C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


SOPU-PUSU at it again
Two hurt in brawl at DAV
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
Two students were badly injured in a brawl between two groups of SOPU and PUSU at DAV College here today.

A meeting reportedly fixed by supporters of the two groups to “peacefully”settle differences at the Sector 11 market turned sour when after a heated argument, PUSU supporters allegedly attacked and injured SOPU supporters Gokul Setia and Aman Multani, the college president.

According to eyewitnesses: “The incident happened at around 1 pm when three youths came to the college in a car and tried to enter the main gate but were stopped by guards. During the course of an argument, one of them bent down and retrieved a “khurpi” from his socks and hit Gokul and Amandeep.”

While students confirmed the involvement of outsiders, the police denied it. “It was actually a fight between students of the college who were supporters of PUSU and SOPU. We took the injured to the GMSH-16 where they were given first aid. We have registered a complaint against three youths who had allegedly hit the victims with a sharp-edged object. We cannot name them,” Har Sahai Sharma, SHO of the Sector 3 police station, said.

Meanwhile, the Principal, BC Josan, deviated from his statement all through the day. Initially, he refused there was any connection between the ongoing fest “Sankalp” and this incident, but later admitted that some youths had tried to disrupt it too.

“They tried to fight on the stage, but I settled things and made them go. Later, they fought outside the college gate. If the accused are of my college, I will take strict action,” he said.

The incident has raised questions as the youths were able to carry a weapon inside the college and some of them had police complaints registered against them. The authorities have taken no action so far on the pretext that the incidents had happened outside the gate.



CITCO joint gets the wrong stare
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, January 20
“Stop ‘n’ Stare”, CITCO’s eating joint at Leisure Valley in Sector 10 here has become a hangout for hooligans, thanks to the police that has failed to check rowdy elements using the ground for stunt driving.

One can imagine the indifferent attitude of the law enforcing agency from the fact that CITCO had brought the matter to the notice of the SP (traffic), but to little effect.

Several complaints had been made, the last one being in December. “It seems the police is allowing the menace to continue by not taking the problem seriously. A major mishap could occur as the police is going soft on violators,” an employee at the joint said.

These youths, disregarding the safety of their lives as well as that of others, do drifting, racing and stunts in swanky cars. As a result, visitors to the food joint are forced to eat food laden with dust.

“Our clientele is being affected. Even as we try to serve hygienic and fresh food, our efforts are dashed due to the dust. Also, customers are afraid of these elements and prefer to keep away. They are also damaging the grass in the lawns,” Kashmir Chand, in charge of the food joint, said.

A Tribune lensman today had a brush with some rowdy youths in a Tata Safari bearing an Indian Air Force emblem. The youths tried to manhandle him for taking their pictures and forced him to delete the pictures.

JS Cheema, DSP (traffic), said: “We regularly book offenders. If there is something wrong, then we will set up a picket there.”



Beating the Odds
Man stands up for bed-ridden niece
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
Avtar Singh, maternal uncle of Dolly who was found dead at her Sector 40 house here on Saturday, today said that he would take bed-ridden Jasbir Kaur along with him to Ludhiana to take care of her.

Jasbir Kaur, the paralytic elder sister of Dolly, was admitted to the PGI when the incident came to light last week. Meanwhile, the police handed over the body of Dolly to her relatives after a postmortem. She was cremated later in the afternoon.

The police said doctors had reserved their opinion and sent the viscera for chemical examination to ascertain the exact cause of the death.

Avtar Singh said his life was full of miseries. He had a 27-year-old daughter who was bed-ridden for the past over 24 years. She had fallen from the third floor and was rendered incapacitated. He had two sons, who had a small business. His wife had died about 15 years ago after getting burnt at her parental house.

Avtar Singh, a retired government schoolteacher, claimed that he used to pay Rs 5,000 per month to Dolly when he was working, but had stopped giving her money after he learnt that she squandered it on liquor.

He said Jasbir Kaur was matriculate and would take tuition at his school. She got paralytic after she was allegedly administered wrong dose by PGI doctors about 15 years ago.

A police officer said Jasbir Kaur had recovered following treatment at the PGI. Narrating the events leading to Dolly’s death, she told the police that Dolly had been drinking for the past two days and had consumed several bottles of liquor, besides forcing her to drink.

Avtar Singh said he had no choice but to take Jasbir Kaur with him after she was discharged. The house in which the sisters were living belonged to their mother. She had taken a loan, but Dolly had defaulted on the instalments. “With my meagre resources I have to take care of two bed-ridden persons,” he said.



LS Poll
Second-rung leaders missing
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
At a time when 38-year-old Omar Abdullah has become become the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, the second-rung leadership seems to be missing here.

With mainstream political parties zeroing in on candidates for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, the city parliamentary seat is set to witness the same old contest among Pawan Bansal, Satya Pal Jain and Harmohan Dhawan.

Either due to their clout or their “grip” on the party set-up at the local level, Bansal and Jain have succeeded in getting nomination from their parties in the past four general elections. The case of Dhawan is different as he had contested from different parties.

Bansal was a natural choice for the Congress following the “exit” of Venod Sharma from the political scene in the wake of the involvement of his son Manu Sharma in the Jessica Lal murder case.

Dhawan’s honeymoon with the Congress proved to be shortlived. Though several Congress leaders, including Pardeep Chhabra, Subhash Chawla and Anu Chatrath, have become Mayors, they seem to be content with playing second fiddle to Bansal.

Jain on the other hand faced challenge from former Mayor Gian Chand Gupta, who is now active in Haryana BJP politics. After Gupta’s exit, there was feeble opposition to Jain’s candidature.

Recently entrepreneur HL Mahajan, brother of former BJP president Yash Pal Mahajan, posed a challenge to Jain and expressed his desire to contest being an old party worker. Besides Jain, five others had applied for BJP ticket.

Observers said given the small size of the union territory, there was hardly any scope for several top leaders in a particular party.

That was perhaps why many local leaders, who do not make it big in the local political scenario, shift their base to Punjab and Haryana as these states can accommodate several leaders.


Lack of staff cripples public convenience at PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
The lack of staff in Panjab University has crippled public convenience on the varsity grounds, as almost all toilets remained closed having no ‘chowkidar’ while students complain of the non-availability of toilets.

The varsity has three toilets on the grounds but none of them was open, causing problems to sportspersons especially girls who come for the evening and morning practice session. Only one of toilets was opened that too when some tournament was organised on the campus.

“Why the authorities have made the facility when it is not to being used,” said an MPEd student. “When we go for practice in the evening, we have to shuffle from grounds to our department due to the lack of public convenience on the grounds,” said a girl of BPEd.

Dr Rakesh Malik, assistant director sports, PU, said: “We have only one guard on the grounds and it becomes difficult to keep an eye on every toilet because anyone can enter there.”



Contractual nurses strike work
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
Around 60 nurses on contract at Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, today struck work for two hours to protest against the non-payment of salary for December.

The protest was withdrawn after deputy medical superintendent Dr SK Bhandari assured them of solving the issue and release the salary soon.

However, the nurses threatened health officials of going on indefinite strike if they did not get the salary in two days.

Under the terms and conditions, the salary has to be paid by the seventh of every month, but it usually gets delayed.

“It is difficult to work amid uncertain conditions when we do not know when our salaries would come,” said a nurse at GMSH-16.

This is not the first time when nurses, employed on a contractual basis, have been at the receiving end.

A few months ago, staff employed on contract at the hospital had proceeded on mass leave in protest against the non-payment of salaries for over two months.

The hospital authorities had then blacklisted the contractor to ensure that payments were made in time.

Hospital authorities agreed that non-payment of dues would eventually affect the working of the hospital. “Since it is a contract system, the sole responsibility of payments lies with the contractor,” said health official of GMSH-16.



Garbage Disposal Plant
Rodrigues’ visit raises eyebrows
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
The today’s “brief” visit by UT Administrator Gen SF Rodrigues and Municipal Commissioner Roshan Commissioner along with other officers to the municipal corporation’s controversial garbage disposal plant, Dadu Majra, sparked off a new debate with most councillors objecting to the same.

In fact, questions were being raised on whether the visit had something to do with the Jay Pee Group associated with the plant or not.

Eyebrows were raised after the information of the visit came through the public relations agency handling the public relations of the group and not the corporation, which had no information about it.

The UT Administrator had inaugurated the plant in May but it had remained non-functional ever since.

Consequently, people of Dadu Majra and nearby places had to bear with foul smell emanating from the garbage.

Soon after the inauguration, the then Mayor Pradeep Chabra visited the plant and found that the plant was non-functional and was creating problems for residents.

A notice was then issued to JP Group to rectify the problem and after a few days, recommendations were made to penalise the company under the contract terms.

Instead of taking any action, the notice was later withdrawn and a monitoring committee was constituted.

At the last meeting, the company representatives had informed members of the monitoring committee that the plant would not become operational till June, 2009.

After the notice was served, the Administrator visited the plant and found many irregularities not only at the plant but with the corporation as well.

Neither MP Pawan Kumar Bansal, nor the then Mayor was invited to the inauguration of the plant.

Ironically, the Administrator during his visit to the plant today spoke highly of it and appreciated the MC even though it was not operational yet.

During his earlier visit around three months ago, he had issued instructions to ensure that it did not give trouble to the area residents and to beautify its surroundings.



Guv visits furniture market
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
UT Administrator SF Rodrigues today visited the furniture market in Sector 53 and took stock of the situation and loss of property caused in the recent fire there.

During his interaction with representatives of the furniture market, Rodrigues offered them a partnership in improving the conditions in their business establishments.

He asked the Finance Secretary and Deputy Commissioner to set up a team of officers to pursue dialogue with the market owners and prepare an action plan consisting of required support infrastructure for regulating the business activity, including looking after the workforce.

He also directed the Deputy Commissioner to involve the marble shop owners in a similar rehabilitation plan to resolve that problem as well.

Later, Rodrigues also visited the site of the city garbage collection near the Solid Waste Management Plant and appreciated the work of the municipal corporation in managing the solid waste.



Admn neglect forced residents to make alteration
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
Residents of “cheap houses” built in early 50s in four sectors seem to be outside the jurisdiction of the Chandigarh administration.

Ironically, the administration’s claims to raise funds from its so-called ambitious IT projects for establishing 25,000 houses for poor, appear hollow because so far it has failed to fix the accountability for 680 units of “cheap houses”.

These houses, built in Sectors 19-C, 19-D, 15-D, 20-C and 24-C, were planned to encourage people to establish themselves in the city.

The indifferent attitude of the administration has compelled the residents to alter the “phased-out designs” of the houses on their own, caring little about the “not-so-sound” structural strength of the houses and illegally encroach upon the administration’s land.

Prem Shammi, secretary, Chandigarh Cheap Houses Welfare Confederation, rued: “We have been constantly reminding the administration, the estate office and the MC to look at our living condition. No one is ready to shoulder the responsibility of taking remedial measures for our problems.

Instead they raise one objection or another. As a result, residents have themselves resorted to amending the designs.”

To top it all, the fate of these houses having total plot area of 522 sq ft finds no mention in the building bylaws, as reviewed by the administration from time to time.

The administration has given relaxation to the marla houses in the name of “need-based changes” but it’s been over a decade since these houses were last reviewed.

In the absence of any policy for these houses, the issue of use of 4-ft front courtyard for raising the stairs for the first floor is hanging fire to date.

The estate office objected that allowing staircase on the courtyard would lead to encroachment on administration’s land. The MC on the other hand objected that the land had to be used for laying civic services. Nevertheless, nothing has been planned for the space officially as yet.

If the staircase is raised from inside the house, it violates the prescribed least living area as per building norms. The norms say that the living area in a room should have at least 100 sq ft area whereas in these houses, the staircase if raised from inside will occupy a part of the room and the living area, restricting it to just 62 ft.

The administration notified that by allowing 95 per cent coverage of house would leave them with just 26 sq ft open area, which would not be sufficient for light and ventilation.

The houses with original design have least scope for light and ventilation with a single window (2 ft X2 ft). Also, the full lane in Sector 24-C had their plinth two feet above the ground.

Residents rued that without raising stairs (on the 4-ft-wide front courtyard), the approach to their houses is not possible. “The estate office considers it unauthorised whereas the approach to our houses is possible only through these staircases because of the faulty design.”



Ration card seekers throng admn complex
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 20
A huge rush of ration card seekers was witnessed at the district administrative complex in Phase I here. Lured by the announcement made by an Akali leader during the suvidha camp held on January 17 and then during Vikas Yatra of Punjab Chief Minister here on January 20, that ration cards would be made, residents from rural and slum areas of the district thronged the complex here.

The ration card seekers had thronged the administrative complex since 8 am to complete their formalities to prepare ration cards. Nand Kishore, a resident of Saheed Udham Singh Colony, Phase VIII, said a leader in the colony had announced that ration cards would be made at district administrative complex.

The queue of ration card seekers never ended till late in the evening. “We were told that the application forms would be submitted today at the DTO office. So we have come to submit the forms. But now we have been told to come on Tuesday,” said Arman Singh.



Musical tributes paid to Saigal
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 20
The life size image of legendary actor, singer KL Saigal pervaded the Randhawa auditorium, as the music enthusiasts and ardent admirers of his golden voice, which virtually stilled the flow of time, converged at the auditorium much before the musical tribute soiree commenced.

The programme, titled Yadon ki Kasak-III dedicated to senior citizens, was organised by the city Sangeet Natak Akademy in collaboration with the Environment Society of India on the death anniversary of the singer.

Opening up with a soulful rendition of Saigal’s favourite bhajan ‘aeri more nayan’, Prof Priyanka Sharma gave a majestic start to the programme. Sometimes the emotions weighed heavily over the virtuosity in sticking to basic ingredients of ‘swar lya and tal’ as the artists attempted to emulate their celebrated peer. However, the Australia based singer Vinod Rajput, was all set to impress with ‘Jab dil hi tuut gya’. The stalwart fan of Saigal, principal (Retd) JS Grewal (75) presented two songs followed by youngsters Dinesh Mishra, Kishore Sharma.

Poets Balbir Singh and Gurbax Saini paid lyrical tributes to Saigal. The female participants however scored over their male counterparts.

The standing ovation awaited the scintillating singing by versatile maestro Kanwaljit Singh Suri (75) who came from Jallandhar to mesmerise the audience.

CSNA vice-chairperson Kamal Arora, conducted the programme while Debashish Dhar and Dhanvir Singh provided musical accompaniment. ESI president SK Sharma presented mementos to the artists.



Interpreting books, films
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 20
The films and literature, though diverse art forms have one major quality of narrative in common but both the mediums are complimentary to each other, opined the Prof Emeritus, ML Raina, an eminent litterateur, literary critic and scholar.

He was delivering a talk on ‘Reading Films, Reading Books’ at a symposium organised by Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi at the Arts Council auditorium here today.

Prof ML Raina delved deep into the relative interdependence of films on literature maintained that while films are gestural, literature is representational as the film embodies and describes literature.

Film is a collaborative effort while books embody the solitary journey of a writer, which is then presented, to another single individual- the reader.

Prof Raina supplemented his views with illustrations with the help of clippings from Russian, Iranian and Indian films, including ‘Pather Panchali’. The intrusive audience remained in rapt attention throughout the animated discussion.

Dr Neelam Man Singh chaired the symposium. The chairperson of the CSA Manju Jaidka, highlighted the activities of the Akademi and solicited the participation of citizens in the akademy activities.

Neelam Man Singh appreciated Prof Raina's presentation and shared her experiences in the realm of literature and performing arts at the national and international level.

She observed that the creativity of a writer matters most the director with his adroit skills not only transforms the script in a film spectacle but also garners his own image of directorial elegance.



Freedom fighters to get free treatment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
In order to extend maximum support and assistance to freedom fighters, the Chandigarh administration has granted free medical treatment to all surviving freedom fighters living in the city.

Free medical facility will be provided in all government hospitals/dispensaries under its administrative control.

The decision has been taken to honour the freedom fighters for their contribution towards the country.

The decision has been taken by UT Administrator SF Rodrigues on the demand of freedom fighters.



Stress on religious policy of Ashoka
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
The department of ancient Indian history, culture and archaeology, Panjab University Chandigarh, organised Prof Lakshman Sarup Memorial lecture on ‘Religious policy of Ashoka’ that was delivered by Prof KK Thaplyal, former Prof and head department of ancient Indian history, culture and archaeology, Lucknow University. The lecture was chaired by Prof OP Bharadwaj, former Veda Vyasa Prof of Indology.

Thaplyal in his lucid talk distinguished between personal religion of Ashoka and religion for the common people propagated by him.

His talk was mainly based on the edicts issued by Ashoka. Some of these inscriptions are addressed to the Buddhist Sangha and others to public.

Thaplyal said Ashoka laid stress on social and economic values. He considers Dhammadana to be the best of all and in his views uniformity in ethical values should be primary.

Prof Thaplyal concluded that king Ashoka tried to unify his kingdom not only politically but also culturally. His talk becomes relevant in present scenario where violence and intolerance is rampant not only in India but also globally.



Malnutrition drops by 5 per cent
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
School Health Scheme year 2006-09 aimed at providing preventive and curative services in 104 government schools has exhibited positive results.

The comparison of nutritional status has revealed that undernourishment has dropped from 51.6 per cent to 46.6 per cent.

The total incidence of anaemia has dropped from 30.2 per cent to 23 per cent, whereas with intensive oro-dental counselling, diagnosis of dental conditions and dental treatment has led to the decrease in incidents of dental caries from 45.8 per cent to 34.9 per cent.

As many as 262 numbers of spectacles have been provided free of cost from the department of ophthalmology.



‘Customer satisfaction is the mantra’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
Customer satisfaction is the main mantra in any corporate field, Pawan Aggarwal, CEO of the Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Supplier Association revealed.

He was sharing his views with students in a management-cum-cultural fest “Praznik”, which started today in Panjab University.

Referring to red tapism, Aggarwal said the government sector was unorganised as it lacked in supervision and fixation of responsibility by the authorities.

He stated that till date, there was lack of team effort, commitment and dedication among professionals.



Strengthen child labour Act

Children hold the keys in shaping the future of a country. There are sufficient provisions in our Constitution to secure their future.

Despite several Acts to safeguard their future, we still find young children in the age group of 8-14 working as house maids, working in dhabas, tea stalls, retail shops, automobile workshops etc.

The Child Labour Act needs to be strengthened for proper implementation and the society needs a wake up call to save the children for a better world.

Dilbag Rai, Chandigarh

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at [email protected] or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030.



PU to ban ad hoc recruitment
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
Panjab University authorities have decided to abolish ad hoc recruitment and appoint regular staff in every department of the campus.

This decision has been taken by the authorities as the ratio of the ad hoc staff has gone up in the recent past. Due to which the authorities are facing the problem of fixing responsibility and fixation of their remunerations.

Sources in the university revealed that at present more than 340 ad hoc personnel were working in various departments of the university.

The sources added that since 1993 the ad hoc system was introduced in the university they fill mostly all posts, which became vacant after retirement.

The sources added that as there is ban on regular posts by the university, the authorities made temporary arrangement by appointing the ad hoc staff.

One of the senior officials stated that the authorities are facing problems in dealing with the ad hoc staff as no responsibility could be fixed.

Recently the authorities have decided that all ad hoc staff will get the salary according to the Deputy Commissioner’s rates fixed in Chandigarh.

But the staff is objecting as they are getting Rs 6,880 at present and after execution of the DC rates they will get Rs 3,800.

RC Sobti revealed that soon the committee would be constituted for selecting the eligible candidates on regular basis.

He said the committee would be constituted to look into the interest of the ad hoc staff, which would become unemployed after regular appointment.



Social science congress at PU from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
Panjab University is organising a two-day First Chandigarh Social Science Congress from January 21.

While revealing to mediapersons, BS Ghuman, Chairman of First Chandigarh Social Science Congress disclosed that the Chandigarh Social Science Congress is an exercise in this regard wherein all the social science departments of the Panjab University will congregate on a common platform to discuss on social sciences: emerging trends in the globalisation era.

He said another mandate of the Chandigarh Social Science Congress is to explore the possibility of enhancing the relevance of social sciences so that these disciplines help in the making of better society. Each social science department would also be inviting an eminent speaker or organising a panel discussion.



Moot Court Competitions
UILS students bring laurels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
Students from the University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS) have brought laurels for the institute by winning distinctions in two national-level moot competitions.

The team comprising Pranshu Chaturvedi, Tanisth Goyal and Puneet Nagpal won the best memorial for the moot in the 5th KK Luthra Memorial National Moot Court held by Campus Law Centre, faculty of University of Delhi from January 16 to 18, 2009.

Pranshu Chaturvedi from UILS won the best speaker award. The team finished at the fifth place out of the 42 participating teams. They were awarded prizes by Justice Cyriac Joseph, sitting judge of the Supreme Court.

Another team comprising Ajaiveer Singh, Harjot Singh Gill and Pranshu Chaturvedi finished as the first runners-up in the National-Level 2nd Justice BR Sawney Moot Court Competition organised at NALSAR University, Hyderabad.

The moot proposition was based on the Constitutional Law and dealt with the states’ right to exercise its power to regulate the sale of alcoholic beverages.

They earned this distinction out of 16 participating teams, which were judged by various High Court judges of Andhra Pradesh and advocates of the Supreme Court.

Prof PS Jaswal, director, UILS, lauded the efforts of budding lawyers and encouraged them to continue their all out efforts for further competitions.



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