C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Post offices to accept power bills
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
City residents can heave a sigh of relief. Now, they will not have to stand in queues to pay their water and power bills. The bills will be accepted at all 40 post offices in the city. The Chandigarh Administration and the Department of Post are working out the final modalities before making a formal announcement in this regard.

The system will start in the next two months. According to highly placed sources, final touches are being given to the scheme before it is formally announced. The payments of bills in post offices will be in addition to the existing bill-collection centres run by the Engineering Department of the Chandigarh Administration and the payment of bills through banks.

The service through post offices will be free of cost for the power consumers. Whatever small commission is to be paid to the postal department will be paid by the Engineering Wing.

Postal authorities said they were ready to start accepting the bills from the next month. The post offices need not be computerised for this as the bills will be collected like the telephone bills and details will be sent to the electricity department. The consumer will get a receipt from the post office, which will be valid as proof of payment.

The Engineering Wing has 10 bill collection centres at present. A scheme under which people can opt to pay bills directly through their bank accounts is also there.

A few years ago, the Postal Department had introduced a scheme under which postmen were to collect bills from the consumers from their homes. The postmen would get a small commission on it. The scheme was, however, not popular among residents.

The city residents have been facing an uphill task in depositing the bills. Long queues can be witnessed outside the bill collection centres. The number of staff members involved in the process has not been increased. The government is not even filling up the vacancies.

Nearly one lakh bills are distributed monthly as the city has around two lakh consumers who get bi-monthly bills. Around 50,000 bills will be handed over to the postal department for distribution which will charge Rs 3 per bill it distributes through its postmen. The shortage of staff for the distribution of bills has forced the administration to take this step.

The scheme is awaiting the final clearance as the Postal Department has suggested that it will deduct Rs 5 per bill it collects. The Chandigarh Administration has suggested that since the money for bill collection is deposited straight into the consolidated union fund, there can be no reduction in that sum. The Postal Department has been asked to raise a separate bill for the same and get reimbursement. The postal authorities say this will add to the paper work. Sources said this was being sorted out.



Kalam leaves by special saloon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
Amid unprecedented security cover, the plush presidential saloon with Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam pulled off from the railway station here late this evening. The President, who was here on a short visit, travelled back to Delhi by the special train.

The 1956-built special train would cover a distance of around 240 km on way to Delhi. Last year, the President had travelled around 60 km by the special train on his visit to Bihar.

Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy was the last President to use it when he travelled from Delhi to his home state of Andhra Pradesh in 1977.

The two-coach plush saloon, painted in maroon, is part of the seven-coach special train. It pulled off from the station 40 minutes behind schedule.

As Dr Kalam boarded the train, he thanked railway officials for the arrangements and said he would like to travel by the train to various villages of the country.

The security cover did not allow curious onlookers to get near the special coaches. The railway station was turned into a fortress by security agencies. Due to security reasons, even press photographers were not allowed inside the coaches.

Railway sources said the train, mostly stationed at a yard near the New Delhi railway station, was out of bounds for most people for security reasons. It is equipped with all comforts and luxuries that were available to the royalty across the world.

The train was built in 1956 and consists of a dining-cum-visiting room, a lounge and a bedroom. It also has a kitchen and chambers for various secretaries and the railway staff. The furniture was made of teak and the curtains and cushion covers from silk.

A pilot engine was ahead of the seven-coach train and an escort was following it. Sources said due to the rail journey of the President, other regular trains were halted. All level crossings between Chandigarh and Delhi were being manned by the GRP and the RPF.

There was a traffic jam at the railway station with the sengers, visitors and vehicles of President’s officials and security personnel reaching there at the same time.

Meanwhile, for the safe passage of the saloon, traffic en route had to be suspended for a few hours and the Chandigarh-Delhi railway section was covered by teams of technical staff and security personnel.

The train was escorted by a bomb disposal squad and equipment designed to jam radio signals. According to some reports, air cover was provided to ensure the President’s security.

Passengers travelling in Jan Shatabdi and the Shatabdi Express were inconvenienced as the trains ran behind schedule. While Jan Shatabdi was late by over 30 minutes, Shatabdi Express arrived an hour late.



Kalam calls on scientists to achieve mission 2020
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh January 5
The President of India, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, today asked the nation’s scientific community to start working for the realisation of his vision to transform India into a developed nation by 2020.

“The roadmap for achieving this objective has already been prepared and released. Now we have to get down to the task of achieving it by the due date”, Dr Kalam said, while speaking at the 91st session of the Indian Science Congress which is being attended by nearly 4, 000 scientists from India and abroad.

A top scientist of the country, Dr Kalam was in his elements while interacting with the scientific community. During his more than one hour long address, Dr Kalam was repeatedly cheered by the distinguished audience as he identified, with the aid of a slideshow, the sectors which required special attention.

The President said that if India was to be transformed itself into a developed country, it must provide food and nutritional security for its population. The first green revolution took place in the 1960s. Now was the time to start working on the second green revolution so as to double the food production to 400 million tonnes by 2020.

Earlier, the country had visionaries like Mr C. Subramaniam and Dr M.S. Swaminathan who set the goal for attaining self-sufficiency on the food front and achieved it in a short spell of time. Now again, such a leadership was required. This was where the challenge to the country’s scientific community lay. It must develop foodgrain seeds which yielded more in the right type of soil.

The second step for turning the country into a developed nation should be inter-linking of all major rivers. For this, R and D inputs from all disciplines of science would be required to assess its impact on the environment.

Dr Kalam said in view of the growing shortage of water, the country must go in for new and innovative methods of preserving water and augmenting its supply. In this connection, desalination of sea water on a gigantic scale would be required. The country’s scientific community had another challenge to face in this field.

Harnessing of nuclear and solar power to generate an additional 20,000 MW of electricity by 2020 was another important component of the country’s march towards development.

The President said development of a vaccine for diseases like HIV, TB and water-borne diseases, integrated research in the field of stem cells, a new thrust in the field of space exploration, defence and allied areas would also be required.

Dr Kalam also spoke at length on his thesis of PURA ( Provision of Urban Facilities in Rural Areas). Once this happened, teachers and doctors who avoided working in the rural areas because of lack of facilities would change their attitude. It would also provide greater connectivity to the rural areas which in turn would give a great fillip to the development of these areas.

Dr Kalam began his address by saying that he loved visiting Chandigarh because he liked the city. From 1985 to 99, Dr Kalam said, he was a frequent visitor to the city because of his work at a strategic laboratory in Chandigarh. During those days, he stayed at the PU Guest House and some of the chapters of his book were also written in this guest house.

He said he was always happy to be in the land of the five rivers haloed by Guru Gobind Singh. In an oblique reference to the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s current visit to west Punjab (Pakistan), he noted that the land of five rivers which had seen so many wars in the past, was now making a bid for peace. Mr Vajpayee had gone to Islamabad on a mission of peace because peace was the main prerequisite for development.

He also made a reference to a frequent problem which he said he encountered in the country’s laboratories. “I call it the lab syndrome. Whenever you tell someone to do something new, he will say that I have already done it. But most fail to understand that the last mileage, from laboratory to the field is the most important part of research. Technological development is complete only if it’s productionised.

He also spoke about the “law of development” according to which every country tried to produce and compete in the world market. But in order to succeed, their products must meet three requirements: low cost, good quality and supply in time. Those who fulfilled these requirements became winners.



Kalam urges kids to identify “impossible missions”
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
A great communicator with children, the President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, was in his elements today as he addressed 350-odd students from all over the country, exhorting them to identify an "impossible mission" and strive to attain it. "These impossible missions are called vision statements," he said.

He was speaking at a special session of the Children's Science Congress at IMTECH in Sector 39 here today. With children sitting in rapt attention, hanging on to his every word, Dr Kalam did what came naturally to him—teach them about values and a lot of science.

And, indeed, the interaction proved to be a great learning experience for these students as Dr Kalam spoke to them about dealing with failure and owning responsibility as well as sharing success.

"My first failure taught me the biggest lesson. I was heading the space vehicle launch programme in 1972. After seven years of hard work, the day for the launch came and with 6 seconds to go, the computer advised us against the launch, but we decided to go ahead. And, we failed. At a press conference, my boss took the entire responsibility of the failed mission. Again, we put our heads together, finally successfully launching the satellite. In that moment of glory, my boss gave me the entire credit. You, too, must learn from this," he stated.

Given a standing ovation on entry to the hall, Dr Kalam addressed the students as "friends" during the course of his multi-faceted interaction. He said, "Thinking is progress. Action leads to prosperity" , persuading the students to repeat after him.

Underlining his commitment to the cause of development of India, he added, "I am a teacher and my mission at Rashtrapati Bhavan is to have a developed, prosperous and peaceful India by 2020. The day I finish my term in 2007, I will go back to teaching."

Urging them to become "job providers" rather than "job seekers", Dr Kalam was of the view that the educational system should equip the students with "entrepreneurial leadership".

Before leaving the venue, the First Citizen administered an oath to the children. The oath entailed pursuing education with dedication, teaching 10 illiterate persons, planting 10 saplings, weaning away people from addiction and gambling, not supporting any communal or language differences and proudly celebrating the success of the country and its people.

Soliciting question, he answered one why Hindi was not given its due. "It is our mother tongue, and, I believe, its usage should be encouraged. When I gave my first Independence Day speech, it was in English. In the second one, I spoke for five minutes in Hindi. One day I will be able to give my whole speech in Hindi," he explained.

He answered questions on whether life was possible on other planets, why babies cry when they are born, among others. In reply to a question on whether man could ever go to the Sun, he replied in a lighter vein, "You can go to the Sun ,but I am not too sure if you can come back," he said.

Before leaving, Dr Kalam shook hands with the children and shrugged off security arrangements to mingle with them .

With that he left to address the session of the Indian Science Congress at Panjab University, asking students to mail their questions to "www.presidentofindia.nic.in" and assuring them that they would definitely get an answer.



Sidelights of President’s visit
Tribune News Service

Students jump over to occupy the front seats after President APJ Abdul Kalam asked them to take the vacant seats at the Indian Science Congress at Panjab University
Students jump over to occupy the front seats after President APJ Abdul Kalam asked them to take the vacant seats at the Indian Science Congress at Panjab University in Chandigarh on Monday. — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, January 5
The President, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, was at his eloquent best as he addressed the 91st session of the Indian Science Congress at Panjab University. Full of scientific jargon, his more than an hour-long speech went down very well with scientists who repeatedly cheered him.

With the help of a slide show, he explained in detail his vision of transforming India into a developed nation by 2020 and asked the scientific community to gear up to achieve this objective.


Dr Kalam who was due to address the scientific community at 6.30 pm was late by about 15 minutes. After a brief introduction by Prof Asis Datta, President of the Indian Science Congress, he launched straight into his presentation.


As soon as he took his seat on the dais, Dr Kalam noticed several rows of empty seats in the front that had been cordoned off by the police for security reasons. He immediately asked the audience to come forward and occupy them.

Suddenly, there was commotion as many people rushed forward to occupy the seats. Several of them jumped over the barriers to reach seats. This forced Ms Karuna Bhardwaj, who was conducting the stage, to appeal for order.


Dr Kalam began his address by referring to the recent accident involving Dr Asis Datta, President of the Indian Science Congress, in which he was injured and prayed for his good health and speedy recovery.


President Kalam was ushered into the huge hanger-type hall by Dr Datta and Dr K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University. Others who sat with him on the dais included Dr Hartmut Michel, a Nobel laureate, from Germany.



Expert cautions on promotion of biotechnology
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Dr Krishna R. DronamrajuChandigarh, January 5
While the UT Administration is making attempts to attract investors in the bio-technology sector, Dr Krishna R. Dronamraju, Adviser to the US Secretary of Agriculture and President of the Foundation for Genetic Research, has warned against the indiscriminate promotion of bio-technology in the region.

An author of 14 books on bio-technology and its social and economic consequence, Dr Krishna believes that despite overwhelming response from policy makers and scientists, bio-technology was not the only answer to the problems in agriculture and health sector. His publications include “Infectious Disease and Host-Pathogen Evolution’ and Biological Wealth and other essays. He was in the city to participate in the Indian Science Congress.

Hailing from Hyderabad, he migrated to the USA in early fifties. Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, he claimed that he was also working to help Indian students get admission and jobs in the USA. He had visited India earlier as a member of the delegation with former President of the USA, Bill Clinton.

He said,” If proper checks and balances are not evolved to regulate the developments in the bio-technology sector, it will lead to more problems and complications resulting in the loss of our rich bio-diversity and threatening the public health.” He pointed out that top 10 firms controlled more than 80 per cent of the pesticide market and 53 per cent market share in the world market of pharma. In the food retail business, top 10 companies controlled 57 per cent of the world’s market.

Dr Krishna said due to inconclusive results of the gene therapy, the US Congress had made strict regulations to govern the developments in medical science. In fact, he said,” the death of an 18-year-old patient due to severe immune and toxic response in 1999, and later the occurrence of a leukemia-type disease in a French patient in 2003 discouraged any active gene therapy programme. The FDA has placed a temporary halt on all gene therapy trials involving retroviral vectors in 2003.”

He called upon the students, young scientists and the administration to give due importance to the issues of management, distribution, conventional wisdom besides promoting bio-technology. He said the government and research institutes should also initiate research in the implications of the gene therapy and genetically modified crops. He cautioned against the strict patent laws in the USA and other countries that would affect their recognition in science if they failed to publish their findings in the framework of patent laws.



Curiosity core quality of scientist, says Nobel laureate
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Dr Hartmut MichelMohali, January 5
‘‘Scientists are like young children who always want to know how things work.’’ This is how simply, Dr Hartmut Michel, German biochemist and Nobel laureate, described the core quality of a scientist. Dr Michel along with Johann Deisenhofer and Robert Huber received the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1988 for their determination of the structure of certain proteins that are essential for photosynthesis.

Talking to the The Tribune during a session of the Indian Science Congress at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) here, Dr Michel said, ‘‘The curiosity to know and an attitude to create new knowledge should be basic to every scientist. A scientist should do very careful thinking of every unexpected result. Unexpected results are much more interesting than expected results’’

Dr Michel had in 1982 succeeded in obtaining membrane-bound proteins in crystalline form that made it possible to determine their structure. Determination of the structure was then carried out in collaboration with Johann Deisenhofer and Robert Huber between 1982 and 1985.

‘‘One requires patience and hard work for research. An idea can take decades to take its final form. But one should remain open minded and have a broad background of other associated fields of work.’’

Brought up in a humble home in Wurttemberg, Germany, Dr Michel is now the Head of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysics, Frankfurt. ‘‘Now I am working on two separate projects. One is to find out how respiration works at the atomic level and the other is on medically important receptors.’’ But aren't these fields very different from photosynthesis? ‘‘No, in all these, I am working on membrane proteins. How oxygen is consumed and converted into energy has to do with membrane protein and it is the g-protein coupled receptors which are considered medically the most important as 50 per cent of all drugs work on these receptors,’’he explained.

On his fourth visit to India, Dr Michel has found Indian science students intelligent, hardworking and clever but too focused. ‘‘Indian students need to look more to their left and right also while working on what they are concentrating on. You make new discoveries only when you make cross border forays into neighbouring fields.’’ he said.



New biology section meeting held
Tribune News Service

A research worker shows his work during a poster session as part of the Indian Science Congress
A research worker shows his work during a poster session as part of the Indian Science Congress in Chandigarh on Monday.

Chandigarh, January 5
The New biology Section meeting of the 91st Indian Science Congress began today at Panjab University with the Umakant Sinha Memorial Award Lecture delivered by Dr Rajendra Kumar of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi.

Six young scientists competed for the young scientists award programme. Papers were also presented by

Ms Sanghamitra Sahoo of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Kolkata, Ms Shalmoli Bhattacharya of the PGI, Chandigarh, Mr Madhan of the Central Leather Research Institute, Ms Minni of the Department of Biotechnology, Punjabi University, Patiala, Dr Aruna Pal of he Division of Animal Genetics, Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izzatnagar, Dr Sumana Roy of the University of Calcutta.

In a special symposium on cancer biology, Prof Srinivas Pantyala of the State University of New York spoke about challenges and opportunities in taking the next step from biochemistry to biotechnology in cancer biology.

A poster session on biochemistry and biophysics was also held. It showcased 56 posters made by young research workers of various universities.



India needs to build on innovative skill base
Tribune News Service

Kiran Mazumdar-ShawMohali, January 5
‘‘The underlying ethos of biotechnology is scientific innovation. 'This was stated by Ms Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chief Managing Director, Biocon, here today while speaking on ‘‘Building global competitiveness in biotechnology on a platform of scientific innovation,’’ at a session of the Indian Science Congress held at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) here.

Stating that economists viewed biotechnology as the most obvious corollary to the IT boom, Ms Shaw pointed out that they believed that if India’s pool of IT professionals could put the country on the global map, there was also a huge reservoir of scientific human resource in biotechnology which could do the same.

“But what these protagonists are oblivious of is the fact that biotechnology is capital intensive, research intensive, with inherently-long gestational time lines for product commercialisation. It is scientific innovation where biotechnology sharply differentiates itself from IT services model that India has successfully globalised,” she said.

Ms Shaw said India was at the mid-point of the intellectual curve based on the parameters of information, innovation and invention. “Based on the intellectual curve, India needs to build on its innovative skill base in short to medium-term and aim to convert these into strong inventive capabilities in the long-term.”

Ms Shaw pointed out that India’s innovative opportunities lay in biodiversity, clinical development, vaccines and biologicals. “The Indian biotechnology sector is in its early phase of development and perhaps at a low level in the value chain. But given the skilled resource, India is in a good position to create a sustainable biotechnology business. Global success for Indian biotechnology will largely depend on creating the lowest cost base for innovation, "she concluded.

Earlier, Dr Susan King Finson, Associate Vice-President of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, spoke on the role of academic scientists in the USA in the biotechnology revolution. Prof Polly Roy of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine talked about recombinant proteins and Dr Krishna R Dronamraju, President, Foundation for Genetic Research, USA, spoke on “Science, society and excellence: biological and social consequences of recombinant DNA research.”

Speaking on economic development through biotechnological revolution, Dr S Narayan, Economic Adviser to the Prime Minister and Secretary to the Government of India, said the closed Indian economy had in fact helped the Indian pharmaceutical industry to grow. Dr Altaf A lal, Science Councillor, US Embassy, while speaking on ‘‘Transforming research findings into the tools of disease controlling’’ noted that India needed to focus on three diseases — HIV, malaria and TB. ‘‘India and the USA have a rich history of collaborative efforts and as 2004 rolls in and with the patent regime coming in, we will have new and improved opportunities to work together”, he said.



Economic Adviser bullish on growth rate
Tribune News Service

Dr S. NarayanMohali, January 5
Dr S. Narayan, Economic Adviser to the Prime Minister and Secretary to the Government of India, talking to The Tribune at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) during a session of the Indian Science Congress, said today that India was bound to achieve a growth rate above 7.5 per cent this year.

“We have gained the maximum from agriculture this year, due to good rains. The industry has recorded a 7 per cent upbeat with the maximum growth in the steel and construction sectors. Chemicals, automobiles, automobile ancillary industries, light engineering and pharmaceuticals, all have shown good growth,” he said, adding that the Indian economy had recorded an unprecedented 8.4 per cent quarterly growth rate.

“We have focused on information technology and software and have done very well. In the next ten years, the focus should shift to manufacturing which is a bulk employment sector. Manufacturing, specially in the traditional sectors like engineering goods, steel, cement and chemicals which are our strong areas should be taken up,” he said.

Saying that China's economy could be emulated, Dr Narayan said China had focused on manufacturing consumer goods. In India too manufacturing in the traditional sectors would be encouraged, he said.

“India can also gain from agriculture but value addition in the form of quality management and branding is the key if we want our agriculture to form a major share of economic growth. Converting agricultural production into marketable goods should be the mantra of agriculture in the future,” he added.



A winner of 63 awards
Tribune News Service

Dr S.A. SalgareChandigarh, January 5
With three doctorates under his belt and a number of awards to his credit, Dr S.A. Salgare, a senior faculty member of the Government Institute of Science, Mumbai, is a popular face at the 91st session of the Indian Science Congress at Panjab University.

Dressed in a white suit and carrying a red rose in his hand, Dr Salgare, says, "I love setting new records. I feel happy when people recognise my knowledge. I see no challenge to my learning though I have questioned the research of a number of scientists,” he says.

Carrying a brochure highlighting his achievements complete with a bio-data and photographs with union and state ministers, he informs, "I have attended 18 sessions of the Indian Science Congress, and 1000 national and international symposia. I have won 26 national and 37 international awards. This is a record in itself,” he states.

However, he is unwilling to talk of the research he has done or the papers he has presented. “I am here at the congress because I want to find out what is new with regard to research. I love science. It is my first love and it has taken me places,” he says.

“Right from security personnel to the delegates, everybody knows me and each session of the congress adds to my list of friends which is one of the reasons to come back to the sessions,” he says.

Dr Salgare specialises in botany and environmental sciences, that are close to his heart. “At this session of the congress, not much work has been done in areas that interest me. I have taken some time off to go sight-seeing as well,” he says.



Women scientists to present papers
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
Women scientists will finally have a chance to be heard at the 91st Session of the Indian Science Congress at Panjab University tomorrow after numerous rounds of lectures and discussions dominated by men since the congress began on January 3. Women scientists will have the first half of the day set aside exclusively for them for the presentation of papers and exchange of ideas. "Women have a voice and the Indian Science Congress seems to recognise this,” says one of the delegates.

While the morning session with the theme of “Women and Sustainable Development” will have five speakers, the representative works of a few young women bio-scientists of promise will have six speakers.

The first opportunity for the women to put forth their findings, this session of the science congress has seen only one session chaired by a woman. Dr Manju Sharma, Secretary of the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, chaired the first session on “New Frontiers in Biotechnology” yesterday.

Meanwhile, the day was a nightmare for the organisers troubled by the weather conditions. With the cancellation of the flight from Delhi to Chandigarh, the organisers were forced to reorganise the sessions, cancelling paper presentations of nearly half a dozen speakers. Since morning, uncertainty prevailed over the arrival of the speakers. However, much to the relief of the organisers, all sessions were held though these were shortened on the account of non-availability of speakers.

While the last session of Dr Hartmut Michel from the USA was rescheduled for tomorrow, most of the speakers of the session on “Strengthening of Knowledge Base in Educational Institutions” did not show up.

The chairman of the University Grants Commission, Prof Arun Nigavekar, in the Chair, for this session said from the spread of education, the focus of institutions had changed to knowledge. “We are primarily concerned with the equity of knowledge. Even if the people are not educated, they need to cash in on their knowledge. Now, there are various ways of gathering knowledge and computers are the most convenient way. The need, now, is to reach out to more people,” he said.

The only other speaker, the Vice-Chancellor of the Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi, said after the New Education Policy was declared in 1986, queries on distance learning poured to their office.



Hand-held digital microscope attracts crowds
Tribune News Service

The hand-held digital microscope on display at the “Pride of India” exhibition at Panjab University
The hand-held digital microscope on display at the “Pride of India” exhibition at Panjab University in Chandigarh on Monday.

Chandigarh, January 5
The hand-held digital microscope is the latest rage at the “Pride of India” exhibition being held as a part of the 91st Session of the Indian Science Congress at Panjab University.

Attracting huge crowds at the exhibition, the microscope, one among the many on display at a stall of Radical Instruments from Ambala, clearly stands out. Having electronic imaging system, it will primarily assist scientists in field work and bring flexibility to the learning process.

Light in weight, this microscope can be carried anywhere for study projects. It will ease the problem of bringing work back to the laboratory for scientists, besides adding excitement to the learning process.

Made with Japanese technology and costing nearly Rs 20,000, the microscope enables easy handling and provides clear and sharp images, greater magnification and is fitted with the M50 lens unit.

However, the microscope has a major constraint— it has to be plugged to a computer to avail of its benefits. This, however, is no deterrent for the many admirers it is attracting as the exhibition.



NRI woman alleges ill-treatment by cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
A 71-year-old NRI woman today accused officials of the Sector 34 police station of assaulting her and misbehaving with her at the behest of her brother-in-law, with whom she has a dispute over a piece of land at Rampur, Uttar Pradesh.

“I was forcibly taken to Rampur. I was not allowed to take my woollen clothes and medicines or inform my lawyer and relatives,” Mrs Parminder Kaur told a press conference here today.

She has narrated the incident in a letter to the Inspector-General of Police, signed copies of which were circulated among mediapersons.

“On December 19, I was talking to two persons who had come to see the Sector 33 house I wanted to sell. Bashir Ahmed, a Sub-Inspector at the Sector 34 police station, came upstairs along with two constables and a woman constable of the Uttar Pradesh police, Surinder Kaur, ” she said.

"I was dragged down the stairs and pushed by my brother-in-law, Hargursharan Singh,” she said. She fell down and one of her teeth came loose.

The woman said she was then lifted by the four persons and bundled into a private Qualis and beaten up.

Mrs Parminder Kaur said neither was she shown any arrest warrants in connection with a case registered on a complaint by her brother-in-law, nor allowed to contact anybody as per the Supreme Court directions.

The woman said her neighbour, Dr Sekhon, was a witness to the ill-treatment meted out to her. Despite his intervention, the police continued with its alleged illegal activity.

She said Hargursharan Singh knew she was suffering from blood sugar, high cholesterol and spondilitis, alleging that the action was aimed at depriving her of life- saving drugs.

The woman said she was told by Bashir Ahmed that the ill-treatment was meted out to her on an order of the Sector 34 SHO, Mr Sukhpal Rana.

The woman said she was alone in India and her husband and four daughters were in the USA.

She said she was given medicines next day in a court at Rampur, adding that these were delivered by a nephew of her husband.

When the allegations of Mrs Parminder Kaur were brought to the notice of the area DSP, Mr S. S. Randhawa, the latter said he did not know about the incident but would inquire about it.

Rampur-based Hargursharan Singh was not available for comment.

The Sector 34 SHO denied the allegations, saying that “I have not met the woman and it is the responsibility of the Chandigarh police to assist the Uttar Pradesh police in a case registered against the woman.”

Ruling out his colleagues’ misbehaviour, Mr Rana said Bashir Ahmed was a senior Sub-Inspector and if there was something wrong, the SHO should have been informed.

Mr Rana said he had visited the woman’s house to greet senior citizens on New Year’s Day, but Ms Parminder Kaur did not come out.



Couple’s arrest sought for victimising boy
Bipin Bhardwaj

Dera Bassi, January 5
Members of the Nepali Jan Adhikar Suraksha Samiti, Patiala, today demanded the arrest of the couple from whose clutches a 10-year-old Nepalese boy, Lura, was rescued on Saturday night.

More than 35 members of the samiti protested in front of the office of the Deputy Superintendent of Police at Mubarikpur village and also gave a written complaint to the police demanding that Lura’s employer Rakesh Kharbanda be arrested and an FIR registered against him at the earliest.

Meanwhile, a large number of residents, especially elderly women, from nearby villages thronged the Mubarikpur police post, adjacent to the DSP’s office, to have a look at the rescued boy till late in the evening.

Protesting against the police for not finding the whereabouts of Rakesh Kharbanda even after 20 hours of the incident, members of the samiti claimed that they were not permitted to interact with the boy.

After talking to the boy in Nepalese, Mr Gopal Thapa, district secretary of the samiti, said Lura had refused to go to his master’s house.

Mr Jit Bahadur, president of the samiti, criticised statements made by Sonia, wife of Rakesh Kharbanda. “Why had the couple gone to an isolated place after crossing a make- shift causeway on the river bed to perform rituals?” he said. “If the boy had stolen money, why was he given a beating on the river-bank, and that too in the dark and after removing his clothes?” he asked.

“I have come to know from other members of the samiti working as domestic help in Mubarikpur and surrounding areas that Lura was working as a servant with the Kharbanda family for the past about two months,” he said. Rakesh often used to take Lura to the river-bank to take his help while performing rituals at night, he alleged.

Meanwhile, police teams have been sent to suspected hideouts of Rakesh Kharbanda, who is absconding since Saturday night. Mr Kulbhushan, in charge of the Mubarikpur police post, said the boy had been given security cover. Since the boy was still in a state of shock, he was not allowed to meet a large number of people.

Mr Manmohan Kumar Sharma, DSP, Dera Bassi, said after investigations and questioning of the rescuers and other persons, no concrete evidence about child sacrifice had been found. He said an FIR had not been registered in the case as no one had turned up as a complainant.

The DSP denied having received a written complaint from the Patiala-based samiti.



Gurpurb celebrated with fervour
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 5
City residents thronged gurdwaras, decked up with colourful blinking lights, for celebrating Guru Gobind Singh’s birth anniversary with enthusiasm and religious fervour. Community kitchens, poetry recital contest and shabad singing competitions were organised all over the city and the adjoining areas.

Tea was also offered to devotees visiting the gurdwaras. Sweets too were distributed among children, particularly the ones residing in the slums and colonies spread throughout the city.

The celebrations started early. Even before the sun’s lazy rays pushed aside the blanket of darkness, residents, eager to pay obeisance, left their houses to reach the gurdwaras for offering prayers.

On this occasion, the gurdwaras were decorated with lights and flowers. Outside the gurdwaras, stalls were set up for offering religious books, calendars, ‘karas’ and ‘parnas’.



Road safety week fails to keep date
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 5
Even as the 15th Road Safety Week kicked off in the country, the city failed to keep date with the celebrations.
Sources said because of holiday on account of Gurpurb, a formal ceremony to launch the week could not be held. In fact, the roads in the city wore a deserted look with hardly a policeman guiding traffic or checking documents of the vehicles.

However, in view of the planned visit of the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, to Chandigarh by rail, the local police had made elaborate arrangements in areas around the railway station.

During the week, schoolchildren and teachers will be educated about traffic rules by holding special sessions in schools.

Similarly, traffic violators, especially three-wheelers plying without permit from Zirakpur and Panchkula, are to be challenged.

The hazards associated with drunken driving, overloading, overspending and parking at wrong places will be highlighted, officials informed. Various traffic signals will be affixed at important roads in the city.

Besides this, traffic reflectors will be affixed at the back of accident-prone vehicles passing through the two national highways in the city.

According to sources, maxi-cabs plying illegally and 2T oil for scooters at petrol stations and pollution centres will be checked. NGOs will be actively involved in various activities during the week.



Imparting road sense through songs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
The Chandigarh traffic police today used popular songs to educate people about road safety. Traffic police personnel presented choreographed sequences on stage today in connection with the road safety week in the city. The show was presented by the Chandigarh Police Cultural Club at the Sector 17 piazza.

Each participant was carrying name plates to depict vehicles, besides helmet less husband and wife and a drunkard. They came on stage with a song being played in the background to portray a particular traffic rule.

Sanjay Sharma choreographed the show. The audience comprised senior police officers and the public.

Constables Irma Rive, Manish Sharma, Ana and Kales said they had been preparing for the show for the past 10 days.

A youth driving dangerously was depicted by way of “Bachna air hazing; lo mien a gay”, while a drunkard by way of “Thodi is job pi lid hay, choir to naming kid hay”.



FAuji Beat
Make NECK a feeder force for Army

THE feeling in certain quarters that a movie like ‘LOC’ can lure the youth to opt for the armed forces is not correct. No doubt, this movie has brought the Army life closer to the public as never before on the screen. But to think that ‘LOC’ will go to make the Army attractive as a career is not correct. For, in this age of materialism, the youth goes for jobs offering hefty packets and risk-free life.

We have tried out several measures to make the Army more attractive so that the mounting shortage of officers in it can be combated but nothing has succeeded so far. What we should have learnt from this failure is that we need to associate the youths with the armed forces from their formative years as is being done, albeit, at a limited scale at present in the NECK.

This can be done by increasing the strength of the NECK cadets in the schools and colleges by providing them more incentives. Most of them will get used to a soldier’s life over the years and this trained manpower can then be utilized as a feeder force for the armed forces.

As it is, of the 1879 cadets undergoing training at the National Defence Academy (NODE), 385 cadets are from the NECK. Similarly, at the Indian Military Academy (IMAM), 150 cadets out of 495 have the NECK background. This is because of their military training that they get in to the NECK. They also get grace marks of five and eight for ‘A’ and ‘B’ certificates respectively. The cadets with certificate ‘C’ are exempted from the PUSS written examination under the Direct Entry Scheme. Besides, at each IMAM course, 32 vacancies are reserved for the NECK cadets who hold certificate ‘C’. These vacancies need to be substantially increased.

Infantry is being modernised: The Kargil war in 1999 had proved beyond doubt that our infantry was not well-equipped. This was the reason why it suffered heavy casualties. Mercifully, this realisation, though belatedly, has dawned on the government. As a result, the Cabinet Committee for Security (CCS) has recently sanctioned a package of Rs 3,000 crore for equipping the infantry with modern weapons.

The Army is planning to equip all the 350 infantry battalions with modern gadgets and weapons in the next three years. Some of the new equipment and weapons being introduced are unified anti-tank grenade/missile launchers, 30 mm auto-grenade launchers (AGI) and multi-shot grenade launchers (MGL). Besides, AK-47 rifles fitted with underbarrel grenade launchers (UGBL), 7.62 mm Dragunov sniper rifles, INSAS 5.56 mm light machine guns (LMG) and NBC warfare kits are also being procured.

1st Assam war memorial: In the Burma sector, the battle of Jessami, in which 1st Assam determinedly withstood the onslaught of Japanese for seven days, was one of the most important battles of World War II. For, this battle eventually led to the defeat of the Japanese forces in the battle of Kohima.

The long cherished dream of the Assam Regiment came true when a recently built war memorial at Jessami to commemorate the sacrifices of 1st Assam was inaugurated by Lieut-Gen S.K. Pillai (retd), a former Colonel of the Assam Regiment, the other day.

Sea sortie for students: The Southern Naval Command (SNC), recently organised a trip of about 100 students from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to the sea. The students sailed on Indian naval ships “Sujata” and “Sharda” for a day at the sea.

During this trip, the students were shown some naval exercises such as rescue by helicopters at the sea, underway manoeuvres for replenishment i.e. transfer of personnel and stores between two ships while underway, anti-aircraft firing and evacuation of casualties from ships.

Col Pritam Bhullar (retd)



Bravery awards to be conferred on Jan 7
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 5
The 12th Red and White Bravery Awards to winners from Punjab and Haryana will be presented on January 7 here. The awards are in categories of physical bravery and social acts of courage.

Mrs Rupan Deol Bajaj, Principal Secretary, Transport, Punjab, and Air Commodore S.S Tilloo, 12 Wing, Air Force Station, Chandigarh, ranked the nominations and selected the winners from Punjab while for Haryana, Mr Sanjay Kotheri, Secretary, Personnel, Haryana, and Mr Krishna Mohan, Commissioner and Secretary, Public Relations, Haryana, were the judges.

The winners are awarded gold, silver and bronze medals along with cash prizes and certificates. The awards were instituted in 1990 by Godfrey Phillips India Ltd.

As per a press note here today, the Punjab Governor, Justice O.P Verma, will present the awards.



Don’t let the erring Principal go scotfree

This refers to the news report “Slapping incident: Principal goes on indefinite leave” (Chandigarh Tribune, December 11). I have been keeping a track of the incident in which Parul Sharma, a class X student, was slapped by Mr Subhash Aggarwal, Principal of Government Model High School, Sector 28. I would say that Mr Aggarwal has humiliated the entire teaching community. It’s good that Mr Aggarwal has proceeded on leave. But this does not mean that he should go scotfree.

The UT Administration follows Central rules. Rule 11 of the Classification, Control and Appeal Rules mentions major and minor penalties for errant officials. Mr Aggarwal has even insulted the Supreme Court which has banned corporal punishment to students. All this warrants action against Mr Aggarwal, which may include censure, stoppage of increments or promotion.

S.S. Jain, Chandigarh

Don’t sell yourselves: The recent arrest of dance girls is an eye opener. In good old days women were rightly called as epitomes of motherhood. But these girls have brought a bad name to womenhood by exposing in public and earning money by all sorts of wrong means, bringing a bad name not only to society as a whole but also demoralises them.

I understand that earning money is difficult but not impossible. Girls can learn embroidery, stitching, designing clothes, beauty courses, typing shorthand, steno courses. Office management, technical correspondence courses, housekeeping courses, etc. can be pursued. Girls should be taught right from teenage about the exploitation of women and children on the ptretext of getting them roles in movies.

The local district police chiefs should make it a point to curb the menace by keeping an eye on discotheques, modelling agencies, dance clubs, DJ groups and musical groups. Why not to make our lives like Kiran Bedi, Ambika Soni, Kalpana Chawla, Najma Heptullah, Gurpreet Deo, and Nisha Sharma, who turned away the bridegroom from her doorstep when they demanded more dowry.

Radha Saini, Patiala

Congrats, Dev Anand: My joy knew no bounds when I heard the news that Dev Anand had been bestowed upon with the coveted Dada Saheb Phalke Award. Although it has come a bit late, it is an apt choice indeed. As I am an ardent fan of his, I extend my heartiest congratulations. May God give him more energy and strength to make good and purposeful films. May he lives long and serve the people of India by his valuable contribution.

A.K. Kaul, Chandigarh

Waiting for degrees, medals: My daughter Ruchi and daughter-in-law Vandna had passed BAMS, final exam, held in December 1997 and December 1996, respectively, from Sri Krishna Government Ayurvedic College, Kurukshetra, affiliated to Kurukshetra University. They stood first in the university but both have not got the degrees and gold medals so far.

Deputy Registrar (Exam), Kurukshetra University, vide its letter dated May 7 revealed that the degrees had already been sent on March 14 to the Principal of the college and the medals would be sent in due course.

Several visits and repeated letters/reminders to the Principal, Commissioner and Secretary, Health and Medical Education, Haryana, but in vain. Both of my wards have lost job opportunities twice unable to show the degrees during interviews.

S.R. Vats, Patiala



Woman dies of cold
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
A 55-year-old woman yesterday died of cold at a shelter in front of the Government College for Men, Sector 11. She was taken to the Sector 16 Government Hospital where she was declared brought dead. The identity of the woman could not be ascertained.
The body has been sent for a post-mortem examination.



Judge bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
Mr Ajit Singh(74), father of Mr Randhir Singh, Additional District and Sessions Judge, Fatehabad, died here today after prolonged illness.
Several members of the judiciary attended his cremation this afternoon. Mr Ajit Singh, who retired from the Public Health Department of the Chandigarh Administration, is survived by his wife and two sons. 



A.R. Talwar bereaved

Chandigarh, January 5
Ms Kaushalya, mother of Mr A.R. Talwar, Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Punjab, died at Silver Okas hospital today. She was unwell for sometime. The cremation will be performed at the Badungar cremation ground, Patiala, tomorrow afternoon. TNS



Animals for adoption
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
People For Animal (PFA) is offering the following animals for adoption, free of cost. All that they need is a loving and caring family.

Adoption list

  • Adorable six male and female puppies black, black and white, brown and white colour, mixed breed, good looking and healthy. Wanted a loving and caring home.
  • Two mixed Labrador female puppies, brown colour, 1½ months old, very active and healthy. Wanted a loving home urgently.
  • Two male Pomeranian and 1 female Pom for adoption, 3½ yrs old, fully vaccinated, wanted a loving home urgently.

Lost and found

  • A male black Labrador, named Ace, one-year-old, white spot on chest, wearing a red colour, lost from # 228, Sector 9-C, Chandigarh, on 28th November 03 morning. For any information kindly contact PFA office.
  • Lost a mixed Pomeranian and German Shepherd, black and brown colour, height 1ft, male lost from Sector 35A, Chandigarh, on 9th Dec. 2003 at 7 a.m. He is wearing a black leather collar and another identification mark is he is having white feet (all four).
  • Lost a Pomeranian, brown and white colour, height 1ft, male lost from Sector 15A, Chandigarh on 10th Dec. 2003, at 7 a.m. named Tom. Wearing a chain collar. For any information contact PFA office.
  • PFA found a male white Pom, wearing a black nylon collar found from Sector 35C, Chandigarh.
  • For further details on adoption of animals or information on the lost animals, kindly contact at Ph. No. 749080/749080/ 749211 between 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.



Banned injections seized
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
A huge stock of banned Oxytocin injections worth Rs 55,000 were seized from two licenced shops — Tejinder Medicare Centre and M/s Vicky Medical Hall, located in dairy complex, Ludhiana, and M/s Passi Medical agencies, located at Pindi Street, Ludhiana — during joint raids conducted by officials of the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, yesterday.

Dr DPS Sandhu, Director, Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, said drug inspectors also took away five samples of these injections manufactured by different firms for test and analysis from these chemist shops. These injections were suspected to be spurious and sub standard. As many as 98,900 injections were seized. The raids were conducted as part of a campaign to curb the sale of intoxicating and spurious drugs in the region by chemists.



Two killed in mishaps
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 5
Two persons were killed in road accidents on the first day of the Road Safety Week being observed by the Chandigarh Traffic Police.
A 35-year-old daily-wager and resident of Pipliwala town, Mani Majra, Ramesh Singla, was killed when his bicycle was hit by a tractor being driven by a migrant labour, Raju, near Modern Housing Complex, here this afternoon. Raju, employed at a sweet shop in Mani Majra, ran away after abandoning the vehicle.

Singla is survived by his wife and two small children, Mohit and Anshul.

In the second accident, a truck cleaner, Kala, was crushed between two trucks in Sector 26 this evening.

As per police sources, Kala was standing near a parked truck when he got sandwitched between the trucks. In this case also the accused ran away.



Cable charges up in Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 5
Watching TV has become a costlier affair in the township with cable operators hiking their charges.
The new charges per connection have been increased to at least Rs 300 per month from January 1. Earlier, the rates varied between Rs 190 and Rs 230 in a majority of the sectors. The operators had been planning the hike for quite sometime on the plea they had to shell out more to pay channels and overhead charges had gone up. 


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