their feet in gangrape case
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 16
Even after a month of the alleged gangrape of a 17-year-old schoolgirl, the police seems to be dragging its feet and has failed to arrest the main accused.

Frustrated at police “inefficiency”, the fear of a backlash from the “well-connected” accused and the stigma has forced the family of the victim to consider shifting the girl from here. “We cannot take chances with her safety and will shift her until the accused are arrested,” the her mother said.

The incident raises questions about the role of the police and the stoic silence being maintained by the police, which is otherwise quite happy with publicity. None of the senior officials in the district are willing to comment on the incident. Even the SP, Sandeep Khirwar, has been saying that the “investigations are on” for the past 30 days.

The victim, who was allegedly gangraped, had named two persons (Jatin and Chhavi) as accused. She also said another youth, including a girl, were involved in the crime, but she did not know their names.

Even as the police has claimed to have arrested two youths, including the son of an assistant district transport officer, in the case, it is not sharing information with the media.

It would be anybody’s guess why the police is not arresting the main accused.

“The accused kept blackmailing me and threatened to kill my brother,” the victim, said, adding that “there is a risk to my life”.

The school authorities said they had asked her to review her decision to shift out.



Global meltdown overshadows auction
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
The global financial turmoil is set to cast its shadow on the auction season in the city. This was clear during the auction by the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) which evoked a lukewarm response today.

In a development that will not be pleasant to the UT top brass, only five CHB booths/bay shops, out of 31 commercial sites put under the hammer, were sold today.

The five built-up booths -- three at Mani Majra and two in Sector 51 -- were sold for a total amount of Rs 1.55 crore, against the reserve price of Rs 1.43 crore.

The “flop show” seems to have sent UT officials in a tizzy with questions being raised over the fate of the October 23 residential and commercial auction of the estate office.

Judging the market sentiment, the MC has already “withdrawn” its October 21 auction of commercial sites.

The estate office has decided to auction 47 residential and 45 commercial sites on October 23. Though during the auction in December 2007, a 1 kanal plot in Sector 11 was sold for Rs 4.02 crore, against the reserve price of Rs 1.48 crore, this feat may not be repeated this time.

“This is a bad time for auction. The enforcement of the Chandigarh Estate Rules, under which full payment has to be deposited within 90 days, coupled with the global financial crisis, could prove to be a spoilsport,” S.K. Sharma, a real estate expert, said.

Official sources, however, claimed that the “failure” of the CHB auction was a cause of worry as the booths and bay shops usually had no takers. Even four months ago, there were no takers for the CHB commercial property, an official said.

All residential and commercial sites were on prime location and given the infrastructure, Chandigarh was the first destination for residential and commercial bidders, the official claimed.

The poor response to today’s auction could affect big real estate players since a majority of them have a stake in Chandigarh’s periphery. They are hoping the October 23 auction would be successful, sources said.



PCA bans official’s entry
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 16
Taking swift action against its official, who was found taking away Mathew Hayden’s cap from Australian dressing room at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium yesterday, the association withdrew his official badge and banned his entry in the stadium.

M. P. Pandove, honorary secretary of PCA, said: “We have barred entry of Rajal Sahni, who was assigned to act as liaison officer by R. S. Sachdeva, the chairman of our reception committee. His accreditation badge has also been withdrawn with immediate effect.”

“Sahni is not directly related to the PCA. He was assigned by the chairman of the reception committee only for the match,” added Pandove.

The incident was highlighted in these columns. Yesterday, the official was intercepted by private security, when he tried to take away a cap from Australian dressing room. Later, it was found that the cap belonged to Australian batsman Mathew Hayden. After that, he was again seen roaming in the Indian dressing room.

Besides that, he also travelled in the bus carrying the Indian team from Taj hotel to PCA stadium, thus breaching the security norms.



Five-star treat awaits rural students
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 16
A five-star treat awaits the 5,000 young students from the rural Punjab, who will arrive here tomorrow to watch the Indo-Aussie cricket Test match that is being played at the PCA stadium.

To give their ‘special’ guests a ‘special’ treat, the association has tied up with the Hotel Taj to provide refreshments and lunch to the young cricket fans. The packed treat, to be served in the stands, will include kulcha-chana, patties, a sweet dish, one mineral-water bottle and a cold drink.

The PCA will foot the bill for the free treat to the children for all the five days.

“I am sure that majority of them will be coming first time to witness an international cricket match. So we trying to add a little more to make their experience a memorable one,” said G. S. Walia, joint secretary of PCA.

The association has already sent 5,000 tickets to the state government, which will be delivered to the schools, especially located in the rural areas.

“Each ticket carries a lunch coupon so that the students do not face any inconvenience,” said the office-bearer.

The step to facilitate the students of backward areas was initiated by Sukhbir Badal, president of SAD and chairman of PCA organising committee. Special buses are being put in service free of cost for these special guests by the state government.


ISBT, a boozers’ paradise
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, October 16
The inter-state bus terminus (ISBT), Sector 17, seems to have turned into a Bacchus paradise during night hours.

Throwing all norms to winds, motorists and others enjoy their drinks in the cars parked inside the bus stand, whereas employees of a dhaba provide them with eatables. This is despite the fact that the entry of vehicles inside the ISBT complex is banned.

Late in the evening, lots of vehicles could be seen making a beeline for the dhaba, thus leading to a traffic bottleneck.

Visitors to the bus stand, mostly youngsters, park their vehicles haphazardly and could be seen enjoying their drinks inside the cars. Despite a police post, the cops seem to less interested in solving this menace. The youngsters could be seen creating nuisance at the public place. Late in the evening, this place even becomes unsafe for the passengers, particularly the women.

A random survey conducted by this correspondent revealed that after 10 pm youngsters come here to dine at a round-the-clock dhaba. They enter the ISBT premises from the exit gate. Most of these motorcyclists are without helmet. Park their vehicles in the middle of the road.

Repeated complaints by bus drivers to the authorities concerned have failed to yield any results.

A Delhi Transport Corporation bus driver said, “The cops are not performing their duty well and seem to be working in connivance with a dhaba owner.

However, P.S.Shergill, director, Chandigarh Transport Undertaking, could not be contacted for his comments.



Decorated World War II veteran dies
Tribune News Service

Bachan Singh, with his medals, who fought a long battle for his dues and received pension arrears of about 60 years in April, 2008.
Bachan Singh, with his medals, who fought a long battle for his dues and received pension arrears of about 60 years in April, 2008. Tribune photo: Vickey Gharu

Ropar, October 16
Ex-gunner Bachan Singh, recipient of Africa Star, Burma Star and Defence of India Medal during the World War II, who fought a long battle for his dues and received his pension arrears of about 60 years in April this year, died on Wednesday early morning in Khokhran village.

He is survived by two daughters. Bachan Singh got enrolled as gunner with the 2nd Royal Indian Artillery in 1941 and served with Second Field Artillery in Libya during the World War II.

He got injured in North Africa by a German shell and was treated in a Military Hospital in Cairo. After this, he was medically boarded out in 1947. He was granted disability pension which was abruptly discontinued by the Controller of Defence Accounts in 1949, stating that his disability had gone below 20 per cent. This happened despite the fact that a constituted medical board by the Army had confirmed a disability of 30 per cent.

His pleas for a resurvey medical board fell on deaf ears. However, with the help of then vice-chief of the Army staff, Lt-Gen S Pattabhiraman, his case was taken up with the government for re-consideration.

A medical examination of this 95-year-old soldier was carried out in 2005 at Command Hospital, Western Command, and the board opined that the disability was such which could not have improved in any manner and that it had remained constant all these years since 1949. This resulted in his disability pension being sanctioned with arrears from 1949, a historical landmark. The battle did not end there.

The bank which was to release his arrears made him and his relatives visit branch numerous times but kept delaying his payment on flimsy grounds. It took some tough talk by representatives of the Army, who visited bank branch earlier this year to get his arrears disbursed.

Wreaths were laid on behalf of the Punjab government and the Directorate of the Sainik Welfare by Colonel Tajinder Singh. Wreaths were also laid on behalf of Western Command by an Army representative. Condolences were offered by president, Indian Ex-Services League (Punjab and Chandigarh), Colonel C S Dhillon, and high court lawyer Maj Navdeep Singh on behalf of ex-Army Vice-Chief Lt-Gen S Pattabhiraman. The cremation was attended by a large number of ex-servicemen.

Cremated with state honours

He was granted disability pension which was abruptly discontinued by the Controller of Defence Accounts in 1949, stating that his disability had gone below 20 per cent. This happened despite the fact that a constituted medical board by the Army had confirmed a disability of 30 per cent



Tree falls on car in Sec 19
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
A car was badly damaged when a neem tree fell on it in Sector 19 following last night’s rain and storm. S.K. Modi whose car was damaged in the incident said it would cost him around Rs 1 lakh to fix the car.

Modi said he had made numerous requests to the horticulture department of the municipal corporation to remove the tree, as it had been weakened due to termite infestation and could cause loss of life or property, but in vain.

He had even approached officials of the horticulture department yesterday informing them about tilting of the tree to one side after storm and rain the day before.

His request was not heeded by the officials, which resulted in damage to his car, he added.

An expert said the risk of falling of trees was high due to carelessness on part of the engineering department of the administration and the municipal corporation.

In most cases where the departments had widened roads, they had unknowingly cut roots of trees at some places, ignoring the fact that it would dry the tree making the base weak. Consequently, the affected trees would easily fall in storm or heavy rain.



Terror Threat
CCTVs for govt buildings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
Alarmed at the recent terrorist strikes in different parts of the country, the Chandigarh administration today proposed to install CCTVs at different locations in the city, including government buildings.

At a meeting presided over by UT adviser Pradip Mehra, it was decided to ask various departments to prepare budget estimates for the project.

Under the plan, all government buildings and public places like ISBTs in Sectors 17 and 43 and railway station will be covered.

In fact, the administration was also keen on installing CCTVs at various busy marketplaces in association with the market welfare associations and the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal.

Official sources said tenders would be floated for CCTVs once proposals from various department were received.



Panel to monitor development of Ind Area
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
Expressing concern over delay in the execution and monitoring of the plan of development of the Industrial Area, UT administrator S.F. Rodrigues today set out a roadmap for strengthening the infrastructure with the constitution of a committee under the chairmanship of home secretary.

Rodrigues, while presiding over a meeting of senior officers attended by UT adviser, home secretary, finance secretary, municipal corporation commissioner and heads of departments concerned, asked them to revamp the systems in their respective organisations and make various components on this project workable within time-bound schedules.

He emphasised that there should be a clear concept of the Industrial Area development, with focus on water supply, sewerage and other functional requirements.

He said the deadline for the conversion had already expired on September 18, 2008 and a project team under the chairmanship of home secretary with members of the CII, the PHDCCI, the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal and other industrial organisations had been constituted to assess the state of conversion and draw up a plan to resume plots not being used and to take a holistic view of their upgrade.

He emphasised that there was a need for rationalisation of parking lots and beautification of the area, and promote “green building” concept in the city.



Rosebys to open store in city
Tribune News Service

Jaipur, October 16
Residents of the city and its surrounding areas can now get quality Rajasthan dresses, paintings and artefacts made by rural artisans with Rosebys, an international retail store owned by GHCL Ltd, a Dalmia family organisation, deciding to open its store here.

Stores will also be opened in Delhi, Kolkata and other metros. The company, which runs the international retail store chain of home products, had been dealing exclusively in foreign countries, especially England.

The Dalmia family belongs to Chirahwa village in Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan.

“We want to make Rajasthan art world famous,” said Sanjay Dalmia, owner of the company. “Our company will buy Rajasthan handicraft and artefacts and sell these in India, especially Chandigarh, Delhi and Kolkata, where these are in great demand.”

The Dalmia family had acquired Rosebys a couple of years ago.



Eatables: PU wakes up to hygiene
Workers to wear caps, gloves
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
It has taken the Panjab University authorities, ‘one cockroach’ and two ‘grits’ to wake up to the need of maintaining hygiene in eatables.

The realisation dawned upon the authorities after a student who bought lunch from one of the eateries at sudents’ centre today and found two little stones in his food today in the lunch hour.

Later the student, a former student leader, along with his friends searched the eatery and also found a cockroach in the ‘cumin seeds’ jar.

Also some students at the spot claimed that this has happened earlier as well on many occasions. On the other hand, the sources claimed that there was an old rivalry between the two, which resulted in today’s incident.

Nevertheless, the incident did a lot good for everyone as after the incident, the dean students’ welfare, Prof Naval Kishore, imposed a fine of Rs 500 on the eatery.

Later, it was notified that till October 18, all the eateries at the students’ centre would have to use only branded spices. Also, those working in the eateries would have to wear caps and gloves from now on.



Jaspal Bhatti in Nach Balliye
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
The fame of flop show, Jaspal Bhatti, is now ready to go Bollywood style as he would soon be seen dancing on Bollywood numbers in “Nach Balliye”, a dance show featuring on Star Plus.

After trying his luck in “Comedy King”, where he was made to judge the show, he along with his wife, Savita Bhatti, would now represent the couple from Chandigarh in the dance show.

This would be first of its kind venture for him as he is famous for his satirical take on the woes and problems of the common man. 



Teachers for fair assessment
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
The recent announcement by the Panjab University Campus Students’ Council regarding assessing teachers by the students has been giving sleepless nights to most of the teachers.

Though many are resenting the move but most of them are willing for such a scrutiny, provided, it’s done by serious students who are focused on their studies and not by leaders on the campus or those students who themselves have not been attending classes regularly. According to Prof R.C. Sobti, vice-chancellor, “I am open to be assessed but I certainly cannot say about others”, he said.

As it is, under the Pay Commission’s recommendations, such a scrutiny finds a mention. Prof V.K. Mahajan, department of Evening Studies, said, “It’s a good initiative but it should be taken care that the student who is assessing has been attending classes regularly. There has to be an accountability on both sides”.

In fact, the department of laws first floated the idea of “students-assessing-teachers”, when they distributed assessment performas among the students to rate their teachers in terms of their teaching methodology, class behaviour etc. “We should be accountable to our students. But only to those who are responsible towards their own studies and are accountable for themselves, only then such an exercise makes sense and is authentic”, said Shashi Sharma, former chairman, department of laws.

Aswini Koul, reader, dept of Biophysics, says, “The assessment should be mature enough and should not be on personal biases. If the students would assess on the basis of what marks that particular teacher had given him, then it would not be a fair assessment. Also, longitudinal divisions in the departments can be used as weapon against teachers, so that should also be taken care of, only then it will solve its purpose”.

However, a section of the teaching is unhappy with the whole “assessment idea” and rubbished it as just any other wasteful exercise.

The students who come don’t come to attend their own classes throughout the year, can their judgement be trusted, questions of the agitated faculty member.



Direction to GMADA
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
The process of redeeming Mohali residents from garbage menace is on. Taking up a petition filed by the Residents Welfare Society, PSIEC, Sector 74 housing complex, Mohali, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed municipal council and Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) to discuss and sort out the issue of setting up a solvent waste treatment plant in the land under acquisition.

The discussion would be carried out under the supervision of department of housing and urban development.

GMADA had earlier informed the court that 72 acres were being acquired in 102-A of Mohali for the purpose and a notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act had been issued. The petitioners had earlier contended that since January 2005, the area around their complex had virtually been converted into a dumping ground. 



Quark sacks 100 more workers
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 16
Continuing with its retrenchment drive, the Quark City India Private Limited sacked 100 more workers from its ongoing construction work at the site of Quark City in Industrial Area, Phase VIII, here today. At least 10 construction engineers were among those whose services were today terminated by the IT giant.

The spokesman of the company, Gurmohan Singh, said the retrenchment was a result of the company’s decision to slow down the construction activity. Most of the retrenched workers were daily wagers hired by the company through a contractor about three years ago for the construction of the Quark City. The spokesman did not comment about the company’s plan to retrench more workers.

Sources said recession in the real estate sector was one of the reasons behind the retrenchment.

Meanwhile citing security reasons, the company has written to the DGP, Punjab police, and the SSP, Mohali, that there were strong chances of trouble being created by the retrenched labour. The company has called the retrenched labourers tomorrow to get their dues.

The district police have deputed extra police force to ensure that no law and order trouble was created. 



Budding designers showcase talent
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 16
Inter-National Institute of Fashion Design, Patiala, organised “Fashion Glitterati”, the annual designer contest at Rajindra Gymkhana and Mahindra Club, Patiala, late last evening. The show was organised in association with the Gymkhana Club.

The design capabilities of the students were showcased through a mega show consisting of 130 dresses, all based on innovative themes conceived by the budding designers themselves.

The show was choreographed by Jeet Brar who has choreographed more than 1,000 shows in the last 18 years. It was anchored by Pallab Bose.

The Best Designer award went to Mandeep. Chanpreet was the winner for the collection, ‘Safari Chic’. The winner for the ‘Toyale’ collection was Lakshitaa. The Best Designer Award for collection called Miss Congeniality went to Komalpreet.



Shatabdi delayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
The Delhi-Kalka Shatabdi Express was delayed by around 20 minutes following a signal failure between Ambala and Dhulkot stations this evening.

Due to the sang, the train had to be put on another track, leading to the time loss.



IT Arrears: Petrol pump sales attached
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
Income tax officials today attached the sales of Gurdayal Singh and Sons, which runs a petrol pump at Sector 22, to recover tax arrears to the tune of Rs 20 lakh.

According to sources, four partners - Gurdayal Singh, Darshan Singh, Shamsher and Surinder Pal - own the petrol pump. The IT officials swooped down on the petrol pump around 4 pm today.

When owners of the petrol pump failed to appear even after repeated phone calls, the IT officials pasted notices on the walls of the petrol pump stating that the department had appointed a receiver, who will receive 20 per cent of the daily sales of the petrol pump. 



Catch corrupt through SMS
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
The Chandigarh Administration has decided to launch awareness campaign against corruption through SMS.

Officer on special duty (vigilance) Pramod Kumar Vashisht will be the nodal officer of the campaign for receiving the complaints. The complainant can contact Vashisht in case of any complaint regarding corruption against any UT employee at 0172-2740012. 



Defamation Case
Minister deposes in court
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 16
Haryana education minister Mange Ram Gupta deposed in the court of Justice Madhu Khanna in a defamation case filed by him against MP Ajay Singh Chautala here yesterday.

Gupta, filing a criminal complaint in the court on April 23 , had sought summoning of Chautala. He had stated that Chautala had defamed him and lowered his repute and dignity while accusing him of nepotism. The court after listening the arguments fixed the next date of hearing for October 16.



MC blames GMADA for non-functional streetlights
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, October 16
The festival of lights is fast approaching but many parts of the town are facing darkness because of non-functional streetlights even as officials of the municipal council blame GMADA and the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) for the unsatisfactory situation.

Streetlights are not functioning on certain main roads in various parts of Mohali though the condition in internal pockets is stated to be better. Residents said that non-functional streetlights not only led to accidents, but also gave opportunities to thieves to target houses located in dark pockets. Complaints have also been received that traffic lights at certain points were also not functioning properly.

Darkness was witnessed on the main road leading from Mohali village towards the industrial area, Phase VII, road outside Fujitsu in the industrial area Phase VIII, Kumbra chowk to Phase IX bridge, Phase XI police station to the community centre in the same area, some areas around the stadium in Phase IX, a pocket in Phase X and road dividing Phase VII and III B 2. Some of these pockets have remained in the dark for months. Lights were not functioning in certain parks of the town as well.

S.S. Barnala, municipal councillor living in Phase XI, said a girl in his locality had met with an accident because traffic lights were not functioning properly. Streetlight problems were brought to the notice of the civic body officials but to no avail, he added.

President of the Citizens Welfare Federation B.S. Tej said that streetlights on a road along the nullah in Phase IX functioned only when cricket matches were played. There was lot of wild growth in the area and darkness gave anti-social elements a good cover. He said some criminals were caught by residents from this pocket but authorities concerned were not worried about the safety aspect of the residents. He said three streetlights points in Sector 70 were not functioning for the past one year while streetlights on one of the B-roads were very dim.

A civic body official said streetlights were not functioning on the road from Mohali village towards the industrial area because a cable was damaged by GMADA while widening the road. At another point streetlights were disconnected as a safety measure because GMADA was widening the road. In Phase XI a cable had got damaged which would be replaced soon. He said his staff could not carry out the work of maintaining streetlights on a regular basis because of long power cuts imposed by the PSEB.



Add life to their years

Elderly people are the most valuable people in our society. Yet, not much is being done to take care of them all. The government has the responsibility to protect the elderly, especially the poor. After all they have worked all their lives to provide security for themselves.

Though, many facilities are provided to senior citizens who have the means and the community connections to survive, there is a need to provide similar opportunities to elderly people living in the lower economic spectrum.

Considering that the city has many elderly people who're struggling to be in charge of one's life because of frailty, danger and isolation of old age, there is a need to start more care homes and day-care facilities in the city. Further, our elders should be linked with social service agencies/ NGOs that provide health, wellness services and cultural programmess that help to combat social isolation. Such agencies can also provide volunteer-based friendly visiting programs that help ease isolation for elders who live alone.

Government would do well to finance these agencies that provide critical services to those elderly who cannot afford self-help communities. Failing to do so would be an injustice to them and perhaps, one day, to us.

Rajesh Krishan, Chandigarh

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MCM row far from over
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
Finally after a month long wait, the administration has decided upon the MCM brawl case. In the report released today by Raji P Shrivastava, director higher education, both the accused Ritu and Jyoti have been held guilty of bashing a co student Priyanka outside the college gate.

However, their ‘punishment’ is confined to a written apology. They have been asked to do community service, which the Shirvastava has underlined as “non-punitive”, for 10 hours at a place, which the administration has not disclosed on the plea of maintaining the “privacy” of the students.

Though the report refrains from making any direct comment on the role of the MCM principal, Puneet Bedi, whose arbitrary decision to nominate one of her alleged “favourites” as the students’ council president sparked off an unprecedented and an ugly row in the college, it severely castigates the college functioning. Remarks like “The college authorities themselves should ideally have settled this matter. Owing to their failure to satisfy the complainant, she filed a police complaint, “The college cannot disown responsibility for incidents involving its students that occur in the vicinity of the college and autonomy comes with heavy responsibilities. These responsibilities cannot be shrugged off or wished away simply because they are onerous or inconvenient” are being viewed as a severe indictment of those at the helm of the college affairs.

Significantly, the report categorically states that security and student’s dignity is principal’s responsibility even in the “college vicinity”. This remark assumes significance and is being viewed as a direct admonishment to the attempts of the college authorities to wash their hands off on illogical please that the incidents had occurred outside the college gate. Incidentally, Bedi had taken a similar plea in an earlier incident when some outsiders had thrown eggs and mobil oil on some girls outside the college gate.

While this report has blown the lid off the ‘faulty’ way of redressal of various issues, Bedi refused to accept any incompetence on her part, “On the very next day of the incident we constituted a committee to probe the matter. The administration had to intervene because girl approached them”.

The complainant was adamant on the rustication of the accused and this hindered the probe, she said. “I duly respect the committee’s directives but our college already has a proper mechanism of everything. I will meet the director and discuss it,” she said.


Complainant unhappy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
The report has come as a serious shock to the complainant Priyanka declared it a major disappointment. “Is this the Justice? I am not happy with this report. Would this have been the decision if I were their daughter?” She questions.

Speaking to The Tribune she quipped, “My clothes were torn and since one month I have been facing humiliation. The circumstances are forcing me to change the college and all that the guilty get is community service and written apology.” she quipped. “From day one we were harassed earlier college misguided us to compromise in police and then they tried to force compromise in college committee and now administration has done nothing,” added Rahul her brother.

The brother sister duo has further accused administration of shielding the principal and are being supported by Geeta, a co student, who had also approached the authorities alleging bias in student election. “The administration had promised to probe the role of principal in both the matters but they have said nothing about her,” she said.

The issue is also finding support in college faculty as one of the members on condition of anonymity said, “One arbitrary decision by principal and controversy brewed. If she had taken decision that day only it would have been solved. Surprisingly while the report does hint incompetence but has nothing on the biased role of principal. Moreover the guilty haven’t got any punishment. ”

When questioned on the allegation of shielding the principal and guilty, Raji P Shrivastava, credited the issue to one’s perspective. Upset Priyanka now plans to appeal to Ram Niwas, Home Secretary, UT, who is yet to go through the report.



DPI seeks explanation from principal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
Samwartak Singh, DPI (S), UT has asked a written explanation from the principal, GMSSS, Sector 47 on the issue of a Class V student been beaten up by a teacher.

In a shocking incident, Komalpreet, a Class V student was allegedly beaten up by one of the teachers. The child was admitted to GMCH, Sector 32, where doctors suspected some internal injuries.

While the parents have claimed corporal punishment a regular feature at school they refused to comment further on the issue to avoid confrontation with school.

Speaking to The Tribune, DPI said, “I will probe the issue but need both sides of the story. Once I get her explanation I will take a decision.”



Flying academies feel the heat
Shift focus to hospitality
Himani Chandel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
The airhostess academies in the city are now attempting to hold their business by shifting the focus from airline industry to hospitality management, after the laying off more than 1,800 by Jet Airways in the past three days.

The airhostess training institutes, which are around 30 in Chandigarh, fear that there could be mass exodus of the students in the wake of retrenchment going on in the aviation industry. They have started encouraging students to prepare themselves for hotel industry till the time the aviation industry strikes a balance.

“The students in general are upset over the cutback the aviation is going through. But we are telling them that our academy is a complete training institute, which covers hospitality as well. Hospitality is going to boom in another couple of years, as India would be hosting Commonwealth Games, which would give boost to tourism and hotel industry,” said one of the teachers of an institute in Sector-34.

Moreover, the institutes are also not ready to take any responsibility of the placements of their students once they complete the course. The students said they were assured job guarantee before the admissions but once the fee was paid they were told they would only get job assistance. This point is even clearly mentioned in the prospectus of some of the academies that there is no job guarantee.

“After getting experience in hotel management they can easily shift to aviation as things are expected to be normalised by that time,” she said.

On the other hand, the students generally hailing from remote areas of Punjab, apprehend that the disturbance will continue for a long time and their future is not secure. “We are actually scared as we have already paid the entire amount which would not be refundable in any case,” said one of the students of the institute. “I think that I have made a mistake by opting for this career. But nothing can be done as half of the session is already over,” said another student.



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