C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


 

Small IT units prefer Chandigarh to Mohali
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Small and medium enterprises in the field of information technology in the region are now preferring to invest at the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park than its counterpart at Mohali, as is evident from the number of entrants for the past couple of years.

Only three IT units have registered at the Software Park in Mohali this financial year against 18 in Chandigarh.

The number is interesting because in the initial years since 1998, the difference was very less.

Four units invested in UT and two in Mohali in 1998-99; 51 in UT and 50 in Mohali in 1999-2000; three in UT and two in Mohali in 2000-01; and eight in UT and six in Mohali in 2001-02.

The trend changed in the last financial year, when 14 units invested in Chandigarh and only nine in Mohali.

Confirming the development, Dr Sanjay Tyagi, Additional Director, Software Technology Parks of India, said, “One of the major reasons for the change in new entrants was that the infrastructural growth in the UT was far better than its counterpart in Punjab.”

The export figure of the STPI-Mohali had overtaken the UT by a very significant margin.

The export figure in UT was 32.97 crore against Rs 68.03 crore in Mohali in 2002-03; Rs 58.95 crore in UT against Rs 208.93 crore in Mohali in 2004-05; and Rs 47.32 crore in UT against Rs 243.02 crore in Mohali in 2005-06 so far.

One of the biggest reasons was that all major investors, including Infosys Technologies, Quark Media House and Dell Computers, were based in Mohali.

Dr Tyagi felt that the IT Park in Chandigarh needed to give special attention to small and medium enterprises, particularly with regard to providing them building and other infrastructural needs.

Most small operators were not in a position to make big investments in buildings and related infrastructure.

“The Administration needs to seriously deliberate on giving the building contract to private builders, particularly in Phase II. The building can later be leased out or given on rent to small and medium enterprises,” he opined.

Mr Vivek Atray, Director, Information Technology, UT, said, “Work on major IT forces entering the city is at an advanced stage. Wipro has bought land. ESys and Pacific Internet, Singapore’s largest technology companies, have responded positively. Infosys is also likely to open here.”

Mr Atray said, “The Administration plans giving place to as many small and medium enterprises as possible. The IT industry has big scope for ancillary placements. Reports show that one post in IT is capable of generating four jobs in related fields.”

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CFSL scientist remanded in judicial custody
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
The Junior Scientific Officer working with the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), Sector 36, Dr Paul Ramesh, was today remanded in judicial custody by the Duty Magistrate, Mr A.S. Shergill, here today.

The scientist was arrested yesterday by the Chandigarh police after being accused of trying to sodomise five youths at different times. The victims had been sent to the CFSL for a lie detector test by the Crime Branch of the police. The counsel for the scientist said his bail application would come up for hearing before the magistrate tomorrow.

After being produced before the magistrate, the scientist claimed before reporters that he had been falsely implicated due to certain vested interests. “Three boys had already undergone lie detector test. But they never approached anyone. The problem started when the fourth suspect, after undergoing the test, complained to the police”, he claimed.

He further claimed that his room was never locked when the test was being conducted. “The police is trying to implicate me as I was going to give report against the suspects for their involvement in the death of a boy”, he alleged. It is learnt that one of the suspect is related to a senior police officer.

Dr Prakash, who is married and has children, said never before had any such complaint surfaced against him, though he had been conducting the test for the last over one year. His colleagues , who were present in the court, said on the basis of technical and scientific evidence, they would prove that it was a frame-up.

The police had swung in to action after one of the youths, Vikas , who yesterday underwent the lie detector test, complained of similar unnatural behaviour on part of the scientist. After investigating the matter, the police recorded the statements of the four other youths, Naveen , Yadvinder, Gurdeep and Rajvinder, who had also undergone the lie detector test. A case under Sections 292, 377 and 511 of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 36 Police Station.

The youths had been referred for the lie detector test in connection with the death of Naresh, who had died of drowning in July, 2005. After the family of Naresh complained to the police, the case was referred to the Crime Branch.

Meanwhile, the police is trying to contact other persons who had undergone the lie detector test in previous cases handled by the scientist, who had conducted around 4o lie detector test after being given independent charge in January, 2005.

The medical examination of two of the victims indicated no injury marks. The boys were in the process of being sodomised when they objected to his advances. 

 

Questions unanswered

Did the police act in haste?

Had the scientist sodomised the youths?

Is presence of porno CDs in the room of the scientist a crime?

Were the porno CDs which the police claims to have recovered part of the lie detector test, if used by the scientist?

What were the results of medical examination of the victims?

Was mere statement of the suspect substantial evidence?

Were the youth involved in death of Naresh, who died of drowning?

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PGI asked to pay compensation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
The Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, has been directed to pay Rs 3 lakh as compensation to a labourer who was operated for Nerve Schwannoma, a tumor arising from the nerve of hearing.

Holding the doctors in the Department of Neurosurgery, PGI, responsible for negligence, which allegedly resulted in loss of hearing in his right ear and paralysis of the face, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Chandigarh, also directed the PGI to pay Rs 2,100 as litigation expenses within 30 days from the receipt of the order.

The 52-year-old victim, Babu Singh, who worked as a farm labourer, in his petition before the commission said he was operated upon by doctors in the Department of Neurosurgery. After being admitted to the PGI on December 12, 2002, he was discharged on January 7, 2003.

After the surgery, he lost hearing in one of his ears, his right eye stopped blinking and he suffered paralysis of the face. Repeated visits to the doctors concerned yielded no result.

He alleged that he could not properly speak, eat and drink due to the disabilities. Being a poor man, he was unable to earn livelihood to feed his wife and four children.

The Director of the PGI, Head of the Department of Neurosurgery Dr R. Chhabra and Dr S.S. Chibber were made party to the case by the complainant.

During the arguments, the opposite party took preliminary objection to the claim made by the complainant. It stated before the commission that the right ear of Babu Singh was non-functional when he was diagnosed for Nerve Schwannoma. The tumor was obstructing the nerves, which are meant for hearing and functions of face and brain.

The doctors contended that the patient had facial paralysis even before admission to the hospital. He was advised to undergo surgery on March 16, 2001, but he did not turn up for one and a half year and during the period the size of the tumor increased.

The doctors through their counsel claimed that the patient was told that the facial paralysis could further increase after the surgery. He was advised to undergo reconstruction surgery by plastic surgeons and use hearing aid for right ear. They claimed that the version of the complainant was not supported by experts’ opinion.

However, the commission stated that no evidence was put on record by the opposite parties.

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Govt clarifies on press privatisation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
The Government of India has clarified that the Cabinet has taken a decision to privatise the Text Books Press in Chandigarh and no proposal to privatise the UT Press is under consideration at this time.

In a communication, an official of the Ministry of Urban Development said the government decided yesterday that text books presses at Chandigarh, Mysore and Bhubaneswar would be privatised.

A spokesperson of the Union Ministry of Urban Development said the decision taken by the Cabinet based on the recommendations of a Group of Ministers pertained to the Text Books Press and not the UT Press, that was under the jurisdiction of the Union Home Ministry.

Quoting Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, the spokesperson at the Directorate of Printing and Stationery, Government of India, said the announcement of the I&B Minister read, “On the recommendations of the Group of Ministers, the Union Cabinet has approved that Government of India Text Books Presses at Mysore, Chandigarh and Bhubaneswar, along with reasonable operational land area, may be privatised. Excess land of these presses may be developed, if necessary, in collaboration with the state governments.”

Since there had been occasional talk of the UT Press meeting the same fate, it was misconstrued that this press was being privatised.

UT’s Controller of Printing and Stationery Viney Singh said his office had received no communication in this regard from any quarter.

He told employees of the UT Press not to panic as the decision of the government did not pertain to this press.

The spokesperson said the Union Government had made sure that interests of employees of the Text Books Press were safeguarded.

These employees would either be adjusted in other government departments or be given the option of seeking voluntary retirement.

He further said the government press at Shimla would not be privatised for the time being, with the government trying to modernise it at a cost of over Rs 2 crore.

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New steps initiated to restrict tax evasion
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has asked all banks to ensure that bank customers quote their Permanent Account Numbers (PAN) in all documents and transactions from April 1 onwards.

These directions have been issued so as to widen the scope of PAN for types of expenditure that could be funded from unaccounted for money. PAN will have to be quoted in 16 transactions, including purchase of property, purchase of motor vehicles, time deposits, new account to be opened in post office and banks.

Though the Income Tax rules regarding quoting of PAN had been amended in April last year, most bank branches have not been following these rules. Thus CBDT has asked the banks to follow the rules. In case, customers do not have a PAN, they will have to give particulars of these transactions, by making a declaration in Form No 60. All bank branches have been asked to furnish these details to their Controlling Authority at the earliest.

The permanent account number will also be necessary in cash deposits of Rs 10 lakh, or more in a year in a single savings account; annual payments of Rs 2 lakh and above made by any person through credit cards; for acquiring units of mutual fund units of over Rs 2 lakh, or for buying bonds or debentures of over Rs 5 lakh.

PAN will have to be given while applying for a new telephone connection; payments to hotels/ restaurants against their bills for an amount exceeding Rs 25,000 at any one time; or even while making a cash payment for travel abroad for an amount exceeding Rs 25,000. The expenditure made on consumer goods, has, however, been excluded.

These steps have been initiated in order to restrict tax evasion. Income tax officials say since PAN will be a common denominator in all these transactions, the Finance Ministry is examining if this data could be used to create individual profile of assesees. These will help the Income Tax department to track the expenditure patterns of individuals and compare it with the tax paid by them.

“Taxmen will also be tracing the retailers who are selling their goods in cash. It is proposed to make it mandatory for the retailer to ask for address/ identity of person who buys goods worth over Rs 20,000,” informed a senior Income Tax official. 

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Seminar on disaster management systems
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Seminarians at Panjab University here today highlighted that remotely sensed data can help detect, monitor and respond to natural disasters covering large and inaccessible areas better as the information is collected and disseminated much faster than ground-based observations.

This was discussed at a two-day national seminar organised by the Department of Geography on “Disaster management and remote sensing and global information systems applications in the context of north-western India” inaugurated by Prof Veer Singh, DUI, PU.

Mr P.K. Sharma, Director, Punjab Remote Sensing Centre, Ludhiana, said integration of spatial data with the non-spatial socio-economic data in global information system (GIS) environment could help in planning quick evacuation strategy, rehabilitation measures and damage assessment.

“Based on spatial and non-spatial database state/district-wise hazard zone maps can be prepared for public awareness,” he said.

Giving examples Mr Sharma pointed out that the breach of the National Aluminum Company (NALCO) ash pond at Orissa in 2000 was evaluated using remotely sensed data of pre and post-disaster impact. “The Nandira Jhor, a tributary of the Brahmani river flowing adjacent to the pond carried ash to the Brahmani river was noticed up to 50 km downstream of the river. NALCO was forced to give compensation to the people affected.

Mr Sharma added that the scientific community needed to re-focus on the database content, hazard zoning, vulnerability, analysis, information generation, modelling, forecast possibilities, networking of information and building foolproof interfaces towards information dissemination.

The keynote address on the ‘Role of space technology and disaster management’ was delivered by Dr. J.R. Sharma, Director of the Regional Remote Sensing Service Centre of ISRO at Jodhpur.

He stressed the role of remotely sensed data, efforts by ISRO in monitoring coastal disaster, emergency communication, meteorological application, flood and drought assessment, locust control and surveillance. He also highlighted role of tele-education, tele-medicine as part of which 500 villages had been identified for direct contact between experts and those in need of aid, especially in inaccessible areas. He also gave the status of world mapping at different scales and their updation rate.

Dr Subhir Saha, Director, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, highlighted the `Disaster Management Helix’ and postulated a standard cycle of disaster events with combative strategies of response, recovery, development and preparedness. In his inaugural speech Professor Veer Singh had emphasised the need to plan new strategies for disaster management. 

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Now, comics to carry the message of AIDS to children
Payal Pruthi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Transcending popular mainstream comics that deal with mythology, adventure or basic humour, World Comics India, State AIDS Control Society, UT and Yuvsatta, a city-based NGO have identified comics as a powerful tool of campaign communication among children on the issue of HIV-AIDS.

Young impressionable minds will now get rid of endless school rallies, lectures and quiz contests and learn more about AIDS through their favourite mode. To this end, a 5-day comics workshop is being organised by Yuvsatta at Gandhi Smarak Bhawan, Sector 16, from February 6.

The workshop will involve children from slums and schools of Chandigarh. It will be conducted by Mr Sharad Sharma from WCI. While the manual and methodology to be used in the workshop will be completely innovative, the material so generated will then be used to organise a wall poster campaign in slums and schools of Chandigarh. The wall posters produced by the children will be displayed in neighbourhood places like community halls, bus stops, hospitals, NGO offices and markets.

The participants of the workshop include 20 students from public schools like St Soldier, KBDAV Senior Secondary School and 20 adoloscents from colony number 4 and 5. 10 NGO activists will also participate, who will help further to replicate this model in their areas of interventions. The workshop will conclude with an exhibition of all comic strips made by the students.

According to Madhu Bahl, school principal KB DAV, comics are the best way to reach children on such sensitive issues. Cartoons are simple and fascinate children. Sharad Sharma, the resource person, also echoed similar views and said the workshop would offer a glimpse of children’s understanding of the ailment and convey the message instantly.

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Rich tributes paid to The Tribune founder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Rich tributes were paid to the founder of The Tribune, Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, on the occasion of the foundation day that was celebrated here with much fervour by The Tribune employees.

Employees of all Tribune publications organised a gathering in which Sardar Majithia was praised for his vision and far sight in starting ‘The Tribune’ in 1881 that finally became the ‘Voice of Punjab’ and has remained spokesman for the people of the region for 125 years.

On behalf of the management General Manager Mr Sanjay Hazari and for the union, its President Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu paid floral tributes in front of the portrait of the founder at this brief, but impressive function held on The Tribune premises. Prominent among those present were Mr Naresh Kaushal, Editor, Dainik Tribune and Mr O.P. Arora, Additional General Manager. A message from the Editor-in-Chief, Mr H.K. Dua, was also circulated on the occasion.

The in-house anniversary celebrations are scheduled to be held at The Tribune premises in March, which will be attended by The Tribune Trust trustees, besides other dignitaries.

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Airport staff protest against privatisation move
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Employees of the Airport Authority of India (AAI) protested against Centre’s move to privatise airports here today.

They raised slogans against the government at the Centre for giving the green signal to allowing partnership with private agencies to modernise airports. Though various services at the airport were not affected today, the employees stated that their protest would continue tomorrow.

“We will burn an effigy of Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, tomorrow to express our resentment,” they said.

Though their protest had no fallout on air operations, which remained normal, the Air India flight was delayed by nearly an hour while the Jet Airways flight was late by half an hour. The Air Deccan flight reported on time. The outgoing flight schedule was not disrupted.

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Octroi to be abolished in March: minister
Tribune News Service

Lalru, February 2
The Punjab Government’s Rs 400 crore scheme, “Punjab nirman yojana,” for the development of the cities and villages has yielded impressive results, the Excise and Taxation Minister, Mr Sardul Singh, said here today. The minister was speaking at a subdivision-level “Lok Suvidha camp” here today.

In Patiala district, Rs 20 crore would be spent in the villages and an amount of Rs 10 crore for the cities through the district planning boards, he said.

Coming down heavily on the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the Congress leader alleged that the “sangat darshans” of the erstwhile SAD-BJP government failed to make any impact on economic lives of the people. The state government would also abolish octroi from March this year, he added.

The vice-chairman of the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC), Mr Deepinder Singh Dhillon, claimed that such camps had given relief to the people.

The DC, Mr Tejvir Singh, informed that 15 such camps had been organised in the district so far.

Meanwhile, about 400 driving licences were made, 65 mutations were done and 75 affidavits were attested at the camp.

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CPM activists organise rally
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Workers of the local unit of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) today organised a rally and a protest dharna in Plaza, Sector 17, here today.

While addressing the gathering, Mr Raghunath Singh, State Secretariat member of the CPM, said that all vacant posts in government departments should be filled immediately, minimum wages of unskilled workers be fixed at Rs 5000 per month, education be made cheaper, and 33 per cent reservation to women be assured in government jobs.

Mr Mohammad Shahnaz Gorsi, a senior worker, said the recently introduced grid system of buses introduced by the CTU was causing trouble to the commuters, particularly students and old people.

The rally was also addressed by Mr Amardeep Sawhney, Mr Bal Kishan, Mr V.D. Aery and Mr Randhir Singh.

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Road berms face erosion
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 2
Road berms on both sides of National Highway 73 between Panchkula and Ramgarh are facing erosion at places.

The problem is so grave that at several places along the highway, berms are completely missing.

The national highways division of the Public Works Department has decided to let things be till it gets approval for the four-laning of the highway.

This is one of the busiest stretches on the highway, with an average of over 25,000 vehicles passing through it daily.

“Since the highway is a two-lane road, the absence of road berms is leading to many a road accident. On an average, two road accidents take place here in one week as there is no place for vehicles to pull off the road,” said Mr Rakesh Kansal of Ramgarh.

Mr Gurdip Tandon, a shopkeeper at Ramgarh, said other than buses and trucks, half-bodied trucks, ferrying river bed material from quarries, passed through the highway.

“Hundreds of these overloaded half-bodied trucks pass through the highway during the day. Small vehicles and cyclists are the most threatened because there is no road berm where they can pull off when these trucks pass by,” he said.

PWD officials, when contacted, said the road berms had eroded during the monsoon.

“Since creating new berms is an expensive, we are not going ahead with it. There is a proposal to undertake four-laning work here this year,” they said.

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Probe sought into affairs of housing society
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 2
The Ad Hoc Committee of the United Cooperative House Building Society Ltd, Sector 68, has demanded a high-level inquiry into the affairs of the housing society, its previous managing committee and activities of senior officials of the cooperative department.

The committee members alleged that authorities concerned had failed to take any action even when the members of the previous managing committee indulged in a number of irregularities.

In a letter sent to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, some members of the ad hoc committee requested the Chief Minister to take action against corruption prevalent in the cooperative department without delay.

Mr Prem Jindal, convener of the ad hoc committee, said the five-year term of the managing committee of the United Cooperative House Building Society expired on March 3 last year, but even after the expiry of the term, members allegedly issued possession letters to some persons close to them in violation of the bylaws of the society.

He said without following the allotment criteria, members of the managing committee passed two resolutions for doing allotments, which was illegal and arbitrary.

He said certain members of the society challenged the two resolutions before the cooperative authorities.

The Deputy Registrar (Legal) set aside the two resolutions and directed the authorities to take action against unauthorised occupants and ordered that allotment be done by following the procedure laid down in this regard.

The convener alleged that the society had land only for 338 members, but it had enrolled about 500 members.

He alleged that some unauthorised occupants had paid only the cost of the land (Rs 2.35 lakh) without contributing a single penny for the construction of flats while the genuine members had paid between Rs 7.90 lakh and Rs 12.65 lakh.

He said when some unauthorised occupants presented a case before a top official of the department, he allegedly stayed the orders of the supersvisory committee which had cancelled the illegal allotment of flats.

He also ordered elections of the society to be held on February 15 without allegedly getting the voter list finalised and scrutiny of genuineness of members conducted.

Mr Jindal said the society was not given completion certificate by PUDA authorities as the work had allegedly not been completed by the contractor.

Even the sewerage connection had not been given by PUDA till date, but the illegal occupants had allegedly made these connections at their own level.

The audit report as well as the report of the technical committee was awaited. 

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Basant Panchami celebrated with fervour
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Basant Panchmi was celebrated in the Department of Music Panjab University with great fervour. Prof Jai Prakash of the Department was the Chief Guest. He apprised students of the importance of doing pooja of Maa Saraswati on the Basant Panchmi. Mr Gagan Singh, a research scholar, performed seasonal Raag ‘Bahar’. Mr Harvinder Singh of GCG, Sector 11, was invited as Guest Artist. He performed ‘Khayal’ in Raag Shudh Sarang and Basant which was applauded by all.

GGDSD College

Basant Panchami was celebrated with enthusiasm at the GGDSD College, Sector 32. Prayers were offered at the feet of Maa Saraswati for her blessings. Poonam Rajput and Ashish, students of the college, recited Saraswati Vandana. Principal Dr A.C. Vaid educated the students about the significance of Basant Panchmi. He informed them about how varied communities across the country, on this pious day, offered prayers to Goddess Saraswati, Shri Krishna-Radha and Kamdev Rati. Keeping up the tradition, sweet yellow rice was served to all as “prasaad”. Principal, members of the staff along with the students of the college took part in kite flying with excitement.

GC-11

Botanical Garden of Government College Sector 11 resounded with fun, frolic, music and dancing on the occasion of the Basant panchami. The Botany Department organised a gala function to bid farewell to winter. Girls enjoyed swings. Principal Pahlad Aggarwal ignited the bonfire to bid farewell to winter in a symbolic way. A party was organised which was teeming with yellow delicacies. Students Support and Progression Cell of the college, under the guidance of Prof SS Sidhu organised a kite flying competition in which more than 50 students took part in the competition.

GC-46

Department of Music of Government College Sector 46 celebrated Basant Panchami presenting various musical items in the honour of Goddess Saraswati. Principal A.N. Garg presided over the function and congratulated the students and staff.

City schools

The festival of Basant Panchmi was today celebrated with great enthusiasm in various city schools. While yellow remained the colour of the day, pooja’ and `sweets’ was a common site. At Shishu Niketan Model Senior Secondary School both students and teachers came dressed in yellow clothes. The celebrations started with Saraswati Vandana. The entire nursery wing was decorated with yellow flowers and children had a fun filled day as they enjoyed themselves on the swings. Kite flying was another attraction in the school where sweet yellow rice was served to all as prasad. The school director S Khorana and principal Amita Khorana were also present on the occasion.

At Rai School, the toddlers of pre-primary section presented rhymes and songs while the senior students spoke on the significance of the festival and the traditions associated with it and also recited poems heralding the onset of spring season. The function concluded with kite flying.

Mohali Schools

The spring season was welcomed at Ajit Karam Singh International Public School with the dhol beats. A saraswati puja, dance sequence on the song `aayee jhoom ke basant’, kite flying and distribution of the sweet rice were a part of the celebrations.

Similar celebrations were held at Aurobindo School of Integral Education, Sector 27. Dances, poems and songs related to the onset of the spring were presented on the occasion.

Riding the true spirits of the spring season, the students of the Mohali based Ashmah School have decided to paint the campus basanti. The spirits of the season is set to rule them high, as they have decided to have every thing around them on the day basanti. The official spokesperson today said that on the Basant Panchami the students have decided to wear the yellow (basanti) color outfits, which the school management has agreed to.

Moreover they will bring in the Tiffin that too of the same color. Principal of the of the school Mrs. Devneet Singh have told that the students on the day will take part in different competitions like painting and drawing competition. Other than this the management has decided to take the kids back to the roots.

The special kite flying and making competition has been organized. These efforts of ours will surely make the ties with the history, tradition and culture more strong, says Mrs. Singh. She also laid emphasis on the importance of the festival in mooting the binding of the integrity ad the traditional Punjabi bondage.

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Bhangra, pop music mark Basant celebrations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Basant Panchami was celebrated with gaiety at Sukhna Lake by the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO).

Dressed in yellow, dancers performed bhangra accompanied by the dhol. Punjabi pop music attracted youngsters and oldies. "We left work to join in the festivity," echoed Meenakshi, working for a mobile service provider, and friends.

Kids from a vocational school for physically handicapped children, Sector 11 and students from Bhavan Vidyalaya danced unaware of what the day represented. "They are young and its difficult to make them understand the significance of the day. In our days we used to wear a peela suit and eat peela halwa," said Ms Promila Chandra Mohan, a teacher.

Though at the venue yellow decorations were put up and matched with yellow colour food items and drinks, it was not the colour most people wore. "Basant is all about a DJ playing music and yes yellow food. In the yesteryears pooja was performed too and kite flying ruled the day," added Ms Promila Chandra Mohan.

One of the organisers A.K. Malhotra General Manager (CITCO) disagreed that the function lacked in the charm of olden days for youngsters to watch. "When they come to a function like this they will naturally learn about their traditions. In keeping with tradition, a kite flying competition has also been organised."

Sunny Bhalla, a great kite enthusiast, bought kites from Amritsar, especially for the occasion. "Papa is crazy about kites," his daughter added.

The celebration, barring the display of yellow, could be mistaken for any other occasion. The festivity had a prominent feel of the modern world.

"Its good to change with the times," remarked Dr Satwant and her husband Col Jagjit Singh as they enjoyed the function. "Our children stay in another town and we are enjoying ourselves here with others."

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Basant Panchami celebrated
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 2
Basant Panchami was celebrated in Blue Bird High School, Sector 16, with great enthusiasm. Celebrations started with Saraswati Poojan and singing of Saraswati Vandana. Mustard flowers, wheat pods and flowers of marigold were offered to the goddess to mark the arrival of the king of seasons.

The whole staff was attired in yellow costumes and children brought yellow dishes. A kite flying competition was organised among the four houses of the school. 

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CII, PAU can ‘strengthen’ agriculture sector
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
The Confederation of Indian Industry and Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, can play a role in strengthening the agriculture sector in Punjab by having a farmer-industry-research collaboration.

This was stated by Dr B.S. Dhillon, Director, Research, PAU, during an interactive session on “Strengthening Industry-PAU Linkages for Agricultural Development in Punjab” organised as part of the CII Punjab State Council meeting last evening.

Dr G.S. Chahal, Dean, College of Agriculture, PAU, in his address said that the PAU and industry can work together on different projects and researches, which could help Punjab strengthen its agriculture and allied sectors.

Dr G.S. Padda, Head, Department of Food Science and Technology, PAU, made a presentation on “An Overview of Bankable Food Processing Technologies Developed at PAU and Desired Linkages with the Food Business.”

Mr M.C. Munjal, Chairman, CII Punjab State Council, said the agriculture economy of Punjab is facing a typical paradox. Presently farmers are producing crops without knowing the specific needs of the industry. At the end of the day they are left with their produce which is of low quality. So there is a need for the linkage between industry, Department of Agriculture and PAU so that they can pool in their resources for extending knowledge about the new improved practices to farmers.

Mr Sanjeev Nagpal, convener, Agriculture Panel, CII Punjab State Council said, “For sustainable agriculture and reviving farm incomes and economies, food processing is imperative. In order to develop alternate farming and allied activities, there is need to create opportunities for assured and remunerative marketing.”

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Dr Satwant installed Rotary Club president
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Dr Satwant Sachdeva, Director, Brain Hospital installed President of the Rotary Club, Patiala Mid-Town. Mr Darshan Singh Dhaliwal NRI from the USA was the chief guest. Deputy Commissioner, Patiala Tajveer Singh was guest of honour, Rotary Governor Dr Harbans Phatak an entrepreneur and social worker Dr Haveen Saronwal was the masters of the ceremony.

Sixteen dignitaries of different walks of life were inducted regular members of the club. Honorary membership of the club was bestowed on DIG Patiala range V.K. Bhawra, Dr J.R. Sachdeva and Dr D.C. Bansal.

A Visiting Group Study exchange team from Sweden also attended the ceremony.

Chairman, Improvement Trust K.K. Sharma, chairperson, Zila Parishad, Ms Gursharan Randhawa, MLA, Surjit Singh Rakhra, Director, Thapar College, S.C. Saxena, SSP A.S. Rai, Block Samiti Chairman, Bunny Chahal and Subordinate Services Chairman Anil Mehta were also present.

Mr Darshan Singh Dhaliwal donated Rs 3 lakh for the projects of the club for the benefit of society.

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J&K Rifles’ get-together
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Members of the Association of Jammu and Kashmir Rifles Association (AJRO) organised a social get-together at the Defence Services Officers’ Institute here yesterday.

As many as 50 officers along with their wives from Chandigarh and nearby areas attended the meet, organised to serve as a social platform for veterans as well as serving officers to share experiences and maintain regimental ties.

Among those present at the meet were Col Khajan Singh, who was commissioned into the regiment in 1939, former Adjutant General, Lieut-Gen S.S. Grewal and Brig Tarlochan Singh, who is also the president of AJRO’s Chandigarh chapter.

The history of the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles dates back to the mid 19th century, when some of its present units were raised as state forces. Today, the Regiment comprises 19 battalions.

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117th Corps Day celebrated

Chandigarh, February 2
The Military Farms Department of the Army celebrated its 117th Corps Day at Headquarters Western Command, Chandimandir, yesterday. A social get-together was organised on the occasion, which was attended by senior officers posted here. TNS

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BSNL phones go dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Most of BSNL phones in the Modern Housing Complex, Manimajra, went dead as the work of laying Airtel cables went on till late at night. Several complaints were received from the residents as none of the phone lines were operational. Ramesh Kumar, a resident, said. “Three feet deep pits were dug by labourers employed by the company and there was no supervisor to guide the labour on the spot.”

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Repaired road develops potholes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
It has been hardly a month when the road dividing Sectors 46 and 47 was repaired and it has already developed nearly four dozen potholes. The road leads to the intersection of Sectors 32-31-46-47.

It is interesting to mention that the road was initially repaired about six months ago and a number of residents pointed out problems faced by them to the authorities. Following persistent demands, the road was repaired about a month ago and now, it has once again deteriorated, much to the discomfort of daily users.

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Entries invited for journalism awards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
The Chandigarh Press Club has invited entries for the second annual awards for excellence in journalism for 2005.

The awards are being offered in four categories — Best Investigative Report Award (Rs 15,000), Best News Photograph Award (Rs 10,000), Best Front Page Layout Award (Rs 7,500) and Best Television News Report Award (Rs 7,500).

Instituted on the occasion of the club’s silver jubilee celebrations, the awards aim to raise and recognise the standards of journalism in the region.

The Chandigarh Press Club is the first press club in the country to offer such professional awards.

The awards are open to print journalists, photographers, layout artists and TV reporters stationed in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

Participants can submit more than one entry.

The last date for submission of entries is February 28.

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Clarification
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Reacting to news item “30 kg of charas seized; two held”, which appeared in these columns on February 1, the Zonal Director of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Mr Shrikant Jadhav, today clarified that there was no post of SP, Narcotics. The seizure of 30 kg of charas was not done by Mr O.P. Sharma, who is working as Superintendent of Police. There was no designated official spokesman for the NCB. There was no detail about the drug law enforcement training courses in the official press note of the NCB.

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