C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


MC assured of 17 pc revenue share
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The Union Home Secretary, Mr N. Gopalaswami, today assured that the local Municipal Corporation would get the promised share of 17 per cent from the revenue collected through taxes in the city. He, however, did not give a time frame for the same.

A delegation of municipal councillors, led by the Mayor, Mrs Kamlesh, met the Union Home Secretary and demanded 17 per cent share in UT revenue generated through taxes.

The second Delhi Finance Commission has recommended that the Municipal Corporations should be given 17 per cent of the taxed revenue. The Home Ministry is yet to give its consent in this regard.

Mr Gopalaswami addressed mediapersons after a meeting of senior Chandigarh Administration officials at the UT Guest House this morning.

During the meeting, he was briefed by senior officials of the administration on the status of 6,000 employees of the corporation and Punjab Engineering College.

Regarding the issue of corporation employees seeking deputation status, Mr Gopalaswami said the Ministry of Personnel had not agreed to the “deemed deputation status”, as suggested by the Chandigarh Administration. He maintained that the matter would be resolved.

Mr Gopalaswami said: “The UT Administration has surplus budget. Hence, it can also take a loan to raise money for the proposed sewerage treatment plant which is expected to cost Rs 20 crore. He suggested that some government financial institutions can be approached for raising the money.

On police modernisation, the Chandigarh Administration has sought Rs 1.25 crore, which will be part of the next budget. The money will be used to buy equipment.

The Joint Secretary (Finance), Mr Dalip Kumar, made a presentation on the financial health of the Administration. The Chief Architect, Mrs Renu Saighal, gave an overview of Chandigarh.


Instant relief for cancer pain is here
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
You may be in for a major surprise as instead of prescribing-whole lot of medicines to cancer patients, doctors at the PGI’s Radiodiagnosis Department inject a concoction of alcohol and local anaesthetic to give instant relief from chronic abdominal pain.

The department has introduced this unique therapy to give relief to cancer patients suffering from excruciating abdominal pain by injecting the “spirited cocktail” with the help of a CT-scan machine. “This special concoction has been very effective in giving instant relief from pain to abdominal cancer patients, who had otherwise lost all hope as neither surgeons nor painkillers and analgesic tablets could give them relief from their agony,” said Dr Naveen Kalra, Assistant Professor, Radiodiagnosis Department.

Though it is only a handful of patients who have been given this concoction of 20 ml pure alcohol and a local anaesthetic so far, seeing the encouraging results, the doctors say it gives instant relief from the excruciating abdominal pain suffered by chronic patients. The alcohol helps in blocking the nerve plexus which carries the pain fibre in this procedure called celiac ganglion plexus. The patient starts getting relief from the pain within six hours after the concoction is injected.

Explaining the therapy, doctors say the concoction is injected with the help of a CT-scan machine, so as to zero in on the neurons, triggering the shooting pain in the abdomen. They say the procedure had been found to be highly effective and safe, especially in patients who had been unresponsive to medical management. The reason so far only a handful of patients have been given the spirited concoction is because they have to be referred to the department either by a surgeon or a radiotherapist.

Since painkillers prove to be ineffective in giving relief to these chronic cancer patients, we can at least provide them solace with the help of this concoction, say doctors. They assert that in the few patients, who had been put on this therapy, there had been no complications or side effects.

The team of doctors, including, Prof Sudha Suri, Head of Radiodiagnosis Department, Dr Madhu Gulati, Dr Naveen Kalra, Dr Mandeep Garg and Dr Mandeep Kang, have used this concoction on cancer patients. Administered under a local anaesthesia, the alcohol concoction greatly helps in improving the quality of life for these patients, on whom even the analgesics do not have any effect, say doctors.


Mohali — India’s new IT destination
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Total Software Export from Mohali STPI : Rs 95.62 crore*

Break-up of big players:

Infosys Technologies Limited (Mohali) Rs 34.5 crore

Quark (Mohali) Rs 30 crore

Mohali, January 9
Welcome to Mohali, the next Information Technology (IT) destination of India. And this time it is not the Punjab IT Department that is saying this for the benefit of MNCs. According to the latest figures released by Software Technology Park of India (STPI) Mohali, there has been an exponential increase in the quantity of software export from Punjab in the past one year touching the magic Rs 100 crore figure. Stating that this means the end of bad days for Punjab in the IT sector, the Director STPI, Dr Sanjay Tyagi, today said that they crossed the Rs 95 crore mark on December 31, 2003, and by March-end this year, the figure would be close to Rs 150 crore.

The STPI, Mohali, a Government of India body which regulates software export from Punjab and Chandigarh, is the sole registering body of all IT and IT-enabled industries and has 186 industries from Chandigarh and Punjab registered with it. And the number is still growing.

‘‘Out of these 186 industries that are registered many are in the process of setting up business and since the gestation period is long, the current figures pertain to only 50 companies what are fully functional,’’ he added.

Another feel-good factor is the fact that over 75 per cent of the total export that is taking place from Punjab and Chandigarh is concentrated at Mohali. ‘‘The reason is that the two big players in the IT Sector Quark and Infosys are based here. These two alone are responsible for 67 per cent of the total exports from the state, including Chandigarh,’’ he added.

Compared to the 38 other STPIs in India, STPI, Mohali, is now becoming one of the bigger grossers. Sources informed that STPI, Shimla, Dehradun and Jaipur which are also catering to the North are not doing as well as STPI, Mohali.

Despite this consideration, the fact remains that there is a cut throat competition between Punjab and UT Chandigarh for the big players to house their projects in their areas. Punjab has, for the time being, clearly surpassed Chandigarh in the quantity of exports. While the export from Chandigarh till December 31, 2003, was worth Rs 21.63 crore, from Punjab, software worth Rs 73.99 crore was exported in the same period.


Panel formed to review constables’ recruitment
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The Chandigarh police has set the ball rolling for filling vacancies of constables in the reserved category.

The police has set up a three-member committee comprising SSP (Headquarters) Virender Singh, SP (Operations) H. G. S. Dhaliwal and DSP Om Prakash to review the recruitment of constables.

The committee has been asked to review recruitments since 1997, when candidates in the reserved category, who did not belong to the Union Territory, were barred from recruitment in the Chandigarh police.

During this period, there have been five recruitment drives and the case of non-recruitment of Scheduled Caste candidates is pending in court.

Meanwhile, sources in the police said 29 local candidates in the reserved category had approached the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) but their plea had been rejected.

These candidates had pleaded that they were from Chandigarh and the rejection of their candidature by the Chandigarh police was “wrong”.

The review of the cases of the constables follows that of Assistant Sub-Inspectors. On January 1, the Chandigarh police appointed five Scheduled Caste candidates from outside the Union Territory.

The committee has been set up in the wake of a Supreme Court judgement allowing reservation for people under the quota from outside the state late last year.

After a detailed survey, the Chandigarh police has concluded that at least two Scheduled Caste persons from the 1997 batch and 13 from the 2002 batch might face the axe when the Supreme Court judgement is implemented.

The sources said during these recruitment drives, candidates from other states had to make way for local Scheduled Caste candidates despite being placed higher on the merit list.


3 sworn in as High Court judges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Bar members Rajive Bhalla and Ajay Kumar Mittal, along with Haryana’s youngest Advocate-General Surya Kant Sharma, were administered oath as Punjab and Haryana High Court Judges by Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy this morning. The number of High Court judges, with their elevation, increased to 28 against the sanctioned strength of 40 and recommended strength of 53.

During an impressive ceremony attended by sitting and retired judges of the High Court, besides bureaucrats, relatives and 500-odd advocates, the judges swore to “bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established”.

The ceremony commenced at 10 am sharp in the courtroom of the Chief Justice. As the warrants of appointment were read one after the other, the crowd, sitting on the sofa sets listened attentively. They got up to applaud as the newly appointed judges shook hands with the Chief Justice. Some others clicked photographs, rapidly.

Earlier, during the day, just before the ceremony was to commence, the advocates struggled to get inside the courtroom through not-so-narrow doors. They pushed their way through the huffing and puffing crowd, only to stand in front of the eager relatives.

Prior to his elevation, Mr Justice Bhalla was practising on the civil and constitutional side. A product of Panjab University’s Department of Laws, he did his schooling from Lawrence School in Sanawar before completing his graduation from Government College here.

Mr Justice Mittal — grandson of a Barrister — too made a name for himself on the civil side. After doing his graduation from Sri Ram College of Commerce, he completed his law from Delhi University in 1980. In July the same year, Mr Justice Mittal got himself enrolled with the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association before commencing his practice here.

Mr Justice Sharma, perhaps, the youngest serving High Court judge in the country, was functioning as Haryana’s Advocate-General. He was considered an “expert” in service matters”.



CJ attaches top priority to filling of vacancies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Impressive swearing-in ceremonies for administering oath to advocates and judicial officers as Punjab and Haryana High Court Judges will be held in the near future also for collegium has recommended “all names” for filling the vacancies.

Talking to reporters after the swearing in ceremony held this morning, Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy asserted that his top priority was to fill the vacancies.

The Chief Justice said the Government of India had been intimated that the requirement at present was of 55 Judges even though the Law Ministry had recommended an increase in strength from sanctioned 40 to 53. The Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana had “made endorsements with my view,” Mr Justice added.

Regarding delay in appointment of judges, the Chief Justice added that nothing was pending with him. “As many as 49 courtrooms were ready, the Government of India had been moved for making arrangements for accommodating the other judges,” Mr Justice Roy said.

Commenting on war against corruption in lower judiciary, Mr Justice Roy said the other judges were also not in favour of corrupt officers.

Meanwhile, the President of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association Dr Anmol Rattan Sidhu welcomed the move of the Chief Justice to fill all the vacancies.



69 rounded up over R-Day security
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The Chandigarh police today carried out a major drive to prevent a possible entry of terrorists in the city to disturb the Republic Day celebrations.

The police rounded up 61 persons from the grain market in Sector 26 and eight from the Sector 17 Inter State Bus Terminus. These persons were later let off after they produced documents of their identity or guarantees of the local persons. The police sent their address details to respective police stations to confirm their identity.

Around 200 police personnel, led by SSP Gaurav Yadav, today swooped on the grain market in an operation. All DSPs and SHOs were part of the team that reached the grain market. The operation continued for two hours.

The same team, then, came to the bus stand and carried out the operation for almost an hour checking the identity of the passengers.

The police alertness, coming earlier than expected, fuelled speculations that it was working on a specific information of Kashmiri militants sneaking into the city. Mr Yadav, however, denied that there was any information regarding Kashmiri militants entering the city.

He said IG Rajesh Kumar had asked the force to become more active in the wake of the approaching Republic Day and the action followed the order.


DRDO develops special ration
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed special ration packs for tank crew, which are convenient to use while on manoeuvres. These packs have been developed so that troops in the field are able to prepare nutritious meals from ready-to-eat or ready-to-cook ingredients in the shortest possible time.

According to DRDO officials at the 91st Indian Science Congress organised here, the ration packs can support a four-man tank crew for three days. A variety of such packs were also displayed at the science exhibition set up as a part of the congress.

A different menu has been chalked out for each day. Each item is separately packed in hermetically sealed pouches with details about the contents and instructions printed on it. Each day’s supplies are packed collectively in green coloured plastic bags.

The items have a shelf life of about a year. DRDO officials said that ration for one tank includes four packs each for three days and eight accessory packs. The total weight of the ration packs is about 6 kg.

According to available information, these packs were recently tried during exercises and under combat conditions by armoured regiments from Patiala and Bikaner, following which they have been recommended for operational use.


Celebrate Lohri with chocolate gachak
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, January 9
Your eager eyes looking for something crunchy and sumptuous to munch after sitting around the fire on the Lohri evening will not merely rest on “Made-in-Rohtak” gachaks embellished with raisins and nuts. Shops all over the city are offering much more in this January for celebrating the occasion.

If you haven’t done your shopping, just drive down the market and pick up channa gachak in case you are diabetic. You can take home the stuff for just Rs 60.

Gachaks in different flavours, including chocolate and coconut, are also available. “They are Chandigarh’s most wanted,” says Jagjit Singh of a shop in Sector 19.

The reason, he asserts, is not hard to see. “City residents have always favoured chocolates not only as gift items, but also to savour. That is why we have combined chocolates with gachaks. The combination has actually succeeded in generating demand among the buyers”.

If you wish to buy these, just take out Rs 80 from your wallet. These are little expensive compared to the traditional gur and sugar gachak with dry fruits, but then these are different.

This is not all. You have a choice as far as the shape and size is concerned. “You can purchase round, square or oval-shaped gachaks. These are also available in the shape of barfis,” reveals Harmohinder Singh of a sweet shop in Sector 35. “The stuff is made in Chandigarh, but workers have been specially called from Rohtak for preparing the delicacies.

For rewri lovers, tit-bits made out of gur and sugar with cardamom flavour are available. You can also buy “til bhuga” by spending the same amount. Desi ghee pinnis are also being prepared especially for the occasion.

These are available for Rs 140 a kg. For newly-weds, besides those celebrating the “first lohri” of their little ones, the stuff can be wrapped with red cellophane paper or boxes embellished with gota.



Lawyers recount Pak visit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Members of a lawyers’ delegation, which had gone to Pakistan recently, recounted their experiences at a function last night. Several city residents had been invited to listen to the views of the members of the “Advocates’ goodwill mission”.

Dr Anmol Rattan Sidhu, president of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association, who was the leader of the delegation, was presented awards of Ambassador of Peace by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the Punjab Bar Council, Lahore.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sethi, general secretary, Chandigarh Nagrik Sabha and International Punjabi Society, who had organised the function, welcomed the improving relationship between the two nations and narrated his experiences during the recent visit to Pakistan.

Besides the delegates, the prominent persons who attended the function were Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Member of Parliament, Chaudhary Harbhaghwan Singh, Advocate-General, Punjab, Mr Sant Ram Singla, Chairman, Mandi Board, Punjab, Mr Justice K.S. Grewal, Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr Chaman Lal Sharma, Mr N.K. Nanda, Mr B.B. Bahl, president, CTCC, and senior advocates of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The awards were presented to Dr Sidhu on behalf of the Chief Justice, Supreme Court, Pakistan, by Mr Justice K.S. Grewal and on behalf of the Bar Council, Punjab (Pakistan), by Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal.

The members said the people of Pakistan had shown affection and hospitality to the delegations of MPs as well as judges and advocates.

Mr Jaspal Singh Kandhari and all executive members of Chandigarh Club also attended the function.


Councillors air views at Mayor’s meeting

Chandigarh, January 9
“Scores of developmental proposals mooted by the Municipal Corporation are caught up in bureaucratic hassles. Several decisions taken by the House have been turned down by the administration.”

These views were expressed by a cross-section of councillors who assembled at an informal get together organised by Mrs Kamlesh, the new Mayor of the city, here today.

Mrs Amar Kulwant Singh and Mr P.C. Sanghi asserted that formation of committees and their recommendations were inconsequential unless the decisions were implemented. It was also felt that the corporation needed more finances and financial autonomy in order to provide better services to the city residents.

Twentysix of the total 30 members of the House were present on the occasion.

Opening the session, Mrs Kamlesh said: “I have called the meeting to tell my fellows that we need to bury all differences and shoulder our responsibility collectively.”

Mrs Kamla Sharma, a BJP councillor, assured the new Mayor of her help as the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr Dildar Khan said the corporation needed to look into complaints of unruly behaviour by the enforcement staff. Mr Chandermukhi, a Congress councillor, said the party differences needed to be buried outside the House.

Mr Gian Chand Gupta, a BJP councillor, underlined the need of “bridging differences between the corporation and the administration”. Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, the local Member of Parliament, also demanded more meetings with the corporation officials. Mr Pardeep Chhabra, Senior Deputy Mayor, proposed the vote of thanks. TNS



Viewers cry foul over cable fee hike
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 9
It is ‘fleecing time’ for the cable operators of the town. With the “cable syndicate” hiking the cable charges by over 60 per cent, thousands of television viewers are at the receiving end.

Even as the cable operators blame the pay channels for the unprecedented hike, subscribers are at their wits’ end, trying to figure out what has triggered off the hike.

In fact, the hike has come as a bolt from the blue for the harassed subscribers, who are already feeling the pinch of the earlier hikes.

After the recent hike, the monthly subscription has gone up from Rs 300 to Rs 400 from the earlier charges of Rs 200 to Rs 300. The Panchkula Cable Network and the Panchkula Cable System have a virtual monopoly over cable business in the town. Sources say the companies have about 5,000 cable connections each, although this figure is disputed by observers.

Residents contest the rationale of the companies hiking charges on the plea of increase in connectivity and subscription charges by pay channels. While the charges in Chandigarh and Mohali are quite reasonable, why are we forced to pay more, asks a resident of Sector 7.

Prof Charanjit Chawla, a Sector 16 resident, has urged the government to intervene and work out a reasonable tariff plan for the region. If newspapers can reduce their prices and finance their operations with the support of advertisements, the pay channels should also follow suit, he says, demanding a reduction in the increase.

On the other hand, the cable operators put the blame on the pay channels. Mr Rajiv Garg of the Panchkula Cable Network says the hike had become necessary as the Star package has hiked the price by about 58 per cent.

The Star package currently offers Star Plus, Star Movies, Star News, Star Gold, National Geographic and Channel V.

The increase in case of Zee package, which offers Zee TV, Zee News, Zee Cinema, Zee Music, MGM, Cartoon Network, Alpha TV, ETC and CNN, has hiked its subscription and connectivity charges by over 40 per cent, he says. The charges of the Sony package, providing Sony, Set Max, HBO, AXN and Discovery, has gone up by over 30 per cent making the hike a necessity, he adds.

Defending the hike, cable industry sources claim the township did not witness any hike from 1990 to 2001, when subscription ranged between Rs 100 and Rs 150. However, on account of revision of the subscription and connectivity charges, the rates were slightly revised from a minimum of Rs 150 to Rs 165 per month in 2001.

Since then, Mr Garg claims, pay channels have been exploiting their monopoly position and hiking the subscription and connectivity charges at regular intervals, forcing the cable operators to follow suit.

Cable companies used to increase the charges per package, but now the trend was to demand minimum charges in lumpsum for a package, leaving the cable operators in the lurch, he said.


2 hurt as Canter, car collide
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 9
Two persons travelling in a car were injured after being hit head on by a Canter near the PTL chowk here last night. According to the police, the injured were rushed to PGI and their condition is said to be critical.

The accident occurred at 1 am today when the car being driven by Ajay was hit by the Canter coming from the opposite side. Ajay was on his way to drop the other occupant of the car, Jaswant Singh, to his residence in Mundi Kharar. The Canter driver managed to flee the spot unhurt.


Fire in treasury office
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
An incident of minor fire was reported in the treasury office of Punjab, Sector 17, here today.

“It was a minor incident which occurred due to a short circuit in the office. No loss has been recorded”, a senior officer of the Fire Department said.

Employees rushed out of the building and remained stranded for about an hour.


256 pirated VCDs seized
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
A racket of making pirated VCDs of films on the day of their release was unearthed by the Chandigarh police today.

Ajay Gupta of Sector 20 D was arrested today along with 256 VCDs, two computers and two monitors allegedly used in making CD copies of “Chameli” which was released today.

The racket was unearthed in a joint operation of the Sector 19 police station personnel and three members of the Malhotra Copyright Protection Agency. The agency had taken permission from the SSP to raid the business establishment for allegedly being involved in piracy.

The area manager of the agency, Mr Sachin Kapoor and Mr Vishal Sharma, were with the police team.

The agency has been involved in the seizure of around 20,000 VCDs in more than 15 raids across the city.

The agency has rights to protect copyright of “Chori”, “Hangama”, “Chameli”, “Ishq Hai Tumse” and “LoC”.

The agency has been sending decoy customers to keep an eye on those involved in violation of the Copyright Act.

The agency had earlier recovered 6000 VCDs from three shops in Sector 39. It was also behind raids in Sectors 22, 26 and 27.


Student held for molesting girl
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
A second-year student of the Sector 26 Guru Gobind Singh College was alleged molested by Desraj of Mauli Jagran.

The girl disembarked from a CTU bus at a bus queue shelter in Sector 32. Desraj allegedly picked her up and took her to a friend’s house in Sector 46 on a motor cycle.

The girl, daughter of a Sub-Inspector of the ITBP, alleged that Desraj molested her and beat her up in Sector 46. She escaped and narrated the incident to her parents, who approached the police to get her statement recorded.

The police arrested Desraj following the statement of the girl yesterday. The police is investigating the case.

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