C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Power full lawyers don’t pay bills
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
The dictionary defines them as “persons learned in law”. However, when it comes to paying their electricity bills some of these “learned people” seem to forget that it’s their legal obligation to do so.

Believe it or not, the learned lawyers from the district courts owe over Rs 6 lakh to the electricity department.

While some advocates have not paid the bill for the past six months, there are some who have dues outstanding for over a year.

Though the UT Electricity Department has reminded all defaulters to clear their dues, the advocates have so far not paid any heed to it. Even efforts to recover the dues by seeking the intervention of the DC’s office have proved futile too.

The department sent a letter to the DC way back on January 24, this year, along with a list of 35 advocates who have not paid the electricity bills of their chambers. A copy of the letter was forwarded to the president of the District Bar Association also.

After the DC took up the issue of non-payment of bills seven lawyers have made the payment. While most remain unpaid, there are a few cases where part payments have been made.

According to sources in the department, the average monthly bill of chambers of lawyers in the district courts is approximately Rs 4 lakh. Thus the monthly consumption of electricity of the building, excluding that of the courtrooms, comes out to be 1.25 lakh units of electricity.

Topping the long list of defaulters, the bill against advocate Jagdish Chand is of Rs 77,305, who died two years ago, following him is B. Singh (Rs 66,189), Balwinder (Rs 38,066), Charan Singh (Rs 24,634) and Rajinder Singh (Rs 36,706).

The problem being faced here in some cases is that the pending bills are against names of those advocates who have either vacated the chamber or have passed away while the present incumbent is not ready to pay the bills, said the advocates pleading anonymity.

Apart from the issue of pending bills, the electricity department also trying to fight the menace of countless kundi connections in the court premises.

Sources in the department claimed that there were 12 chambers in the courts complex whose electricity supply was surviving on illegal kundi connections. A senior official confirmed that the illegal connections had been pulled out several times but were back.

An advocate said, “I have applied for the electricity connection after I shifted to this chamber but the department has not issued the connection in my name so the supply coming to my chamber is on illegal kundi connection.”

Interestingly, the illegal connections are being used in the courts that are regularly visited by the police but no one takes note of violation of the Electricity Act.

The president of the District Bar Association, N.K. Nanda said, “Non-payment of bills is not the concern of the Bar Association. It is up to the department to take some action on it.”



Age is no bar at city bars
Jyoti Rai and Parminderjit Singh

Chandigarh, June 5
Union health minister Anbumani Ramadoss may have plans to discourage consumption of liquor among youngsters by banning drinking scenes in movies, but for the city pub, discotheque and liquor shop owners, age seems to be no bar.

Liquor is being sold and served across the city in violation of the rule that prohibits its sale to those below the age of 25. And one doesn’t have to work hard to get it. It’s as easy as ordering a soft drink.

A Tribune team, comprising a young 19-year-old woman journalist, visited several bars and liquor shops in the city. She was able to buy alcohol without any problems, no questions asked.

The team’s first halt was a popular bar owned by a fast food chain in Sector 17. The reporters ordered two small pegs of gin. Without any question, she was served by the waiter. Similar was the treatment received at another bar in the same sector. A popular hotel chain runs this bar.

No queries were made at a sports bar in Sector 8. Here the reporter ordered strong draught beer and the same was served without hesitation. Though the entire staff of the bar, including the manager, were present, none bothered to check or question her about her age.

At yet another liquor shop, the reporter was able to buy a bottle of whiskey from a swank shop in Sector 7. The reporter had no problems buying a beer bottle from a ‘theka’ in Sector 27-D.

All these sales were made against valid bills, which are in the possession of the reporter.

According to excise officials, selling of liquor is prohibited to people under the age of 25. Prior to issue of licence, all bar and liquor shop owners are made to sign an undertaking stating that no sale would be made to the underaged.



Plot to kidnap budding cricketer foiled
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 5
The local police today arrested six persons for allegedly planning the kidnapping of a budding cricketer from Ferozepur.

According to the police, the boy, Abhinav, son of a businessman at Ferozepur, was getting training at a cricket academy in Chandigarh and one of his relatives planned his kidnapping with the help of his friends.

The kidnapping bid was foiled by the Mohali police when the six-member of a gang was rounded up from Chandigarh today. The police has seized sharp-edged weapons, injections and sedatives from the accused.

SP City Varinder Pal Singh said the gang was caught following information that the six were planning a kidnapping and armed dacoity in Chandigarh. “It was later after their arrest that the six gave details of their plans to kidnap Abhinav,” said the SP.

The arrested include Davinder Dev of Qadian, Vikahyat Chauhan of Sanjoli, Shiva Ashish of Anandpur Sahib, Sandeep Ahuja, Ankur and Raj Kumar all from Ferozepur.

Varinder Pal Singh said Ankur was related to Abhinav and knew that he had just completed his Class XII and was in Chandigarh training at the Guru Nanak Cricket Academy in Sector 36. He also knew that Abhinav was staying with some relatives at Sector 18.

Ankur and his friends allegedly planned Abhinav’s kidnapping some days ago. “They called Abhinav from Dev’s mobile that there was a courier for him from Ferozepur and he should come to a park in Sector 18 and collect it. Abhinav went to the park but they could not kidnap him as there was a lot of crowd in the park,” said the SP.

The six had met again at Leisure Valley this evening to chalk out another plan for kidnapping. The Mohali police caught them here and arrested them under Sections 399 and 402 of the IPC.

Ankur reportedly told the police that he had come to know that Abhinav’s father Ajay Kumar was a rich businessman and would dole out Rs 80 to 90 lakh for him as ransom.



T-shirts of hockey players go for Rs 2.30 lakh
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
Despite the dipping standards of hockey, the national game, the love of the people for the game is still existing.

The fact was evident in the first-ever auction of apparels belonging to three hockey players when only three T-shirts fetched Rs 2.3 lakh here today.

The successful bids not only brought cheers on the faces of organisers but also was a big relief for the players, who themselves were unaware of their worth.

For Olympian Prabhjot Singh, it was a pleasant surprise when Jalandhar-based Sandeep Aggarwal bid Rs 95,000 for his T-shirt, which he wore in the finals of Asia Cup-2007 that India won against South Korea by 7-2. Hockey buff Sandeep is the owner of Gomti Agricom, which deals in sports items.

The bid of Rs 75,000 for Rajpal’s apparel (he also wore it in the finals of Asia Cup-2007) was made by his namesake Rajpal Sandhu from Australia while Deepak Thakur’s T-shirt went for Rs 60,000. Deepak put it on in the match against Pakistan during Champions Trophy in 2004.

“I am astonished as well as relieved by the gesture of the buffs. Earlier, I never expected such an encouraging response as it (the bid) was a altogether new thing for us”, forward Rajpal Singh said after the culmination of the auction.

Echoing Rajpal, Prabhjot was of the view that the auction had opened new avenues in the game. “The love of the people for the game is evident. I am satisfied and thankful to the buffs for showing great gesture in the auction. I think people are willing to help the game at the grassroot level. The only need is to channel the resources”, Prabhjot said.

Terming the encouraging response as the beginning of a new chapter in the game, hockey coach N.S. Sodhi said the overexpected bids also established a fact that the value of hockey players was no less than cricketers.

On the other hand, the successful bidders, including Sandeep, Rajpal and Papinder Singh, were seen excited after getting the valuable articles. “We will frame the shirts and hang these in our offices”, said Sandeep and Rajpal.

Allahabad-based businessman Papinder will gift the T-shirt to his son, a budding hockey player. Showing his love for the game, Dr Jatinder Kumar, a city-based physician, presented a cheque for Rs 10,000 to the organisers to promote the game.

Auctioning the apparels was Rajpal’s idea for raising funds for organisers of Dharam Singh Memorial Hockey Tournament, starting from June 8 to 12 at Hockey Stadium, Sector 18.



‘Fuel price hike a step against common man’
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 5
Punjab cooperation minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh yesterday criticised the hike in the rates of petroleum products by the Centre and termed it as a step against the common man.

In a statement released here, the minister said the Congress led UPA government had increased the price of petrol and diesel by Rs 5 and 3 respectively which had proved that it had no concern for the welfare of common man.

He said by increasing the rates of domestic gas cylinder by Rs 50, this government had ensured that poor and middle class people did not get two meals a day.

He said this increase would lead to heavy burden on these classes which were already reeling under inflation due to wrong economic policies of the Congress government.

Capt Singh said the Centre was citing rise of international price of crude oil for increasing the prices whereas it was the job of the government to maintain economic affairs. He said this anti-people government had no right to govern the country.

He lamented that this government had failed in its constitutional obligation of safeguarding the people and was working for the interest of the capitalist class. He said it had been once again proved the Congress worked for rich people.



Cleanliness drive at Sukhna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
On the occasion of world environment day number of event were organized to create awareness about environment among the people.

Yuvsatta in association with Big 97.7 FM organized cleanliness drive at Sukhana Lake with a theme of Save Sukhana , on World Environment Day today.More than 200 Students of various schools of tri-city and volunteers of children's centre of Yuvsatta participated in this event.

Ishwar Singh , Director, Department of Environment, Chandigarh while addressing student said, "We have to fight against '7 P's' and those P's are obstructing preservation of environment and these are Pollution, Parking, Population, Polythene bags, Parthenium, wastage of Power (electricity) and Pani (Water)."

The volunteers cleared around 350 kg of waste including polythene bags, plastic bottles and other waste materials.

Meanwhile British Library also organised essay writing in which around 50 participants wrote an essay on topic of How to Protect Environment and Global Warming.Parchi Gupta, Shiva and Zoya Chhabra were the winners for essay writing competition. A written quiz on environment was also organised in whichb 150 members participated. Sneh, Asees Singh and Amita were the winners for written quiz. Beside this documentary on an inconvenient truth A Global Warning was also screened at the library.

An environment march 'We Care Environment March' was organized by Coca-Cola India, in association with TAJ, to spread awareness about environment protection and preservation among the people.

They held eco friendly messages in the form of placards with ' Save Water', 'Save Energy', 'Save Earth, Save Life'.

In the Indo Tibetan Border Police, Northwest zonal Headquarter a modern pollution free canteen for the welfare of the personnel in the campus was inaugurated by Inspector general ITBP, IPS, P P Singh.



New sweeping machines improve cleanliness
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
The recently inducted state-of-the-art Dulevo garbage-sweeping machines are redefining cleanliness in the city besides checking corrupt practices regarding fuel consumption and overtime in the municipal corporation.

For, the machines are equipped with the latest technology and electronic gadgetry, reducing the chances of tampering by operators.

“Powered with four-cylinder diesel engine, the machines have an air-conditioned compartment and are dust proof. However, being equipped with electronic gadgets, there is no scope of tampering with them regarding the work done and fuel consumption”, says one of the operators of the machines.

Brought from Italy at a cost of Rs 3 crore in April this year, the machines are being used by the sanitation department of the corporation for cleaning the roads.

Drawing initial criticism for the whopping price tag, the machines have become favourites of the operators; they have reduced the workload besides providing good working conditions.

The company is providing training to corporation employees to operate and maintain the machines. The department has assigned areas to the three machines and the operators are required to work eight hours in a day.

These can clean about 2 to 3 km of a road in an hour. Initially, the machines took more time to remove the mud along the road berms, which was settled there for years. Now, the roads being regularly cleaned, they take less time. Moreover, a machine is equivalent to workforce of about 300 persons, adds a corporation officer.

Giving details about the machines, Dulevo Company’s engineer told The Tribune that the waste hopper capacity of the machine was 2,500 litres and it sweeps an area of around seven feet with its front as well as left and right brushes.

The high-power suction system of the machine even sucks in small stones from the road, leave aside dry leaves and sand. The machine is fitted with water sprinklers, which help control dirt while sweeping. The company had sold over 1,000 units worldwide.

The machines have no match with their local versions available in the market for anything around Rs 25 lakh as they have dual side (left and right) steering wheel and control penal, enabling the operator to clean both sides of the road without driving on wrong side, which is a traffic hazard, said a senior MC officer.

Besides this, the MC is going to make a workshop for the maintenance of these machines at Sector 20.



Now, CITCO mulls five-star hotel in Industrial Area
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
The Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) is set to open a new chapter in public-private partnership in the hospitality sector in the city.

The Chandigarh administration-controlled corporation is planning a five-star hotel on a prime three-acre plot on the Chandigarh-Ambala road in the Industrial Area here.

With the administration approving an alternative site for the shifting of CITCO's iron and steel store from the Industrial Area to Hallo Majra, CITCO seems to have set the ball rolling for the another five-star hotel in the city. Currently, CITCO-run Hotel Mountview is the only five-star hotel in the city.

Sources said the CITCO top brass had already held preliminary talks with major hotel chains, including Hilton, ITC, Mariott and Raddison, to explore the possibility of the private-public partnership in the ambitious project.

Given its strategic location on the Amabla-Chandigarh highway, the project seems to have caught the fancy of the private sector as it was in the proximity of the airport and railway station, a senior functionary of the adminisration told The Tribune.

If the project takes off, it would be the second major project in the public-private partnership after the elite housing complex--Prideasia--of the Parsvnath and the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB).

In fact, with the commercial activity picking up momentum with the construction of several multiplex-cum-malls in the Industrial Area here, the five-star hotel project could be quite a success.

Besides, the entry of the MNCs and big corporates in Chandigarh was another factor for the major hospitality players evincing keen interest in Chandigarh. The DLF is already constructing a five- star hotel in the IT Park while the Uppals are coming up with a five-star hotel in Sector 35 here.

Meanwhile, MPS Chawla, president of the Chandigarh Industrial Association, said the setting up of the five-star hotel in the Industrial Area would give a boost to the city's economy and it would turn into a tourist destination.



Stage set for mega projects in Sarangpur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
Sarangpur, a sleepy village ahead of the PGI on the Chandigarh-Punjab border, is finally on the fast track to development.

In fact, with the Chandigarh administration finally undertaking the infrastructure development, the decks have been cleared for the setting up of the mega projects, including film city, education city, amusement park and solar energy park, in the Sarangpur institutional area.

While expressions of interest have been invited for the mega projects, the laying of the roads, to be constructed at a cost of Rs 6.12 crore was nearing completion.

With the completion of other basic amenities, including sewerage, the actual work on setting up of various projects could be initiated, according to sources.

In fact, strategically located on the Chandigarh-Mullanpur Garibdass road, with the road eventually to be developed as alternative route from Chandigarh to Kurali, the Sarangpur area would be the most-happening place in the years to come.

Besides the mega projects, the Chandigarh Botanical Garden and Nature Park and second lake at Dhanas in the vicinity would add to the tourist potential of the area.

With the Punjab government proposing the notified area committee for Mullanpur Garibdass, Chandigarh's periphery would be on the radar of the major realtors bringing in more population making the mega projects viable.

This coupled with major housing schemes in the institutional area itself will make the village a sought-after place in the years to come.

A senior official said keeping in view the vision of the UT Administrator SF Rodrigues, the administration was planning some of the best infrastructure facilities in the institutional area.

With Raj Bhavan directly monitoring the progress of the project, there were hardly any chances of red tape in the execution of the projects, the official highlighted.

Officials asserted with the city turning into a cosmopolitan city in the wake of the entry of big corporates and the MNCs and the setting up of the IT park, there was need for mega projects to cater to the needs of the growing population.

And the emergence of Chandigarh as a tourist centre could go a long way in making these projects viable.

Anyway the city has the highest per capita income in the country and the spending power of its residents necessitated the creation of a world-class integrated township.

With an eye on the future, the administration has planned to start one corridor of the proposed metro for Chandigarh from Sarangpur to Maheshpur in Panchkula.



250 jhuggis pulled down
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
The estate office of the municipal corporation pulled down around 250 unauthorised structures in J and K colony in Sector 25 here today.

The drive was launched at 9:30 am and lasted till 2:30 pm. The staff of the estate office was led by Parminder Pal Singh, assistant commissioner, MC, and around 200 employees was pressed into the operation that was assisted by the police.

The entire operation ended peacefully. Sources said notices were served to the occupants of unauthorised structures in the past.

The estate office deployed three JCB machines and over eight tippers to remove the debris after the unauthorised structures were demolished.



Transfer order of IES officer quashed
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has quashed the transfer order of Vijay Kumar, a junior administrative grade officer with the Indian Economic Service (IES), as he was preparing a report of “sensitive nature” pertaining to assessment of Centrally sponsored schemes in militancy affected area of Jammu and Kashmir.

Coming down heavily on the secretary of the Planning Commission, the CAT headed by Shyama Dogra observed: “The controlling office of Vijay Kumar had recommended that he should not be shifted as the applicant is engaged in preparing a state-level report of Jammu and Kashmir on the impact of assessment of Centrally sponsored schemes in militancy affected districts of the state at the behest of request from group of ministers constituted by the Central Government of the Internal Security Border Management through the Home Affairs. Vijay is also conducting the fieldwork for the evaluation study on the Rural Road Component of Bharat Nirman Programme. The evaluation study in progress is of sensitive nature and of national importance. Both these studies will get a set back and fall behind schedule, in case the applicant is posted out. Considering this recommendation, it will not be difficult to form an opinion that the public interest warranted that the applicant shall be retained in Chandigarh.”

The planning commission was further directed by the CAT to reconsider the issue of transfer of Vijay Kumar and Bal Ram. Through an order dated December 10, 2007, the commission had transferred Vijay from Chandigarh to New Delhi and Bal Ram, deputy adviser, planning commissioner, New Delhi, was supposed to replace him.

Pleading before the tribunal, the applicant maintained that he was posted as deputy adviser at the Regional Evaluation Office after orders were passed on June 30, 2006.

He stated that as per the official memorandum dated July 17, 2006, all officers who had stayed in the said department for more than five years were to be transferred.



6 make it to Hyderabad biz school
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
Six students from Chandigarh have made it to the prestigious Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.

Jitin Sethi of Mohali, who was working as a business analyst with Infosys, Mohali, before joining the ISB, says that, “ Being at the ISB adds value to one’s knowledge base and entrepreneurship skills. It instills in you much greater confidence”.

Satvika Saboo, who was earlier working with an MNC before joining the ISB, said: “What gives the institute an edge is the diversity of students. The environment is competitive and one has to perform constantly.”

Other students include Sicha Garg, Varun Bakshi, Vinod Trehan, Flight Lieutenant Harjeet Singh Saini, Anuj Kumar Gupta and Guntas Randhawa.



Consumer Courts
Builder fined Rs 2 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum today directed OMAXE Limited, New Delhi, to pay a compensation of Rs 2.11 lakh for deficiency in service to a resident of Sector 52 here for not allotting the flat on time.

The petitioner, Sridhar Gajula, had booked a flat in the NRI City being built by the company. He took a loan from HSBC Bank at monthly instalments of Rs 41,159 to buy a flat worth Rs 38 lakh.

He alleged that the builder kept on charging penalty for non-payment of money and the bank didn’t release the required amount.

The petitioner then paid a sum of Rs 9 lakh as he received a letter from the builders to pay the money for allotment of the flat. Thereafter, Sridhar paid the sum from his own pocket.

The bank and builders stated that there was no deficiency in service on their part and the petitioner was not completing the formalities.

The forum stated: “The bank and builders are deficient in service. The bank didn’t release the instalment on time while the builders didn’t construct the flats on time.”



Raids on to nab travel agent
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
In a bid to locate the travel agent in the passport-theft case, the Chandigarh police has been conducting raids at various places in Kapurthala and Pehowa.

During the interrogation, the arrested persons, including Sukhwant Singh of Bassi village and Raj Kumar of Kharabgarh village in Patiala district, disclosed that a Jalandhar-based travel agent, Vicky, took Rs 8 lakh each from them to send them to Italy on stolen passports.

“After procuring visas from the Italian embassy on the stolen passports, the agent pasted their photographs and instructed the duo to travel on the names of original applicants i.e. Manpreet Singh and Jaspal”, said the police sources.



MC commissioner visits Dadu Majra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
Dr Roshan Sunkaria, commissioner, Municipal Corporation (MC), held a meeting with corporation officials and the area councillor of the Dadu Majra to discuss the overall development of the village.

Sunkaria, accompanied by T.P.S. Phoolka, joint commissioner, S.K. Bansal, chief engineer, Dr G.C. Bansal, medical officer health, Yogesh Gupta, superintending engineer (SE) (bridges and roads) R.C. Diwan, SE public health, and all executive engineers and other officials from the corporation took a round of the village and take stock of the problems being faced by its residents.

The commissioner held a meeting with the area councillor Kamlesh and area residents in the village.

He directed the public health staff to check all sewer lines road gullies and repair them, wherever required. Besides, he also instructed the officers to upgrade the pond situated in the village.

Sunkaria reviewed the ongoing and completed works, including, the laying of paver-block footpath and widening of roads in rehabilitation colony.

He directed the road and public health officers to complete the ongoing works within the stipulated time frame.

He said the officers should work qualitatively for the public with a view to helping the city residents in the time of problems.

He directed the officers to look after the individual and general problems of local residents by visiting the area personally.

Kamlesh demanded that all facilities would be provided to the area residents on a par with sector level.



Commercial tenants
Owners to furnish particulars to SHO: Admn
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
The Chandigarh administration has ordered that no landlord and owner or manager of a commercial establishment will rent out any accommodation to any person unless and until he has furnished the particulars of the said tenants to the SHO concerned.

All persons, who intend to offer accommodation on rent shall inform in writing the particulars of tenants to the SHO concerned.

An order in this regard was issued here today by the district magistrate under Section 144 of the CrPC.

There is apprehension that anti-social elements may make their hideouts clandestinely in the commercial premises of the city.

The order will be effective up to August 4. The order will remain in force for a period of 60 days.



Promote plantation on agriculture land, say experts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
There is a need to inter-relate agriculture and tree plantation in the rural areas due to decrease in availability of land in the region.

A panel of environmentalists made this suggestion during discussion on the theme of “CO2 - Kick the habit” on World Environment Day at Punjab and Chandigarh State Centre of the Institution of Engineers here today.

Penalists pointed out that due to non-availability of land with the states, the criteria of maintaining 33 percent of land under forest cover is not possible. To solve this problem, the states were advised to promote plantation of trees on agriculture land. N S Tiwana, executive director, Punjab State Council for Science and Technology, was the chief guest.

Sanjeev Chauhan, a panelist revealed that Punjab has never been able to achieve 33 percent of its land under forest cover, as the vacant land is hardly available in the state.

Referring to the report of forest department of Punjab, he said at present around 6.3 per cent of land is only under forest cover.

While giving explanation for less area under forest cover, he said around 90 percent of the agriculture land has irrigation facility, which is not suitable for developing forest area.

He revealed that promotion of forest on agriculture land is the only solution to the problem. It is high time that the state governments of the northern region focus on the environment-related issues.

Papers were presented on global warming and effect of noise pollution on environment. A number environmentalists and engineers were present at the seminar.



Industry must pitch in, say environmentalists
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
On the occasion of World Environment Day, the Chandigarh Tourism in association with EonEcon Foundation conducted a conference-cum-interactive session on responsible tourism here today.

The objective of the conference was to promote consciousness about social, economic and environmental responsibility of tourism and hotel industry and how it could be cost-effective.

Chandigarh Tourism has adopted responsible tourism as a policy and the motive of this event was to impart information and guidelines to the key members, the hotel industry and the tour operators, who have a big role in taking forward this policy.

Director, Tourism, Vivek Atray, in his introductory address highlighted the need for interaction in tourism industry to realise their responsibility towards environment. He said the tourism industry was the most visible and most employment- generating industry in the world. "Thus, industry should think upon what it can do towards protecting the environment," he added.

Manmohan Singh, president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Chandigarh, said tourism played a vital role in society and was the reflection of the culture and the people living there. "The hotel industry is contributing a lot towards the protection of environment, but there is much more to do in the way of reduction in water consumption and saving energy," he added.

Harveen Kour, project manager, EonEcon Foundation, gave a presentation on "Earth dead or alive--it’s up to you". She explained the current situation of environment in which people were living and also the impact of this current situation. She also discussed the factors that posed a threat to environment.



PU don presents paper in UK
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
Dr Seema Kapoor, reader, department of chemical engineering and technology, PU, participated in the Seventh International Conference on Environmental Problems in Coastal Regions including Oil and Chemical Spills held at Southampton, UK recently.

She presented a paper titled Photo-catalytic Decolorisation of Reactive Black 5 dye in aqueous TiO2/ZnO suspension under UV light.’

Organised by Wessex Institute of Technology, UK, the conference was well attended by researchers, engineers and professionals.



Speaking Out
Poor awareness
Valentine’s Day, Rose Day or Chocolate Day--name any of them and most of the youth of City Beautiful will go gaga over them. Ask them about environment and their faces go blank. Global warming, green-house effect, pollution--all these are not mere expressions but threats to the future of mankind. But most of our youth live by the day. The Tribune met Gen X of the city to assess their awareness on environment.

I have never heard this term before; I do no know why this day is celebrated. Being in farming, we plant trees like poplar, eucalyptus, but the purpose is business not environment. I never thought of planting trees with the purpose of saving environment.
— Karnail Singh, student
It skipped out of my mind that today it’s Environment Day but of course I always play my part in saving the ecosystem. I never carry polythene bags and now I have even stopped using my car. I prefer walking wherever it is accessible.
— Dr Mona, dentist
I read an article in a newspaper on Environment Day, but so far I have not done anything productive about it. At times I go by bus instead of riding my own bike but the idea behind it is to save bucks. Sorry, no consideration of reducing pollution.
— Mandeep Singh, computer science student

Honestly speaking, in my whole life there has not been even a single day when I have thought of doing something to save environment or clean my surroundings. I often switch off lights before leaving the room, but it’s just my habit.
— Mahesh Bhatt, computer engineering student

I came to know about Environment Day through FM. We all know the repercussions of pollution but we are not ready to take the responsibility. While driving, I can see the silencers of other cars but I cannot see that of my car; same way I think that it is others who pollute environment not me.
— Rishab Sethi, MBBS intern

Compiled by Jashan Gill and Arif Nazir



Palika Bazaar cries for attention

This is apropos the news item "No lesson learnt from Sector 26 mandi roof collapse" published on May 17, 2008.

The condition of Palika Bazaar, Sector 19 C, Chandigarh, is no better. Only the other day, a woman climbing down the stairs opposite shop No. 135 was struck by a chunk of concrete that fell from the beam of the staircase leaving the iron bars exposed. The profusely bleeding woman had to be taken to the hospital for treatment.

A close inspection of the building will reveal that many corner shop owners have removed small doors in the third wall for better display of their goods leaving the load of the building on two walls and pillars, thus weakening the structure of the building. On account of this change, even some pillars have developed cracks. The plaster of the beam in front of shop Nos. 130 to 136 has also developed cracks.

The situation is more alarming than what has been described in the report. As hundreds of customers visit Palika Bazaar daily, the building needs immediate attention of the civil engineering department of the Chandigarh administration.

H.S. Ahluwalia, Chandigarh



PU set to go global
Flexibility in courses, credit system on anvil
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
Panjab University is all set to go global. In this era of globalisation, flexibility is the new mantra in higher education and PU is all set to adopt it on the lines of other global universities.

Those students who had enrolled themselves in regular and correspondence courses at PU and could not complete it in due time can pursue it later after paying a certain amount of fees. What’s more, they can even take examinations at an institution near their house.

All one needs to do is shell out extra bucks and get oneself accommodated. The students who had to leave the course due to immigration aboard or for a job can avail this flexibility chance.

Vice-chancellor Prof R.C. Sobti is soon going to constitute a high-powered committee that will give its recommendations for further implementations. As of now, it has been decided that this facility will be extended to the students of non-science subjects that have no practical examinations involved.

As a basic framework, the department of correspondence studies will be roped in to give assignments to students and later on the examinations could be conducted in collaboration with the universities or institutes situated near the choice of station of the candidate.

“We need to break out of our cocoons if we want to be a global player, globalisation has to be implemented in practice as well and not only on paper,” said the vice-chancellor who has just returned from Canada on an invitation extended to him by Panjab University’s Alumni Association in Canada.

He also attended the NAFSA convention held in the US where global education leaders got together and deliberated upon various issues to attract foreign students to educational institutions and universities.

“Also on the cards are online courses for NRI students. The students will require to register themselves and enroll for courses online,” said Prof Sobti, subject to the approval by the committee, he added.

Credit system is another initiative that PU may soon take up. Under this system, like in other foreign universities, the students will have credits instead of marks for courses they are enrolled into and they would be able to transfer credits into other courses of their choice if they decide to leave or opt for any other course.



World Environment Day
Vehicles go off varsity roads
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
Long empty roads sans vehicles and their noisy honking, chirping of the birds, serene environment and rain washed buildings, Panjab University was completely in sync with World Environment Day today.

In fact, the university looked like an academic institution of the repute of an IIT or an IIM where right from the students to the teachers, everyone either walks down or uses a cycle to commute daily.

Many students and residents were also seen enjoying rickshaw rides provided free off cost by the university. The university had hired about 20 rickshaws for the convenience of those who could not walk.

The celebrations began with plantation of trees followed by a cleanliness drive, anti-termite treatment of trees, cycling and non-use of vehicles, photographic exhibition depicting beauty of nature, promotion and creation of awareness to conserve and save the environment.

Early in the morning at 5:30 am, the entire top brass of the university, led by the vice-chancellor, planted 75 chakrassia saplings near UIET building on the south campus, Sector 25. Subsequently, volunteers and university employees manned the gates, requesting the public to park their vehicles in earmarked parking zones and make use of alternate commuting arrangements.

In fact, the vice-chancellor, along with the registrar, dean, faculty members, PUTA and PUSA leaders and students, went round the campus picking up polythene and other non-biodegradable substances.

An exhibition of photographs by Jeesu Kaskanwar and Navtrej Singh depicting the beauty of nature, promoting and motivating the youth towards environment conservation and promoting cycle tourism and good health was also inaugurated. Impressed with the works, the VC immediately directed that the exhibition be put up in his office as well. He also announced to make arrangements for holding such exhibitions in the foyer of his office in future.

The VC, along with the registrar, who commuted the whole day on cycles, also announced that tourism courses and photography would be initiated and motivated by the university.



Students pay for PU centre’s laxity
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
Laxity and lack of coordination between Panjab University Business School (PUBS), Regional Centre, Ludhiana, and university administration in Chandigarh has cost the students of PUBS dear.

So much so that all 49 students enrolled in MBA at Ludhiana centre have been fined Rs 14,000 each for the delay that occurred on the part of the authorities.

The students had appeared in the first semester examination in November 2007 the result of which has not been declared even after the beginning of the second semester. When they enquired about the same, they were told that the delay was on the part of the university authorities in Chandigarh and they should enquire from there.

When the students contacted the university administration in Chandigarh, it was revealed that since the examination forms and examination fees of about Rs 2,500 each did not reach the university in time, the result had been delayed.

Also, they were told that the result would be declared only when the students pay the hefty penalty of Rs 14,000 each.

“We paid the fees and filled in the examination forms well in time then why should we pay such a hefty fine for no fault of ours?” questioned an agitated student on condition of anonymity.

When contacted, S.K. Chaddha, coordinator for academics, PUBS said, “We intimated the students well in time, before the due date about filling up of forms and examination fees but we don’t know why was the submission of forms delayed.”

According to sources, the responsibility to collectively send all the forms to Panjab University lied with the regional centre only.

When asked, Prof R.C. Sobti, vice-chancellor, expressing ignorance about the issue, said, “I will call for the file tomorrow itself to know the matter. In any case, the students will not have to pay a fine if they are not at fault,” he assured.



PU Notes
New course
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
PU is starting a highly specialised two-year course M.Sc. microbial biotechnology from the coming academic session (2008-09).

This course is first of its kind in north India. An advisory board, comprising of distinguished faculty members of PU, internationally recognised scientists of research institutes of India, officials of funding agencies (DBT and CSIR) and senior administrators of corporate sector, has been constituted to monitor the functioning and framing rules and regulations of this course.

The course contents have been designed by the senior faculty members and scientists in consultation with microbiology-related industries.

The course has 20 seats and those candidates who have studied microbiology during their graduation programme are eligible for this course.



From Schools & Colleges
200 BEd students awarded degrees
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 5
The first annual convocation of Swami Vivekanand College of Education (SVCE) was held on Swami Vivekanand Institute of Engineering and Technology (SVIET) campus at Ramnagar, near Banur, Patiala.

The convocation address was delivered by Dr G.D. Pandey, ADGP, Punjab. Dr C.S. Rao, vice-president, introduced the chief guest. The chief guest Dr G.D. Pandey distributed the degrees to about 200 students of BEd present.

Placement drive: CAD Soft Tech Overseas Pvt. Ltd conducted a placement drive at Indo Global College of Architecture for recruiting budding architects. The company has its main office in Noida and overseas offices in many Europeans Countries, with main office in New Zealand. The placement team of the company was lead by Amit Gulati and Pallvi. Architect S.S. Sekhon, principal of Indo Global Architecture College, spoke about emerging job trends in the field of modern architecture designs and concepts, due to real estate and infrastructural boom in India and the sub-continent.

Course: Forty students were awarded certificates for successfully completing a course in ‘Maintenance and Repair of Electric Gadgets’ conducted by Jan Shikshan Sansthan, Mohali, at Gambhirpur village in Anandpur Sahib block of Rupnagar district. Anand Mohan Sharma, deputy director of the Sansthan, while congratulating the students said the skills learnt during the training programme should be utilised for income generation. He thanked the village panchayat for its cooperation in organisation of the course.

Environment Day: Jan Shikshan Sansthan, Mohali, celebrated World Environment Day at its Campus today. Dildar Khan, director of the institute, said increasing deforestation has created a great challenge for the environment and the ecological balance. Anand Mohan Sharma, deputy director,said release of Green House gases, particularly carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere have the potential to significantly alter the earth’s heat and radiation balance. Each one of us can significantly contribute to minimize the output of Green House gases by taking small steps in our daily lives.

Club launched: On the event of World Environment Day, SVIET launched a Social Activities Club (SSAC). The club aims at involving the students in various social activities.The club would comprise of different groups like eco group, social evils group and responsible citizens group. Sanjay Bajaj, principal, Swami Vivekanand College of Pharmacy and director of the club, said student’s participation will be purely voluntary and the club planned to work like a NGO increating awareness amongst the students .

Campaign: Chandigarh Group of Colleges, Landran, has initiated a placement campaign for the students who are pursuing their degrees in airlines tourism and hospitality management much before they pass out with their degrees. Kuwait Airlines and Air-France have picked number of students from Chandigarh College of Hospitality. Nnumber of students have also been placed with SOTC, Air-Pack International, Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation and Himachal Tourism Development Corporation.

Seminar: An educational seminar is conducted on the topic “Education in human values” by ministry of human resources development at Shastri Model School here today. Dr. Uma Sharma, district public relations officer, Mohali, was the chief guest. Baldev Raj, deputy director, education, presided over the function. The school children presents a welcome song. R. Bala, principal of the school, welcomed all guests.



Cops get 1 year in graft case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
The Special Court, CBI, yesterday sentenced sub-inspector Payarelal of the economic offences wing and constable Balwant Singh to imprisonment of one year in a corruption case.

According to the prosecution, the complainant Kushal Lal had alleged that Pyarelal had demanded a bribe of Rs 5,000 for giving a clean chit to the complainant in a case of fake passport. Balwant Singh was caught red-handed accepting the bribe.

Fined: The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed ICICI Lombard to pay the claim of Rs 1.45 lakh at an interest of 12 per cent from the date of issuance of the claim along with Rs 2,200 as costs of litigation to a resident of Sector 56.

The petitioner, Rajesh Kumar, had purchased an Indica car that he got insured from ICCI Lombard. Thereafter the car met with an accident in March 2007. He filed a claim and the surveyor assessed the claim at Rs 1.45 lakh to be issued to the petitioner.

The claim was repudiated by the insurance company on ground the car was being used for commercial purpose. The company stated that it had deputed an investigator who posed as a customer to hire a taxi and the petitioner agreed; thus the car was being used for a commercial purpose.

The petitioner stated that the report of the investigator did not establish that the car was engaged for commercial purpose.



Aulakh is Mohali SSP
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 5
Jatinder Aulakh joined as SSP of SAS Nagar here this evening. Prior to this appointment, the 45-year-old Punjab Police Service officer was holding the dual charge of commander, 13B PAP battalion and AIG personnel (II).

Aulakh has served as SSP Sangrur, Nawashahr and Jagraon. “I joined the service in 1990 as DSP and served as the SSP of Sangrur for two years,” he said.

Stating that it was too early to comment on the state of policing in the district, Aulakh said since the district was a new one, he would first study its unique policing needs and plan accordingly.

Related to a top cop of the state, Aulakh’s posting in Mohali also had the nod of Capt Kanwaljit Singh.



Five UT SDEs shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
With a view to bring transparency, the UT engineering department has shifted five sub-divisional engineers (SDEs).

While Ram Sarup Walia has been posted as SDE C-5 in Division No 4, Gurinder Singh will be the SDE R-2 in Division No 1. Sushil Chopra has been moved as SDE C-2 in Division No 1.

Lalit Chugh has been posted in Division No III and Prem Paul as SDE M-II i
Division No III.

Sources said the transfers had been ordered as some of the officials were holding on the "sensitive posts" for more than five years against the rules and regulations of the Central Vigilance Commission.



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