Sunday, July 23, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


NC can withdraw support from NDA, warns Handoo
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 22 — The National Conference will withdraw support from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) if the BJP began implementing its own manifesto, said Mr P.L. Handoo, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, while speaking to the media here.

Earlier, while speaking at a two-day seminar on ''Autonomy resolution as presented by the J&K Assembly'', organised by the Rashtriya Raksha Dal here today, he said the restoration of the pre-1953 status to Jammu and Kashmir was the only way to restore peace in the valley. The National Conference would continue its struggle to achieve it.

He said the autonomy issue was not only important for the state, but also for the whole country. The Central Government had already eroded the special powers provided to the state under Article 370, resulting in terrorism in the state.

He wished the Centre would accept the proposal presented by the state assembly with no amendment. "If the state is granted full autonomy, there will be no terrorism as the people of the valley will be a satisfied lot. Terrorism is an outcome of a feeling of deprivation," he added.

The National Congress is meeting various regional and national parties to seek their support on the issue, he said. He added that the constituents of the NDA, like the TDP and DMK, showed a positive response to the issue and the Samajwadi Party, CPI and CPI(M) also favoured it.

He said the NC was looking forward to another invitation from the Centre to take part in a second round of dialogue on the issue.

Mr Satya Pal Jain, former local MP, voiced his opinion against the grant of autonomy to the state. He said, "It is against the nation's interest to give such autonomy to the state. If autonomy is allowed in the shape suggested by the J& K Assembly, it cannot lead to peace."

He further said if J&K was granted autonomy, many other states would come up with the same demand.

Mr Sukhjinder Singh, former Education Minister of Punjab, said the country was in the grip of communal frenzy and autonomy was no solution for it. He stressed the need for more powers to the states.

Mr Gurtej Singh, a scholar on Sikhism, traced the history of federalism in India since 1868. He said provincial autonomy was the most important part of the making of the Constitution of India. He was of the view that the integrity of the nation could only be assured by providing autonomy to its people.

Earlier, Col Harsharan Singh, President, Rashtriya Raksha Dal, and Lieut-Gen K.S. Gill, PVSM, (retd) also addressed the audience.



“Oxytocin not a health hazard”
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 22 — The peptide hormone oxytocin, used in the dairy industry for milk let down does not cause health hazards, either in the cattle or the human beings. Dr K.B. Mathur, a former scientist in the Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow, said this while speaking at a press conference here today.

Dr Mathur has been associated with the planning and execution of various research and development programmes of the C.D.R.L.

“My aim is to dispel confusion and misconceptions about this highly misunderstood hormone from the minds of the general public,” said Dr Mathur. “Having worked for 30 years on design and development of peptides as drugs in the C.D.R.L., it is my moral responsibility to present correct picture about oxytocin.”

According to Dr Mathur, despite fervoured propaganda by the animal activists that use of oxytocin is cruelty to animals is absolutely baseless.” Oxytocin is a naturally occurring hormone which is secreted endogenously in all mammals for induction and maintenance of labour besides initiation of milk let down.”

He said that synthetic oxytocin is a commonly used medicine in humans as well as animals. This includes inducing rhythmic contractions of uterus, augment uterine contractions, prevent bleeding or hemorrhage after childbirth and induction of therapeutic abortion. It is also used for promoting milk ejection in lactating women who experience difficulty in breast feeding.

According to Dr Mathur, contrary to popular beliefs it does not increase the production of milk. In fact, the hormone as a drug is used universally in the live stock industry to increase let down of milk besides expulsion of retained placenta after delivery.

He said in a country like India, where animals are often beaten up and are not fed properly, the drug acts as a stimulant for the milk let down. “ On the contrary, it helps in releasing pressure that builds up in the udder due to accumulation of milk. Of course, anything in excess does have a side-effect but here the concern is the drug, but not its misuse. The fact is that used in appropriate doses, it is neither hazardous to health nor does it change the composition of the milk.”

Dr Mathur said another popular misconception was that the hormone seeps into the milk thereby causing harm to the consumer.” The fact is that oxytocin produces the desired effect within minutes and gets rapidly metabolised, leading to inactive products. No scientific study has ever shown that the hormone is secreted along with the milk.”

According to Dr Mathur, even if the hormone gets secreted along with milk, the composition is such that it doesn’t survive the room temperature. “Firstly, it is highly unstable at room temperature. Any traces of oxytocin would be inactivated simply on storage and boiling. Secondly, it cannot escape the digestive system of the person who consumes it.”

Moreover, if the hormone is taken orally along with milk it gets digested like all the other proteins and peptides due to action of gut enzymes and gastric acids. Therefore it cannot reach the blood.

He said regular but judicious use of oxytocin would neither pose danger to our cattle wealth nor to the health of the milk consumer. “ I am thankful to the wisdom of the Drug Technical Advisory Board for not banning an indispensable and a life saving drug like oxytocin.”

Mr P.S. Chatwal, Managing Director of the Torque Pharmaceuticals Private Ltd, said oxytocin was a highly potent and valuable drug which can be applied advantageously in both humans as well as veterinary medicine.


Pathak takes over as PU V-C
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 22 — Prof Kare Narain Pathak took over as the Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University today. He replaces Prof. M.M. Puri who retires after a term of three years as the VC, Panjab University.

The outgoing VC, Professor Puri welcomed the new VC. He expressed relief at his retirement.

Professor Pathak, born in July 1941, is a product of IIT, Kanpur. He majored in science from Allahabad University in 1962. Professor Pathak has been a scholarship holder all through his student days and has taught in Europe and the USA for more than 10 years.

Professor Pathak was invited from the North Western University, Evaston, Illinois, USA, to join Panjab University’s Physics Department as Reader in 1977. Professor Pathak has many awards and distinctions to his credit including the prestigious Meghand Saha Award.

Professor Pathak has been the Dean University Instruction, Head of the Physics Department and Dean of the Science Faculty.

The new VC talking to TNS later stated that he is open to new ideas and has a big responsibility on his shoulders. He thanked the teaching and non-teaching staff of the university for their wishes and requested them to cooperate in the development work of the university.



Vehicles speed past cops in absence of radars
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, July 22 — In a case of putting the cart before the horse, the sign boards proclaiming the speed limits have been put on the roads in the sub-divisional headquarters without the means to check overspeeding. The traffic wing of the Ropar Police does not have a single radar to check the overspeeding vehicles.

The cops watch helplessly as rash drivers speed past them, making a mockery of the exercise of enforcing the guidelines of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. At times, the traffic cops can been seen explaining the drivers to keep within the speed limits.

"We cannot enforce the speed limits without the radars. On the other hand, the well-equipped traffic police of Chandigarh has five radars and an additional order of 10 radars had been placed. We should have at least two radars to enforce the speed limits", said a cop.

A senior police official said on the pattern of Chandigarh Police, the local police should be authorised to penalise an offender on the spot instead of sending the traffic challan to Kharar court. The on-the-spot challaning would provide funds to the police to equip the traffic wing with better latest gadgets.

The local administration, as part of its plan to tighten the noose around the traffic violations in the town, had fixed the speed limits depending on the volume of vehicular traffic being handled by the respective road. The speed limit on all major roads in front of the markets — which witness heavy traffic during the evening hours — for heavy vehicles and light vehicles has been fixed at 30 kmph and 40 kmph, respectively. Similarly, for the roads in front of the markets witnessing less traffic, the speed limits for heavy and light vehicles has been fixed at 40 kmph and 45 kmph, respectively.

On all dual carriageways, the speed limits for heavy vehicles is 45 kmph and for light vehicles, 55 kmph. However, for the dual carriageway running from the Phase 7-Phase 8 traffic lights to the Kumbra traffic light (adjoining Sector 70), the speed limit for heavy and light vehicles has been fixed at 55 kmph and 65 kmph, respectively.

Further, several zones have been demarcated in which no overtaking of vehicles would be allowed during a specified time period. Sources said the demarcated no-overtaking zones are the Phase 1 octroi post to Franco hotel; Phase 7 traffic light to Phases 3 and 5 traffic lights; Phase 6 traffic lights to MOI factory in Industrial area; Phase 6 barrier to Balongi chowk and from Phase 7 and 8 traffic lights to Phase 9 and 10 traffic lights (near Punjab School Education Board complex). The ban in specified no-overtaking zones will remain enforced from 8.30 a.m to 10 a.m and from 4.30 p.m to 6 p.m.

But the enforcement of no-overtaking zones and other traffic rules has become a problem due to inadequate staff with the traffic wing. The strength of the traffic wing has been reduced from 24 to 17.


Parents of medical aspirants move SC
'Stop admissions on CBSE test basis'
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 22 — Parents associated with the Medical Entrance Problems Redressal Forum (MEPRF) have petitioned the Supreme Court to stop the Central Board of Secondary Education from holding the counselling schedule to be held on August 2 for admissions to pre-medical and pre-dental courses on the basis of the "controversial" result of the entrance exam declared by the CBSE.

According to the General Secretary of the MEPRF, Mr P.K. Bansal, at one of the centres, there were reports of unfair means causing the leakage of paper. And instead of cancelling that centre, re-examination was allowed which is against the rules.

Mr Bansal also stated that at some centres in Lucknow, Jaipur and Calcutta, the board could not provide question papers in Hindi and the students who had applied for the Hindi medium were supplied with papers in English. After 27 days, the students were allowed re-examination and the same set of question papers in Hindi was supplied to them. Hence, the students already knew the question papers.

It was also mentioned in the petition that at a centre in Patna, students reportedly snatched papers from the authorities and those who indulged in this kind of misbehaviour, were allowed to take the re-examination. Instead of penalising the students, the board gave them another opportunity.

The petition further said that the board stipulates that "for those who are unable to appear in the examination already scheduled, re-examination shall not be held by the board under any circumstances." But, re-examination was held at various centres.

The board conducted the examinations on May 14 and June 11, and declared the results of the two examinations the same day.

The forum requested the court to intervene in the matter in the interest of the deserving candidates.


Teej joys greet Rock Garden visitors
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 22 — It was a perfect day for Teej celebrations in Rock Garden here today. A slightly overcast sky breaking into an occasional shower and persons in Punjabi attire on swings comprised the backdrop of the celebrations.

Punjabi geet, giddha, banjara ballet and bhangra were a pleasant surprise for visitors to Rock Garden today. The evening began with some Punjabi folk songs by Gurmeet Bawa, Baljeet Kaur Mohali, Rashpal Raseela, Mohini Raseela and Beeba Harneet.

Dances by Lucky Dharo, Tanya Gill and Saloni Tiwari added colour to the evening. A giddha performance by students of Sant Issar Singh Public School, SAS Nagar, was the highlight of the function. The function was a glimpse of the colourful life in a typical Punjabi village.

The cultural programme was organised by the Baba Sheikh Farid Blood Donors Council, SAS Nagar, in association with the North Zone Cultural Centre of Patiala.

The chief guest, Mr Swarna Ram, Punjab Minister for Cultural Affairs, appreciated the efforts of the council and the centre. He said such cultural programmes should be organised more often as these kept us in touch with our culture," he said.

Ms Jaswant Kaur, President of the council, said the programme was an effort to keep the traditions and culture of Punjab alive. "Earlier, village women used to eagerly await the festival. As we are progressively becoming westernised, we seem to be forgetting our culture."

The council organised 16 blood donation camps on the occasion, according to its Press Secretary, Mr Balwant Singh. "With the help of such cultural programmes, the council also wants to promote blood donation," he said.Back


Should driving licence age be lowered to 16 ?

Kunal Aggarwal (18): The driving licence age should not be lowered to 16. It could be made mandatory that a driving licence will be issued to a person who has a voter’s identity card. This will also be an inducement to cast one’s vote and participate in the democratic process. Fear of the law should be put in the minds of adoloscents in the 16-18 age group who are found driving motor vehicles recklessly, sometimes carrying licences obtained through underhand means, sometimes even without a licence. Many of them belong to influential families. If the law governing driving is not enforced strictly, a minor who cannot be charged by a court is likely to go on defying the law and drive around freely.

Ginni Batta, BA I student: In the modern scientific age, the 16-plus group can surely be trusted with driving a vehicle. There have been occasions when a 16-year-old has looked after an entire family if maturity is what you are looking for before issuing a driving licence. Nowadays, a student at 16 has to come to grips with a vast amount of study material. His mental faculties can, therefore, be trusted to be sharp enough to be able to handle a vehicle. We should also not ignore the fact that in this competitive age, time is a precious commodity.

Ritika Bajaj, plus one student: Our dependence on our parents should be reduced. In the western countries, small children, along with pursuing their studies, also earn money and are much more independent than the children in India. We too should get a chance to be more independent and not depend on our parents for attending tuitions or for going to school or to college. One does not necessarily become responsible only at 18. Even children in the third standard are taught the traffic rules. By 16, one is very much aware of all the rules. Not issuing licences to this age group has only promoted corrupt practices to the detriment of society and the nation. Therefore, I suggest that the driving licence age should be lowered to 16.

Shivank, class X student: My father who agrees that I drive better than him still insists that I am not mature enough to get a licence. You may indulge in speeding in competition with someone your age and hurt yourself, he says. He does not realise that my life is precious to me too. Eveyday I move about on a bicycle. Why even trust me with a bicycle then? What guarantee is there that I will not drive fast after I am 18? My friends drive vehicles either without licence or by obtaining one through corrupt means sometimes with the consent of their parents. Laws should be amended according to the changing needs of the day.

Anupam Mahajan (16), plus two student: It is difficult to accomplish all one’s tasks these days without a vehicle. If a survey is done, it will reveal that 90 per cent of the youngsters in the 16-18 age group drive scooters, motorbikes and even cars. If a driving licence is isuued to me by the authorities, I will not have to break the law and will be legally entitled to drive. We should follow the western pattern and lower the driving licence age to 16.

Lokesh Jain (18): I strongly feel that the driving licence age should be lowered to 16. Even a youngster these days shoulders many responsibilities. He needs to be mobile to fulfil these responsibilities and attend to various tasks, including going to tuitions etc. He could be issued a licence on the basis of a driving test. This will also discourage those who pay bribes to get a licence.

Gagan Preet Kaur (18), BA I student: When I was 16, studying in the 10th standard, I could handle geared vehicles, but much to my inconvenience the law would not permit me to drive. I believe that those who are able to pass the written, practical and physical tests and are fully aware of traffic rules and other regulations should be issued a licence. The driving licence age, therfore, should not be lowered in every case.

Reshab Bansal, student: A look at the statistics will show that not only in Chandigarh but also in other cities the number of youngsters between the age of 16 and 18 having valid licences is considerable. Many of them have managed to procure licences by declaring a higher age. By lowering the driving licence age, we would only be eliminating these corrupt practices. We should have no hesitation in adopting the pattern prevalent in the western countries in this respect. Efforts should be made to educate the youth so that by the time they are 16 they are fully aware of the traffic rules. Traffic education programmes should be made compulsory in the 10th standard and a written examination in this subject should be held by various boards. Practical tests before issuing a driving licence should be made more stringent.

Anubhav Jain (16), plus one student: I support the motion that the driving licence age should be lowered to 16. In the modern era when independence has come to be increasingly valued in all spheres, youngsters too would like to cast aside old moulds. They have many tasks to perform nowadays and it would restrict their freedom and tax their energies if they are not allowed to drive at least a two-wheeler. Even their studies would be affected if their mobility is restricted as most of them have to cover long distances to attend tuition and coaching classes. The second aspect to be considered is the question of safety. Today’s teenagers are sharp and show signs of early maturity. They are well aware of the traffic rules and regulations. If licences are issued to the 16-plus group legally, it will also eliminate the thriving malpractices in procuring licences through underhand means. The youngsters’ horizons would be widened. We should waste no time in lowering the driving licence age to 16.

Ajit Pal Singh (student of class XII): We would really be obliged if the minimum age for issuing a driving licence be lowered to 16 years because driving mainly depends on one’s skill and efficiency and doesn’t have much to do with age.

I myself, experienced the torture of riding a bicycle for at least 3 hours a day, to attend tuitions in class XI. But now I enjoy the privilege of driving a scooter despite my age which is still under 18 years, as I have a fake licence. After all what can I do?

But the problem can’t be solved if everyone owns a fake licence. This only adds to corruption, so why not issue legal licences at the age of 16 where the student are benefitted and can drive legally?Back


Two held with whisky
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 22 — The police has arrested two persons and seized 115 pouches of whisky.

According to police sources, Surjit Singh, a resident of Sector 52, was arrested from near the Sector 52 crossing and 60 pouches of liquor was seized from his possession. Similarly, Phool Chand, a resident of colony number 5, was nabbed from near the Sector 51\52 crossing and 55 pouches of whisky were seized from him. Cases under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act have been registered against them.

Van stolen: Mr Sanjeev Jain, a resident of Sector 18, reported that someone had stolen his van from a parking lot in Sector 17. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.


Suicide cases: At least two cases of suicide have been reported in the town in the past two days. Roshan Lal, a resident of Phase XI allegedly committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance. The police has initiated proceedings under Section 174 of the Cr PC.

In another case, Mandeep, a Class XI student of Phase IX, died of poisoning.

Minor fire: A minor fire broke out in a fast-food joint in Phase 3B2 here this evening. Fire engines were requisitioned from the local fire station.Back



Strike by Punwire staff continues
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, July 22 — The hunger strike by employees of the Punjab Wireless Systems Limited (Punwire) under the banner of Punjab State Cooperative Board Employees Maha Sangh in support of their demands entered its 31st day today. Addressing workers on the occasion, the union leaders said the state government had closed its eyes to the suffering of the employees who had virtually come on the road.

The union leaders said a joint meeting of representatives of different trade unions would be held at Udhyog Bhawan in Sector 17, Chandigarh yesterday. Meanwhile, the hunger strike by Punwire Employees Coordination Committee entered its 34th day.


Mann inaugurates Net surfing centre
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, July 22 — People who do not have knowledge of the Internet or computers are almost illiterate. This was stated by Harbhajan Mann, a Punjabi singer, while talking to mediapersons after inaugurating Cyber World, an Internet surfing centre, in Phase VII here today.

He said the computer had become an important part of life and it had made the world one. Knowledge of information technology was a must. He said his latest album Lala, Lala, Lala owed a lot to this technology.

Asked to comment on Baba Sehgal’s statement that Mann could only sing Punjabi pop songs but not rap, he said he wanted to be known only as a Punjabi singer.

People knew him as a Punjabi singer and that was what he wanted to be. He was not interested in rap, he claimed.

The artiste said after Gurdas Mann, he was the only Punjabi singer to give a solo performance in England. Asked why he switched over to Punjabi pop music, he said one had to move with the times, otherwise one would be left behind. 


AGM of CSI today
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 22 — The Annual General Meeting of the Computer Society of India, Chandigarh Chapter, will be held at IETE Building, Sector 30, on July 23, 2000 at 7.30 p.m.

Dr R.P. Bajpai, Director, CSIO, Chandigarh, will preside over the event. Mr S.K. Bijlani, President Magnus Engineers, the chief guest on the occasion, will deliver a lecture on Role of intelligent property rights in information technology. Along with the presentation of the annual report, the new Executive Committee for 2000-2001 will be announced.

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