C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


MC loses face on Facebook
 Most complaints either go unnoticed or unattended to
Aarti Kapur
Tribune news service

Chandigarh,August 28
Umesh, an engineer, posted a complaint on the Municipal Corporation’s (MC) Facebook page about the need to repair a dug-up road in Sector 40 on July 13 for the second time. He had earlier complained on June 29. MC officials responded saying that the matter “had been forwarded to the department concerned”. Nothing has been done to date.

Dilip Kumar, a resident, posted his complaint on August 18 about an encroachment in front of SCOs 44 to 47 in Sector 47. He got a response from the MC after a week that his complaint had been forwarded to the official concerned. But no action has been taken.

These are only two out of scores of examples of the MC’s lopsided complaint redress system under the Citizen Charter. The charter was adopted by the MC in 2004. The charter clearly detailed the response time of each complaint for which officials were designated. For the record, the MC’s official website has posted all details of rules framed under the charter.

Former Mayor Kamlesh, who spearheaded the adoption of the Citizen Charter, said the major lacunae in the charter was there was no fixing of responsibility for the delay in any job. She said that in the House meeting scheduled for tomorrow, she will demand that fines be imposed on officials not dealing with public grievances as per the charter. The fine, she said, should be recovered from their salaries. 

All in vain? 


* I feel there is no one in the MC entrusted with responding and acting on our requests. It is eyewash. I have been asking it to check encroachments in the Sector 34 market by sweet shops and shoe-sellers. But there has been no action and no reply.~

Amitpal Sharma posted this complaint on August 4 to theenforcement dept

Citizen Charter states

A general complaint needs to be addressed within three days and in cases where a drive is needed, the MC needs 15 days.


*In front of house nos. 732-728, Sector 22-A, construction material has been lying on the road as well as on the footpath resulting in problems to pedestrians.~ Ashutosh Sharma posted this complaint on July 1 to the road wing, but till July 13 no action was taken.

Citizen Charter states

Debris has to be lifted from the site by the MC within three days from the receipt of a complaint recorded at the complaint centre.


* In Sector 43-B this is serious ... the park in front of the scooter market, Sector 43-B, has wild grass 6 ft tall spread over many square metres ... Are we living in Chandigarh or some jungle?~

Tanuj Benjwal posted this complaint on August 17 and it was forwarded to the department concerned on August 18.

*Blocked drains totally ignored in front of house numbers 401 to 407, Sector 22-A, Chandigarh.~ Ashutosh Sharma posted this complaint on June 26 but no action till July 3

Citizen Charter states

Minor blockage in sewer lines will be removed within two days from the date of the complaint. 



 Disclosure not MC forte
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
The municipal corporation (MC) continues to be in the dark about implementation of the Public Disclosure Bylaw, 2010, passed in April earlier this year, “with an intention of greater public accountability.”

Importantly, in a query posed by the Mayor, Ravinder Pal Singh, recently, about the status of implementing the bylaw, the Commissioner, Prerna Puri, has replied that the corporation will table a report in the next one month as to how the corporation will go ahead with the bylaw on the ground.

It appears that the authorities are also ignorant about the simple fact that the bylaw, approved in the corporation House meeting, in the month of April, also has complete details about its execution.

Resultantly, till date, the MC has not been able to make public any information on the bylaw, which would have helped the public in accessing information about the corporation functioning in different areas.

The bylaw has clearly asked the MC to maintain all its records and make arrangements for public disclosure through different media, including newspaper, Internet and MC notice board.

As per the bylaw, minutes of all meetings of committees which are constituted for seeking advice on vital issues should be accessible to the public.

The corporation should also provide details of assets comprising audit financial statements at the end of the financial year, the annual budget, income generated in previous year and details of all projects worth more than Rs 10 crore.

The corporation is also expected to reveal details of different works, expected time of completion, manner of execution and other details of contract.



 22 outsiders rounded up in PU hostels
 Police asks university to get its act together
Sumedha Sharma
tribune news service

Chandigarh, August 28
Despite its claims of having barred entry of outsiders on the campus, Panjab University turned red in the face today when 22 outsiders were rounded up by the UT police during a raid at the boys’ hostels during the wee hours today.

The outsiders, allegedly roped in from adjoining states, mainly Punjab, are said to provide muscle power during last-minute campaigning before the polls on September 2. A majority of them have come to “stand with their friends”. They were taken to the Sector 11 police station and let off with a warning after a verification.

“We have given a clear message that anyone associated with any mischief on the campus should be prepared for serious consequences. We have also communicated clearly to the university that it needs to get its act together in assuring that only genuine students stayed on the campus, particularly during elections. Students who are on the waiting list have no right to a hostel room,” the police said.

Gurmukh Singh, SHO, said: “We did not recover arms or liquor from students. Out of the 24 outsiders, only three had taken permission from wardens. We have asked the Dean Student Welfare and the wardens to be alert.” The DSW, AS Ahluwalia, said he would hold a meeting with the wardens tomorrow.

Interlocking posed problems

Over a dozen rooms could not be inspected as instead of the traditional locks, students had installed interlocks which can be opened from inside as well. It was difficult to verify if anyone was inside these rooms even though the doors were “locked” from outside. The Dean Student Welfare said they would find a solution to the interlocks as these posed a problem even during hostel inspections.

Rash driving

The police has registered four cases under Sections 279 and 109 against drivers of four Jeeps that were impounded from the campus. The drivers hit two rickshaws and a pedestrian sustained minor injuries on the campus. The drivers of these jeeps fled the spot.



 Healthyway fraud
Principal’s son held for seeking Rs 1.5 cr
 Posed as judge’s son, offered to get case ‘settled’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
The police on Sunday arrested Munish Bhardwaj, 30, son of the principal of Hans Raj Mahila Mahavidyalaya College, Jalandhar, Rekha Bhardwaj, for allegedly demanding Rs 1.5 crore from the family of Amit Kakkar, the prime suspect in the Healthyway Immigration fraud. Posing as “middlemen” between the police and the judiciary Bhardwaj, along with his accomplice Gurinder Singh, asked for the money to “settle” the case.

According to the police, Bhardwaj told Amit’s relatives his father was a “judge”. Ravi Kakkar, Amit’s father, then reported the matter to the police following which a trap was laid at a coffee joint in Sector 11 on Sunday. Bhardwaj and Gurinder came there in a Škoda car with fake registration plates to collect Rs 70 lakh according to the deal struck earlier. The cops were able to nab Bhardwaj but Gurinder managed to flee as he did not enter the coffee shop. A case of cheating under section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act has been filed against the two. Deputy police superintendent (SIT) Anil Joshi said Bhardwaj, a Panjab University law graduate who works in state-owned telecom utility Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd in Patiala, had met Ravi Kakkar on August 17, four days after Amit was apprehended. “The two met Amit’s father several times and took Rs 50,000 from him on August 21. Bhardwaj later demanded another Rs 1.5 crore and told Kakkar his father was a judge,” said Joshi. Bhardwaj’s father is an official in HDFC Bank in Jalandhar.

The police has seized the Škoda bearing fake license plates, which was being used by the suspects. Bhardwaj told the cops Gurinder was a property dealer and efforts are on to arrest him.aAmit is in police custody for allegedly duping scores of people on false promises of sending them abroad for jobs.



Three killed in road mishaps
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
Three persons, including a woman, were killed in separate road accidents in the city in the last 18 hours. The police found the body of a 35-year-old man at the Housing Board light point in Mani Majra in the wee hours today.

The body bore injury marks and it appeared that he had been hit by a vehicle. The body was taken to the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16.

In the second mishap, a 40-year-old accountant with the PGI, Naresh Kalyan, died when a rashly driven CTU bus hit his motorcycle in the afternoon. The mishap took place near the furniture market at Sector 53.

He was survived by his wife, mother and two children. The police said Naresh was trying to overtake the bus and his motorcycle collided with its wheels.

He received severe head injuries and died on the spot. The police arrested the driver of the bus, Rajkumar, in a case of causing death due to negligence under Section 304-A of the IPC.

In the third mishap, a 35-year-old woman, Vimla Devi, riding pillion on a Honda Activa scooter, died when she was hit by a truck. Her husband Baldev Singh was driving the scooter when the mishap took place.

The couple was returning from Rajpura to their residence at Mani Majra when the mishap took place. The police said the rear view mirror of the scooter got stuck in the truck when they were trying to overtake it at Daria village.

The scooter lost balance and the rear wheels of the truck ran over Vimla’s head, causing fatal injuries. The driver of the truck fled the spot. A case was registered at the Industrial Area police station.



Another child goes missing from Snehalaya
tribune news service

Chandigarh, August 28
Barely a week after a teenager went missing from Snehalaya, home for the destitute in Maloya, another 12-year-old child went missing from the institute yesterday. Michael Masih managed to flee from the institute by scaling a 7-ft-high boundary wall. A missing report has been lodged.

Director Social Welfare Department Varsha Khangwal has sought an explanation from the management of Snehalaya, in charge Ankur Karan Singh and others within two days. A detailed report will be sent to the office of the UT Home Secretary tomorrow.

The child was admitted to the institute on August 22 after he was found abandoned at the ISBT-43 and was waiting for a bus to Jalandhar.

This year, five children have gone missing from the institute. So far none of the children have been located.

Meanwhile, 13-year-old Badal Kumar of Sector 56 went missing from his house on August 23. He is a class VIII student in a government school. Satyanarayan Singh, father of the child, has lodged a complaint with the police.


Centre deaf to needs of hearing impaired
 NPCCD faces closure for want of funds
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
The union government seems to have turned a deaf ear to the needs of hearing impaired people of the UT. With no funds coming from the Centre for the last two years, the ambitious National Program for Prevention and Control of Deafness (NPPCD), aimed at preventing deafness among people of all ages and free distribution of hearing aids to children less than 14 years, has virtually shut down.

All activities under the NPPCD, such as holding free screening camps to detect deafness and distribution of free hearing aids to children, which are otherwise expensive, are on hold as the UT Administration has not received even a rupee from the Centre for the last two fiscal years. Interestingly, though Rs 7.5 lakhs per year was sanctioned for the last two fiscal years, the funds were not released to the UT Administration thus putting brakes on the programme.

Talking to The Tribune, Programme Officer of NPPCD, Dr SD Singh, confirmed that the curtain had more or less come down on the programme due to want of funds. “We have not received funds since 2009”, he said adding that Rs 7.5 lakh each was approved for both 2009-10 and 2010-11 but it wasn’t released by the Centre for reasons unknown.

With nearly six percent of the population suffering from progressive and acute hearing losses, the closure of the NPPCD programme is expected to have an adverse impact. The Union Health Ministry initiated the programme across 12 states including Chandigarh in 2007 as a pilot project.

After imparting training for one year on prevention, early detection and rehabilitation of all types of ear diseases that led to deafness, the center had provided fund to the tune of Rs 9.5 lakh for purchase of equipment among other things for implementation of the project. The UT health department had saved part of this money since some equipment was already available with them and had utilized it to start screening camps and purchase of hearing aids.

With all funds now exhausted, the project has come to a halt, say officials. “There is no money to hold screening camps or distribute hearing aids”, said a senior official, adding that 91 children were given hearing aids between 2008-2010.

Officials say, the first major survey was undertaken by the ICMR in the late 1970s in New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram which had revealed the prevalence of hearing loss in 10.8 percent rural and 6.8 percent urban population. According to doctors, a perforated eardrum hole or rupture in the eardrum, a thin membrane that separates the ear canal and the middle ear, is the most common cause of deafness in India and it is followed by presbiacusis hearing loss caused due to ageing when the inner ear cells get damaged. Incidentally, doctors say that 50 percent of deafness cases can be prevented with early detection but unfortunately that doesn’t happen as most cases go unreported until they become acute.

Survey on incidence

As per a survey on “Incidence of Hearing Impairment Among Rural and Urban School Going Children” conducted by the department of otolaryngology of PGI in the age group of 12-14 years in the late 1990s, 6.31 percent were found to be having hearing loss in the urban group and 32.81 percent of such cases in rural group. A total of 1,670-school going children were screened for hearing loss during a survey, said Prof AK Gupta, department of otolaryngology of PGI. It is not known whether any fresh survey on hearing impairment has been conducted in the city thereafter.



Anna supporters celebrate
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
A day after his three major demands were accepted, celebrations for Anna Hazare’s success continued in Chandigarh, with a car and motorcycle rally being taken out by the India Against Corruption (IAC).

Hundreds of Anna supporters participated in the procession and raised slogans in his support. They also celebrated the success by bursting crackers in the evening.

A cavalcade of cars and motorcycles, raising victory slogans, started from the Sector-17 roundabout, moved through various parts of the city and concluded outside the house of local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal at Sector 28.

A painting and slogan-writing competition was organised in the evening, which witnessed a huge response from city residents. Activists of Aawaaz also held a rally
to celebrate the success. People were seen dancing to the beat of drums and distributing sweets.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association suspended its relay fast, started on August 24. Lawyers of the Panchkula district court also called off their relay fast.



Development work on Aerocity Urban Estate to be outsourced
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 28
Private players will do the planning and composite development of Aerocity Urban Estate. This will be the withdrawal to the traditional practice of the in-house planning being done by the department of town and country planning and the separate tenders allotted for development works of roads, sewer, storm water, water supply, streetlight and horticulture works.

Now, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) will be handing out composite tenders to carry out complete development of an urban estate. After Aerocity, the works of the Mullanpur Urban Estate, Phases I and II, Medicity and IT Park would also be handed over to the private players.

“Often it has been seen that due to lack of coordination between different wings, the pace of development remains slow and the quality also suffers. But now composite tenders would enable the authority to monitor the progress of work,” said a senior official of GMADA.

Though a decision to outsource the work was taken an executive committee meeting of GMADA held last month, the process had begun after the authority recently held a meeting with private players like TDI, Omaxe, Ansals, DLF, L and T and others in the field of infrastructure development.

Sources in GMADA said post-qualification criteria would be finalised soon before inviting tenders for the works. As the environmental clearance of the Aerocity is expected in the next few days, the composite work would be allotted thereafter.

This would be the first time the government would be testing outsourcing planning element of urban estates. Earlier, the government had paid around Rs 8 crore to Singapore-based consultant Jurong Ltd to prepare master plans of six towns in the greater Mohali region.

Pointing out the logic behind outsourcing the job, an official said, “In the mega projects being developed by private players, one gets to see best of planning and latest trends in architectural world. The same could now be seen in GMADA’s urban estate.”

* This will be the withdrawal to the traditional practice of the in-house planning being done by the department of town and country planning and the separate tenders allotted for development works of roads, sewer, storm water, water supply, streetlight and horticulture works.

* After Aerocity, the works of the Mullanpur Urban Estate, Phases I and II, Medicity and IT Park would also be handed over to the private players



90 of 500 parks used for car parking in Mohali
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 28
Mohali residents are not paying heed to the instructions of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) regarding parking of vehicles in parks. As a result, the parks developed for relaxation of residents are being used as car parking.

The problem of shortage of space is more severe in thickly populated areas like Sectors 55, 64 and 65. The effort of GMADA authorities to stop residents from parking their vehicles in the areas reserved for parks does not brings the desired results as people park cars on the roadside in the absence of garages or adequate space for a driveway, causing inconvenience to road users.

No provision for parking was made by the authorities concerned in certain pockets as a result residents’ parked cars on roadsides or in parks. The vehicle density was rising and poor planning had aggravated the situation.

Citing a survey carried out by the horticulture wing of GMADA, officials said the parking problem had reached an alarming proportion. Officials said 90 of the total 500 parks were being used by residents to park cars.

Often there are quarrels between residents over the use of parks for parking. Executive Engineer, horticulture, GMADA, HS Dhaliwal said it had been decided to widen the footpaths along the sides of parks. To create the additional space, the mild steel railing on the boundary of parks would be brought in three to four feet. The parks of half acre and above have been identified for the purpose. 

Not giving two hoots to the orders of the administration, residents park their vehicles at a park in Phase IX, Sector 64, Mohali.
Not giving two hoots to the orders of the administration, residents park their vehicles at a park in Phase IX, Sector 64, Mohali. Tribune photos: Parvesh Chauhan



HUDA to digitise its records
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 28
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has decided to digitise its entire record, which runs into thousands of files. With this move incidents of documents theft from the files kept in record room of HUDA would be minimised and moreover no HUDA official would be able to temper with the records.

HUDA has decided that digitisation of records would be done in entire Haryana, but this pilot project would be started from Panchkula. For digitisation of records, HUDA authorities had already constituted a team under the Panchkula Estate Officer.

This move would benefit 2.5 lakh allotees in entire Haryana out of which 33,000 allotees were in Panchkula.

A senior official of HUDA said every second day they received a complaint from Panchkula residents that some papers from their property record in HUDA office were missing. They even raised allegations against HUDA officials for tempering with documents. With this move these incidents would be minimised, he added.

He further added that in case of any fire incident, if records would be digitised, the records would remain protected.

Confirming the development HUDA administrator Rajender Kataria said they would scan each and every document and would store dates in CDs. He further added that one hard copy of the record would be kept in record room and soft copies of record would be kept in CDs and on the internal lane of HUDA. With this they would be able to check entire record with just a click, he added.

He further added that they had already invited ‘expression of interest’ from the interested firms.



Ball in Punjab, Haryana court
 Sukhna’s catchment area as eco-sensitive zone
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
The UT Administration, which claimed that it was on the verge of completion of its report on declaring the Sukhna Lake’s catchment area an eco-sensitive zone, was now looking forward to its neighbouring states, Punjab and Haryana, for expediting their work in this direction.

Talking on the issue, UT Chief Conservator of Forests Santosh Kumar said the report would be completed shortly. “We are on the verge of completion of the report. Our neighbouring states, Punjab and Haryana, in which a major portion of the sanctuary falls, must have to expedite the work in this direction,” he said.

The UT’s portion of the sanctuary runs around 1.8 km on its circumference (around 38.2 km) whereas the major portion falls in Haryana (around 22 km) and Punjab, as per the Global Information System.

The Chandigarh Administration had reportedly sent communiqués two or three times to the governments of Punjab and Haryana on the issue, but the response was not said to be encouraging from their side.

“The report is being prepared according to fresh guidelines of the Central Government. It will be site-specific and the focus would be on regulation of activities instead of prohibition, as per the new directions,” said Santosh Kumar.

Earlier, the issue had figured at a meeting of senior officials of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, headed by Union Urban Development Secretary Navin Kumar, held around two months back. The meeting gave approval to the proposal in principle. After the completion of the proposal, it would be forwarded to the Ministry of Environment and Forests for approval.

What is eco-sensitive zone?

An eco-sensitive zone is a fragile eco-system area where the conservation or preservation of natural environment is sustained by state controls and/or grants. These eco-sensitive zones will work as “shock absorbers” for protected areas and are created around national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. In these zones, all development activities is regulated with an aim to prevent ecological damage.



PGI OPDs closed on Aug 31
Chandigarh, August 28
All OPDs at the PGI will remain closed on August 31 on account of Id-ul-Fitr, a gazetted holiday. Emergency services will function as usual.—TNS



Admn to submit heritage inventory to Home Ministry
  Over 10,000 items on list; auction by global houses will also figure in report
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
Over 10,000 items, including furniture, tapestries, models and sketches, designed by architects who designed Chandigarh have heritage value. This has been revealed in the first-of-its-kind inventory of the heritage items prepared by the UT Administration.

The report on the inventory of the heritage items, which will subsequently be used to prepare a comprehensive catalogue, will be submitted to the ministry of home affairs (MHA) soon.

Official sources said the report would also catalogue the heritage items being auctioned by international auction houses recently and action initiated by the Administration to preserve Chandigarh’s heritage and prevent the auction of these items.

During the course of the preparation of the inventory, it was found that several institutions, including Panjab University, had disposed of several items of heritage value at their own level without informing the Administration. The name of a French auction house had cropped up during the preparation of the inventory.

On May 5, the Administration had directed the departments concerned to send the list of heritage items to the UT’s urban planning department. The departments were directed to get records verified if heritage furniture items sold by international auction houses were the same items that had been disposed of by the departments.

The objective is to help departments in preparing a proper inventory of heritage items lying with them. Though directions to prepare a comprehensive list of sketches, furniture and models were first issued in 1996, the exercise took an unduly long time.

MHA to take action

Sources said the MHA will take action on UT officials’ alleged role in the disposal of heritage items to foreign auction houses. A detailed action-taken report on the sale of the items in the international market and the UT Administration’s efforts to prevent their sale will form part of the report on which the MHA will have the final say.

Auction houses made millions

While the UT Administration dithered on the issue, certain foreign auction houses raked in millions through the auction of heritage items of the city, including furniture, tapestry and drawings. The items were designed and used by French architect Le Corbusier, his associate Pierre Jeanneret and others. These architects were associated with the founding and planning of Chandigarh in the 1950s and 60s.



Renditions by Hussain brothers delight all
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, August 28
Ustad Ahmed Hussain and Ustad Mohammad Hussain mesmerised all during the Sham-e-Ghazal held at Randhawa auditorium. The concert organised by a Delhi-based NGO, Naad Foundation, was a big draw.

The maestros started the programme with an invocatory Ganesh Vandana and a patriotic song, which was something unusual in any mehfil- e-ghazal before doling out their hit compositions replete with romantic fervour, nostalgia, lament and hews of nature. The duo was at the apex of their versatile genius in their qawwali numa ghazal “Aaaj tere dar perr deevana”. They established a rapport with audience who complimented them for every couplet. Chief guest Ram Niwas, Home Secretary, lauded the efforts of Naad NGO and Hussain brothers. Rakesh Arora anchored the programme.



Award for Allengers’ CMD 

Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, August 28
Suresh Sharma, Chairman and Managing Director of Allengers Medical Systems Limited, Chandigarh, has been awarded the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Award for “outstanding performance for the year 2010”. President Pratibha Patil will confer the award on Sharma at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on September 2.

Allengers Medical Systems is a leading manufacturer and exporter of diagnostic equipment, including X-ray machines, mobile C-arm image intensifiers, lithotripter, mammography unit, mobile cathlab and ultrasound scanner.

“Our commitment to quality and innovation and ethical standards are our success mantras for which we have won various awards, including prestigious Era Award by a Switzerland-based organisation,” Sharma said here today.



Tricity Scan
Chandigarh scan
Residents’ body

A meeting of the executive committee of Chandigarh Residents Social Welfare Federation (Regd) (CRSWF) was held at the Community Centre in Sector 21 under the presidentship of DS Chahal, president, on Sunday. As many as 55 office-bearers of different welfare associations attended the meeting. The president while briefing the house about various activities undertaken by the federation demanded that the Chandigarh Housing Board should incorporate need based changes in the housing board dwelling units. Mukesh Nischal, secretary general, urged upon the administration to frame bylaws for regularisation of paying guest houses operating in the city. SK Khosla, secretary, said public distribution system needed to be streamlined

Saplings planted

Around 200 saplings were planted at Bal Bhawan, Prayaas Rehabilitation Centre and Juvenile Justice Home by the Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) in collaboration with the Citizen Awareness Group here on Sunday. Chief guest Varsha Khangwal, secretary, ICCW-cum-director, social welfare, inaugurated the drive.

Yoga workshop

Noted yoga expert and founder member of the Yog Sadhna Mission Dr Dhirendracharya will conduct a workshop and talk on stress management at Government College of Commerce and Business Administration, Sector 42, on August 30.

Talent series

Karishma Mehta, a class IX student undergoing training at the Lake Sports Complex, has won the All-India Talent Series (Tennis) in the U-14 category in Chandigarh. Tennis coach Ajay Kaushik said such events gave a great platform to youngsters. Kaushik added that rigorous training was given to youngsters.

Workshop for microbiologists

A workshop on “Advances in the diagnosis of malaria” is being organised in the department of parasitology, PGI, here on Monday. The workshop aims at apprising the young microbiologists from various medical colleges and hospitals in North India of the recent developments and techniques for the diagnosis of fatal disease.

Finance matters

A workshop for District Treasury Officers of Punjab was organised by the office of the Accountant General (A&E), Punjab, to bring efficiency, economy and effectiveness in financial matters. The workshop was inaugurated by Ajaib Singh, Accountant General (A&E), Punjab, and CS Talwar, IAS, director (treasury & accounts), Punjab.

B-school opens

On the completion of 10 years, the Indian School of Business (ISB), on Sunday, announced that its Mohali campus was now operational and would commence its first academic session in April, 2012.

Staff honoured

Sri Sukhmani Group of Institutions celebrated its 13 years of existence by honouring its employees who had completed 10 years with the institution. Cash prizes worth Rs 1 lakh, Rs 50,000, Rs 25,000, Rs 10,000 and Rs 5,000 were distributed among faculty members.

Insect in drink

Ramnik Singh, a member of Human Rights Group , Punjab, in a complaint to Chief Medical Officer, Punjab, stated about a 600 ml Maaza bottle that he bought from Amartex, Mohali, contained a house fly. He said he had taken up the case with the Punjab Human Rights Commission as the manufacturer did not pay heed to complaint.

Lecture on cancer awareness

The Sahayata Charitable Welfare Society, which helps cancer patients, organised a lecture by Mohini Loomba at St Soldier School. Through a PowerPoint presentation, she made the faculty of the school aware of cancer, its causes like use of chemicals, radiation, hormonal imbalance and decreased immunity.
tribune reporters



open House Response
Popularity motive behind contesting student poll

I was a student of the UILS department of Panjab University and completed my course earlier this year. I believe that there were times when student leaders commanded a mass popularity like Bhagat Singh who played a more than active role during the Independence struggle.
Police personnel push an unruly mob of students following a heated exchange of words during the Panjab University student elections in 2010.
Police personnel push an unruly mob of students following a heated exchange of words during the Panjab University student elections in 2010. Tribune file photo

But now Panjab University produces leaders who only make efforts to gain popularity and nothing else. Top leaders in a majority of parties are actually ‘goondas’.

These leaders have nothing to do with academics at all. Interestingly, these guys have criminal records and many a times they are enrolled in insignificant courses. These leaders stay in hostels for years.

Student leaders should have student like qualities. I am not sure of the amendments, however, the election process needs to have a corresponding connection with the academics. The issue needs a detailed deliberation for necessary strengthening of the system.

Arshdeep Singh Kahlon

Elections for welfare of students

Terming the exercise of contesting elections as only a platform for publicity is an unfair assessment of the poll process. The road to PUCSC elections is shown as violent and dirty, but the ground reality is that a majority of the leaders never indulge in violence. I firmly believe that the university authorities do not want students to come forward and expose various irregularities. Student organisations leave no stone unturned to get the best for students.

Manmeet Singh, Student, PU

Ban student poll

Election and campaigning have engulfed city colleges and Panjab University. No doubt these student parties contest elections for the welfare of students and also develop leadership qualities among them, but sometimes they deviate from their path and indulge in unethical activities.

The elections are marred by violence. Students spend huge sums on campaigning. According to my opinion, student elections should be banned.

Amrik Singh, Sector 7C, Chandigarh

Include students in decision-making

Instead of keeping students away from elections, one should help them reach the mainstream politics. The university needs to work out ways to include students in the decision making process, particularly on student related issues like admissions, examination and results. I know there are many loopholes in the existing system. There needs to be an effective check on the record of contestants.

Dr ML Dhanda, Sector 23, Chandigarh

Media exaggerates issues

During my three years stay on the Panjab University campus, I realised that student elections taught us a lot of things. In 2005, we saw students exchanging hot words, however, things became normal after a fortnight or so. I remember there were long sessions of debate on different fora and sometimes even hot words were exchanged during campaigning. We heard that our leader and his close coterie had a history of indulging in brawls. We had read in newspapers. However, all of them were very nice.

Except for some of the incidents where students exchanged slaps or even sticks, a majority of other fights, played up by media, were nothing but part of the growing up process.

Yashendra Mallick, Sector 46, Chandigarh.



The act of wooing begins on campus
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
With holidays lined up this week, college student leaders are now biding hard to retain a prime vote bank comprising hostel students in the city till elections on September 2.

From secretively organising movie trips for hostelers to throwing snacks parties in canteens, presidential candidates and student leaders have begun preparing strategies to woo key voters residing in college hostels.

Pleading anonymity, supporter of a prominent student body in DAV College, Sector 10, said, “We have organised a movie outing for our close hostel friends this week. Once they are charged up they will bring more friends along on the voting day. Not just us, similar strategies are being followed by most parties in one or the other way even though all these activities take place under the wraps.”

Ritualistically, hostel wardens in most colleges have been asking students to pack their bags and go home on election weekends in a bid to avoid any violent incident.

This, however, is a serious blow to the election campaign of student bodies, whose prime vote bank are the hostel students.

“Scores of voters are reduced because of holidays around the election date. Most students want to go home and they prefer to relax rather than stay back and support student bodies. Holidays are anyways dearer than poll to most students, so it is a good temptation to unwind by returning home,” said Amardeep Singh, a student of final year at GGDSD College, Sector 32 who is contesting for the post of president.

Certain other student bodies have found innovative ways to hold hostel students back during poll time.

“We usually have a separate fresher’s party for new students each year, but till now we have not thrown any such party. We plan to organise a bash after the elections,” said Ravinderjit Singh Sandhu, SGGS-26 of Chandigarh Students Union (CSU).

However, in colleges, where hostel students have a separate party, including Sri Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26, and GGDSD, Sector 32, hostel residents’ interest is relatively more.

“In our college, most students in the boys’ hostel are planning to stay back,” added Sandhu.



ABVP has woman for top post
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
Even though big guns like PUSU and SOPU talk of women students’ rights, it’s the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarathi Parishad (ABVP) which has chosen a girl as its presidential candidate.

Anindita Sharma, a masters of Sanskrit student, will be representing the party for the forthcoming elections.

“Girls don’t have a say. Their problems become election issues, but are never dealt with seriously. The party has chosen a woman candidate for two reasons. One, she will be able to understand other girls and second, we believe in women power and think its high time that a girl becomes PU president and changes the perspective of the student council,” said party organising secretary Dinesh Chauhan.

The party has chosen Parvesh Chandel for the post of vice-president and Jitender Kumar for the post of joint secretary.



A bagful of promises
 PUSU announces presidential candidate
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
Following months of separations and speculations, the two estranged Panjab University Student Union groups headed by Simranjit Dhillon and Sukhjeet Brar joined hands today and declared Sumit Goklaney as the party’s presidential candidate.

While nominating Sumit, both the leaders clarified that the groups led by them had some ideological differences which now had been sorted out. “We are united by the common goal of student welfare and minor differences can never come in the way of the party’s glory,” added both the leaders.

The parties were at loggerheads following the appointment of Jajwinder Singh Sidhu as PUSU by the PUSU faction headed by Simranjit Singh Dhillon and Udey Wirring, along with Gurindervir Singh Aulakh, the former president of PU student Council, in March this year.

A segment of members led by Sukhjit Singh Brar refused to accept the decision calling it a unilateral appointment.



SOPU, SOI enter alliance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
Although it is yet to decide its presidential candidate, the Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) has entered into an alliance with the Student Organisation of India for the forthcoming student elections. Claiming to be on the same pedestal of approach towards students welfare, SOPU president Vicky said it was an ideological alliance.

“SOI and SOPU are fighting for the same student issues and we also have the same ideological approach,” he said.

SOI, which this year made its presence felt strongly, is being viewed as a key contender to INSO, which for long has been the most sought-after ally to both PUSU and SOPU.

“We have established our base through consistent hard work. We never went for publicity, but silently served students so got noticed. We have allied with SOPU as like us the party talks of progressive development of students in university,” said SOI president Manpreet Sekhon.



Staying connected through SMSes
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
From informing students about holidays to important notices put up in colleges, ‘Short Message Service’ has emerged as a strong canvassing tool adopted by student leaders to stay connected with voters for the upcoming student council poll.

Beating social networking websites and even campaigning, student bodies have been pro-active in creating database of students to personally approach them to seek votes. The process of collecting this data begins right at the admission time and is seen continued in certain colleges even now.

At Post Graduate Government College, Sector 11, for instance, representatives of certain student bodies created a list of mobile numbers of first year students for campaigning to inform them about the poll schedule.

Former college presidents say that campaigning through SMSes has been a trend at Panjab University and colleges for a long time, but has kicked off with more intensity in colleges this year due to acceptability among students.

“Although not openly, members of student organisations do collect mobile numbers of students in classes. Later, these numbers are used to personally call them seeking votes and also to inform them about important events in colleges,” said a student of first year and an active member of the Panjab University Student Union (PUSU).

Narrating strategies adopted by them to stay connected with voters, certain former college student leaders claimed that SMSes had been the quickest way to connect, although facebook and other ways had been around for sometime.

“We used to take contact numbers of students during admission time and stayed in touch with them. Student leaders also added them on facebook although messaging them is more popular. Anything related to party meetings and important information related to poll and college both are messaged to students,” said Ravidit Singh Kanga, a passout of PGGC, Sector 11.



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