C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PU gets tough on outsiders in hostels
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
Panjab University officials caught nearly a dozen “outsiders” putting up at campus hostels during surprise raids conducted at 4 am here today. Most of them were found to be either staying in the hostels after “guest charges” or had sneaked in along with their friends.

Teams comprising hostel wardens and teachers, which were formed by the varsity authorities to inspect both girls’ and boys’ hostels, also imposed fines on bona fide students who were allotted hostel rooms in which unauthorised “guests” were found.

“The raids were conducted for nearly an hour and a fine was imposed on certain students who were found encouraging their friends to put up in their rooms without prior information,” said dean of students welfare Naval Kishore.

PU officials on election duty said the surprise checking in hostels would continue during the coming week.

Meanwhile several students, including residents of girls’ hostels, claimed the PU officials’ “strictness” ahead of the student elections was causing problems for common students. “The strict attitude of the authorities is meant to check mischievous elements on the campus, but bona fide students staying in the hostels are feeling the heat”, said a second-year MSc student.

‘Mori’ gates closed

PU officials sealed the “mori” gates along the boundary wall of the campus on Saturday night. It is through these openings that alcohol and other prohibited material was reportedly being “smuggled” inside the campus during past student elections. Meanwhile, the security staff has been told to draw up a map of the route taken by supporters of student organisations during election rallies



Another ATM fraud
Rs 15,000 withdrawn from account of Air Force man
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
In yet another incident, an Air Force personnel lost Rs 15,000 to ATM fraudsters through the suspected cloning of his ATM card even as the State Bank of India (SBI) claimed to have deployed security guards at its ATM counters in the tricity and the police is clueless about the identity of the miscreants.


Footage quality poor

Sources in the cyber crime investigation cell of the Chandigarh police said the placement of cameras and lights at the ATM resulted in poor quality of the footage, which was a major hurdle in identifying the miscreants. It was noticed that the cameras were not positioned at the right angles and the light did not focus on the face of the user of the ATM. Cameras installed in the machines were also not of high resolution. A police officer said the bank should ensure that no one should cover his or her face while making transactions at ATMs.

The complainant, Ram Chander, reported to the police that he had lost Rs 15,000. He said he had withdrawn Rs 15,000 from the Sector 32 ATM of the SBI at 11.45 am. A guard was sitting outside the cabin. Again in the afternoon, he withdrew Rs 1,800 from the same ATM and to his shock, he found that Rs 15,000 had been withdrawn from his account between these two transactions.

He said he enquired from the guard and was told that no one had used the ATM during this period. Chander has a salary account in the SBI’s branch at 3 BRD. He said he would lodge a complaint with the bank tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the SBI has lodged a complaint regarding the frauds at the public window of the Chandigarh police headquarters in Sector 9. The complaint would be forwarded to the crime branch tomorrow.

The cyber crime investigation cell of the police is conducting a probe into the matter. Investigating officials have quizzed employees of the private company which has been assigned the task of loading cash into the ATM.



PGI’s swine flu testing lab not working
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
While cases of swine flu have started pouring in at hospitals here from all over the region, the H1N1 testing laboratory at the PGI has been lying non-functional, resulting in delay of reports of diagnostic tests.

The reason behind the death of a patient from Baddi in Himachal Pradesh at the PGI today could not be confirmed. He was suspected to be a patient of swine flu and the report of his samples was yet to arrive.

The lone swine flu testing laboratory in the region had been made functional recently after it remained closed for months due to some fault.

The laboratory stopped working on Thursday and reports of three samples from the region got delayed. Though no official could be contacted, sources said the laboratory was repaired, but stopped working again and could not be made functional again.

The laboratory was started at the PGI’s virology department last year to reduce the delay in the receipt of reports and lessen the burden of tests being conducted at the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), New Delhi.

This was among the 16 new centres opened by the Union Health Ministry to tackle the outbreak of the disease and Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and parts of Haryana depended on it.

Meanwhile, a 28-year-old patient from a rural area of Baddi, admitted to the PGI with symptoms of swine flu, died here today. The deceased, identified as Vijay, a resident of Badaur village, was referred by a private hospital.

Till now, 49 suspected cases of swine flu had reached the city, of which three were confirmed. One of the patients died at Fortis hospital in Mohali on Thursday night.



Underage Driving
Stiffer penalties needed
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
In the absence of harsher punishments provided in the law for underage drivers, the lackadaisical attitude of the traffic police as well as the irresponsible behaviour of parents who let their teenaged wards drive without a licence have only compounded the menace.

Saturday’s incidents in which a traffic marshal, Gurnam Singh, was knocked down by an underage biker, leaving him with a fractured leg, and the miraculous escape of a woman and her little daughter in a freak accident involving a car driven by a youngster are just grim reminders of the growing threat the city’s streets from reckless youngsters driving without a valid licence.

Road safety experts blame the failure of the traffic cops to take strict action against violators as also the irresponsible behaviour of parents, who readily give keys of vehicles to their children, not caring two hoots for traffic rules, for the devastating results on the roads.

On Saturday when a youngster rammed his Hyundai I10 car into another vehicle on the road dividing the Industrial Area and Sector 29, the police “allowed” both drivers to strike a compromise instead of taking any action in the case.

In fact, the cops said no action was taken as no one filed a complaint while blatantly ignoring the fact that the Hyundai car overturned after the mishap and could have caused a major accident on the road. “The driver could have been booked for endangering the life of road users as well as for reckless driving”, said a retired police officer while condemning the attitude of the traffic cops in similar situations.

Meanwhile, parents say they allow their underage wards to drive because the latter have to attend their schools or colleges as well as extra coaching classes.

On the other hand, traffic police officials said it was the primary responsibility of parents not to allow their wards to drive without a valid licence. “We can’t deploy cops on every street in the city. The police is deployed on major intersections to regulate traffic. However, youngsters can equally be dangerous on the internal roads where they drive at breakneck speed, putting lives at risk”, said a traffic cop.

Disagreeing with the stand of the parents a senior traffic police officer said, “This isn’t true. Parents give way to the unjust demands of their wards and buy them vehicles, which the underage children are not authorized to drive. There are several vehicles for underage drivers (from 16 year to 18 years) powered with 50 cc engines and of course there is a choice of battery-operated vehicles. But those after style and wanting to flaunt their wealth, never take these vehicles and go for high powered vehicles, their logic is defied”, he asserted.

Recalling an incident, traffic marshal Gurnam Singh, who is nursing his injuries at home, said they caught a 12-year-old boy riding recklessly and called his parents. “To our great astonishment the parents of the boy argued with us for harassing them unnecessarily”, he added.

‘Parents should be held culpable’

“When an underage driver is caught his or her parents should be booked for endangering the lives of other road users. A fine is no deterrent as parents are ready to pay damages, which sometimes amount to several lakh of rupees. Moreover, a provision should be introduced in the law for an entry to be made on the matriculation certificate of an underage offending driver, preventing him to get a licence before he attains the age of 18. The offender must be barred for at least two years from obtaining a licence”, said Harman Sidhu, president of city-based road safety NGO, ArriveSAFE.



Soccer champs given a miss even on sports day
Akash Ghai/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
Once again the hopes of the soccer heroes of the city shattered as neither the Chandigarh Administration nor the Chandigarh Football Association came forward to honour them on the occasion of the National Sports Day today.

The members of the under-19 squad, which had brought laurels to the city by lifting the first-ever national trophy in any age group for the city, were hoping that they would be honoured for their achievement on the National Sports Day.

The team had won the 63rd BC Roy Trophy in the under-19 age group by defeating strong contender West Bengal 6-5 in tie-breaker on June 27 in Kolkata.

“Over two months have passed but we are yet to be felicitated. When we reached the city with the trophy, we were told that all the team members would be honoured within a fortnight at a special function. Then we heard it would be on Independence Day. But that also did not happen. We were hoping that we would get our due today, but nothing happened,” a member of the winning squad, requesting anonymity, rued.

City sports department officials maintained that 10 out of the 20 members of the team were in Goa, where they had been attending India junior camp. “This is the reason behind the delay,” a senior sports official stated.

The footballers, however, were of the view that half of the team was present in the city. “Independence Day or National Sports Day were the appropriate occasions. Half of the team members, including the team’s skipper Gagandeep, were present here today. They could have received the honours on behalf of the entire team,” a budding player stated.

Citing the gesture of Haryana Chief Minsiter Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who had given Rs 50,000 to the custodian of the senior team of the state for her performance even though the team had lost in the finals of the senior national tournament in Chandigarh last month, the footballers said: “This is the way to boost the morale of sportspersons.”



Chandigarh Railway Station
With no check, free access a norm
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
Thanks to the indifference of the railway authorities in checking the flow of unauthorised persons on to the Chandigarh railway station, crowding of the station is commonplace on a regular basis. And, if a couple of trains are scheduled to arrive or depart together, all hell breaks loose at the station.

Passengers blame the railway officials for not checking the entry of unauthorised people to the station.

There is nobody to check for platform tickets from people who come to pick up or drop people.

A random survey conducted by the TNS revealed that there was unrestricted access to the railway station in the absence of checking staff.

This had even helped those without ticket to come freely out of the railway station.

However, in the absence of station superintendent, a railway official, on the condition of anonymity, said the idea of issuing platform tickets was to discourage undesirable elements and people from entering the station so that it did not get crowded.

But some busy railway stations across the country have stopped issuing platform tickets altogether. However, in a city like Chandra, where the sale of tickets is not so high, not many people show interest in their purchase.

Thanks to the apathy of the railway authorities, the sale of platform tickets, which cost Rs 3 each, has only seen a marginal increase in spite of the passenger traffic going up manifold in the past few years.

The railways just sells 50 platform tickets a day, as compared to 25 tickets last year.

In spite of two sales counters at the station, people have been evading ticket purchase, while the railway authorities have failed to prevent their illegal entry on to the station.

“During day, around 1,000 persons visit the platform to receive or see off their relatives, but only a few purchase tickets. Even the authorities have closed their eyes on the issue,” said Pritam Singh, a taxi owner at the railway station.

Jaspal Singh, an industrialist, said: “I came here to see off my friend, who is leaving for Delhi. I have not purchased the platform ticket, as I know no one will ask for it here.”

A railway official said: “We faced a similar situation at other railway stations, too. We then put up a counter at the entrance with a signboard saying “Platform tickets available here”. To our surprise, their sales went up. To encourage the sale of tickets, we need to have maximum visibility. The idea behind levying these charges is not to earn money but to prevent unnecessary crowding at the station.”

He said if regular checks were not being carried out at the Chandigarh railway station, measures would be taken soon. An automated platform ticket vending machine would also be installed at both entrances to the railway station.

While admitting the lapse, the official said: “We not only sell around 50 platform tickets every day but also issue challans to violators.”

However, there is an urgent need for the staff to ensure the sale of tickets by stepping up checking at the gates, he added.

“Even though checking cannot ensure 100 per cent results,” he concluded.



Northern sectors, too, not spared power cuts
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
It has been a harrowing summer for residents in Chandigarh. After frequent power cuts in southern sectors, residents of the comparatively affluent northern sectors are at the receiving end of unscheduled power cuts, putting residents to inconvenience.

Though complaints from northern sectors, including Sectors 1 to 11, are not many, power cuts are a routine affair. “On an average, we have two or three unannounced power cuts per week. Contrary to the general perception, northern sectors are not immune to power cuts,” complained Col Pritam Bhullar (retd), a resident of Sector 2 here.

Residents of Sector 2 had to bear an unscheduled power cut from 11 am to 1:30 pm yesterday. Coupled with technical snags in power lines in the rainy season, this had made life unbearable.

A resident of Sector 7 complained that this summer had been one of the worst in terms of power supply to the sector. The high level of humidity this season had compounded the problems, he added.

Residents maintained that in the backdrop of the low density of population, residents did not make regular complaints to the electricity department. Since these sectors were inhabitated by VVIPs, including Chief Ministers and Governors of Punjab and Haryana, besides scores of other dignitaries, alternative arrangement for power were always in place, lessening the severity of the problem due to power cuts.

Official sources said since the power distribution network had not been upgraded for several years, more and frequent power shutdowns were reported from southern sectors in summer, which had grown by leaps and bounds in recent years.

On the other hand, though the power distribution network was old in northern sectors, the problem was not so acute on account of the low density of population.

In fact, there was a clear mismatch between demand and supply in Chandigarh. The union territory, which did not have its own source of power generation, had an assured power supply of 184 MW. As against the demand of 300 MW per week last year, the total availability of power was to the tune of 265 MW.

With the highest per capita income in the country, residents of Chandigarh enjoyed a high standard of living. The high standard of living naturally led to the installation of more electrical appliances, such as air-conditioners, which led to more power consumption in summer.



Check eye ailments after birth
Most can be cured if detected in time, says AIIMS prof
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
Most eye problems can be cured if parents or medicos are able to detect those in time after the birth of the child. This was stated by Dr Pradeep Sharma, professor with the Dr RP Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, here today.

Dr Sharma was here to participate in the two-day annual conference of the Chandigarh Ophthalmological Society.

He said glaucoma was curable if diagnosed within a week of birth and detection of cataract within four to six weeks and squint before six months helped in easy treatment.

Amblyopia or lazy eye, a visual defect that affected between two and three per cent children, involved lowered visual acuity (clarity of sight) in one eye, he explained.

Vision therapy could improve this condition and early detection and treatment provided the best outcome, he added.

The reason behind these problems in children included malnutrition or toxicity due to consumption of strong medicines by the mother during the neotanatal period, he said.

On the concluding day of the conference, renowned surgeons shared their surgical skills with the audience in a live surgery session.

The conference was inaugurated by Prof Shivender Singh Gill, Vice-Chancellor of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot.

The Dr AD Grover memorial oration was delivered by Prof Amar Agarwal of the Agarwal Group of Hospitals, Chennai, who was the guest of honour.

He was the first to remove cataract through a 0.7-mm tip with the technique called Microphakonit. He told ophthalmologists of the region about this technique.

Prof Sudershan Khokhar, department of paediatric ophthalmology, RP Centre of Ophthalmic Sciences, AIIMS, spoke about ICL in myopia.

Dr Athiya Agarwal addressed the issue of complications during phacoemulsification in worst-case scenarios. At least 250 delegates from North India attended the event.



Lessons for oppn councillors

Opposition parties in the Chandigarh municipal corporation have engaged professionals to train immature councillors to perform well during general house meetings. In a recently-held meeting, the BJP councillors for the first time tried to react aggressively on each and every issue tabled in the house. Certain councillors were busy receiving instructions from outside sources on phone. A senior leader sitting in the visitor’s gallery could be seen guiding his party councillors throughout the day.

Sale mania in city

With a majority of the city’s big and small shops offering attractive discount on their merchandise, city residents are making most of the opportunity.

As one saunters past the city’s markets, “sale” banners greet one. Grand shopping malls, showrooms, shops, company outlets are all set to lure customers with tempting schemes and discount that sound irresistible.

Most of the showrooms are giving up to 50 per cent discount on readymade garments.

But this, they say, is just the beginning. Rochak from one of the outlets, said, “Towards the end of September, we offer discount up to 60 per cent, but by the time best of our stuff is already sold.”

Shopkeepers try to lure customers by offering attractive schemes like “buy two, get one free”, besides reducing rates. But they are not complaining, as they still manage to earn profits.

“The number of customers increases during the ‘sale’ period,” says Ravinder Jain, who has a shop in Sector 17.

And people are equally delighted. They throng such shops in large numbers and are elated to buy their favourite accessories at an affordable price.

Dogs have a field day

Chandigarh’s main shopping centre-Sector 17 is literally going to the dogs. While the Chandigarh administration and municipal corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) plan to make it a ‘world-class’ commercial hub, hordes of stray dogs roaming freely in the vicinity of the area paint the MCC in poor light.

Besides giving a shabby look to the plaza, stray dogs are a potential threat to shoppers and visitors. Interestingly, the MCC headquarters and Medical Officer of Health (MOH), who look after stray dogs, are only a stone’s throw from the main plaza.

Shopkeepers wonder whether the MCC, whose track record of providing basic amenities has been lacklustre, will wake up to tackle stray dog menace.

Wooing voters

Instead of waiting for the election bugle, political parties in Punjab have started wooing its voters for its next campaign. Taking the lead, the SAD-BJP combine has sounded the bugle. The movement is evident from the string of foundation stone laying ceremonies and advertisements in newspapers. In the last one-month, party leaders have started inserting advertisements boasting of developments undertaken during the past three years.

Ideally the foundation stones are laid a few months before election. But this time party leaders seem to have changed their strategy and are keen on catching the fancy of voters by inaugurating projects whose foundation stones were laid by them. The Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister have been heard telling officials to complete projects at the earliest so that they are accountable to voters. For funds, the money-earning departments have been asked to foot the bill of development.

Friendly cops?

Though top brass of the UT police love to talk about making the force people friendly, the ground reality at police stations is far from true. Going by the number of queries one has to face before entering a police station and filing in columns of a visitor’s entry register, it seems meeting a station house officer of the Chandigarh police is more difficult than meeting home secretary or other senior police officials.

For reasons best known to the authorities, visitors have to fill in some columns of a register before giving reason behind their visit. Many a times, it has been noticed that after doing all these formalities, visitors are told to come next time.

Sources said the practice started after the anti-corruption cell of the CBI caught policemen taking bribe at the police station. However, top officials denied any such practice.

Contributed by Aarti Kapur, Anil Jerath, Pradeep Sharma, Rajmeet Singh and Ramanjit Singh Sidhu



Threat of epidemic looms large in P’kula
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

A view of waterlogging near the houses in Sector 17 extension at Panchkula. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Panchkula, August 29
Threat of epidemic looms large on the residents of Sector 17 extension, which is surrounded by slum colonies from two sides, as the municipal corporation has failed to take note of the unhygienic and filthy conditions prevailing in the area.

The foul smell is emanating from the waterlogged areas adjoining the residential area and children from the slums, including Rajeev Colony and Budhanpur Colony, also endanger their lives as they could be seen playing in the filthy water. Even pigs, owned by the slum dwellers, could be seen moving around in the area.

About 50 families have shifted to their new houses while 100 houses are under construction in the area. Two lanes - from house number 935 to 947 and 990 to 1003 - are the most affected as water gets logged in the 10 feet deep pits located behind the lanes.

One of the area residents, Neelam Arora, while talking to The Tribune, said: “The whole area plunges into darkness during nights as these children break the tubelights with stones using catapult.” She said even though the electricity department had replaced the same many times, the miscreants damage the same.

Seema Kumar, an allottee, said the miscreants take away steel and other valuable construction material from their plot during the nights, increasing the construction cost of the house. She said recently thieves had also decamped with bath fitting worth Rs 40,000 from house number 1035. She said foul smell coming from the water-logged areas has also worsened the situation and it had become very difficult to supervise the construction of their house.

She further said the children could not play in the park located in the area as antisocial elements and drug addicts visit the park in the evening. She said the slum dwellers also use the streets in the area to reach their destinations.

The residents demanded that police patrolling should be intensified in the area during nights to secure the life and property of people living in the area. They further demanded that a protection wall should also be constructed to separate the slum colonies from their area. They further demanded that the corporation should immediately fill these pits with earth to avoid waterlogging in the area.



Women’s group protests at Bawala college
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 29
High drama was witnessed when a women’s group, led by Manjit Kaur, a social worker, raised slogans against the management of the Swami Devi Dayal Institute of Engineering and Technology (SDDIET), Mouli village, near Barwala, demanding accommodation for the MBA student, who was allegedly thrown out of the hostel room yesterday.

Manjit, along with members of an NGO, entered the campus through the main gate of the Swami Devi Dayal Institute of Engineering (SDDIE) and reached the SDDIET hostel and raised slogans against the hostel warden Usha. However, the warden told the protesting members that no decision could be taken over the issue as no member of the managing committee was present in the college complex.

Manjit also asked the police, which had arrived at the site few minutes later, to register a case against the college management for throwing out the girl student from the hostel. She alleged that the warden had also hit a cameraman of an electronic channel.

One of the students of the SDDIE, Aaliya Tabassum, who had arrived from Jammu and Kashmir last morning along with her elder brother, was allegedly thrown out from the hostel of Swami Devi Dayal Institute of Engineering and Technology (SDDIET). She was at present staying with Manjit at her residence in Sector 4.

Moti Lal Jindal, president of Swami Devi Dyal Hi-Tech Educational Academy (SDDHTEA), maintained that false allegations were being levelled against the SDDIET management. He said they could not provide accommodation to students of other colleges in their hostels.

He said the management of SRM Group of Institutes, headed by Roshan Lal Jindal, had requested for five rooms so that 10 students of SDDIE could be accommodated in the hostel.

He said the students have been issued receipt of hostel fee on behalf of the SDDIE while it should have been issued on behalf of SDDHTEA, which were running and maintaining the hostels. He said an MoU was signed on April 19 between him and his brother Roshan Lal distributing various institutes between them. He said even the roads and open spaces have been distributed and specified in the MoU.

He said more than 70 hostel students have lodged a complaint with the police that some miscreants were trying to disturb the peaceful atmosphere at the campus. The students said they had not been able to study from the last two days and if any student had any problem only his or her parents should take up the matter with the college management.

However, Roshan Lal Jindal, while accepting that the management of colleges have been divided between him and his brother, said there were many issues which were yet to be resolved. He said the SDDHTEA was a public trust and no one was owner of the same.



HC relief for disabled BSF troopers
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
Coming to the rescue to disabled Border Security Force personnel disabled in the line of duty, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Central government to release their disability pension after placing them in the correct medical category.

Disposing-off several petitions collectively, the bench ruled, “Once, under the statutory rules, a person is entitled to pension, it cannot be denied, merely because under the wrong advice the petitioner had opted to avail benefits which were less beneficial than the one to which he was entitled to under the rules, specially when right to pension has been recognised as right to property under the Constitution.”

Taking up the case of constable Pawan Singh, the bench observed that he received five bullet injuries when his party was ambushed by terrorists during counter insurgency operations in Kashmir. After being hospitalised for several months, he was certified as 50 per cent disabled with permanent physical impairment of the left lower limb.

In January 2006, a medical board declared him unfit for further service. In September 2006, was granted invalid pension of Rs 1,913 per month. Later, he learnt that persons who were similarly boarded out were getting a pension of Rs 6,330, which was almost equivalent to their last drawn pay.

He took up the matter with the authorities and was told that he was not entitled to disability pension as he had already been paid disability compensation of Rs 2.72 lakh as per his option. He was also told that option once exercised was final and there was no provision to refund compensation and sanction disability pension instead.

Counsel for the petitioner contended that as per revised rules the petitioner was entitled to disability pension and he was boarded out the revised rules came into force. Counsel of respondents contended that the earlier rules were still in vogue and relied on a letter issued by the government, denying the petitioner disability pension.

The bench observed that the benefit due under the statutory regulations could not be denied to the petitioner merely on the basis of a letter which was contrary to the revised rules. There was no provision under the revised rules which barred the grant of disability pension, the bench ruled.



They raise their ‘voice’ with eyes and hands
Swati Sharma /TNS

Chandigarh, August 29
Their eyes and hands act as their voices. They cannot comprehend what you are saying neither would you be able to understand their expressions. But it does not make their life difficult.

There were hundreds of hearing impaired persons who had converged at the third national seminar on promoting empowerment of hearing-impaired women organised by a Delhi-based NGO, Deaf Way Foundation, at the Indira Holiday Home in Sector 24, Chandigarh.

At the seminar, attended by hearing impaired persons from different parts of the country like Bhopal, Pune and Hyderabad, the speakers were not only greeted in a different style, the participants waived both arms to express their desire to clap while welcoming the speakers.

Disclosing about their mode of communication, coordinator of the foundation, Era Walton, said, “I have been working with hearing impaired people for the past 27 years and I have been in Chandigarh for the past 10 years. Interacting with them is always a pleasure.”

Soon after the seminar concluded all participants gathered at the banquet hall to celebrate the birthday of one of their colleagues Geeta. Yet again the they raised their arms in order to clap as Geeta cut the cake and sang the “birthday song” in their own special way. The youngsters were excited to be with the people with whom they could relate and most importantly “communicate” as well.

There were different speakers namely Veena, a lawyer, and Geeta Sharma who tipped women on developing their personality and enlightened them on their rights.

It was party time for these impaired persons who were trying to capture every moment in their cameras.

Sharing her experiences with the hearing impaired persons, Era Walton asserted, “A couple of years back I had acted as a translator for a hearing impaired lady whose husband had deserted her after 20 years of marriage. The husband was not impaired. It was a learning experience.”

Being impaired makes these people more careful than us, shared Era, “Once I was in Kasuali along with this girl who was hearing-impaired. I was talking on the phone and trekking. She noticed that I might slip and held me and saved me from getting injured.”



Magic of old melodies in full splendour
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 29
The melodic splendour of old Bollywood numbers by 22 finalists of the ‘Voice of Chandigarh-2010’ contest regaled the audience at the Randhawa Auditorium here today. It was organised by the S-4 Trust and the Gurukul Vidyapeeth as part of its ‘Sur Wid Taal-Talent Hunt-2010’.

Selecting winners was an uphill task for the jury, comprising Vinod Sehgal, Bollywood singer, Kanwar Iqbal, music director, and Rinku Kalia, ‘Sa Re Ga Ma’ contest winner.

Dr Arun Kant arranged the music while the programme was anchored by Rakesh Arora and Insha Arora.

MP Singh, Secretary to the Punjab Governor, Rajbir Deswal, IG (CID), Haryana, and Manmohan K Garg, CEO, Gurukual Vidyapeeth, honoured winners and judges of the contest.

Col PK Sharma of the S-4 Trust said the winners would perform at a musical nite as part of the birthday celebrations of Lata Mangeshkar at the Tagore Theatre in October.

The singing contest winners were: sub-junior (8-13 years): Aryan Wadera 1, Aanchal Bhalla and Savita 2, Amarpali 3; junior (14-18 years): Pratika Bhasin 1, Akhil Verma and Sajjan Singh 2, Yaman 3; senior (19-30 years): Neetu and Deepak 1, Shivam and Ishmeet Kaur 2, Aatima Nayar 3.

Winners of the ‘Dancer of Chandigarh-2010’ contest, which had been held earlier, were also declared. The winners were: sub-junior- Harsimrat 1, Ishan 2, Pargati Sahram 3; junior- Anahita Sachdeva 1, Gaurav 2, Aman Sharma 3; 
senior- Shruti 1, Raju 2, Navneet 3.



Zirakpur-Patiala Highway
Choked drain a nuisance for residents
Rajiv Bhatia

Shopkeepers show the choked nullah on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway. A Tribune photograph

Zirakpur, August 29
In the absence of proper drainage system, a choked drain on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway has made life miserable for hundreds of shopkeepers and commuters, who cross this stretch everyday.

They claimed that the drain was blocked for the past many weeks and had not been cleaned despite several reminders to the authorities concerned.

During the rainy season rainwater enters the premises of shops. Shopkeepers alleged that they had addressed their problem to the municipal authorities many times but nothing had been done so far. One of the shopkeeper alleged that whenever they asked the officials concerned to get the drains cleaned, the officials told them that the shops would be demolished soon, so there was no use of cleaning it. They demanded that the drain should be cleaned and proper drainage system should be laid in the area.

A visit to the area revealed that the drain was overflowing with polythene and garbage as it was not cleaned from many years.

SK Aggarwal, a shopkeeper, rued that the council had failed to get the drain cleaned. In the recent rain, most of the shops were flooded with rainwater and it damaged their goods. “We need permanent solution to the problem”, he added.

Another shopkeeper said it was difficult to work at the shop as the drain water was emanating foul smell and had become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. He alleged that the council had removed the manholes from the drain causing inconvenience to visitors. However, no MC official was available for comments, despite repeated attempts.



Sameer Watts Murder Case
Police hopeful of breakthrough
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 29
In an over-one-year-old murder case of Sameer Watts (34), a senior official with a Mohali-based office of a cellular operator, the Mohali police is pinning its hope on an email it got from an unidentified person who is believed to be either related to the assailant or someone who knows vital clues about the murder. For the last one year, the police had been groping in the dark.

Sources said after failing to ascertain source of the information, the hardware used to send the mail from a city hospital had been sent to Hyderabad to crack the ID of the email sender.

It is believed that once the ID was known, the police would be able to catch the assailants. Earlier, the police had found that two persons had called up the victim on two different occasions from a mobile phone number of Fortis Hospital. Watts was shot at from a close range near Cosmo Hospital, Phase VIII, here on March 12. Though the police is yet not clear about the motive behind the murder, it believes that both the callers have direct or indirect connection with the murder.



Newborn’s Death
Bulbul’s room changed after stone pelting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
Bulbul, who had been forced to deliver her baby in the open at the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, last month, resulting in the baby’s death, requested that her room at the Panchayat Bhawan, Sector 18, be changed after an incident of stone pelting last night.

She sought a change of room following the incident of stone pelting. However, she did not cite any threat to her life. The matter was reported to the police.

The SHO of the Sector 19 police station, inspector Ram Gopal, said a complaint was lodged at the police station. He said she just wanted a change of room, which had been done.

The Chandigarh administration had conducted an inquiry into the incident and made arrangements for Bulbul’s stay at the Panchyat Bhawan.

One of her sons had to go under surgery at the PGI. The inquiry report had indicted five doctors and many other staff members of the GMSH.



SSA teachers protest notification withdrawal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
Over 700 Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) teachers have termed the move of the UT education department to withdraw the notification of salary hike as unjust, arbitrary and discriminatory.

In a press note here today, they said the news came at a time when the SSA teachers were waiting for regularisation after completion of five years of service, as was promised in 2003 during their recruitment.

The decision has put SSA teachers on a par, even if they are newly appointed or have put in five years of experience. The SSA Society has kept the salary of SSA ministerial staff the same as approved by the project appraisal board of the MHRD, thus discriminating only against SSA teachers.



‘Manage time, you can manage everything’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
The Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya at Rajyoga Bhawan, Sector 33, organised a lecture on ‘time management’ here today.

Prof Onkar Chand from the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Bhaddal, delivered the lecture.

Elaborating tools and techniques for managing time, he said time was most powerful and precious resource and nothing else could be managed unless it was managed.



PU student falls off second floor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
Priyam, a first year student of the University Institute of Legal studies (UILS), Panjab University, today accidentally fell from the second floor balcony of the Sarojini hostel.

She was taken to the PGI immediately by students present on the spot. Priyam has not suffered serious injuries although she has fractured her shoulder.

Hostel inmates said Priyam was talking on the phone and her legs were dangling from the balcony.

She lost her balance and fell. Her hand got stuck while falling on the shed of the hostel canteen.



Bagful of promises
Tribune News Service


Chandigarh, August 29
The Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) assured research scholars on the campus that they would tide over their problems on a priority basis after election. In the party’s election manifesto released today, emphasis was laid on the accountability of PhD supervisor in delaying the submission of thesis. SOPU members said such delays were common in institutions like PGIMER but not in PU.

SOPU members said the council’s representative would be part of the committee to check thesis work of all scholars. They also assured them to provide hostel accommodation till the submission of thesis and timely payment for taking classes. The members also demanded transparency in the examination system. Other promises included online submission of assignments, digital library and more lab facilities.

While last year the party was demanding a student representative in the Senate, thisA year, SOPU members are eyeing a permanent seat in the PU Senate to raise the demands of students. They also brought to light the issue of systematic alumni cell of PU and compulsory alumni meet in every department to facilitate placements.


  • PhD- Accountability of supervisor to be fixed in thesis submission
  • Permanent seat in PU Senate for raising demands of students
  • Transparency in examination system 
  • Online submission of assignments
  • Compulsory alumni meet to facilitate placements
  • Choice-based credit system
  • Upgrading sports facilities to host major events
  • Smart classrooms in all departments
  • 24 hours wi-fi connectivity in north and south campus
  • No fee hike for students


Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, August 29
Better placements for Panjab University students topped the election manifesto of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP). The manifesto was released today for the Panjab University Campus Students Council (PUCSC) Election.

Members of the party assured PU students that they would focus on the problem of industrial placements and make sure that the central placement cell invited more and more MNCs and public sector undertakings.

ABVP members said they would emphasise on the availability of internship opportunities and the central placement cell must take up the task. They said the student-teacher ratio in each department as per the UGC guidelines would be improved.

In a unique promise to students, ABVP members said they would make sure that a student who got admission in the university was not made to stay outside at his or her own expense.

The party also mentioned that approval from the the AICTE should be sought for the mechanical and electrical branch in the UIET department, PU.


  • Free self-defence classes for girls on campus
  • Fee to be deposited in respective departments
  • Transparency in administration
  • Improved infrastructure in departments
  • Promotion of student entrepreneurship and innovation
  • Cap on fee hike in different courses
  • Separate hostel for PhD scholars


Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, August 29
The NSUI today released a “hand-written” manifesto for the forthcoming student election at Panjab University.

The NSUI Chandigarh Cell claimed that releasing a hand written manifesto, which is in accordance with the Lyngdoh recommendations, distinguished them from the other student organisation.

NSUI state president Randeep Singh Khaira and presidential candidate Rajesh Punia, along with several supporters of the party, were present on the occasion.

The members claimed that the party would make students aware of the utilisation of funds by the university and would make information available on the PU website.

They said it would facilitate scholarships and help the authorities understand the importance of scholarships.

On the examination evaluation and paper setting system, NSUI members said they would establish proper query counters on the campus. “Information kiosks will be established at the university gates to help students coming from far-off places locate departments without any hassle,” mentioned the manifesto. They said libraries would be upgraded and medical facility would be made available in hostels. The members said a student representation forum would be set up for taking up students’ problems.


  • Organising job fests for students
  • Improving test facility for UIET and UICET students
  • Utilisation of funds to be uploaded on the university website 
  • Upgrading departmental libraries



Candidates’ list to be out by tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
As per schedule of the Panjab University Campus Students Council (PUCSC) Election 2010-11, nominations for office-bearers will be filed on August 30. The process shall end with the filing of objections by 4.30 pm. These nominations include names of president, vice-president, secretary, joint secretary and departmental representatives. The final list of candidates will be released on August 31 for contesting election on September 3. The PU authorities said any objection, if received, should be looked into by a grievance redressal cell.

The PU officials on election duty said the student organisations were being sensitised for setting up an example in contesting the election in a most harmonious manner without indulging in any sort of violence and violation of the rules, guidelines while extending all possible cooperation to the university authorities.

The university officials today said no vehicles without stickers issued by the university should be allowed to gain entry into the university and security guards should check all vehicles at entry gates. Address system at all three gates had been made functional, they added.

Teachers and wardens joined the ongoing surprise-check drive on the campus to restrict outsiders from entering the campus.

A raid was conducted at hostels and fine was imposed on real allottees in whose rooms outsiders were found. A senior administrative functionary said the surprise checks would continue. Raids were conducted at girls and boys hostels this morning, following which an informal meeting was held at Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti’s residence.



Student politics shows its ugly face
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
Scared of flouting norms of the election code of conduct on the Panjab University campus, student leaders have now painted the city in ugly colours. Be it the university campus or Sectors 15 and 16, defacement is visible almost everywhere.

Right from traffic signs to other signboards at crucial points, banners of student organisations, particularly the Students Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) are visible everywhere.

While the PU authorities have asked the student leaders to remove all printed material on the campus, posters and banners continue to dot the city.

A majority of these posters are of student leaders from colleges, particularly the DAV College, Sector 10, but these college students have affiliations to student organisations active on PU campus.

Besides sectors adjoining PU campus, defacement of public property is can be seen in Sectors 31, 29 and 10.

When questioned, SOPU leaders said the posters were of college leaders. “We have no clue who is doing it, but seems to be the handiwork of rivals. We have been adhering to the rules and election code of conduct,” said Amit Bhatia, former student council president, PU, and SOPU leader.



Election Round-Up

ABVP announces panel

The Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP) announced its election panel for the forthcoming PUCSC elections today. Jagdish Prashad Jat of the University Institute of Chemical Engineering and technology (UICET) will be the presidential candidate. Manoj, department of history, Vikas Sharma, department of Sanskrit, and Amanpreet Singh, law department, will contest for the posts of vice-president, general secretary and joint secretary, respectively.

PU to videograph activities

The Panjab University authorities are now mulling over confiscating illegal material, including weapons found in cars, during the routine checks at entry gates and hostel parking. Right from the raids to the rallies and speeches by student leaders, the authorities are videographing each and every activity.

Over a cup of tea

Not the speeches, but it was the hospitality of student leaders that impressed all today. Instead of the usual action and mooting election strategies, it was a tea stall behind the PUSU party’s help desk that caught the fancy of students. It eventually became a hub of supporters, policemen and students during the day.

Alliance between INSO and PUSU

With INSO and PUSU announcing a joint-election panel today, reports of alliance between INSO and PUSU parties were testified. Both have fielded contestants from all science departments this year. For the post of vice-president, Jaspreet Kaur Brar of the physics department has been finalised, while Dharmender Lathwal of the bio-medical science department will contest for the post of general secretary. Vibha Sethi of the Botany department is contesting for the post of joint secretary, while Udey Wirring’s name has been proposed for the post of president. Due to the controversy surrounding Udey’s nomination due to his ineligibility, names of certain other students, including one from the law department are being mooted by the party as a backup.



Upgrade two govt high schools, demand MC vice-presidents
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 29
Senior vice-president and vice-president of the municipal council have demanded that two government high schools should be upgraded to the level of senior secondary schools so that students of Mohali did not have to depend on Chandigarh schools for higher education.

Amrik Singh, senior vice-president, and Harpal Singh, vice-president, said Government High Schools in Phase XI and Matour village should be upgraded and made functional from the next academic session.

They said the population of the town had touched nearly four lakh and there was only one government senior secondary school here. Out of compulsion, students of Mohali had to take admission in government schools in Chandigarh. The Union Territory had several schools in each sector with a total number of 104.

Amrik Singh said about 1,200 students were studying in the Phase XI and Matour schools. There were about 30,000 people living in Phase XI and most of them belonged to middle-class families. Most of the residents in this sector were riot-affected and could not afford to send their children to private schools due to the heavy fee structure.

Amrik Singh said the Phase XI school had 15 rooms and GMADA had reserved a site measuring 2.08 acre close by for the construction of a building so that a senior secondary school could start functioning from there. The district education officer had sent a proposal for construction of the building to the director concerned.



Admn tells MC to explain study tour destinations
Wants to know reasons for selecting Gangtok, Puducherry, Chennai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
The Chandigarh administration has sought reasons from the municipal corporation (MC) for selecting Gangtok, Puducherry and Chennai as places by councillors to visit as a part of a study tour. After receiving the communication, the administration will clear two places for study tours this year.

The councillors are expected to go in separate parties to the two destinations for lessons in the functioning of civic bodies.

Confirming the development, a former Mayor has said, “The Secretary for Local Government, in a formal communication, has sought details of the study trip. The corporation is expected to underline the reasons for selecting these places in particular for the study tours.”

The study tours are seen as an opportunity for councillors to go to different places in the country and understanding the functioning of corporations and councils in different settings.

Chennai appears to be a perfect destination for understanding the functioning of the civic body there, keeping in view the size of the city.

Gangtok and Puducherry are much smaller towns and critics have argued that the study trips are only holiday trips for certain councillors.



From Schools
City lad shines in soccer meet

Chandigarh: Narinder Singh, a student of Golden Bells Public School, Sector 77, Mohali, participated in the Inter Master Series International Table Soccer Tournament held in Germany. Narinder is also the member of Indian contingent. Around 200 players from six countries participated in the tournament. Narinder Singh secured the fifth rank.

Saplings planted

The NSS volunteers of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Sector 47, Chandigarh, planted 200 saplings in and around primary and secondary buildings of the vidyalaya. The drive was part of school’s ongoing campaign “My earth My Duty”. Santosh Kumar, IFS, UT Conservator of Forests, and MS Chauhan, Assistant Commissioner, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (Chandigarh region), inaugurated the campaign.


To mark the birth anniversary of “Mother Teresa”, a prayer meeting was held at a local church in Nayagaon by staff and students of Blossom Convent School, Nayagaon. — TNS



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