C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Vacate extra land or admit more kids
Admn notice to 10 city schools
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
In what may change the land scape of many city schools, the Chandigarh Administration has issued notices to 10 schools saying they have surplus land which is not being put to optimum use.

These schools have been asked to indicate within two months if they have any expansion plans to accommodate more students or else they should return the surplus lands so that new schools can be allotted the same space.

Sources said if the land was acquired it would be within the framework of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. Schools would be paid compensation and the Collector could even fix a special rate.

Notices had been issued after it was found out that several of the city schools had not been using the land allotted to them to optimum potential.

Explaining what ‘optimum use’ of land meant, an official said the covered area of school, after leaving open spaces for play grounds, had been specified.

According to these specifications a school had to have certain number of students. This number varied according to the permissible covered area.

All ten schools that have been served notices were ‘under utilising’ the land. In some case the schools had not even covered 40 per cent of the permissible covered area.

This effectively meant fewer classrooms and less number of students.

With space being in short supply in Chandigarh, the Administration wanted these schools to either take more number of students to justify land allotment or else surrender the surplus land.

The schools were free to submit a proposal which they would have to execute within a time-frame to expand within the permissible limits, sources said.

Also, sources said the Administration was foreseeing another problem. No schools in residential areas would be permitted after March 31 this year. About 75,000 students were studying in the schools operating in residential areas.

Even if the Administration tried it could not allot land to all schools running in residential areas. So the students would have to be accommodated somewhere.

In the notice to these 10 schools, the Administration admitted that the city was running short of land. Official sources said in the past an exercise to identify new schools sites had not helped.

These notices came about after senior officers of the Administration ‘briefed’ the Administrator about the problem and also the ways of asking the schools to act.

Most of the schools which had been served the notices were allotted land in the first phase of the city’s development in the 1950s and 1960s. The land was in abundance then and nobody could imagine that the city would face a space crunch in 50 years’ time. 


Donations for infrastructure in schools justified
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 11
Justifying donations by schools on the pretext of providing quality education and infrastructure for the overall development of pupils, the Chairman of the Indian Public Schools Committee (IPSC), Mr B.R. Dubey, today demanded the introduction of the grade system to evaluate the performance of students.

Talking to The Tribune at Dikshant International School in Zirakpur, near here, Mr Dubey said every talent of a student should be considered which the current system of evaluation was lacking.

The introduction of the grade system would do a lot of good for the education system, he added.

With that end in mind, the 76 top public schools in the country had formulated a strategy to impart “total quality education” to students.

Giving details, Mr Dubey said a foundation course had been designed for primary students while for the post-primary students, a course aimed at exploring career avenues had been initiated.

Coming back to donations, Mr Dubey, who is also the Principal of Birla Vidya Mandir, Nainital, said the voluntary donations meant the involvement of society in the creation of infrastructure in educational institutions.

However, he stressed accountability in the spending of money received by way of donations saying that money should not go in the pockets of the managers of educational institutions.

Mr A.N.Dar, a former Principal of Doon School, also came strongly in favour of voluntary donations saying that the donations were not frowned upon even in foreign countries.

The establishment of excellent facilities at premier schools required money and with the government turning its back to public schools, contributions from the public was the only ray of hope, he added.

Urging the bright students to join active politics, he said their entry in politics was all the more necessary keeping in mind the current political scenario in which the politicians called the shots and determined the destiny of the country.

Terming tuitions as an offshoot of the modern education system and a status symbol for the affluent, Mr Dubey advocated a ban on the "system-based" tuitions. Only "need-based" coaching could be allowed and the government should come with strict guidelines in this regard, he said.

Instead efforts should be made to reward the efforts of teachers to discourage tuitions. In this direction, the IPSC had instituted the "achievement award" and "lifetime achievement award" for teachers and IPSC chairmen, he added.


Is MCC a paper tiger?
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
Is the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC), an authority only on the papers? So, it appears if one looked at the fact that a large number of schemes passed by the corporation on paper were non existent on the grounds of the city.

Projects passed on ‘the priority list’ by the corporation were nowhere in sight of implementation.

“People read about the welfare schemes in newspapers. They start questioning us (councillors), after some time. There is also a section of people which feels that the area councillor had not followed up the case with the officials which led to its delay,” Mr P.C. Sanghi, councilor said.

Mrs Amar Kulwant Singh said, “We do not even have the right to fix the priority of the work that is cleared with our permission. I attended a couple of the arts and culture committee meetings only to discover that we did not have even a single rupee in our kitty. What is the relevance of such a committee then?”

She said, “We often look into issues concerning community centres without any control over the finances. It is as if we are only supposed to clear the issues and then forget about them.”

Mr Sanghi said he had a list of at least 11 programmes passed by the corporation directly related with his area. These were never implemented. “I have a list of at least three projects which were placed on the priority list by the Mayor. They were never completed”.

Mr Chandermukhi, a Congress councillor, said, “Projects worth more than Rs 85 lakh, cleared by the corporation, were yet to be implemented in matters pertaining to the horticulture wing. Similarly, there were projects worth nearly Rs 5 crore pending with regards to the roads.”

Mr Chandermukhi said, “The issue was not challenging the Administration’s role in the running of the corporation affairs. This is just to state that corporation should have the power to at least set the priorities for the projects under way.

This is also to repeat that the corporation be given at least 17 per cent share out of the taxes collected from people as per the recommendations of the Finance Commission.”

He said, “We are supposed to be follow the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act. However, it was not followed in letter and spirit when it came to the question regarding the delegation of powers.”

“The corporation should compile a list of various projects that stopped mid way following their clearance by the House to point out the need for a review into the issue. Councillors need to be united on the front of pursuing the matter of seeking more autonomy for the corporation with regard to that of the administration,” he added.

Mr Gian Chand Gupta, a BJP councillor, also underlined the need for more interface between the two wings of public governance (Administration and the corporation) to give more dignity to the office of the Municipal Corporation.

Mr Surinder Singh, a Congress councillor, pointed out the need for more earning departments in control of the corporation for more independence.


Can’t hear BSNL phones ring here
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 11
Believe it or not — even in the post-Sam Pitroda India, there is still a place in the sun that does not have a Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) telephone. Much to the advantage of its private competitors and much to the inconvenience of the residents, BSNL has not been able to extend its cable network to Sector 68 here.

The residents have, for over two years now, been demanding that BSNL should start laying its wires in the sector so that they too can have telephones, but according to them, BSNL authorities have done precious little in the direction. The result is that the residents have taken to using mobile telephones since most of the private operators too have refused to give landlines in the absence of enough underground cables.

‘‘We have met BSNL officials many times, but we have been told that they will be laying cables soon. But since nothing happened, we ended up buying either mobile phones or wireless loop system phones from private operators. But these phones have their limitations in Internet usage and STD,’’ said Mr Manoj Aggarwal, general secretary of the Residents Welfare Association of the sector.

It is not just the residents who are facing problems. The Army Institute of Law here too has only private lines in the absence of BSNL telephones. ‘‘I do not know why we have these phones. When I joined the institute, these were in place, but not a BSNL telephone,’’said Dr Veer Singh, the Director-General of the institute.

Some residents said a BSNL employee living in the sector had a BSNL line at his residence. It seems that BSNL has also favoured others with a few lines in the area. The Punjab School Education Board residential colony in the sector has over 10 BSNL lines. ‘‘We had to make a special request for the same and also pay for the wire that was connected to the cable at Kumbra village. We have requested for four more lines, but have been refused,’’ informed Mr C.S. Meelu, Deputy Director of the board.

Strangely enough, residents of Sector 67, that houses the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, and Sector 69 do not have such a problem. While the whole of NIPER has BSNL lines, a part of 69 is also networked with BSNL.

Mr K.K. Sarangal, General Manager, BSNL, Mohali, said he was aware of the problem. ‘‘These are new sectors and BSNL has not been able to put the primary cable here. As a result the whole of Sector 68 and parts of Sector 69 are not networked.

Earlier we were waiting for the allotment of the primary cable. Now the system of landlines is being considered outdated,’’ he said.

‘‘We will introduce wireless loop telephones by the end of this month and residents of Sector 68 will be given these on a priority basis,’’ he added.


Nilokheri accident victim dies in PGI
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 11
One person was killed and three others were injured when their Tata Sumo collided with a CTU bus near Nilokheri in Haryana.

Sumitra Devi of Barwala succumbed to her injuries in the PGI here. Tata Sumo was one of the five vehicles that collided in the multiple accident, the police said.

Sumitra Devi and three others were brought to the Panchkula government hospital. Considering Sumitra Devi's condition as serious, she was referred to the PGI.

The vehicle was going towards Delhi from Barwala when it collided with the bus coming from the opposite direction, allegedly on wrong side.

Swaran Kaur and Charanjit Kaur travelling with Sumitra Devi are in General Hospital.

R.P. Shikhandi from Sector 14, Panchkula, and Rajwinder Singh from Sector 19, travelling in a Maruti car that was involved in the multiple accident, were also hospitalised.


Hiding crime in brain to become history
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
Criminals sometimes go scotfree for want of evidence, leaving forensic scientists dismayed as the data related to crime is stored in the impregnable brain of a perpetrator of crime.

But concealing the data in the mind will soon be a thing of the past with the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) here having started work on acquiring brain fingerprinting facility — reading the criminal brain. The polygraph test available till now has limitations of a highest success rate of 90 per cent — sufficient only to peep into criminal minds.

Sources in the laboratory said it had started acquiring software for such a facility and by 2007 it would be available in the city. This new technology was capable of detecting concealed information stored in the brain through the physiological parameters, voice stress, eye blood flow rate and electrophysiological manifestations of information processing brain activity.

The purpose of brain fingerprinting facility is to include detection of information processing undertaken in the brain, concealed information in the brain, communication from the brain to a computer and command and control of computers and electronic and mechanical equipment by the brain. In this process, words or pictures relevant to a crime are flashed on a computer screen along with other irrelevant words or pictures. Electrical brain responses are measured non-invasively through electro-encephalograph (EEG) headband sensors. MERMER (memory and encoding related multifaceted electro-encephalographic responses) is emitted by the brain of a perpetrator, but not by the brain of an innocent suspect.

The laboratory took up the challenge of developing such techniques following the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) considered by forensic experts at their Ahmedabad conclave a few years back. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs had approved the funding of the project. The NHRC had been insisting on neuro-psycho-physiological methods, which had the potential to replace conventional third-degree methods, for interrogation of suspects, victims and witnesses.

This facility will be in addition to the existing polygraph tests monitoring blood flow, breathing and perspiration rates. These facilities are being added to the laboratory to increase the success rate of a polygraph test. Experts say the polygraph test scores lower when it is administered experimentally on the basis of a mock crime scenario. The CFSL is also equipping itself with infrared facial image analysis and voice stress analysis facilities to have multiple tools to storm a criminal's impregnable mind.

According to the scientists, temperature of a person's mind increases when he lies. This can be detected through thermal image analysis. The CFSL is also building up this facility. In this method, facial and eye images are acquired by an infrared camera. The thermal data is matched with blood flow rate data to classify the subject as deceptive and non-deceptive.



Before the interaction session of students attending the Children’s Science Congress with the President, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, got underway, the organisers gave strict instructions to children about sticking to their seats. “Don’t try to come forward to get autographs from the President or shake hands with him. Leave your seat only if he asks you to,” they were told.

However, after the lecture, as soon as Dr Kalam came down from the stage and shook hands with one, the rest were all around him and the organisers had a tough time making way for the President to leave the hall.

In the front row

To give representation to all states, the first row in the hall at IMTECH, the venue for the interaction, had a student from almost all the northern states. The logic given to the students from the southern states was that the President came from the South and regularly visited schools there. “We must give other students a chance as well. Anyway, the number of seats in the front row are less than the number of states in India. There is little we can do,” the organisers explained.

This, however, did not satisfy some students, especially one girl from Chhattisgarh, who tried to reason with the organisers about giving representation to her state in the front row till the very end but to no avail.

Doctor, heal thyself

During one of the many medical sessions held as a part of the Indian Science Congress, Prof M.K. Bhan, an expert in paediatrics from AIIMS, New Delhi, was asked why doctors age and suffer from ailments like any other human being.”Doctors know all causes of ailments and how these can be kept at bay. They have no reason to fall ill,” a delegate enquired. “We stress out looking after others,” came the reply from the doctor.

Tomato sans oxalic acid

Tomatoes are known to be responsible to a great extent for kidney stone. However, that is about to change if the research being carried out by Dr Subhra Chakraborty, a scientist from the National Centre for Plant Genome Research, Delhi, comes through.

“We are still working on the tomatoes. We have worked upon the tomato using an edible fungal pathogen to remove oxalic acid which gives rise to stones in the kidney. We have stably integrated the two and the research is at the third stage,” she said.

At the lab, a potato with increased protein content has also been worked upon and is ready for use.”The work of the scientists in this regard is complete. The recommendations in this project are being forwarded to the government for approval,” she informed.

New hostel

For the principal, staff and students of DAV Model School, Sector 15, Chandigarh, it is a dream come true. After years of planning and struggle, an independent girls hostel has been constructed at the school campus.

Built at a cost of Rs 90 lakh, the three-storey hostel building can accommodate up to 100 students. It will take care of the immediate requirement of the school for hostel accommodation.

According to Mrs Rakesh Sachdeva, principal, the school which also runs a Nursery Teacher Training Course (NTTC) recognised by the National Council of Technical Education, has been attracting students from all over India, including such faroff places as Leh, Kinnaur, Manali, Dhanbad, Manipur, Bhutan, Nepal, Dubai and Singapore. Earlier, the hostel was a part of the school building which caused inconvenience to the hostellers as well as the teachers. Therefore, the DAV management decided some time ago to provide for an independent hostel building.

Mr G.P. Chopra, President, DAV College Managing Committee, New Delhi, formally inaugurated the building last week.

NCC contingent

A contingent of 120 cadets of the NCC belonging to the States of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, finally left Chandigarh for New Delhi last week to participate in the Republic Day Camp 2004.

These cadets will be competing with NCC cadets of 15 other directorates, who would also gather at New Delhi. The contingent comprises 79 senior division boys and 25 senior wing girls from various colleges and nine junior division boys and seven junior wing girls from various schools of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh. It is led by Lt Col SK Malhotra.

The cadets have undergone rigorous training to compete for competitions at the national level in drill, firing, flag area and cultural programmes. Out of these cadets, six would be vying for the best NCC Cadet of India award. These cadets have been specially trained in firing and obstacle course.

The entire training was carried out in ITI, Sector 28, Chandigarh, under the guidance of Col Ashwini Sharma, Group Cdr, Chandigarh, during DCAT Camp II from November 24 to December 5 and then during pre-Republic Day camp from December 17 to 29 . The selected cadets have been provided with new uniforms and mufti dresses. Brig DS Dhillon, DDG, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh Directorate, said that he was fully satisfied with the training of these cadets. He was certain that cadets would bring laurels to their respective states and the NCC Directorate.

Calendar trouble

The uncertainty over the future of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, caused by the activities by the Congress dissident MLAs throughout last month in Delhi and Chandigarh has enabled the Punjab Markfed to steal a march over the state government in bringing out the annual calendars and diaries.

While the state’s Public Relations Department debated as to whose portrait should be printed on the calendar for 2004, the Punjab Markfed got round the problem by bringing out its calendars with a religious theme.

The four-sheet Markfed calendar depicts the historic events falling in the year 2004: the 500th year of Prakash Utsav of Guru Angad Dev at Khadoor Sahib, 400th year of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib in Harmandar Sahib, Amritsar, 300th year of the martyrdom of four Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh in Chamkaur Sahib and Fatehgarh Sahib. The single sheet calendar of Markfed depicts 400th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib in Golden Temple, Amritsar.

The Punjab Government’s official calendar carries the portrait of Capt Amarinder Singh which was apparently ordered to be printed only when it became clear that he will continue to be the Chief Minister, at least for the near foreseeable future, despite a determined campaign to oust him by the dissidents.

Tourism literature

The Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation Ltd (CITCO) has taken another initiative to boost tourism in the city. It has published literature on tourism in German and French languages in collaboration with the departments of German and French languages in Panjab University. Mr S.P. Singh, MD, CITCO, claimed that most of the foreign tourists coming to the city were from Germany and France, besides Japan.

He said this literature would be kept at CITCO hotels besides with their agents at Delhi and Mumbai. The corporation would soon bring out literature in Japanese as well with the help of the Embassy of Japan, he added.

Animated surroundings

The area around Government Museum and Art College in Sector 10 keeps pulsating with life. The new-found vibrancy of this area surely has something to do with the CITCO cafe, which has added greater charm to the already animated surroundings. Such is the magnetism of the campuses that youngsters keep coming back to it, irrespective of the fact that the Art College is closed for vacations.

Ask the students what brings them to the college and the canteen, even during holidays, and they tell you, “It’s all about the infectious charm of this place. You see the beautifully cut out logs of wood and the delightful pieces of art that adron the CITCO canteen. It’s all our creation or a creation of those known to us. We come here to become one with ourselves.”

Thanks to the recharged environment, students are now often seen engaged in artistic pursuits in the beautiful and inspiring Leisure Valley.

Qawwali recitation

Javed Irshad Rehmat could have done something better than the idiom of qawwali the other day. Although well entrenched in his medium and also very well read, Rehmat qawwal did not quite charm the audience of Tagore Theatre the way he was to. He delved too much into words, forgetting that qawwali was actually a that weaves words of sufi saints into rhythm. So while many among the audience (some people had come all the way from Rajpura to hear Rehmat qawwal), kept waiting for music to happen, the presenters kept on feeding them with poetry of saints, largely ignoring the musical requirement of the genre.

Fed up, one of the Rajpura residents actually got up and remarked, “Rehmat sahib hum aapko Rajpura se sunane aaye hain”. The qawwals, however, continued to recite the verses rather than sing them.

Please wait for minister

The other day, the Department of Lotteries, Punjab, had called for a press conference to hand over the cheques to winners of Maa Lakshmi Divali and Pooja Bumper 2003. Mr Lal Singh, Finance Minister, Punjab, was expected to preside over the function organised at lunch time. The newspaper photographers and journalists were eager to interview the winners, as the minister was not turning up. But the officials concerned declined to allow them to have photographs of the winners with “cheques”, fearing that the minister’s photograph would not come in newspapers the next day.

Most of the journalists went away after interviewing the winners, but “to ensure proper coverage in the media” the organisers again organised a programme at night, when the minister finally turned up. They were least concerned that the winners had to wait for hours to get their cheques to ensure their publicity.



Within a week, third sambhar strays into UT
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
Yet another sambhar strayed into the territory of Chandigarh this morning. Severely bruised in the left leg, the sambhar, spotted in the area near Gursagar Gurdwara behind the Lake Club this morning, was caught by about six youths after an hour-long struggle.

With today’s incident, the number of sambhars straying into the UT over the past week has gone to three. The earlier two cases were reported from Palsora and Mani Majra last week. Although the straying of the animal might be indicative of some sort of disturbance in its natural habitat, the Wildlife authorities of the UT rule out any such possibility, attributing straying cases to the fact that it was the mating season for sambhars.

Talking to The Tribune today, the Chief Wildlife Warden, UT, Mr Ishwar Singh said, “The time from December to January is the mating season for sambhars. During this period, the male sambhars compete with each other for the female sambhar’s attention. It is a virtual battle in which the powerful male sambhar drives its weaker counterpart out of the forest area. Once the animal loses its way out of the forest, it easily strays into the UT, where it is invariably hounded by dogs or is disturbed by children. That is the only reason behind the three straying cases in the past week”.

Significantly, the number of sambhar straying cases have considerably declined over the past two years. This has been possible due to heavy fencing work which UT Wildlife Department people have undertaken over the past two years. As compared to 17 straying cases reported in 2002, the number came down to just three last year. Explained Mr Singh, “We have been able to reduce the straying through fencing. The current cases are taking place because this is the only season in which the animal mates”.

Meanwhile, the sambhar, that was caught this morning, was taken away by the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) people, who reached the spot after telephonic calls made to them by the villagers. The left leg of the animal was bruised and it seemed as if it had been trapped in fences somewhere around the forest area behind the Sukhna Lake.

The UT Wildlife authorities reached the spot about an hour after receiving the information. The sambhar was caught by Vikramjit Singh along with his friends, who said they had spotted the particular sambhar in the Gursagar Gurdwara area several times. Added Gurpreet Dhillon, who was present on the spot this morning, “I had spotted this animal about a month back. Occasionally, it has been seen hovering around this area, but we had to finally trap it today because its leg was seriously injured”.The animal was taken to the SPCA centre in Sector 38 West for care. It will be later released in the forest by the UT Wildlife Department authorities.


At home away from home
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
Hundreds of miles away from her native place in Nagaland, 21 year-old college student Piholi Jakhalu makes no secret in confessing to have found a second home at Goel’s place in Sector 8, Panchkula, where there is a perfect grandpa, a granny and a sister.

In the city as part of the ‘Students’ experience in inter-state living’ project of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), it has been a memorable experience for Piholi, hailing from the Kohima tribe.

Never before has she been to this part of the country. She is part of a contingent of 40 student, including 17 girls from the North- East, who are living in group of two each with different families in the city.

Pouring her heart out, the girl narrates how the trip to Akshardham Temple in Gujarat, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Chandigarh and places of religious, cultural and historic importance has forced he to correct her opinion about the country. “Never before have I felt proud to be an Indian. I am equally excited about Dal Makhni, roti, karahi panner and sarson ka saag. I no longer feel that we living in the North- East are separate from the rest of the country”, she said.

As she narrates her experience at a get-together, her hosts, Mr Ranbir Bhushan Goyal, and his daughter, Pooja Goel, join and are equally happy to share the experience. On being asked about the programme, Piholi said she was guided by her college teacher who had been associated with the ABVP programme.

Another student, 19-year-old Dipen Kalden, from Kalimpong, said the tour was much than sight seeing. “I now understand the meaning of national integration and cultural diversity of the nation. I feel that the communication gap between the residents of the North-East and the rest of the country must be bridged” he says.

He says he is pleased to see historical monuments. The host of Dipen, Mr Atul, a industrialist in Sector 38, is excited to play the host. The guests arrived in the city yesterday after a tour of Ahmedabad, Udaipur, Jaipur and Amritsar and would remain with their host families for another two days. Today, they were on a sightseeing tour of the city.

Mr Briswajit Goswami and Mr Naloa.B.Baruch, coordinator of the programme, say the students have come under a project to bridge the gap between the North-East and the rest of the country. The ABVP has been sending students under the project since 1966. At least 1,000 students have benefitted from the programme so far. Another batch of 40 students has gone to the South.


Road Safety Week ends
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
Suman Preet Singh, Indresh Goyal and Taminder Jot Singh Behal were today declared “road rules toppers of 2003” in Chandigarh Carnival. Constable Mohan Lal of the Chandigarh Police was adjudged the best driver in a competition from amongst 80 participants. The competition was held on a tough terrain prepared on the Sector 17 Circus Ground.

Arvind Kumar, K. Rama Krishna, Neelu Sandhu, Parminder Singh and Sanjay emerged winners in the Road Safety Week, 2004 contest, which concluded today.

Sanjay Sharma and his team of Chandigarh Police artistes won an award for cultural shows to send the message of following traffic rules. Mr Sharma directed two plays for the purpose along with police personnel.

Raghubir Singh from the Punjab Mandi Board was honoured for preparing a team of students, who performed in the closing ceremony at the Chandigarh Traffic Police Line in Sector 29. Saurav Prashar was honoured for dancing on a song on following traffic rules.

The Traffic Police today organised a driving show for the employees of the police and government departments and general public. The test of drivers included theoretical and practical skills.

Around 80 drivers participated in this event. The participants first took a written test and then showed their driving prowess in practical display of driving skills. A special track was laid in consultation with the Chandigarh Motor Sports Association to see how participants drive on a difficult terrain. A high jump ramp was made to test 4x4 wheel driving knowledge of the participants.

The closing ceremony saw cultural and educational programmes in the Traffic Police Line. A hilarious but pertinent programme "Modern Mahabharata" was shown today to show reality on the roads. The SP (Operations), Mr H.G.S.Dhaliwal, chief guest of the programme, stressed the need for wearing helmets while riding two-wheelers.


Meeting on promotion of contract farming
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
The Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), Northern Region, has called a meeting tomorrow to work out strategies for the promotion of contract farming. Experts on agriculture finance and contract farming in the region will meet to chalk out a plan on contract farming.

In collaboration with KPMG Consultants, the experts will deliberate on “Facilitating bank finance for contract farming.” The session is being held in the backdrop of the Central Government’s announcement to invest Rs 50,000 crore in the agriculture sector and to promote contract farming. The Centre has announced to facilitate bank finance to the agricultural sector at 2 per cent lower interest rate than the primary lending rates of the banks.

The CII has proposed to chalk out a strategy for the revival of the farm sector. Among others, Mr A. Ramanathan, Chief General Manager, NABARD, Dr B.C. Gupta, Financial Commissioner (Development) Punjab, and Mr S.C. Agrawal, Principal Secretary (Industries and Commerce), Punjab, will also address the gathering.

Mr D.P.S. Rathore, Regional Director, RBI will discuss the policy initiatives undertaken by the RBI to facilitate financing of contract farming. Dr K.S. Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University, Dr S S Johl, Vice-Chairman, Punjab State Planning Board, Mr Himmat Singh, MD, Punjab Agro-Industries Corporation, and Mr Amber Dubey, Associate Director, KPMG, will also participate in the deliberation.


Phone subscribers inconvenienced
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 11
Hundreds of the local subscribers remained cut off from the outside world as telephones went out of order this evening.

According to information, the phones of 256 level were the worst hit. The telecom services to Sectors 2, 7 and 8 were worst-affected putting the residents to a lot inconvenience.


Fire incident
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 11
In a major fire, a booth housing cigarettes and tobacco products, was reduced to ashes in Sector 11 here today. According to information, the fire was noticed around 5.15 a.m. Even as the Fire Brigade was sounded immediately, the material inside the booth was burnt by the time the fire engine reached the site. A short circuit is suspected to the cause of the fire.


Girl abducted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
A 16-year-old girl of Khuda Alisher has allegedly been abducted by Harmit Singh of Fatehgarh Sahib.

The girl has been missing since 4 pm on January 7.

A cousin of the girl reportedly saw her at the bus queue shelter in Khuda Alisher. The parents of the girl lodged a complaint with the Sector 11 police station on the basis of the statement of the girl’s cousin.


2,750 pouches of liquor seized, driver flees
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, January 11
During its anti-liquor smuggling drive, the police failed to nab a car occupant who was driving the vehicles with 2,750 pouches of country liquor on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway last night.

The occupant of a Santro car (HR-06-8482) eluded the police leaving behind the vehicle with the liquor when a police team signalled him to stop at a naka adjacent to the local bus stop.

Sources in the police said, as the cops signalled to stop the car, the driver tried to sped away and disappeared from the scene after leaving the car and the liquor behind.

Meanwhile, a case under the Excise Act has been registered against an unidentified person at Dera Bassi police station.


2 booked on theft charge
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 11
The police here has registered a case against Jasmeet Kaur and Ashok Kumar, both residents of Mohali on the charge of theft. According to the police, the two have been missing from their residence in phase 3A for the past three months, but the case was registered against them yesterday.

On a complaint filed by Jasmeet’s grandfather, Mr Joginder Singh, the two fled his house with Rs 24,500 and 1,200 gm of gold.

Sources stated that the couple had met at a local nursing home in phase 3B2 where Ashok worked as a lab technician and the girl was tending to her ailing grandmother. Later Ashok shifted into Jasmeet’s grandparents’ house as a tenant but both decided to leave the house.

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