C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Businessman stabbed at Sukhna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Robbery involving lakhs, stabbing at Sukhna Lake and two cases of snatching in broad-daylight--- haunting incidents of crime---have sent shock waves in the city during the past 24 hours.

Putting a question mark on the security arrangements at Sukhna Lake--- morning-walk destination for VIPs in the city--- two unidentified youths repeatedly stabbed a Sector 20 resident early this morning.

The badly wounded and profusely bleeding victim, Mr Rajesh Kumar Garg, was shifted by his acquaintances to the Sector 16 General Hospital, where he received over 60 stitches on his back and arms. He condition is stated to be out of danger.

Still in a state of terror, Mr Garg (32), who runs a readymade garment shop in the Palika Bazar in Sector 19, told the police that he went to the lake and joined his acquaintances there for a walk. They all had not just covered 1000 yards, when he felt an urge to urinate and went aside towards the bushes along the jogging track. At the same time, two unidentified clean shaven persons, who were doing exercise, came and stood near him. Before he could judge their intentions, they pounced upon him and began stabbing him.

Left with no option but to fight back, Mr Garg tried to resist and received multiple injuries on his arms. He also hit the assailants with blows and raised the alarm. The assailants left him there and fled from the spot by escaping through the staircases facing the golf club. Hearing his cries, his acquaintances, including the PA to IGP, Mr Pathak, reached there and informed the police about the incident. Soon a PCR vehicle reached there and took the severely wounded Mr Garg to hospital.

Mr Garg, who was recuperating at the hospital, was unable to understand the motive behind the assault. He said:"I have no enmity and am living a peaceful life. I thought it was a case of mistaken identity and they could be in all probability looking for someone else, as it was dark out there".

"I can identify the assailants if they are produced before me. The assailants said nothing to me and not even demanded anything. One of them said to his accomplice' Chaudary bhag (Chaudary run), and they fled," said Mr Garg.

Sources in the Sector 3 police station said a case of attempt to murder and common intension under Sections 307 and 34, IPC, has been registered in this regard. They said the police was suspecting some family feud as a possible reason behind the assault. A police officer claimed that they were nearing the bottom of the truth after gathering information from their sources.

In another incident, that took place late on Monday night, two unidentified motorcyclists robbed a Sector 35 resident of Rs 10 lakh after hitting him with a stick.

A money changer, Mr Subash Bajaj, was on his way back home after finishing his work. He sustained serious head injury and was subsequently admitted to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital. 



Mayor doesn’t care two hoots about Oppn
Forces decisions in haste
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
The proceedings of the general house meeting of the Municipal Corporation Chandigarh (MCC) seemed to be completely orchestrated today, keeping in mind the upcoming MCC elections.

Riding high on the recent compromise between the Bahl and Bansal factions of the Congress, Mayor Surinder Singh left no stone unturned to appease the prospective voters by taking and forcing decisions, which were cleared in haste despite serious objections raised by nominated councillors and Mr P.S. Aujla, Commissioner, MCC.

Things came to a boil when the Mayor refused to hear any argument and cleared the issue regarding construction of stages for all Ramlila committees of Chandigarh, which was brought forth in the supplementary agenda post lunch.

The Mayor kept changing his stance and stated that the agenda was to provide a stage for multipurpose activities and it would be let out by the MCC only on demand for social, cultural and religious activities. The Mayor rubbished objections by the councillors that if the agenda was for a multipurpose stage it should be discussed and considered accordingly.

It was obvious that the Mayor was trying to keep his word as he had himself announced on October 6 that the MCC would construct stages for all Ramlila committees for Chandigarh at one of the Ramlila mahasabhas. A letter clearly stating the same was also attached with the agenda.

Mr Aujla, too, opposed the decision and stated that it was not the job of the state to promote any religion. Moreover, there was not much demand with regard to stages in the city. Councillor Subhash Chawla, too, pointed out that the Ramlila committees had demanded a 100 x 100 feet area. However, they were clearing a 20 x 20 feet area. Mr P.C. Sanghi, nominated councillor opposed the decision and stated that Ramlila could not be staged in that much area.

A table agenda to exempt the government-aided educational institutes and religious bodies from paying property and service taxes was brought near the end of the meeting. Despite serious objections by the Opposition, which staged a walk-out on the issue and objections raised by the Commissioner, the issue was cleared. Mr Aujla stated that it was a technical matter and would be required to be technically scrutinised before clearing it. The Opposition too stated that it was not possible to exempt as commercial activity, too, was going on in these institutes.

MC skips job issue

The general house of the Municipal Corporation today deferred the issue of framing recruitment rules for various posts of fire and emergency services. The house also cleared the issues of amendments in the tax on commercial, industrial and institutional lands and building bye laws.

An assesses who voluntarily opts for the self-assessment scheme can now deposit property tax within 60 days of introduction of the said scheme or the date specified there in as the last date.

The tax for the ensuing year be paid either in lump sum within two months of the beginning of the financial year i.e. upto May 31 or in two half yearly installments.

The period of payment has also been amended as April 1 to May 31 year in place of April 1 to April 30 each year. The interest rate of 18 per cent per annum has also been reduced to 12 per cent per annum. 



Lakhanpal’s security staff booked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
The Chandigarh Police today booked security guards of the Punjab’s Chief Secretary, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, on the charges of causing hurt and criminal intimidation. The guards had yesterday allegedly bashed up three youths in Sector 26.

Earlier, briefing the mediapersons at the Sector-17 police station, the UT Inspector-General of Police (IGP) said no one was above the law and the matter would be dealt on merit.

The media had raised questions over the functioning of the local police after the victims alleged that the police was forcing them to reach a compromise.

In a statement issued this evening, the police said a case had been registered on the basis of a hand-written joint complaint lodged by the three victims — Mr Neeraj Puri, Mr Satwinder Singh and Mr Akhilesh.

They had alleged that they were assaulted by the staff of the Chief Secretary following an accident.

The statement further mentioned that the police had also received a complaint from the staff attached to the Chief Secretary alleging that the trio had obstructed them from discharging their duties, entered into a scuffle with them and also torn their uniforms.

The police said the application was being looked into and the medical examination reports of all persons involved in the incident had also been taken into consideration.

Besides this, the police said the perusal of the photographic evidence of the accident site clearly indicated that the scooterists were driving on the wrong side and thus had been booked under the Motor Vehicle Act in this connection. 



48 passports go missing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
In a shocking incident, 48 passports have reportedly gone missing from the Regional Passport Office, Sector 34.
The passports, which were semi-finished, were found missing last evening.

The police registered a case of theft today and stated that it looked like an insider’s job. Talking to TNS, SHO Jagir Singh of Sector 34 police station stated that they had registered a case and were investigating the matter. 



In Town

Stephen Fleming
Stephen Fleming

The New Zealand’s Stephen Fleming is in the town to lead his team in the 195th One Day Inter-national against Australia in the first semifinal of the high-profile ICC Champions Trophy match at PCA Stadium, Mohali, on Wednesday.

Stephen has created a world record by leading the side in 194 ODIs beating Sri Lankan Arjuna Ranatunga’s record, while playing against Pakistan on October 25. In the last five years, Fleming had been instrumental in winning many a match for his team.



Watch out

Kannu Priya
Kannu Priya 

A product of Badminton Coaching Centre at Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex, Panchkula Kannu Priya Aggarwal will play against a shuttler of Shivaji University, Pune, in the All-India Inter-University Badminton Tournament being held in Mumbai.

Besides remaining Haryana State Champion since 2001 in different categories, Kannu brought laurels to the state by getting selected to Elite Squad 2012 in Hyderabad. She was the only player from the north zone in the 16-member camp.



Passing Through

Shomie Ranjan Das
Shomie Ranjan Das, Retired Headmaster, Doon School, Dehra Dun.

How are you associated with education field after retirement?

Yes, after serving as a Principal of three best known schools in India- Mayo College, Ajmer, Lawrence School, Senawar and Doon School, Dehradun, I have been advising education institutes all over India and abroad. At present, I have been engaged as an educational consultant by a newly opened School named as Kundan International School at Sector 46, here.

What is your philosophy on education?

The basic viewpoint is to promote thinking and creativity among children. I think that younger generation will do wonders if education helps them explore their mind instead of relying on the orthodox teaching method of memorising.

What do you say about corporal punishment at schools?

Slapping a child is a big ‘no’. A perfect rapport should be maintained between the students and the teacher. For this, a teacher should possess perfect combination of friend , guide and a philosopher. They should have lots of patience to tackle today’s generation who are very well informed than we were. At the same time, a piece of advice for children also. They should respect their teachers who are committed to their welfare only. This type of relationship will enable to build a strong character in children.

Any memorable moments?

At Lawrence School, Senawar, little Sanjay Dutt was proficient in everything except studies. Though his late parents Sunil Dutt and Nargis Dutt were very particular that he should be treated under normal school rules, but other children used to treat him like ‘royal’. He gave many occasions when teacher should have beaten him though it never happened. He was very difficult to tackle. Now, he is a most sought after star of film industry.

— G.S. Paul



Highlight conditional nature of Naya Gaon notification: Chief Secy
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
The Chief Secretary, Punjab, has directed the Department of Local Government to make it clear to the public that the notification regarding the constitution of the Naya Gaon Nagar Panchayat is conditional in nature.

The notification of Naya Gaon as Nagar Panchayat can be implemented only after a master plan of the notified area is drawn up.

The implementation of the notification will also be subject to the limitations imposed by the various Forest Acts and orders of the Supreme Court in this regard.

The Chief Secretary, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, today met the Principal Secretary, Mr B.R. Bajaj, and the Financial Commissioner, Forests, Mr D.S. Jaspal, to resolve the differences between the Department of Local Government and the Department of Forests over the issue.

The differences had become a cause of serious embarrassment to the state government as a series of haughty letters were written by Mr B.R. Bajaj against the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Mr B.C. Bala, for objecting to the formation of the NAC.

Sources said officials of the Forest Department told the Chief Secretary during the meeting that the Department of Local Government had not taken cognizance of their objections that the entire land of Karoran and Nada villages was locked under the provisions of various Forest Acts and the delisting of these areas for habitation and other uses was yet to be cleared before the Supreme Court.

On the other hand, the Local Government officials, who seem to have only recently realised that the Municipal Act was independent of all Forest Acts, showed their unhappiness over the insistence of the Forest Department that the Forest Conservation Act-1980 had an overriding effect on any other law, including the Punjab Municipal Act 1911.

The Local Government officials also reported during the meeting that the Chief Minister had approved the constitution of the Nagar Panchayat.

The file which carried the approval of the Chief Minister was called for by the Chief Secretary and it was realised that the approval given by him was conditional, having factored in the Forest Acts and orders of the Supreme Court.

Since this fact had not been highlighted in the notification, the Chief Secretary directed the Local Government officials to amend the notification accordingly in the interest of the public.

Forest officials pointed out to the Chief Secretary that they had been in the forefront of making grounds clear for the formation of the Nagar Panchayat by asking the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests for delisting the areas under habitation and other uses in these villages.

However, the Department of Local Government seemed to have gone ahead in a tearing haste and constituted the NAC, they said.

Sources added that the Nagar Panchayat would have to abide by the provisions of both the Punjab Land Preservation Act-1900 and the Forest Conservation Act-1980.

Incidentally, the entire area of the Nagar Panchayat falls under the purview of these Acts and the Government of India had delisted only those areas from these Acts which were under bonafide agricultural use.

For delisting of areas under habitation, the Government of India had asked the state government to seek relief from the Supreme Court.



Dhawan, BJP join hands for MC poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Stopping short of a merger, the BJP and the Chandigarh Vikas Manch(CVM) today announced an alliance for the December MC elections.
Announcing the alliance at a joint press conference, the CVM chief, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, former BJP MP, Satya Pal Jain, and former Punjab minister, Kanwaljit Singh stressed on the consolidation of “anti-Congress” forces.

Mr Dhawan claimed that there were no pre-conditions for joining the BJP after the MC poll.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh claimed that there were no differences in the BJP-CVM-SAD alliance over seat-sharing and a formal announcement would be made after November 3 when the draw of lots for the reservation of seats was conducted.

However, Capt Kanwaljit Singh parried a question on the reported factionalism in the party and the confusion over who was the local unit SAD president.

While Capt Kanwaljit Singh and Mr Dhawan were guarded in their criticism of the Congress-led MC, Mr Jain blasted the Congress for its “betrayal” of the people’s faith during the past about five years.

Meanwhile, a former Mayor and vice-president of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC), Mr Subhash Chawla, asserted that BJP and the CVM had accepted “moral defeat” by entering into an “unholy” alliance.



Protest bulldozed, encroachments razed at temple
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 31
Tempers ran high and protests marked the demolition of temporary sheds and pillars on the premises of the Pracheen Mahakali Shiv Mandir in Sector 20 here today. Agitated at the arrival of the Enforcement Staff, members of the management blocked the entry to the temple complex, held various rounds of talks to convince the officials to return and even lay down in front of the JCB machines to stall the anti-encroachment proceedings.

Tension mounted as a battery of officials, including the SDM, Mr Varinder Dahiya, Estate Officer, Mr S.P Arora, DSP Om Prakash, besides labourers and 100 odd policemen descended at the temple around 10.30 am. Confronted by a crowd led by the management of the temple, the officials explained to the protesters that the temple would not be touched.

They were told to cooperate to ensure a peaceful demolition after being told categorically that the staff would go ahead with its drive to vacate the encroached HUDA land. The protesters were also given the option of bringing down the illegal structures with the help of HUDA labour, a proposition which too was rejected.

Unwilling to listen to any appeals, people blocked the entry to the temple with their vehicles so that the bulldozers were not able to get anywhere near the temple. Raising slogans against HUDA, finally the members of the management lay down on the road to stop the JCBs. The police took the President of the temple management, Mr Susheel Garg, into custody along with 15 others for obstructing the anti-encroachment drive.

This was followed by summoning cranes to remove vehicles. After a handful had been removed, the public realised the futility of carrying on with the protest and cleared the entry to the temple. Inside, the JCBs razed the pillars and sheds. The operation carried on till about 1.30 pm after which the protesters taken into custody by the police, were also let off.

Mr Garg said they had no prior notice of the demolition. ‘‘All this construction is very old. The HUDA staff has done injustice by demolishing these structures. It has resulted in a loss of nearly Rs 4 lakh to the temple. The land is ours and HUDA has no right over it. We have given a representation seeking the land in question. The authorities can’t decide to demolish the structure overnight,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, sources in HUDA said the temple management had filed two suits in the district court claiming the land as theirs and the cases had been decided in favour of HUDA. In 2000 the land was allotted to a society while two rooms were constructed sometime in 1999.

‘‘In May 2006, all illegal structures were razed by a team of the Estate Office. Besides the two rooms there was nothing on the piece of land when it was last cleared of encroachment. Today, we only removed whatever had come up after the drive in May this year’’, an official said. The Estate Office has repeatedly tried to clear encroachment on the temple premises in the last few months but had to return after facing resistance from the people. 



Protesting PAP men face water cannons
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
The protesting Punjab Armed Police personnel, who have been selected in 1993 and, since then, not given belt numbers faced water cannons during a rally at Matka Chowk, here today.

The police used water cannons to disperse them when they tried to cross over the barricades. Later, the police pacified them and talked to the Chief Minster Office. Mr M.P. Singh received a memorandum on behalf of the Chief Minister from representatives.

The protesters, who have been on indefinite fast for the past over three months, demanded that they should be appointed. They reached Matka Chowk at around 1 pm and shouted slogans against the indifferent attitude of the Punjab Government. Mr Prabhjot Singh, a representative of the agitators, flaying the state government, said they even sought the Vigilance inquiry into the recruitment of 902 constables, but the state government had not changed its mindset and continued to ignore their rights.

Ruing at the state government’s attitude of their just demands, he said, “Now the authorities are saying that we are overage, but who is responsible for that? They, in fact, are making us the victims of the faults committed by them in the past.” 



Congress manifesto panel soon
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 31
An election manifesto committee will be constituted by the Congress in connection with the Assembly elections in Punjab. This was stated by Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, president, Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee (PPCC), while addressing a gathering after inaugurating a campaign of distributing free school uniforms to students at Government Elementary School, Balongi village, today.

When asked whether fresh faces would be encouraged, Mr Dullo said MLAs who were popular in their respective constituencies and had chances to win would not be replaced.

The PPCC president lamented that the education system in the state had collapsed and people had lost faith in it. Government schools were being looked down upon as these did not have the required infrastructure and neither dedicated teachers.

More than 250 students were given uniforms.



Is anyone bothered about elderly?
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
They have held our hands and taught us how to walk and now when it is our turn to hold theirs, we forget their love and patience.
As October, the month to celebrate Senior Citizens comes to a close, yet another year passes by with a woefully inadequate support policy to care for the aged.

Why is this so? “I really do not know the answer but perhaps because we are not a 'constituency', not a sizeable number,” says Brig (Retd) Keshav Chandra, immediate past president of the Chandigarh Senior Citizens Association.

But ageing is not just a passing concern; it is a developmental issue what with approximately 45,000 old persons living in Chandigarh alone.

According to Mr S.S. Lamba, president, Sector-37 Chandigarh Senior Citizen’s Association: “It is not just the need to care for them as there is a necessity to alleviate their loneliness, provide them with a sense of security and most importantly a helpdesk or helpline to help them with their problems and requirements.”

There is also the problem of sensitisation towards the elderly and Senior Citizens Associations in the city are focussing keenly on this aspect.

While the Sector-37 Association under Mr Lamba is planning on holding a series of meetings with young people “to discuss what they expect from their elders and how to bridge the generation gap” in January at the time of their founder’s day, Brig Chandra brings attention once again to their 'Shravnika' programme, started in 2003, where younger people volunteer as helpers or even as companions to older persons.

But the main issues are not being focused upon, both insist. “Despite a National Policy for Older Persons by the Government of India in 1999, everything remains just on paper. “Health insurance, pension facilities, travel concessions and daycare centres along with a helpline must be established especially for those older persons living below poverty line,” stresses Brig Chandra.

Finally, it is not just about material comforts says Manipal Singh, an octogenarian living alone in Sector 22, as much as it is about the yearning to be heard, to be visible, to be needed, once again.



Exhibition of aids for disabled from Nov 6 in Chandigarh
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 31
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is organising a four-day exhibition in Chandigarh on assistive devices and services for persons with disabilities.
The exhibition is aimed at benefiting the disabled population in Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Meira Kumar and the Chief Minister of Punjab Amarinder Singh are likely to inaugurate the exhibition at Circus Ground near the bus stand on November 6.

Four national institutes and one apex institute under the ministry will participate in the exposition called ‘Samarthaya’.

Institutes that are participating are the National Institute of Visually Handicapped, Dehra Dun, National Institute for the Orthopaedically Handicapped, Kolkata, National Institute of Hearing Handicapped, Mumbai, and National Institute of Mentally Handicapped, Secunderabad.

Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Institute of Physically Handicapped, Delhi, is the apex institute that will participate in the conference.

Rajneesh Sharma, Assistant Manager (Works), at the Institute for Physically Handicapped, told TNS that the exhibition will offer the disabled an opportunity to avail of disability assessment and apply for aids and appliances accordingly.

He said that leading Indian manufacturers of assistive devices are expected to participate in the exhibition and display a range of assistive devices like wheelchairs, tricycles, prosthetic and orthotic aids, low vision aids, hearing aids and aids for spastics and persons with cerebral palsy.

Mr Manoj Hatoch, Research Officer at the District Rehabilitation Centre of the ministry here said that disability certificates will be issued during the exhibition by the Governments of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and the Chandigarh Administration.

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has asked the concerned departments in Chandigarh and the three states to ensure the presence of a medical board for issuance of these certificates.

It has also requested them to ensure the presence of competent authorities for on-the-spot issuance of income certificates.

These certificates are a prerequisite for free fitment and distribution of aids and appliances.

He said that a disability quiz is also being organised to test the knowledge of the Anganwadi workers on disability issues.

Visitors can also look forward to watching Hindi films on the theme of disability. While ‘Black’ will be screened at 6.30 pm on the opening day of the exhibition, ‘Anjali’ will be screened at the same time the next day. ‘Koshish’ and ‘Iqbal’ will be screened on November 8 and 9, respectively.

Other attractions at the exhibition are a free eye, ear and I.Q. (Intelligence Quotient) test and a mobile court for redressing the grievances of the disabled.

In keeping with the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities Act, the ministry will also construct the model of a barrier free home for the disabled.

Anuradha Mohit, the newly appointed Director of National Institute of Visually Handicapped (NIVH), Dehra Dun, said that the institute will distribute Braille equipment and special educational kits comprising Braille writing instrument, geometry sets, arithmetic boards and Abacus calculators to visually challenged persons.

The NIVH will also distribute low vision aids including hand held, mounted and spectacled aspheric lenses besides white canes to visually challenged persons under the government’s ADIP (Assistance to Disabled Persons) scheme.



Haryana hosts Lok Sabha’s special exhibition
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Winds of democracy were blowing across India long before the British set their foot on Indian soil.
It existed as long back as the Vedic Age when Sabhas and Samitis contained the rudiments of modern-day parliament. In a way then, the notion that Indian parliamentary democracy derives exclusively from the British tradition is not just misplaced, it is warped.

And those who still feel democracy is the Englishmen’s gift to India can help themselves with some reason at the unique exhibition which opened in Government Museum’s foyer gallery today.

Put together by Parliament Museum, Archives Division of Lok Sabha Secretariat and the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP), the exhibition is a virtual journey into the world of Indian parliamentary democracy. To this region’s pride, Haryana became the first state to host the spectacle today.

Until now this exhibition titled “Parliamentary Democracy: Our Heritage and Achievements” was meant for exclusive display during Presiding Officers Conferences. Things, however, changed during the last such conference held at Raipur in 2005 when the Lok Sabha Speaker, Mr Somnath Chatterjee, desired that the show moved out of corridors of power and reached masses.

Today saw the first public display of the exhibition which reconstructs Indian democracy from finish to start. It takes root in the Vedic Age when free discussion and popular vote were principal devices for decision making. From there, it moves on to showcase the relevance of democracy in the Buddhist period. One of the displays is the photograph of a column of Sanchi Stupa which shows the assembly of elected representatives in action.

Interspersed with panels offering information on institutions like the Panchayati Raj are portraits of freedom fighters and revolutionary patriots who contributed to democracy in their own way.

The most relevant to present times, however, is the section that elaborates the transfer of power to India, the tryst with destiny, the salient features of the Constituent Assembly and the drafting of the Constitution. The exhibition displays rare photographs of Pt Rajendra Prasad and Pt Jawaharlal Nehru taking the oath of service to democracy.

Equal stress has been laid on the structure of Parliament and its functioning. For students, the show is of particular essence for the simple reason that it deals with essential facts — how Parliament works, the nuances of the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha, the significance of Speaker’s chair and the parliamentary devices available to MPs for raising questions. The last section of the show (it’s open till November 4) is devoted to state legislative assemblies and their present structure in India.

Haryana assembly enjoys a separate section — a privilege it got as a host state. Inauguration of the show was also done by Haryana Speaker Mr R.S. Kadian today.



Scientists develop unique landslide monitoring system
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Scientists at the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO), Chandigarh, have developed equipment that will be able to monitor underground soil displacement activity and report an impending landslide. This landslide monitoring system will go a long way in taking pre-emptive steps to reduce the impact of disaster. The technology is ready for transfer from CSIO labs to certain seismically active areas.

Developed by four scientists- Navneet Singh Aulakh, J.K. Chhabra, N. Singh, and S. Jain- the Landslide Monitoring System uses a fiber optic cable as a sensor to record activity by the equipment that is buried deep inside the earth. Started as a self-funded project of the CSIO, the project has already won CSIO scientists much acclaim after they published their work in a technical paper in science journals with the title "Microbend resolution enhancing technique for fiber optic- based sensing and monitoring of landslides".

The CSIO Director, Dr Pawan Kapur, highlighted the importance of generation of seismic database in his annual report disclosing that the CSIO was already running three Seismological Observatories at Chandigarh and two in Himachal Pradesh at Sundernagar and Nauni near Solan. One of the scientists to develop the Landslide Monitoring System, Mr Aulakh said the equipment would shortly be transferred to an observatory near Hardwar.

Giving details of the project, he said the Landslide Monitoring System had capitalised on the ability of a fiber optic cable to be used as a sensor. Conventionally fiber optic cable is used for communication, but it has two inherent properties that make it a good sensor. There is a change in signal carried by a fiber optic cable if there is a change in temperature or when some pressure is applied. To explain in simple terms, the fiber optic-based equipment is buried inside the earth and the slightest of movement of the earth exerts pressure on the fiber optic sensor that gives out a signal suggesting a sub-soil movement.

According to Mr Aulakh since the equipment is set up at remote places, earlier equipment with copper wire transmission often saw it being stolen for the value of the copper, but fiber optic cable is useless for a small time thief. Also, when buried in the ground, fiber optic wire is resistant to decay from rust etc. CSIO scientists are very optimistic about the results of this Land slide Monitoring System.

"Optical fiber sensors have been configured to detect and measure different physical phenomena such as strain, pressure, temperature, acceleration, magnetic and electric fields. Fiber optic sensors are being used for quantitative, non-destructive monitoring of advanced materials and structures and their deployment for the measurement of internal material changes during fabrication, embedded lifetime measurement of strain, temperature, vibration, and the eventual detection of damage or degradation. And we have used these properties for developing our system," he said.

Explaining the need for developing the equipment Mr Aulakh said

"Mountainous regions in northern India consist of rocks highly folded, faulted and with thrust. These metamorphic rocks are slowly disintegrating, thereby giving rise to an accumulation of debris on the slope.

The loose, accumulated debris loses much of its strength when saturated by rainfall and produce slides involving large masses of soils and cause damage to many hillside structures, including roads, buildings, bridges, cultivated lands and forests etc., which cause degradation of hillside ecology and loss of human 1ife". 



Owners seek ‘dog friendly’ bylaws
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Mr Surinder Singh, Mayor, Municipal Corporation, had a few unusual visitors yesterday — Dogs who trotted on all fours to his office to address the issue of dog bylaws.

The canine visitors were accompanied by their owners who made no bones about the fact that they wanted the bylaws revised and to be made ‘‘dog friendly’’.

Talking to TNS Dr M.P Pathak, retired director, Punjab Animal Husbandry Department, who was leading the group of about 25 dog owners and their pets, stated that they wanted the MCC to frame a few realistic bylaws.

‘‘We want the MCC to be practical about it, whatever we have learnt about the bylaws being framed makes it clear that these are not practical. How can you stop a dog from defecating in public? At the end of the day all is public property. Moreover, how can they differentiate if it’s a pet dog who defecated or a stray dog or for what you know even a human being?’’, he argues. ‘‘We would like the MCC to earmark an area where we can take our pets for this purpose,’’ he suggests.

They also submitted a representation to the Mayor and sent a copy of the same to the Home Secretary and the Deputy Commissioner also.

The MCC in its general house meeting tomorrow will be bringing forth dog bylaws for discussion. These bylaws include that more than one pet dog will not be allowed in houses up to 5 marlas, dogs will not be permitted to be taken for a walk on Sukhna Lake or any other public gardens of the MCC, pet dogs will also not be allowed to defecate in public places like parks, etc. The owners would be required to pick up the fecal matter.

Furthermore the owners can bury their dogs at any barren place. Owners can be fined up to Rs 500 for violating the rules. 



Tributes paid to Indira
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, October 31
Tributes were paid to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at a function at the Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan, Sector 35, on her death anniversary today.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr BB Bahl, president of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC), highlighted the sacrifices made by the Gandhi-Nehru family.

Prominent among those who attended function included Mr Jagat Sharma,Mr D.D. Jindal, Mr J.N. Shastri, Ms Shyama Negi and Mr Bhupinder Singh.

Panchkula: A function was held on Tuesday to mark the death anniversary of Indira Gandhi at Government College, Kalka. Mr Vijay Bansal, Haryana Congress unit secretary, inaugurated a blood donation camp on the occasion.

It was organised by a team of doctors from the Western Command, Chandimandir, in collaboration with the State Bank of India, Kalka. As many as 50 units of blood was collected at the camp.



Ailing boy in need of help
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Boota Singh of Wadian village in Ferozepore, is suffering from rheumatic heart disease and can barely stand. He was admitted to the PGI about six months ago. Boota Singh needs assistance to walk and is with his father Sampuran Singh.
According to doctors, Boota has to undergo a mitral valve replacement and the cost of operation was nearly Rs 1 lakh. The family is in need of financial assistance. Donors can contact Sampuran Singh at 9855057942.

Sampuran Singh with his ailing son Boota Singh.  — A Tribune photograph.

Sampuran Singh with his ailing son Boota Singh



RLA website launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
The Punjab Governor, General S. F. Rodrigues (retd), yesterday inaugurated the renovated Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) office and launched the website www.chdtransport.gov.in of the Transport Department, Chandigarh Administration.

General Rodrigues directed the Transport Authority to evolve a mechanism to monitor the progress achieved in improving service delivery to the public after seeking periodical feedback from people.

Ms Swati Sharma of the Regional Licensing Authority, Chandigarh, said the office had been made centrally air-conditioned and the focus would be on providing comfortable, quick and efficient services. 




Reacting to news-item published in these columns under headline “Cong’s faliure on all fronts to be main poll plank: Capt Kanwaljit” recently, Ms Satish Gupta, claimed on Monday that she had not joined the Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD) and she was still in the Congress. The organisers of the rally had claimed on Saturday that Ms Gupta had joined the SAD.



Realtors capturing hospitality sector
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

S.M. Shervani
S.M. Shervani

Rajindera Kumar
Rajindera Kumar 

Chandigarh, October 31
The hospitality sector is slowly gone in the hands of realtors. With the ever increasing cost of land, it is only the big builders and realtors who are buying hotel sites and entering the hospitality sector.

Big real estate developers like DLF and Uppals have entered the hospitality sector in a big way, by investing in hotel sites in Delhi, Gurgaon and Chandigarh. On the other hand, big hotel chains like the Taj, Hyatt, Radisson and ITC are going in for budget hotels, while desisting from expanding their luxury hotels. Even the Railways is now thinking of setting up budget hotels, and will be leasing these out to reputed hotel chains.

Even the three-star and four-star hotels are not thinking of expansion, thanks to the escalating land cost.

“It is economically unviable for any hotelier to invest Rs 25 crore — Rs 100 crore in getting a site in an auction and then investing another Rs 3 — 5 crore in setting up a hotel with about 20-30 rooms. The government has to offer land on leasehold basis, if it wants the professionals to remain in the hospitality sector,” said Mr Rajindera Kumar, President of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Northern India (HRANI), and Director, The Ambassador Hotel, New Delhi.

This even as the country is already facing a shortage of hotel rooms in the peak tourist season. The average hotel occupancy in the country has gone up to 60-70 per cent. In Delhi, the average occupancy is 75-80 per cent. With the Commonwealth Games scheduled to be held at New Delhi in 2010, the capital city is already facing a shortage of 10,000 rooms. With the Government of India now targeting 60 million foreign tourists a year from 10 million foreign tourists as of now, there is a need for more hotels.

However, hoteliers across North India, rue that instead of offering support to the hospitality sector for its expansion, the government is unwilling to relax norms on floor area ratio (FAR); do away with auctioning of hotel sites by replacing it with leasehold system; rationalise tax structure for the hospitality sector; and giving incentives at par with the industrial sector.

Mr S.M. Shervani, Managing Director, Shervani Hospitalities Limited and Honorary Secretary of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Northern India (HRANI), said though the government had been asking us to expand business, they had so far failed to relax norms for increasing FAR. “FAR for hotels across the country varies from 1.25-1.75. If hotels have to expand and add on rooms, FAR has to be increased. Though we are regarded as an industry, we are charged commercial rates for power. The taxes imposed on the sector vary from 24 per cent to 40 per cent, which should be reduced, especially during the gestation period (of 10 years) when the hotel begins its operations,” he said.



Ind-Swift gets ISO certification
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Chandigarh-based pharma major Ind-Swift Limited has achieved another landmark by becoming ISO 9001:2000 company. The certification has been given to the company for the quality management system in manufacture and marketing of pharmaceutical formulations.

The ISO Certification will assist the company to benefit from a number of marketing opportunities as now it will be eligible to display the coveted BSI (British Standards Institutions) registered symbol.



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