Saturday, February 10, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Kar sevaks lay cattle track
By Nishikant Dwivedi

SISWAN (Kharar), Feb 9 — Tired of waiting endlessly for the government to build a new link road across the states of Punjab and Haryana to Himachal Pradesh, about 20,000 people inhabiting over 20 villages along the boundaries of three states have taken it upon themselves to lay a cattle track.

The Tribune lensman Manoj Mahajan captured karsevaks from villages of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Chandigarh engaged in laying a cattle track between Siswan and Baddi, near Siswan, Kharar, on Friday.
The Tribune lensman Manoj Mahajan captured kar sevaks from villages of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Chandigarh engaged in laying a cattle track between Siswan and Baddi, near Siswan, Kharar, on Friday

The villagers are building an eight -km cattle track through the foothills of the Shivalik range near here which will reduce the distance between Siswan in Punjab and Baddi in Himachal Pradesh by 40 km.

The track will meet at Kauna on Pinjore-Nallagarh road. ‘‘We villagers can walk this distance on foot and on the Nallagarh road we can board a bus for Baddi’’, claimed Dewan Singh, sarpanch of Mullanpur-Garibdas. This will save them about Rs 70 to 80 on bus fare.

Presently the residents of the area have to cover about 60 km via Chandigarh — Pinjore (Haryana) to reach Baddi. Hundreds of people from the area go to Baddi and Barotiwala to earn livelihood everyday. And of course, hundreds of them have relations in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

Enthusiasm is writ large on their faces as men, women and children from villages spread in the three states and one UT, unaware of the political divisions, are cutting their way step by step towards their destination. They have been working for the past 15 days. As many as 300 to 500 villagers do karseva every day, claim the kar sevaks. They are hopeful of completing the job by March end.

They want a ‘‘metalled road,’’ but ‘‘it is not possible without the government help’’. So they decided to construct at least a track through the hills.

They know the work is not easy. The terrain is difficult. They will need to build at least six small causeways on the hills and one bridge at least 25-feet long. But their sheer commitment shows that they would succeed in their mission.

Earlier their was a road link from here to Pinjore-Nallagarh road. But after the construction of the Siswan dam, the road was closed and the residents were left with no option, but to use the route via Chandigarh.

According to a geologist at the Panjab University, Chandigarh: The hills are deposits of sand and clay. This is the reason, the villagers are so easily cutting the hills. The kar sevaks also fear that a heavy rain might erode away the track they are constructing. It is learnt that over 20 village panchayats of the area have decided to urge the Punjab Government to intervene and help to build a metallic road.


Passing of failed candidates generates heat
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 9 — Questions raised over ‘promotion of candidates who had failed and attended much below required classes’ in the Department of Biotechnology of Panjab University remain unanswered.

The number of lectures delivered in the case was quoted as only five out of the required sixty lectures. The Senate was told by the official sources that information about the number of lectures delivered during the session would be provided later.

The issue generated heated discussions following comments of Principal H.R. Gandhar showing procedural fault in the last Senate meeting. The students were shown as passed in the first division. The proceeding, however, confirm that “Principal Bahia had said that his question had not been answered. The students were admitted under the annual system, but the regulations placed before the Vice-Chancellor were for the semester system”.

Principal Bahia asked for details of how many marks had been allotted to the paper of ‘Recombinant DNA technology’? and, how many lectures were to be delivered to cover the syllabus? The reply said that the regulation read as ‘there will be no grace marks. The paper needed 60 lectures.

Papers confirm that the chairman of the Department of Biotechnology was requested to give the requisite information regarding lectures delivered. He said that record of lectures delivered was available with the ‘teachers concerned and they were not available at the time’.

Raising a supplementary question Principal Bahia said “the reply to his question concealed more than it revealed. The question related to MSc II (annual examination), but the regulation quoted in the reply dealt with MSc (semester system) where there was no provision for grace marks.

Sources confirmed that “to his knowledge only five lectures were delivered in the paper under dispute against the requirement of 60 lectures. He wondered how the course was covered and the examination held. As per his knowledge students were expected to attend at least 66 per cent of the lectures to qualify for the examination.

Prof Charanjit Chawla said that the issue had been raised in the Syndicate also, where it was pointed out that only five lectures were delivered in the paper. He urged that all factors which led to students’ failure should be looked into. The concerned students had scored more than 70 per cent in other subjects, while they failed in the one under question.

Principal Gandhar said the matter smacked of ‘malafide intention’. Instead of being shown passed in May, students were shown passed in October. The examination system also was not adhered to.

Prof P.P. Arya, a senior fellow, said that Department of Biotechnology was one of the best departments on the campus. Out of 12 students as many as nine had qualified NET. Teachers from IMTECH might not have covered the syllabus. Aspersions should not be cast, however, an enquiry should be ordered into the matter.

Prof M.R. Aggarwal said that full information should be supplied to the house before debate. Dr S.P. Gautam supported Dr Arya’s views.

Prof K.N. Pathak, VC, said that he had gone through the relevant regulations. The matter was discussed in an advisory committee meeting. The regulation did not provide for grace marks. It was suggested that a chance to re-appear be given. So far as the question of declaration of result was concerned there was no provision for declaring the result in June for the paper held in October.

Principal Bahia said his question remained unanswered. The students were admitted under the annual system. The major point for debate was how many lectures were delivered?

The VC said the points of Principal Bahia would be looked into.


Relief for quake-hit continues to pour in
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 9 — Responding to the appeal of Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (Retd), people continued to contribute to the Red Cross Earthquake Relief Fund — Gujarat.

Today SD Public School contributed Rs 2.51 lakh and the Chandigarh Tent Dealers gave a cheque for Rs 62,000. Villagers of Kajheri contributed Rs 21,000 and employees of Semi Conductor Complex Limited gave a cheque for Rs 19,000. Students of IS Dev Samaj Girls Senior Secondary School contributed Rs 30,000 and residents of Labour Colony, Sector 38, collected Rs 3,000. Chandigarh Scooter Rickshaw Union contributed Rs 21,000 and SS Jain Sabha gave a cheque for Rs 15,000. Atma Nand Jain Sabha and Bhagwan Adi Nath Jain Mandi gave cheques for Rs 11,000 each. Dev Darshan Enterprises gave a cheque for Rs 10,000 Ind Swift Limited gave a cheque for Rs 5000.

The employees of Punjab Public Health Department head office, Patiala, contributed one day’s salary, amounting to Rs 90,475. The House Owners Welfare Association, Sector 21, donated Rs 32,000.

The timings the Red Cross Relief Fund — Gujarat collection centre were changed. The centre, which was functioning from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., would now function from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

General Jacob today expressed happiness that children from various schools of Punjab had excelled in the All-India First-Aid and Home Nursing Competition, recently held in Jamshedpur.

Website on earthquake

The has developed a website, gujarat, on the earthquake. The money generated from the site will be donated for the quake victims. The site has exclusive features,including update of news on the quake, links, important information and helpline numbers, message board area, list of voluntary donors and voting system, to ascertain public view on government’s ability to cope with the disaster.


Firing case: Karnal cops visit Mohali
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Feb 9 — After the registration of a case by the local police in connection with the firing incident in Sector 70 on Tuesday, a party of the Karnal police today visited the Phase 8 police station but left without giving any definite clues about the whereabouts of Bhupinder Singh, who was picked up for being allegedly involved in the murder of a Delhi-based visa agent. The whereabouts of the another accused in the murder case, Satbir, was still not known.

Sources in the Police Department said though no case had been registered against the Karnal cops due to the absence of any complaint from the “victim”, Bhupinder. The sources confirmed that Bhupinder was picked up by the Karnal police but was he still in their custody was not known. “ If the suspect, Bhupinder, denied being kidnapped the entire case goes weak”, said an official.


PU clash: four arrested
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Feb 9 — The local police today claimed to have arrested four youths who were allegedly involved in hooliganism on the Panjab University campus on February 7 night. Sources in the Police Department said more arrests were expected soon. Mr Saroop Singh Sharma, who was assaulted, has identified the four.

Giving details of the arrests, Mr H.G.S. Dhaliwal, ASP (Central), said the arrested persons had been identified as Savinder Singh, a resident of Khanna, Tejpreet Singh, a resident of Rajpura, Anoop Singh and Kanwar Preet Singh, both residents of Nawanshahr.

According to the sources, Savinder was a B A II student of Government College for Men, Sector 11, and Anoop was a sophomorre at S GG S College for Men, Sector 26.

It may be recalled that nearly 12 youths in two cars had caused damage to the A C Joshi Library situated on the campus and assaulted a student of the Department of Laws.


Neem best to control pests
By Sarbjit Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 9 — Neem, the shadowy tree one finds standing in every nook and corner of the country, is not an ordinary creation of mother nature. It is green gold worth worshipping just because of its medicinal, bacterial and several other values.

At Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration (MGSIPA) complex here scientists, experts, environmentalists, who have gathered from various parts of the country and abroad, held an enchanting and illuminating discussion on the neem. They are here to participate in the three-day conference on “Biopesticides: Emerging Trends” organised by the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology in collaboration with Society of Biopesticide Sciences and Indian Ecological Society.

Dr B.N. Vyas, General Manager, Research and Technical Development, Godrej Agrovet Limited, in a chat with this correspondent said neem had emerged as a promising alternative material for pest control. Formulations ( bio-pesticides) prepared from neem have showed satisfactory results against at least 300 pests which attack various crops in the country.

“Of course neem is not the answer to tackle all pests but the same is true in the case of other biopesticides. There is no single formulation which could control all pests”, Dr Vyas asserted. The case of neem formulations emerges stronger when compared to the adverse effects of chemical-based pesticides. Neem formulations are environmental friendly and also save farmer-friendly insects.

As neem is available in plenty in the country, there is no problem of raw material. Most formulations are prepared from neem seed called “namoli” in local parlance.

But because of reluctance on the part of industry and lack of back-up from the government, there is lukewarm response to neem-based formulations, especially bio-pesticides. The government should launch an extension work on a massive scale to educate the people, especially farmers, about the properties of neem. It should also enforce laws for the standardisation of neem products. “ Already a lot of sub-standard and spurious neem products have flooded the market”’, Dr Vyas said. As such products will fail to satisfy consumers, they will not develop faith in these products which will ultimately hit the whole market of neem-based products.

Tribals, who collect neem seeds, are being exploited by middlemen. They are given Re 1 per kg while middlemen charge Rs 4 to 5 per kg from bulk buyers. All this must be stopped. As per an estimate 20 million neem trees are available in the country and 50 per cent of these are in Uttar Pradesh.

Meanwhile, Dr Jurgen Bischoff, Director of Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology ( United Nations), New Delhi, told TNS that the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides was very dangerous. Unfortunately, such fertilisers and even pesticides were given on subsidy in this country . Indian farmers should turn to bio-technology to produce various foodgrains. It is true that bio-tech based crops had developed a very poor image in the developed countries but India should have its own way to use bio- safeguards while ushering in the bio-tech cropping system. Along with food security, enviornmental safety is also important.

Dr Opender Koul, Director, Insect Biopesticide Research Centre, said that there was need of extension work among the farming community to make them aware about the uses of bio-pest control. He said to provide them bio-pest control material, centres should be opened at various places in the state. Some other states like Karnataka have such centres. There should be demonstration plots for farmers where application of bio-pest control agents should be shown to farmers. Steadily people would develop faith in such systems and stop using chemical-based pesticides.

Earlier, speaking at a plenary session chaired by Dr Gary W Elzen, Senior Scientist at USDA, USA, Dr Itamer Glazer, Director, Entamopathological Laboratory of Agricultural Research Organisation, Israel and Dr S.P.Singh, Director Project Directorate of Biological Control, Bangalore, highlighted the strategies for commercial exploitation of predators and parasitoids as bio-pest control agents. Dr K. Naryananan and Dr Jitender Kumar of the Indian Agriculture Research Institute also spoke. At another session on “ predators, parasitoids and namitodes” Dr M.A. Khan, Senior Scientist at GB Pant University, highlighted the integrated pest management approaches being followed in the different parts of the country.


MC finance panel meeting inconclusive
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 9 — The special Finance and Contract Committee meeting called to discuss the proposed budget for 2001-2002 remained inconclusive on account of the Mayor not being clear about the size of the budget. The meeting was adjourned and the issues would now come up for discussion on February 13.

Members alleged that the Mayor, Mr Raj Kumar Goyal, was not able to handle the budget proposed and approved by him. They pointed out that the budget was full of contradictions. Though he was non-committal on the issue of imposition on property tax, the budget had provision of tax on commercial property, which would generate a revenue of Rs 15 crore this year.

Sources revealed that the Mayor wanted to get the same passed without taking any responsibility of the same on himself. Mr O.P. Goyal and Ms Ranjana Shahi asked him to clarify his stand on the issue. Mr Goyal said unless the size of the budget was clearly specified, discussions on the same were bound to be futile.

Ms Shahi pointed out that the proposed figures in the budget appeared to be notional and the development works in the city would be adversely affected. The budget also proposed no reduction in water tariff, though the Mayor had promised to reduce the same.

The Mayor, when contacted, reiterated that the property tax would not be imposed. The same was not passed by the House last year, though it was a part of the proposed budget.


Electricity bill of Rs 2.5 lakh!
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 9 — Girls of Laxmi Bai hostel in Panjab University have received an electricity bill of approximately Rs 2.5 lakh, much to their surprise.

Ms Manju Jaidka, the warden, addressing a press conference, said the bills had shown sizeable increase in the recent past. The bill in December, totalling Rs 95,000, came as a surprise. She said residents were warned and regular checks were carried out, which were unpopular among students.

A few days back, while the warden was out of the hostel, a team of the electricity department visited the hostel. “Before they left, my assistant was told that the meter was burnt. The hostel had pending arrears and the meter was slow running. The bill, which followed the incident, totalled Rs 2.50 lakh,” she added.

Ms Jaidka said the hostel had no prior information about arrears or any other faults. She added that a similar problem had been reported from another hostel. A reply was being filed to the electricity department.


Residents’ body plea to housing board
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 9 — The CHB Residents Federation has demanded that the conversion of ownership of the flats in favour of the general power of attorney (GPA) holders should be done on the PUDA pattern.

Addressing a press conference, office-bearers of the federation demanded that the conversion should be allowed after charging a certain percentage of the original price and not at the 1996 rates fixed by the Chandigarh Administration.

They feared that the clause on giving an affidavit about removing the violations in flats would hinder the implementation of the new policy and this clause should be dropped.

If the clause on removal of violations was insisted upon, nobody will be able to make use of the GPA and the CHB will continue to lose revenue, they added.


Members seek fair allotment of flats
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 9 — Certain members of the Amrita Sher-Gill Cooperative House Building Society in Sector 48-A have demanded a proper draw of lots for the allotment of flats to the members under the supervision of the Registrar of Cooperative Societies (RCS).

In a representation to the RCS, 23 members of the society demanded the cancellation of the agenda regarding action to be taken against the defaulter members at the general body meeting on February 12. Instead they demanded the finalisation of the accounts of the society. They also demanded finalisation of matters pertaining to the construction of flats.

They demanded the finalisation of the list of members indicating their recent addresses for correspondence, amount called from them, amount paid by them and outstanding amount and the circulation of the same among the members for taking a decision regarding the defaulting members.


Jeweller duped of three gold sets
From Tribune Reporters

SAS NAGAR, Feb 9 — The gang of thugs behind several cases of cheating of jewellers in Chandigarh seems to have shifted their area of operation to this town. A Phase 7 jeweller was divested of three gold jewellery sets on last Wednesday by two clean-shaven “smart thugs” who posed as customers. Before the jeweller, Mr Paramjit, and his employees could realise, the cheats had escaped with the jewellery valued at around Rs 38,000.

Due to darkness the jeweller could not note down the number of the car in which the cheats escaped. Acting on the complaint of the jeweller the local police has registered an FIR under Sections 406 and 420 of the IPC.


17 cases registered
The local police registered 17 cases under Section 3 of the Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1976, in three local police stations, yesterday. Cases have been registered against Bharat Petroleum for painting advertisements on the boundary wall of plot 311, Industrial Area, Phase II, owner of Baba Farid Homoeopathic Clinic and resident of Sector 38 for pasting poster on an electric pole in Sector 56 and owner of a Sector 45 cyber cafe for painting advertisement on the wall of Dev Samaj College, Sector 36.



‘Spurious pesticide worth 500 cr sold annually’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 9 — The irrational use of chemical based pesticides and fertilisers has started proving costly to India. Export of certain items to the European countries and the USA has been hit because of it.

This was revealed here today by Mr Vivek Singhal, president of the All India Biotech Association. He was here to speak at the concluding session of the conference on the theme “Biopesticides: Emerging Trends”. He said certain European countries and the USA had rejected Indian coffee, tea leaves and grapes worth Rs 3,000 crore as these had a high level of poisonous substances.

Talking about pesticides, Mr Singhal said spurious pesticide worth Rs 500 crore were sold every year in the country. Strong lobbies of pesticide of manufacturers were not allowing the promotion of bio-pesticides and pest-resistant seeds prepared through the bio-tech system.

While 18 states had taken steps to adopt bio-tech in agriculture, Punjab had not done so even though it was the largest user of pesticides in the country. He said it was time to get rid of the synthetic pesticides which proved harmful to human health as well as the environment.

Among others who spoke were Mr C.K. Sabharwal, Dr T.M. Manjunath, Dr A.S. Atwal and Dr Jurgan Bischoff. Dr Manjunath said that the area under insect-resistant transgenic crops in 1996 was 1.1 million hectares. Now it was nearly 12 million hectares.

The conference on its conclusion recommended that a national research centre of biopesticides should be established which could coordinate research and quality control aspects related to biorational pesticides including microbials, predators and parasitoids. It also urged the authorities concerned to streamline the biosafety regulatory mechanism.

Proper cataloguing and region wise surveys of natural enemies should be conducted to determine the biodiversity of pathogens and other natural enemies. Registration of all individual of biopesticides, groups need to be done, which should be less stringent than conventional pesticides.

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