C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Fire ravages HR bus depot
Gitanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Disaster averted

The fire could have resulted in a major tragedy with a petrol station located right in the centre of the depot. The whole area would have been destroyed if a blast had taken place in the tank of one of the buses alone.

The petrol station has a storing capacity of 1 to 1.5 lakh litres. At the time of the fire, it was full to capacity.

The depot had around 20 buses stationed at the time of the accident. Each bus has a capacity to hold 160 litres of diesel. A fire in one bus tank could have triggered an explosion.

The ministerial car section, housing luxury cars, also managed to escape the fire. Losses would have been much more had the fire spread to this section.

Chandigarh, June 4
A major fire broke out in the local depot of the Haryana Roadways (HR) located in Industrial Area, Phase I, this afternoon. The fire started in a heap of condemned tyres lying in the depot, which later turned into an inferno.

A major tragedy was, however, averted as firemen put out the blaze before it could engulf the petrol station located within the depot.

The “accidental” fire charred four condemned buses stationed at the depot and burnt tyres worth around Rs 1.5 lakh kept in the backyard of the depot.

The roadways department put the total loss at over Rs 5 lakh.

Though the exact cause of the fire has not been ascertained, it is suspected to be either the result of a burning cigarette thrown carelessly over a four-foot wall on to the tyres or a short circuit.

At 1.30 pm, an employee of the workshop first noticed the fire and informed the fire station.

While the ball of fire raged in the backyard, the employees swung into action and removed tyres from the area.

Within 10 minutes of receiving the information, the first fire engine arrived and made a futile attempt to douse the flames.

In the absence of any backup, the fire engine returned to the fire station for a refill. In the meantime, the fire spread into a wider area even as employees made frantic efforts to save the property.

As the fire raged, the drivers at the depot tried to evacuate buses stationed there. Around 20 buses were stationed in the depot at that time.

A crane was also pressed into service to pull out condemned and broken down buses stationed closer to the heap of burning tyres. However, some of these were caught in the flames.

By the time the fire engine returned, the flames, which leapt as high as 20 feet in the air, had engulfed the entire area and were visible as far as Nada Sahib, around 15 km away.

Over 100 employees worked tirelessly to remove whatever they could lay their hands on even as they burnt their hands in the process.

A fleet of fire engines finally arrived on the scene, with some coming from Sector 11, 17, 32, Ram Darbar, Industrial Area and Panchkula, and quelled the fire.

It took two hours for the fire tenders to douse the flames. Later, they spent another two hours to put out the smoldering rubber. The depot smelled of burnt rubber as a cloud of smoke enveloped the area.

Commissioner and Secretary, Haryana Transport Department, Ramender Jakhu said the cause of the fire was yet to be established.

He added that General Manager (Roadways) Kulwant Singh Kalson would conduct an inquiry into the matter and come out with his findings in a week’s time.



Fire Department caught napping?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
Today’s fire incident at the Haryana Roadways depot exposed the ill-preparedness of the Fire Department in dealing with major fires yet again.

Paucity of manpower, lack of organising a massive fire-fighting operation in the face of a major fire coupled with the lack of essential equipment — the inadequacies of the department lay bare at the scene of the accident.

This, however, does not absolve the Haryana Roadways of the blame, as it was equally ill-prepared to handle an accident of such a magnitude.

Though the first fire engine responded promptly to the SOS call from the depot, it did not come with a backup, expecting the fire to be small.

After the flames refused to die down even after a whole tank was emptied, messages were sent out for more engines, which took 15 minutes to arrive.

An official of the Fire Department, however, clarified that the fire engines reached the scene on time but were stationed at the rear end of the depot.

Since thick smoke reduced visibility, everybody panicked, thinking the fire engines had not arrived.

The Haryana Roadways had to its credit only hand-held fire extinguishers despite the fact that a petrol station stands amidst the buses.

No fire extinguishing foam or water hydrants were available at the depot. An official of the Fire Department stated that the roadways depot had equipment that could only handle small fires.

Haryana Transport Commissioner and Secretary R. Jakhu said the accident had prompted them to think on the lines of having better fire-fighting equipment.

“We will station our own water tanker at the depot which can immediately be pressed into service and hold fort till help arrives,” he said while admitting that the fire extinguishers had proved to be insufficient to fight fire today.



Exemplary show of courage by staff
Tribune News Service

Employees of the Haryana Roadways pull a bus away from fire at their depot in Industrial Area, Phase I, Chandigarh, on Saturday.
Employees of the Haryana Roadways pull a bus away from fire at their depot in Industrial Area, Phase I, Chandigarh, on Saturday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, June 4
Panic gripped Industrial Area as hundreds of employees in the neighbouring industrial units left their places of work and came on to the roads after the fire broke out in the bus depot.

As they came out, they stood around the depot and watched the flames engulf tyres and torch the buses.

In stark contrast, the employees at the depot, unmindful of the heat generated by the fire, tried to save whatever they could.

Each of them was fired with inspiration to contribute his mite in containing the fire. “It felt like our own house was on fire and we did what we could,” an employee said.

They did everything from removing tyres to pushing out buses from the depot.

Some drove out the ministerial luxury cars to ensure they didn’t go up in flames, while others helped fellow workers to get out of the intolerable heat.

Some of the employees suffered minor burn injuries on hands while attempting to limit the fire to one area. One employee, Ravi Bhushan, however, fainted and had to be hospitalised following asphyxia.

Officials of the department said the employees had put up an exemplary show of courage and devotion towards their workplace. For all the services they rendered in difficult times, they would be suitably rewarded, they said.

However, the conduct of the public left much to be desired. The onlookers, some 800 of them, gathered around the spot of the accident and hindered movement of fire engines. The drivers had a tough time maneuvering their vehicles through the crowd.

Some of them climbed on to the walls to have a view of the fire.

Finally, they were pushed away by a handful of policemen present at the depot.



Beware of spurious ice-cream, cold drinks
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 4
Giving rules a complete go by, a large number of illegal cold drink bottling and ice-cream manufacturing units have cropped up in the district. These units have a large network of retailers, who continue to sell lemon and orange drinks and ice candy, posing a risk to consumers’ health.

Hundreds of lemon, orange and strawberry “bante wali botal” (bottle with a marble) can be seen decked up for sale on rehris along roadsides in the town, Pinjore and Kalka. Even ice-cream is available on rehris that ply within sectors as a cheap substitute to the branded ice-creams and sundaes — at almost 50 per cent less cost. These lemon, orange and strawberry drinks are available at just Rs 5 a bottle.

Investigations by a Chandigarh Tribune team reveal that while an ice-cream unit is located in Railley village, bottling units are located in Sectors 10 and 19, Devinagar village, Industrial Area and on the Pinjore-Kalka road. None of these units have an FPO number or licence from the local administration. In fact, the Health Department, Haryana, has not yet instituted a licencing authority for food/drink manufacturing units.

In Sector 10 and 19, the units are running from one room each in residential premises. Cold drinks are prepared using normal tap water. In fact, at all these units, water is stored in open tanks, which apparently have not been cleaned for weeks. A concentrate, sugar and colour is added into the bottle which is then filled with a mixture of water and gas. Nowhere workers were wearing any uniform or gloves while handling the food items.

The visit to the ice-cream factory at Railley revealed that though all necessary precautions were being taken to maintain hygiene, the unit did not have any FPO number or licence. A cement godown is located across the road and dust and cement clog the air around the unit whenever cement bags are unloaded.

Interestingly, there are no labels on these ice-creams and cold drinks to specify the packaging date, expiry date or the ingredients used in the manufacturing.

The District Health Officer, Dr Lalit Virmani, said they had been regularly taking water and ice-cream samples from these units. “Though all these units are illegal, the water samples collected from the cold drink units in March had passed for bacteriological count. Even ice-cream did not have any saccharin. But in absence of any licensing authority, we cannot close these down,” he says.



Man held for raping disabled minor
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 4
In a ghastly act, a resident of Adarsh Colony in Sector 55 was caught while allegedly raping a physically challenged minor girl living in his neighbourhood late last night.

The six-year-old victim, still in a state of shock, told the police that the accused, Rakesh Kumar (27), had picked her from her residence while she was sleeping. The polio-afflicted victim said he took her to a secluded place near the colony and raped her.

In the meantime, the victim’s parents got up around 2.45 am and found her missing. The couple raised an alarm began search for the girl along with some neighbours.

They found the girl along with the accused near the colony. The police was immediately informed, who arrested Rakesh and took the girl to hospital.

A case of rape under a Sections 363 and 376 of the IPC has been registered. Rakesh was produced before a local court, which remanded him to judicial custody.

The accused, who works as a sweeper in a private school in Sector 71, Mohali, originally hails from Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh.

He told the police that he was drunk at the time of the crime, however, presence of alcohol contents was not established in his medical report, said Sub Inspector Poonam Dilawari.



PPHC housing scheme: DC asked to submit report
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 4
With barely three weeks to go before the notification for the acquisition of land for the Punjab Police Housing Corporation (PPHC) scheme in Kharar lapses, the Finance Commissioner (Revenue) has asked the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, to probe into the attainability of the project.

The PPHC had on June 24, 2004 notified the acquisition of over 200 acres of land near the township for the construction of houses for retired and serving government servants in the state. Over 4,100 applications had been received for the housing scheme.

Following objections filed by land owners of the area, Finance Commissioner (Revenue) Rupan Deol Bajaj, during a meeting of the State Land Acquisition Board held on Thursday, asked DC H.I.S. Grewal to undertake a public hearing in Kharar and submit a report by Monday.

In case a final decision on the matter was not taken by June 24, the notification would be considered void.

During the public hearing conducted by the DC yesterday, more than 200 persons from ward No. 6 and Khooni Majra gave written objections to the DC against the acquisition of their land.

“The report would be tabled before the FC (R) at 9 am Monday morning,” said Mr Grewal who spent over seven hours in Kharar yesterday listening to the land owners.

Interestingly, former DC Ropar Seema Jain had reportedly given a go-ahead to the scheme.

While most of the land to be acquired by the PPHC fell within the jurisdiction of the Kharar Municipal Council, over 70 acres of land was part of Khooni Majra village. The MC had also passed a resolution against the acquisition of the land by the PPHC.

Sources added that a group of property dealers in Kharar were being instrumental in the filing of objections against the acquisition of land since that would allow them to develop the land themselves.

Other than seven religious institutions, as many as 58 houses
existed on the land.

Sources in the PPHC pointed out that 10 of the houses were constructed after the notification for acquisition of land had been advertised and were thus illegal.

Out of the 48 houses that were originally there in the area, 31 houses that were in the periphery of the proposed PPHC land were to be left untouched.

The rest of the houses and land owners were to be compensated with plots and houses in the PPHC scheme in accordance with the share of the acquired land.

Sources said among those who faced dispossession included widows and former Army officers.

The DC has asked the executive officer of the Municipal Council to give a report on the houses already existing on the land to be acquired.



Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link to be electrified
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
In an important development, the under construction Chandigarh—Ludhiana railway link will be electrified to provide smoother connectivity to Chandigarh. The Railways has agreed in principle to electrify the 45 km section of rail track between Chandigarh and Morinda.

The Ambala Railway Division authorities have prepared an estimate of Rs 11 crore for this and will be sending it to the Union Railway Ministry for formal approval from the Railway Board, official confirmed to The Tribune. The electrification will be done once the physical laying down of the track is complete. This is expected to be done within the next three four months.

Explaining the significance, sources in the Railways said without electrification, rail connectivity to Chandigarh would have been a major hurdle despite the new track. All major routes in North India are electrified. These include rail lines between Chandigarh - Delhi on the one side and at the other end Morinda-Sirhind-Ludhiana rail section is electrified. Without electrification, the Chandigarh - Morinda section would have stood out like a sore thumb, said officials.

Now it will be possible to divert any long distance train presently running on the Ambala-Rajpura-Ludhiana section to run on the Ambala-Chandigarh-Ludhiana section. This will only add to the running time by about 45 - minutes to 1 hour but the diversion of the train will be smooth and seamless. Without the electrification of the new track this would not have been smooth as it would have entailed changing of locomotives at Chandigarh and then at Morinda. This changes last about 40 minutes.

Operating a train on the system would have required more engines and manpower and the costs would have risen beside time factor for locomotive changes. In such a scenario, railway officials said diverting trains would not have been easy.

The Chandigarh-Ludhiana route had been planned in 1997 with electrification and latest signalling and telecommunication system as a high speed corridor as there was no direct link between the two stations and various parts of Punjab, including Jalandhar, Amritsar, Ferozepore and Pathankot, with its state capital here.



Over 1,000 phones dead in Zirakpur
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, June 4
Over 1,000 telephones have not been ‘ringing’ for the past two days in parts of Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat. Curtsey Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board for digging deep trenches to lay water pipes without varying the locations of telephone cables laid by the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) in the area.

The digging up of nine telephone cables along the Kalka-Ambala highway in Baltana village has not only put over 1000 families in hardship, but also caused huge losses to the BSNL.

With the digging up of these cables, residents of colonies, including Badhawa Nagar, Mamta Enclave, Green City, Himmatgarh village and other colonies across the railway level crossing on the Zirakpur-Panchkula road, have been disconnected from the rest of the area.

Sources in the BSNL disclosed that the sewerage board authorities have been digging trenches with the help of earth movers (JCB machines) to lay water pipes in the area, thus uprooting the underground telephone cables.

Though the BSNL and the board authorities in a meeting last year have decided not to dig trenches with JCB machines up to 5 feet depth yet the decision is being flouted by the board officials, the sources disclosed.

Mr Jatinder Mahajan, Divisional Telecommunication Engineer, Dera Bassi, said digging up of trenches had damaged cables at various places in the past couple of months.

The practice of the board had been keeping the BSNL employees at their toes since long thus affecting their efficiency adversely, he claimed.



World Environment Day today
Malba gobbling up greenery
Vishal Gulati

City Beautiful, known for its flower-rich green patches dotted with woods, is losing its sheen. Its green lungs are dying a slow death. The threat is posed by short-term thinking of urban planners.

A visit to various parts of the city reveals that botanically rich areas are under stress. They are being converted into a concrete jungle. Every day tonnes of construction debris are being dumped haphazardly in the name of filling depressions. In most of the sectors, especially in Sectors 29, 31 and 47, the corporation has identified low-lying areas and wastelands.

Officials of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation say once the depressions are filled, the process of remaking the greenbelt will begin.

However, experts say the debris is not environment friendly. Most of it contains chemicals that can contaminate soil and water. They say these low-lying areas are unique as they support not only flora and fauna but also help recharging the aquifer system and controlling flooding in sectors.

“As the city is rapidly converting into a concrete jungle, the significance of greenbelts becomes greater,” says Prof R.K. Kohli of the Centre for Environment and Vocational Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh.

He says lack of vegetation is turning cities into furnaces. Anthropogenic activities is increasing the atmospheric temperature. It is now believed that vegetation, especially perennials and trees, is required more in the cities than in the forests.

Dr R.K. Aggarwal, Head, Central Soil and Water Conservation Research Institute, says these low-lying pits can be used for collecting rainwater. He says as more and more area in the city is coming under construction, this leaves little space for the rainwater to seep in to replenish the groundwater reserves.

Scientists of the Central Ground Water Board say at present water is available in most parts of the city at 50m in deeper aquifers.

The president of the Environment Society of India, Mr S.K. Sharma, says most of the time the malba is dumped around trees, posing a serious threat to them. He says malba around stems does not allow roots to breathe and take water, reducing their life spans considerably. TNS



Babita’s death: forensic laboratory asked to re-examine report
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 4
The police has asked the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) to re-examine its report on Dr Babita Kaura's death after the CFSL claimed that she could have been pushed down from her Sector 24 residence.

The CFSL had sent its report to the police claiming that circumstantial evidence ruled out that she had jumped to death on her own on January 18 this year. The report said "deceased could have fallen", but "did not jump".

Senior Superintendent of Police Gaurav Yadav said the police had sent back the report for re-examination. The police said though the viscera examination of the victim had revealed high alcohol content (437 mg per cent), the police investigation based on questioning from the victim's friends and relatives had shown that she was not in the habit of taking alcohol.

Senior police officials also claimed that there were certain other discrepancies in the report, though they declined to reveal these.

A report prepared by CFSL, Sector 36, has given a new turn to alleged suicide of Dr Baita Kaura, Assistant Professor at the PGI. She was found dead on the ground floor of her Sector 24 residence four months ago.

CFSL scientist had prepared a dummy and threw it down from the fourth floor to ascertain whether she actually jumped to death or was pushed by someone. Though Dr Babita died under mysterious circumstances, her family members had refrained from leveling any allegations and instead asked for an inquiry into the matter.



Fire in telephone cable factory
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 4
Wild growth and wood caught fire in a telephone cable factory in the Phase VIII Industrial Area here today.

The factory, Telephone Cables Ltd, is owned by Ms Babli Brar daughter of the former Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Harcharan Singh Brar. There were billows of smoke all over the area. It took almost three hours for the brigade staff to bring the situation under control.

Though the exact cause of fire was not known, local fire brigade officials presumed that a spark from outside the factory must have fallen on the wild growth. Congress grass growing in the area was being burnt these days. The factory, however, was lying closed for the past many years.

The fire brigade staff was able to control the flames by using water from one fire tender as initially only wild growth had caught fire but the wind blowing made matters worse. The fire again got revived and the wood stocked in the factory caught fire. Employees from the fire brigade had a tough time to fight the flames.

Mr Devinder Singh Dogra, sub fire officer, said that five fire tenders were used to bring the situation under control. Every time the fire tender had to go back to the fire station for refilling as the water pressure in the hydrants in the industrial area was not adequate. An employee from the adjoining Semi Conductors Ltd informed the fire brigade about the fire.

Mr Dogra said that another fire had broken out near the PTL chowk in the morning. Here, too, wild growth had caught fire and it took some time to bring the situation under control. Fire brigade staff had also to go to the garbage dumping site to fight another fire. Fire remained smouldering in that area. The area was covered with earth by using a JCB machine but even then the smouldering did not stop.



Drive to find explosives
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 4
The police today launched a four-hour drive to find explosives and to check anti-social activities in the two bus stand and at other busy places of the city. As many as 51 picket points were set up in the city to check the incidents of snatching and other anti-social activities.

Three SDPOs, SHOs of all police stations, constables and recruits are pressed into service.



Season’s hottest day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
The mercury hit a new high today at 42.6°C making it the hottest day of the season till now.

The hot winds forced people indoors as the city and the surrounding townships of Panchkula and Mohali faced yet another scorcher as the temperature continued its upward spiral.

The minimum temperature was 24°C. The city has witnessed a noticeable rise in day temperatures since June 1 which recorded a maximum of 39.4°C which meant a rise of 3 degree in three days. The night temperatures ranged between an even 24 to 26°C.



IT Dept to start help centre

Chandigarh, June 4
The Income Tax Department has set up a help centre at the Personal Banking Branch of the State Bank of India in Sector 17-B, Chandigarh.

The centre will facilitate small-tax payers in filing forms and calculating their taxes. The centre will start functioning from June 8. It will remain open between 11am and 2pm from Monday to Friday. Enquiries on the phone can be made on 2700695. TNS



Trees felling: Forest Dept asks police to book 4
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
In connection with the large-scale felling of khair trees in the private forest area of Ladal, Sanana, Behronpur, Dhargah Shah and Malkpur villages, the Punjab Forest Department has written to the police for registering a first information report (FIR) against four persons. The persons, Laddi, Baljinder, Amarjit and Kanwal, were engaged by a notorious person of the area for felling of trees.

The Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Mr S.S. Bhatti, told the Tribune that a team of forest officials, who had visited the village on May 4, had put the tree count at 117 (105 trees are in Ladal village alone). The Forest Department had recovered Rs 1,09,000 as part of the total penalty from the violators.

Sources in the department, after seeing the diameters of the trunks of the trees felled, estimate the total loss at around Rs 6 lakh. The villagers, however, claim that the team of the forest official did not check the entire forest area as it will reveal that the actual loss of the trees was much more.

Mr Bhatti said after requesting the police on May 5 and 11, he had himself written on May 31 to the SSP, Ropar, for registering the FIR. But so far no police case has been registered.

On being asked about the action being taken against the erring forest officials, the DFO said he had sought an explanation from Narinder and Guard Jatinder, who were responsible for the area. “I am enquiring into the matter and they can be chargesheeted if required”, he added.

The villagers demanded that the erring forest officials should be suspended as they kept on ignoring the information about felling being given by them. The private guard appointed by the department connived with forest officials in allowing the felling. The challan issued by the forest officials a few months back was not for khair trees but for kikar trees.



Tipsy youths vent ire at tractor-trailer
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, June 4
In a bizarre incident, four drunk youths, angered at hitting a roadblock, fired at and flattened the tyres of a tractor-trailer here late last night.

The farmer whose tractor was targeted fled the scene as the youths fired shots at the tyres on the Chandigarh-Patiala highway, near Add Jhungina village.

The incident occurred near Chimney Heights, a resort, where the marriage of a senior police officer is going to be solemnised on Sunday.

Narrating the incident, the farmer, Balbir Singh of Gharaon village, near Rajpura, told the police that one of the tyres of his tractor-trailer, loaded with melons, went flat, which led to the blockage.

He was on his way to sell his produce in the Chandigarh mandi in Sector 26.

Heading towards Chandigarh from Patiala, the youths were travelling in a Chandigarh-registered Tata Sumo with a red light atop.

Balbir Singh said the youths asked him the reason for the roadblock. On being told that the tractor-trailer had a flat tyre, one of the youths told the farmer, “lae teri bhi hawa kaad daeye” (let us deflate you too), and trained his pistol at him. Another youth slapped the farmer.

Even as Balbir Singh ran for his life to the adjacent fields, the youth vented his ire on the tyres of the tractor-trailer, shooting at all of them.

The farmer complained to the police this morning. SHO Amarjit Singh reached the scene with his team and found four cartridge shell.

The farmer said one of the youths with tonsured head wore shades in the dead of the night.

The police has registered a case under Sections 336, 323, 427, 148 and 149 of the IPC and the Arms Acts against unidentified persons at Lohgarh police post.



Man commits suicide

Dera Bassi, June 4
A 25-year-old employee of an industrial unit at Bhagwanpura village on the Dera Bassi-Barwala road committed suicide by consuming some drug at his rented accommodation in Adarsh Nagar colony here late last night. Varinder Pal Singh, of UP production supervisor with Saurabh Chemicals, was found dead by his roommate Hussan Ansari this morning. The police has found a suicide note from the room. The deceased has written ‘with love to a woman’ on the note. OC



Network security at risk, says expert
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
A few months ago, network security experts “hacked” into the computer servers of India’s oldest cellular service provider and were able to send mass anonymous SMSs, access online accounts and billing database of each user and even track down messages being currently sent by the system. Experts were also able to compromise the network of the country’s largest landline service provider, bringing the firm’s web-server under their control and accessing its billing data-base.

Worse, the servers of a leading private sector bank were found to be highly susceptible. Exploiting a 10-year old vulnerability in Windows, all back-up of electronic transactions and important documentation could be accessed. Even the servers of one of the largest software firms in the country were insecure and the experts could access its most precious asset, the source codes.

Despite information technology emerging as one of the most powerful drivers of economy and a crucial means of communication and automation, network security in the country continues to remain in the doldrums.

“Our research teams scanned 118 networks, including commercial academic and defence, and shockingly found them to be susceptible to simple and basic attacks which can be perpetrated even by a 14-year old kid working out of his garage,” Chief Technology Officer of SigInt Network Defence, Pukhraj Singh, said. Stating that in Punjab, his firm found 99 per cent of the networks surveyed to be vulnerable in one form of the other, he said each firm was informed and all possible help was offered to fix the loopholes, but the response was lukewarm.

Pukhraj had recently presented a paper on network security at HITBsecConf-2005 in Bahrain, which was attended by security experts and renowned hackers from 18 countries. He will be speaking at the Symposium of Security of Asia Networks in Bangkok and PakConf-2005 later this year.

Pukhraj also warned about the growing use of “covert channels” to clandestinely transmit data over legal channels by by-passing network security devices and firewalls. Clandestine data in such cases rides “piggyback” on other legitimate data and slips through security systems by exploiting existing weaknesses in the Internet protocols. “Text messages can be hidden in images,” Pukhraj said. “This method is widely used by the Al-Qaeda to establish a completely undetectable communication network, which even the US Government failed to detect,” he said.

Stating that India requires a complete overhaul of its network security apparatus, Pukhraj said though Information Security (IS) was the most “in-demand” domain of IT, there was acute shortage of skilled manpower in this arena.

Stating that in India the IS market in 2003-04 was Rs 240 crore, which made it the second fastest growing security market in Asia-Pacific, Pukhraj added that the world IS market, which was about $8 billion in 2001, is projected to touch $23 billion in 2006.

In India, IS professionals are expected to increase from 18,000 in 2003 to 70,000 by 2008. This coupled with the acknowledged Indian expertise in IT and software, is expected to make India a hub of Information security outsourcing, he added.



IBA completes 10 years
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
“Leave your career to us for the next 10 years and we will take care of it,” says confident. Varun Kochhar, Director of IBA Manpower Consulting Services, India.

A human resource management firm, launched in 1995 and led by the husband-wife team of Varun and Amanpreet Kochhar, recently completed 10 years in the business.

The company was born with the vision of providing quality manpower resources to multinational and blue-chip companies and helping them achieve their business goals on time.

They stress quality rather than quantity though they have a database of over 8 lakh individuals and have served 92 companies in the past 10 years.

What makes this agency different from other placement cells in the city, is that they provide free counselling to their clients.

Mr Kochhar is clear that placement is only one aspect of the work they do. Their goal is to provide accurate and focused manpower to the companies, providing solutions as per their special needs and business model. “Companies spend time searching, listing and recruiting people instead of developing their employees.”


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