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No petrol, diesel-run auto in city from today 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
The UT administration has decided to seal its borders for petrol/diesel-run auto-rickshaws coming from Mohali and Panchkula from tomorrow.

The administration has also notified that these auto-rickshaws would be impounded from tomorrow onwards if they ply in Chandigarh.

This means that the tricity residents could be in for trouble without auto-rickshaws as most of them are still running on petrol and diesel. These include a large number of students who commute daily within the tricity for schools, colleges, university and even coaching centres.

In a meeting held under the chairmanship of Ram Niwas, Home Secretary, and the State Transport Authority with the president of the Auto Rickshaw Union and their representatives, the issue regarding phasing out of existing petrol/diesel auto-rickshaws was discussed.

It was specifically made clear to phase out the existing petrol/diesel auto-rickshaws. The operators were also briefed about the financial incentives being offered by the Delhi Financial Corporation for purchase of new auto-rickshaws.

It was also decided to execute a memorandum of understanding between UT and the Delhi Financial Corporation for providing finance incentives to the auto-rickshaw operators who wish to purchase LPG/CNG/ battery-run autos.

Meanwhile the Tricity Auto-rickshaw Union president, Kamal Kant said they would hold a meeting tomorrow and submit a representation to the Deputy Commissioner in this regard. They will also take out a protest rally on Saturday.

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MHA upsets UT applecart 
Plans to acquire over 300 acres of land put on hold
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
The orders of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to put on hold further land acquisitions has unsettled the UT’s immediate plans to acquire over 300 acres of land for projects like the EWS housing and modern terminal market in Maloya, aquatic park in Kaimbwala and a number of small projects in the city’s periphery.

In some of the cases, the land acquisition proceedings were in the initial stage. The UT Administrator’s pet project to provide EWS housing on 167 acres in Maloya and a future plan to acquire 650 acres of land in Sarangpur, Khuda Jassu and Khuda Lahora villages for mega projects will be among the major setbacks to the UT.

The MHA orders may have troubled the UT officials, bit it has brought cheer on the faces of the UT farmers who had been opposing the acquisition tooth and nail.

Harjinder Singh, a farmer of Sarangpur village, said the UT had been giving fairly low land compensation whereas in the neighbouring area of Punjab, the land rates were comparatively high. The landowners were upset over the UT’s future plan to acquire 650 acres of land in Sarangpur and adjoining villages.

It may be mentioned here that the MHA has not only asked the UT to put on hold further land acquisitions under the Land Acquisition Act but has also ordered a special audit for the allotment of land to the IT Park projects and the status of the controversial mega projects - Medi City, Film City and Theme-cum-Amusement Park.

President of the Manimajra Farmers’ and Welfare and Environment Protection Society H.S. Johal said the UT had been acquiring land without any specific purpose. An audit and the status report of the acquired land that was lying vacant should be done.

He said they would taking the issue of Phase III of the IT Park before the Co-ordination Committee and the Administrator’s Advisory Council having representatives of the Ministry of Urban Development and the MHA. They will urge the MHA to implement its order with retrospective effect.

Sites lie vacant

Following the MHA orders to put on hold further acquisitions, members of the Manimajra Farmers’ Welfare and Environment Protection Society on Wednesday visited the IT Park site to verify the status report on the vacant sites.

Built-to-suit-sites were allotted to the companies for immediate development of the IT Park, but many have not even started the construction activity. These include Alchemist Ltd, IDS Infotech Ltd, Second Foundation LLC, USA, FCS Software Solutions Ltd, Netsmartz Infotech (India) Pvt Ltd and Microtek International (P) Ltd.

However, the construction activity is in progress at the site allotted to Bharti Airtel, Tech Mahindra and Infosys (expansion).

The Manimajra Farmers’ Welfare and Environment Protection Society, which has been spearheading the agitation against the acquisition for Phase III of the IT Park, said the land for the IT Park (Phase I and II) had been acquired in Kishangarh village over a period of time.

Firstly, 111 acres was acquired between 1950 and 1977 to set up brick-kilns. These were never built and the land kept lying unutilised for long. Finally, this land has been utilised for the IT Park Phase I. The Chandigarh administration decided to acquire additional 267 acres for the IT Park Phase II at the rate of Rs 10 lakh (approx) per acre and for the Phase III, a compensation of Rs 18.75 lakh per acre was announced. 

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City has more liquor vends than schools
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
When it comes to ‘thekas’ versus schools, the former seems to top the UT administration’s priority list anytime. The fact that the city has over 200 liquor vends as against 107 schools surely adds different ‘peg’ to administration’s long professed tale of social responsibility.

In the current scenario where almost 8,000 kids are deprived of education, the school versus the vend ratio roughly comes out to be 2:1, thereby disturbing many.

“Every other day we find a new liquor vend coming up in the city. However, the administration has not opened a single government school this year,” said a city-based educationist.

The nursery admissions have just culminated with the usual tales of hundreds of kids not being able to make it to a few good schools or for that matter schools hiking their fee leaving parents with no choice. Opening of few more affordable schools can solve problems for many, but this surely does not seems to be of administration’s interest anymore.

According to Roop Singh, a retired Army officer, “This is a small city but strangely we have no rule setting how many vends can one sector or area have. The increasing number of vends have far reaching implications. Owing to competition, vends make liquor easily available to young kids also.”

Meanwhile, if figures regarding liquor consumption in the city are any indication, every city resident, irrespective of sex, age and caste, is consuming a mind boggling 1.5 pegs per day. While all officials chose to remain silent on this “boozy” trail, one of them on a lighter note said, “It is demand and supply. Probably city residents prefer getting high in literal sense rather than academic.”

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Drug-Peddling Case
CFSL voices trouble for NCB officer 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
Investigating officer of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in the high-profile Israeli national Lior Avi Ben Moyal drug-peddling case Ravi Kant Pawar has landed in the soup as the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory (CFSL) report has confirmed that his voice sample matched with the voice in the purported recording during a sting operation.

The voice sample of Pawar was taken after the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the investigating officer to give his voice sample for comparison with his purported recording during a sting operation.

The sting operation, conducted by one of the convicts, Ajay Malik, shows Pawar confessing on videotape that the former was arrested from Panipat and not red-handed from Chandigarh as was shown by the NCB.

Interestingly, in the video footage, Pawar can be seen and heard claiming that he could give all necessary details of phone records that would clearly establish that he was in Panipat at the time of Lior’s arrest.

In the sting operation, Pawar is ready to submit an affidavit or give a statement before the court wherein he will give a clean chit to Lior. The case was registered on February 9, 2005, when a house located in the Industrial Area was raided by the NCB officials who recovered 154.5 kg of charas worth Rs 150 crore in the international market.

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Army officer booked for dowry 
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 8
Panchkula police today booked an Army officer allegedly for demanding dowry and cruelty against wife. The accused, Major Vivek Pandey, is posted at Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir while his wife, Anshula, also a Major in the Army, is posted in EME at Chandimandir here.

Raminder Prasad Pandey and Usha Pandey, parents of Major Vivek, along with his brother Vikas Pandey, were also booked under Section 498-A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and 406 (criminal breach of trust) of the IPC.

According to the police, the couple had gone through counselling sessions organised by the Army authorities as well, but the wife said she was compelled to approach the police when things became “unbearable”. Their marriage was solemnised on November 23, 2005, in Panchkula.

Panchkula SP said the case was registered after the efforts of the police to settle the matter failed.

The complainant alleged that Vivek and his family members pressured her to transfer the house owned by her mother in Sector 12 in the name of her husband. The husband was also seeking money from her on the pretext of payment against a flat reportedly bought by him, she alleged.

Inquiry officer DSP Varinder Singh said that both were posted in Pathankot earlier and for better education to their two-year-old son, the complaint had shifted to Panchkula where her mother was staying.

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Equip cops with advanced weapons: Chidambaram
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram today asked the Haryana government to set up more quick-reaction teams (QRTs) of the police and equip policemen with advanced weapons.

These suggestions came when Chidambaram reviewed the internal security situation with Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and senior officers of the state. The meeting lasted about 90 minutes.

Among those who participated in the meeting on behalf of Haryana were Chief Secretary Dharam Vir; Principal Secretary to Chief Minister ML Tayal; Home Secretary Krishan Mohan; and Director-General of Police RS Dalal.

Chidambaram told the state authorities to post QRTs in cities like Gurgaon, which could be potential targets of terror attacks.

He also asked the state to strengthen communication channels and the intelligence wing of the state, besides training commandos. The policemen should be given modern weapons so that they could deal with all kinds of threats, particularly terrorist threats. The police should also make greater use of technology.

The Union Home Minister said a helpline should be started on which the people could inform the police about suspicious elements in their locality. He said the identity of informers must be kept secret.

Sources said Chidambaram did not react to Haryana’s demand for about Rs 300 crore for modernising its police force.

Today’s meeting was a follow-up of the Chief Ministers’ meeting on internal security held in Delhi earlier.

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PC dubs UT as border state
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram today dubbed Chandigarh as a “border state” and asked the UT administration to “behave like one” by beefing up its security apparatus and mooted the idea of forming quick-reaction teams to meet terror threats.

The minister, who was here to review the security arrangements in light of the enhanced terrorist threats during the ensuing Lok Sabha elections, asked the UT police to immediately put into operation a plan that would increase its “connectivity and mobility” and also improve its response time.

Besides officials from MHA and Intelligence Bureau, senior officials of the UT administration, including Administrator and Punjab Governor, Gen (retd) SF Rodrigues, Adviser Pradip Mehra, Home Secretary Ram Niwas, DIG Mahabir Prasad and Deputy Commissioner R K Rao participated in the discussions.

While the officials were tightlipped about the minute details of the meeting, sources said Chidambaram particularly asked how far the international border was from the city and when he was told that it’s about 240 km, he quipped, “you are a border state so behave like one”. In this context, he also talked about “quick turnover” among the commandos in the proposed quick reaction teams in order to ensure professionalism and dynamism.

As regards an election helpline put in place by the UT administration, he suggested that a simpler and easy-to-remember number should be given out instead of the existing six digit one.

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Home Minister’s Visit
Commuters at receiving end
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
Commuters on the VIP route followed by the cavalcade of the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram faced inconvenience with the Chandigarh Traffic Police imposing diversion on the route owing to elaborate security arrangements made for the Home Minister’s visit.

Though the Home Minister arrived at around 8 am, traffic jams were witnessed along the VIP route, especially on the Madhya Marg in the morning hours. The police did not allow any one to stop on the Madhya Marg and the traffic leading to the Madhya Marg was also stopped.

Schoolchildren travelling in the school buses faced hardships when the police diverted the buses off the VIP route.

Heavy deployment of police was seen around the UT guesthouse and Haryana Civil Secretariat. The police had cordoned off the area around the UT guesthouse and posed restriction on the traffic, when the VIP cavalcade passed through the roads.

It was a close-door meeting between the Home Minister and officials of the UT Administration, mediapersons were not allowed.

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I-T dept detects Rs 383 cr in a year
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
Investigation wing of the income tax department is claiming to have detected “undisclosed income” amounting to Rs 382.82 crore during various raids conducted in the financial year 2008-09 from UT and nearby areas. The figure is nearly 68 per cent of the Rs 227.32 crores detected in raids during financial year 2007-08.

According to officials, the slowdown has had no effect on the collections. In fact, there was a tremendous boost in the detection of undisclosed assets and income.

Though the number of searches conducted was lesser than last year. In 2008-09, 34 searches were conducted by the directorate as compared to 40 in 2007-08.

Officials said the average disclosure per search has also increased from Rs 5.68 crore in 2007-08 to Rs 11.25 crore in 2008-09, which is exponential jump of 98 per cent. Similarly, the average seizure per search witnesses an increase of 88 per cent, as 0.77 crore had registered in year 2007-08 and 1.45 crore in 2008-09.

About Rs 133.48 crore had been collected from the region as opposed to Rs 112 crore, which had been the target set for 2008-09, said official sources.

The businesses targeted by the department were jewellery, real estate, hospitality, education, finance, automobile manufacturing to rice sheller, vegetable-oil manufacturing. Most of the searches were conducted in Ludhiana, Panchkula, Mohali, Chandigarh, Ambala, Faridabad.

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Rhetoric dominates real issues

The criminalisation of politics is an issue that should arrest the attention of the voters and the political candidates in the coming elections.

Promises are made and broken. At times politicians make false promises. In my opinion candidates should measure their words. They need not commit what they can’t do. We are being be-fooled and we should know on what basis they make these promises. There are various issues and challenges confronting our democracy, which need urgent attention.

Mukul Bansal, Chartered Accountant

II

Every time during elections political parties raise issues of various kinds to garner votes.

Though most of the times it’s rhetoric that dominates the real issues, as different parties hop from one election rally to another accusing each other and diverting from the real problems faced by the masses. The problem of rising unemployment has assumed threatening proportions and it’s high time that we start taking corrective measures. The political parties must take up this issue in all earnest and initiate a national debate. The coming elections should be used as a forum to build a consensus on this issue.There is a growing discontent brewing within the youth as they are failing to secure jobs. The nation must accept its responsibility and not try to shirk away.

Jatinder Grover, Lecturer

III

About 20 years ago it was feasible to construct Metro when not many sectors had come up nor the slum millionaires had appeared. The Delhi Metro too was not in foetus.

Keeping the future requirement of Tricity, the new MP must have in his mind the concept of Metro for Chandigarh.

Secondly, the regularisation of unauthorised jhuggis, encroachment on public land by politicians must be curbed to keep the city’s beauty and identity intact.

In my opinion local issues need to address first.

The issue of slums in the city needs to be addressed.

Their encroachment should not be legalised at any cost. I also feel that the property tax should not be imposed in the city. The city has its own culture and tampering with that will not be accepted.

Madan Gupta Spatu, Astrologer and Author

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Balmiki Samaj extends support to Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
Various leaders of the Chandigarh Balmiki Samaj met Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal at his residence here today to express solidarity with him and the Congress and said they were perturbed by the “dirty” politics in which others were indulging in.

Bansal said the issuing of SC certificates had been stopped during the BJP tenure but the Congress had made Buta Singh as the SC/ST Commission chairman so that the issue in the delay of certificates could be resolved.

Those who met Bansal included Manimajra Valmiki Kalyan Manch chairman Sadhu Ram, Santresh Rahi, Jaipal, Maloya Colony, Rajendra Makwana and Dharamveer.

Youths join Cong

Youth BSP president Rajiv Kathuria and BJP Property Consultant Cell chairman Subhash Sharma and executive member of the state unit of the BJP Jagdish Sharma today joined the Congress in the presence of Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee president B.B. Bahl and Pawan Bansal along with thousand of their supporters.

Pawan Kumar Bansal said issues like inadequate compensation to farmers were being taken up. He also said they would get a major boost with the policies of the party under the leadership of Dr Manmohan Singh.

Meanwhile, people from various villages in Chandigarh today honoured Bahl and Bansal and presented them “Saropas” in a thanksgiving gesture for the developmental works.

Besides, workers of various unions affiliated to INTUC also came under the wings of the Congress extending support with an assurance that they all would work wholeheartedly for the victory of the Congress candidate.

‘Press Club complaint frivolous’

Pawan Kumar Bansal today clarified that he had not inaugurated any swimming pool in the city and the complaint against him in this matter was wholly frivolous aimed only at diverting his attention from genuine electioneering work and engaging him in such frivolous matter.

In his reply to the Chief Electoral Officer, he said he had been invited to the Press Club on the occasion of the starting of the new swimming session on April 3.

He also said even if the event was termed as inauguration, the same did not fall under any stipulation of the Model Code of Conduct.

Dhawan flays Bansal

Harmohan Dhawan addressed a large gathering on the outskirts of Makkhan Majra and Raipur Kalan villages and lambasted the Congress candidate from Chandigarh Pawan Kumar Bansal for his total neglect of the villages.

In spite of his repeated promises for the past 15 years and also being a Minister of State for Finance, Bansal had ignored to protect the interests of the rural masses.

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FIRST TIME VOTERS
Need for reviewing quota 

I am voting for the first time and I expect that the candidate contesting the elections should be well-qualified. He should be well versed with the realities of the country and not indulge in mud-slinging. I feel there is need for a change keeping in view whatever is happening in the country today. Young candidates should come forward and lead the country. I also expect the party that comes to power to do something about the reservation issue. The reservation should be on the basis of academic or economical background.

— Gaurav Kumar Garg

Past credentials matter

While voting to elect a representative, who is supposed to take our country on to the path of progress, I take into account his or her past credentials as a performance-oriented leader. Accidents of birth should not decide who will govern our nation.

The use of money and muscle power in today’s politics is fast threatening to undermine the very essence of democracy. The candidates with a past record of indulging in these practices must be thrown out of our political set-up. Young leaders with an agenda to work must be given a chance. Any political party, which spews communal venom or tries to incite people of one faith against other, should not be favoured at all.

I am excited at the prospect of voting and will encourage others to come out and vote so that we can look forward to the next five years of good governance from the next government.

— Naveen Sharma

Political system is rotten

I am in no mood to vote this time. Looking at the condition of the country, I wish to file an application asking to remove my name and the names of my family members from the voters list. The political system is rotten and I have lost trust in the manner in which country is being run. No politician is bothered about the country, they are busy making their own political careers and doing their personal work.

— Gurwinder Singh 

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Bunny’s men to protest against NK Sharma
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, April 8
Former Akali stalwart the late Capt Kanwaljit Singh’s son Jasjit Singh Bunny’s homecoming into SAD can upset the plans of the late Kanwaljit’s bete noire Narinder Kumar Sharma, who is expected to be re-inducted into the party on April 10 by SAD president and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.

According to sources, immediately after the homecoming of Bunny, his supporters announced that they would protest against the proposed move to re-induct Sharma.

The sources said Kanwaljit’s supporters were expected to oppose Sharma’s reentry into the party. They stated that Sharma always opposed the late Capt Kanwaljit and “We are not in favour to take him back in SAD”.

They said Bunny’s decision to leave SAD occurred in a moment of shock and that he was always in the party. They said Bunny was the only person who could understand the problems of the people who were attached with the late Capt Kanwaljit. While objecting to Sharma’s return, one of the supporters said: “We will never accept Narinder as our leader”.

Earlier, the supporters held meetings at various places and asked Bunny to work for the party. They stated that Bunny would fulfil his father’s dream. The news of Bunny’s return to SAD spread like a wave in the constituency today and the supporters of the late Capt Kanwaljit in Zirakpur, Dera Bassi and Lalru welcomed the move.

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Fund bait for lawyers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal yesterday assured the legal fraternity that he would ensure additional funds from the government for judicial complex in Sector 43 so that they did not have to make any upfront payment for their chambers but just a nominal licence fee.

At a luncheon meeting at the District Courts here, he called upon the lawyers to take an active part in the country’s affairs and said the intelligentsia had the vision to steer the country towards a cleaner and healthier growth. Politics, he said, was too important a thing to be left to politicians alone.

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Mahindra resorts penalised Rs 50,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
Holding Mahindra Holidays and Resorts India Limited guilty of deficiency in service, the District Consumers Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the company to pay a compensation of Rs 50,000 to the complainant.

The complainant, Dr A.C. Bajaj, a resident Sector 49, had stated that he was flooded with various offers from the company soon after he took the membership from them.

Bajaj asserted that he had purchased membership of the company after making a payment of Rs 38,922 through his credit card. Initially, he was offered two nights and three days’ free stay at Mahindra Holidays and Resorts India Limited.

Thereafter, he was offered one seven-night trip within India along with a food voucher of Rs 3,000.

Subsequently, Bajaj was also offered one four days and three nights’ tour to Malaysia, including return air tickets, for a couple. This offer was also mentioned in the application form as per commitments.

The company sent a gift voucher for three nights trip to Malaysia for a couple to the complainant on November 19, 2007, and was advised to contact Shekhar Jalan via e-mail for hotel booking and ticket reservation etc.

The complainant requested officials of the company to keep their promises and commitments made by them at the time of giving membership, which were not fulfilled despite having made a number of calls.

The forum directed the company to refund Rs 70,462, which includes Rs 38,922 paid at the time of getting membership, and Rs 31,540 that was later paid in instalments, along with interest of 12 per cent per annum.

Pronouncing the order, the forum observed, “They have also indulged in unfair trade practice by eating up the entire money deposited by the complainant without rendering any service whatsoever or refunding the sum so deposited to him even after repeated requests. Instead of rendering any service, they have caused tremendous harassment and financial loss to the complainant.”

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Officials told to check unauthorised construction
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
A team of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation officials made a surprise visit to check unauthorised construction in Burail village here today.

The team has lifted building material of different showrooms and houses, which were going to be constructed unauthorised. Joint Commissioner TPS Phoolka, the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, headed the team.

According to details, three sites out of which one site in house number 1322 belonged to Rajesh Puri, who was constructing three storey building without submitting the plan.

More than half tone steel of the owner, including shuttering material, have been taken into custody and the construction has been stopped. 

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Residents protest ‘shoddy’ probe by cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
Irate residents of Ram Darbar today staged protests at the Sector 31 police station and at the police headquarters in Sector 9 accusing the police of shoddy probe into a theft case.

The protestors alleged that despite the police had arrested the accused involved in the theft, the police had not done enough to recover the stolen amount.

They sought the UT SSP intervention into the incident insisting on a fair investigation in the matter.

They alleged that the thief was caught red handed while stealing articles and jewellery worth Rs 2 lakh.

A senior police officer said the matter was under investigation and the officers concerned had been directed to recover the stolen articles from the accused.

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Crop in 2 acres burnt
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 8
Standing crop of wheat was destroyed in more than two acres of land when the electricity wires going through the fields fell down at Muradanagar near Raipur Rani here today. The victim farmers claimed the crop in two and a half acres in the village had been completely converted in to ash.

The affected farmers suffered a at least a loss of Rs 50,000, they said. According to Sher Singh, one of the victims, said today morning when the crop caught the fire after the high tension wires looming over the fields got entangled, resulting in sparking.

Though the fire was controlled immediately, but by that time, the standing crop in the fields of Sher Singh, Avtar Singh and Roshan Khan had already gutted in fire, said the eye witnesses.

The SDO of UHBVN, Ashok Khanganwal, said he received the information and the exact cause of the fire could be ascertained only after the inquiry in the incident is completed.

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JP gets notice on garbage plant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
The Municipal Corporation has issued 30-day show-cause notice to Jai Prakash Associates here today for failing to make the garbage processing plant operational within the prescribed time schedule under the provision of Clause 5.1 of the implementation agreement.

In consideration of all circumstances, Dr Roshan Sunkaria, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, in pursuance of the Provision of Clause 5.1 of the implementation agreement directed JP Associates to show cause as to why company’s security may not be forfeited for failing to make the plant operational within the prescribed time schedule. The company has to submit its reply to the notice within 30 days.

According to details, the Municipal Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding on July 8, 2005, and implementation agreement on December 30, 2005, with JP Associates for the setting up of garbage processing plant at Chandigarh.

As per terms and conditions of the agreement, the company was required to set up the plant within 12 months after taking possession of the land or receipt of statutory approval whichever is later with a grace period of four months. 

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Workshop on ‘ultrasound guided’ procedures
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
For postoperative pain relief in surgical patients, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, today organised a workshop on “Ultrasound guided procedures for postoperative patients” here today.

Dr Bharti Dayal, consultant anaesthetist and in charge, pain relief clinic at Hinching Brooke Hospital in Cambridge (UK), demonstrated the ultrasound guided procedures. She performed four procedures with portable ultrasound, two each on paediatric and adult patients.

Prof Raj Bahadur, director principal, GMCH, said the facility of ultrasound machine was already in use by the department of anaesthesia.

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Cold conditions stage comeback
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
There was a complete transformation in the weather of the city with cold-like conditions experienced by the residents due to intermittent rain since morning.

As per the meteorology department’s information, the temperature of the city will continue to fluctuate and cold winds will blow for some more days. Many of the two-wheeler drivers and cyclists were seen wearing woollens during the evening hours today.

Officials of the department said there would be scattered rains in the ensuing week and the weather would remain partly cloudy. The maximum temperature recorded today was 32 degree Celsius and minimum temperature recorded was 19 degree Celsius.

Weather department director Chhatar Singh said in the month of April, the rains had been far below normal, but it was expected that the city would receive more rain in coming week due to chances of western disturbances.

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Cultural extravaganza by Aryans
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
Aryans Group of Institutes (AGOI) organised a cultural extravaganza “Roshaan” to celebrate the first annual prize distribution function at the Punjab Kala Bhawan today.

Prof RC Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, was the chief guest on the occasion. While Dr J Sadakkadulla, regional director, RBI, Chandigarh, and Satish Goel, GM, the Bank of India, were the guests of honour and Anshu Kataria, chairman, Aryans Group, presided over the function.

Celebrated

Sohanjana, the Eco Club of Government Model Senior Secondary School, 46 D, celebrated the water resources, water and world forestry day in the school premises today.

JS Dewan, founder president of “Support A Child”, an NGO, was the chief guest on the occasion.

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Study of climatic variation
SASE ties up with Allahabad varsity 
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
The Snow and Avalanche Studies Establishment (SASE) here has tied up with the Allahabad University to jointly study the past climatic variations and make future predictions on climate changes.

A team of scientists from Allahabad University’s department of physics would undertake the research work, which would be funded by SASE, sources said. About Rs 10 lakh has been earmarked for the project.

The project has been initiated in the backdrop of growing concerns over environmental degradation, global warming and climatic changes, leading to erratic weather patterns, which have a direct impact on socio-economic activities, especially agriculture. This in turn has implications for water and food security.

SASE, a Defence Research and Development Organisation laboratory, is providing precision avalanche forecasting support to the armed forces, including advice on avalanche control measures, enhancement of avalanche forecasting capability through systematic data collection in snow bound areas and creation of snow cover information system.

Tasked with combating the hazards of snow and avalanches not only to help military operations, but also to accelerate the pace of socio-economic growth of the inaccessible snowbound hill regions, SASE is also studying snow and avalanche problems along certain mountain highways. It is also engaged in the strategic Rohtang Tunnel project on the Manali-Leh axis.

Scientists at SASE said traces of elements like carbon, aluminium, magnesium calcium and lead present in glacial areas can provide vital clues to climatic variations in the past and data generated from this research could be applied to develop models to predict climatic future variations.

DRDO sources said insufficient snowfall in the winter and untimely rains in April, which has adversely affected standing crop in vast areas, is an example of climatic variation.

Citing reports from the India Meteorological Department, sources said the mean minimum and maximum temperatures in January this year were above normal by 2ºC or more over many part of the country, including the mountains.

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Profs’ evaluation programme hangs fire
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
Panjab University’s plan to allow its students to evaluate their professors’ performance seems to be heading towards a major controversy.

While according to the Panjab University Campus Students’ Council, the project will be initiated within seven days as a result of their dharna staged outside the VC’s office today, those at helm of matters denied any such declaration.

The PUCSC had staged a dharna where amongst other issues they demanded implementation of the evaluation programme from this academic year.

Following this, representatives had a short meeting with officials, which was chaired by SC Vaidya, Dean University Instructions.

According to sources, in the meeting not only constitution of a committee was promised but the officials also revealed that the only reason that had delayed the project was that the university was yet to decide on the action in case a professor got negative feedback.

“We had several issues that were long pending. Post our dharna we met DUI, who promised to constitute the committee within seven days to initiate the project,” said, Sahil Nanda, president, the Student’s Council.

Contrary to his claims, Vaidya denied having made any such promise. His denial seems to have further enraged the student representatives as according to Brinder Dhillon, president SOPU, “They had promised to constitute the committee within seven days. It was even recorded in our minutes of meeting. If they fail to do so we will once again protest after seven days and it will be more intense. Even in other matters like installation of lift in girl’s hostel and poor quality of mess food they have promised immediate action. They cannot make false promises just to end our dharna and forget about them later.”

Last year the university had proposed the idea of getting the teaching performance of the professors evaluated by the students. While everybody expected it to be implemented this academic year, no headway seems to have made so far.

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VC replies to show-cause notice
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
Panjab University VC RC Sobti today replied to the show-cause notice sent to him for the violation of the code of conduct in connection with his extension letter.

According to sources, in his reply, the VC has denied being a party in the entire issue, as his extension was the decision of the Chancellor’s office. He has also reportedly clarified that his extension was notified on Feburary 28, while the code of conduct was implemented on March 2.

Sobti’s extension had come under scanner, with the Election Commission issuing him a show-cause notice in which he was asked to explain how his extension did not come under the ambit of the code of conduct while according to a complaint he had received the extension letter on March 3. Officials stated that the notice had been sent to the the Chancellor’s office also.

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82 engg students make it to IBM
Tribune News Service

Kharar, April 8
As many as 82 students from Rayat- Bahra group of institutions have been selected by IBM during a placement drive organised at Rayat Bahra campus.

About 66 students from Rayat Institute of Engineering and Information Technology, Railmajra, and 16 students from Rayat-Bahra Institute of Engineering and Bio Technology, Mohali, have made it to final selections.

Gurvinder Singh Bahra, vice-chairman, Rayat-Bahra group, said selection comes as a major push to placement activity in region in wake of ongoing downturn in economy and a negative sentiment of job cuts and lay offs across the world.

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