C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

MC, Panchayat Samiti poll on Dec 20
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
The elections of the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, and the Panchayat Samiti will be held on December 20. Announcing this today, State Election Commissioner S.P. Marwaha said the model code of conduct would come into force with immediate effect and would be applicable to both MCC and the UT Administration.

The term of the present MCC and the Panchayat Samiti ends on December 31, 2006, and January 13, 2007, respectively. The Election Commission has decided to hold the election of both bodies as per new delimitation and reservation of seats as well to fill a casual vacancy of the Panch in Mauli Jagran on December 20. The elections will be held from 8 am to 5 pm.

The counting of votes will be held on December 22.

Addressing the media here today, Mr Marwaha, while talking about the recently merged villages in the MCC, stated that if they get any directions before November 24 from the court contrary to what they have proposed, they would honour it. However, there can be no intervention when the process of election starts.

Mr Marwaha stated that for the first time, electronic voting machine would be used for both elections. "We have borrowed 900 voting machines from the Election Commission of India. We wont incur any extra expenditure because of this. The EVMs will also help reduce the instances of doubtful/bogus voting."

Briefing the schedule of the election, he said the commencement of filing nomination for the MC would start on November 24 and the last date of filing the nomination is December 1, the scrutiny of nomination would held on December 2 and last date of withdrawal would be December 5.

For the Panchayat Samiti elections, the commencement date of filing the nomination would be December 4 and the last date of filing nomination would be December 9. The scrutiny of nomination would be held on December 11and the last of withdrawal would be December 13.

Around 4000 employees of the UT Administration would be deployed for the election process. As many as 600 polling stations would be set up for the MCC elections and 27 polling stations would be set up for the Panchayat Samiti elections.

Each candidate can incur expenses up to Rs 1 lakh for contesting the MCC elections, while a candidate contesting the Panchayat Samiti elections can incur expenses up to Rs 10,000.

Meanwhile, the process to identify the sensitive polling booths has been initiated. "We will be meeting the police personnel and asking them to identify the booths," stated Mr Marwaha. He also stated that it would be considered a violation of the code of conduct if candidates put up hoardings, posters or banners.

Expressing concern over the low voter turnout in the 2001 elections, he stated that this was not acceptable from the residents of an educated city like Chandigarh. "We cannot have a true and effective representation of the city if the vote is so less," he stated. He further stated that an individual could get his voter I-card made till the last date of filing nominations. He, however, added that the voter list was the final document. "If the voters name is not in the voter list, no other document is relevant." 



International airport coming as Punjab chips in with 300 acres
Sanjeev Singh Bariana and Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
An international airport in Chandigarh will soon be a reality with a high-powered committee of the Punjab Government clearing the acquisition of over 300 acres of land for setting up an international terminal at the Chandigarh Airport.

Incidentally, the setting-up of the terminal is under the ‘active’ consideration of the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

The acquisition will add to the strip of land already identified by the Chandigarh Administration for the expansion of existing domestic airport so as to convert it into an international one.

The committee of the Punjab Government has recently cleared “an area of approximately 300 acres adjoining the Chandigarh Airport’s boundary on southern side and falling in the Local Planning Area Outline Master plan of Mohali for development of an International Airport”.

The development is important in the context that Punjabis undoubtedly account for the highest foreign travel ratio in the country.

Despite the recent introduction of Amritsar as an international terminal, many Punjab people have to rush to Delhi to fly abroad.

It has been pointed out that a number of modern and futuristic projects in the city have attracted many multinational and international companies in the real estate, financial-services sector and information technology and IT-enabled services. During the top-level conferences, participants have repeatedly pointed out the need for better air connectivity.

A number of top software companies have turned up for investment at the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park. The city is also working on projects like Multimedia-cum-Film City project, Entertainment Theme Park and Education City, besides others.

The emergence of the city as a regional commercial hub has led to a huge traffic inflow which has inspired the administration’s move to upgrade the airport facilities. Sources in the Punjab Government reveal that a number of meetings have been held between the officials of the AAI and members of the high-powered committee headed by the Chief Secretary.

“We have agreed, in principle, to acquire the land for the expansion of the airport. The modalities have to be worked out,” said a senior Punjab Government official.

Depending upon the requirement, more than 300 acres can be acquired for the expansion.

Since the expansion is possible on the uninhabited area falls under the Great Mohali Authority and Development Authority (GMADA), it should be a stakeholder in the project. The terms and conditions of the joint venture were still to be worked out, confirmed a senior official of the GMADA.

Sources reveal that during the meeting with the AAI, uninhabited land, marked as agricultural land in the master plan of Mohali, has been offered by Punjab.

The land falls under the revenue record of Jheourehri village and Alipur village. The abadi area of the two villages will be kept out of the acquisition.

Since there is hardly any area left on the Zirakpur side of the airport, the expansion has to be towards Mohali. 



Justice Brar to probe charge against PU ex-professor
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today ordered that a former Judge of the High Court, Justice H.S. Brar, would conduct an inquiry into the allegation that actions of Prof Atulveer Arora, former Chairperson of the Department of Evening Studies, Panjab University (PU), Chandigarh, brought disrepute to the department.

On March 26, the PU Senate had, while accepting the recommendations of the Varinder Kumar committee for restructuring of the Department of Evening Studies, passed a resolution for holding an inquiry against Prof Arora.

The decision to request Justice Brar to conduct the inquiry was taken after the counsel for the PU told the court that PU VC had favoured an inquiry by a retired Judge so as to ensure impartiality and transparency. Despite strong resistance initially by the counsel for the petitioner, the Bench agreed to the inquiry by a retired Judge. After some deliberations, the name of Justice Brar was finalised.

Justice Brar would complete his inquiry and submit a report within two months and would be paid Rs 1 lakh for the same. Among other things, Prof Arora is also alleged to have committed insubordination by refusing to follow orders of senior officials, including the former VC, Prof KN Pathak.

Prof Arora, it may be recalled, along with a handful of other faculty members, had been seeking closing down of the department on various grounds.

Prof Arora had been removed as Chairperson of the Department and Ms Indu Tiwari was appointed in his place. However, on July 29, 2005, a Division Bench of High Court had directed the Dean, University Instruction (DUI), to look after the day-to-day affairs of the department till further orders.

This order was passed on Prof Arora's petition challenging his ouster.

In his present petition, he has challenged the decision of the Senate to order an inquiry against him.

However, today, counsel for the PU informed the Bench that due to retirement of Prof Pathak on July 22 and busy schedule of the new VC, the inquiry has still not been held.

The matter was later adjourned till February 15.



Need to raise water level, says Rajendra Singh
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Rajendra Singh
Magsaysay awardee Rajendra Singh

Chandigarh, November 17
Trade unionism has become a new kind of casteism. People with some common interest, for monetary gains, get together without any larger human interest in mind and plunder natural resources, particularly land and water. The cost for the same will be irretrievable.

Mr Rajendra Singh, Magsaysay awardee for 2001, who was here to celebrate the fortnight-long Lala Lajpat Rai’s Martyrdom Fortnight at Lajpat Rai Bhavan today, expressed these views at a lecture on "Community control over natural resources-a future perspective".

Mr Rajendra Singh, known as the ‘Waterman of India’, has received worldwide recognition for his pioneering work in water conservation in eastern Rajasthan. Starting from a single village, the work is now spread over more than 850 villages in 11 districts of Rajasthan. More than 4,500 earthen dams have come up as part of the project, with not a penny from government funds.

Mr Rajendra Singh worked as project director of Adult Education Mission in Rajasthan which he left to work as an NGO for public education and health. "Mangu Ram, an elderly man, argued with me saying water was a bigger issue to address in rural Rajasthan than education, which I realised was true", he said

"I worked on different theories of water conservation and found that the prime aim should be to raise the level of underground water."

He said it was being said that probably water would be the reason for the next world war. In India, more than 70 per cent of the underground aquifers were dead, the rivers polluted and large portion of earlier water zones had turned grey or black. “ People will have to address the issue right away or it might be too late,” he warned.

Remembering Lala Lajpat Rai, he said:"Lalaji had the white man to fight but whom are we to fight now? The resources are being sold away and the market dominates our minds".

Mr Onkar Chand, chairman of the Servants of the People Society, paid tributes to Lala Lajpat Rai on his 78th martyrdom day. Prof Ramakant Agniras, a former director of Kalidasa Chair at Panjab University, 



Watch out

Dr C.K. Jerath, Honorary Secretary of the Chandigarh Amateur Boxing Association, will be the acting Vice-Chairman of the Organising Committee of the fourth World Cup Women Boxing Championship being hosted by India at Talkatora Stadium, New Delhi, from Saturday.

In this championship, 45 top teams of the world including the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Germany, South Korea, China, England, Norway and host India will participate.

Dr Jerath has represented the country 16 times in various international boxing championships held in India and abroad including the 18th Commonwealth Games held at Melbourne in March.



In Town

Ghazal maestro and music director Jagjit Singh is in town for a live concert to be held at the Kalagram complex. The programme titled ‘Ru-Ba-Ru with Jagjit Singh’ is being organised by the UTI Bank Priority Banking.

Blending the tradition and modernity, the indomitable maestro Jagjit Singh gave a new dimension to ‘ghazal gayki’ with its sense and sensibility finding a sublime expression in his baritone voice. Pairing with versatile vocalist wife Chitra Singh, he strode like a colossus on the ghazal genre of music with the ghazal album ‘Unforgetful’ released way back in 1974. He never looked back thereafter and created dozens of classic ghazal albums besides scoring music for films. 



Passing Through

Roger Howard Barnsley
Dr Roger Howard Barnsley, Vice-Chancellor, TRU Thompson Rivers University, Canada.

Which courses are being offered by your university to students in India?

I am visiting India to launch several new programmes of Thompson Rivers University in its off shore campus at the CIIS in Mohali. These courses are aimed at catering to an ever increasing demand of the industry in Canada, especially in the field of business, information technology, health sciences, education and trades. The courses on the anvil would include Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.), welding technology, electrical technology and post baccalaureate programmes in IT and business management.

What are bridging courses?

For Indian students, who want to go abroad, there is a need for ‘bridging courses’ to upgrade their qualification and skill sets vis-à-vis Canadian or North American educational parameters, which are still called for. Professionals studying in India have been facing challenges as their existing degrees and qualifications would require still upgradation as they immigrate to Canada.

Can you give an example of such bridging courses?

The unique feature of these programmes is that existing professionals in the respective fields of teaching, welding or electrical would be able to upgrade their current Indian educational qualifications to be acceptable in North America, right here in India itself.

— Chitleen K. Sethi



Cong rift casts shadow on stone-laying function
Tribune News Service

The Chief Minister announced that the Sheikh of Dubai would be in Mohali on November 28 to lay the foundation stone of the mega housing project, Emaar MGF, which was expected to invest Rs 13,000 crore in Punjab.

Mohali, November 17
The Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, today laid the foundation stone of Sri Guru Ravi Dass Research Bhavan in Sector 65.
Stating that Mohali would soon emerge as the fastest-growing economic centre in the world, the Chief Minister said all efforts for development should be directed towards creating a better tomorrow for the generations to come.

While the Chief Minister made an impressive speech before a patient audience that waited for over two hours for him, the Minister, Chaudhry Jagjit Singh, who was accompanying the Chief Minister, however, left the Congress house in Mohali divided.

In an overt and rather tactless gesture, the Minister went out of his way to bring the former Municipal Council chief, Mr Kulwant Singh, on to the stage and made him sit in the front row.

On the other hand, the recently elected President of the Council, Mr Rajinder Singh Rana, and many of the municipal councillors were not even given seats on the stage.

They were even stopped from getting on to the stage which was already brimming with people eager to rub shoulders with the Chief Minister.

While most of the councillors found other places to sit, Mr Rana managed to get on the stage and stood at back throughout the function.

His supporters, led by Mr Shamsher Singh Purkhalvi, president of the Dalit Chetna Manch, left the venue in a huff even before the function ended.

"Were we called to be humiliated? The elected President of the council does not find a place next to the Chief Minister than who does? Even the DC was sitting somewhere else," Mr Purkhalvi told mediapersons later.

Interestingly, while the MLA, Kharar, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, was conspicuous by his absence, Mr Balbir Singh Sidhu was present all through. Mrs Lakhvinder Kaur Garcha, OSD to the CM, also arrived with him.

Addressing the gathering, Captain Amarinder Singh called upon the people to follow the path shown by our great spiritual leaders and Gurus.

He said the prestigious research centre to propagate the teachings of Guru Ravi Dass, first-of-its-ownkind in the world, would provide a platform to prominent scholars to undertake research on the life and works of the great spiritual ambassador.

He added that the government had already released a grant of Rs 1 crore for the construction of the research centre and in future also government would provide adequate funds to ensure its timely construction.



UT’s growth chart prods Centre to up allocations
Non-plan outlay increased to Rs 1155 cr 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
The proposals relating to the Revised Estimates of 2006-07 and Budget Estimates for 2007-08 have tentatively been finalised by the Ministry of Finance.
The Finance Ministry has agreed to increase the ‘non-plan budget’ from Rs 1,107 crore to Rs 1,155 crore whereas for the ‘plan budget’ it has been increased to Rs 250 crore from Rs 217 crore.

The Planning Commission had fixed the size of 10th Five-Year Plan for Chandigarh at Rs 1,000 crore.

During the first four years of the Plan, the UT was allocated an outlay of Rs 716.43 crore leaving an amount of Rs 283.57 crore for the current Annual Plan of 2006-07.

It is noteworthy that the Chandigarh Administration has spent 60 per cent of the Plan expenditure up to October,2006, as compared to 44 per cent during the corresponding period last year.

Keeping this trend of the expenditure in view and assurances given by the Planning Commission, a group of officers of the Chandigarh Administration held a series of meetings with the Ministry of Home Affairs in the month of October and November, 2006.

Finally, the Department of Expenditure, the Ministry of Finance, has agreed to enhance the current year’s outlay from Rs 216.66 crore to Rs 250 crore tentatively.

The Finance Ministry has considered this additional allocation of Rs 33.34 crore keeping in view the 100 per cent utilisation of Plan allocations during previous years and the developmental activities/projects undertaken in the past two years.

This additional allocation will be utilised for: Widening/strengthening city roads; Entrepreneur Development Centre at Rajiv Gandhi Technology Park; Rehabilitation of ragpickers and providing transit shelters to rickshaw-pullers; Works relating to Punjab and Haryana High Court; Construction of government houses; Upgradation of cricket stadium, Sector 16; Widening/strengthening rural roads; Upgradation of General Hospital, Sector-16, by adding a New OPD Block; Setting-up of Trauma Hospital in third-phase Sectors; and Providing of mid-day-Meal, besides others.



Exclusion of residents from poll process kicks up storm
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
The election of the Rail Vihar Welfare Association (Phase I), Mansa Devi Complex, Sector 4, scheduled for November 19, has kicked up a storm with a section of residents alleging non-inclusion in the election process.

About 25 residents alleged that they had been denied voting rights by the association on the plea that they were not the “original” members of the association.

This was despite the fact that a letter dated November 13 by the Indian Railway Welfare Organisation (IRWO), New Delhi, reportedly favoured the residents saying that “it is felt that in the interest of justice and fair play and maintaining harmonious relations amongst the allottees the affected allottees and new purchasers of the dwelling units be granted an opportunity to become the members of the association.”

Mr H.C. Gupta, a resident, who brought the matter to the notice of the Managing Director of the IRWO, New Delhi, alleged that the election process was violative of the IRWO directive. Besides being unrepresentative, the new body, if elected, on November 19, would lead to litigation in the association, he said.

The IRWO letter also said that “it was desirable that the elections be postponed by a month to enable the new purchasers to become members of the association so that they are able to participate in the election process to elect the new executive committee.”

When contacted, Mr V.P. Khurana, president of the association, claimed that he was in favour of the postponement of the November 19 elections to “comply” with the IRWO directive. 



Stagnant water, pollution choke Leisure Valley stream
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
Infection of city’s lungs continues unabated, with sullage from various sectors finding its way into the Leisure Valley stream. Originally a seasonal rivulet which Le Corbusier had retained for a purpose, the stream can now be seen transporting solid waste. Its water, at most points, is stagnant; its character lost primarily due to faulty management strategies.

In many areas along its length (through Sectors 3, 10, 16, 23, 36, 42 and 53), the stream has lost its flow due to indiscriminate discharge of waste matter into its body. With development of the city and unconscious planning, many of its limbs have been truncated, hampering the free flow of water.

Worst is the continued desecration of the stream by sullage from commercial establishments, hospitals, eateries and roadside vends which go unchecked in the absence of monitoring staff. While the UT Administration, in charge of Leisure Valley maintenance, says the Municipal Corporation must address recharge and drainage issues, the MC feels the UT Administration must own responsibility. As the buck is passed, the problem becomes more complex.

Besides, several unscrupulous elements have managed illegal sewer connections in the area. Through illegal pipes which find connection with the main drainage, establishments and people are throwing waste directly into the stream, damaging it further.

Ex-Mayor Subhash Chawla, who has raised the matter many times with the UT Administration says, “Such practices must be checked immediately and punitive action taken thereof. We have been requesting the Administration to stone pitch the stream to streamline water flow. But that is yet to happen.”

Technical experts, however, blame some projects of the UT Administration and MC for the defilement of the stream. The main culprit, they say, is the groundwater recharge scheme, executed in the Valley (Sector 10-C) at the cost of Rs 18 lakh.

Under the scheme, six to seven recharge pits were constructed across the original channel to raise groundwater level. These pits have led to obstruction in water flow. Logging in Sector 10-C is most common and the result is hampering of flows, which causes unbearable stench. This spot, and the one opposite Punjab Red Cross Bhavan, Sector 16, is most dirty.

Further, excess sewage from the manholes located along the Leisure Valley stretch in Sector 10 has often been found to overflow. Dr G.S. Dhillon, a water resources expert who lives in Sector 10, says, “Whenever pressure in the underground sewerage is more, sewage from manholes spills into the stream and pollutes it excessively.”

The main problem, thus, is mixing up of sullage with flows in storm water drains across the Leisure Valley stretch, which has lost its ability to drain the area. Once it used to drain the entire city.

A lot of damage to its ability has been done by the 5-foot underground rainstorm drain laid down by the UT Administration last year. Former project manager ONGC I.S. Kalsi, a Sector 10 resident, brought the collapse of this mechanism to the notice of the UT Administrator. “The Administration constructed the drainage from Rajindra Park, Sector 2, to Leisure Valley, Sector 10. No estimates regarding the excess flow of water were prepared. The system collapsed with the first heavy downpour of the season,” he says.

About solutions, experts say cleaning of the Valley’s main trunk is a must to prevent obstruction of flows. Equally important is a uniform section to facilitate water flow and inspection points along the stream’s. 



Fly in chicken tikka, shop in soup
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
After finding a fly in a tikka he had bought from Farmers’ Store in Sector 34, yesterday, Punjab’s Director-General of Police P. Lal called up the local police. The local police, in turn, called the health authorities, which conducted raids on the shop.

It all started last evening, when Mr Lal sent his gunman to buy a chicken tikka from the shop. When it was being served to Mr Lal, he found a house fly in it. Mr Lal then called the shop owner, but was surprised when the latter did not pay heed to his complaint. This angered Mr Lal and he reported the matter to Sector 34 police station this morning.

The local police called the Food Inspector of the UT Administration, Mr Surinderpal Singh, who raided the shop and took four samples of chicken tikka.

The SHO of Sector 34 police station, Inspector Jagir Singh, said the Health Department also took samples and their reports were awaited. It would take 40 days for sample results to come and action would be initiated on the basis of these reports.



On difficult mission — to make maths easy 
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Michel Waldschmidt
Michel Waldschmidt 

Chandigarh, November 17
For those who look upon maths with unease, Prof Michel Waldschmidt hopes to change that- with his brand of staunch ‘activism’ of the beleaguered subject. “Maths is truly useful in real life,” he says, sounding surprised at its ‘difficult’ reputation.

In India to give a series of lectures on mathematics as part of the ‘French Science Today’ programme conducted by Alliance Française and the French Embassy, not only does he hope to give glimpses of the scientific work going on in France and attract potential students to France, but he also hopes to change some perceptions. And at his first lecture at Punjab Engineering College yesterday, Sector 12, he tried to do just that. “I used the example of cryptography to demonstrate the connection between classical arithmetic on one hand and new methods of attaining better security of data transmission on the other.” He explained how prime numbers played a key role in the process that enabled the safe withdrawal of money from a bank account using a PIN with a microprocessor card.

During his second lecture today at Panjab University, he began by introducing Indian mathematician Narayana who lived in the 14th century.

“It is not a dry subject. People find it daunting because they do not know it. It is also the fault of mathematicians who make it seem challenging,” he smiles.

And he would know. This man has spent almost 40 years in research, growing with the subject. What is more, he has high regard for mathematicians in India. “This is the home of Ramanujan so I am not surprised that maths has advanced so much here. In fact, France and India collaborate on an equal footing where the subject is concerned.”

The professor has been to India many times, the first time ever was to Chandigarh in 1976 at the invitation of Professor Bambah.

Professor Waldschmidt is also Vice-President of CIMPA (International Centre for Pure and Applied Mathematics, created in 1978 on the recommendation of UNESCO) which works to promote international cooperation in higher education and research in mathematics and related subjects for the benefit of developing countries. He is involved with several international projects, especially in South East Asia. 



Four ex-Mayors object to listing of achievements
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
The listing of the five-year achievements of the Municipal Corporation by the Mayor yesterday has stirred a hornet’s nest. Four of his Congress predecessors have made apparent their displeasure on not being consulted by the Mayor before announcing the party’s achievements in the MCC.

According to sources the four ex Mayors Ms Anu Chatrath, Ms Kamlesh, Ms Lalit Joshi and Mr Subhash Chawla met and told the Mayor of their ‘displeasure’ of such a hurried announcement. Sources state that the ‘displeasure’ has been made apparent to the party high command also.

According to sources, the ex-Mayors have objected to Mr Surinder Singh’s listing achievements contrary to the norm. According to the tradition, each Mayor lists his achievements at the end of his term every year. Mr Singh however, yesterday listed the achievements of the past five years. According to sources, the ex-Mayors are upset as the achievements listed yesterday did not cover the complete five years and were more centric to the past year only.

According to sources, a meeting of all the ex-Mayors and Mr Surinder Singh will be held and a fresh list of achievements will be made. Talking to TNS, Mr Subhash Chawla stated “We have done a lot in the past five years.

We have talked to the Mayor and we will be soon listing our achievements.”



Unsavoury moments at rehab camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
The special verification camp being held for the rehabilitation of slum-dwellers at Sector 26 today had some unsavoury moments due to absence of the Tehsildar, Colony Branch, Mr R.K.Sharma. The Additional Chief Executive Officer-cum-SDM (Central), Mr Ankur Garg, reportedly pulled up the Tehsildar.

The reason was the Tehsildar was found absent at the camp where over 300 slum dwellers had queued up getting their documents verified. The Tehsildar was deputed on behalf of the Colony branch, the Estate Office to verify the list of the beneficiaries.

The problem started when the Secretary, Chandigarh Housing Board, Mr S.K. Setia, pointed out the absence of the Tehsildar. The issue was reportedly taken up with the Deputy Commissioner and senior officials in the administration. Immediately, the lower staff in the Colony branch was told to take charge. The Tehsildar had reportedly gone to attend some office work.

While giving a dressing down to Mr Sharma, a senior official directed him to join back his duty. Sources confirmed that on being asked about the reason for being absent by the SDM (Central), the Tehsildar reportedly challenged his authority.



Rotarians discuss humanitarian programmes 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
The achievements of the Rotary Foundation of the Rotary International can be gauged from the success of its humanitarian programmes around the globe, said Rotary International President William B. Boyd.

He was addressing the Rotarians at the Regional Rotary Foundation Seminar, held this morning at Hotel Taj.

He said the world was becoming all the more connected globally. As such, finding a shared vision of world peace was a challenge in itself. But it was now being taken care of by the Foundation's latest programme of "Rotary Centers for International Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution".

"It is only with open hands that one can bless, or give and receive the blessings of the countless people, who get touched by the humanitarian projects", he said.

Later, Rotarian Robert Mintz said the Rotary International had launched a worldwide credit card and every time someone used it, a part of the money went in helping someone in need across the globe.

In India, Rotary has tied up with Standard Chartered Bank. It has donated Rs 5 lakh to the Foundation which, in turn, has supported 3000 surgeries for the implantation of intraocular lenses in South and eastern India.



Diamond dealer donates $ 1 m to Rotary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
Mr Harshad Mehta, a diamond dealers, and his wife Naina Mehta presented a cheque for $ 1 million to Mr William B Boyd, president Rotary International, at a meeting of the Rotary International officers held here tonight.

This is the perhaps the biggest-ever contribution by an individual to the Rotary International for its various humanitarian programmes. The Rotary International President said he was pleasantly surprised at the gesture of the Mehtas who have given this generous amount.

Mr Harshad Mehta is here to attend the three-day Rotary Asia Zone Institute 2006- the annual forum of the Rotary International officers.



Tension at Haryana Roadways depot
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
Tension prevailed between members of the Haryana Roadways Workers Union and the Haryana Roadways management over the pasting of posters and demolition of the employees’ union office at the roadways depot here this evening.

The police was called in view of the tension prevailing and to avert any untoward incident. The union members said they were pasting posters for their November 21 dharna to which the authorities objected.

The police said the union members alleged that the authorities called a JCB machine to demolish their union office.

The police reached the spot soon after getting information.

However, the SHO of Industrial Area police station, Mr Baljit Singh Chadda, said the police asked the union members to solve the matter amicably.

He said the situation was under control.



Mian Meer’s descendent rues SGPC apathy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
It was sad that the contribution of Sain Mian Meer, who laid the foundation stone of the Harmandar Sahib, was not getting due appreciation in India, said Mr Syed Chan Pir Quadri, a descendent of Mian Meer, while talking to reporters here today.

Quadri, who heads the Dargah of the Mian Meer at Lahore, was in the city on invitation of Mr H.S. Anand, a resident of Sector 28. He participated in a religious ceremony organised by the Anand family this afternoon.

He said the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) should include the Dargah of Mian Meer in its official list of pilgrimage sites that Sikh jathas from India could visit on tour to Pakistan.

He said the demand had been pending for long while adding that the SGPC could at least put up a small plaque at the Harmandar Sahib to refer to Mian Meer and his contribution. Quadri said the Guru had got constructed a Masjid for Mian Meer near the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar.

On the controversy surrounding the headship of the Dargah, he said the Wakf Board had taken over all such religious places in 1960 and he was the “gaddi-nashin” (head) since 1978.

In the year 2004, a Judge of the Punjab High Court, Lahore, was appointed on the managing body of the Dargah.

Every Thursday, Quardri said, followers of Mian Meer came in huge numbers.

On Indo-Pak relations, he said both countries had no other option but to improve ties.

He said the people of both countries deeply wished to have a peaceful atmosphere. After four wars, nothing had come out and nothing would be the outcome of wars. Both nations needed to focus on education, health and providing drinking water for the masses.



More buses to Uttrakhand sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
A four-member delegation of the Garhwal Sabha, Ambala Cantt, met the Haryana Transport Minister, Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala, at his residence here today. The delegation led by sabha president Kulbhushan Dhondiyal apprised the minister about the problems faced by people travelling to Uttrakhand from Ambala Cantt due to the paucity of bus routes.

The delegation told the minister that a large number of people hailing from Uttrakhand were living in Ambala Cantt. They face problems while travelling to the home state, as only a few bus routes were available. They demanded night buses to Srinagar, Kotdwar and Ramnagar in Kuwain and increase in the frequency of the present routes. 



2 arrested for snatching, robbery
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
The Crime branch of the Chandigarh Police today arrested two persons accused of being involved in several incidents of snatching and robbery. The police claimed to have recovered a snatched mobile phone, three stolen TVs and three DVDs from their possession.

Giving details the in charge of the Crime Branch, Inspector Satbir Singh, said 21-year-old Ajay Kumar alias Modi, and 20-year-old Amit Kumar were arrested from near Raipur Kalan village this afternoon following secrete information. Both the accused were arrested by the local police for thefts, snatching and robbery earlier and they were released on bail only recently. He added that so far three cases have been solved with their arrest.

Ajay, Inspector Satbir Singh said, along with his two associates, Ramesh and Monu, robbed one Bhadur Lal of Rs 1500 in the Industrial Area during the intervening night of November 15. While Ramesh and Monu were nabbed by the PCR staff, Ajay managed to flee.

He further added that they had snatched a purse of Panchkula resident from transport lights point in Sector 26. The purse was containing Rs 1700 and a mobile phone. Besides this, they had burgled a shop in Dadu Majra Colony and decamped with three TVs and three DVD players along with other articles.

Ajay was arrested by the police in February this year along with other persons for allegedly planning to commit a dacoity in the city. At that time the police recovered a countrymade pistol and other weapons from their possession.



Driver found dead in car
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
A 42-year-old car driver hailing from Ludhiana district was found dead in a car belonging to his employer in Sector 42 here this morning.
The police, while ruling out the possibility of any foul play, suspected that the death was caused by heart attack.

According to the police, the deceased, Paramjit Singh, of Hasanpur village in Ludhiana district was found dead by his employer Madan Lal at around 11:30 a.m. Madan Lal left Paramjit Singh in the car to meet his acquaintance. On coming back, he found Paramjit Singh lying listless on the driver’s seat. Madan Lal informed the matter to the police. The police rushed Paramjit Singh to the Sector 16 General Hospital, where the doctors declared him brought dead.

The family of the deceased told the police that Paramjit Singh was a heart patient. He had come to the city along with his employer to deliver invitation cards for a religious function.



Man gets 7-year jail for rape
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
The Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr R.S. Baswana, today sentenced Mian Rashid Ahmed for seven years of imprisonment and Rs 1,000 fine for raping a Mani Majra woman.

The accused had raped the victim on the pretext of curing her mentally unstable husband.

The Mian told her that she would have to live with her for three days so that he could cure her husband through witch craft.

The victim was eight months’ pregnant when the incident took place. 



Man booked for bid to defraud bank

Chandigarh, November 17
The police today booked 24-year-old Deepak Sharma, a resident of Sector 2 in Panchkula, for attempt to cheat a bank for procuring a loan on forged documents.

Police sources said Sharma had approached HDFC bank for a loan two months ago and had allegedly told the bank that he was the vice-president of the American Heart Centre in Phase 11, Mohali, where he earned Rs 58,000 per month. He allegedly also gave copies of salary slips, telephone bills and bank statements to the bank for processing his loan.

However, on verification bank officials found that the documents given by him were forged and the American Heart Center too had closed down three months ago. They contacted the police, which advised them to call Sharma to the bank on the pretext that his loan had been sanctioned. When Sharma came to the bank the police nabbed him. — TNS



Sickle used in woman’s murder found
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
The local police today recovered the sickle used in the killing of Malkiat Kaur, who was allegedly done to death by her son in their Sector 32 residence her on Wednesday night.

Giving details, police sources said the sickle used in killing the woman along with her blood-soaked clothes had been recovered.

A local court sent Ajit Pal Singh, alias Laddi, and his father Nirmal Singh Rana to one day to police custody yesterday. They had reportedly surrendered before the police last morning and had confessed to the crime. They were today produced before a local court, which sent them to judicial custody until December 1.

Meanwhile, the body was handed over to the family after post-mortem on Thursday. The family took the body to their native village near Kiratpur Sahib in Anandpur Sahib district. The police said the accused did not seek permission to attend the cremation.

Ajit Pal had allegedly killed his mother, as her rude and vulgar behaviour towards his father frustrated him. 



VAT alternative for multiple taxes: experts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
A two-day national seminar on "Value Added Tax (VAT): Its Challenges and Implications", sponsored by the UGC, commenced at the Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26, here, today.

Mr Surinder Singla, Minister for Finance, Punjab, who was the chief guest on the occasion, advocated VAT as an innovative and uniform tax policy despite being challenging in its implementation. He added that VAT is a consumer-centric tax, which assumes that a civilised society will ultimately augment the state and national revenue.

Mr Bharpur Singh, secretary, Sikh Educational Society, Chandigarh, welcomed the guests, while Mr Ashok Khanna, former President, PHD Chamber of Commerce, Chandigarh, presided over the function.

Mr B.P.Singh, chairman, Delhi School of Professional Studies and Research, GGS Indraprastha University, Delhi, gave an enlightening and informative keynote address and explained the need for VAT to revamp the existing indirect tax system.VAT is an alternative for multiple taxes, which will help to integrate the Indian economy with that of the world.

Mr Ashok Khanna reinforced that VAT would become more acceptable by the public when all other taxes would be merged into it and sought the help of media to put it in proper perspective to help people overcome the mental block related to VAT. Dr A.K. Vashisht, Professor, University Business School, Chandigarh and Dr A.S. Sidhu, Head, Department of Commerce, chaired the first session of the seminar. Ms Taranjit Rao (Lecturer, SGGS College, Chandigarh), Mr Balwinder Singh (Chairman, Chandigarh Chapter of ICWAI), and Mr Sandeep Goyal (Member, Advisory Board of Sales Tax, Chandigarh) presented their papers in the first session.



FTP inks pact with global fashion leaders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
Bringing the city on the world fashion map, the second Fashion Knowledge Forum 2006 ended last night with the Fashion Technology Park (FTP) signing up MoUs with fashion leaders from Canada, Australia, Thailand and UK.

In an effort to strengthen ties globally, the FTP signed MoUs with the Fashion Design Council of Canada (FDCC), the School of Art and Design, Nottingham Trent University, UK, the Department of Textile Science, Kasetsart University, Bangkok, Thailand, and the RMIT University, Australia.

Expressing her delight, Ms Robin Kay, President, FDCC, said, “I am really excited to be a part of this group and I hope this association will now bring me to India quite often.

“Though fashion designing in Canada is quite new, just twelve season-old, we have an industry which has apparently more global presence.”



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