C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Knee-deep in despair
Waterlogged: Phase III-B2, Phase II, Matour village, Bougainvillaea Garden in Phase IV and PSEB office in Phase I
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 14
Normal life was thrown out of gear as the downpour today resulted in flooding of roads throughout the city. The Mohali MC and the Public Health authorities were caught napping as the rainwater entered many houses, damaging their property.

Even an hour after the downpour, no official of the MC was seen on roads and the residents were left on their own to pump out the water.

The worst affected were houses in Phase III-B2 and Matour village. Ravinder Bansal, a resident of Phase III-B2, said water entered more than 50 houses today and made life miserable for residents as sewage mixed with rainwater entered the buildings, leading to a foul smell in the area.

He said residents had been facing this problem for the past one decade, but nothing had been done by the authorities to mitigate their problem.

He said PUDA (now GMADA) had prepared a plan to spend about Rs 80 lakh to divert the water from the adversely affected pocket, but work done in this regard did not prove to be effective. Residents were then compelled to file a case in a court.

The Chief Administrator of GMADA called a meeting in June, eight months after the filing of the case. Officials of various departments and the affected residents were called to discuss the problem, but nothing had come out after the meeting, added Bansal.

Prem Dass, another resident, said the court had directed both GMADA and the Municipal Council in October last year to take remedial measures to prevent any inconvenience to the residents of the area. These measures were to be taken expeditiously, but nothing had been done so far.

Meanwhile, chaos prevailed on the roads as vehicles were stranded. Councillor Harpal Singh said there was a lot of water on the road, leading from Phase VII to Matour village and it was difficult for residents to move on that stretch.

Though the sewerage system had been laid in Matour village, the drainage system was not fully functional and as a result, water entered the houses.

He said if the authorities concerned failed to take remedial measures in this regard, residents would be compelled to protest.

Waterlogging was witnessed near Bougainvillea Garden in Phase IV, which led to traffic congestion. There was a lot of water on the road leading from Phase II to the PSEB office in Phase I, creating problems for road users.



Thapar student hangs himself to death
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 14
Pajneet Singh, B.Tech third year student of Thapar University, Patiala , committed suicide in the university hostel no. H here today. Pajneet belonged to Amritsar and was the only son in the family. His father Upinder Singh is a chartered accountant at Amritsar.

In a statement issued to the police, Pajneet’s friends said he had gone to Gurdwara Dukhnivaran Sahib at 4.30 am, along with two of his friends. They then returned and slept in their rooms. Around 12 noon when Pajneet didn’t wake up, his friends went to call him in his room. They knocked the door for about 20 minutes but the room was bolted from inside and there was no response. The students reached the backyard only to find his body hanging to the ceiling fan with a rope.

Cops were informed and the SHO, Civil Lines, along with his team, reached the spot.

He said the cops checked the room but there was no suicide note on the spot. His laptop and mobile phone had been taken into possession, he added. They even informed the parents about the incident.

The parents reached the hostel around 7.30 pm. His father said he couldn’t believe that his son, who was so sincere and jolly, could take such a step. He didn’t have any idea about the reason behind his death.

His friends said Pajneet was very fond of photography and was fun-loving boy. But for two-three days, he had been quite. “Whenever we tried to question him, he would ignore it or would just say he was fine. We could feel that there was something wrong but no one knew what the exact reason was”, they added. All students and staff members were shocked at the incident.



AAI still unclear about project cost
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 14
While the Punjab government is keen that the proposed international airport at Mohali comes up early, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is still not clear about the cost of the project and when will it begin construction work at the site.

The AAI is yet to work out a detailed proposal to construct the airport as the design of the new international civil air terminal and other technical aspects are still in the planning stage.

Replying to a query under the RTI Act, the AAI has stated that it would be possible to determine the tentative cost of the project only after a detailed proposal was worked out.

Denying that there was any delay in formation of the joint venture company that has to supervise the project, T Premnath, executive director, administration, replied that the board of directors of the joint venture company would finalise the scope of the work, drawings and design for the proposed terminal complex to be set up at Mohali.

Recently, the Punjab government had approved the draft of the joint venture company. The project is being undertaken as joint venture with 51 per cent equity of the AAI and a share of 24.5 per cent each of Punjab and Haryana.

While GMADA is the stakeholder from Punjab, it is the HUDA from Haryana.

For the setting the joint venture company, Punjab and Haryana have been asked to deposit Rs 2.45 crore each as the capital to run the affairs of the company. GMADA has decided to deposit the money once the company was registered. Once Haryana approves the draft, the company will be registered. Till the company was not registered, no practical work on the project can begin.

To another query, the AAI has stated that being a major shareholder in the joint venture company, it would take up construction of terminal building, link taxi track, apron and parallel taxi track. There is no proposal to construct another runway as the existing runway of 2,744 metres can cater for the ‘D’ category aircrafts. 



11 more suspected of H1N1
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
Eleven fresh suspected swine flu patients reported in different city hospitals today, taking the total number of persons with symptoms of the disease to 97.

While the medical report of 43 patients is still awaited, the others were found negative, said UT Nodal Officer for swine flu HC Gera. “All the suspected swine flu patients have been advised to remain quarantined till the test reports are received as fresh guidelines issued by the WHO permit house quarantine for suspected swine flu patients,” said health officials.

Meanwhile, the UT administration conducted raids on private laboratories to verify if they were testing samples for the H1N1 virus, officials said.


Tribune Impact
Illegal driving school cars challaned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
The State Transport Authority (STA) swung into action and issued challans today following the news in Chandigarh Tribune yesterday that illegal driving schools are flourishing in the city.

The two vehicles belong to “The New Gagan Driving School” were intercepted by the Motor Vehicle Inspector on the dividing road of Sector 27 and 30. On checking the documents, it was found that the operator could not produce the valid licence to run the driving school. “Both vehicles were challaned for Rs 800 each. Later, the address of the school premises too had been found to be fictitious. A report to this effect has been submitted to the office of the STA”, told the inspector.

Another vehicle belonging to Kartar Driving School too was stopped on the route. It was found that the ‘learner’ on the driving seat was under aged and did not possess the mandatory learner’s licence.

The Secretary, STA, Vandana Disodia, warned that if any driving school vehicle, which did not comply with the prescribed norms, would be found on the road, the vehicle would be impounded.

“We are also checking out the premises from where these driving schools are being operated. Those found on the wrong side of law will be dealt with sternly”, she said.



I-Day: Police on the toes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
The Chandigarh Police has launched a special drive to check anti-social elements in lieu of the Independence Day celebrations. A senior police official said slums and colonies were being checked early this morning. The police was also carrying out a verification and surveillance drive in all hotels and guesthouses, including restaurants in the city.

 The buses at ISBT-43 and 17 were being inspected during the drive. Besides this, special nakas and patrolling have also been intensified in the city.

DSP (central) Madhur Verma said special joint teams had been formed for strict vigil. The police was working in connivance with the Punjab Police, the IB and the Haryana Police. Besides, the CRPF and Armymen also did inspection at Parade Ground, Sector 17.

According to the police, these are random security checks, which were started a few days ago and will continue till Independence Day.



Colourful programmes mark Janmashtami
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, August 14
Sri Krishna Janmashtami was celebrated at the city’s ISKCON temple with various colourful programmes in a tastefully bedecked temple hall at Hare Krishna Dham in Sector 36-B here today.

Devotees in huge numbers thronged the temple. Haryana Governor Jagannath Pahadia also visited the temple on the auspicious occasion. Many other dignitaries, including IAS, IPS and judges, also visited the temple.

The Janmashtami celebrations began with mangala aarti of Sri Sri Radha Madhava at 4.30 am followed by tulsi aarti, prabhat pheri, guru puja of His Divine Grace AC.

Kirtan by various devotees further enhanced the festive mood. The main attractions of the programme were flower decoration (Phool bangla) in the temple hall, 108 kalash abhishekam of Sri Laddoo Gopal, 108 pradeep aarti and maha abhishekam of Sri Sri Radha Madhava at the pandal.

ISKCON Youth Forum (Girls) also presented a special programme. It included an exhibit depicting the parallels between Vedic literature and modern science, spiritual games, video show, drama and prasadam.

On the other hand, thousand of devotees of southern sectors of the city celebrated Janmashtami in Sri Radha Krishna Mandir, Sector 44-A. The nand utsav of Lord Krishna was managed by Swami Kunwar Pal Ji of Vrindavan.

A skit by the Shri Krishnan Rasleela Mandal from Vrindavan was also performed as a part of the utsav.

Panchkula: Saint Soldier Divine Public School, Sector 16, Panchkula, wore a festive look, as students celebrated Janmashtami with great devotion and reverence.

Tiny tots dressed up as Lord Krishna and Radha danced on devotional songs.

Meanwhile, Janmashtami was celebrated in Blue Bird High School, Sector 16, Panchkula, with great enthusiasm. Students dressed up as Krishna and gopis presented a dance item on “Chhoti chhoti gayiyan chhote chhote gaval.”

Various “leelas” were shown depicting the child life of Lord Krishna.



500 on Deputation in UT
Teachers’ crunch in Punjab, Haryana
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
While Haryana and Punjab may have been facing a teachers’ crunch, about 500 “deputationists” from the two states are serving in the UT schools, with some being in the city for close to two decades.

Though the issue of deputationists, be it teachers, doctors, engineers and lecturers, has been a bone of contention between the UT and the states of Punjab and Haryana for long, no transparent and effective deputation policy has been formulated till date despite assurances. The issue of deputationists was recently revived after Punjab health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla wrote a letter to the Chief Minister, demanding repatriation of the 80 odd doctors, who have been serving in the UT for years together.

Similar is the case with the teachers, who have been serving here, violating rules and provisions of the deputations. What is worrying is the fact that most of these teachers have not fulfilled the criteria of serving in the rural schools for a minimum period of three years.

The above revelations were made in an RTI filed by VB Khanna, seeking data of teachers on deputation from other states in UT schools.

To add to this lop-sided picture and in yet another disclosure, the education department admitted that there had been no criterion of promotion from a lecturer to the post of principal in the schools.

“Startlingly, the department replied that there is no criterion of promotion from a lecturer to the post of principal. Promotions in schools are done at the will of higher officials,” said Khanna.

“In some cases, UT school teachers are working under principals, who are from other states and have lesser experience, still they have been promoted without being sent back to their home state,” he added.

In addition to this, as per rules, only 20 per cent of the teachers on deputation can assume the post of principals in UT schools, which is contrary to the ground reality.

According to the information available, there are 29 sanctioned posts of principals and consequently, only five principals can be from other states.

Though on verifying, it was found that currently nearly seven principals are serving on deputation, out of whom one has been repatriated recently.

These schools include GMSSS-10 (Indira Beniwal, Haryana), GMSSS-20-B (Anshu Singla, Haryana), GMSSS- 19 (Sanjay Walia, Haryana), GMSSS-18 (Nirupama Krishan, Haryana), GMSSS-33 (Surender Singh, Haryana), GMSSS-35 (Indu Bala, Haryana) and GMSSS-23 (now repatriated).



Lack of service rules a boon for SDOs
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
In the absence of service draft rules for UT-cadre engineers, as many as nine Sub-Divisional Officers (SDOs) are reaping the benefits of promotion unofficially in the UT engineering department at the cost of the state exchequer.

These officials were promoted on an ad-hoc basis to the post of SDOs from Assistant Engineers (AEs) as a special one-time arrangement, as per the directions of the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission), but their promotion period was to expire on March 31.

Owing to the “lax attitude” of the administration, they have been enjoying the promotion benefits for the past five months, for which they are not entitled.

These include Prem Paul, CP Division No. III; Jagdish Ram CP Division No. VI, Gurinder Singh, CP Division No. I; Rakesh Bajaj CP Division No. IV; Jagdish Singh, CP Division No. VI; Lalit K Chugh and Manohar Singh, both at CP Division No. IV; Mohinder Pal Singh, CP Division No.VI; and Karam Chand, CP Division No.V.

Although the department of personnel had already denied them extension beyond March, they continue to hold the charge and enjoy the pay scales applicable to an SDO till now.

secretary (Engineering) Sanjay Kumar said: “ The service rules are soon going to be reviewed due to which such discrepancies creep in.”

Moreover, some of these SDO-promotee officials have reportedly been entangled in several controversial incidents in the past and enquiries were also ordered against these by the administration.

Avtar Singh and KD Batra, holding the charge of SDO at CP Division No. 1, and Construction Sub-Division No. VI, respectively, were chargesheeted for misappropriation of funds for executing various public projects. Though a departmental enquiry is still pending against them, they are still holding the crucial posts.

Some UT-cadre engineers, when contacted, resented that these SDOs would have otherwise been regular since October 2005, had the Punjab rules been followed. But discrepancies crop up because of “favouritism” given to those who come here on deputation from Punjab and Haryana.

“Those who are junior to us are now our ‘bosses’. Around 70 per cent of the UT-cadre staff has over 30 years experience in engineering line, but compared to their counterparts from Haryana and Punjab, their service career has greatly suffered,” the engineers said.

The UPSC had issued directions in February 2008 to promote JE/AEs as SDOs as per a one-time arrangement with the criteria to be followed as : 30 per cent quota for diploma holders, 45 per cent for AMIE graduates.

Sources told things got delayed because a section of UT engineers had moved the court in November last against this decision. 



Cultural bonaza at Tagore theatre
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, August 14
The overpowering passion of love for motherland and gaiety marked the annual cultural bonanza presented by city school students on the eve of Independence Day celebrations at Tagore theatre here today. The captivating programme, jointly organised by the departments of education and cultural affairs, depicted the multi-tudinous panorama of diverse regional cultures through songs and dances.

A warm welcome by GMSSS-10 school band, playing lilting music at the entry gate, was fairly indicative of the grandiose event to follow on the stage.

The function commenced on a serene note with an invocatory Saraswati Vandna by students of DAV Public School, Sector 15, here. Group dance “Vande Maatram”, immaculately presented by GMSSS-35 in fragile rhythmic patterns, spelt patriotic fervour.

Students of DAV Senior Secondary School, Sector 8, depicted India all through the ages through a skit.

A dozen of girls and four boys from GMSSS-33 brought alive the twang grace and vitality in Rajasthani dance, welcoming visitors with open arms. Patriotic strains recurred again in a group song doled out by Navodaya Vidyalaya, Sector 25. The scintillating dance performance of a medley of inspirational compositions like “Maa Tujhe Salaam”, “Mere Vatan Ke Logo” by Delhi Public School, Sector 40, regaled and captivated the viewers with its thematic content and vibrant stage performance and participants joined for the National Anthem.

Earlier, chief guest Pradip Mehra, adviser to the Administrator, commended the efforts put in by the organisers, especially children, who participated and added hues of patriotism through their multi-colour performances. The city beautiful symbolised the entire nation in terms of growth, development and progress, he added.

Home Secretary Ram Niwas, Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar, Deputy Commissioner RK Rao, Director Cultural Affairs RS Verma, Director Public Instructions (S) Samwartak Singh and senior officials of Chandigarh administration were also present.



Fire offices await staff
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
Chandigarh fire and emergency department may boast of having state-of-the-art equipment at its seven fire stations in the city, but the Municipal Corporation authorities have not taken much pain to deploy qualified station fire officer at these units in the last eight years.

Interestingly, to manage the seven fire stations of the city, the department has only four sanctioned posts of station fire officers, out of which three are lying vacant since long.

Sources said in 2007, a policy was framed, according to which all the four posts of station fire officer were to be filled by the Chandigarh fire services. If any post remained vacant, it would be filled by the feeder cadre and market committee employees and Notified Area committee employees would have no claim on these posts.

As per the records of the department, two posts of the station fire officer had become vacant in 2000 and one in 2004. Sources said at that time, authorities made temporary arrangements by deploying two officiating officers and one was held by the employees of market board. According to fire department records, four employees were sent on training in 2004, 2008 and 2009 for the post of station fire officer, but no one has been considered for filling that post till date.

Sources said what was the need for sending fire department employees for training if they were not to be considered for promotion to higher post by the MCM.

It is the irony that the corporation has trained employees with them, but still they are not being considered for promotion, but the employees on deputation were being given extension. What is the necessity of spending lakhs of rupees on the training of departmental employees when the authorities do not want to use their services?

Sources said there had been a proposal of setting up one more fire station to cater to the needs of the southern sector of the city. Official said when the authorities had been expanding the fire services keeping in view the needs of the city, why they had not been taking up the matter of sanctioning more post for the department.

The official said as per the norms, one station fire officer should head only single fire station and the department had a shortage of many posts.

Municipal Commissioner’s Additional Joint Commissioner PK Sharma said they had been in a process to appointing qualified station fire officers in the fire stations. He said the department had also been taking up the matter with the administration soon for sanctioning more posts.



City receives 9mm rain
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 14
After a brief dry spell, heavy rains lashed the city today, bringing much-needed respite to the residents from hot and humid conditions.  The city today got cooler by almost five degrees Celsius with cloudy skies and downpour for four-five hours. According to Met office, the city today recorded 9 mm of rainfall. The maximum temperature recorded during the day was 33.2 °C and the minimum 27.6 °C.

Cloudy skies with a few spells thundershowers are predicted in the next 24 hours. Maximum temperature on Saturday is expected to be around 33 ºC and the minimum temperature on Sunday will be around 26 ºC.



Medical team to leave for Congo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
In one of its kind effort, a team of 21 medicos and non-medical volunteers will leave on a 10-day mission to provide specialised medical services to the residents of Congo.

“Under the Rotary’s Intercontinental Medicare Project, the team will work in a hospital at Brazzaville, Republic of Congo,” informed Past Rotary International president Rajendra K Saboo, while addressing mediapersons here today.

“We aim to conduct at least 500 intra-ocular lens implant surgeries, 30 orthopaedic surgeries and 100 OPDs, 40 gynae surgeries and 500 OPDs, 700 dental surgeries and procedures and 15 other general surgeries, beside 600 OPDs for malaria, general medicine and rehabilitation,” he further added.

Led by Rotary District Governor Chetan Aggarwal, the team comprises of 15 medicos, 12 from Rotary family, including one orthopaedic surgeon, three gynaecologists, three ophthalmologists, two dental surgeons, three anaesthetists, two general surgeons, a physician and a public health expert, along with six volunteers.

The entire cost of the mission is around Rs 40 lakh that includes the cost of medicines, instruments and travelling expense of doctors.

With the idea of “serving beyond borders,” conceived way back in 1998, the Indian Rotarian doctors and volunteers from Rotary International district 3080 comprising various parts of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Uttar Pradesh, Uttranchal and whole of Chandigarh and UT have been sharing their expertise with the people in need in various countries, including Uganda, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Swaziland, Cambodia, Madagascar and Lesotho.

They have also worked with people from economically weaker sections within the country as well. Since last three years, Rotary from this part had multi-discipline medical missions each year to Kalahandi, Baripada and Sambhalpur areas of Orissa, respectively.



Facilitation counter at estate office
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
In order to provide more efficient and convenient system to public, the UT estate office has created a public facilitation counter at the ground floor of its office in Sector 17.

Various functions of the estate office, including auction of the estate properties with maintenance of their record, transfer of property, permission to sell, permission to mortgage, issue of no dues certificates (NDC), conversion from leasehold to freehold, execution of deed of conveyances/lease deeds, sanction of building plans, grant of DPC, grant of completion certificate, etc. can be easily performed through the counter.

Booklets and leaflets are also available at the counter where details of the documents required for all purposes will be given.

UT finance secretary Sanjay Kumar revealed that the single window system would provide computerised receipt mentioning the date of disposal/delivery, thus making the system more transparent and user friendly.

After internal scrutiny of documents and examination of the file in accordance with the laid out rules and procedures, the cases would be disposed of in a time bound manner. The details of properties are displayed at official website of the estate office, “Sampada”, at www.sampada.in.

To facilitate general public a helpline number 0172-5046637 has also been set up.

Kumar also emphasised on the centralisation of records in order to avoid any instances of missing of records.

Keeping in view the limited role of the NOC it was decided that in future, the NOC would only be applied by the owner as per the record in the estate office and would only be issued to the owner and nobody else. It was further decided to upgrade the record of the estate office through public notice asking all owners to send their and their family photographs so that the same could be attached on the record.

The cases of grant of extension of time limit and NDC will be disposed of in 15 days. The execution of lease deed/DOC, occupation certificate (residential), sanction of fresh building plan, OC/SC cases (reply, etc.) and resumption deed would be dealt within 20 days.

The disposal time for cases involving permission to mortgage, transfer on basis of registered Will outside family, transfer on the basis of unregistered Will and transfer in case of inter-state death has been kept 25 days.

The cases like transfer on the basis of registered building plan, NOC for sale and occupation certificate of commercial building will be dealt in 30 days.

The disposal time of 10 days has been set for cases, including transfer on the basis of Will (Part B), transfer on basis of sale deed and DPC certificate.



Sector 35 Robbery
Police still clueless
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
The Chandigarh Police is still groping in the dark in the absence of any clues about the description of the three robbers who looted a woman of Rs 5 lakh and gold ornaments on a gunpoint at her Sector-35 residence on Thursday.

Sources said the police officials were finding it hard to make sketches of the suspects as the details provided by a shopkeeper were too vague. A police official said though they had tried to make a sketch of one of the suspects, but it was hardly giving any idea about the appearance of the accused.

A shopkeeper had reportedly told the police that he had seen three youngsters carrying bags in the market area before the incident, but even he failed to provide any definite description of the robbers. The robbers had gagged Nirmal Kaur and tied her before ransacking the house. Before leaving, they tied her legs and locked her in the bathroom. 



e wild wild web
Targeting Advertising on the Internet
By Anil Maheshwari

Targeted audience in the media for advertisers or customised advertising has been one of the main reasons for the phenomenal growth of the New Media or Web Journalism. Notwithstanding, all concern and uproar over online privacy, marketers and data companies have always known much more about consumers’ offline lives, like income, credit score, home ownership, even what car they drive and whether they have a hunting licence. Recently, some of these companies have started connecting this mountain of information to consumers’ browsers.

According to The New York Times, the result is a sea change in the way consumers encounter the Web. Not only will people see customised advertising, they will see different versions of websites from other consumers and even receive different discount offers while shopping - all based on information from their offline history. Two women in adjoining offices could go to the same cosmetic site, but one might see a Rs. 5,000 perfume, the other the house-brand lipstick on sale for Rs. 250.

The technology that makes the connection is nothing new - it is a tiny piece of code called a cookie that is placed on a hard drive. But the information it holds is. And it is all done invisibly.

“Now, you’re travelling the Internet with a cookie that indicates you’re this type of consumer: age group X, income level, urban versus rural, presence of children in the household,” said a product leader in a US company, one of the several companies offering this linking to marketers.

Advertisers and marketers say this specificity is useful, taking out the guesswork involved in online-only profiling, and showing products to the people most likely to be interested. Retailers in the US are using this tactic.

But consumer advocates say such unseen tracking is troubling. On the old Internet, nobody knew you were a dog. On the new targeted Internet, they now know what kind of dog you are, your favorite leash color, the last time you had fleas etc.

“The industry’s love affair with persistent cookies has made it virtually impossible for users to go online without being tracked and profiled,” said an executive director of a company.

In fact it is online behavioural targeting. Recall an article on the “the Numerati” in this column in this regard. Consumers can avoid cookie-based tracking by deleting cookies from their computers or setting their browsers not to accept cookies. But few do, and privacy advocates say it is easy for companies to add cookies without users noticing.

For decades, data companies have compiled reams of information on every American: One of the companies smugly claim that it has 1,500 pieces of data on every American, based on information from warranty cards, bridal and birth registries, magazine subscriptions, public records and even dog registrations with the American Kennel Club.

Patrick Williams, the publisher of the personal finance magazine Worth, recently asked a company to find the names and addresses of 10,000 Americans from each of 11 identified cities who had houses worth more than $1 million, net worth of over $2 million, lived within a few miles of other rich people and subscribed to business publications.

“They are the scariest data research company around - they know far too much,” said Williams, who said he was very happy with the amount of information it gave him.

Such companies make the connection between online and offline data when a person registers on a Web site or clicks through on an e-mail message from a marketer.

For marketers, all this data is a boon. A hearing-aid company, asked a company in this field to find people online who were 65 and over, owned a house, were head of a household, made more than $35,000 a year and lived in New England so it could show them ads.

“What was surprising was we found the majority of responders turned out to be women 35 to 40 who had elderly parents at home,” said a senior executive of the hearing aid company.

By using real-world data online, marketers can customise messages even further - showing different products to people with different shopping habits, whether it is in ads, an e-mail message or in semi-personalised Web pages.

Some marketers are using offline data more subtly - for example, showing a budget shopper a discount offer and a regular shopper a full-price section. “The people who buy less frequently and are most price-conscious may get a better deal than someone who buys more frequently, who would buy anyway,” said a senior business executive.

“It is a little Big Brother-ish,” opined a middle-aged social worker who shops online regularly. Still, she said, she wasn’t shocked. “Every time you put out information about yourself - people have got to understand - it’s going to be collected by somebody.”

Some online companies avoid matching online and offline profiles. In 2000, DoubleClick abandoned plans to connect online and offline data after a huge outcry. Google, which later acquired DoubleClick, has been conducting studies that connect the two areas, but it does not currently collect or serve ads based on such personal information without user permission , Sandra Heikkinen, a Google spokeswoman, said.

While Acxiom, Datran and some of their partners address their use of tracking in their privacy policies, such policies have become worthless, Rotenberg said. “Real transparency means that the user gets access to the information, not to a policy about the information,” he said.

Paul M. Schwartz, a law professor and privacy expert at the law school of the University of California, Berkeley, said the unwitting participation by consumers makes online marketing different from offline. “Interactive media really gets into this creepy Orwellian thing, where it’s a record of our thoughts on the way to decision-making,” he said. “We’re like the data-input clerks now for the industry.”

It seems only a few years are left before a gullible consumer in India too is trapped by this increasing online targeting advertising. Even this technological advancement can be used by our politicians in the biggest democracy in the world.

The writer is an editor with The Instanlogs (anilm@instablogs.com)



Monkey menace hits Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 14
Residents of Sector 7 here had a tough time today when a group of monkeys on its visit to the locality climbed up to the roofs of the houses and attacked people who tried to shoo them away.

Many of them had to remain in their houses fearing the attack and ventured out only after the simians left for some other place keeping the residents on their toes for one-and-a-half hour.

AK Sood, a resident of house no 322, escaped the attack of monkeys, while he was taking their photographs standing in the balcony of his house on first floor.

The monkeys first climbed up at the water tank of house no 323, opened its lid and started drinking water and taking bath, he said. He found it an opportunity to have good photographs and it was then that a servant tried to shoo them away following which the enraged group of simians played havoc in the area.

This was, however, not unusual in the town, as the residents of Mansa Devi Complex face such situations quite often, as several groups of monkeys visited the area from adjoining forests of Saketri and cantonment everyday.

Officials at wildlife, however, said the problem was due to the increased population of monkeys and availability of food in the residential areas.

Wildlife officer Ved Pal said the town had its proximity with forests and the monkeys in search of food ventured out in the residential area.



Free animal check-up camp
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 14
The Punjab National Bank’s farmer training centre held free animal check-up camp at Channo village in collaboration with the animal husbandry department here.

While addressing farmers, director of farmer training centre Mohindra Pal Verma said the farmers were provided latest updates on agriculture. Besides, the programmes for making girls self-employed were also being conducted free of cost so that they could improve economic condition of their families.

The farmers were also informed about loans and other schemes of the bank. Veterinary doctors examined domestic animals at the camp and distributed requisite medicines.

Dr Gurcharan Singh told the farmers about the diseases animals suffer from during summers and monsoons. 



Residents to protest erratic water, power supply
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 14
The Citizen Welfare Federation has planned to launch an agitation along with residents of Mohali if the government failed to provide adequate water and power in the town.

BS Tej and JS Lalia, president and general secretary of the federation, respectively, said that residents of Mohali had been perturbed due to unscheduled power cuts lasting for more than eight hours and shortage of drinking water.

Some years ago, power cuts had not been imposed in Mohali, but now it had been treated like a village.

They said the federation had time and again suggested to the authorities concerned that shortage of water could be overcome only by completing Phase V and VI of Kajauli waterworks.

Sinking more tube-wells could not help as their life span had been short and only led to wastage of funds.

If the government failed to solve the problems of Mohali residents on a priority basis, the federation would be compelled to launch an agitation, they added.



Ladakhis strive to sustain cultural habits
Regional Identities in PU
Jyoti Rai

Chandigarh, August 14
Among various regional identities in Panjab University, the Ladakhi community is one, which strives hard to sustain their cultural habits among the heterogeneous lot here. Through the All-Ladakh Students Association, Ladakhi students work actively with a motivated cultural goal.

Interestingly, almost 600 to 700 Ladakhi students in the city are a part of the association. In Panjab University alone, the association has close to 200 members.

“This association roots us to our ethnic belongings. Coming from a fairly different region, adjustment is an issue here. That’s why we stick together. We make it a point to celebrate all Ladakhi festivals together,” said Khalid, a member of the association.

The association does not formally associate itself with any political party in the university, but does not even stop anyone to participate in the university politics at an individual level.

Elaborating on the functioning of the association, Toshi, a member, commented, “We encourage all members to do their bit for the Ladkahi community. Most of us participate in the blood donation camps to help any poor Ladakhi in the PGI. We try and contribute monetarily as well.”

The association organises a fresher party and undertakes an interactive session with the fresh Ladakhi lot entering the university every year. Subsequently a Pre-Losar (Ladakhi new year) party is organised followed by a Losar party in December an Id party.

The Ladakhi students in the university actively participate in sports activities as well.

The yearly tribal sports tournaments organised by the regional associations witness dynamic involvement from the Ladakhi students.

One interesting aspect of the association is its cultural committee. The cultural secretary organises an annual trip for the members.

On these trips, the members put up their local folklore performances at different venues. The funds collected on the trip are utilised for any crisis situation for any Ladakhi in the city, a medical emergency for example.

Javed, another member of the association, commented, “These associations are bound to exist. Its only by staying close that we can tackle issues in a completely different environment. With my Ladakhi friends around, I know where to look when one need help.”

The Ladakhi students agree that they do face alienism in this culture, but then anyone new to their region would also feel the same.

“If people from this part come to Leh, we will be the ones with egos. Its human nature. And yet again, it’s human nature for us to be near our own people,” another Ladakhi student added.



Police medal for PU alumnus
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 14
DCP (south district) HGS Dhaliwal is a proud recipient of Police Medal for Gallantry on this Independence Day. Alumnus of Panjab University, Chandigarh, and resident of Patiala, this 1997 batch IPS officer has the unique distinction of being the first police officer in the country to be selected as “Young Achiever” by the Confederation of Indian Industries for personal interaction with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

As SP (special crime), Chandigarh, during his earlier postings, he also has the honour of obtaining the first ISO 9001:2000 certification for Investigation and Detection Unit. However, this time around, accolades come for Dhaliwal for his leadership and courage during the police operation carried out by him to neutralise one of the most notorious gangsters of NCR -- Om Prakash alias Bunty -- in recent times.

Bunty gang unleashed itself with full fury committing murders and robberies at will and in full public view on Delhi roads. The gang created a wave of panic among the residents of the Capital within a short span of four months, May-August last year.

Massive manhunt, personally supervised by Dhaliwal, was launched in the various areas of NCR and neighbouring states in which huge manpower and material resources of south district were deployed in developing information of hideouts of the gangsters.

After tracing the gang, Dhaliwal led his team from the front when his team cornered Bunty and his associate Rajesh Sharma in their rented accommodation in the Jaitpur area of the Capital in the wee hours of August 25 last year.

Greeted by indiscriminate firing by the criminals, Dhaliwal ordered firing in self-defence and led the crack team from the front that broke open the door and entered the room while the cross-firing was still on.

In the action, he fired three bullets and a bullet hit him on his mid-riff area, which penetrated the upper layer and got embedded in his bulletproof jacket. It was only after a sustained gun battle that the dreaded gangsters could be neutralised and huge cache of arms recovered from their hideout.



PU prof’s leave plea under scanner
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
The request of Dr Belu Jain Maheshwari, wife of late SK Maheshwari, a senior Haryana-cadre IAS officer, of granting her medical leave just after the expiry of her controversial study leave, has come under scanner with Panjab University forming a medical board to verify her claims of being ill.

Belu Jain, professor of PU History Department, hit the news when, as per information received under the RTI Act, it was revealed that she was one among the many VVIP wives, who had been continuing on study leave for a long time and had even failed to submit her study material. Following the expiry of her study leave, an emergency meeting of leave committee was called wherein Belu was asked to join the varsity by August 1 and submit her study material.

However, according to department sources, she did not join the department on the date and no communication either from her side or the varsity side has been received so far on any further course of action.

Dr RC Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, stated that Belu had furnished a fresh request granting her medical leave or extraordinary leave of about 5 years.

“The matter was placed before the Syndicate. Given to the fact that loads of objections have already been raised on her leave so far, I have decided to form a panel of Dr KK Talwar, Director, PGI, Dr Raj Bhadur, Director, Principal, GMCH, and Dr SK Singh, a renowned urologist of the PGI, to verify her claims”, he said.



From Schools
Jainendra school celebrates I-Day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
Jainendra Public School, Panchkula, celebrated the Independence Day with enthusiasm and fervour today. Students participated with remarkable zeal in the competitions, like slogan writing, based on the theme “Conserve Water/Save Energy”, “Shloka Recitation from Bhagvada Gita”, a painting competition on “harmony”, poetry recitation on “My Dream Country-India” and speech on “Haryana’s Freedom Fighters” was given by students.

Winners honoured

Saint Soldier Divine Public School , Panchkula wore a festive look as the students celebrated Janmashtmi, with devotion and reverence. Tiny tots, dressed up as Lord Krishna, Radha and his friends, danced on devotional songs.


DAV Public Senior Secondary School, Phase X, Mohali celebrated Janamashtami, where the tiny-tots of the Primary wing recreated the scene of Lord Krishna’s birth place and tapped their feet. The idol of Bal Gopal was tastefully decked up and a small Krishna was seated in his cradle. The school principal Dr Rosy Sharma appreciated the efforts of the teachers and the children and exhorted all to imbibe the principles of Bhagwad Geeta in their daily lives.

Krishna Leela

Satluj Public School, Sector 4, Panchkula, hold a special Janmashtmi Assembly on school premises today. The celebrations began with students’ speeches on significance of the life of Shri Krishna and proceeded to songs and group dances. Sharda Sarvhitkari M Sr Sec School, Sector 40-D, celebrated Janamashtami with pomp and splendour on the school premises. The day belonged entirely to the tiny- tots of primary and pre-primary classes, who came dressed up as Lord Krishna, Shri Radha, Shesh Naag, Sudama, Devki, Gopies etc.

They sang songs and danced to the tunes endearing themselves to the audience. “Krishna Leeta” was staged by senior students. The Social Science Club “Bhramand”, under the guidance of Neelam Paul, organised a week-long Independence Day celebrations, which commenced with a drama titled “The Spark of Freedom”. AKSIPS, Sector 41, celebrated the birth of Lord Krishna on the school premises with lot of enthusiasm, fun and frolic. The tiny-tots of Pre-Nursery, Nursery and KG, got the valuable information about Lord Krishna.



PU releases  Rs 9 cr for boys hostel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
In a bid to revamp its campus and upgrade the existing facilities Panjab University has released Rs 9 crore for constructing a well-equipped boy’s hostel.

The money that, according to the Vice-Chancellor, has not been released from the Rs 50 crore Central fund will be an important step in changing the face of the university.

“This money will be used to constructing the new boys’ hostel and for improving the existing facilities. We are also looking forward to enhance our libraries and also renovate the houses on campus and roads etc. I have not touched the Central funds as yet but have managed this money from various other heads,” said Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti. 



Student denied admission in BEd
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
Suman Saaurabh, an applicant of BEd in Panjab University, has accused the authorities of illegally denying her the admission.

According to a written complaint submitted by her to the DUI, Suman has claimed that though she was eligible for the admission according to norms in the prospectus, still officials denied her the admission, stating that there was some mistake in the prospectus.

“This is sheer harassment. Going by the prospectus, I was allotted a seat and asked to deposit the fee but when I was doing so I was told that I was ineligible. When we produced the prospectus, they said the criteria had been put there by mistake. We approached the DUI for this and he assured us and sent us to the officials, who denied again. We were not allowed to meet the VC,” asserted Suman.

While repeated efforts to contact the DUI proved futile, Suman is all set to move courts, “The judiciary has already clarified that admissions will be made as per the prospectus only and if they don’t do justice, I shall have no other option,” she added.



Sorry State of Schools
Education dept pulled up
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
If the claims of the UT education department officials are anything to go by, the Ministry of Human Resources and Development has a serious cognizance of the department’s ignorance about the number and condition of nursery and pre-nursery schools being run in the city.

The department had to reportedly cut a sorry figure and had also been pulled up at a meeting held for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Rajkiya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan held by the ministry.

“They were surprised on the fact that we had no specific data even on the number of exact play or primary schools in the city, leave aside reports on their hygiene, teacher-student ratio,” revealed one of the officials.

It may be noted that though such schools are mushrooming at an appreciable rate in the city, there is hardly any departmental control over their fee structures or even academic policies. Surprisingly, the education department does not even have the details of their exact number or strength of students.

Samwartak Singh, DPI (S), admitted the lapse, but held the overall policy responsible for it.

“Yes, we do not have the details and the matter did come up in the meeting. The sole reason for the same is that given the fact that we are not a clearance or approving authority at any level, these schools do not even approach us and take everything from the estate office. However, to combat the problem, we are working out a policy, where we will be inspecting them and will monitor them,” he said.



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