C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Chandigarh Golf Club
150 members lose the greens
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
In a severe indictment, a local court has declared the membership of 150 green card holders of the prestigious Chandigarh Golf Club as null and void, three years after a city-based retired brigadier took legal recourse to the alleged irregularities in the grant of membership.

The judgement delivered on March 13 stated that the enrolment effected by the club in 2005 had been done in violation of rules.

The plaintiff in the case, Brig Sukhdev Singh (retd), a resident of Sector 33, had moved the court, alleging anomalies in granting membership to such a large number of persons against the rules.

He had applied for the membership of the club under the defence services category upon the payment of a non-refundable registration fee of Rs 2,500 in August 1994. However, he claimed that he was superseded by 16 applicants who had applied for membership after he had.

He stated that in utter violation of the provisions, the extra ordinary general body meeting held on September 17, 2005, passed a resolution giving one-time exemption to those members who in the past could not make their dependents green card members.

The green card aspirants were above the age of 21 years and were not in the category of dependents, for which the green card category is applicable. The decision was taken by an incomplete quorum of 172 members whereas to amend rules, the quorum should have 250 members, of which three quarter should vote in favour of the resolution, he pointed out in his complaint.

The brigadier issued a show-cause notice to the club, to which the authorities did not respond. He then pursued the matter legally. The case went on for three years before the civil judge (junior division), Palwinder Jit Kaur, gave a verdict in his favour.

The court declared: “The membership of the green card holders given by the defendants as one-time exemption in the extra ordinary general body meeting dated September 17, 2005, is null and void.”

The court restrained the club from showing favouritism while granting membership so that the chances of the plaintiff and the others did not get jeopardised.

”I was forced to take a legal recourse when the CGC refused to entertain me. Despite fulfilling all conditions, I was superseded without being informed about the reason. I have approached the UT Administrator saying that the club was being turned into a family fiefdom,” he stated. 

Excerpts from the judgement

l The club’s decision to grant membership to green card holders given by the defendants as a one-time exemption in the extraordinary general meeting on September 17, 2009, to ineligible candidates is null and void.

l The defendants (gold club) are restrained from showing favouritism while granting membership of the club to the detriment of the membership waiting list, including the name of the plaintiff and others who have already applied to get the membership of the club.

l There is not even a single document produced by the defendants which could show that the president or the captain of the club was ever empowered to give membership to any person under one-time exemption.

l The defendants have given membership to those who have applied after the plaintiff and even do not fulfill the other conditions of being member of the club.

Membership fee

There are three stages to membership starting with registration and followed by temporary and permanent.

Registered category

Government employees: Rs 13,236

General: Rs 27,575

Temporary category

Government employees: Rs 85,000

General: Rs 1.65 lakh

Permanent category

Government employees: Rs 85,000

General: Rs 1.65 lakh



‘Flying Sikh’ to take off on big screen
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Half-a-century after he achieved international fame, ‘Flying Sikh’ Milkha Singh will soon be adding another feather to his cap. Bollywood’s famed director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra of ‘Rang De Basanti’ fame will make a film on this acclaimed achiever, the first ever on an Indian sportsperson.

A formal announcement on the film, ‘Bhag Milkha Bhag’, along with details, will be made tomorrow by Mehra, who is specially flying into the city.

Talking to this correspondent, Padamshree Milkha Singh expressed happiness over the development. “I am very happy and my family feels very proud as Mehra is going to make a film on my life and achievements”, said 75-year-old Milkha Singh.

The top athlete of the country is evidently impressed with the director’s skills. “I have seen his Aamir Khan-starrer ‘Rang De Basanti’ and found it marvellous. In fact, after seeing the movie, my son Jeev said ‘yes’ to the project as it was being handled by one of the most talented directors of the film industry”, said Milkha Singh.

“As my all achievements and milestones in life are the result of hard work, I wish that the film will carry the message that nothing is possible without hard work and determination. The film should be the source of inspiration to the youth, parents of sportspersons, sports officials and the government”, said Milkha Singh.

“Today’s youth want to grab all successes in life instantly. But success always follows the hard work. We are a country of over one billion, but on the athletics field at the Olympics and other sports disciplines, we are seen nowhere. The reasons are clear that we lack determination and hard work. At the fag-end of my life, I wanted to convey the importance of these aspects in life and the the film would play important role in the direction”, he said.

However, the legendary athlete declined to reveal the cast and other details of the project, saying Mehra would announce the details tomorrow.

Mehra is known for his top-class films, including Amitabh Bachchan-starrer ‘Aks’, ‘Rang De Basanti’ and Abhishek Bachchan-starrer ‘Delhi-6’.

Indian advertising professional Prasoon Joshi, popularly known as ‘Ad-guru’, will be included as script-writer in the ambitious project.

Asked whether Milkha Singh would play a role in the film, he said it depended on the wish of the film-makers. “If they say so, I will also act in the movie”. A documentary film on the ‘Flying Sikh’ was made by the Government of India in 1970.


Milkha’s achievements

l First Indian to win gold medal in 400m (47.6 sec) at the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, Wales, UK.

l Won gold in 200m and 400m events at the Tokyo Asian Games in 1958, clocking 21.6 seconds and 47 seconds, respectively.

l Finished second in the first heat of the 400m (47.6 sec) at the Rome Olympic Games, 1960. Improved timing in the second heat (46.5 sec) and grabbed the second position. Finished second in the semi-finals with a timing of 45.9 sec. Finished fourth in the final after leading the race initially, trailing by 0.1 sec.

l Won gold at the 1958 Asian Games in 200m and 400m.

l Won gold at the 1962 Asian Games.

l Won gold at the 1958 Commonwealth Games.



Mohali does away with affidavits
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 18
The Mohali district administration today announced to do away with the cumbersome procedure of using affidavits in day-to-day official works. Instead, self-declaration by applicants along with their photo would be entertained in government offices.

The new orders come in force from April 1. This implies that the applicants would not have to wait in queues to buy the affidavits and then get them registered from authorised officials.

Now, affidavits would be required only for those works where it is mandatory as per law. To implement the decision, the administration has amended the rules that require affidavits to be submitted.

The Deputy Commissioner, Prabjot Singh Mand, today conveyed this decision to officials of the district administration.

As per directions of the state government and recommendations of the Governance Commission, the DC asked the officials to enforce the new guidelines.

The decision has been taken to streamline and minimise technical requirements and to provide more user-friendly services to the public.

It was felt that the affidavits were creating hurdles and delays in the delivery of proper service to the public.

All public-dealing offices have been intimated about the list of cases where provisions to obtain affidavit existed in the statute and cases where self-attestation has been allowed.



Posting Policy Merit least of PU’s concern
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
When it comes to “managing” the faculty or heads for its various professional courses, arbitrariness seems to be the key policy at Panjab University.

Of the several specialised courses launched in the past five years, many are either being headed or handled by faculty members who have no academic background, leave aside specialisation.

The latest name to have come under scanner is that of Anil Monga, who was earlier with the public administration department of Evening Studies College, but has now been shifted along with the post to the police administration.

Similarly, Dr Saveen and Dr Ajaib Singh, both hailing from the adult education and extension department, are coordinating the fashion designing course. The University Institute of Applied Management Studies has one of its coordinators as Pradeep Sharma from the economics department. Another glaring case is of hotel management, which is being headed and managed by Lalit Bansal of the commerce department. There are several other departments like forensic sciences which are still awaiting a director.

“Courses like the police administration are super specialised and need an apt faculty. The university is charging so much from students. The least it could do is ensure proper faculty. A faculty member can only be transferred along with his post if there is a surplus of similar posts in the parent department.

In case of Monga, rules were flouted, making students of the public administration suffer. It is shocking that these ambitious projects of the VC have transformed into “adjustment sites” to favour those who have no connection with the course, a faculty member of evening studies claimed.

The VC, RC Sobti, however, dismissed the allegations. “The UGC talks of rationalising things and that’s what is happening. Talking of the evening studies department, it does not have many students in public administration. I have sanctioned a post of professor in all such departments and things would improve for sure,” he stated.

PUTA chief Manjit Singh expressed his scepticism. “When we don’t allow any college to start a course without regular faculty, why do so in the university? We should get the faculty first and then start something rather than disrupting the core spirit of the institution with ambitious plans. As far as the alleged adjustment is concerned, it’s not justified either for students or even the faculty members as it alters a lot of aspects like seniority, etc.”


Flesh trade booming in city
Difficult to prove with evidence, admits cop
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Busting of two sex-trade rackets in the city in two days is just the tip of the iceberg of the booming illegal trade in the wake of the tardy implementation of the Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act, 1956.

The police arrested four women on Tuesday from Sector 45 after laying a trap and nabbed a woman along with three men, including her husband, said to be her agents, from Sector 22 last night.

Admitting that it was difficult to gather evidence and take the case to its logical end in such cases, a police officer said most of the cases ended in acquittal of the accused.

The police had arrested around 150 persons and had registered 13 cases till date since January, 2008, under the Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act, 1956.

Last year, only four cases were registered under this Act. This number is miniscule compared to 4,111 cases registered under various Acts for all sorts of crime during the year.

Discussing the ‘weakness’ in the law to proceed in this Act, a police officer said it was difficult to prove with evidence that the man caught was a customer and the woman a call girl.

In most of the cases, the accused girls were bailed out after paying a fine of between Rs 400 and Rs 1,000. “Just see the money involved in the trade and the fine imposed. Some of the girls caught take Rs 20,000 per night”, said the officer.

The punishment was severe for their agents. In case the charges were proved, they could be sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment. Police sources further informed that the illegal practice had been thriving in the city from parks, hotels, restaurants, guest houses and discotheques, through mobile phones and from the Internet. There are various websites providing contacts number of pimps and call girls active in ther city.

The police had busted several gangs in the past, but to no effect. “Even if a couple is found in a hotel room, it is difficult to proceed against them under the provisions of the Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act. The police generally books the hotel staff and the couple under Section 188 of the IPC if only a proper entry record is not maintained”, said a senior police officer.

“With the advent of the Internet, it is easy to strike the deal on computer sitting anywhere. One of the sections of the Act includes punishment if the deal is struck at a public place. The section has become redundant as the deals are not struck at public places”, added another officer, discussing the lacunae.

Last night, acting on a tip-off, the police arrested three pimps and a woman from Sector 22 after laying a trap. The police said a decoy customer contacted the accused after getting their mobile number from a website and struck a deal for Rs 6,000 for a call girl.

They came to the place in a car to hand over the girl when the police nabbed them. The accused wewre identified as Kamlesh Mishra and Tarun Goyal of Panchkula and Sunder Lal of New Delhi.

Sundar Lal was the husband of the call girl arrested. Apart from the provisions of the Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act, 1956, the police also slapped Section 7 of Information Technology Act, 2000, against the accused.

Claiming innocence, the 22-year-woman maintained in police custody that she had come to city on a tour with her husband and his friends.

The police produced the accused in a local court, which remanded Tarun Goyal in two-day police custody and sent the other accused to jail.



Eye TB can cause blindness
40 cases from city so far
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Contrary to the general perception that it attacks only the lungs a nd the respiratory system, tuberculosis (TB), caused by mycobacteria, can infect the eyes and cause blindness.

Eye tuberculosis may be unheard of by the common man in India, which otherwise has a very high prevalence of TB, but at least 250 patients, including a few from Poland, Thailand and Pakistan, have undergone treatment for it at the PGI.

In fact, almost 40 cases have been reported from the city itself, causing a considerable amount of concern among PGI’s ophthalmologists.

Giving details of this rare and hitherto unheard-of disease, Dr Amod Gupta, head of the PGI’s ophthalmology department, said, “If these cases are not treated properly, the patient is at risk of losing vision”. He said the disease had so far been observed in the age group of 20 to 30 years.

Saying he had first read about the disease a decade ago, when it was published in the medical journal, Acta Ophthalmologica Scandinavica (the official scientific publication of the five Nordic ophthalmological societies), Dr Gupta said he subsequently began making further observations of posterior uveitis by using polymerase chain reaction to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis in aqueous samples.

“Ophthalmologists in the West are not even willing to acknowledge that there could be tuberculosis infection in the eye, but seeing its prevalence in India, we need to focus more on it as it can lead to permanent loss of vision,” says Prof Amod Gupta.

Professor Gupta was talking to the Chandigarh Tribune on the sidelines of the celebrations of the fourth Founder’s Day of the PGI Advanced Eye Care centre today.

An eminent name in the field of ocular inflammatory diseases, he is also a member of the International Uveitis Study Group. He said it was important to improve awareness about eye tuberculosis.

Professor Gupta said a person suffering from it had no knowledge about the disease and due to delay in the absence of proper diagnostic facilities in Chandigarh’s periphery and rural areas, by the time he came to the PGI, his condition would worsen.

Though a team of PGI doctors had developed a diagnostic kit to detect eye tuberculosis at an early stage, the use of it was possible only if the patient reported in time, he explained.

Due to the lack of awareness and professional skills among general ophthalmologists, there was a delay in diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis in the eye, as a result of which there was considerable vision damage, he added.



PGI director: We have set ophthalmic care benchmark
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
The fourth Founder’s Day of the Advanced Eye Care (AEC) centre at the PGI was celebrated here today.

Inaugurating the continuous medical education programme, PGI director Prof KK Talwar said the AEC had set a benchmark in ophthalmic care in the country and was a model for efficient patient care.

Dr Lingam Gopal, senior vitreo-retinal surgeon from Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai, and president, Eye Research Foundation, delivered the fourth Founder’s Day lecture on ‘Vitreo-retinal surgery through the ages’.

Dr ND Lakhanpal memorial lecture was delivered by Dr AK Grover, chairman, Department of Ophthalmology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, on ‘Learning oculoplastic surgery’.

Dr Rachel Jose, additional director-general, Ministry of Health, New Delhi, delivered the keynote address on ‘Government’s efforts in controlling blindness in India’.

Dr Vinod Lakhanpal, director, vitreo-retinal services, Eye Consultants of Maryland, Baltimore, US, delivered a guest lecture on ‘Massive supra-choroidal haemorrhage, which was one of the devastating complications of eye surgery.

Prof MK Bhan, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, New Delhi, appreciated the work done at the AEC centre.

He emphasised the need to add a research wing to the centre, which would help in innovation and research relevant to needs of the nation.

Five employees of the centre, Jaspal Singh, Amrik Singh, Harbans Singh, Sister Kiran and Sister Teresa, were honoured on the occasion for meritorious work.

A total of 1,26,424 patients were provided tertiary care at its sub-specialty clinics. There were 8,598 major surgical operations, including suture-less cataract surgery on 3,118 patients and highly complex vitreo-retinal surgery on 1,200 patients. About 10,000 minor operations were also carried out.



CITU Conference
Govt ‘promoting’ price rise to benefit traders
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, March 18
The second-day of 13th Conference of CITU started with the paying of homage to departed stalwarts and leaders viz. Jyoti Basu, Chittabrata Majumdar, E Balanandan, Harkishen Singh Surjeet, WR Varada Rajan, Ranjit Basu and other leaders and activists of the democratic movement who died during the intervening period.

A resolution was also moved and adopted for offering homage to martyrs.

In a press conference held at Joyti Basu Nagar, Mohammed Amin presented the general secretary report detailing the analytical account of the developments in social, political and economic fronts since the 12th conference of the CITU held in January, 2007 and the response by
the working class movement and the CITU.

The report pointed out the bankruptcy to the neoliberal economic policy of the UPA government in the background of the outbreak of the global crisis and its impact on the Indian economy.

The report condemned the inaction of the government in containing the continuing rise in prices of essential commodities, making the life and livelihood of people miserable.

The report also stated that all gains of GDP growth were being looted by the employers’ class and toiling people were subjected to increasing exploitation through large-scale retrenchment, closure, wage cut, contractualisation and attack on labour rights and trade unions.

Amin denounced the hike in the price of fertilisers and petroleum by the government in the face of inflation and pointed out that such insensitive action clearly proved that the present government was nursing and promoting price rise to benefit traders and big businesses.

At least 18 delegates from different states and industries took part in the deliberation on the report.

The speakers stressed the need for intensive countrywide exposure campaign on the pro-speculator and pro-imperialist policies of the UPA government to build up a bigger struggle in the days to come for reversal of the policies.



Travelling distances to spread ideology, make money
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, March 18
He is not happy with the response to the articles he sells here but his passion for communist ideology drives him to serve the party at Joyti Basu Nagar in Zirakpur.

A Basha (67) of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, has set up a stall to sell key chains, posters, badges carrying pictures of communist leaders besides other things.

The 13th All-India Conference of India Trade Unions (CITU) started on March 17 and is scheduled to go on till March 21.

Besides him, vendors from Kerala, Delhi and various towns of Punjab have set up stalls to sell articles promoting the communist ideology.

They are offering handmade accessories like T-shirt, photos, caps, key chains, badges, emblems, stickers, posters carrying their photographs of communist veterans like Harkishan Singh Surjeet and Jyoti Basu.

Besides handmade accessories, book stalls selling translated versions of books written by Lenin and Marx at reasonable prices are a big draw at the conference.

Their aim is to highlight the activities of communist leaders like Vladimir Lenin, Karl Marx, Che Guevara.

Basha, who has been serving the party in his unique way since early 1960s, said: “I am not doing this business to earn money. My passion for the party has always prompted me to set up a stall in the conference held anywhere in the country.”

He said his family members also helped him in the business. It is his second to visit to Punjab but has not been rejoiced by the response here.

“In Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, these accessories are in great demand and youngsters prefer photos of Guevara and Lenin on accessories”, he added.

Another vendor said before selling the accessories to customers, they explained them the history behind the communist struggle.

Pritam Singh (59) who had come from Barnala said: “I started a book shop, ‘Lenin Kitab Ghar’, at Barnala when I was younger. I have more than 500 different books on Lenin and Marx in Punjabi and they are gradually becoming famous among the local youth.”

Left Word Books from Delhi and Punjab Book Store from Chandigarh are also showcasing books on communist leaders.

A bookseller said people had been coming from far-off places to the conference to give orders for the supply of books.



Grievances Darbar
Staff on deputation, contract objected to
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Appointment of deputationists and contractual employees on key posts in various wings of the municipal corporation was the prominent issue raised during the first employees’ grievances darbar, chaired by MC Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria here today.

Employees of the corporation objected to the appointment of deputationists from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh in departments, which affected their promotion chances.

Referring to the public health department, the employees brought to the notice of the Commissioner that deputationists were managing the whole department and no regular staff had been appointed on any post for a long time.

Harjinder Singh, president of the Chandigarh Subordinate Services Union, informed the Commissioner that a sub-divisional officer was transferred from the horticulture department to the public health department and a deputationist was posted to fill the post in horticulture department.

He submitted a list of the departments in which deputationists and contractual staff had been appointed by the authorities. Reacting to their demand, the Commissioner assured the MC employees that their pending cases of promotion would be take up by the authorities.

Representatives of the enforcement department also asked why a dual policy was being adopted by the MC authorities in promotions in the department.

Employees informed the Commissioner that for promotion of enforcement staff, authorities was following the Chandigarh estate office rules, whereas for the promotion of the inspector, Punjab government rules were being followed by the MC authorities.

Employees also raised the issue as to why retired persons were appointed in the corporation when regular employees were available with the authorities.

They objected to giving independent charge of any department to retired employees as a number of times, they had been exposed of demanding bribe for petty work of employees.

Employees also informed the Commissioner that most of the time, cases of retired employees of the MC were not submitted in time, which delayed availing of pension benefits by them for more than six months.

On this, the Commissioner directed officials that cases of pensioners be prepared six months before their retirement so that timely benefits could be given to them.



Corporation formation to boost growth: DC
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 18
While the appointment of Panchkula Municipal Commissioner is expected any time after the notification in this regard, the district administration has claimed that the formation of the municipal corporation will help in the fast development of the area.

Panchkula Deputy Commissioner Pankaj Yadav said while the income generation from various sources in the region was quite satisfactory, it would be supplemented with huge funds from the union government after the formation of municipal corporation.

In fact, the Panchkula municipal council had been receiving 2 per cent of the registration fee on sale deeds of properties, which came out to around Rs 20 crore annually, he said.

A reasonable portion of the amount came from the sale of properties in the rural areas as well and the income would now be available for development work in rural areas also, he added.

On demarcation of territory being merged to set up the corporation, Yadav said in addition to Kalka, Pinjore and Barwala, around 41 gram panchayats from theses blocks would be included in the corporation and for development of the area, funds could be sought from the Centre.

In addition to a commissioner, three joint commissioners are also expected to be deputed in the area to look after the development works, he said.

The decision, however, has not been welcomed by local politicians.

VK Sood, national vice-president of the BJP (Kisan Morcha) and councillor, said it was a big blow to the democratic rights of councillors elected by people.

Questioning the intention of the government, Sood said no elections were held in Gurgaon where the corporation was formed after dissolving the municipal council over two years ago.

In fact, it was a step to extend benefit to the realtors who had purchased huge properties in the area recently, he added.



Rehri Menace
Councillor moves RTI plea on tehbazari wing
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 18
Encroachment by rehriwallas, which has been a bane of the town, has forced a municipal councillor to seek information under the RTI Act from the civic body on the issue in order to move court.

Residents have alleged that the lack of a determined drive against the violators and corruption among certain municipal council employees were responsible for the menace.

The issue has been raised time and again in the general house of the council but to no avail.

The menace is increasing by the day with residents objecting to the presence of a large number of rehris in various areas, adding to the ugliness of the town. They have, at certain places, become a traffic hazard.

Councillor Kuljit Singh Bedi, a resident of Phase 3B2, said the problem could be solved if the civic body gave the work of removing illegal rehris to a private contractor.

He said the council was not taking the work seriously and even the income fixed by the council under tehbazari head was kept on the lower side, as a major portion of the amount was allegedly “pocketed” by employees.

Bedi said he had now lost his patience as complaints made in connection with the menace failed to yield any results.

As such he had sought information under the RTI Act about the functioning of the tehbazari wing so that he could move court in this regard.

He said the application was filed last week and he had asked the council to let him know the number of employees working in the tehbazari wing, details about the work allocation, the number of rehris removed during the past two years, revenue generated by imposing penalties, the area covered by vehicles used for removing rehris and the number of times the president and the executive officer of the council monitored the drive carried out in this regard.



Science Express chugs in to lukewarm response
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Efforts of the Centre to popularise science and technology in the country, especially among the youth, got a major fillip today when third phase of the mobile science exhibition train, popularly called Science Express, pulled into the Chandigarh railway station here this morning.

The sparkling white, air-conditioned, 16-coach train, with more than 300 large-format visual images and over 150 video clips and multi-media exhibits, deals extensively with cutting-edge research and technology.

The specially designed train will remain open to the public till Saturday. After a three-day halt here, it will move to Jammu and later to Patiala and Kapurthala.

The Max Planck Society from Germany had developed most of exhibits for the 12 exhibition coaches. RK Datta, station superintendent, inaugurated the exhibition.

For students, it was a ride to remember. They thoroughly enjoyed the science exhibition on board the Science Express. They were glued to the train walls, that had posters, models and other exhibits explaining various concepts of science.

It seemed that the train was a moving classroom and the science textbook had come to life. The students were enthusiastic about the exhibition despite examination fever.

“It is an interesting way to learn scientific principles. Visual images and 3-D models make complicated theories seem easy and completely different from classroom teaching,” said Pooja, a student of Yadavindra Public School, Mohali.

There is a dedicated coach on climate change. One coach showcases the glorious legacy of India, future programmes in science and technology and achievements in information technology, biotechnology, space and nanotechnology. There are film shows on innovations, topical issues, inventions and discoveries.

Exhibits on energy conservation from the Petroleum Conservation Research Association and posters on nutrition are some of the new attractions in this phase.

Another special feature is the ‘Joy of science lab’ of Vikram A Sarabhai Community Science Centre in a coach, where students can conduct hands-on experiments in physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics.

Though the exhibition is open to all, it primarily targets high school and college students. It attempts to develop scientific temper among them and encourage them to pursue careers in science. Further, it strives to take modern research out of the laboratory and reveal just how relevant science is to everyday life.

At least 1,500 persons of all age groups visited the Science Express today. .

“Germany has a lot to offer in the field of science and research. We have some of the best institutes, but there is a decrease in the number of students opting for science. Students feel that other fields, like business and engineering, are more glamorous options,” he added.

“This unique exhibition is an attempt to reach out to more people and develop an interest for science among school and college students. We want them to pursue scientific research, which has been diminishing sharply,” he said.



IT raids yield 
Rs 14.5 cr in unaccounted income
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Surveys and searches conducted in the past 24 hours on leading business houses in the city by the income tax department have unearthed unaccounted income of over Rs 14.5 crore.

While raids were conducted on Wednesday on a leading steel manufacturer, Modern Steels, in Sector 34, surveys were initiated on Kulwant Rai Gyanchand and a sister concern in Sector 26.

A senior income tax (investigation) official told The Tribune the disclosure of Rs 11 crore from Modern Steels came after daylong searches and surveys conducted at least eight premises, including commercial and residential, of the company in Chandigarh and Panchkula. While a leading businessman, owner of Vishwas Tubes in Sector 26, surrendered Rs 2 crore, a Sector 30, two scaffolding wholesalers - Kulwant Rai Gyanchand in Sector 30 and Asian Scaffolding near Kurali - surrendered Rs 50 lakh each.

The assessees made the disclosures voluntarily during the search and survey operation. The surveys were conducted under the guidance of income tax (II) commissioner Ashok K Kaushal. About 120 income tax officials and subordinate staff conducted the operations at various places, beginning the search and survey yesterday.



Magic of folk theatre captivates audience
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, March 18
Lovers of Haryanvi cultural heritage and folktales thronged the Kalagram open air theatre here much before Sheonath Tyagi and his troupe took the stage to present a glimpse of Haryanvi folk theatre through ‘Veer Bikramajit Khande Raopuri’ yesterday.

Though the drama, based on a fictional story, had no historical authenticity, it kept the crowd in rapt attention. Captivating dances by male artistes attire as women, the storyline and the gripping narration through musical renditions was a treat to watch. The week-long mega-show, jointly organised by the NZCC, Patiala, and the Department of Information, Public Relations and Cultural Affairs, attracted audiences from neighbouring towns.

At least 15 artistes, including musicians and actors, performed well to enliven the folk tale of Raja Veer Bikramjit, which had been influencing the rural folk. Actor-singer Rattan Bharti and lead singer Sharief Khan stole the limelight. Mazid Khan coordinated the programme, planned and executed by project director BS Balhara.



Nothing being done for Kalka, says MLA
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 18
The Kalka MLA, Pardeep Chaudhary, has alleged that the government has ignored the interest of the people of his constituency by not allocating special funds for the area during the budget this year.

While a majority of the areas falling in the constituency are backward and required special attention, the government had been blind to the problems of the people of the area. Basic requirements like drinking water, electricity, education and health were lacking and no progress had taken place in the area for decades, he claimed.

Chaudhary said the CM was claiming to provide 22-hour power supply to every village in the state in the near future, but at Bhoj Naggal village of Morni, people were still using earthen lamps to light their houses.

Children of Taparian village in Kalka had to tread 4 km to reach their school at Nawan Nagar while children of Jetahal village in Morni had to pass through 3 km of forest area to go to their school at Bawana, he added.



British Columbia’s first offshore school opens
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 18
After exploring countries around the world and opening offshore schools in 19 countries, British Colombia has officially arrived in the country with the opening of its first accredited offshore school.

The executive director of International Programmes, British Columbia Ministry of Education, Ed Vanderboom, while addressing a gathering at the accreditation ceremony of British Columbia Academy yesterday, its first offshore school in the country, said the purpose behind the launching of such schools was to keep children well-rooted to their native land, while providing them education as per international standards.

“We aim at holistic development of the child and our curriculum and teaching methodology has been all imported from British Colombia. Our staff, too, is trained there to ensure we don’t compromise on the benchmark of quality we have set for ourselves. We have as many as 5,000 children studying in various countries across the globe,” Vanderboom said.

The first offshore school was certified in 1997 in China.

He said certificates issued to students studying in British Columbia schools were the same, no matter in which country the child studied. 



IT Park
Farmers’ body asks nature of MHA probe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
In the light of the audit report of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on the Rs 5,000-crore IT Park, the executive committee of the Mani Majra Farmers Welfare and Environment Protection Society has demanded that the MHA clearly spell out the nature of inquiry and criminal investigation.

A gathering of farmers, landless labourers, agricultural workers and rural artisans met today. Committee president HS Johl and vice-president SS Sandhu were present.

They demanded that the role of current and former officers of the administration, who were a part of the nexus, be probed and they be removed from sensitive posts.



Raid at PU
CBI scrutinises seized records
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Following its raid at the administrative block of Panjab University yesterday, the CBI is scrutinising the records seized from there.

Acting on a complaint alleging grave financial irregularities in the process of computerisation initiated in the university in 2007, the CBI is in the process of scrutinising the related documents.

While DIG CBI, Mahesh Aggarwal claimed that they were yet to draw any conclusion, according to sources, the bureau is verifying the fact that whether payments were actually made according to the terms and conditions of the tender or the company was favoured by overpaying them.

The allegation of an intentional over purchase is also being looked into. The raid has, meanwhile, brought the entire computerisation process under scanner, as eyebrows are being raised on the fact that while in various departments, computers, LCDs and even CCTV are lying unused, many others are yet to receive the requisite numbers.

While Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti refused to comment on the issue, a source close to him said, “The entire complaint is frivolous, specially objections like 5 CCTVs out of 115 purchased are not working. Moreover, the Vice-Chancellor cannot look into everything and this is the sole responsibility of the purchase committee.”

It may be noted that in a three-hour long raid conducted yesterday, the CBI had visited the administration block, CCTV control room and department of computer sciences and seized some records for the verification of the complaint.



Get-together by Kashmiri Pandits

Panchkula, March 18
The Kashmiri Pandit Sabha organised a get-together of women to mark the “Jang Triya” in Sector 20 here today.

A large number of members of the community along with their families participated in the event. Sabha president KK Kaul said such gatherings were held to create awareness among children about the cultural traditions of Kashmiri Hindus, who had been forced to live outside their homeland for decades. — TNS



PU push for undergraduates’ research
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Panjab University budget for the year 2010-2011 aims to mobilising faculty members and students to produce more of quality research.

A total of Rs 284 crore has been sanctioned for the next financial year where Rs 109 crore has been identified as revenue from various university sources, while Rs 175 crore is yet to be managed from the external grants.

The budget though has not announced any major project, for the first time, Panjab University will grant Rs 10 lakh for the research by the undergraduate students. The university has also announced seed money of Rs 20,000 for the faculty members pursuing research in science stream and Rs 10,000 for those pursuing it in social sciences.

“We aim to transform the university into a premier institute of research so we have decided to usher the students into it from the undergraduate level only,” said Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti.

According to sources, it is the deficit of Rs 175 crore that is barring the university from taking up any major project, as around 80 per cent of it will go to salaries and benefits of the faculty members and other employees. The Vice-Chancellor, however, claims there is nothing to worry as he elaborates on the budget saying, “Out of Rs 175 crore we are already getting a grant of Rs 48 crore. Though there will be a deficit of over Rs 75 crore, we will manage it. We have planned to invest Rs 33 crore in the revamping of the overall infrastructure of the university.”

It may be noted that the university has decided to go in for a complete makeover by repainting all buildings, reconstructing campus roads and renovating employees housing colonies and faculty residences. An amount of Rs 5 lakh will be given to each hostel for boosting its infrastructure. 



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