C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Parties find novel ways to smuggle liquor into Panjab University campus
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
Time: 12.37 am (Friday night)
Place: The parking lot near the Panjab University (PU) playing fields is abuzz with activity as a booze party sponsored by a student organisation is in progress.

Cocking a snook at the Panjab University authorities, activists of student organisations are smuggling liquor into the PU campus right under the nose of security personnel, who are supposedly frisking every vehicle entering the university campus.

But where there is a will, there is a way…

“What if our cars are checked, ‘Baijee Bult tan haega!!!” (We have our bikes also).

For the student elections scheduled for September 2, the student organisations are regularly organising ‘Daaru da Langar’ (booze parties) during late-night hours to woo voters. The venue ranges from parking lots and secluded locations around the campus and the targeted voters are freshers in the hostels.

A number of student voters confided that they were bringing liquor bottles in backpacks when they drive to the campus on their bikes. “This is the best and the safest way to prevent the detection of bottles by security personnel deployed at the gates,” said a student of a department, notorious for political activities on the campus when asked how they brought bottles inside the campus.

The trend to serve liquor on the PU campus is a departure from the previous practice of students being taken to hotels and taverns for free liquor and snacks.

Citing the increased prices of alcohol and food, a student activist said, “Student organisations prefer to host parties on the PU campus as this is cheaper. Here we can invite as many students and even their friends .We do not force anyone to drink.We are here to make friends, so what’s wrong in it?” asked a student while offering a drink to this reporter.

When asked if they had ever been caught by security personnel, a majority of them replied “Security personnel are also human beings, strictness will be imposed after Sunday or Monday. At the most, they can only seize our bottles,” said another student.

The scenario is the same in almost all “hot spots”, including parking of Student Centre. Student leaders prefer terming these parties as “party’s meeting”.



Mastermind held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
The Special Investigating Team (SIT) of the Chandigarh Police today arrested the mastermind in the case of fraud involving Healthyway Immigrations. The police arrested Chartered Accountant Varun Gupta in the case and confirmed his involvement in forging bank documents.

DSP Anil Joshi said Gupta, a resident of Sector 45, also runs his own immigration firm with the name Globals Consultancy Group in Sector 20. Besides, he works as a CA from his residence with the name of ‘Varun and associates’ in Sector 45.

The police is also examining the role of certain bank employees who were named by Gupta for having connived with him while forging documents. “He is the mastermind behind the fraud and forged all bank documents.

He was arrested on disclosure statements of Amit Kakkar, owner of Healthyway, who is in police custody,” said Joshi.

The police also said that Gupta had agents across Ambala, Jagadri and other places in Punjab, whose roles were under scanner. The accused forged documents to show fixed deposits in the bank accounts of their clients while processing visa applications. The police has so far recovered 197 forged bank documents from the office of the prime accused Amit Kakkar. The immigration firm is in the dock for duping scores of clients on fake promises of sending them abroad.



Fate of 86 Senior Residents hangs fire at GMCH-32
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
Recruitments seem to be jinxed in the UT administration. While recently 144 selections of bus conductors in the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) were scrapped and the teachers’ recruitment scam is pending in the High Court, the fate of 86 senior residents (SRs) continues to hang fire as even after one and a half months of their selection at the GMCH-32, the UT administration is yet to clear their appointments.

And what is surprising is that this is happening when the UT administration’s flagship hospital, GMCH-32, is facing an acute shortage of SRs, with 86 of the sanctioned 150 posts of SRs, including demonstrator and emergency medical officer, lying vacant. The sorry state of affairs willy-nilly reflects the UT administration’s low priority towards its commitment of providing quality healthcare to city residents.

Confirming that the appointments were yet to be cleared by the UT administration, Director-Principal, GMCH-32, Dr Raj Bahadur, told Chandigarh Tribune that the process for finalising the candidates was completed on July 8. “All formalities at our end have been completed and the list of successful candidates has been sent to the health department for approval,” he said.

No one in the UT health department was willing to comment on reasons for the delay in issuing the appointment letters to the successful candidates. Efforts to contact UT Health Secretary Ram Niwas for comments proved futile as he didn’t answer calls made to him on his mobile. He even didn’t respond to the SMS seeking his version on the reasons for the inordinate delay in the clearance of the file.

However, sources claimed that such delays had become routine ever since the practice of obtaining final clearances in such matters from the Health Department was introduced a year ago. Earlier, the Director-Principal of the institute was empowered to clear the appointments.

Sources said 86 posts of SRs, demonstrators and emergency medical officers had been lying vacant in the hospital for quite some time. The recruitment process was initiated in June first week and completed within a month, but the UT health department had taken over one and half months to accord their approval, says sources.

Of the 86 vacant posts, 55 are of SRs, 23 of demonstrators, four in Central Casualty Service and one of EMO. While the shortage of SRs exists in all departments, including anaesthesia, general medicine, general surgery and gynaecology, demonstrators are short in the departments of anatomy, biochemistry, community medicine and transfusion medicine.

Expressing surprise at the delay, senior faculty members say that this entire procedure of recruitment should be re-looked to cut the time gap between selection and appointment. “The authorities must understand the work pressures and realise the importance of clearing such files in public interest,” said a senior doctor at the GMCH-32.

As per figures, in the anaesthesia department, seven of the 11 posts of SRs are lying vacant. The dermatology department, which has four sanctioned posts, has no SRs and the gynaecology department is working at half its sanctioned strength with just four SRs.



1 ITBP jawan killed, 6 hurt in mishap
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 27
A jawan of the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) was killed while seven others were seriously injured when a speeding school van hit them on the killer stretch of National Highway-73 near Sector 26 today.

The deceased was identified as Mohammad Ayub (25), a resident of Doda, Jammu and Kashmir. The police said all seven jawans were from the 37 Battalion of the ITBP, Madanpur, Sector 26.

The police said the school van was going from Ramgarh towards Panchkula. The jawans were on their way back to the barracks and going towards Ramgarh. Suddenly a bike came on the road and to save the motorcycle rider, the school van driver lost control over it and ran over the ITBP jawans.

The police said the injured jawans were identified as Pushkar Singh, Jatinder Kumar, Rakesh Rawat, Gulam Mustafa, Vipin Kumar, Umesh Kumar and one more jawan. Four of the injured are admitted in the PGI Chandigarh, while three others are admitted in General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula.

SHO Chandimandir police station Jangsher Singh said they had arrested the van driver Vinod Kumar and impounded the vehicle. A case of negligent driving had been registered against the driver, he added. 


Where amenities are a dream
Sectors 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 56 and 61 a shambles
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
Though the problems regarding lack of basic amenities in southern sectors is not new, but the most neglected are colonies developed by Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) at Sectors 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 56 and 61.

These are sectors where even basic facilities like market, dispensary, school, bus queue shelter, post office, e-sampark centre and community centre are not provided.

The problems regarding these sectors have been highlighted to the UT administration and the municipal corporation by resident welfare associations (RWAs) many times, but there is no end to their problems and demands.

SS Bhardwaj, chairman of the Social Welfare Council Chandigarh, says these sectors have been lying neglected for a decade and despite repeated requests, the authorities have failed to resolve issues.

“Housing societies at Sectors 48 to 51 have paid over 1,000 crore as development charges, but when it comes to development and providing facilities, these sectors have been completely neglected,” he has said. Residents claim that they have to depend on Mohali for basic amenities like school and market. “Even after paying taxes to the UT administration, we are depending on the neighbouring town for various facilities,” he has added.

One of the major problems at these sectors is the absence of a proper market. Residents of Sectors 51, 52, 56 are the worst sufferers. Janak Raj Sharma, vice-chairman of the Sector-51 RWA (CHB flats), has said administration and MC officials visit the sector, but have failed to solve problems of the sector till date. “The sector does not have a dispensary or a community centre,” he has added. KL Banga, president of the Sector-52 RWA (CHB flats), has said the sector does not have a community centre, e-sampark centre and post office. “Markets are the basic requirement, but we are deprived of the facility,” he said.

Dr Rattan Chand, general secretary of the Sector-56 RWA, has said their sector is known for bumpy roads, congress grass and lack of basic amenities. “There is no market and we have to visit Sector 40 of Chandigarh or Phase 1 of Mohali for purchases,” he has said.

He has added that the primary school in the sector does not have a boundary. As a result, it has turned out to be a den for card players. Despite repeated requests, nothing has been done by the authorities concerned so far.

Issues regarding these sectors have been been raised during a meeting of the Federation of Sector Welfare Association Chandigarh (FOSWAC) with the CHB chairman.

According to FOSWAC chairman PC Sanghi, the CHB chairman has directed officers to take up the matter with the authorities concerned to provide facilities where colonies have been handed over to the administration and take action to provide facilities at colonies which are yet to be handed over.



Residents of Sector 21 oppose installation of security gates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
Though the Municipal Corporation has initiated the process of installing security gates in various sectors of the city, the Resident Welfare Association, Sector 21, has decided to oppose the installation of the gates claiming that the gates installed in one of the sectors are not good enough to act as security gates as they are very short in height.

The residents in July had also written to the UT Administration regarding this and now plan to protest against the installation of gates in their sector.

Baljinder Singh, president, Citizen Welfare Association, Sector 21-A, said that they were going to demand that the security gates to be installed in their sector should be re-designed and should be tall enough to act as a security gate. “The security gates installed in Sector 15 are useless as one can easily cross the gates by jumping over them”, he said.

Singh further said that they were going to protest against the instillation of these gates in their sector. “We will oppose the installation of gates in our sector”, he added. Sachin Sharma, another Sector-21 resident, said that there was no use of installing the gates in a sector when the illegal exit points in the sector remained unplugged, which could be used by those moving on two-wheelers or in cars to move out or into the area even when the gates were locked at night.

He further said that consensus of the residents should be taken on whether they were ready to contribute to the salary of the security guard. A complete strategy should be worked out. A delegation of Sector 21 had also met the Home Secretary and the Chief Architect in June to discuss the issue, now they are planning to make a fresh representation.



UT fisheries dept in ‘deep waters’
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
The UT Fisheries Department, the only fish seed farm for Sukhna Lake, is in absolute shambles. Dirty rooms, broken furniture, stinking toilets and wild growth all around the department’s building, which is located just a few yards from the Chandigarh Administration’s innovative project, “Garden of Silence” at the regulatory end of Sukhna, welcome the visitors here. The visitors to the place mainly consist of fishing licence seekers.

A visit to the site revealed that the department, whose annual budget for the current financial year was Rs 25 lakh (non plan) and Rs 3 lakh (plan), has no proper furniture. Most of the few chairs and tables are broken and rooms were found dirty and stacked with broken articles and equipment. As the department has no sweeper, the employees are forced to clean the rooms. The condition of toilet is pathetic in the absence of water and cleanliness. “We are forced to go in open to answer the call of nature,” said the employees there.

Apart from that, it is the wild growth all around the premises, which poses a threat to the lives of the employees as well as the visitors there. Reptiles, including pythons and other poisonous insects, were found in a large number here. An employee said just a few days ago an 8-feet-long python was found on the premises. It was caught by employees of the forest department.

Though the department has one boatman, it has no boat of late. “We will get a motorboat very soon to check the unauthorised fishing from the lake,” said Dr Lovelesh Kant Gupta, joint director of the department.

On the pathetic condition of the premises, Dr Gupta said there was a proposal for the modernisation of the site. “Talks are on with the local horticulture department, which would provide us the gardeners to maintain the premises. Except that, there are plans to facelift the place. The work in this direction would also begin soon,” said Dr Gupta. Around eight lakh fish seeds are claimed to be produced every year at the farm.



Cataract catching young too
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
It seems that most cataracts are a result of aging, but young people may also develop the condition. Doctors say that cataract, clouding of the eye’s natural lens and the main cause of blindness in the world, which earlier affected those above 60 years, is now being witnessed even among those who are in their late-30s.

Prof Jagat Ram, Ophthalmology Department of PGI, said, “We are receiving 600-700 cases of pre-senile cataract (cataract developing below 50 years of age) annually. The age of onset of cataract in India is almost 10-15 years earlier than people of the western countries.”

“The main cause of pre-senile cataract could be due to the overall poor nutrition level, increased diarrhea and dehydration, excessive smoking and use of steroids,” said Jagat. Besides, in case there is a family history of early cataract, the children would get it five years earlier than their parents, he added.

He said, “While in case of the aged, we usually wait for the cataract to mature. In pre-senile cases, the corrective measures are taken immediately to prevent damage to the eye. If the visual blur is interfering with the daily life of the patient, the cataract surgery is the only solution.”

More than 10,000 patients were operated for cataract in 2010-11 under the National Programme for Control of Blindness. In the last fiscal, 9,609 surgeries were done. Out of these, five to six per cent cases were of the pre-senile cataract.

According to PGI ophthalmologists, with advanced technology like phaco emulsification, which involves less incision and quicker recovery, cataract could easily be treated. In developed countries, more than 95 per cent of surgeries are done through this method. Here, the post-surgery complications are less.

Even, femtosecond laser, originally used for vision correction surgery, is being tried in India to treat cataract. According to experts, the laser allows extreme precision in surgery.

In a recent study, presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology, femtosecond laser incisions achieved perfect diameter accuracy in 100 per cent of cases, while only 10 per cent surgeons’ manual cuts had a margin of 0.25mm error. 



Tricity scan


The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) awarded the winners of its “Lucky Monsoon” contest at a function held at IOC’s Sector 21 retail outlet on Friday. The lucky draw contest was run by the IOC to expand its customer base during the monsoon.

Memorandum submitted
A delegation of the Trinamool Congress Committee, Chandigarh, led by its president Shambhu Banerjee met the Advisor and Home Secretary, Chandigarh administration, and submitted a memorandum regarding the demand of rehabilitation of the residents of the SBS Colony. Party advisor Hari Kumar and vice presidents Ajay Singla, Kuldeep, Sonu and Ravinder Kumar also accompanied the deputation.

Property dealers’ meet
The Property Consultants’ Association urged the UT administration at a press conference here on Friday to allow the internal need-based changes in the commercial buildings, which did not affect the strength and basic structure of the buildings. It also demanded the restoration of the pre-2009 system of issuing the NOC to the GPA holders, transfer of property on the basis of the registered will, permission for mortgage of the leasehold property, registration of the property consultants on PUDA pattern and transfer of all industrial property into leasehold.

Deepti Malhotra, a librarian at Saupin’s School, Sector 32, has topped the Panjab University in bachelor of library and information science (BLib) examination. The result of the exam was declared recently by the PU. More than 150 students appeared in the examination.

Novel concept
EuroKids International has introduced an innovative and enriched concept called ‘Kindermusik’. Through this initiative, EuroKids claims to have become the only Pre-School in India which offers its students the unique concept of Kindermusik -- learning through music. Kindermusik has age appropriate programmes for children and has customised programmes to enrich the learning of a pre-schooler.

Trainning programme
The Institute of Correctional Administration, in collaboration with the National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi, had organised a three-day training programme on ‘Human Rights and Custody Management of Undertrials’ for the police and prison officers of northern states, a press release said here on Friday. As many as 40 policemen and officers from the various states participated.


Risk management
A seminar on risk analysis was organised by the Small and Medium Pharmaceutical Industry Centre (SMPIC) under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) here on Friday. Professor KK Bhutani, director, NIPER, said in the present scenario money and production should not be the only factors concerned of all pharmaceutical industries. The other part risk management should also be taken care of strictly by every pharmaceutical production unit in India so that probability of occurrence of harm and severity of the harm may be reduced, he added. In continuation of the series of seminars it was the fourth seminar to bring awareness to all drug regulatories and pharma professionals.

Youths hold rally
Shaheed Bhagat Singh Youth Club and Youth Akali Dal in Mohali on Thursday took out a candle-light march in support of Anna Hazare’s crusade against corruption while demanding a stronger Lokpal to curtail corruption among the ministers and bureaucrats. The march began from Industrial Area, Phase VIII, and ended at the Phase VII, Industrial Area.

A seminar on the topic of “Career Prospects in Pharma Industry” was held at Chandigarh Group of Colleges (CGC), Landran campus, on Friday. Atul Gandotra, COO, Metro Hospitals, and Anil Kumar Vashisht, DGM, Lupin Pharmaceuticals Ltd, were the speakers. They presented their views on the topic and also addressed the doubts of students about the pharmacy industry. Atul Gandotra, while stressing upon the need to excel in one’s field, asked the students to be hungry for knowledge. AK Vashisht said for success in any field, introspection was very important. He told the students that there were 28,000 pharma companies in India that were producing more than 40,000 types of pharmaceuticals. — Tribune Reporters



Entrances to Mohali Phase III appalling
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, August 27
Broken roads, liquor vends, illegally parked rehris by slum dwellers and heaps of garbage welcome visitors to Phase III-A of Mohali.

The Nehru Colony of slum dwellers, which is located next to Phase III-A, has been the biggest source of nuisance for residents of the area over the years. Not only residents living in its vicinity face security problems, unhygienic conditions also prevail outside the boundary wall of the colony which falls in Chandigarh.

The phase, which is among the oldest, has three main entry points. People coming from Sector 43 of Chandigarh to the area are greeted by two liquor vends while those coming through the furniture market to Phase III-A are welcomed by a number of luxury buses parked illegally in the area. On the third entry point one comes across heaps of garbage.

Filth and dirty water can be seen along the road near the filling station where the luxury buses are washed. Road in this area has got damaged. The footpaths along the road are full of wild growth.

A vacant area along the wall of a telephone exchange is in a state of neglect. Garden waste could be seen dumped along the wall. Stray animals were seen moving about in the park near the telephone exchange. Garbage was lying scattered close to a tubewell even when a board had been put up there directing residents not to throw garbage on that area.

Manjeet Singh Sethi, a resident, said sanitation was in a state of neglect. “Safai karamcharis come only once or twice a week. Rainwater collects in certain areas as road gullies are not cleaned regularly.” 

Residents speak

The area residents receive muddy water every now and then. The quality improves for some days when complaints are made, but no long-term solution is found to the problem. There is only one tubewell in the area. Though residents did not feel the shortage of water this summer, one more tubewell was needed for adequate supply.~

— Manjit Singh Sethi, local resident

Shortage of water is felt at times when the pressure remains low. Wild growth can be seen along the roads as curb channels are not cleaned. Fogging has not been done in the area over the past about one year.~

— MS Sodhi, local resident

Entrance to the area becomes a big problem in the evening when rehris in large numbers are illegally parked near a temple. It becomes a major traffic hazard. Complaints have been made a number of times in this regard to the authorities concerned, but to no avail.~

— Sukhjeet Singh, local resident

The area is full of colony residents. During the late evening hours the jhuggi dwellers from Nehru Colony can be seen loitering around our houses. ~

— Kanwal Singh, local resident



Two deaths from electrocution
Tribune Reporters

Panchkula, August 27
A 13-year-old student of Class VII was today electrocuted at his home in Abhayapur village in Panchkula. The victim, Neeraj, was a student of Government School, Sector 19, Panchkula.

According to the police, Neeraj was trying to switch on a TV set to play his video game when he got electrocuted.

Lalru: A man was electrocuted while he was doing his duty today in a nearby factory. The deceased, Amarnath, was a resident of Bhukri village of Dera Bassi.

As per information, the victim was installing the electric motor in the tubewell in the factory near Lehli when he accidentally came in contact with electricity wires. Amarnath died on the spot. The body was sent to the Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi, for the postmortem.

2 nabbed for stealing motorcycle

The Lalru Police claims to have arrested two persons with a stolen motorcycle today. The accused were identified as Sooraj, a resident of Dera Bassi, and Randheer Singh, a resident of Karkour. The police has registered a case against them under Section 379 of the IPC.

The accused had reportedly admitted to have stolen a motorcycle of Bhajudeen, a resident of Bapu Dhaam Colony, Sector 26, Chandigarh, when it was parked at Lalru two days back.

Wrong medicine claims woman’s life

A woman who reportedly took wrong medicine by mistake two days back died in the PGI, Chandigarh, yesterday. Thirty-year-old Ruby Singh was a resident of Prem Nagar, Lalru.

She was admitted to the PGI in a serious condition. The husband of the victim is an employee in a private company at Dera Bassi. Ruby was living with her husband in a rented accommodation in Prem Nagar. The police has started inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC.

200 checked at eye camp

Dera Bassi: A free medical camp was organised at Bhankarpur village by Baba Nanak Foundation here today. A team of doctors checked nearly 200 persons during this camp. Free medicines were also distributed to patients on this occasion. President of the foundation Parmdeep Singh Maana, vice-president Raja Mandeep Singh and sarpanch Bhal Singh were also present.



32 bags of unclaimed bodies’ ashes immersed
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 27
At last, the Mohali civic body had woken up from its deep slumber and immersed the ashes of unclaimed bodies at Kiratpur Sahib yesterday, which had been lying in bags over the past many years in a store.

As many as 32 bags full of ashes of unclaimed bodies were lying in a store of the Mohali cremation ground over the past many years as the authorities concerned had failed to make any arrangement for their immersion.

Two officials of the Municipal Corporation -- Jatinder Pal, a junior engineer, and Harbant Singh, a sanitary inspector, went to Kiratpur Sahib to immerse the ashes which were carried in a funeral van. The work of loading the ashes was done in the presence of executive officer Vijay Kumar Gupta. The immersion of the ashes was done according to religious rites. Videography of the entire activity was also arranged.



Haryana govt issues directions to civic body
Corporation status for Panchkula
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune news service

Panchkula, August 27
Fifteen days after the Supreme Court’s order of according the status of a corporation to Panchkula, the Haryana government finally issued directions to the municipal corporation (MC) to start working as a corporation.

Meanwhile, in a related development, the state government has also given Panchkula Deputy Commissioner Ashima Brar the additional charge of the MC Commissioner. Till now, there had been no clarity among the officials about the status of MC.

On August 10, the Supreme Court of India had stayed the last year’s order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court quashing the notification for the formation of a Panchkula municipal corporation and converting it back into a council. But after the stay, the Panchkula civic body had once again been converted into a corporation.

When contacted, executive officer of the Panchkula MC KK Jain said they had received the orders of the state government in which it was written that as the SC had put an interim stay on the HC’s order, start functioning as a corporation.

On the other hand, Panchkula DC Ashima Brar said with the new development now they would study the budget of Rs 60 crore passed by the MC recently. She added that no developmental work would be stopped and she would soon call a meeting with the MC officials for the proper functioning of the civic body.

For the corporation status, the Haryana government had moved the Apex Court by filing a special leave petition (SLP) against the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s order on October 29, 2010, quashing the notification of a municipal corporation.



Only 12,000 voters for SGPC polls
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
Though the city has witnessed manifold increase in its population in recent years, the number of voters will still be almost the same in the forthcoming SGPC elections after its last election in 2004.

If there were 14,000 voters in the last SGPC elections, this year only about 12,000 voters have been registered so far while around 2,000 applications are still pending with the Chandigarh Administration. Out of these pending applications, many will be rejected for various reasons when checked, added an official in the UT Deputy Commissioner office. The last date for applying for registering as voters is September 2.

One of the main reasons behind the low number of registered voters is said to be the unawareness among the Sikh community about the procedure of getting registered for the election. “Most of the Sikhs are not aware as how and where the voters are being registered. Wherever I go, the complaint is common that the Chandigarh Administration has not publicized the registering process properly,” lamented former UTMayor Harjinder Kaur, also a contestant in the fray.

She added that if there were only 12,000 voters in the city, which had more than one lakh Sikh population, it was not a good sign. Meanwhile, Tilak Raj, local returning officer of the election, said that the list of valid nomination papers would be posted on August 29 and on the next day, the list of polling stations would be displayed. The elections will take place on September 18.



PU finalises voters list
Over 13,000 students to choose president on Sept 2
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
Even as student organisations are yet to decide on the name of their presidential candidates, Panjab University has finalised its voters list, according to which the next student council president will represent demands, aspirations and point of view of 13,294 students.

Compared to the last year’s 12,000 students, it is not just the number of voters but even department representatives (DRs), which has subsequently gone up, as Panjab University will now have over 122 DRs to represent various departments.

The list, which was finalised today contains details of all bonafide students of various departments, but is, however, open to minor changes.

“In some departments, students were left out and some will be admitted by August 31, so there might be minor changes,” said AS Ahluwalia, Dean Student Welfare, Panjab University.

Innovation ditches campaigns

A SOPU supporter fixes a sticker on the arm of a girl during For all those looking forth to innovative campaigning techniques, PU student council elections might prove to be a dampener. Contrary to last years’ canvassing where tacky slogans, social networking sites, promotional hairstyles, cars and clothes marked the campaigning, student parties seem to be sticking to conventional face-to-face campaigning this year. Both big guns, PUSU and SOPU, are making headway to classrooms to woo prospective voters. Interestingly, the party, who always relied on the “padha likha” crowd to draft speeches, is reaching out to them in chitchat style. Claiming to have run out of time, both parties feel that they don’t want to pretend anything. The voters should know us for what we are, what we have done and what we can do. We are going to students and talking to them as it creates a bond and initial trust, which is the key requisite.

A SOPU supporter fixes a sticker on the arm of a girl during election campaign in PU. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Classroom campaigning annoys teachers

INSO activists campaign in classrooms to seek votes. Tribune photo: Manoj MahajanWhile student leaders are making most of the remaining time to hurl promises at PU students, their classroom campaigning has left teachers annoyed, who are found grumbling over frequent disruption of classes. “All groups hit the departments at same time and you are forced to move out. We accept the election fervour but classes cannot be disrupted. Teachers are asked by these leaders to move out and nothing can be said,” said a PUTA member. DSW AS Ahluwalia, meanwhile, directed the students to seek permission before entering classes and if denied wait for lectures to get over.

Parties’ tents bear empty look

While the university was open today in lieu of forthcoming holidays, not many students were seen in the campus, which dampened the campaigning fervour. The parties, which had enthusiastically put colourful tents, were left a little disappointed.



Four open jeeps impounded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
In a bid to tighten the noose on “hooligans” at the time of student council elections, the UT Police impounded four open jeeps from the Panjab University (PU) campus today for negligent and rash driving during car rallies organised yesterday.

PU supported the move, which banned use of open jeeps and printed stickers on cars in the campus till the conclusion of elections.

According to police officials, in addition to these jeeps, which belonged to supporters of PUSU, SOPU, SOI and ABVP, more vehicles will be impounded tomorrow based on CCTV footage.

“Before the declaration of date of student elections, they tried to have car rallies and many members flouted norms by negligent driving, carrying supporters on car roofs and raising slogans. We have impounded the open jeeps and are recognising other vehicles also, which will be impounded soon. No nonsense will be tolerated this year,” said Gurmukh Singh, SHO, Sector 11 police station.

“The open jeeps are generally misused by hooligans, so as a preventive measure we have banned their use in the campus during election time. As per Lyngdoh recommendations, the vehicles cannot be used for promotion, so party stickers have also been banned and removed from the vehicles,” said DSW AS Ahluwalia.

Meanwhile, tight security was witnessed at PU entry gates today. Many teachers and students are yet to receive special entry stickers, thus cars had to be thoroughly checked.

The police has also issued orders for checking two wheelers as well later this evening. 



SD College witnesses scuffle between student bodies
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
With the election fever catching up fast in the city colleges, a scuffle was reported last evening at GGDSD College, Sector 32, boys’ hostel, where members of two rival organisations entered into fisticuffs and heated arguments.

The tensed atmosphere that prevailed in the college canteen during the day yesterday with representatives of SD Hostel Union (SDHU) and Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) shouting slogans continued till evening in the boys hostel.

Although warden and police security deputed on spot brought the situation under control, the local station house officer (SHO) claims that no major brawl is possible as there is no way to sneak in any weapons inside the hostel.

“The security is tight inside the hostel and regular checks are also being conducted. The fight reported in the hostel was not major. Students do tend to enter into heated arguments during poll time but there is heavy security and presence of hostel wardens ensures that no major incident takes place,” said Kirpal Singh, SHO, Sector 34 police station.

College officials, on the other hand, are also counselling the students against indulging in any activity.

“We are constantly counselling the students and there has been no major incident,” said PK Bajaj, in charge, student council elections of the college.



New parties add flavour to college poll
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
Emergence of new student bodies in city colleges in the last few years has added a fresh flavour to the student council poll, which was dominated by old timers since decades.

With more promises, innovative ideas and newer faces to contest the student council poll, these organisations also “claim” to be independent of the influence of dominant student organisations, including Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) and Panjab University Student Union (PUSU).

The Indian Students’ Association (ISA), for instance, has launched itself for the first time in DAV College, Sector 10, this year. A student body, which promises to fulfill genuine student issues, is yet to organise a formal conference to announce its panel and party launch.

“Unlike other parties, our organisation is an independent organisation and is not backed by any political bigwig. It is tough to find a party that talks of genuine problems of students. Those who are winning and contesting election in the colleges are least concerned with the problems of common students. We have formed a new party with the vision of helping ordinary students,” said Balkaran Singh, BA II, party president, ISA.

Although the fate of these new parties remains to be seen, candidates surely promise a tough competition to others.

“We are giving facility of placement office to students through which they can look at wider career options while studying. A special office has been opened up in Zirakpur to help such students who wish to work part time to sustain expenses. Once these students become economically empowered they can ever help their parents by financially sustaining them. A ‘friends cell’ has also been set up by our organisation, in which students are told what options to look for in future. Seniors from the colleges and passouts guide students about their queries related to career,” said Narinder Saini, president, YAI at SGGS College, Sector 26.



Drama prevails over cancellation of readmission
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
High drama prevailed at Sri Guru Gobind Singh College (SGGS College), Sector 26, today when the college principal cancelled readmission of a failed candidate over his alleged involvement in suspected student activities in the past.

Navjeevan Gupta, who failed in BA (final year) in 2009, sought readmission at SGGS College today, which was cancelled by the college authorities citing reasons of his misconduct with college faculty and attempts to breach the college security in the past.

While college officials’ attempt to maintain discipline in the campus in wake of student elections was evident during today’s incident, Gupta, on the other hand, claimed that he would organise a strike in the college on Wednesday to protest against the cancellation of admission.

Gupta alleged that he was “humiliated” amidst nearly 50 persons in the college. “I am not a criminal, but I was treated like one by the college. I have a clean background still my admission was cancelled. As per the right to education, I cannot be denied admission,” said Gupta.

Gupta added that he is gearing up to file a writ in the court on Monday.

Nullifying his claims, the college officials say two years ago, Gupta attempted to breach the college security by bringing along a friend, who being the son of a senior Punjab Police official brought huge security inside the campus to exert pressure on the principal to readmit him.



Anjani is Miss Fresher
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
A cultural extravaganza marked the fresher’s party at the Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45-B. Seniors presented dance numbers to entertain the freshers. 

Anjani was chosen Miss Fresher, whereas Harinder and Payal were declared runners-up. Simran Kaur got the title of Miss Beautiful Hair and Jasmeet won the title of Miss Winsome Smile. Principal, Dr Meera Modi congratulated the winners. 



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