C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Anything for a city number
With low road tax and registration fee in the city, motorists from neighbouring states furnish bogus ID, residence proofs to get a Chandigarh number for their vehicles
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, December 24
Attracted by low registration fee in the city, vehicle owners from the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana are getting their vehicles registered in the city, allegedly on forged documents.

Sources in the registration and licensing authority (RLA), Chandigarh, said on an average, at least five-seven vehicles are registered every day by submitting fake identity and residential proofs.

“The practice is the result of huge disparity in registration fee charged in Chandigarh and its neighbouring states. Besides, vehicles owner from neighbouring states also prefer to get Chandigarh registration number to avoid harassment at the hands of the traffic cops, who generally target vehicles form other states,” sources added.

The Punjab government charges 2 per cent tax on the price of the vehicle for registration. The fee is almost same in the Haryana. For example, one has to shell out Rs 11,000 to get a vehicle worth Rs 5 lakh registered in Punjab.

On the contrary, the RLA, Chandigarh, charges road tax on the basis of number of seats. For a car having four seats, the car owner has to pay only Rs 2,200 to get it registered in Chandigarh. On an average, per day 200 vehicles, including two-wheelers, are registered in the city.

A senior officer in the RLA admits that the practice has serious repercussions. Not only the neighbouring states are suffering loss due to this practice, the local police also finds it difficult to trace the owner of such vehicles.

One can witness agents wandering outside the RLA alluring the vehicles owner to get their vehicles registered without delay. They also offer to complete the requisite documents on their own without giving them residential or identification proofs.

When this correspondent approached an agent asking him to get a vehicle registered without furnishing documents, the agents agreed to get the job done for Rs 5,000. “Just pay us the money and we will complete all the formalities,” said one of the agents. However, senior officials of the RLA denied any such activity in the department.



Estate office to pay Rs 25,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the estate office to pay a compensation of Rs 25,000 for deficiency in services.

The petitioner, Satwant Kaur, 65, stated that her mother was originally allotted the house by the estate office. Later the house was transferred in her name in 1986.

The petitioner had got a loan of Rs 14,500 issued under the LIG housing scheme for the construction of the said house and the mortgage deed in favour of the estate office was executed.

The petitioner stated that she had paid the loan amount of mortgage deed after which a no due certificate was issued to her.

Estate office officials then asked her to execute the redemption deed, which was submitted by her in August 18, 2006.

The date of delivery of the deed was mentioned as September 19, 2006. It was alleged she got the deed after two years of delay.

The estate office argued that the loan file was found untraceable when sent for the verification of ownership to the allotment branch on August 22, 2006.

The file was again sent from permanent ledger account and it was only in September 2008 that the ownership was verified and thereafter the redemption was executed.



5 baseball players hurt in PU clash
Sandeep Rana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
Five players of All-India Inter-University baseball camp were injured, one of them seriously, when an argument over a trivial issue took a violent turn on the Panjab University campus here this evening.

Ramesh Kumar sustained head injuries and was admitted to Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16, Chandigarh.

According to sources, the incident took place when five players of SCD Government College, Ludhiana, and a group of about two-dozen PU students had a heated argument during the play.

The university students allegedly hit Ramesh on his head with a slugger, following which Ramesh fell unconscious.

Eklove, a team-mate of Ramesh, alleged: “Pankaj, a player from the other group, had a heated argument with us following which he brought about 20 students of M.PEd. They assaulted us and fled from the spot.” He said, “We want an action against them and I can identify each one of them.”

The team coach, Sukdev, told TNS, “Ramesh’s condition was critical and he was unable to recognise us.” He could be discharged from the hospital only after his CT scan was done, Sukhdev added.

Director (sports), Panjab University, C.S. Grewal, said: “The matter came to my notice in the evening. I will get the issue investigated and whosoever found guilty would be chucked out of the team.”



Hotels to be under watch
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
The Chandigarh Administration, in its endeavour to make the city secure and safe for the tourists, today convened a meeting for security requirements in hotels in Chandigarh. The meeting was chaired by the Home Secretary-cum-Secretary, Tourism, Ram Niwas.

The meeting decided that CCTV cameras would be installed at the entry, exit, reception, underground and front parking. The record of at least one month CCTV camera's footage to be maintained and identity proof to be produced by every customer while checking-in and checking of the luggage to be done with hand-held metal detectors.

It was decided that if any individual brought weapons along, the entry had to be made by the hotel staff with their licence number. Decision was also taken to have telephone equipment with facility of caller ID to avoid hoax calls and to trace the phone from which the call was made.

It was decided to initiate random checks in the hotels from January 20. The steps will instill the sense of security in the minds of the tourists and guests, averred Niwas.

SSP S.S. Srivastava underlined various points which should be taken up by hotel owners to enhance the security arrangements within their hotels.

The points include installation of scanner for checking of luggage/articles, proper lighting arrangements in and around the hotel, proper liaison to be kept with the police, character verification of all hotel staff, including trainees be done and hotel staff be briefed to remain extra alert.


High drama at Panchkula market
HUDA officials try to seal shop, return empty-handed after resistance from shopkeepers
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 24
Chaos prevailed at the Sector 7 market when a team of Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) officials, along with heavy police force, tried to seal a shop today.

However, following protest by the shopkeepers, the officials had to return and the affected shopkeeper managed to get a stay from a local court against the move.

According to sources, the HUDA authorities didn’t serve notice on the tenant for eviction even as it resumed the building last month.

The HUDA officials said the building was resumed after it was found that there were violations of building bylaws.

On the other hand, the shopkeeper, Jai Kishan Bajaj, who runs a departmental store in the building, said he was a tenant in the building for the last 20 years and had no idea about the move.

“I am a tenant in the building and 20 years back the condition of the building was same as now,” said Bajaj.

“However, the landlord sold the building to a property dealer a few years back and now we are facing this situation,” said the shopkeeper, adding that he was not informed about such move by the HUDA authorities or the landlord.

Hundreds of shopkeepers gathered on the spot as soon as the HUDA officials, in the presence of the duty magistrate, started the proceedings of sealing the building.

Senior-vice-president of the Panchkula Beopar Mandal B.B. Kochchar, who was present on the spot, said it was a highhanded on the part of HUDA officials as the occupant was not even informed about such a move and they even insisted upon to seal the building despite knowing that the building was occupied.

However, keeping in view the charged atmosphere, the officials decided to withdraw from the scene after which the affected shopkeeper moved to the local court to get a stay against the eviction.

When contacted, HUDA estate officer S.S. Saini admitted lapse on the part of the authorities. He said the building was resumed and notice of eviction was served on the landlord. It was not in the notice of HUDA that the building was occupied.

“However, the fact came to light today when the team reached the spot to seal the building and now, as per the law, the shopkeeper has been also served a notice of eviction till January 6,” said the estate officer.



Sharing joy with elderly
Sheetal Mahajan and Harpreeti Bassi

Chandigarh, December 24
Career Weavers Consultants Pvt. Ltd., a human capital management organisation, celebrated Christmas at the old age home of Sector-15.

The team, including institute trainers, students, and young children, celebrated the joyful festive time with the inmates and also distributed gifts.

Vandana Worrell, centre head said, “We wished to add joy to these special moments not only for us but also for those who are less fortunate, transforming them into delightful memories. It is a unique experience for them but also for our students giving them opportunity to learn the value of interacting and sharing their joy and youthfulness with elderly.”



Victim’s kin allege police inaction
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
The functioning of the Chandigarh Police yesterday came under the Punjab and Haryana High Court scanner after the family of young entrepreneur Yogesh Dutt alleged that the police was hand in glove with Uppal Housing Pvt Ltd, and three others, for not investigating his accidental death case in “true letter and spirit”.

Dutt had fallen to death from the ground floor to two levels below in the basement as there was no caution sign in the mall that was under construction. He was there to attend a meeting to review the work progress.

In a petition placed before Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Jasbir Singh, wife Bindesh Dutt and other petitioners alleged the police under the influence of respondents neither associated the eyewitnesses, nor took action against the contravention of safety norms and laws by the main accused.

The petitioners, through counsel Puneet Bali and Hittan Nehra, added that directions should be issued to the official respondents to reinvestigate the case dated July 25, 2007, under Section 304-A, IPC, registered at the Industrial Area police station.

Counsel said those working and present at the site with Dutt had not been associated or involved in the investigation of the case, even though they were important to the investigation.

When Dutt’s employee approached the police authorities, his complaint was not entertained and was torn to pieces. Rather, he was threatened by the police authorities with implication in the case.

The respondents, counsel maintained, were to be blamed for their negligence, carelessness, casualness, wrongful act and inaction in not maintaining safety features and medical facilities at the construction site.



Airline told to pay Rs 11 lakh compensation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
An uncomfortable flight experienced by the complainants has costed Emirates Airlines dear, as the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has asked the airlines to pay a compensation of Rs 11 lakh for inefficient services.

The commission has also directed the airlines to pay Rs 1 lakh to the complainant’s wife for causing discomfort during the flight. The airlines has been asked to pay the couple Rs 4 lakh, each, for mental harassment during the journey and further Rs 1 lakh, each, as punitive damages.

The forum also told the airlines to refund the difference in fare from Johannesburg to Dubai and from Dubai to Delhi for first class tickets that was paid by the complainants and fare of the business class, in which they were forced to travel.

The petitioner, former Advocate-General for Punjab and Haryana and advocate at the Punjab and Haryana High Court, ML Sarin and wife Niti Sarin, said they had to participate in an international conference in South Africa in 2006.

The petitioner had booked two first class tickets from Delhi to Dubai, Dubai to Johannesburg, and then return tickets from Johannesburg to Dubai and then to Delhi for Rs 2,19,518.

It was stated in the complaint that the petitioner had boarded the flight on September 9, 2006, and undertook the journey from Delhi to Dubai and to their discomfort, the footrest of Niti Sarin’s seat was broken.

When they informed the flight staff, the footrest was replaced with a large metal box and placed a pillow on its top.

As Niti Sarin was undergoing an orthopedic treatment in her legs, the makeshift arrangement was very uncomfortable, ML Sarin said.

Their problems did not finish as after landing at the Dubai airport, they sought to inquire from Emirates whether their ongoing flight from Dubai to Johannesburg can be re-scheduled for a few hours to a later flight.

However, after the conference the petitioners were informed that their return flight to Dubai has been cancelled.

They were told by the airlines that the flight was cancelled due to the mistake of the airlines staff.

The petitioners waited for four hours and were later accommodated in a business class flight.

The airlines replied that the forum had no territorial jurisdiction to take up the case and denied that the footrest was broken.



Villagers raise slogans against cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
Residents of Darua today staged a protest outside the police post in the area accusing the police of dragging its feet to register a case of kidnapping.

The resident alleged that the police has recorded only a DDR in the episode, even as the circumstances indicated that the auto-rickshaw driver, Kunwarpal of Daura, had disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

Jaspal Singh, the brother in-law of the Kunwarpal alleged that on December 20,
Raju of Bapu Dham colony hired Kunwar’s autorickshaw (HR-68-6090) for two
persons for Ambala.

Kunwarpal made off for Ambala with the three persons later identified as Sabu and Rashid. After getting no information for four days about Kunwarpal’s whereabouts, the matter was reported to the police.

The police questioned Raju in this connection, but nothing came out of it. After a few days, Sabu came back and expressed ignorance about Kunwarpal and the other passenger saying that he was dropped on the way.

With this, the residents alleged that the other passenger had kidnapped Kunwarpal and the police was not taking the matter seriously.

The SHO of the Industrial Area police station Yashpal Sharma said the police was investigating the matter. A DDR had been recorded and the police team had already been dispatched to a village of a person.



Chief Administrator flays realtors
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
The tendency of property dealers to first bid for property on maximum price in auctions and later surrender the plot has come to the notice of the UT Chief Administrator, who has taken a serious view of it.

Castigating the practice of property dealers, Chief Administrator Sanjay Kumar, in a recently pronounced order, observed: “In real estate matters, there are people who maybe real estate agents and who have vested interest in artificially hiking the auction prices to further their hidden interest. If there is no provision to penalise or defer such participants having some other interest, other than buying a site in auction, the process of law can be misused for just artificially hiking the prices.”

He added: “There can also be many attempts to dislodge genuine buyer from buying the site by way of auction by artificially hiking the bid on the spot. As such, if any bidder who has signed the documents before the auction and has been successful in the bid, if subsequently, offers to surrender the site, some kind of penalty or loss to him is required to be imposed to avoid malpractice in this regard.”



Golf range, lake at Zirakpur soon
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, December 24
The Zirakpur Municipal Council has decided to build international golf range and lake for residents of Zirakpur and surrounding areas.

A resolution to this effect was passed at a meeting of councillors yesterday. The meeting was headed by MC President Narinder Sharma.

Out of the five SAD councillor, only one was took part in the meeting, which was held at the MC office.

During the meeting, the council also passed resolution for procuring a new fogging machine and dustbins for the town.

According to Sharma: “We are planning to build an international golf range on around 533 biga shamlat land near Gajipur village and lake for residents.”

He said the work for golf range and lake would be started soon. Around Rs 12 crore would be spent on them, he added.



Silver jubilee reunion by UBS
Tribune News Service

UBS alumni during the silver jubilee reunion-2008 at Panjab University in Chandigarh on Wednesday.
UBS alumni during the silver jubilee reunion-2008 at Panjab University in Chandigarh on Wednesday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, December 24
University Business School (UBS), Panjab University, organised silver jubilee reunion -2008 at PU today.

More than forty students of 1982 and 1983 batches participated in the reunion.

Some of the prominent alumni who attended the meet include Anil Sharma, HR head of ITC, Sudhir Kant, president, Millipore, Subhash Kumar, chief financial officer, Mansarovar Energy, Columbia (USA), Jasminder Singh, Inspector General of Police, Punjab, Rajesh Tuli, managing director, Coral Telecom Pvt Ltd, Neeraj Seth, managing director, Celsius refrigeration Pvt Ltd, Sanjeev Suri, managing director, Euro Chern, LM Kaushal, director, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, Dr Kamal Kant, principal, Govt College, Haripur (HP).

Apart from these, over fifty alumni of other batches were present for the event. Alumni were honoured in salutation session in which they also shared their experiences with the present batch.

Talking about the recent economic meltdown, one of the alumni stated that this would teach the amateur professionals about the value of job which they actually forgot due to availability of end number of options.

Another alumnus stated that this department provided him with a platform to make his own path in the field. A cultural programme was also presented by the UBS students to mark the end of the event.



Special kids celebrate Xmas at Air Force station
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
For about 35 special children and staff from Missionaries of Charity, Chandigarh, it was Christmas celebration with a difference as their gift literally came from skies.

They were taken on a trip to the local Air Force station, where they spent time exploring the flying machines and interacting with IAF personnel.

The visit was facilitated by the local chapter of the Air Force Wives Welfare
Association (AFWWA).

The children were taken onboard the An-32, IL-76 and Mi-26 aircraft and given a glimpse of the mighty Indian Air Force.

The association members were also present and shared some moments with them. A popular fast food chain also piped in with food packets for the visitors.



NSS camp ends
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
A 10-day NSS camp concluded at the Government Model Senior Secondly School, 35-D, here today.

Clean and green environment, cleanliness on the school campus, awareness of the social evils and environmental degradation were the major events during these days.

The students visited the Kajheri village for awareness of cleanliness to the villagers. Kushinder Sharma, District Education Officer, was the chief guest on this occasion.

Campaign against HIV

The State AIDS Control Society in collaboration with the Yuvsatta, NGO and police personnel organized a signature campaign against HIV/AIDS in Bapu Sham Colony.

The campaign was about motivating people to adopt a healthy life-style and saying no to unprotected sex and drug abuse.

Around 500 people of the area put their signature on a banner specially prepared
for the occasion.

Environment project

St Kabir Public School, Sector 26, here organized an environment project display in collaboration with the UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI).

The projects on display were on natural resources like components of environment, utilization of natural resources and conservation.

“The Deaf Way” foundation, a French NGO headed by Era Walton, interacted with parents of the school students.



Maths passing through golden age: Expert
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
The Annual Foundation School, sponsored by National Board for Higher Mathematics, department of atomic energy, Mumbai, valedictory was held in the department of mathematics, Panjab University today.

The function was presided over by professor RP Bambah, a renowned mathematician of international fame. As many as 27 research students from all over India participated in this programme.

Besides lectures by the faculty of the department, some distinguished mathematicians from IIT (Bombay), ISI (Delhi), HRI (Allahabad), University of Mumbai shared their ideas and enlightened young research students.

Prof Bambah said mathematics was passing through a golden age adding that new areas were being discovered and inter-relations between different areas of mathematics were being established.

He advised the mathematical community to spare some part of their time to solve the unknown problems.



Governor greets people
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
Punjab Governor and UT Administrator S.F. Rodrigues today greeted the people, especially members of the Christian community, on the occasion of Christmas, the birthday of Jesus Christ.

In a message on the eve of this auspicious occasion, Rodrigues said, “Our country, despite its multi-lingual and multi-cultural identity, has shown the rest of the world how to live in peace and harmony.”

“The unique feature of ‘unity in diversity’ has, in fact, acted as a cementing force to make our nation strong and vibrant,” he added.



Ajay, Vandana chosen for R-Day parade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
Two students of Government College, Mohali, - Ajay Bharti and Vandana Teji - have been chosen to participate in the Republic Day parade to be held in New Delhi on January 26.

Ajay Bharti is a BA final year student of the college and a senior volunteer of the National Service Scheme (NSS).

He is among the five students from Punjabi University, Patiala ,who have been selected for the NSS contingent.

“Ajay was selected after tough inter-state and inter-university competitions held at Agra,” said a proud principal of the college Roop Aulakh.

Ajay Bharti attended two national youths leadership training camps at Pratapgarh and Rishikesh. Ajay is also the college’s best-blood donor and a good artist.

Vandana Teji is an under officer with the National Cadet Corps (NCC) in the college and will be representing the college in the NCC contingent at the R-Day parade.

“Vandana is already in New Delhi for the pre-Republic day NCC camp. She has also been chosen for the national youth cultural exchange programme being organised in Malaysia,” Aulakh said.

She added that programme offices of the NSS in the college are Prof Ashwani Kumar and Dr Baldev Singh Gill, who along with the NCC in charge Captain Kanwar Rajinder Singh have guided these students bring laurels to the college.



Honour for PGI doctors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
Prof Savita Malhotra, Psychiatry Department, PGI, has been selected for the Dr KL Wig Oration award of the National Academy of Medical Sciences for 2008-09. She was selected for her outstanding contribution in the field of psychiatry.

The National Academy of Medical Sciences acknowledges her significant contribution in the field of child and adolescent psychiatry with emphasis on developing resource material for patients and teachers on the subject of mental health and life skills training for children and adolescents.

The oration will be delivered at the next annual meeting of the academy at
Lucknow in 2009.

Meanwhile, Dr S Prabhakar, Professor and Head of Neurology Department, PGI, was elected “president elect” of the Neurological Society of India during the 57th Annual Conference of Neurological Society of India in Pune from 17th to 20th December.

He has already been the president of the Indian Academy of Neurology and the Indian Medical Association Chandigarh State Branch.



Yuletide spirit grips schools
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
Guru Teg Bahadur Public School, Sector 15, celebrated Christmas here today. The school campus was decorated with red and white balloons, buntings and lights.

An art & craft exhibition was also held on the occasion. The message of love, peace and brotherhood was conveyed through the story of birth of Jesus Christ. Mayor Pardeep Chhabra was the chief guest.

Sanjivni School

Sanjivni Children School celebrated Christmas. Students were dressed up as Santa Claus. Indu Luthra, Principal, narrated the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. The children were dressed up as mother Mary and angels.

St Kabir School

St Kabir Public School, Sector 26, celebrated Christmas with great enthusiasm yesterday. Supreet, a Class X student, explained how and why Xmas is celebrated and suggested that as Jesus had said love your enemies, so we should simply love everyone and follow His teachings. The school choir sang Christmas carols.

Delhi Public School

Delhi Public School celebrated Christmas with great pomp and fervour. The programme started with candle lighting by the headmistress. Children danced with perfection to the tune of peppy numbers and sang melodious carols.

Addressing the parents of the participants, headmistress Kavita Malik said DPS, Chandigarh, stands committed to a mission to scale great heights through holistic development of the students.

She also said that celebrating all festivals in school is essential to instil in our children the true spirit of secularism.

Divya Public School

The students of Divya Public School, Sector 44-D, presented a colourful programme and wished each other.

Students danced to the beats of music around the Christmas tree. The principal conveyed the message of love, peace and brotherhood.

Students of junior classes were taken to Church in Sector-44 to pay homage to lord Jesus as part of their Christmas celebration.

Guru Nanak Public School

Student of Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 36-D, celebrated Christmas along with in charge Suman Lata.

They shared the Christmas spirit with children of Sikhya, the School of Learning. They shared their joyous feelings by distributing warm caps, scarves and candies
among children.

The excitement and happiness knew no bounds when the children were receiving gifts from Santa Claus. The students gathered around Santa and sang carols.

Bhupindra School

Christmas was celebrated with fervour at Bhupindra International Public School (BIPS) here yesterday.

The festivities began after a prayer meeting followed by Christmas carols sung by
the students. It was followed by dance numbers performed by students of Classes
I and II.

Nursery students also entertained the guests with their rhymes. A fancy dress competition was also organised. Prizes were distributed among the winners.

Ashmah School

An eventful celebration marked the Christmas fun at Ashmah International School
here yesterday.

The Christmas bash which was highlighted by euphoric singing of carols and other exciting events saw an unusual entry by Santa Claus, Kesar Singh, adviser of the school and retired IAS officer.

A skit on the birth of Lord Jesus by Class II students entertained tiny-tots even as carols like “Showers of Blessings”, “Jingle Bells”, and “Merry Christmas” filled the ambience with consonant musical notes.

Roopinder Ghuman, principal, said Christmas was the time to celebrate the spirit of benevolence, charity and sacrifice as symbolised by Jesus Christ and personified in Santa Claus.



Chemical engg lecturer brings laurels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
The presentation of research paper in the area of nanotechnology by Gaurav Verma, lecturer, department of chemical engineering & technology, PU, won the “ISRS Best Paper Prize” at the International Symposium for Research Scholars on metallurgy, materials science and engineering held at Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai (IIT Madras), from December 10-12.

As many as 59 educational institutions from India and abroad participated in this symposium, out of which 47 institutes were from India and 12 from overseas.

Annual session

The department of chemical engineering & technology, Panjab University, in collaboration with Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers (IIChE) is organising the 61st Annual Session of Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers (CHEMCON-2008) on the occasion of Diamond Jubilee celebration of the department at university auditorium from December 27-30.

The IIChE is a premier national-level organisation with the support of as many as 16,000 registered members through 40 regional centres and 58 students’ chapters spread across the country.

It aims at providing a common platform for meaningful interaction between the academia and the industry to help the implementation of knowledge available and achieve a new height in the pursuit of excellence.

Union Minister of State for Finance Pawan Kumar Bansal will inaugurate the conference on December 27. Haryana Chief Minister BS Hooda will be the chief guest and Vice-Chancellor professor RC Sobti will be the guest of honour.

Haryana Governor Dr AR Kidwai will inaugurate Shri Dhirubhai Ambani Commemoration Day and Indo-US joint symposium on the second day of this conference.

NSS camp

As a part of NSS activities, professor MS Bains, programme coordinator, NSS, PU, visited the Rayat College of Education, Railmajra (Nawanshar), to preside over the valedictory function of seven-day special camp of NSS.

Principal Dr Jagdip Kaur welcomed the programme coordinator. Dr Bains, while addressing the volunteers, inspired them to work hard for the society.

He further advised the volunteers to fight against the social evils like corruption, female foeticide, dowry, gender bias and drug addiction. Dr Bains also gave away prizes to the best volunteers of the college.



2008, a year of violence in PU
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
Year 2008 proved a mixed bag for Panjab University. While incidents of violence involving university students were on the rise, the year also saw many projects and new courses being started.

If 140 days of struggle for Panjab University’s Central status by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) consisting students and members of the Panjab University Teachers’ Association could not reach to its logical conclusion, thanks to the “politicking” in the state government.

And even the Punjab government’s U-turn on the letter of no objection to the university’s Central status was yet another roadblock, nevertheless it paved way for the demand of complete central funding for the university by the new JAC.

The unceremonious exit of 58 teachers following the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on October 31 after a bunch of petitions for enhancement in the age of retirement from 60 to 62 years were quashed, would be remembered as a black day in the university’s history.

Perhaps the most shocking incident, which rocked the university campus, was when a student of UILS (University Institute of Legal Studies) was attacked inside the examination hall while taking an exam in front of 35 other students.

The student, Simrandeep Singh, was attacked by a group of students, including the then SOPU leader, Harpreet Singh Multani, who happens to be the student of UILS.

If that was not enough, a student leader of INSO, Vikas Rathee misbehaved with the vice-chancellor and another attacked on SOPU leader, Brinder Dhillon took place right at the gate of the vice-chancellor’s residence.

Similar incidents of violence even forced the university authorities to restart the years old counselling cell to counsel the students and encourage them for dialogue to violence.

While orders of the Supreme Court to implement OBC quota in university for which the initial Rs 5 crore were also given to the university were followed but later when it was clarified that university does not come under the Centrally funded educational institutions and is an inter-state body corporate, the same came under cloud.

Now, for this year, seven per cent students have been admitted in various courses, after it was decided to implement the quota in a phased manner, the fate of the students for their infrastructural needs hangs in balance with no quota to be implemented next year.

While the university had to deal with financial crunch throughout the year, the year-end saw a whopping Rs 100 crore being given to the university for creating new infrastructure and improving the existing one.

With this Rs 100 crore, the university plans to create the infrastructure for the newly started University Institute of Applied Management Sciences (UIAMS) which is offering MBA courses in specialised fields and even through distance learning mode, two new hostels are due to come up and floors would be added to the existing ones.

College Bhawan, Guru Teg Bahadur Bhawan, state of the art hospital attached with Dr HS Judge Dental Institute are some of the other projects, for which the funds would be utilised.

Besides, Panjab University’s bagging the prestigious PURSE (Promotion of University Research and Scientific Excellence) award, based on its performance in research which includes a grant of Rs 10 crore per annum for the next three years for research, the department of geology, earning endowment amount of Rs 45 lakh for the establishment of a chair in the department, in the field of “exploration and development of hydrocarbon resources,” sanctioned by the ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Commission) were some of the major achievements of the university.

Lastly, the university authorities untiring efforts to make the university plastic and garbage free and planting more than 3,000 saplings and inauguration of several new gardens, including palm garden, trifla garden, herbal park, chrysanthemum garden, deserve a special mention.

Besides making Students’ Centre, the most popular hangout place in the university, a vehicle free zone is one of the historical decisions, which would go a long way in the university’s favour.

Many new courses, including disability studies, B.Sc (electronics and physics) (hons), hospitality management, disaster management were also started this year offering the students a lot more to choose from.



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