C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Honeymoon over, power cuts back
Angry residents block Ambala highway
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, August 9
The patience of Zirakpur residents over long power cuts ran out when hundreds of residents of Preet Colony, Adrash Colony, Sukhna Colony, Badal Colony and Dashmesh Colony blocked the Chandigarh-Ambala national highway for over two hours today.

Raising slogans against the Punjab government and the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), the residents blocked the highway. They said the moment the Banur byelection was over, the power cuts returned.

The protesting residents marched to the Zirakpur chowk and made a human chain to block the highway. As a result, hundreds of vehicles were struck in the traffic jam.

They lamented that their lives had been made miserable due to erratic power supply for the past three days. They claimed that just after the Banur bypoll, the unscheduled power cuts had made the life miserable in the humid weather.

They alleged that the power supply was suspended in the morning and restored in the afternoon for a few hours. But the power supply again went off in the night.

They demanded that their grievance should be redressed at the earliest. They also demanded that the PSEB should give prior information about power cuts so that the residents could schedule their work accordingly.

Charanjit Singh, a resident of Preet Colony, said despite repeated requests, power supply had not improved in the area. Echoing the similar feeling, Amrit Kaur, a resident of Dashmesh Colony, said the area had no electricity from 11 pm to 10 am. The water supply also remained suspended due to power cuts, thus multiplying their miseries.

The Zirakpur SHO said after he had called the XEN to take the issue seriously, the blockade was lifted. Banur SDO Narinder Singh reached the spot to listen to residents’ grievances. He said he would take up the matter with senior officials of the PSEB. XEN H.S. Oberai said power cuts were everywhere in Punjab. There was no major fault in these area. He claimed that the power connections in Zirakpur are increasing day by day with this the load on transformers had also increased. 



Regional identities in PU
Jyoti Rai

Chandigarh, August 9
As debates rage over regionalism vs nationalism, Chandigarh Tribune takes a deeper look at the ongoing trend of assertion of regional identities, which wittingly or unwittingly exist in Panjab University. In a five-part series, we try to explore the reasons for the same and also attempt to find answers as to why nationalism tends to take a back seat to parochial ideologies.

With the new session in place at Panjab University, talent pool from all over the country and beyond can be easily spotted at the department canteens, libraries and hostels, besides lecture halls.

Ideally, the seniors should be welcoming freshers with open arms regardless of any inclination towards a specific region, race or religion. But, moment after students enter the university premises the already existing regional comfort zones suck them in, courtesy various regional student associations that exist within the university. Students from a particular identity, region, culture or religion find their “own” on the very first day.

Some of the most known regional student associations in the university are the Himachal Pradesh Student Union, the Laddakhi Student Association, Manipuri Student Association, Kinnaur Student Association and Forgein Student Association. All these associations have one basic aim and that is “to stand for their own”, be it in problems, celebrations or even elections. 

Such associations are openly encouraging parochialism among students. Though the city boasts of a variety of cultures it houses, one can fairly see how these cultures do not disappear into the so-called “mixed or shuffled culture”. With their regional associations, students from a specific identity remain strongly connected and close, never losing their originality at the same time.

Trying to interpret such “ghettoization” among students at the university level, Dr Jyoti Seth, sociology teacher, GCG-11 says, “It’s a typical ethnic group behavioural pattern. These associations and groups are an attempt to create “your own” away from home. 

The different cultural programmes they organise, gives them a chance to be rooted to their ethic belongings. Not just that, it’s like a demonstration to the rest of the world, so that the others also come to know about their cultures.”

Answering a question on the need of such associations, Yogesh Negi, an ex-university student, opines, “One of the best possible ways to assemble people from a specific region is an association. In the university, the association safeguards their interests and creates a protective pouch for the juniors who are new to the entire system in the first year. 

Also, association meetings, cultural and educational undertakings creates a platform to celebrate a specific culture and keep it alive together.”

Rohit (name changed), a member of the Kinnaur Student Union, said, “Unconsciously, when in a group you are making a statement, that says, we are strong. Don’t mess with us unnecessarily.”

Another Rajasthani student at the university says, “These associations and groups are beneficial, as political parties like SOPU, PUSU and ABVP chase them for vote banks. No regional association would exist in isolation but always backed by a bigger party that will take care of its interests and problems in case they get elected. So you see, it’s not just about coming together of people from same region or culture, but also about their survival in the university, it’s a complete circle of benefits.”

Further in this series, we will take a look at some of the different identities that survive in the university with their “own”.

Tomorrow: Himachal Pradesh Student Union.



SC ruling on exorbitant fee
Admn set to tighten grip on pvt schools
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
The UT administration is all set to tighten the noose on the private schools in the city to check the exorbitant fee hike in the wake of the recent apex court judgment.

It has sought opinion from the senior standing counsel to formulate rules regarding the same and a detailed notification is expected soon.

Private schools will now have to forward a case to the UT Education Department first before raising the fee slab and the same will also be done with the due consent and recommendation of the parent teacher association (PTA) of the school, informed Home-cum-Education Secretary Ram Niwas.

Stating that the UT administration is duty bound to fully implement the orders of the court, the Education Secretary said the Director, Public Information (Schools) Samwartak Singh and the senior standing counsel of the administration, Anupam Gupta, had been asked to prepare a detailed notification, which will be released within this week.

Meanwhile, the administration has also made its stand clear on the capitation fee charged by the private schools.

“Certain private schools that have been forcibly charging money for donations from students and even asking them to buy books or uniforms from specific shop, for profit motives, will be checked now,” said the Education Secretary.

On the other hand, the private schools have expressed their concern over the swiftness in issuing directions in this regard by the administration.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling is the law of the land and the schools are bound by law. The private schools have nothing to hide in this issue but the only concern is that the administration should not take any action in haste and the process should be slow and well thought of,” said HS Mamik, chairman, Independent Schools Association.



Cash At Judge’s Door Respite for Bansal
Bar Council revokes cancellation of licence
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
Nearly a year after the cash-at-judge’s-door scam that led to action against former additional advocate general of Haryana Sanjeev Bansal, the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana today dismissed the complaint against him.

The complaint was initiated as the Bar Council unanimously decided to take suo motu action against Bansal for his alleged involvement in the scam.

Dismissing the complaint, which was fixed for evidence today, the three-member disciplinary committee of the council with its chairman Bhupinder Rathore observed that the complaint was on the basis of media reports, which were not admissible. Besides, the counsel of the council could not provide any evidence against him and the allegations could also not be proved under Section 35 of the Advocates 
Act (Professional Misconduct).

The complaint was fixed for final evidence today by both the parties and the statement of the respondent was also recorded. Malkiat Singh Jandiala was the counsel for Sanjeev Bansal.

The council had earlier suspended Sanjeev Bansal’s licence but the same was set aside later by the disciplinary committee. The Bar Council had held an emergency meeting in Chandigarh last year to take action regarding the former state additional advocate-general after the scam came to light.

The council had also issued a show-cause notice to Bansal, asking him to explain why his licence for the right to practise be not suspended.

Bansal had tendered his resignation from the post of Haryana’s additional advocate general following the controversy and the registration of a case against him. The council had observed that Bansal’s resignation would not suffice.

It was on August 13, 2008, that Rs 15 lakh were erroneously delivered at Justice Nirmaljit Kaur’s door by the clerk of Sanjeev Bansal. An investigation followed, and the police found that the money had allegedly been meant for another woman judge, Justice Nirmal Yadav.



Afghan student run over by car
22-yr-old youth of Panchkula held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
An Afghanistan national Ahmed Jawid Yazdany, a BA (I) student of Government College, Sector 11, was killed after being run over by a speeding car in Manimajra in the late last night. He was in his early twenties.

According to the police, the accident occurred at the railway lights point around 1:10 am when the victim was crossing the road on foot. He was coming with a group of friends after seeing a movie at DT Mall when the accident took place. He was severely wounded in the mishap and was rushed to the PGI, where he died.

Talking to TNS, Rehmet Ullah, president of the Afghan Students Association, Chandigarh, said Javed’s friends, who were with him at the time of the accident, said there was red signal and they were crossing the road. All of a sudden, a Maruti Swift (HR-70-B-9999), which was on a high speed, came from behind the stationary vehicles, waiting for the signal to turn green, and hit Javed. He was thrown to a distance and was badly hurt.

Javed Ullah said he was fond of playing football and came to the city about a month ago. They had no idea about his family as he belonged to Jowz Jan, a city far away from his.

Meanwhile, he added that the Afghan Embassy in Delhi had been informed about the fatality and they would take away the body to Delhi and from where it would be sent to Afghanistan. He would also accompany the body to their country. Javed was staying in a government hostel in Sector 15 with his friends.

Javed’s friends reportedly told the police that after the collision, the car driver sped away from the spot and they raised an alarm. Police control room vehicles stationed at the Housing Board Light Point intercepted the car. The car was also damaged in the mishap.

The police has arrested the car driver, 22-year-old Abhishek Singla of Sector 15, Panchkula, on the charges of causing death due to rash and negligent driving. His father is a businessman. The police said Singla was not drunk at the time of the mishap.


Sector 52 sans basic amenities
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
The residents of Sector 52 are regretful at the lack of civic amenities in their locality. Despite repeated visits at the office of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, the authorities have failed to take any action regarding the development and provisions of basic amenities like water, sewerage, development of parks and roads in the area.

Potholed roads, poor sewer and drainage systems, faulty streetlights and poor sanitation have added to the woes of the public.

Sewer water overflowing the drains has aggravated the situation. While people blame the authorities for the poor civic amenities, the authorities on the other hand put the onus on the residents of the area for not co-operating and making it difficult for them to maintain the civic amenities.

Residents complained that stray animals had wreaked havoc on the sanitation and public health. The area has no safai karamcharis and repeated pleas to the officials and the area councillor have failed to evoke any response from them.

The residents said that it is the responsibility of the authorities to provide metalled streets, community center which are wanting in this sector.

At many places the residents of the colony adjoining the sector have stolen the poles. The electric connections have been given by drawing the wires over the houses which could lead to major mishap.

This has been brought to the notice of the department, but no action has been taken so far.

Residents pointed out that in some parts of the sector, development work is going on at snails pace since the past one year. Repeated requests made to the authorities to complete the work before monsoon has fallen on deaf ears. The residents pointed out that last year they faced great problem even in moving inside the sector.

One of the members of resident welfare association said that they are fed up with the attitude of the authorities and the area councillor.

He said no ward committee meeting was held by the councillor during the past one month to know the grievances of the area. Area councillor, Kuldeep Singh was not available for his comments.



I-Day Preparations
Joint search operations by tricity police
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
In an attempt to ensure the celebration of the Independence Day pass off smoothly in the tricity, the local police will conduct joint search operations with its Mohali and Panchkula police teams and teams from the Information Bureau.

Sources in the police said the Chandigarh police had been holding meeting with Mohali and Panchkula Police and also with the IB officials to share information about suspected persons, but also to conduct joint raids and search operations.

A senior police official told The Tribune that apart from the Mohali and the Panchkula police teams, the IB officials had also agreed to be a part of a joint operation to gather and share information about suspects and anti-social elements in the tricity.

In the coming days, the teams will conduct surprise checks in hotels, guesthouses and inns in the tricity at regular intervals in early morning as well as late in the nights.

“We will check records of every hotel, guesthouse, inns and other rented accommodations and lodging in the tricity, top ensure whether the proper records are being maintained by the operators and the managements of these commercial units. Beside, we will also verify whether the mandatory guidelines regarding giving the accommodation on rent are being followed and the CCTV cameras having been installed or not,” said the official.

The police had made a details-check list, which would be given to the teams. Besides this, the police has been conducting regular search operations in the slums and other parts of the city.



Sports Hostel Conversion
Issue blown out of proportion: PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
Reacting to the opposition to Panjab University’s failure to get a prior approval of the executive committee before converting the sports hostel into the girls hostel, the Dean, Student Welfare, Naval Kishore said the matter was being blown pout of proportion.

“The Panjab University has been accommodating the sports team in its hostels. The sports unit is not separate from the PU and this kind of mutual adjustment is nominal,” said the DSW.

“We have given them girls hostel for now and following the completion they will be allotted a full-fledged hostel in Sector 25 extension. The university will also provide the buses for the same,” he added.

Notably, the issue came to light when some members of executive committee and senators had alleged the conversion of sports hostel into girls hostel no.7 was done without getting an approval from executive committee and was a violation and injustice to the students and sports teams of affiliated colleges.

Meanwhile, the Director Sports, PU, had earlier claimed that the decision was made after taking the committee president into confidence.

He said that no injustice was being done to any teams as the hostel would be ready soon.



Pet lovers irked by new bylaws
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
With banners saying, “help us”, “save us”, “Take back MC byelaws” hung around their necks, adorable pets along with their owners, participated in a protest march against the dog bye-laws drafted by the Municipal Corporation (MC), Chandigarh. Members of the Pet Lovers’ Association in the city today launched a protest at the Sector 20 community centre in an attempt to make their voices be heard by the administration.

The members asserted that the laws had been drafted without any consideration or consultation of pet lovers in the city. They argued that while the MC should be focusing on tackling the problem of stray dogs, they had been drafting laws that would serve no purpose except troubling pet owners in the city.

Sonu, president of the association, said, “The main problem is the stray dogs on the roads. Almost all the accidents, incidents and mischieves, one hears of pertaining to dogs in the city, take place because of these stray dogs. Such stringent and unreasonable restrictions on pets do not make any sense. We are angry and hurt by such neglect by the authorities.”

“We spend so much money on our pets. Their food, medicines, safety and maintenance. One law mentions that we cannot undertake commercial trading of dogs. Now, this is ridiculous,” said Nipun, who participated with his Pug brando in the protest.

Answering a question on which the law exactly is problematic, Lalit, present with his pet dog, Romeo said, “These laws almost strip us off our fundamental rights. The laws mention that one owner cannot have more than two pets. This is so not acceptable,”

the members asserted that further protests would continue if certain points in the laws had not been amended.

The association had already written to the Home Secretary, stating their disagreement with the byelaws and had been now awaiting any response.



Girl in PGI with HINI symptoms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
A 20-year-old Panchkula girl, who studying in Pune where the India’s first swine flu fatality was reported, has been admitted to the isolation ward of the PGI today as a suspected case of swine flu.

According to the UT nodal officer for swine flu, the patient was admitted to the hospital after suspected symptoms of swine flu. She had been suffering from bad cough, sore throat for the past two-three days. Her throat swab samples have been sent to the NICD in Delhi and the report is expected by Tuesday. Till then, the girl is kept under supervision.

“Her family members had brought her to Panchkula from Pune to celebrate Rakshabandhan with them. She had returned to Pune recently from Bangkok.” said health officials.

Meanwhile, the UT health authorities have “home quarantined” 10 family members of a Sector 9, Chandigarh, residence after they came in contact with a H1N1 patient in Delhi. 



Upset with GMADA, residents clean park
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 9
Irritated over the lackadaisical attitude of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) in maintaining the Sector 70 Special Park, residents of the area today started “kar seva” to clean the park.

The campaign would be held every Sunday.

Initiated by Dr Daler Singh Multani, chairman of the Social Awareness Group, residents of the area collected pouches of pan masala, gutka, ice cream, tins, bottles and eatables in about 20 bags and transported the same to a dumping site.

The group has launched this campaign due to the alleged callous and irresponsible behaviour of the GMADA authorities.

Another purpose of the drive was to make the park users aware regarding the importance of clean and green atmosphere.

The residents complained that bins were not properly maintained and boundary wall of park did not have full fencing. As a result, the Special Musical Park remains ill maintained and stray dogs litter the park with garbage.

K.N.S.Sodhi, a resident of Sector 70, said despite correspondence with GMADA, no effort had been made by the officials concerned.



Central schemes of little help: MP
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib MP Ravneet Singh Bittu addressing a press conference in Mohali on Sunday.
Anandpur Sahib MP Ravneet Singh Bittu addressing a press conference in Mohali on Sunday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, August 9
The Youth Congress will hold a camp in September to examine the possibility of remodelling of the Centrally sponsored schemes for the villages as per the requirement of Punjab. The camp will be held under the leadership of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi.

Anandpur Sahib Member of Parliament Ravneet Bittu said this during a press conference at the Mohali Press Club here today. He said the state was not benefiting from the development schemes as they did not suit the state’s requirement.

Adding to the woes of the state were the bureaucrats or other officials who were unable to draft state-specific projects so that funds could be taken from the Centre, he added.

On the other hand, officials of other states and their MPs, irrespective of their parties, get together in Parliament and seek funds from the Centre, he said. He also urged the political parties to collaborate and work for the development of the state. 



Tributes paid to Major Shankla
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 9
Tributes were paid to Major Sandeep Shankla, who was decorated with the Ashok Chakra for his actions in counter-terrorist operations on his martyrdom day here yesterday.

A wreath was laid at his memorial here by Lt Gen JK Mohanty, GOC-in-C Central Command, who is also Colonel of the Dogra Regiment to which Major Shankla belonged. A contingent from 18 Dogra reversed arms as a mark of respect while buglers sounded the last post. Senior officers of the Western Command, veteran officers and civil dignitaries also paid tributes to the martyr.

It was on this day when Major made sacrificed his life while leading a daring operation against the terrorists that resulted in elimination of nine terrorists and apprehension of 22 others. For his courage, Major was awarded the highest peacetime gallantry award posthumously.



Boy thrashed by Panchkula police
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 9
The local police allegedly tried its muscles on a minor boy managing the fruit vend run by his father when he failed to obey their instructions. Later the boy was nabbed for creating obstruction in the duty of government officials and manhandling policemen and produced before duty magistrate from where he was sent to Borstal Jail.

Ramesh Kumar the father of victim identified as Rahul, a 17-year-old student of engineering at Lalru Polytechnic College said, “It was today afternoon when my son had gone to look after vend as I was indisposed”.

A few policemen asked him to shift the vend backwards and as he failed to do so they thrashed him. On his objection to their highhandedness a case under Section 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of IPC was slapped on him.

The boy was later produced before the duty magistrate who asked the police to produce him tomorrow again, said Ramesh.

On the other hand police denying allegations said the boy first manhandled the police personnel and later broke the window pane of the police vehicle when he was being taken to the police station. “The police was asking the rehriwalas not to encroach upon the road when the boy misbehaved with them.

Later, when policemen made him sit in the police vehicle, he broke the window pane,” said Amitabh Dhillon,Superintendent of Police. 



Spiralling prices pinch common man
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
The increase in price of the edible commodities seemed to have rocked the monthly budgets of the city residents on one hand and the Lok Sabha on the other. Walk towards any mandi in the city to buy fruits and vegetables and you might have the feeling that someone just mugged you.

Despite several claims by the government, there seems no respite for the common man from the shooting food prices. From the already ridiculously high sugar and lentil prices, now fruits and vegetables in the city are also cutting hard on a common man’s pocket.

What’s more worrisome is that these prices may even shoot up further in the light of the recent fuel price hike and monsoon pattern predicted for September.

“The price rise is ridiculous. We from business families cannot ignore these prices. One can fairly imagine the plight of a common man in the city. With these prices, I wonder how many homes would actually be consuming these super expensive fruits and vegetables,” said Sarita, a city resident.

The mango is now available for Rs 80 per kg as compared to Rs 30-40 per kg last month, pomegranates are priced at 100 Rs per kg. Prices for almost all the fruits have skyrocketed. Indian apples are available for Rs 100 per kg while imported at Rs 180 per kg. Plum has gone up from Rs 60-80 to Rs 100 per kg in the past one month.

Lentils on the other hand continue to sell at exorbitant rates. While, “Arhar dal” is currently selling at Rs 80 per kg, sugar is selling at Rs 30 per kg against Rs 26 last month. There is noted price rise in edible oil also.

"Prices of almost all edible commodities have shot up. Shopping for the kitchen has become a nightmare. A weekly stock costs an easy Rs 1,500. It has really become hard to survive in the city,'' said Malti Khurana, a housewife.

“Not just fruits, since May, most vegetables have seen a price rise, especially the green vegetables. On an average, there is a minimum hike of Rs 5 to Rs 15 per kg in prices of almost all the vegetables,” said Naresh Kumar, a vegetable vendor at a Mandi in Sector 26.

The blame game between the Central government and the opposition on the “price rise” issue does not seem to end. It is the common man who is bearing the brunt on his pocket. If something concrete is not done to control these fast spiralling numbers, the government might have to face the anger and the wrath of the common man soon.



Slaves of Bacchus no more
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
Hundreds of once problem-drinkers in the tricity offered their thanks at a solemn function with the Disha Group of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) celebrating its 9th anniversary at the Government Museum and Art Gallery here today.

With prayer on lips and gratitude in their hearts, the AA members and their families organised a public information meeting in a bid to pass on the message to the still-suffering alcoholics that recovery from alcoholism was now possible.

At the function, the ‘rescued’ members shared their experiences, strengths and hopes with new members.

“Alcoholism is a fatal family disease. Even the World Health Organisation and American Medical Association term it as an incurable illness of the mind, body and soul. The alcoholic is not a bad man. Instead he is ill and like diabetes the disease can be arrested,” a member said.

The recovery process itself is highly individual, adapted by each member to meet his/her own needs according to the 12 steps of the AA programme.

The AA was started on June 10, 1935, in Akron, Ohio (US), when an alcoholic stockbroker, Bill W, and a drunken doctor, Bob Smith, came in touch with each other.

Now the self-supporting life-saving fellowship is spread over 160 countries.

“The AA is a fellowship of men and women who share their experiences, strengths and hopes with each other so that they might recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to quit drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership,” the AA literature said. Interested ones can dial the AA helpline at 94170-37358. For comprehensive information about the AA and its 12-step programme recovery, you may log on to aachandigarhintergroup@gmail.com or <<mailto:aachandigarhintergroup@gmail.com>>.



40 donate blood
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
The J&K Dogra Sabha, Chandigarh, celebrated its annual day at Mahajan Bhawan here today. The function commenced with a blood donation camp organised in collaboration with the Government Medical College, Chandigarh. 

Over 40 units of blood were donated in the camp. Satwinder Rana, MLA from Haryana, and Balbir Singh, MLA, Kharar, were the chief guests.

Padama Shree KL Zakir suggested that the sabha should have a good literacy collection and offered to publish books on poems and literature in Dogri. Speaking on the occasion, PC Dogra, DGP, said the sabha was an institution that had an important role to play in strengthening national integration, especially in the context of Jammu and Kashmir.

He said that the Dogras should work for due recognition for their importance and the sacrifices made during the Kargil war and fighting insurgency.

Satwinder Rana assured the Sabha of full support for procuring land for constructing a bhawan for the sabha. He donated Rs 31,000, while Parminder Singh Dhindsa, PWD (B&R) Minister, Punjab, also announced a grant of Rs 51,000 for the sabha. 



Sity Scope
A way to go

For those who missed an interesting bit of foreign news last week, a 26 year old newlywed bride, Dalia Dippolito, was arrested by the Miami (US) police on Aug 6 for allegedly plotting her husband's murder. Though Dalia surely isn't the first woman to have nurtured such deadly 'ambitions', the manner in which she was nabbed by the local police after a sting operation is an eye-opener as regards the extent to which the investigators there go to prevent a crime and nab criminals.

It all started after the Boynton Beach Police Department received "source" information that a newlywed bride was scouting for a hit man to bump off her husband. What followed was a month long meticulously planned sting operation with an undercover agent establishing contact with her and then striking a deal for carrying out the 'murder' on a payment of $ 3000 plus $ 1200 for a weapon.

The entire operation was video graphed and recorded. The conversations between Dalia and the undercover agent, discussing the getaway routes, concocting alibis and even her resolve that she was "5000 per cent" sure about the murder, are all on tape and will ensure her conviction.

But things didn't end there. On the day the plan was to be carried out the police enacted a complete crime scene drama outside her residence by cordoning off the area with the yellow crime tape and police vehicles parked around it. They then contacted Dalia, who as per the plan, was at the gym and when she returned they informed her about her husband's 'death'.

The 'poor' woman broke down and one will have to see to believe (the video is available of You Tube) how well she tried to fake her grief- crying profusely, clinging to the police officer and repeatedly saying "No", as if the news had knocked her out. However, she was arrested later and put behind bars.

Contrast this with the experience of a local businessman, Jorawar Singh, a resident of Sector 38-West. A couple of weeks ago he received repeated extortion calls, ostensibly made from Western UP, demanding a payment of Rs 10 lakhs. The callers, who were using various mobile numbers, threatened to kill him if their demand was not met.

Like any other worried citizen would have reacted, Jorawar approached the Sector 39 Police Station but the cops there refused to do anything despite the fact that some extortion calls were received in their presence. The only piece of advice SHO, Janak Singh, had for Jorawar was "keep your mobile off", which reminds one of the yesteryear Hindi Muhawara, "naa rahega baans, naa bajegi bansuri".

The reason why I have cited these two cases is to highlight how lightly we treat crime prevention and how backward we remain in our investigation techniques. I really can't say how the police here would have reacted if they had received a tip off similar to Dalia's plan but my guess is, until and unless her husband was a VIP, the cops would have done nothing and would have shooed away the informer by saying, 'hunne hoya taan nahin' (it has yet not happened) or 'ja unnu keh ke woti nu khich ke rakhe' (tell the husband to pull up his wife).

It's rather sad that while we talk about being on the threshold of becoming a developed nation, our police force and investigation techniques yet remain by and large crude and primitive. Our investigations, despite several court orders, still hinge on confessions derived mainly from third degree methods rather than modern scientific techniques.

And what is worrying is that there seems to be some sort of social sanction to such illegal acts from certain quarters. In one of the letters received in response to an earlier column a reader had justified the use of third degree methods on grounds that hardened criminals don't confess without the danda.

Talking about the use of technology for crime prevention, the Chandigarh Polices' recent endeavour to install over 50 CCTV cameras all over the city for monitoring is a good step. In these changing times, use of such technologies is the only answer to fight crime.

These cameras may not prevent a murder or an explosion but like in the London blast case they can help identify the perpetrators of such heinous acts. However, one must ensure that the technology being put to use is the latest and is operationalized in an absolute and uncompromising professional manner and not left to the whims and fancies of some individual. Else it would run the risk of ending up like the CCTVs at some banks which are placed in a manner that they can't record anything worthwhile.

It would be worthwhile for the Chandigarh Police to explore the possibilities of bringing all the major intersections in the city under round the clock camera surveillance to check the growing traffic violations. What is disturbing about the city's traffic is not its increasing volumes but the blatant violations of rules that occur, making driving unsafe and chaotic. Driving at night is becoming unsafe and though traffic policemen have been deployed at some intersections till 1 am, it's not sufficient.

To nail the violators a 24x7 surveillance is must. Since crime cannot be stopped, every effort must be put for its prevention and this can only be done with a right mix of a professional workforce and technology.

Write to cityeditor@tribunemail.com



CityScope Letters
Public servants turning ‘khaas aadmis

This is with reference to Raveen Thukral’s write up, “The khas aadami,” published in Chandigarh Tribune on August 3.

Politicians, police and bureaucrats manipulated a self-justified perception of security risk to avail the facility of police escorts just to use them as their and their family’s personal servants, these police escorts openly misuse the public land, use free electricity and water by unauthorised connections and have become a public nuisance. The so-called VVIP wards often misuse their police guards to thrash their opponents and exhibit a vulgar show of power.

It is more astonishing that in spite of being reported by the media repeatedly, no action is being taken by the higher authorities to end this menace.

Chief Ministers of both the states, Directors General of Police and the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court are the silent spectators of this wilful violation of the law of the land.

Why a licence is given to such officials to break the well-established norms of the society and the law of the land. In a Democratic system like ours, every one is equal to law, which must be adhered in the letters and spirit. The high court must bring such violators to justice by honouring the strong public and media’s reaction on this issue.

Capt Amar Jeet Kumar, Mohali

VIPs flaunt status

You have written a very hard-hitting piece on VIPs. But does writing such article works, when the VIP will remain the same and continue to scare the “aam aadmi”!

You have rightly said, "But alas! whatever the law might say, the truth is that VIPs do enjoy a khaas status in our society and moreover, they love to flaunt it." It gives a lot of pain to see India, when compared to Canada and other western countries.

Prikshat Verma, Canada

Common man suffers

Social activists are clamouring for a check of the mindset of the power brigade. But will this “mindset change” come voluntarily is what haunts the common person. A poor man steals power for his use because the administration has failed to provide the electricity. The electricity department was forced to withdraw disconnecting kundi connections in Colony No 5 in the wake of protests in the form of roadblocks by the jhuggi-dwellers. It will remain helpless to enforce the “disconnection” owing to the power wielded by the VIPs.

It is clear that the Electricity Act 2003 providing for fines and punishment is no deterrent to this dominant class of people and relates only to a common man.

Satish Chandra Sharma

Practical difference

Although the Constitution of India has not recognised any difference between the khaas and aam aadmi, “Being a VIP in our country is like a blank cheque encashable anywhere. It is unfortunate that VIPs end up making a mockery of it with impunity.”

No VIP or celebrity in our country can be booked on the “petty” charge of drunk driving, on which The Alexandria, Fairfax County Police Chief, was arrested by the Arlington County Police.

When persons like Sanjeev Nanda could get away with just two years’ imprisonment in the BMW case because of his clout even after killing six persons, it is difficult to imagine politicians and bureaucrats behaving like “Aam aadmi”. Most of the protectees enjoying VIP security on government expense are not under any real threat to their lives. Pruning of VIP security to undeserving protectees may save several crores of taxpayers’ hard-earned money annually.

Lajpat Rai Garg, Panchkula

Overhaul mindset

In his bold and eye-opening write up, Raveen Thukral has painstakingly brought forward another issue of not only public interest but also imbibing greater moral value in his bona fide endeavours to shake our moribund conscience to awake to see the meaning of democratic republic.

Whichever government is in power, it considers the state its private estate and people as servile only for exploitation.

We, therefore, as citizens of a democratic republic of India, should obey and respect laws of the land, do our work or assigned duty honestly and conscientiously and resist undue pressure of the vested interests howsoever great they may be.

To achieve the noble goal of fearless and free life, as aam aadmi, we must overhaul our mindset and act valorously not to succumb to the undue pressures of the powers if we want a truly democratic republic of India.

Gurmit Singh Saini, Mohali

Need to take revolutionary steps

It is true that in our country a “khaas aadmi” is “khaas”, while “aam aadmi” is “aam” till some revolutionary steps are not taken to remove the difference. Whenever a “khaas aadmi” is entangled in some scam, he immediately needs medical help, as that is the safest way for him to escape such scams.

I have never seen any forces accompanying VIPs in other countries.

The simple reason is that the life of a “khaas aadmi” in our country is precious so he needs protection and that of “aam aadmi” is not so precious.

Rakesh Ahluwalia, Ambala City

VIP culture only in India

The VIP culture is found in India only. In other countries there are no such people called the VIPs. Every person is equal in the eyes of the law.

But in India, anyone who is given a responsible position treats himself above the law. They feel they can violate the laws without being punished.

If these so called “khaas aadmis” give up their habit of violating the law, I am sure the “aam aadmi” in our country will never dare to break the laws.

Everyone is equal in status and respect in the US. It is only in our country where the VIP culture prevails. Ours is surely a feudalistic country.

RK Kapoor, Chandigarh



Delay of result: PU students cry foul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
Following an extended wait of three months, students of physical education department, Panjab University, have decided to hold a protest march against the university authorities guilty for allegedly showing sloppiness in bringing out 
the results.

Students of MPEd first and second year said to The Tribune that due to the hold-up, the commencement of their classes would be postponed by a month, leading to an academic loss.

“We have been repeatedly enquiring about our result from the authorities, but in vain. Because of the delay, even getting a room in the hostel is an uphill task now also, since it is done only after the result is out,” said Shikha, a MPEd first year student.

While the department claims that there is no delay on their part, reportedly, the research paper of the first year is yet to be checked.

“One of our compulsory subject is swimming and till the time the result is out, we cannot do it even though our practicals are scheduled in October this year,” said another student.

Meanwhile, the chairperson of the department said that a letter had also been sent to the authorities asking them to bring out the result as soon as possible 
to prevent inconvenience to students.

Meanwhile, officials of the examination branch of the university could not be contacted for their comments.



DC Model, Bhawan students win quiz
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
The local chapter of ISKCON organised a spiritual quiz ahead of Janamshtami here today. The students in the age group of 11-17 years from various schools in Chandigarh and Panchkula participated in the quiz

In the quiz, questions related to the Srimadbhagvadgita, the Ramayan, the Mahabharat and Lord Krishna were asked.

In the quiz competition, Vinati and Mannat from DC Model School, Panchkula, and Bhawan Vidyalaya, Chandigarh, bagged first prize while Lakshay and Ankit, both from Sri Guru Harkishan Singh Model Senior Secondary School, Chandigarh, stood second.

Chaitanya Mukand and Sargam from National Open School and Sri Aurobindo School of Integral Education, Chandigarh, contented with third prize.

Apart from spiritual quiz, a drawing and colouring competition was also held to make the children aware about moral values. In colouring competition, small children coloured pictures of Lord Krishna. 



Students flay V-C
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, August 9
Students of Panjab University today criticised Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti’s move to buy a new Toyota Corolla official car costing about Rs 12 lakh.

The students have questioned the authorities about such unwanted exhibitionism in a mail sent to the press. “Students’ money is being wasted on cars and iron bridges. No attention is being given to education,” said Sanjeev Kumar, a student of the Punjabi Department.

Rajinder Kumar, a BA-I student, Evening Studies Department, rued: “It is unnecessary and misuse of public money. To buy a luxury car is the privilege of the powerful and rich. It is ironical that the V-C is using precious public money to have such privileges.”



Symposium on Gabbi’s book of short stories
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 9
Noted Punjabi litterateurs participated in a symposium and book release ceremony of poet Govardhan Gabbi’s first book of Punjabi short stories organised by the Writers’ Club at the Uttam Complex here today.

An engineer by profession, Govardhan Lal Kaushal, popularly known as Gabbi, has written a few Punjabi books and now discovered and cultivated his literary genius to experiment with fictional prose. National Sahitya Akademy winner Mohan Bhandari and NS Rattan, IAS (Retd), released the book, while Dr Sharanjit Kaur and DS Gurmail Singh presented an exhaustive analytical review of the book.

Sharing his impressions, Dr Sharanjit Kaur opined that the author had expressed deepest concern over issues ailing our society thorough the stories like “Ghumangheri”, “Morcha”, “Gurdakhana”, exploring the fall in educational and literary set up of our country but without being suggestive.

The literary treatment to the thematic content is enterprising. But the writer should have take up more issues of contemporary life, socio-cultural and economic relevance rather than concentrating on the human relationships and subsequent problems, observed Dr Gurnmail Singh and other speakers.



From Schools and Colleges
500 participate in workshop on youth leadership

Mohali, August 9
In order to inculcate leadership qualities, life skill and all-round personality development, a one-day international workshop on youth leadership was organised by the NSS helpline unit of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Phase 3B1, in collaboration with the Universal Peace Federation (UPF)-Asia.

NSS helpline coordinator, Dr Sarbjeet Kaur Sohal, and DPRO, Dr Uma Sharma, Mohali, took the initiative to organise the workshop.

Around 500 students of classes XI and XII from Government Model Senior Secondary School, Phase 3BI, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Kharar and Kurali, Shivalik Public School, Phase VI, Mohali, and St Solder School, Phase VII, participated in the workshop.

Dr Sohal said the UPF sought to build a broad strategic alliance among individuals, educational institutions, organisations, religions, corporation, the media and governments for the sake of peace.

The UPF implements its programmes through a global network of ambassadors for peace. At the end of the workshop, guest of honour mementoes were presented to the resource persons. — TNS

New institutes

The Aryans Group of Institutes would be starting two new business schools, namely Aryans Institute of Management (AIM) and Aryans Business School for Women (ABSW), from the current academic session.

The necessary approvals have already been obtained from the regulating bodies like AICTE, Government of Punjab, etc. The group is already running three management institutions. 



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