C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


 

Sector 18 press up for sale
Privatisation not to affect employees
Naveen S. Garewal and Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh / New Delhi, February 1
Chandigarh will soon see a major change in one of its icons. The Government Press in Sector 18 is due for a major overhaul. This will include a change in its ownership and the name. The all-glass building that has served as a landmark for city for the past over 50 years is up for sale. The decision of the government to 'rid' itself of the loss-making venture was taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet in Delhi today.

Almost everyone here in city has some stationary item like forms, gazettes, calendars, etc, with the sentence "Printed at Government Press, U.T, Chandigarh".

This will change in the future and the UT Government will have to lease out the work to a private printer or ask new management of this press to do job work for it.

The privatisation will, however, not affect the employees of the press.

The issue of privatisation of the UT Press, which is one of the biggest printing presses in the country, had been lying pending for the past several years.

But the Union Cabinet finally took a decision today to privatise three government presses at Chandigarh, Mysore and Bhubaneswar with the rider that "Employees will continue to be in service till completion of their balance service period".

"On the recommendations of the Group of Ministers, the Union Cabinet has approved that Government of India Text Books Presses at Mysore, Chandigarh and Bhubaneswar along with reasonable operational land area may be privatized. Excess land of these presses may be developed, if necessary, in collaboration with the state governments," Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi told reporters in Delhi today after the Cabinet meeting.

When asked about the future of employees, he said, the employees would be adjusted in the government or they can take VRS. They can also be transferred to other departments or cities.

The decision, he said, will improve utilisation of assets. Notably, the previous NDA government had taken a decision on the closure and merger of these presses in 2002, but the present government decided to set up a Group of Ministers (GOM) to examine the matter.

Following the recommendations of the GOM, said Mr Dasmunsi, government press at Shimla may be retained and modernised by converting it into a production-cum-training centre at an estimated cost of Rs 2.19 crore.

The Cabinet has approved the modernisation of other 11 government presses at an estimated cost of Rs 21.94 crore, out of total depreciation reserve fund of Rs 26.40 crore with the Director of Printing.

The Minister said the Cabinet also approved to transfer the Gangtok press in Sikkim to the state government with its present liability and assets on mutually agreed terms and conditions, besides retaining Kolkata press with the condition of ban on recruitment.

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CTU forced to give up on some routes
Meeting on Feb 6 to settle the issue
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 1
The just introduced grid system of the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) went in for a toss here after it was forced to discontinue services on some newly introduced routes to the district. These new buses were started with the launch of the grid system from January 23 onwards.

A few other CTU buses plying to Nadda Sahib gurdwara, Mansa Devi temple, Kalka, and Naraingarh, which were allegedly plying without a route permit, have also been discontinued. A decision to this effect was taken after a meeting of officials of the CTU, the Transport Department, Haryana, and members of the employees unions.

Officials in the Haryana Transport Department informed Chandigarh Tribune that the CTU had started bus service from Panchkula to Mohali Phase II, Sectors 70 and 65, and the PGI as part of its new grid system. Mr D.S. Dhesi, Transport Commissioner, Haryana, said they had asked the CTU to withdraw bus service on the new routes till the time the CTU and the Haryana Roadways agreed on a joint timetable, which did not clash. “Buses can operate in each others’ territory, either after an inter state agreement, or as per the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act. The Chandigarh Administration had apparently not decided on a joint timetable with Haryana before introducing new bus routes with the launch of its grid system. We have asked them to first sort this out, and then launch new bus routes in Panchkula,” he said.

A meeting of the two departments is scheduled for February 6 on the issue.

Under the grid system about 120 buses ply on vertical and horizontal lines on Chandigarh roads, except for a few old routes, covering the PGI, the ISBT, Sectors 17 and 43 and the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The bus service has become more frequent at an average frequency of seven and half minutes.

“A number of CTU buses were also plying in Panchkula for which they had no permits. Following this, we, too, introduced a new bus route to the PGI yesterday, but our bus was impounded by the Chandigarh authorities on the pretext of a previous gazette notification that the local bus service in Chandigarh was to be managed only by the CTU to the exclusion of any person or agency,” informed a senior Haryana Roadways official.

Meanwhile, members of the CTU Employees Union led by its president, Mr Ranjit Singh, said they, too, would not allow any Haryana Roadways bus to ply in Chandigarh other than till the ISBT, Sector 17, Chandigarh.

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Minibus operators block traffic
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 1
A protest was held by members of the Minibus Operators Association, Punjab, at Sohana here today against the “unsympathetic” attitude of the state government towards their demands.

A large number of persons gathered near Gurdwara Akal Ashram and blocked the Mohali - Landran road as the police did not allow them to reach Chandigarh where they had planned to organise an agitation. They held a rally and blocked traffic for a few hours at Sohana causing inconvenience to road users. Police force in large numbers was present in the area.

The protesters said that they had planned to set a mini bus on fire at Matka Chowk in Chandigarh today but the police did not allow them to move to the Union Territory. Only a seven-member delegation of the association was allowed to move to Chandigarh to meet the Punjab Chief Minister and the state Transport Minister in connection with their demands.

The SDM, the SP and the DSP also reached the scene and asked the protesters to remain peaceful.

The president of the association said that his organisation had been giving a memorandum of demands to the government from time to time but no action had been taken by authorities concerned so far. He said that the fees which was Rs 2 earlier had been raised to about Rs 50 by some bus stands, road and other taxes had been increased from Rs 9200 to Rs 40,000 and mini bus operators were allegedly harassed by the traffic police at various points.

They demanded that adda fees should be abolished and the taxes reduced.

The SP, Mr Varinder Pal Singh, however, said that the police did not stop the protesters from moving to Chandigarh. In fact, he said, that they had planned to gather at Sohana from where only a small delegation had to go and meet the Punjab Chief Minister and the Transport Minister. He said that the protesters had not blocked traffic and vehicles kept passing through from the sides of the road. He said that additional police force had been posted so that no law and order problem arose.

He said that the authorities concerned had conceded to the demands of the bus operators union and now late in the evening the members were going to their respective destinations.

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World cupper Lombi praises hockey crowd
Amardeep Bhattal

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
Argentina's hockey star Jorge Lombi, who played in the Premier Hockey League here, is all praise for the local crowd. Overwhelmed by the electrifying atmosphere at the Sector 42 stadium on the concluding day of the PHL here tonight, Jorge, a veteran of 253 internationals with 329 goals to his credit, said the massive response would breathe new life into Indian hockey.

" People are fanatic about hockey here and the jam-packed stadium reflects their love for the game," said Lombi while talking to The Tribune in an exclusive interview at the stadium here tonight.

" This is something which is lacking in Argentina. People back home are not as enthusiastic and boisterous," he said.

Born on November 1, 1971, at Buenos Aires, Jorge Lombi, who shares his name with his father, a furniture factory owner in the Argentinian capital, has hockey in his blood. Incidentally, his brother, Pablo Lombi, was the coach of Argentina's junior World Cup team. He has one sister, Karina, who also lives in the Argentinian capital.

With a degree in business administration, Jorge nevertheless has adopted hockey as his profession. In the last World Cup at Kuala Lumpur, he was the highest scorer along with Pakistan's Sohail Abbas with 10 goals to his credit.

Hockey is not the only thing which keeps Lombi busy. " I am a godfather to a family in Argentina for charitable purposes," he said while revealing his inner concern for fellow human beings.

A practising Catholic, Lombi is hopeful of representing Argentina in the forthcoming World Cup in Germany later this year.

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Flights delayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
All three flights to and from the city to Delhi were delayed today due to the ongoing strike by employees of the Airport Authority of India in Delhi. Officials at the Chandigarh Airport informed that the flights of the Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and Air Deccan were delayed by almost an hour each because of the strike.

Sources said flights were expected to be delayed again if the strike continued. Officials though refusing to come on record did not rule out the possibility of flights being cancelled if the strike carried on for many days.

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Sodomy case: accused scientist arrested
Tribune News Service

Dr Paul Ramesh, the CFSL scientist who has been accused of trying to sodomise five youths, being taken for medical examination to the General Hospital, Sector 16, Chandigarh on Wednesday.
Dr Paul Ramesh, the CFSL scientist who has been accused of trying to sodomise five youths, being taken for medical examination to the General Hospital, Sector 16, Chandigarh on Wednesday.

Chandigarh, February 1
A scientist working with the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), Sector 36, Dr Paul Ramesh, was today arrested after being accused of trying to sodomise five youths. The victims comprised boys sent by the crime branch of the police to the CFSL for a lie-detector test.

The Chandigarh centre of the CFSL is one of the premier centre of forensic science. The incident had raised several questions about the findings of the centre.

In the morning, the policemen were not allowed to enter the CFSL complex, which resulted in heated arguments.

Sleuths of the crime branch could arrest the scientist in the afternoon only after senior officers of the police intervened and discussed the issue with the Director of the CFSL, Mr R.S. Verma. Later in the evening, Dr Ramesh was taken to the General Hospital, Sector 16, for medical examination.

The police swung in to action after one of the youths, Vikas, who yesterday underwent the lie-detector test, complained of unnatural behaviour on part of the scientist. After investigating the matter, the police recorded the statements of the four other youths namely, Naveen, Yadvinder, Gurdeep and Rajvinder, who had also undergone the lie-detector test. A case under Sections 292, 377 and 511 of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 36 police station.

The youths were referred for the test in connection with the death of Naresh, who died of drowning in July 2005.

Before arresting Dr Ramesh, the sleuths searched his room and looked for the pornographic CD’s. At least six CDs, including two CDs containing acts of sodomy, were seized from the room. The police officials were, however, tight lipped about other evidence if any found from the spot.

Later talking to the mediapersons, Mr Verma said investigations of all cases had been withdrawn from him and he would not be given any work till he was cleared of all charges.

He said he would cooperate with the police in the investigation of the case.

A police official said the youths in their statement given to the police said they were threatened of adverse reports if they did not cooperate with the scientist in the unnatural act.

One of the complainants had told the police, “I was asked to strip naked and was shown a pornographic movie. He asked me to masturbate as it will relieve stress. Then he tried to embrace me but I pushed him”.

The police swung into action after the family of one of the youths approached the police with the case.

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Youth need to rediscover Punjab: Bansal
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
The youth from the granary of India need to rediscover the vast potential of the land that offers dreams to people from other states. It is sad that youth from Punjab were looking only for white collar jobs or shifting abroad rather than using the potential of the fertile lands which currently houses people from across the country. This was stated by Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Union Minister of State for Finance, while talking to The Tribune here today. Mr Bansal said "the economic scenario has changed and the potential of employment in the government circle has reduced to a great extent. I realise that the average land holdings have reduced. However, this does not mean that the land had lost its potential. I also know that the entire youth of Punjab does not belong to the landed class. However, the land can help realise the dream of employment to hundreds in industry which can be possibly generated on base of returns from agriculture."

Mr Bansal said "the youth needs to be instilled with the sense of pride in taking up the job of managing their land. A casual visit across the state shows hutments of thousands of migratory labourers from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttranchal and Orissa and other places. I want to clarify that I have nothing against the migratory labour from other states. I am just talking about near-home employment for those living here".

Mr Bansal said the "the state needs to have a relook at exploring the potential of agriculture. I will have a meeting with Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, in this regard. Look, a single processed potato costs about Rs 15 in a branded packet which shows potential of processing industry. In this context, the state first of all needs to revamp the places of food storage.

"I know the solution to the issue of selling agriculture as a dream project for work is not simple as it might sound. However, the matter needs to be at least deliberated in the correct perspective for possible alterations and related fields with potential of work", he said.

"I have just taken up my new job after Mr P.C. Chidambaram, the Finance Minister, introduced me to the secretaries. I will wait for any specific assignments handed over to me. At the moment, I can only say that the entire agriculture sector needs to be restudied in a new perspective as is evident from the message from Dr Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister. Ensuring public participation in exploring avenues of self employment in dairy and agro industry is an important issue at hand", he said.

Mr Bansal said the UPA government had shown its commitment for public welfare with several policies, including Rural Employment Guarantee Bill and empowerment of women through macro-financing. He said he will first like to equip himself better with the details of job at hand before making any comments.

Talking about the recent controversy where his name featured in paying Rs 5 lakh out of MPLAD to get the honorary membership of Golf Club, Mr Bansal said the entire episode was handiwork of a "small section of media which was foxed into portraying ulterior motives of an interested party. One of the immediate objectives was to stall my appointment as Minister of State. The party high command has reposed faith in me by giving me an important office."

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COMMUNITY
 

Kalpana Chawla remembered
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh/Mohali/Banur, February 1
Teachers and students of the Department of Aeronautical Engineering, Punjab Engineering College (PEC), Chandigarh, today paid tributes to Kalpana Chawla. A two-minute silence was observed to mark the death anniversary of the astronaut.

Three years ago this day Kalpana Chawla, along with six other astronauts, had died in space shuttle Columbia while returning from a mission. Kalpana became an astronaut with NASA after completing her aeronautical engineering from PEC in 1982.

“The first and only girl student in her batch, Kalpana was a brilliant and determined student who was focused on the objective of her learning. She always believed that there was no task that girls cannot do as well as boys,” Prof S.C. Sharma, Head of the Department who had also taught Kalpana, said.

“Once she told me that she wanted to join as a maintenance engineer with Indian Airlines or Air India to which I replied that this job was difficult for girls. She immediately shot back saying that she would prove me wrong. And she really proved everyone wrong when she went to space missions,” said Professor Sharma.

One of Kalpana’s batch mate, Mr Rajkanwar Jolly, who also topped the batch and is now working with the Aeronautical Development Agency of the Ministry of Defence at Bangalore, delivered a lecture at the college today. He talked to the students about on “LCA-design performance”.

The two-hour long lecture ended with students interacting with Mr Jolly. He also shared his experiences and feelings about Kalpana.

“Such occasions are very sad but at the same time such days become inspiring and motivating for the younger generation who is eager to emulate the achievements of one of their peers,” said Prof Sharma.

Chandigarh Engineering College (CEC), Landran, near Mohali, named a girls’ hostel on the campus as Kalpana Hostel. The foundation stone of the hostel was laid by Mr Gurmukh Singh Dhillon and his wife Gurvinder Kaur Dhillon, parents of Baba Gurinder Singh, head of Radha Swami Satsang, Beas.

A portrait of Kalpana Chawla highlighting her achievements would be kept in the hostel so that students could draw inspiration from her.

The Principal of the college, Dr G.D. Bansal, having taught at PEC, said Kalpana Chawla was a brilliant student right from her school to university education. She selected aeronautical engineering even though she was the only girl in the branch.

Her family initially resisted her decision but they also knew that she was determined and nothing could stop her. With her hard work and dedication she became the first female India-born NASA astronaut.

Mr Satnam Singh Sandhu, Chairman, and Mr Rashpal Singh Dhaliwal, General Secretary, of the college management, said producing engineers of the caliber of Kalpana Chawla would be true homage to her.

A special memorial ceremony for Kalpana Chawla was held at the Swami Vivekananda Institute of Engineering and Technology, Banur, today. Students from various disciplines, who have formed a Chawla fan club, observed a two- minute silence in the college.

Mr Manmohan Garg, CEO of the Swami Vivekananda Group of Colleges, said: “We all remember the fateful day when a star fell out of the sky. But this bright star went out as a super nova leaving remnants of light to remind us of how she had achieved which no other had.”

Members of the Excellent Coaching Centre, Sector 15, remembered Kalpana Chawla today. Paying tributes to her, Prof S.C. Gupta, Director, said with the glow of determination in her eyes, a warm smile, dedicating her self to the world of science, Kalpana reached for the stars and imagined a world filled with hope and happiness. “Her hopes and aspirations live in our hearts now and inspire us to dream, explore and discover,” he said.

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JBT scam: CBI raids house in Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 1
A CBI team from Delhi today raided the residence of Panchkula resident Hansraj in connection with the alleged irregularities in the recruitment of JBT teachers in Haryana in 2000. Four officers of the CBI led by a Deputy Superintendent of Police raided the residence of Mr Hansraj in Sector 2 as also his printing press in Moginand village.

An official of the CBI said they recovered incriminating documents from both places raided. He alleged that Mr Hansraj had received Rs 4.5 crore from a contract to print textbooks. The contract was awarded to him by Mr Sanjeev Kumar despite the fact that he quoted excessive prices. They also maintained that Mr Hansraj’s firm, too, was fictitious.

The raid began at 6 am in the morning and continued till 2:30pm. The search was carried out in the presence of Mr Hansraj’s family. While Mr Hansraj was “missing” even before the CBI team arrived, his family members, too, were absconding since the time of the raids, the CBI official said.

The raids are being carried out in consonance with the Supreme Court order to investigate the alleged scam. The Supreme Court had directed the CBI to investigate the scam in November 2003, following which the investigating agency first registered a preliminary inquiry and then a regular case in May 2004 against a number of persons.

The former Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, had also been questioned by the CBI in this regard, besides the then Officer-on-Special Duty to the Chief Minister, Mr Vidya Dhar, and the then Political Adviser to the Chief Minister, Mr Sher Singh Badshami, among others. However, later the agency turned the heat on the whistle-blower, Mr Sanjiv Kumar, also. 

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Posting of info on web causes concern
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
The reported instance of an Army officer posting “damaging” information on the Internet has not only come as a surprise to officers, but also stirred up intelligence and security agencies to exercise greater caution.

In what is being stated to be the first instance of its kind in the Army, an officer is being proceeded against for allegedly posting information having military significance onto a private website on the Internet.

Sources reveal that a prestigious armoured regiment station in Ambala had hosted its own website and had posted sensitive information on to it. Serious note of it was taken by the top brass and commanders had come down heavily on officers concerned for the lapse. The incident happened about a year ago and the website no longer exits.

What is of concern to intelligence agencies is that Pakistan has a very active and capable cyber warfare outfit. Besides regularly monitoring information posted on the net, it is also known to intercept e-mail traffic.

Officers said that communiqués and orders on information security were issued from time to time. Specific procedures on handling computers, networks and data storage equipment were listed.

During Operation Parakram, the Army brass went into a tizzy, after a computer hard disk containing information about the Army’s entire deployment in the western region found its way into the gray market. It so happened that the unit computer was sent to a private dealer for repair, who changed the computer’s hard disk and installed the disk onto a computer sold to a civilian. Information stored on a hard disk can be retrieved even after it has been erased by a user.

Thereafter the Army issued directives that hard disks are not to leave military premises. Computers to be sent for repairs to civilian dealers would be done so after removal of hard disks.

Though the Army has its own secure computer network and telecommunication setup which is linked to the civilian establishment, internet connections are not permitted on military circuits. Internet connections have to be on stand-alone computers through a civil telephone line.

Some time ago, a JCO posted in the Directorate General of Military Operations at Army Headquarters was caught transmitting information over the internet. It was also found that he had an internet connection at his residence over which he used pass on the data.

According to intelligence officers, military personnel are prohibited from prefixing their ranks to their names in e-mail identities or texts. This is because e-mails using such identities are prone to interception. But ranks are being mentioned in e-mail texts and messages, raising security concerns,” an officer added.

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CBSE officer refutes charges of harassment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
Mr D.R. Yadava, Regional Officer, CBSE, Chandigarh, has refuted the charges of harassment against him, saying the charges were not only motivated and mischievous, but the result of some hard administrative decisions he had taken against erring employees of the CBSE.

He was reacting to a news report carried in these columns on January 31.

The CBSE officer said the complaint filed by two women working at the regional office before the National Commission for Women (NCW), New Delhi, only related to manipulated transfer and promotion.

He said there was no truth in the news report and the complaint submitted and the complaint had no reference to any case of sexual harassment, as had been reported.

A notice had been issued by the NCW and administrative action was being taken by the CBSE headquarters against the two women.

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Basant Panchami celebrations today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
The Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) has decided to celebrate Basant Panchami tomorrow at Sukhna Lake.

While informing this here today, the Managing Director, CITCO, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, said that to mark the occasion yellow tinged beverages and food will be made available at Lake Cafeteria. The beverages like yellow Ice Slush and Mango drinks will be served.

The Cafeteria will be decorated with yellow colour bunting, balloons and flags. All the waiters and serving staff will also be dressed in yellow colour. Kite flying competition will be the major attraction of the occasion which will be held at 11.30 am.

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BUSINESS
 

Industrialists welcome VAT concessions
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 1
The Mohali Industries Association has welcomed the decision of the Punjab Government of providing concessions to industrial unit owners under VAT.

Mr Balbir Singh, president of the association, said the government had made some items tax free while tax was reduced on a number of other items from 12.5 per cent to 4 per cent. The most important amendment was made in respect of refund claims for which the procedure now had been simplified. Refund claimants could now submit declaration forms C, D, F, H, E1, or E2 only along with annual statement instead of every quarter.

He said the problem being faced by the local industrialists regarding the movement of goods within Punjab on account of multiple infrastructure centres set up in and around Mohali was brought to the notice of the Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Ropar. It was suggested that these centres should be set up at the exit points only.

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Sahara One signs ad sales deal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
Sahara One Media And Entertainment Limited has signed an ad sales agreement with a satellite TV channel that is a leader in its genre.

Announcing this, Mr Shantonu Aditya, CEO, Sahara One, said, “I am pleased to inform that we have signed an ad sales agreement with the nation’s top spiritual and lifestyle channel, Aastha. Starting February 1, 2006, the sales team of Sahara One Television will be responsible for all ad sales of Aastha for its India feed”.

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