C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Deemed varsity status for CSIR likely, says Sibal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
With the view to reaping rich benefits of an established brand name as that of the Central Scientific and Industrial and Research (CSIR), the Minister for Science and Technology, Mr Kapil Sibal, is envisaging a deemed university status for the institute, in which common degree would be provided to research scholars working in all 38 laboratories in the country falling under its ambit.

The advantages of the move, as the Minister explained, would be better placements in the global market and easy return and absorption of those willing to come back to the extended Alma Mater.

“I have already discussed this idea with secretaries in my department and am keen on making it a reality,” said the Minister, who is also the Vice-President of the CSIR, while delivering a special lecture at the Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH) here today.

Emphasising on providing ample freedom to the scientists engaged in fundamental research and development of newer technologies in India, Mr Sibal said it was the duty of the government to provide such an atmosphere for growth. “I think the Indian education system is highly flawed as there is too much interference of the government. For the furtherance of science and technology, there should be no hierarchy and no difference between a boss and a student. This would equip them to compete with the best in the world,” added Mr Sibal.

Equally emphatic was his call for more investment in the human resource development and creation of knowledge. He said: “If the 19th and 20th century belonged to the capital investment, the 20th century belongs to investment in knowledge.”

Within the first three months of assuming charge of the Minister of Science and Technology, Mr Sibal admitted that he had developed a unique respect for the scientists working in laboratories across the country, many a time without eyeing rewards. “The young scientists in India, in their 20s and 30s, are doing a phenomenal work. We are in a unique position as in the next 20 years, 400 million people would join the work force, which would be capable of producing intellectual revolution. Such young people need understanding politicians and a patronising state,” he said.

During his maiden visit as Minister to the IMTECH today, Mr Sibal also visited the laboratories in the institute along with the Director IMTECH, Dr Amit Ghosh. The Minister was also briefed about R&D activities being carried out in the institute.



Sibal wants India to develop scientific temper
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
If everything goes well, Chandigarh may soon have a centre for the development of nanotechnology covering a new frontier of science dealing with virtually every aspect of human life.

An indication to this effect was available here today during the course of a visit to the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) by the Union Minister of State for Science and Technology, Mr Kapil Sibal. This was his first visit, after becoming a minister in the Union Council of Ministers, to Chandigarh. At the CSIO, Mr Sibal addressed a meeting of the staff of the central organisation. He was also given a presentation on nanotechnology by Dr Lalit M. Bharadwaj, Head, Biomolecular Electronics and Nanotechnology.

“What I have seen here is amazing”, exclaimed Mr Sibal in a talk with TNS and later in an interaction with media persons. “The CSIO is carrying out cutting edge research and development in several fields. Both Dr R. P. Bajpai, Director of the CSIO, and Dr Bhardwaj have put forward a suggestion for the development of a nanotechnology centre in Chandigarh. I will lend them full support”.

Mr Sibal pointed out that in the South, Bangalore was developing as the IT centre of the country while Hyderabad was growing as the biotechnology hub. Therefore, there was no reason why Chandigarh, in the North, should not be the national choice for a nanotechnology centre.

He emphasized that the 21st century was the century of knowledge. The progress which the world had made during the past 100 years would be dwarfed by the progress it would make during the next couple of decades. Therefore, every country was investing heavily in acquiring knowledge. In India, it was sad to see that the country was investing just 0.7 per cent of the GDP in research and development. It was now proposed to raise it to 0.9 per cent but he would prefer to spend at least 2% of the GDP on research and development. Most other countries in the world were spending between 5-7 per cent of their GDP on research and development.

Mr Sibal said that the importance of science and technology had been recognized by the new government and the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh himself in his Independence Day speech had declared that science and technology must be in the forefront of all developmental activities in the country.

He said he wanted to see a scientific temper develop in the country. Technology today dominated all aspects of human life. Yet the benefits of technology were not fully appreciated by the common man.

It must not be forgotten that as many as 70 crore people of India earned less than Rs 3, 000 per month and found it difficult to make both ends meet. Therefore, harnessing technology to make life better for the common man was the real challenge.

The minister also said that he wanted to turn the CSIR into an educational hub. It was a quality brand name recognised throughout the world.



Burglars decamp with mobile sets worth lakhs
Second theft in Sec 35 market in 6 months
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
Burglars decamped with mobile sets worth lakhs from SCO 359 and 360 in Sector 35 last night, a second time during the past six months.

The area in which the burglars struck has witnessed a series of thefts with almost a similar modus operandi. The incident comes a month after an adjoining electronics shop of an Airtel outlet was burgled.

The thieves entered SCOs housing an Airtel outlet from the rear of the shop, leaving no clue as to how they might have broken in.

According to the staff employed with the Airtel outlet, the theft was noticed in the morning. They found empty cartons of mobile phones lying in the shop. The shop was insured. The police brought sniffer dogs and forensic experts to gather clues. The staff said after the last burglary six months back, a central locking facility was installed in the shop and grilles put up at the rear of the shop.

The staff said they had not yet been able to find out as to how many mobile sets had been stolen from the basement.

Agitated shopkeepers of the area said the police had not been able to solve one burglary case, despite the thieves striking at will in the market during the past couple of years. They said it seemed one gang was operating in the market as the modus operandi in all cases was the same.



PGI staff union says MP acting under “threat”
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
The sudden change in the stand taken by the member of Parliament and PGI’s institute Body member, Mr Suresh Chandel, extending support to the Deputy Director, Administration (DDA), Ms Meeta Rajivlochan, has baffled the PGI’s employee union.

In a letter to Union Health Minister A. Ramadoss, the Union has cited the reason for the shift in Mr Chandel’s stand — that the DDA had “threatened” him to get the CBI inquiry re-opened against him for claiming false TA/DA from the PGI as member of the institute body.

The union said the DDA had “hushed up” the inquiry earlier.

Mr Chandel, who had earlier written to the Health Minister asking for repatriation of the DDA, has now called it a mistake and again written to the ministry not to do so.

Calling the step as “an unfortunate move that had lowered his image in public,” the union officer-bearer said “Mr Chandel is a representative of the public and it is his moral duty to be with the people”.

The Deputy Director, Administration, Ms Meeta Rajivlochan, who was asked to proceed on indefinite leave and was also served a show-cause notice, is yet to join her official duty at the PGI. Sources say she is yet to reply to the notice, to give an explanation for the circular she had issued on August 24 “challenging the PGI Director’s authority.”



Watching TV channels to be a costly affair
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
Watching your favourite TV channels is going to be a costly affair. With the cable operators all set to pass on the service tax to the subscribers, the monthly cable bill is likely to go up by atleast Rs 20, much to the chagrin of the
general public.

In fact, cable operators in certain sectors had already urged the subscribers to shell out the enhanced bill from next month. A pamphlet distributed by a cable operator in Sector 44 urged the residents to bear with the operator as it had become difficult to provide the service at the previous rate on account of the hike in service tax on the cable industry in the Budget.

When contacted, Mr Sandeep Bansal of the Siti Cable, a major multi-system operator (MSO) providing services in the city, confirmed the proposed hike. However, the exact quantum of hike would be decided in consultation with the cable operators, he stated.

Justifying the hike, Mr Bansal blamed it on the increase of rates by the pay channels and the recent service tax. Only recently the MTV and Nickleodeon channels have been converted into pay channels. The Star group too had been contemplating a hike for some time. Only news channels are free.

A cable operator said they had no option except to hike the rates as they had to shell out more to the MSO. An increase in the running cost also necessitated the increase in the rates, he added.

However, what has irked the common man is the fact that while the increase in service tax has been marginal from 8% to 10.2%, the hike will be disproportionate to it. There are no guidelines governing the hike and the consumer is solely dependent on the whims of the individual cable operator.

At present, the cable operators charge anything between Rs 150 to Rs 250 per month, depending on the number of connections.

Moreover, the quality of service leaves much to be desired with reception of certain channels continuing to be poor and some channels remaining off air for days together. There are also allegations that a majority of cable operators do not issue receipts of payments.

It may be recalled that on August 17, the cable operators had gone on a two-day strike on the call of
the All-India Cable Forum against the increase in the service tax.



PUDA move on urban estate to boost development
Bipin Bhardwaj

A green belt developed in a PUDA-approved housing colony in Zirakpur.
A green belt developed in a PUDA-approved housing colony in Zirakpur. — A Tribune photograph

Zirakpur, August 30
The announcement of an ultra-modern urban estate near Zirakpur by the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) is set to give a fillip to the planned development of this township and the adjoining areas.

Moreover, action taken by PUDA against colonisers, who have developed unapproved colonies in this village-turned township and nearby areas, have forced buyers to give a second thought to buy residential plots and flats in approved colonies. As a result the property rates in seven PUDA approved colonies have also witnessed a sharp increase.

In fact, the announcement of the urban estate has forced the private colonisers to act together and offer added facilities to the plot holders and flat owners in their respective housing complexes. Showing their concern for the environment, a majority of the colonisers have given priority to the planting of trees and landscaping of their surroundings.

The developers claim that their colonies have developed in much better way as compared to the colonies developed by PUDA in different cities of Punjab.

“The landscaping and parks in our colonies are much better than any other colony developed by the PUDA in the state till date,” claimed Mr Rajat Kakkar, director of a housing society.

Mr Narinder Sharma, developer of another colony, claimed that he had developed the housing colonies as per the specifications of PUDA. Moreover, keeping in view the interests and aims of buyers, for what they pay, the colonies had been provided a green cover of plantation, attractive parks and wide roads having streetlights.

He claimed that PUDA-approved colonies were definitely the best developed as compared to the colonies supposed to be developed by the PUDA in the Urban Estate. Mr Sharma pointed out that PUDA had not allotted scores of residential units in a colony developed in Mohali five years ago. Hence the future of the urban estate could be well imagined.



All set for teachers’ selection
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
After waiting for over an year, the UT Education Department is all set to recruit over 150 teachers against the reserved category posts. The process of holding interviews for the recruitment, to be done on All-India basis, would begin by the second week of next month.

The interviews would be held in a phased manner, beginning with the subjects of social studies and Hindi. The maximum number of posts were of the JBT teachers. The department has to fill sanctioned posts in around 15 subjects, said a senior officer in the department.

Mr D.S. Mangat, DPI (Schools) confirmed that the education department was in process of beginning the recruitment process. There were around 6000 applications under the reserved category with the department. The candidates being called for the interviews had already appeared in a written test held in 2003. But their result had been withheld as a case of candidates from other states claiming right for the UT posts was being heard in the Supreme Court.

After the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal filed by the Chandigarh Administration over the recruitment rules and directed it to continue with the instructions of the Union Public Services Commission with regard to appointment of candidates in reserved category who belong to other states. The Joint Secretary Personnel, Chandigarh Administration, in a communication to all heads of departments on December 12, 2003, clarified that it had decided that Scheduled Caste candidates from all over India were eligible for the benefit of reservation on the pattern of the Central Government.

When the matter was being heard in the Supreme Court, the Education Department had treated the candidates in reserved category from other states as general candidates. The result of the written test of the reserved category from UT and from other states was withheld till the court decision.

The candidates lamented that the department took over eight months to process their case. “Though the directives of the Administration came about eight months ago, a lot of time was wasted in seeking clarification from the administration. A joint merit list of the local and outside candidates had to be prepared on an All-India basis”, said the official.

The department would give another opportunity to the outstation candidates whose application forms had been rejected due to the age bar limit as they had been treated under the general category. Now, age relaxation has to be given when they are treated under the reserved category.



A tearful day for three sisters
Brothers succumb to burn injuries on Rakhi
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
Sisters’ prayers for the longevity of three fire victims turned tearful when their brothers succumbed to their injuries in the GMCH, Sector 32, on the day of Rakhsha Bandhan today.

It was the most unfortunate day for sisters of 25- year-old Satpal, 14-year-old Kishore and 18-year-old Jitender, who died today. The victims were fighting for their life in the GMCH after being admitted there on August 26. Five of them including, Mahesh and Brajesh, were hospitalised after they received burn injuries while working in Avtar Autos in the Industrial Area, Phase I.

Satpal died last evening, a day before his four sisters gathered at his home to tie rakhis on his wrist and pray for his longevity, his elder brother Jagdish told the Chandigarh Tribune. Satpal had been working in a car painting factory for eight years. He was a foreman in the factory. Father of a 10-month-old daughter, he lived in Mauli Jagran in Chandigarh.

His married sisters — Laxmi, Dulari, Parwati and Rama — were at his house to greet the family on the day of Rakhsha Bandhan.

Bhola Shah, the grandfather of Jitender (18), who died at around 12.30 am today, said he would cremate his grandson in Chandigarh as he did not have money to take him to his village in Chhapra district. Jitender had been visiting his 10-year-old sister Rekha in the village during the two years of his stay in Chandigarh but this time his sister sent him rakhis by post.

Bhola Shah said he had not been given any compensation and was not in a position to take the body to his village for his little sister to bid him adieu. Jitender, the eldest in the family, has one sister and two younger brothers.

Kishore (14) was planning to go to Chapra in Bihar to meet his eight-year-old sister Poonam before he became a victim of the fire sparked off by a gas cylinder in a painting factory. His father, Chattu Majhi, also from Chhapra district, said he had visited his sister last year and was thinking of going this time also. A rakhi was sent to him by post this time.

A landless labourer, Mr Majhi, said Kishore was staying with his relatives in Colony Number 4. Residents of the area said the other two injured — Mahesh and Brajesh — are also serious. Their relatives led by a BJP Yuva Morcha Vice-President Shashi Shankar Tiwari alleged that the doctors in the GMCH had not paid any heed to their requests to conduct post-mortem examination since 10 am in the morning. He said it was not conducted till 3 pm though the police had completed the formalities by 11.30 am. Mr Tiwari demanded a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to each of the victims. Mr Tiwari said none from the Labour Department had visited the victims and most of the factories do not give employees’ state insurance scheme to their employees.



Ex-servicemen may get service benefits for 2nd emergency period
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
The Punjab Government is set to grant the benefit of service rendered during the second emergency period by ex-servicemen who have been re-employed in the state government after discharge from the armed forces. The benefit includes counting the period of military service towards fixing seniority for the purpose of pay and pension.

"It has been agreed to in principal by the chief minister," Brig J.S. Jaswal (retd), Director, Sainik Welfare, Punjab, said. "The matter has been sent to the legal remembrancer for vetting before formal cabinet approval is accorded," he added.

The second national emergency, imposed following the 1971 Indo-Pak war stretched from December 3, 1971, to March 25, 1977. The period for which the benefits would be granted by the Punjab Government would be known once the formal cabinet approval is granted and the notification is issued.

The grant of benefits of service during the second emergency period would benefit a large number of Punjab Government employees who had served with the armed forces prior to being employed by the state government.

The move to grant this benefit comes close on the heels of the state government restoring benefits of service rendered during the first national emergency in the wake of the 1962 Chinese aggression. The first emergency encompasses the period from October 26, 1962, to January 9, 1968. it was also during this period that the second Indo-Pak war took place in 1965.

The benefit of military service was given to re-employed ex-servicemen who were appointed by the state government before February 11, 1982. However, when the service rules were revised the same year, the clause granting benefits to ex-servicemen was suppressed. There had been consistent demands from ex-servicemen to restore the benefits.

The benefit of emergency period service is applicable only once. There are hundreds of state government employees spread across different departments who had taken up arms during the emergency period, but were discharged after their services were no longer required.

According to National Emergency Concession Rule 1965, the period spent by a person in military service during the first national emergency shall count for increments for any post or service to which he has been appointed. The period is counted only in cases of appointment to permanent services, provided the person is not earning any pension from military service and any bonus or gratuity received by him in respect to military service is surrendered to the state government.

The period between the date of discharge from military service and the date of appointment to any service or post under the state government will also be considered towards fixation of pension, provided the period is less than a year. The period between 1-3 years could be allowed in exceptional cases.



Chandigarh Calling

SANDEEP Arora was a strapping young man studying engineering. He sacrificed his life while saving the lives of his fellow students who were drowning in a canal. Sandeep was a third year student of Baba Asthal Bohr Engineering College, Rohtak.

On August 29, 2000, Sandeep on seeing his two college mates struggling for lives jumped into the canal. He managed to save the two students but could not come out afterwards. The swirling waters of the canal washed him away. For his act of bravery he was posthumously awarded the Jeevan Raksha Padak.

Sandeep belonged to a family of advocates. His older brother, Mr Dinesh Arora practises in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. His father is an Advocate in Rohtak. His uncle, Mr S.P. Arora, Director Public Relations Chandigarh Administration, lives here.

The family had lost a brave son but his memories live on.

Going an extra mile

Strange are the ways of the university babudom when it comes to managing elections of the graduate constituency of the Senate which involves establishing polling booths all over the region.

For one, the Registrar, Prof Paramjit Singh, has no clue to what is going on in his own office. To begin with, the final voters’ list wasn’t ready by the due date, giving the candidates a tough time locating their voters. Then, again, the list of booths, approved by the Syndicate for the election, was modified to suit his fancy. This list is being corrected in consonance with the decision of the Syndicate now, wasting time, energy and finances.

If that is not all, candidates have recently found out that in Panchkula where two booths, one in Sector 8 and another in Sector 15, have been allocated, booths for some voters have been swapped.

While a voter in Sector 8 would go to Sector 15 to cast his vote, another would come from Sector 15 to Sector 8 to exercise his voting right. The university sure does believe in “going an extra mile”, literally.

BJP in overdrive

Two political parties, different ideologies and strikingly contrasting stands. While the “Silence is golden, speech is silver” rule seems to be guiding the local unit of the Congress, the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) is very efficiently playing the role of the watchdog in the city.

The water problems of city residents, damage-caused by rains, removal of encroachment failed to elicit any response from the Congress leadership.

However, the BJP seems to be in overdrive, issuing statements on practically anything in the city. They have spoken on issues of corruption, on tainted ministers, on monsoons and the apathy of the officialdom, shopkeepers woes’, encroachments etc. There are times when issues have been exhausted. For this, the party has a substitute, that of holding an internal meeting and giving a point of view.

Who says the city is politically dead? Journalists receiving faxes every day would certainly disagree. The Congress might be missing in action but the BJP is doing its bit in keeping politics alive and kicking in the city.

PU’s exercise in futility

The fate of the students of the Department of Laws, Panjab University, barred from appearing in the examination for lecture shortage, continues to hang in balance. After shuttling between the department and the Syndicate without arriving at any decision about their fate, the Syndicate decided in favour of the students and condoned the lecture shortage.

However, once again, the spectre of lectures is back to haunt them with the department having taken a stand that they would be admitted to the semester they have missed out on while their case went from the department to the Syndicate and back. This implies that the affected students would have to wait till December when that particular semester will begin. This means that they would end up wasting one whole year for the laxity shown by the university in deciding their case.

A Syndic, questioning the relevance of their own decision, said the lecture condonation was an exercise in futility if the students end up wasting a year. With the file pending before the Vice-Chancellor, he stated that the hope would order in favour of the students was still alive.

Road needs repair

The Chandigarh Administration went into an overdrive to clear the sullage and sand dunes that had accummulated on the city roads following incessant rains that lashed the city recently. The roads marred by potholes caused due to the rain were repaired on a war footing to restore the flow of vehicular traffic on the roads. However, in certain sectors, the tell tale marks of the fury by of the rain gods are still visible (see photograph).

The approach road near the Tribune Colony linking the GT Road is a grim reminder of the damage done by the rain waters. Besides having scores of potholes, this narrow road has been encroached upon by barricades laid by the police here which has aggravated the problem. The unlit road poses a danger to the road users after sunset. Being low-lying it is more prone to mishaps.

A couple of days ago a cyclist and a scooterist had an head-on collision with the scooterist breaking his ribs, while the cyclist had to be rushed to a private hospital with a minor head injury.

Puja in Maalkhana

One rushes to a place of worship to find inner peace but if you can find peace even in the maalkhana of a police station in Chandigarh.

This was witnessed in the maalkhana of the Sector 11 police station of Chandigarh where puja is performed by police station staff in front of a big alloy idol of Ganesha which was recovered from a thief.

It seems that the policemen who are not able to visit places of worship try to connect themselves to the god through this idol.

Pay heed to hearing disorders

As many as 15 to 20 per cent of the children in India suffer from some hearing disorder, many of which can be treated if diagnosed in time. This was stated by Dr R C Deka, head of department, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at the 10th annual conference of the Association of Otolaryngologists of India which concluded at the PGI last week. The doctors say among the common causes of hearing loss, the loss due to infections ranks highest, which can, however, be prevented if diagonised early. “If the infection is detected early, then it can be treated by giving anti-biotics. Otherwise, after 15 years, the treatment becomes difficult,” said Dr Deka.

Throwing light on the cochelear implants, which are inserted in the patients for correction of the hearing disability, the doctors are advising proper screening beforehand on the procedure which entails a heavy cost of more than Rs 5 lakh. “If we have a patient, who is not getting better by the hearing aids, then the physician should screen him for the implants by monitoring the patient for nearly a year. The consultation of neurosurgeon is also essential in the treatment,” added Dr Deka. The cochelear implants are available at select Indian hospitals, including AIIMS and the PGI. Prof S.B.S. Mann of the PGI gave the inaugural address at the conference.

Alternatives to animals

The People for Animals, Chandigarh, hosted a training seminar and workshop on animal welfare and the curriculum last week at the CII Convention Hall. A number of teachers, professors and scientists from the PGI, IMTECH, the PAU, PU, DMCH and other institutes attended the session.

The training seminar and workshop was organised by the Inter NICHE (International Network for Humane Education) in collaboration with the WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals) as a part of a series on the subject held across 10 cities in India.

Through these workshops and seminars, it is proposed to train 500 teachers in the use of alternatives in teaching pharmacology and life sciences. Alternatives that best fit as replacements to the use of animals and relevant to the India curriculum in veterinary, pharmacology and life sciences had been selected and these were demonstrated during the workshops. The alternatives demonstrated include CDs, models, and suture pads mannequins.

— Sentinel



BJP leaders leave for Bangalore
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
In order to participate in the “satyagraha” being held from September 1 to 7 at Bangalore in protest against the arrest of Ms Uma Bharati, a group of Chandigarh BJP leaders headed by Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, president, BJP, Chandigarh, left for Bangalore yesterday.

The group included Mr Purshotam Mahajan, Mr Mohinder Arora, Mr Girdhari Lal Jindal, Mr Krishan Mahajan, Mr Hari Shankar Mishra, Mr Lal Jha, Mr Baldev Puri, Mr Sachin Lohtiya, Mr Baljit Singh Sidhu, Mr Paramjit Singh, Mr Sukhwinder Singh (Goldy), Mr Baljit Sethi, Mr Pritam Dass Mongia, Mr Baljit Dhillon and Mr Swaran Singh.

Mr Kewal Krishan Addiwal, general secretary and spokesperson, BJP Chandigarh, said the satyagraha was being launched in protest against the “politically motivated” case against Ms Uma Bharati for hoisting the national flag in an Idgah in Karnataka 10 years back.

He said it was the first-ever case in the history of independent country when a national leader had been lodged in jail for hoisting the national flag.

The BJP group led by Mr Yash Pal Mahajan would participate on the first day of the “satyagraha” on September 1 when thousands of BJP workers from Gujarat and Karnataka would participate. Mr Lal Krishan Advani, national leader of the party and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, will lead the “satyagraha”.



Consumer body’s plea to PSEB
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 30
The local Consumers Protection Forum has demanded that the Regulatory Commission of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) should give a proper analysis of the proposed tariff hike for the information of consumers.

Mr P.S. Virdi, president of the forum, said office bearers of the forum held a meeting with the Chairman of the Regulatory Commission in Chandigarh today.

It was urged that there should be no hike in the power tariff. Instead financial losses, if any, should be recovered by “plugging the holes”.



Muslim panel presents memo to DC
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 30
The Muslim Welfare Committee presented a memorandum to the SDM, Mr M.L. Sharma, in connection with the demolitions carried out by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) in the graveyard on August 27, here today.

The committee members told the SDM that the demolitions had been carried out by PUDA without issuing any notice. The committee members urged the SDM to come out with a solution in order to avoid any untoward incident in the future if PUDA planned to carry out such demolitions again.

Documents showing land allocation to the committee by the Punjab Housing Board in 1984 were presented to the SDM.

The members said, PUDA had tried to take over the possession of the land in 1995 and the affected persons had to go to the court, which had taken decision in favour of the committee.

The SDM said the papers presented by the committee would be sent to the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar.



Fauji Beat
Army sets eyes on 2008 Olympics

HAD Major Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore not won a silver medal, the large Indian contingent would have returned from the Olympic games empty handed.

The Army had recently established an Army Sports Institute (ASI) in Pune and is looking forward at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The general opinion among the public is that the Army can do it because of the absence of political influence, favouritism and corruption in its selection and training.

The Army’s operation is called “Mission Olympics” and is aimed at the 2008 Olympics. The ASI will be training its sportspersons in athletics, aquatic sports, boxing and archery. Training in other events will be imparted at various other stations. For shooting, at the Infantry School, Mhow, for wrestling at Maratha Light Infantry Centre, Belgaum, for sailing at Maharashtra and Gujarat Area and for equestrian and rowing at 61 Cavalry, Delhi, and Pune, respectively.

The Army is also making arrangements for the Art of Living discourses, Kerala massages, sports psychologists and special diets. Coaches for the mission are being arranged from various countries.

Divisional sports banner

Second Mechanised Infantry Battalion (1Jat LI) has won the 14 Infantry Division sports banner for 2003-2004. In all, 19 units contested for the banner. To bag this honour, the unit won volleyball, hockey, handball and JCO’s tug of war events and was runners-up in basketball, kabaddi and wrestling.

The unit has set an enviable record in sports and athletics in its existence of more than 200 years. Subedar Attar Singh and Havaldar Herender Singh have participated in the National Games in high jump and wrestling, respectively. Subedar Major Padam Singh had represented the country in the 20-km-walk in the Asian Games. And Capt (now retired Brigadier) Labh Singh Sitara had represented India in the Olympics in triple jump.

Recruitment age

Many people are still in doubt about the minimum age of recruitment in the Army. The age was 16 years until last month but has now been enhanced to 17 years and six months. The upper age limit, however, continues to be 25 years.

This change has been made in view of the decision of the state parties to the UN protocol on the convention of Rights of the Child. The Government of India is a member of the convention.

Non-payment of benefits

This is one of the several such cases where the duly sanctioned pension of JCOs and other ranks is not paid to them by the Defence Pension Disbursing Officers (DPDOs) for years on end. In this case, a retired sepoy from the Artillery, Joga Singh has not been paid Rs 1,275 as his revised monthly pension from January 1, 1996. Nor is he getting his disability pension, which is 30 per cent since November 2001.

This is happening despite the fact that the Artillery Records, Nasik, has sent complete details of his entitlement to all concerned, including the DPDO, Patiala. Western Command. The ex-servicemen Helpline has also written a number of letters to the DPDO, Patiala, Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (pensions), Allahabad, and Artillery Records.

Pritam Bhullar



14-yr-old run over by car
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
A 14-year-old resident of Mattawala village in Panchkula was killed and his mother was seriously injured when a woman driving a car allegedly hit them near Kansal.

The woman allegedly first hit Nirmala (40) and then ran over Gurmeet (14) near Kansal, the police said. The victims were standing near the Punjab Secretariat when they were hit. The car driver, Ms Anjana (40), was reportedly talking on a mobile when the accident happened.

Gurmeet was taken to the PGI where he was declared dead. Nirmala had come to visit her parents’ house for Rakhi.



Man held on kidnap charge
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 30
The local police has arrested a person on charges of kidnapping a woman and compelling her into marriage.

According to the police, Ranbir Singh Thakur (25), a resident of Chimma village in Uttar Pradesh, had kidnapped kaushalya (16), a resident of Jagatpura village.

The parents of Kaushalya were staying in a rented accommodation in the village.

A case had been registered against the kidnapper under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC on a complaint by the father of the girl.

Ranbir Singh was arrested and the girl traced. He will be produced in a court tomorrow.



Six involved in sex racket remanded
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 30
Six persons arrested by the police in connection with the running of a flesh trade racket from Raipur Rani, which was busted yesterday, were remanded in judicial custody after being produced in the District Courts here today.

The police had received information about the racket operating in the house of a 50-year-old woman, Raksha Devi, alias Ranjhan. Besides her children, three girls were part of the racket.

Decoy customers were sent to the house and a deal was struck for Rs 5,000.

The police then raided the place and caught Raksha Devi red-handed.



Pharma industry must play a bigger role, says expert
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 30
Indian pharmaceutical industry should rise to the challenge and emerge as a major force in the area of development and production of biopharmaceuticals.

This was stated by Dr Amit Ghosh, Director, Institute of Microbial Technology, (IMTECH), Chandigarh, in his inaugural address entitled “Shifting paradigms: Emergence of biopharmaceuticals” at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) here today.

Dr Ghosh presented a chronology of events leading to emergence of biopharmaceuticals as a major source of therapeutic moieties. He shared his experiences of development of the cholera vaccine and streptokinase to highlight the complexities involved in the development of biopharmaceuticals.

Dr Ghosh was speaking after inaugurating a three-week intensive course on “Development, scale up and production of biopharmaceuticals”. The course is sponsored by the Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs (TC Division) under the ITEC and SCAAP programmes and will be held from August 30 to September 17, 2004. This is the sixth course being organised at NIPER under this scheme.

Earlier, Dr C.L. Kaul, Director, in his welcome address, highlighted the role being played by NIPER in the area of drug discovery and development. He also pointed out that introduction of molecular and cell biology had caused a paradign shift in the pharmaceutical industry.

Indian pharmaceutical industry could leverage their prowess in process development and compliance to good manufacturing practices to become a major player in the production of biopharmaceuticals.

More than 15 participants from countries like Iraq, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Cuba, the Honduras, Bhutan, Palestine, Oman, Ukraine and Sudan have confirmed their participation in the workshop. At last five delegates from the Indian pharmaceutical industry and academic institution are likely to participate.

Resource persons from the pharmaceutical industry, academia and regulatory agencies will be sharing their experiences with the participants. Prof U.C. Banerjee, Head, Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, and Mr Subrata Sarkar, Registrar, NIPER, are coordinating the course.



Lockout lifted, 963 rejoin JCT
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 30
As many as 963 former employees of JCT Electronics Limited here have rejoined the company till date following the lifting of its lockout on August 27. The company had 1092 employees on its rolls when it closed down on March 12, 2002.

The management today asked for voluntary resignation from the employees as part of the MoU signed between the management and the employees. Before the company closed down in 2002, the management had offered VRS to the employees and received 341 applications.

However, the VRS was limited to 139 persons. Sources in the JCT said while the VRS would be limited to 139 persons, others who wanted to quit would be given emoluments due to them.

Mr Jaswinder Singh Jassa, vice-president of the employees union said the company had asked its employees to join back within 10 days of its opening on August 27. Those who failed to join within the stipulated period would not be considered for re-employment.

As many as 1,375 employees of the unit lost their jobs following the closure of the company. The employees, many of whom are living in the company’s residential complex in the township, have not been paid wages since June 2001.

Most employees who get back will get an average salary of Rs 4,000 per month.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the company’s representatives and members of the JCT Employees Union was signed on August 22 and the lockout lifted on August 27.



Book on business groups released

Ludhiana, August 30
The Punjab College of Technical Education, here, released a book recently. The book is titled “Business Groups in Punjab” in which 25 prominent business groups operating in Punjab has been introduced. The copies of the book were presented to the Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh, sometime ago. The book contains the information about the location of the companies, product profile, markets served (foreign and domestic both), quality certifications, about flagship company of the group and the way they started their business and faced the extremities of highly competitive business world. OC


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