C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


No meltdown for prices of property in city
UT nets Rs 95.31 crore through auction of plots
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Contrary to the apprehension that global recession will have a negative impact on real estate scenario in Chandigarh, the UT Estate Office, today, netted a whopping amount of Rs 95.31 crore through the auction of residential and commercial property, which came under the hammer in a public auction here.

The commercial sites did not catch the fancy of aspirants, apparently because of the location of the sites, the experts say. Commotion marked the day during the auction of commercial sites over the issue of discrepancies in dimensions of some of the sites and the Administration’s reluctance to sell the site even at the “last-highest bid”, which apparently did not match “expectations”.

A total of 34 residential sites, out of a total of 48 sites, were sold whereas only six out of 34 commercial sites could be sold today. A five-marla plot in Sector 38 D was sold for Rs 83 lakh against the reserve price of Rs 41 lakh whereas two four-marla plots in Sector 42 B were grabbed for Rs 60.60 lakh each, against the reserve price of Rs 32 lakh only. A 10-marla plot in Sector 40-B fetched Rs 1.71 crore.

A one-kanal plot was sold for Rs 4 crore against the reserve price of Rs 1.81 crore and a two-kanal plot in Sector 36 fetched Rs 5.42 crore against the reserve price of Rs 3.15 crore.

According to an official communiqué, the total ‘deal’ fetched the Administration a total sum of Rs 79.21 crore against the reserve price of Rs 44.63 crore in case of residential segment. In the commercial group, the administration got Rs 16.10 crore, against the reserve price of Rs 7.38 crore. This amounts to the average price of Rs 55,299 for residential site per sq. yds while Rs 3,18, 862 for commercial sites per sq. yds.

However, though the commercial sites saw a lukewarm response, but it was not a bad deal for the administration on whatever sites sold today. An SCO in Sector 32 was bagged for Rs 4.75 crore against the reserve price of Rs 1.85 crore depicting the average price at Rs 3,76, 984 per sq yds.

The two booths in Sector 36 D, of the dimension (9’-0”X 29’-7.5”) fetched Rs 60,60,000 (plot no 184) and 57,10,000 (plot no 188), respectively.

As compared to last year (December 2007), it’s been a mixed response of the perspective bidders. In case of small plots, an upswing trend was witnessed. A five-marla plot which fetched Rs 61.60 lakh last year went for Rs 83 lakhs this time and a 10-marla plot which went for Rs 1.65 crore was bagged for Rs 1.71 crore. Interestingly, there has been a slight recession in prices in the case of ‘bigger sized’ plots. The two-kanal plot was sold for Rs 5.66 crore in the last auction, as against Rs 5.42 crore this time and a one-kanal plot went for Rs 4.02 crore last year whereas this year the same dimension plot was grabbed for Rs 4 crore.

Site of controversy

Controversy erupted during the auction of a booth in Sector 36 D, of dimension (20’-7.5 “ X 29’-7.5”). The booth with a reserve price of Rs 97 lakh was finalised for 1.15 crore by the Estate Office, but the bidder Sanjay Goyal claimed that he withdrew his offer before the fall of the hammer. “When I discovered that I would have to pay the price for extra ‘verandah’ space which, otherwise, I would not be entitled to use, I withdrew my offer. They forcibly made it final in my name and threatened to forefeit my earnest money of Rs 2 lakh.” On their part, Estate officials claimed that the bidder raised objections over the dimension of the site after the fall of the final hammer. Ultimately, the site was registered in his name.

* * *

On another occasion, Amanbir S Walia, Gulzar Singh and Kamlesh Thaper raised objections when the officials withdrew their decision to sell the sites. They alleged that when the adminstration had fixed a “reserve price” for a site, then the site should have been handed over to the highest bidder, whatever it may be. The officials refused to sell site No 1417, Sector 40 for the bid amount of Rs 2.22 crore (reserve price Rs 1.79 crore); site No 1528, Sector 42 for Rs 56 lakh (reserve price 32 lakh) and site no 333,Sector 37D to highest bidder 43.60 (reserve price 43 lakh). 



Co under scanner for buying land beyond limits
Quark chairman Fred Ebrahimi director in the infrastructure firm
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News service

Mohali, October 23
The Mohali district administration has issued a notice to an infrastructure company, Fauja Singh Infrastructure Pvt Ltd for buying around 1200 acres of land in Nangal and Parol villages here beyond the permissible limit. The chairman of the high-profile Quark City, Fred Ebrahimi is the Director in the infrastructure company under question.

Valued in several crores, the land falls under the Majri block of Kharar tehsil and is located near the Chandigarh-Siswan road. Such a large chunk of land cannot be purchased as per the provisions of Section 4 of the Punjab Land Reforms Act, 1972. For exemption to purchase land above the permissible limit, the state government has to issue permission under the Punjab Land Revenue Act. Acting upon a petition, the collector (Agrarian), Mohali, has directed the company to file a declaration about the status of the land and any exemption from the state government. In the case filed in the court of the Deputy Commissioner, Mohali, who exercises powers of Collector under the Punjab Land Reforms Act, 1972, the petitioner, Rajinder Pal Singh, who owns land in Chotti Bari Nangal, has sought declaration of the land owned by the company as surplus.

It has been alleged that the company apart from acquiring a large chunk of land in Chotti Bari Nangal, the company had acquired 37acres in Patrol village and 50 acres in Majrian village. On the basis of Jamabandhi it has been shown that the company has purchased land more than permissible under the Act.

The revenue authorities were asked to provide information about the status of the land under the Right to Information Act. The tehsildar, Kharar, was asked to explain action taken by the officials if the company had failed to provide declaration under Section 5 of the Punjab Land Reforms Act. The public information officer was asked to give details of the parts of the land owned by the company that were covered under the Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900.

The tehsildar supplied a copy of the Jamabandi only. Upon complaint to the next competent authority under the RTI Act, a copy of a reply sent by the company was supplied. The company, in reply to a letter of the SDM, Kharar, supplied a copy of the exemption granted to Quark India Pvt Ltd. The petitioner in his case stated that Fauja Singh Infrastructure and Quark City were two different legal entities. In a separate application filed before the Collector, another landowner in the area, Aman Chopra has pointed out that since the land was the common, village land and forestland had been covered by barbed wire.



Damage control by PU authorities
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
A day after the violent clash that took place at Students’ Centre and rocked Panjab University yesterday, the authorities “smell” politics in media reports about yesterday’s clash involving outsiders and some university students. In fact, the university authorities went on a “damage-control” spree what with beefing up the security arrangements on campus and even checking of vehicles which went on through out the day.

A PCR vehicle was also stationed at Students’ Centre throughout the day. Surprisingly, though none of the university officials came out and addressed the issue of security with the students who were fearing for their safety on campus, the university released an official statement in the evening. “The news reports pertaining to the ugly fight between some youngsters on PU campus yesterday cannot be described as a sine qua non situation in the University. It is reiterated that the University has always taken a serious view of such isolated incidents and has taken stringent action against those involved. The University also takes serious view on part of some individuals to involve innocent persons in incidents, which occur sometimes occasionally, and such persons will also meet the same fate, which the violators of the law have to face”, stated the report.

Contrary to this, the ground reality is that that there have been a number of instances of violence involving both university’s students as well as outsiders in the past. The fact that such incidents have been repeated is only due to a lack of seriousness and decision-making on the part of those at the helm of affairs. According to sources, so far university officials have not action against any of the students who were involved in brawls earlier. In the name of “action”, the university officials have only been forming committees, which hold meeting after meeting only to buy time, and finally when the issue is wiped off from public memory, “accused” students are let off without any action having beeen taken against them.

The only case in which immediate action was taken was the stabbing incident that took place in the examination hall at University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS), PU in May this year wherein Harpreet Multani, the main accused was suspended. His accomplices, who were named in the FIR, were also suspended. According to sources, later the suspension orders of both the accused, belonging to SOPU, were revoked, whereas Harpreet is still lodged in jail.

Not only this, the university did not take any action against those students who pelted stones at the Vice-chancellor’s residence. Activists of PUSU and INSO were involved in that incident.

Every month university authorities spend lakhs on private security and also have their guards for the purpose. However, nothing seems to be helping to curtail violence on the campus.

Campus violence

In the name of “action”, the university officials have only been forming committees, which hold meeting after meeting only to buy time, and finally when the issue is wiped off from public memory, “accused” students are let off without any action having been taken against them



Outsider in his own home
Septuagenarian accuses elder son of taking forcible possession of his room
Akash Ghai and Archit Watts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Seventy-four-year-old Sadhu Singh has been running from pillar to post to get back the possession of his room in his own house at Sector 46. The senior citizen alleged that his elder son Ashok Kumar has taken forcible possession of his room last week, thereby turning him out of his own house.

Alleging that the local police is not helping him out in the case, the septuagenarian maintained that he was left with no choice but to sleep in the verandah or drawing room of the ground floor with his other son.

No respite for elderly

The Chandigarh police has not invoked the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007, ever since it has been enacted. The police is dealing with such cases under the older laws, it has failed to provide any respite to elderly citizens facing domestic problems, sources in the police revealed.

“Look at my tragedy, I have no place in my own house. All my belongings are lying in the room. Despite the fact that the property is in my name, I can do nothing and nobody is helping me to get justice”, rued Sadhu Singh, who retired as assistant secretary from BBMB.

Sadhu was staying separately in a room on the first floor of his house. In the left portion, his elder son stays with his family, while on the other floors (ground and top), his other two sons live along with their families.

Narrating his tale of woes, he alleged, “On October 14, Ashok bolted the door of my room in my absence and took forcible possession of it. He also hit me and threatened to end my life.”

The matter was brought to the notice of police but the old man alleged that it (the police) was not taking adequate action.

“On my complaint, the police arrested Ashok under Section 107/151 of the CrPC but did not register a case of trespass. Despite my repeated complaints, the police is not taking sufficient action to help me to get my room back”, alleged Sadhu Singh.

Sadhu Singh

On his part, Ashok Kumar, too, had made a complaint to the police against his father alleging that he (Sadhu Singh) had misbehaved with his wife and asked her to have a ‘physical relation’ with him. Ashok said, “I am the sufferer. My father has bribed the cops who are harassing me. My brothers are supporting him as he has given them a share from his property. All this is being done to spoil the forthcoming marriage of my son in November.”

The police said they had earlier verified and learnt that Ashok Kumar and his wife had levelled baseless allegations against Sadhu Singh.

This is not the first time that such a dispute has arisen between the father and the son and the matter has been reported to the police several times before. Ashok and his wife had been disowned by Sadhu Singh in 1992 due to their quarrelsome temperament. “But after the insistence of the ‘mohallawalas’ I allowed them to stay in my house and am now repenting”, said Sadhu Singh.

The SHO of Sector 34 Police Station Sudarshan Thakur said, “We are doing all that the police can do in such case. How can we register a trespass case when Ashok has already been staying in the house?” A senior police officer said, “This is a civil matter and the best the police can do is to take preventive action against the accused. The matter comes under the purview of the court, which has the powers to solve it under the specific Act.”



Democratic institutions get raw deal
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Riding roughshod over the democratic aspirations of the general public, the UT administration seems to be giving a raw deal to the elected representatives and institutions in the city.

The non-convening of the meetings of two important advisory committees - the Administrator's Advisory Council and the Chandigarh Perspectives - for the past about two years speaks volumes about the lack of commitment of the administration for getting feedback from the people.

Replies to an application under the RTI Act moved by a Sector 27 resident, R.K. Garg, showed that the last meeting of the council was held on May 9, 2006. Important issues, including removal of encroachments, survey for the rehabilitation of the slum dwellers, e-governance project for the city, revamp of the education system, streamline the functioning of certain departments and provision of basic amenities in the city were deliberated upon at the meeting.

Eminent citizens and representatives of the major political parties, including the Congress and the BJP, who are the members of the council, gave valuable suggestions for improving the lot of the citizens.

UT administrator S.F. Rodrigues has gone on record saying that various suggestions by the council members would be looked into. In fact, he had also stressed the need for better interaction with the council members to make the city a world-class destination.

However, over two years down the line, the tall claims of transparency by the UT's top brass seem to have lost in the bureaucratic rigmarole. "This has again brought the anti-democratic face of the administration to the fore with the residents left at the mercy of the insensitive administrative system," alleged Devi Dayal Sharma, Communist Party of India secretary and a member of the council.

The fate of the Chandigarh Perspectives, a committee of eminent experts constituted by the administration to suggest ways and means for the improvement of the urban planning in the city, is no different. Last time the committee met on November 13, 2006. Though it discussed important issues like apartment rules for the city and the revised layout plan for the sub-city centre, Sector 34, yet the administration did not thought in appropriate to call its meeting again.

This is not for the first time that the administration has been accused of giving a “step-motherly” treatment to people's institutions. Councillors of the municipal corporation have also gone on record about the unfair treatment being meted out to the civic body.




Protest against cancellation of interview
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, October 23
Around 700 persons raised slogans against the authorities of Directorate Supplies and Disposal Department of Haryana for the inconvenience caused to them due to the cancellation of the interview scheduled for today.

These candidates hailed from far off places in Haryana, and were in city to appear for the interview for the post of ‘sevadar’ (peon) in the department, whose cancellation according to the authorities was notified in a daily newspaper.

A cop tries to disperse the enraged candidates in front of the Supplies and Disposals Department of Haryana at Sector 22, Chandigarh, on Thursday. A Tribune photograph

However, many of them were unaware of this and held the authorities responsible for their inconvenience and started raising slogans. The police had to be called to disperse them. “They take us to be fools. Even if the interview was cancelled, wasn’t it their duty to inform us through official letter? They published notification in just one newspaper and feel they had done the needful, asked an enraged candidate from Hisar.

“They should be paying us compensation for this. How unprofessional and irresponsible are they that they perceived that their notification in one paper must have been read by all candidates,” another candidate said.

However, the department officials are in no mood to owe up to the grievances.

Director of the department Shashi Gulati said, “Even I am surprised that large number of candidates were unaware of the cancellation. We had notified it in the same paper as the advertisement of job. We also had displayed notice outside our office, but these people were looking for a chance to create havoc.”

Meanwhile, no date has been announced as yet for this interview.



Backache in kids on rise, say experts
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh , October 23
Suman Gehlot was in a shock when Garima, her 11-year-old daughter, returned from computer class with a nagging shoulder pain. “We consulted a physiotherapist as the pain refused to go,” she says. After a thorough check-up, doctor said, it was a disorder of overuse of computer

Similarly, 13-year-old Anubhav (name changed), recently reported to the doctor with spinal complications, caused by cycling six km up down to school daily with his backpack.

Recent incidents show that complications related to the backbone and back muscles in children are steadily on the rise. Some years ago, doctors reported that people in their middle age had started suffering from pains that were earlier seen in older men and women. Then, youngsters in their twenties, especially those working at BPO companies, complained of backaches and related problems.

Now, school kids are falling a victim to back pain, thanks to their heavy bags, long hours at the computer and junk food.

A study conducted by the Apollo Hospital among 1,134 schoolchildren between 10 and 15 years in Delhi showed four out of five students carried school bags that exceeded prescribed weights. No surprise, then, that four out of 10 of them reported back pain, sometimes severe enough to keep them from attending school or playing games.

Prof SS Gill, pediatric orthopedic, PGI says, “Earlier, I used to have one or two such cases in six months, but now it’s escalated to about two cases a month,” he says.

Dr Manju Wadhwa, consultant orthopaedic at Fortis Hospitals, Mohali, has also spotted the rise in the incidence of back problems in adolescents. “Heavy school bags have done their damage. Our findings show ideally a schoolgoing child should not carry a bag that exceeds 10 per cent of his or her own body weight,” says he.

He feels, " Children these days are growing up only on junk food. This leads to a weakening of bones, muscles and ligaments. Carrying heavy bags to schools daily aggravate the problem and many young kids now complain of back problems.”

Dr Sanjay Wadhwa of the physiotherapy department at the PGI also feels the same.

The only way out, experts feel is a healthy lifestyle, complemented by adequate rest, exercise and diet. Besides, stress reduction, both mental and physical, is also of utmost importance.

Experts suggest reducing the weight of a school bag, which, they say, should be straddled across both shoulders in order to distribute the weight equally. Students should arch the spine backwards from time to time while cycling, and take frequent breaks while working on computers or studying at the desk.



IG to cops: Be polite with public
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
UT inspector general of police (IGP) S. K. Jain warned the police force during the Sampark Sabha held at the Police Lines, Sector 26, here today that strict action would be taken against those found indulged in corruption. Jain instructed the police officials to remain extra vigilant in coming days of Diwali in view of the intelligence inputs relating to the militant outfits.

The IGP advised the police officials to perform their duties with dedication, honesty and professionalism, warning them to abstain from malpractices. He also told the officials to be polite while dealing with the public and keep coordination with them for prevention and detection of crime.

The Sampark Sabha was attended by over 950 police personnel, including senior officials and home guard volunteers.

The police awarded scholarships to the wards of 75 police officials, who scored over 80 per cent marks in academics, today. Coolers were provided in the wireless rooms. TV and refrigerators were arranged in recreation rooms in all the police stations and other wings.

The IGP heard the problems and suggestions of the police officials in the sabha. While addressing the personnel, he said O and A level computer courses would be started soon for the families of the police personnel on nominal charges. He said medical awareness camps were also being organised in all the police colonies. The annual medical check-up of police officials were being conducted to assess the state of health of the police personnel, he informed.

The IGP said 183 police personnel had been promoted, while other 205 had been sent for various promotion courses in past six months. Training of newly recruited constables would start shortly, and approval for the recruitment of 126 constables had been sought which would be completed till March next year. Five persons have been selected in the force on compassionate grounds in the last six months.

The DIG, headquarters and intelligence, Vivek Gogia informed about steps taken regarding welfare of the police personnel, which included distribution of welfare loans to police officials on minimum rate of interest.

UT SSP S. S. Srivastava was also present on the occasion.



Plan to rechristen ‘Condom Bar’ at Kalagram
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
“Safe sex to safe driving”, this is apparently the new mantra of the Chandigarh Industrial Tourism Corporation (CITCO), which is now planning to rechristened its “Condom Bar” at Kalagram.

The idea, which is in the conceptual stages as of now, CITCO officials firms up, the condom bar could soon resurface in the new “avtar” with a message of “road safety”. Sources in the CITCO claim that falling revenues of the bar due to reservations attached to its name “condom”, is the main reason for giving a new theme to it.

There was a constant move to change the name, which perhaps was casting a shadow over the sales. The sources in the CITCO also maintained that “ethnic theme” is also on the agenda of the management.

The bar, which has been offering free and paid condoms to customers, has not only seen a decline in liquor sale but the initial euphoria of people for picking condoms has also waned.

The main reasons behind rechristening the bar as “condom bar” was to promote the use of contraceptives not only to control unwanted pregnancies but also to prevent HIV.

The officials of the CITCO are in a dilemma over the new name. The officials want the new name to have a social message also. Amit Talwar, chief general manager, the CITCO, confirmed that talks are going on to change the theme of the bar. “Yes, road safety was one of the ideas. There is no harm in trying with the new theme to achieve the desired results. No doubt, it has been an ‘uniform sale’ at the bar since its launch.”

A.K. Malhotra, general manager, tourism, the CITCO, opined that the condom theme was, otherwise, quite popular with foreigners. “But, we felt that it was not going with Indian society. The foreigners are so particular and amazed about the condom concept, that they even asked us to arrange for big replicas of ‘condom’ in the bar to attract public attention.”

As per the CITCO figures, only 1,500 condoms were sold during the month of August this year. In the corresponding period last year, the sale of condoms touched nearly 2,200. The CITCO is also worried about the sale of liquor at its bar.

Though, the net profit of the CITCO enhanced from Rs 8.77 crore net profit in 2006-07 to Rs 9.71 crore in 2007-08, but the officials feel that “outsourcing” was necessary to sustain the profits.



Rodrigues for fight against foeticide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Advocating the need for action-oriented approach for promoting gender equality and improvement in child sex ratio, UT administrator and Punjab Governor S.F. Rodrigues today called for a crusade against the unethical practice of female foeticide through vigorous implementation of action plans at the ground level and by making it a mass movement.

UT administrator and Punjab Governor S.F. Rodrigues at a conference on female foeticide in Chandigarh. Tribune photo: Vinay Malik

Inaugurating a regional conference on health, population and social development in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab with a focus on child sex ratio, Rodrigues here today said there was a need of strengthening our monitoring systems to identify the gaps in the implementation processes in this social societal endeavour, followed by corrective measures. There was a need for reinventing our attitudes and reinforcing our value system to tackle these ills, which were eroding our morality and social system.

He stressed that the need of the hour was to activate our conscience and reorient our systems to reach out to every village and town. “We also have to strengthen our network for empowerment of women and make them self-reliant with active community support,” he added.

Referring to the measures being taken for social development, Rodrigues said various programmes impacting our social system had been launched in Chandigarh with benefit to the whole region. He said special focus had been given on the inculcation of proper values, so as to make our children good citizens.



License must to sell crackers
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 23
The district magistrate has imposed a ban on the storage and sale of crackers in the SAS Nagar district except at places earmarked by SDMs concerned.

The order issued here today said no fire crackers or fireworks, which generated levels exceeding the levels specified by the Supreme Court, could be sold or used at any place, including those, earmarked by the SDMs.

The SDMs shall grant licences to shopkeepers for the sale of fireworks under the provisions of the Explosives Act, 1984 and all other relevant acts and rules.

The orders have been passed to prevent any serious damage to life and property in case of an incident of fire.

Display of fireworks and bursting of crackers would also not be permitted between 10 pm and 6 am and in silence zones (near hospitals and educational institutions).

The order shall remain in force till November 15. The cracker sellers have been asked to obtain a license from the SDM after paying a fee of Rs 150. The license is being issued under Article 4 of Schedule IV of the Explosives Act, 1983.

As many as 12 sites in different areas of the town have been identified by the authorities concerned for the sale of crackers in connection with the festival of Diwali.

The sites are near Dussehra ground in Phase I, near Bassi theatre in Phase II, opposite Hot Millions in Phase III B 2, opposite Bougainvillea Garden in Phase V, opposite Centurian Bank of Punjab in Phase VII, near YPS chowk in Phase VIII, opposite Food junction in Phase X, opposite house number 1374 in Phase XI, opposite new market in Sector 70, near St Xaviers School in Sector 71, opposite Municipal Bhawan in Sector 68 and outside Sohana village.



Another dengue death in Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 23
With the death of a 37-year-old resident of Phase V, here, the dengue toll in Mohali rises to two.

Ravinder Kumar Sharma died due to dengue fever at the PGI, Chandigarh, on Tuesday evening. The same night Kulwant Kaur, a resident of Phase I, also died due to dengue at a private hospital in Mohali.

Anil Kumar Sharma, brother of Ravinder, said the latter suffered from minor viral fever for two days, but his condition deteriorated on Sunday night. He was then taken to the civil hospital in Phase VI on Monday morning from where he was referred to General Hospital, Sector 16, Chandigarh. After keeping the patient for a few hours, the doctors at the hospital referred him to the PGI. Tests were conducted and treatment started at the PGI following which Ravinder’s condition became stable by Tuesday evening. But a few hours later, his blood pressure suddenly dropped very low and he died, added Sharma.

Kulwant Kaur had also suffered from fever. She had gone to a doctor in Phase VI from where she was referred to a well-equipped hospital in the town itself. She died after her platelet count had dropped very low.

Civil surgeon Avtar Singh confirmed that both deaths had occurred due to dengue fever.

He said an epidemiologist was sent to both places where deaths had taken place. He said in Phase I, she noticed that water had collected outside Kulwant’s house in which larvae was also visible.



Book on Punjabi poetry released
Our Correspondent

Wing Commander B.S. Flower (retd) releases a Punjabi book at Randhawa Auditorium, Sector 16, Chandigarh. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Chandigarh, October 23
The elemental experiences of life, its recurring joys and sorrows, its lavish bounties and mysterious denials find their true manifestation in the Punjabi poetry book, “Dard Hi Ban De Geet Suhaane”, released at Randhawa Auditorium here today.

The fourth book by Wing Commander B.S. Flower (retd), comprising over 120 poetic creations, is a complete departure from the dull routine of the ‘lachar’ song culture and are weaved around the aspirations and ground realities of the Punjabi pastoral life. Young vocalists Amanpreet Singh, Azad Singh, Arun Chadda and Vishal Taank brought alive the emotional intensity and musical quality while doling out the songs composed by acclaimed music composer Kanwar Iqbal Singh. Noted Punjabi scholars Dr Baldev Singh, Dr Malkit Singh, Dr Gurmail Singh, Poet Sham Singh, Dr Swaraj Sandhu, Dr Labh Singh Kheeva offered critical appreciation on the book. Earlier, Dr Deepak Manmohan Singh performed the release ceremony at a function organised by the Punjabi Lekhak Sabha.

Talking to The Tribune, the author, playwright and singer Wg Cdr B.S. Flower, a postgraduate in economics, said his poetic passion was influenced by poet P.B. Shelly. The famous lines of the poet “Our sweetest songs are those that tell our saddest thoughts” find expression in my couplet “Heer di hikk bich dard vasse, ate dard vasse Nanakaane, dard hi ban de har ki paudi, dard hi ban de geet suhaane”, claimed the poet.

He admires and owes his accomplishments to the inspiration of his one-time teacher at Punjab University, Dr Manmohan Singh, now the Prime Minister of India.



MC issues notices to encroachers in transferred villages
Maloya has maximum encroachments
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
The Chandigarh municipal corporation (MC) issued more than 250 notices to the defaulters for encroachment on the residential and commercial areas in the nine villages transferred to the MC in the recent past. The notices were issued on the basis of the Town Khasra survey undertaken by the MC to keep a check on the encroachment in the villages.

According to the survey report, village Maloya has the maximum encroachment cases followed by village Kajherii, Dadumajra and Palsora, where the situation is also not good.

A detailed property-survey was conducted by the MC in all the nine villages, which were transferred by the administration to the MC recently. The survey was categorised into residential, commercial, open and cow-dung area in villages to monitor the encroachments in these areas.

MC joint commissioner T. P. S. Phoolka said a software was being developed for preparing the survey report so that the officials could get the details of any property in these villages. He said earlier the villagers misled the authorities by presenting false drawing plans of their property, due to which there was delay in cross checking the actual details.

Phoolka added that the corporation had also taken the work of preparing list of those persons who were paying tax to the corporation on their properties.

One of the officials said when these villages were transferred to the corporation, no property details about the villages were available. In most of the villages, no building bylaws were being followed while constructing residential or commercial property due to which it was difficult to fix responsibility for encroaching government land. The official further said the survey would not only help the corporation to trace out the encroachers but through this, plan would be finalised for construction of building on the vacant land.



‘Dropouts’ showcase talent in Diwali Mela
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Exquisite earthen lamps, vivid gel candles and colourful idols--the items put on sale at the Diwali Mela organised by the students of Hamari Kaksha, Sector 7, were symbolic of the rays of hope that have brightened the lives of these so-called ‘hopeless students’.

A collective effort of two city based lecturers, Anuradha Sharma and Sarita Tiwari, being supported by UT administration, is making a difference to as many as 100 city students, who are on the brink of leaving the school but are all set to mould their lives now.

“There was nobody at home to help me in my studies. I lost interest in studies and failed twice in Class VII. I was all set to join my father in pulling rickshaw, but life took a pleasant turn when I accompanied my friend to this place. Teachers here are so helpful and I am confident of passing this time,” said an excited young girl.

“I could never concentrate on my studies as I had to support my family financially also. With this, these teachers not only helped us to study, but with exhibitions like this we usually made a quick buck too,” added another girl.

The exhibition was a part of ‘earn while you learn’ initiative and all the students seemed exceptionally excited.

Sarita Tiwari, one of the mentors, also shared same excitement. “We provide these children who are so called dropouts, failures and branded as hopeless cases by school an atmosphere to learn and think. Our approach is loving and personal.

Along with studies, we involve them in various personality-development programs and vocational trainings. It feels so great to be helping these kids who till date have associated themselves with failure,” she said while supervising the exhibition.



City to have training centre for streetkids
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
The Vocational Training Centre (VTC) at Maloya, set up by the Chandigarh administration for empowering the streetchildren and ensuring their rehabilitation as productive members of society, will be dedicated to the residents of the city beautiful on October 27.

The centre, which has been set up on 4.5 acres of land, will be inaugurated by UT administrator SF Rodrigues.

The centre has facilities like the administrative-cum-educational block, three residential blocks, library-cum-recreational hall, music room, computer training centre, medical units, gymnasium and playground.

Any child between the age group of 5 to 18 years, who require care and protection due to any reasons, or any child referred by the Child Welfare Committee would be eligible for taking admission in the centre.

About 250 streetchildren between the age group of 5 to 18 years have been admitted in the first phase.

The major objective behind the centre is to enhance the sense of self-worth, security and open employment avenues to these children by providing education, training and skill development in the trades like electrician, mechanic refrigeration and air conditioning, cutting tailoring and embroidery, plumbing, mechanic motor vehicle, welder, computer, in collaboration with the department of technical education, Chandigarh.



Students exhorted to follow traffic rules
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, October 23
A special traffic awareness camp was organised at Guru nanak Khalsa Senior Secondary school, Sector 30, today to make students aware of the traffic rules.

The cops conveyed the message ‘Helmet saves life’. The students were told about the benefits of obeying the traffic rules.

H.S. Doon, SP, Traffic Police, Chandigarh, said: “We should learn a lesson from the yesterday’s accident in which a girl student, Navjot Kaur, lost her life. It is my personal appeal to the girls to wear helmet while driving. He further requested the school authorities to give prizes to students who qualified the traffic test at the school.

Traffic police DSP J.S. Cheema, along with the traffic police personnel, was present at the camp. He also distributed pamphlets and posters to the students.

Poonam, a student, said: “It was great learning about traffic rules. Now, it is our responsibility to spread the knowledge and we promised the police to follow the traffic rules.”



Sikh women prone to breast cancer: Expert
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Sikh women are the most prone to breast cancer after Parsi women, an expert said here today.

Addressing symposiums on breast cancer at the Government College, Sector 46, and Sri Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26, Dr Shivpreet Singh Samra, managing director of the Mohali-based Grecian Hospital, however, said breast cancer incidence could be checked through regular periodic check-ups.

Dr Samra emphasised the need to detect breast cancer early in order to go in for a combination of radio and chemotherapy among women, which was most prevalent among the 50-60 age group.

As part of its campaign to spread awareness about breast cancer, the Grecian Hospital is organising a series of symposia in educational institutions.



Spice lucky winners

Panchkula, October 23
The Spice telecom, which introduced the ‘Pay your bill and get lucky’ scheme for its subscribers in Punjab region for the August bill cycle, were awarded with LCD TV, gold coins and cash credit worth Rs 500. The first three lucky winners of this initiative were announced by Panchkula deputy commissioner Rajendra Kataria through a lucky draw along with Spice officials and guests at the Ramgarh Fort in Panchkula. The three lucky winners were Anil from Amritsar, who won the mega prize of LCD TV, Sanjay Sachdeva and Devinder Singh, who won a gold coin each. — TNS



Effigy of Raj Thackeray burnt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Members of Iqra, a city-based minorities’ organisation, burnt an effigy of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackarey here today to protest against his bias against non-Maharastrians.

The protesters gathered near at the Labour Chowk near Colony no. 5 and raised slogans against Thackarey.

President of the Iqra Haffiz Anwar-Ul-Haq condemned Raj Thackarey for flaring up regional sentiments of the Maharastrians. He said such divisive ideas were a threat to the national integrity.

Anwar said the organisation would submit a memorandum to the UT Administrator on Friday.



Fruits distributed among patients
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
The Indian Red Cross Society, Punjab, distributed fruits to indoor patients of PGI yesterday. Social workers distributed packets of fruits to 500 patients of female surgical, male surgical, ENT, gynecology and general surgery ward.




Driving, an unpleasant experience

With reference to the story “Overriding safety” published on October 21, it is as a result of slow development of the city's public transport system, which has failed to keep a pace with the traffic demand both in terms of quality and quantity, that the use of undesirable modes such as intermediate public transport and personalised transport, mainly two-wheelers, is growing at a rapid speed.

On the one hand, motor cyclists amongst two-wheeler riders, are the most vulnerable lot to fatal accidents while on the other hand, noisy silencers and engines of motor cycles create noise pollution.

Not only, it is causing disturbance to city residents, it is also making driving in the city unpleasant.

Rajesh Krishan, Chandigarh

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030



Fissures to fore in students’ council
SOPU holds press conference, ABVP submits memorandum to V-C

Tribune News Service

PU Students’ Council joint secretary Deepak Thakur (centre) addresses a press conference on the campus on Thursday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, October 23
Even as the Panjab University authorities failed to clarify their position on students’ safety on the campus, it was the Students’ Council that held a press conference here today to address the issue.

However, the only member of the council present on the occasion was joint secretary Deepak Thakur. Though the president of the council Sahil Nanda’s name also figures in the FIR, who is still at large, council vice-president Parul and general secretary Prahsant, both belonging to the ABVP, were conspicuous by their absence indicating “differences” in the SOPU-ABVP alliance.

Later, the ABVP members, including vice-president Parul, submitted a memorandum to the PU authorities urging them to take strict action against the students involved in the clash. The memorandum addressed to the vice-chancellor urged the authorities to deal strictly with the ‘goonda’ elements who created a ruckus on the campus.

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference, the SOPU members blamed the varsity authorities for security lapses and demanded a probe into the matter.

Students’ Council joint secretary Deepak Thakur said the students named in the FIR, including Uday Bhan, Brinder Dhillon and Sahil, have nothing to do with the incident.

The SOPU has, however, blamed the police for implicating the students. “It’s not for the first time that such an incident has happened where the students have been falsely implicated,” said Saurabh, a SOPU activist.

Meanwhile, an emergency meeting to review security arrangements was held on the campus. Students also met the Dean, students’ welfare, Prof Naval Kishore, and suggested that the authorities should make the Students’ Centre a vehicle-free zone to restrict entry of unauthorised vehicles.



PU Faux Pas
Declares passed student as compartment candidate
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Apparently, Panjab University could not have committed a worse faux pas. A student, who had cleared BA final examinations, was informed about compartment in English a year after the declaration of result.

It was revised after the varsity realised the marks had been swapped with preceding roll number student, who, as a result of the mistake, was a compartment candidate despite having a first division in the subject.

Rajni Rani (136299) and Sunita Kumari (136298) had both appeared in examination. Rajni was declared pass in June last year with over 60 per cent in English. But in the last week of March, almost a year after the declaration of results, she received two communications stating her result had been revised and she had secured compartment in English.

Challenging the action before the high court, Rajni Rani of Mukerian said no reason for the revision of result was specified. In her petition, which has now been allowed by the Division Bench of Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Nawab Singh, the petitioner added she was compelled to shuttle from one office to another.

In a short reply to the petition, the varsity said Sunita’s roll number was preceding that of Rajni. After she was awarded compartment in English with 22 marks, Sunita applied for re-evaluation, after which the marks were increased to 49.

As the difference in the previous and the re-evaluated marks was more than 15, the matter was referred back to the re-evaluation branch by the examination branch for being examined by a third examiner.

When the answer sheet was then seen, it was revealed that Sunita had originally secured 62 marks, which as a result of re-evaluation had been decreased to 49. As this time the difference was less than 15, the matter was not referred to the third examiner.

The varsity added: It then actually came to light that Rajni had originally secured 22 marks. “When the result was published, there was a mix up and the marks secured by them were swapped,” the counsel said. “The bona fide mistake, which has crept in the declaration of result, has been sought to be cured by the action now impugned by the petitioner”.

It was further added: The marks actually secured by the petitioner have been declared. Earlier, the marks which have been secured by some other candidate, as a result of the mistake, have been credited in the name of the petitioner.



Hostel accommodation
Authorities prefer lecturers over students
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, October 23
Despite the shortage of hostel accommodation for students in Panjab University, the authorities concerned, seem to be least bothered. The two floors (IInd and IIIrd floor) of first block of the Boys’ Hostel No-6 (Teja Singh Hall) have been allotted to the academic staff college and public health department.

One can imagine the callousness of the university authorities, which could not find a suitable accommodation for the academic staff and has been using these hostel rooms from past over 15 years.

Not only this, lecturers who come here from across the country to attend their classes and seminars, mostly girls stay here in the boys’ hostel. It seems that the authorities are more concerned towards these lecturers than their own students, who never stay here for more than two months.

Talking to The Tribune, harassed students of the public health department said, “Last year, this course was introduced here in the University. It is a self-finance department and from the beginning the authorities are assuring, they will shift us to the other building, but still they have not shifted us anywhere.”

One girl student (on an anonymity) said, “Being a girl it’s not easy to come to the boys’ hostel. Even vice-chancellor R.C. Sobti, has not solved our problems.”

Jayanti Dutta, deputy director of ASC and coordinator of the public health department said, “Though I am working here in ASC from the past ten years, but I personally feel bad to work inside the boys’ hostel.”

Another senior professor admitted that the authorities are least bothered about this problem.



Campus Rumpus
Accused not new to violence
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, October 23
A looks at the background of students allegedly involved in yesterday’s ruckus on the campus proves that barring one or two of them, the others were not new to violence.

Those who have been booked by the police include, Ankush Sharma of the department of laws, Uday Bhan, a research scholar at the department of Botany, Brinder Dhillon, department of laws, Sahil Nanda, president of Panjab University campus students’ council and a student of UIET (University Institute of Engineering and Technology) and one Chajju Khan, a resident of Burail. The victim of the clash, Sanjay, is a former student of GGDSD College, Sector 32.

Starting with the SOPU president, Brinder Dhillon, whose name figures in as many as eight cases, including involvement in a hostel fight in 2006, twice in cases pertaining to grievous hurt and twice in attempt to murder and twice under preventive measures and others. The second accused, former presidential candidate of SOPU, Uday Bhan, has been booked twice including grievous hurt and under preventive measures.

While Brinder was released on bail about two months back in the stabbing case of UILS, where a group led by SOPU activists allegedly stabbed a student during examination.

According to police sources, most of the criminal cases are pending against him. Udaybhan was also involved in the cars-smashing case that took place in November last. It is learnt that Ankush Sharma, who is the former president of GGDSD College-32 students’ council last year, also figures in similar cases.

While Sahil Nanda, present president of Panjab University Campus Students’ Council (PUCSC) does not have any criminal record and it is the first time any FIR has been registered against him.

It seems that police is least bothered about taking action against them. Brinder easily escaped from the police station yesterday, even after being taken there at the police station by some police officials.

Sukhbir Rana, SHO of the police station Sector 11 said, “He was taken to the police station soon after the incident, but as no FIR was registered against him till he escaped.”

Sanjay, the complainant in the case is UT Champion in boxing in the 75 kg weight category and his medical report is still awaited, after that there might be an addition in the FIR.

Meanwhile, the local court today sent the three accused involved in the case, namely Ankush Sharma, Udaybhan and Chajju Khan to judicial remand for 14 days. The remaining two accused, Brinder Dhillon and Sahil Nanda are still absconding.



Youth Fest
Folk flavour dominates day 3
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
The participants staged a vibrant show on day three of the Panjab University Diamond Jubilee Youth and Heritage Festival of Zone A today.

The day included competitions of Punjabi folk songs, quiz, debate, elocution, classical and folk dances. The participants gave mesmerising performances and enthralled the audience with their astonishing level of energies. The highlights of the evening session were the folk dances, which set many feet tapping.

Punjab University campus got first prize in ladies’ folk songs and kali singing. First prize in kavishri was won by Government College, Sector 46. However, SD College, Sector 32, bagged first prizes in classical dance and group dance. DAV, Sector 10, won first prize in vaar contest.

Punjab cooperation minister Capt Kanwaljeet Singh was chief guest. In his address, he emphasised on the importance of reviving the cultural heritage.



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