C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Airport upgrade on the anvil
Land to be exchanged with Defence identified
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
In an important step towards having an upgraded airport in the city, having potential for international connectivity, the Chandigarh Administration has identified land it has offered to the Army and the Air Force authorities in return for land it proposes to acquire for the expansion of the airport.

The authorities have identified approximately six acres occupied by the Army and approximately 2.86 acres in the possession of the Air Force for the expansion programme. The Administration has offered six acres in Hallo Majra to the Army authorities in exchange for land for the expansion of the airport. Similarly, land has also been offered to the Air Force.

A series of meetings have been held between senior UT officials and officials of the Army and the Air Force, separately. Mr S.K. Sandhu, Finance Secretary, confirmed the development and said the Administration had received positive signals from both quarters. The Airports Authority of India is ready to bear the expenditure of the expansion and also to take up the matter with the Ministry of Defence, the final authority on the issue.

Sources said the exchange was a mere formality now with the process of ground-level assessment by the Administration and the defence authorities completed.

A number of modern and futuristic projects in the city have attracted multinational companies in the real estate, financial services sector and information technology and IT-enabled services. During top-level conferences, participants have repeatedly pointed out the need for better air connectivity.

A number of top software companies have turned up for investment at Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park. The city is also working on a multimedia-cum-film city, an entertainment theme park and an education city, besides other projects. Its emergence as a regional commercial hub has led to huge traffic inflow to the city, resulting in the Administration’s move to upgrade the airport.

At present, the city has a sketchy airline service. Even the Administration feels that a limited number of flights to the city is becoming a major bottleneck in connectivity. The city is directly connected only to Delhi and Jammu. Anyone travelling to major cities, including Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai, has to break the journey in Delhi.



Lovelorn youth stabs girl in public view
Victim rescued by two youths
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Unsuccessful in love with a student of the Sector 34-based Frankfinn Institute, a 21-year-old Yamunanagar resident allegedly stabbed her several times in full public view near the busy Piccadily Chowk in Sector 21-D this afternoon. The accused is said to be a distant relative of the victim.

The 19-year-old victim, Shivani Kamboj of Saharanpur, was rushed to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) with multiple stab injuries on her hands and head. The victim is reported to be out of danger.

The incident took place at around 12.15 pm. The victim was on her way back to a rented accommodation in Sector 21-D when the accused, Ajay Kamboj, allegedly pounced on her and assaulted her with a dagger. Shivani was accompanied by her cousin Sarita when the incident took place.

Hearing their cries, two boys — Vishal and Vijay — living in the vicinity, came to the balcony of their room and saw the girl being stabbed. They raised the alarm and rushed for her help. In the meantime, both girls grappled with the assailant and tried to overpower him, but in vain. Soon, Vishal and Vijay reached the spot and overpowered the assailant, who also sustained injuries during the scuffle. Meanwhile, people gathered at the spot and shifted a bleeding Shivani to the GMCH.

The police was informed about the incident, which arrested the accused from the spot. Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Vijay, whose clothes were splattered with blood, said, “The assailant had camouflaged his face with a kerchief. It was Vishal who acted bravely and his timely intervention averted a tragedy.”

Still to come to terms with the incident, the victim’s cousin, Sarita, told the police in a quivering voice that it all happened in a jiffy. “We were stopped by him, and before we realised he attacked Shivani with a long knife. He was stalking her since long and Shivani’s parents had filed a complaint against him in this regard,” she said before breaking down. The SHO of the Sector 19 police station, Inspector Sukhdev Singh Bhullar, said a case of attempt to murder under Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code had been registered in this regard on a statement of the victim.

The SHO said the girl and the boy were distant relatives and they met at a marriage party a few years ago. It was a case of one-sided love. The boy wanted to marry the girl while she declined. She had joined Frankfinn Institute in Karnal and shifted to Chandigarh some time ago following a request by her parents, When the boy did not stop following her, both families met over the behaviour of the boy, but he continued with it.



Hotel site goes for Rs 101.37 crore
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, today finally succeeded in auctioning its hotel site in Sector 35, measuring 2.62 acres, for a whopping Rs 101.37 crore, the highest ever in the city for leasehold land. The site has been auctioned to Lokpriya Buildwell Pvt Ltd, New Delhi. The reserve price for the site was Rs 51 crore.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Navin Bahri, Director, Lokpriya Buildwell Pvt Ltd, said they were certain of winning the bid today.

The company, which is governed by the Uppal Group of Companies, already has a hotel in New Delhi called Uppal’s Orchid. The hotel in Chandigarh, said Mr Bahri, would be its second. “Our hotel in Delhi is one of its kind and is an eco-friendly hotel. We hope to maintain the same standards here. The location of the hotel site is the best in the City. We have international consultants who will start working on the finer details of the hotel soon,” he added.

The open auction was held at Hotel Shivalikview, Sector 17. Six bidders — Lokpriya Buildwell Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, ITC Ltd, New Delhi, Emmer MGF Land Pvt Ltd, Nakul Promoter Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, Eastways Travel Services Pvt Ltd, Chandigarh, and Prateep Estate Pvt Ltd participated in the auction.

Mr W.S. Goyat, Additional Commissioner, Mr H.S. Khandola, Joint Commissioner, Mr Pardeep Chhabra, Mr Jatinder Bhatia and Mr Dildar Khan, all councillors, besides other officials of the municipal corporation were present on the occasion.

It has taken the MC almost 10 years to auction this site. In 1997, the site was auctioned for Rs 35 crore against a reserve price of Rs 28 crore. However, the MC could not hand over the physical possession of the land in time to the company concerned and had to face a court case to return the money with interest, which amounted to about Rs 16 crore. The MC had to finally pay up the money.

It again auctioned the site in 2004 against a reserve price of Rs 48 crore. However, only one bidder turned up and no auction took place.

The MC tried to ask the UT Administration to exchange the hotel site for a shopping mall. However, the proposal was turned down.

In the site auctioned today, the builders will get a floor area ratio of 1.75 acres against the earlier 1.25 acres, while the permissible ground coverage of the hotel will be 35 per cent.

The hotel will also have the facility of twin basement parking.



Australian wheat experts to help Punjab, Haryana
Naveen S. Garewal

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
After helping India overcome wheat shortage by selling foodgrain, Australia will now collaborate with wheat-producing states in North India to conduct research to improve the quality of wheat grain.

An initiative taken by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACHAR) will bring a team of Australian wheat scientists here early next month. During their visit to Punjab and Haryana the wheat scientists are expected to finalise the modalities of the project that will aim at “enhancing the profitability of wheat-based farming in North-West India by improving grain quality”.

Led by two experts in the field, Prof David Coventry and Mr Jay Cummins from the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide, the team will hold meetings with scientists at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, Haryana Agricultural University (HAU), Hisar, the Directorate of Wheat Research, Karnal, the Rice-Wheat Consortium and members of the Hariyali Kisan Bazar Network in Delhi. They are also scheduled to meet senior government functionaries of Punjab and Haryana. Professor Coventry heads the Chair, Sustainable Agricultural Production, and Mr Cummins is his Principal Consultant at the university.

During scheduled week-long discussions with agricultural experts in Punjab and Haryana, the wheat scientists will try to identify techniques that can be used to improve grain quality on-farm through the development of the best management agronomic practices (linked to producing quality grain), work out a methodology to support the delivery and impact of research on the local farmer at the field level using a participatory approach, and explore the management of nitrogen through the identification of relationships between irrigation practices and nitrogen management to optimise protein content.

This joint Indo-Australian agricultural project will also look at the impact of wheat quality in an environment of changing tillage systems and stubble management practices. According to the terms of reference, “the project will be implemented in partnership with key Indian agricultural research / extension institutions and organisations, and aims to complement, support and build on the many excellent initiatives that are already in place”.

The letters sent to the Director, Agriculture Punjab, Dr Balwinder Singh Sidhu, the PAU Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, Dr R.K. Malik, Director of Extension and Research HAU, and the Punjab and Haryana Governments by the University of Adelaide on behalf of the ACIAR, says that the Australian wheat experts will “visit northern India during the first week of November to meet with potential project partners”.

Professor Coventry and Mr Cummins have worked together since 2002 on a number of projects focussed on the introduction of crop monitoring systems to the rice-wheat cropping systems of northern India. Much of their work is based on participatory research and development through “in-the-field practical activities with farmers”.



22 more cases of dengue in city
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, October 11
Twenty more cases tested positive for dengue at the PGI, while two at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, here today.

Meanwhile, a staff nurse of the PGI has also caught the infection and is undergoing treatment.

Official records of the UT Health Department, however, claim that a total of 219 cases of dengue have been reported at GMSH-16, PGI-12, GMCH-32 and Fortis Hospital in Chandigarh, out of which 132 are confirmed cases. Forty positive cases belong to Chandigarh alone.

The team of UT Health Department today collected 560 blood samples from different labour colonies. No case of malaria was detected.

Fogging operation was carried out in Sectors 8 B and C, 9, 10, 11,12, Palsora Colony, Engineering College, Janta Colony and Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra

Panchkula: One more confirmed dengue case was reported to the General Hospital, Sector 6, here today.

With 19-year-old Jatinder of Azad Colony in Sector 21 here, the total number of confirmed cases has now gone up to 23 while there are four suspected cases, which are under observation, here.

Officials of the District Health Department said during a round of colonies it was found that people in slums stored water in tanks, which provided a breeding ground for the aedes mosquito.

“We are not getting any cooperation from the public. We have warned them repeatedly against storing water in open, which facilitates mosquito-breeding. However, in our round today we found that everybody had big tubs and buckets full of water for use,” an official said.

The team of the Health Department which visited Rajiv Colony said no amount of fogging could help till the public cooperated by keeping stored water covered.



Tribune Impact
CTU launches cleanliness drive at depots
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

The CTU staff clean tyres at the scrapyards of the depots on Wednesday.
The CTU staff clean tyres at the scrapyards of the depots on Wednesday. — Tribune photo by Vinay Malik

Chandigarh, October 11
Following the news report ‘Old tyres at CTU depots dengue-breeding nurseries’, published in these columns on October 11, the CTU authorities swung into action and ordered a cleanliness drive at its depots at the Industrial Area here today.

For the purpose, the workshop staff was put to work to clear out the rain-water, accumulated in the tyres, in the morning. The staff was also ordered to clean the scrapyard to get rid of mosquitoes.

It is to be noted that most of the wornout tyres had been lying in the open at scrapyards of CTU depot Nos 1, 2 and 3 since the monsoon season. As tyres and water are established nurseries of mosquitoes, the area needed the immediate attention of the Health Department to carry out fogging and anti-mosquito sprays to avoid the breeding of dengue mosquitoes.

On the cleanliness drive, one of the workers, on the condition of anonymity, said: “Instead of asking us to launch the drive, the authorities should have asked the Health Department to conduct fogging here”.

The workers were seen scooping out the water from the tyres with glass tumblers and other utensils at the depots. They demanded that the sheds should be erected immediately to avoid such situations in future.



Choe choking city lungs
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Residents of at least 12 sectors stand exposed to mosquitoes, thanks to a natural choe flowing along the Leisure Valley.

Originating in Sector 3, the choe carries sewage and other filthy discharge from various prestigious complexes to Sector 61, posing a serous health hazard to scores of citizens residing in various sectors along its banks.

The stench from solid waste dumped on its banks by the public as well as the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has made life difficult for people, especially those who prefer the Leisure Valley for their morning and evening walks.

A survey by Chandigarh Tribune revealed that sewage discharge at Sector 10, adjacent to Hotel Mountview, is a major component defiling the choe. Various government offices and residential units in sectors 10, 16, 23, 36, 42, 53, 54, 52, 51 and 63 have been adding their discharge to the choe, polluting it.

Stagnant water at various places on the choe bed in Shanti Kunj has virtually turned into a breeding farm for mosquitoes.

Solid waste, trash and polythene bags have been dumped along the banks of the choe in sectors 16, 23, 36, 42, 53, 52 and 51, blocking the natural course of water at many places.

The condition of the choe is even worse in Sector 42 where heaps of solid waste have been dumped by shopkeepers.

Huge wild growth along the choe in various southern sectors has further aggravated the problem.

The Superintending Engineer of the MC, Mr S.R. Aggarwal, claimed that points where sewage was being discharged into the choe had been identified and the defaulters had been asked to seek sewer connections from the UT Pollution Control Committee.

Mr V.K. Bhardwaj, Chief Engineer, UT, claimed that the dumping of solid waste and garbage along the banks of the choe had been prohibited, adding that the authorities lifted waste building material whenever it came to their notice.



Passing Through

What is the role of the Textiles Committee?

This committee has been set up by the Government of India to facilitate the textile industry in the country. We have set up a textile laboratory, Total Quality Management Division (which gives consultation on standardisation), market research group. We are also involved in Export Promotion Quality Appraisal, besides helping in the cluster development of the industry.

How is the committee preparing the industry to enter the WTO regime?

We have prepared our strategies and are fully prepared to educate the textile industry on globalisation. We have started the Geographical Indication (GI) registration of textile products. Efforts are also being made to create awareness about new export competitiveness.

What all efforts are being made to safeguard the interests of the handloom industry?

We have recently introduced Handloom Mark for the quality assurance of the product. Though there is no census on the handloom industry in North India, we are targeting the Kulu handloom industry for taking this quality assurance.

— Ruchika M. Khanna



Watch out

A Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association product Sanam K. Singh will face Vivek Shokeen in the quarterfinals of the DSCL Open National Tennis Championship being played in Delhi on Thursday.

To reach the quarterfinals, Sanam beat Manoj Kumar Sewa in 6-4, 6-3 in the second round on Wednesday.

Sanam is now the only hope of the city in the tournament.



In Town

Celebrated Odissi dancer Kavita Dwibedi will arrive in Patiala on Thursday on a two-day concert circuit to Chandigarh, Patiala and Ambala. On invitation from SPIC MACAY, which is holding classical dance and music concerts under Virasat series these days, Dwibedi will perform at the Thapar Institute of Engineering, Patiala, at 6 pm on Thursday.

On October 13 she will arrive in Chandigarh to present three concerts in a day — Shivalik Public School, Mohali, at 11 am, the National Institute of Nursing, PGI, at 3 pm and PEC at 6 pm.

These concerts have been arranged to target students of various institutions. Dwibedi, who is also the daughter of Odissi guru Maya Dhar Raut, will perform in Ambala on October 14.



Experts’ team to determine Ghaggar bridge’s viability
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, October 11
Almost two months after the strategic Ghaggar bridge at Bhankharpur, near here, was closed for heavy vehicular traffic, the district administration has woken up from slumber.

Now the Mohali DC has shot off a letter to the Punjab Government to constitute a team of experts from government agencies, including the Public Works Department (PWD), to determine the viability of the bridge for heavy vehicular traffic. GMR Expressways Private Limited and the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), agencies involved in the four-laning project of the Zirakpur-Ambala highway, should also be involved in the tea, the letter says.

A section of the commuters and experts is of the opinion that the Ghaggar bridge can be repaired and used by vehicular traffic till the parallel bridge being built as a part of the four-laning project is completed in two years’ time. The closure of the bridge has put commuters, particularly those travelling by buses, to a lot of inconvenience as they travel about 15 km extra on the Zirakpur-Banur-Tepla road to reach Ambala.

Meanwhile, the local administration has written to the Central Government to exempt the land falling in three villages — Bassi, Madhopur and Sheikhpura — from acquisition for the four-laning project. There has been a lot of construction on the area proposed to be acquired as it falls in the Dera Bassi municipal limits, the administration says.

An area of 45 metres is required for the four-laning project in the municipal areas and 43.5 metres vacant land was already available here. Meanwhile, notices have been sent to residents of 18 villages for acquisition of their land and remaining five villages will be issued notices by October 25, the SDM, Mr Narinder Sangha, added.



Warriors of peace
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
All of 22 and these three youngsters are not afraid of anything, not even of conflict. In fact, for Imroz, Shahana and Javeed, the more angst there is, the more confident they are of being able to lend a helping hand.

As part of 10-year-old international NGO — Play for Peace (PFP) — which is headquartered in Chicago, USA, and which became operational in India in 2000, these young people work locally through communities towards promoting positive relationships among people of societies in conflict, building bridges as they go along.

In the city on the invitation of the Centre for Education and Voluntary Action (CEVA), they are here to attend a two-day workshop to facilitate children, youth and adults to trust and respect and to break cultural barriers.

The workshop will be held in collaboration with Sri Guru Harkrishan Senior Secondary School, Sector 38. The workshop is a part of CEVA’s process to initiate dialogue within society and communities, empowering methods of communication, ‘‘love and hugs’’.

According to CEVA’s Harleen Kohli, ‘‘What better way to bring peace than to do it through playing games?’’

And that is the beauty of this approach. ‘‘These games are simple, cooperative ones without the shadow of competition and are aimed to bring a smile on the faces of the participants. They are meant to make you forget boundaries and limits and learn to respect the differences— religious and physical— between people,’’ explains Imroz, who is the Master Trainer and Coordinator for PFP, India.

Having worked in Gujarat after riots, in Andaman and Nicobar after tsunami, in Barmer after floods, in Kashmir after earthquake, these three youngsters have grown far beyond their age having seen anguish and strife at close quarters. ‘‘It is not easy, but our hearts are now deeply entrenched in this’’, they say.

All this started for these three at the very first training workshop of PFP in Hyderabad in 2000. They were all students of Class X at that time. ‘‘We began with children in our mohallas and realised from the feedback we got that they looked upon us as positive role models. That is when we realised we were making a difference,” smiles Shahana.

Examples like these abound. Children afraid to come back to school after the tsunami, flocked just to play these games, communities gathered in relief camps in Gujarat to watch their children smile, there are so many little success stories.

Laughter and peace is the mantra but keeping the spirit alive and the motivation soaring is no mean task. Lack of funds and discrimination they face because of being Muslims are just some of the problems that these youngsters have encountered.

What makes their effort even more poignant is that they all come from conservative Muslim families in Hyderabad and they have had to face a lot of opposition from their own families to carry on in this field. ‘‘I remember a time when people wrote bad things on walls about me and I used to get up in the morning just to wash it off,’’ recalls Imroz.

That is not all. They have faced prejudice, even life-threatening situations all because of the community from which they come. ‘‘At one time in Gujarat, we changed our names to Swati, Sheetal and Rahul as people were coming around asking if there were any Muslims around,’’ says Imroz. The girls also wore bindis while working in certain sensitive areas and they have even had a run-in with cops after the recent Mumbai blasts where they were considered ‘‘terrorists’’ just because of their faith.

Does all this make them bitter? ‘‘Not at all’’, they all declare emphatically. ‘‘We have never considered ourselves to be from any particular community. We are human beings and there is really no need to prove who we are’’.

CEVA and these volunteers from ‘‘Play for Peace’’ will also organise an open workshop in front of Neelam cinema, Sector 17, at 6 pm on October 12, where anyone interested can come and play for peace.



MC staff reap fruit of illegal sellers
Kulwinder Sangha

Unauthorised shops near Madanpur Chowk in Mohali.
Unauthorised shops near Madanpur Chowk in Mohali. — Tribune photo by Vicky Gharu

Mohali, October 11
A fruit market and a market dealing in used furniture is unauthorisedly coming up in different areas of the town even as the authorities concerned are turning a blind eye to the violations.

It all started with minor violations which are increasing either due to the indifferent attitude of the municipal council or in connivance with the authorities concerned.

One or two rehris of fruit sellers could be seen near a turning to Yadavindra Public School some months ago. However, slowly the rehris kept adding and 10 rehris were seen today parked along the road in violation of the norms.

One of the fruit sellers said on condition of anonymity that the staff of the civic body had to be allegedly bribed to take advantage of the location. He said the council staff allowed parking only when they were offered fruit almost daily. He did not specify the quantity of fruit that was offered. He said fruit was also offered to policemen when they objected to parking of rehris in the area.

Similarly, a market for used furniture is mushrooming near Madanpur Chowk. It started with one shop and now three shops are selling old furniture from the backyard of houses in Phase IV. People have opened the back gates of their houses so that the premises can be put to commercial use in violation of the building bylaws. One can also see a barber’s shop and an STD booth functioning from the area.

Mr Mukesh, who is using the backyard of house number 711, Phase IV, said he had taken a part of the premises on rent and was paying Rs 5,000 per month to the landlord. He was operating from the area for the past many months. Asked whether any authority objected to the violations, he said the staff of the council at times seized the items lying outside. However, these were released after money was paid to those on duty.

However, a woman, operating from her own house ( 713, Phase IV) said she had been allowed to put her house to commercial use and as such she was paying water and power bills at commercial rates. She said she was the first one in the area to start commercial activity from her house many years ago. Earlier, she was running an eating joint and now had switched over to the sale of old furniture.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sekhon, Executive Officer of the municipal council, said the possibility of civic bodies employees being bribed by fruit sellers could not be ruled out.

He said action would be taken in this regard tomorrow. He said furniture of shop owners operating illegally from residential areas near Madanpur Chowk was seized many times and heavy fines were imposed.



WTO regime ‘can hit indigenous crops’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The opening of the world economy with the coming into force of the WTO regime could adversely affect the economic viability of the indigenous crops of the region. Unless and until these crops are included in the Special Products List, the farmers in the region stand to lose out when the WTO Agreement comes into force.

These reservations were expressed by farmers, agricultural experts, NGOs and functionaries in the agriculture departments of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. They had gathered here today to attend the regional stakeholders consultation workshop on “WTO Agriculture and Non-Agriculture Market Access (NAMA) Negotiations: Identifying Products of Exchange to India”, organised by the Textiles Committee in association with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and UNCTAD India. The workshop was inaugurated by Mr Rakesh Pandey, Minister of Horticulture and Science and Technology, Punjab.

While farmers from Punjab and Haryana, demanded the inclusion of wheat and paddy in the Special Products List, those from Himachal Pradesh sought the government’s intervention for the inclusion of apple and hopps (kathha), which is facing a threat from apple-producing nations like China, Australia and New Zealand. Representatives from Jammu and Kashmir wanted that Kashmiri saffron, which was under threat from Iranian saffron, pears, apricots and apples, too, should be included in the list. They pointed out how agriculture had become economically unviable, because of rising cost of inputs, deteriorating ecology in Punjab and lack of post-harvest technology and transportation services for produce in the hilly areas of Himachal and Jammu and Kashmir.

Farmers like Mr Buta Singh Bajwa, Chairman, Farmers Forum, Punjab, however, rued that since the consultations were held in English, and the material was not supplied to them earlier, they could not participate in the discussions.

Mr Jayant Dasgupta, who represented the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and was chairing the session, pointed out that a list of 695 items had been prepared under the harmonious system of classification: “A rudimentary list has also been prepared by UNCTAD which includes 31 items. We have not accepted this list and are seeking a public opinion by organising these stakeholder consultations. The G-33 group of nations has demanded that 20 per cent of the 695 items should be included in the Special Products List”. He also drew attention towards identifying special products and reducing market access so that it would not have a bad impact on domestic products due to reduction in customs duty on import of goods.



Reduction of drug trade margins may need review
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The much-hyped reduction of drug trade margins, leading to a decrease in drug prices of nearly 1000 formulation packs, may require a serious review as the figures submitted by industry associations are not specific about the actual reduction of prices.

Senior officials informed Tribune News Service that despite reminders from the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, the list submitted by many drug industry associations does not specify the earlier price and the revised price of a specific pack. Instead, the figures are a comparison between the 'revised' prices and the brand leader's earlier price (highest price of a formulation before reduction).

The vague response has now prompted the Department of Chemicals to have an analysis of the data before endorsing the industry's "goodwill" on helping bring down the drug prices. The list submitted by the Indian Drug Manufacturers Association (IDMA), a copy of which is with The Tribune, gives the name of the company, the product and the percentage of the reduction in prices/ prices lower than the brand leader, previous price/ price of brand leader and the current reduced price.

For instance, the list says that the current price of 10 tablets of clavam 375 ( an antibiotics used for respiratory infections) manufactured by Alkem Laboratories Ltd is Rs 189.It also shows the previous price of the brand leader as Rs 285 and the reduction in price/price lower than the brand leader by Alkem is 34 per cent. Thus, the list indicates that the percentage given is not that of price reduction, but that of the difference in prices between the particular company's product and that of the brand leader.

In cases where the product itself is the brand leader, there is a minor reduction. "Unless the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers sorts this out, the list should be seen as a face- saving exercise by both the government as well as the industry," said an industry source.

The Ministry is already dealing with price escalation from exempt states where unlike in non-exempt states, manufacturers are not under pressure of MRP-based excise that keeps a check on prices of medicines.

The Confederation of Indian Pharma Industry (Small Scale) is the only association which has come clean after a series of meetings with the industry on trade margins conducted by the Ministry. The association has agreed to cap the margins to trade at 300 per cent on the ex -factory prices to cover their costs.

The SSI Industry has also offered free medicines equivalent to 0.5 per cent of their turnover for Below the Poverty Line (BPL) families for account for medicines worth Rs 2500 crores.



Back lanes a picture of neglect
Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Driving through the back lanes of the arcades in Chandigarh continues to be nothing less than an ordeal for the city residents. Not only are the lanes plagued with garbage, sludge and stagnant water, potholes and depressions all along the pathways make it almost impossible for the motorists to drive through these lanes.

In the absence of adequate lighting in the streets, these lanes turn into accident-prone areas in the late evenings and at nights with one or two mishaps occurring on daily basis. Though the condition of almost all market back lanes in the city is deplorable, it is particularly bad in Sectors 8, 9, 22 and 35.

A visit to these areas is enough to reveal administrative apathy and gross indifference towards the problems being faced by the residents.

Sources in the Administration say the back lanes were earmarked in the city’s master plan for easing traffic congestion in front of the markets and providing an alternative route to the commuters leaving the arcades in their own vehicles. But these pathways failed to achieve their perceived objectives due to poor maintenance. Forced by traffic police personnel to pass through these lanes while making an exit from the parking lots in these sectors; motorists encounter mosquitoes and flies hovering over heaps of rotten vegetables and other waste thrown there by restaurants and fast food joint owners, besides other shopkeepers.

“Though the authorities claim that action has been initiated to prevent the spread of dreadful diseases like dengue, a round of these lanes is enough to belie their claims,” says city-based call-centre employee Tanvi Chaudhary. “Sometimes you are forced to think that passing through these lanes is actually suicidal.”

Describing it as a nerve-wracking experience, another resident Dhruv Sharma says the entire body revolts after suffering jolts on the market back lanes of Sectors 8 and 9.

“At several places down these lanes, potholes and depressions are not the only causes of concern. The road simply disappears from under the vehicle and you find yourself travelling into street of cobbled stones,” he says. “Each bump gives you the impression that something is seriously wrong with the shock-absorbers of your vehicle.”

An official in charge of back lane maintenance asserts they were waiting for the rainy season to end for carrying out the necessary repairs. “Now that the weather is congenial, the work of repairing and cleaning these lanes will be commenced soon,” he claims.



Tribute to those who dare to dream
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, October 11
"An Uncivil Servant" is the author's tribute to those who dare to dream. A unique book, it profiles the life of a celebrated civil servant, who refuses to succumb to a straitjacket existence.

In his urge to script a new beginning for his powerful-yet-mundane life, he resigns from the services after 25 years of engaged activity. In a rare departure from the norm, he succeeds yet again - this time not as a bureaucrat facilitating governance, but as an entrepreneur bearing risks.

At the heart of the book published by Rupa is Ravi Mohan Sethi, the protagonist whose experiences as a civil servant and then a businessman find a befitting expression in the literary acumen of Ashok Lavasa, another civil servant who has authored the book.

For Lavasa, who is Resident Financial Commissioner of Haryana in Delhi, chronicling Sethi's life was both a matter of privilege and pleasure. He tells the Tribune: "In the annals of Indian Administrative Services, Sethi is a name to reckon with. But more than the fact that he set standards as a civil servant, Sethi is known for his courage to quit the services and challenge his creativity all over again. Those in the IAS often feel the urge to give up their secure job. However, while many suffer from a sense of 'injured merit', few have the courage to opt out to test their mettle. RMS, as Sethi is better known , was one of those who dared."

Apart from what it has to offer, the book is unique in other ways too. One, it has been written in the first person, and second, it has been written by another civil servant who has been in the services for over 25 years. It may be hard to find an example of this kind of collaborative writing among civil servants. The urge to narrate his story in one of them has blended beautifully with the urge of creativity in the other. "An Uncivil Servant" may also be perhaps the first literary work in English by an IAS officer from the Haryana cadre.

Mr Lavasa, however, makes no claims. He is humble about his novel, in which his skills at English have come handy. He has a Masters degree from Delhi University in English Literature, besides a Masters in Business Administration from Southern Cross University, Australia. With such academic background, he first tried his hand at teaching before settling for the IAS.

The book, however, exposes the gaps between what things are and what they ought to be. Written as an autobiographical account, it attempts to transform the story of the protagonist from a string of an individual's tales into a saga of a man's struggle to measure himself in hard times.

"The book tells you that the life of a civil servant is not only about doing different jobs; it is also about trust. Such was the relationship between RMS, the Nainital DM and the former Uttar Pradesh CM, N.D Tiwari. This trust withstands the tribulations of trying times. But then RMS decides to quit. He makes calculated moves to rise to the pinnacle of his career as a businessman." Ten years hence, he is lording over the Stellar business empire.

The book trails Sethi's journeys through the alleyways of risk, besides talking about the pettiness and perversities of those in power. In Lavasa's words: "It is about someone whose yearning for achieving more than what he has takes him places. It also chronicles the life of a family that left its resources after Partition and yet succeeded in earning a decent living." After years, the son of that family repeats the act, but in a different setting.



Accused in Dehra Dun acid attack surrenders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
In a seven-day old incident of acid attack on two girls, including the sister of Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut, a Mandi resident today surrendered in a local court this evening.

The accused, Avinash Sharma, while surrendering in the court of Area Magistrate Atul Marrya told mediapersons that after being named in the incident, he apprehended that he and his family would be harassed by the Dehra Dun police.

A case under Section 326 of the IPC has been registered against the accused, who is a student of MSc at a Solan college in Himachal Pradesh. The Magistrate sent him to judicial custody. He would be taken on a transit remand to Dehra Dun tomorrow.

“I do not know the girls and I have no knowledge about the incident. Since the girl belongs to an influential family, I preferred to surrender to prove my innocence”, he said.

After the acid attack, Rangoli, the sister of Kangna Ranaut, and Vijaya Chublani were admitted to a hospital. While Rangoli received serious burns on her face and body, Vijaya escaped with minor injuries.

As per the police record, the attacker knocked on the door of the rented house of Rangoli, saying that he had brought a draft for her. Vijaya, who shares the room with Rangoli, called her and the man immediately threw acid on her face. Neighbours of the girls took the girls to the government hospital where doctors referred them to a private medical college.



UT plan for minorities
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
On the initiative of the Governor of Punjab and the UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), the Chandigarh Administration has prepared a multi-pronged strategy with the active involvement of representatives of the minority communities for uplift and welfare of all minorities, including Muslims, Sikhs and Christians, besides others.

The main objective of the action plan is to further integrate minorities into the development process and secular fabric of Indian society. It involves institutionalisation of minority welfare policies, programmes and schemes.

A health strategy for under served minority areas shall be evolved by giving special consideration in the light of their low level of literacy, income, awareness and cultural predispositions. A cultural sensitives approach with active involvement of maulanas, maulivis and other religious leaders on family health, women and children health shall be put in place.

For enhancing access to education of the minorities, the Department of Education will consider giving recognition to the madarsas and non-formal schools. Special grants, besides the annual grant, will be provided to the madarsas for improving quality of education. Computer and software literacy programmes, training in steel fabrication, iron welding, video camera operation, film editing, embroidery and tailoring will be started in the madarsas and other schools catering to the minorities.

The Administration will introduce courses in white wash, masonry, carpentry, hair-cutting, plumbing etc in polytechnic, craft institutes, and jan shikshan sansthan, besides others, or in a separate institutions which may also be setup to impart these skills.

The plan also envisages formation of self-help groups of women and youth to motivate them for saving and doing useful work for poverty eradication and inter-loaning.



DC apprised of Mohali residents’ problems
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 11
A deputation of municipal councillors met the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejveer Singh, urging him to get the major problems of the residents of the town solved on a priority basis.

The councillors brought to the notice of Mr Tejveer Singh that residents faced problems to hold big social functions in the town as no site had been reserved for the purpose.

They demanded that a site on the pattern of the Chandigarh Parade Ground be reserved for holding social functions. The town should also have a theatre like the Tagore Theatre in Chandigarh.

The deputationists said there was no playground for children. As such, children were seen playing football and cricket on roads and parks. There was a need to reserve one site in each sector for sports activities.

All roads of the town that linked Punjab to Chandigarh, like the road from Sohana to YPS Chowk, Balongi to Sector 39, Chandigarh, Sector 65 to Chandigarh should beautified by planting ornamental and flowering plants along the roads.

A demand was also made to have a separate government college for girls in the town.

Among the councillors who met the Deputy Commissioner were Mr Harmanpreet Singh, vice- president, Mr Gurmukh Singh Sohal, Mr Phoolraj Singh, Mr Mohanbir Singh Shergill, Mr Sukhminder Singh Barnala, Singh, Ms Harvinder Kaur, and 
Mr Amrik Singh.



Librarians thank PM

Chandigarh, October 11
The Chandigarh Librarians’ Association (CLA) at its meeting, specially convened for the purpose, profusely thanked Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, Mr Arjun Singh, HRD Minister, and Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Minister of State for Finance, for restoring complete parity with university and college teachers all over India, recently.

Giving details of the latest decision of the Government of India communicated to the UGC for onward transmission to universities and states, Ms Jaspal Kaur, general secretary, CLA, said the latest decision had brought a sigh of relief to the librarians. With this letter the long discrimination with the librarians had come to an end, she added.

As per the notification dated September 22, 2006, the librarians will be granted all benefits of the revised Career Advancement Scheme (CAS) with effect from July 27, 1998, as in the case of university and college teachers and the fixation of pay at Rs 14,940 with effect from January 1, 1996. The age of superannuation for the librarians has also been raised to 62 years on par with the teachers.

The CLA also placed on record its gratitude to AIFUCTO leadership, in general, and Dr V.K. Tiwari, general secretary, in particular, for the continuous support extended to the librarians during all these years. — TNS



MC to issue coupons for setting up stalls
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The local Municipal Corporation (MC) has decided to issue prepaid coupons to people desirous of setting up temporary stalls on Divali. The coupons will be issued at the office of the MC here and at its sub-office at Mani Majra from October 12 to 18 (except Sunday).

For Mani Majra and Mauli Jagran, coupons will be issued at the sub-office, Mani Majra. For Sector 17, the coupons will be issued to the original shopkeepers only on October 16 and 17 between 10 am and 4 pm.

The coupons will be issued on a first-come first-serve basis. Terms and conditions for setting up a stall will be as printed on the coupon and put up on the notice board of the MC. According to MC officials, anyone found to have set up a stall without a coupon, will be charged double the rate applicable. For issuing the coupons, eight counters will be set up at the office of the corporation and one at Notified Area Committee, Mani Majra.

The rates per day (for October 19, 20, 21 only)



Dr Dey elected Fellow of INSA
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 11
Prof Chinmoy Sankar Dey, Head of the Department of Biotechnology, NIPER, has been elected Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) for his stupendous research contributions in the areas of diabetes and microbial drug resistance.

Dr Dey, postgraduate scholar from Calcutta University, completed his PhD from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. Later, he did his post-doctoral research at the California Institute of Technology, California, and Baylor College of Medicine, Texas, USA. After joining NIPER as an Assistant Professor in 1994, he initiated strong research programmes in insulin-resistant diabetes and leishmanial (pathogen responsible for Kala-azar) drug resistance in understanding the molecular mechanism of the diseases, thereby developing novel screening model(s) and drug target(s) for new drug discovery.

Dr Dey has published more than 40 research papers in peer reviewed high impact international research journals. He has an US patent and also attracted about Rs 15 million from various funding agencies.

Dr Dey is already a recipient of the prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar prize from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi, and the National Bioscience award from DBT, New Delhi.



Construction on vacant plots: Admn gives more time to allottees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The Chandigarh Administration has decided to further grant extension up to March 31, 2007, for the construction of buildings on vacant plots allotted by it. The step has been taken to give another chance to people whose buildings are under construction.

It has been decided to give an opportunity to those who have got their building plans sanctioned and are ready to start construction work or are in the process of constructing buildings. The extension will be allowed with 50 per cent increase in the rates so that the cost of seeking extension becomes a deterrent for future.

The previous extension up to March 31, 2006 was allowed at the rate of Rs 250 per square meter for residential, institutional and other categories whereas a rate of Rs 500 per square meter had been fixed for commercial/industrial buildings.

The Administration had earlier decided not to give any further extension for construction of buildings on the plots allotted by it beyond March 31, 2006.



Woman sustains burn injuries in LPG leakage
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
A 35-year-old married woman, Kavita, suffered 70 per cent burn injuries while cooking food at her residence in Dadu Majra Colony here this morning. The police said she was not fit to record her statement.

According to the police, the accident took place when Kavita's clothes caught fire at around 8 am while she was cooking food. The police said the fire broke out due to leakage of gas. She ran out of her house crying for help. Her husband was sitting outside. She was rushed to the PGI.

The police ruled out the possibility of foul play behind the incident as per the statement recorded by her neighbours.

A mother of a 10-year-old daughter, Kavita was married about 15 years ago.



Lalru move to sell prime land flayed
Tribune News Service

Lalru, October 11
The move of the Lalru panchayat to sell prime land to a prominent industrial house has come in for criticism from a cross-section of residents.

In a representation to the Director, Rural Development and Panchayats, several prominent citizens, including Mr Nirmal Singh Rathi and Mr Jagtar Singh, former sarpanches, Mr Harnek Singh and Ms Reeta Rani, both panches, and Rana Roop Singh and Zile Singh, alleged that the panchayat had sought sanction from the director to sell five acres of prime land here at the rate of Rs 15 lakh per acre.

The market value of the land was about Rs 35 lakh per acre. The land was being sold to the industrial house in collusion with certain officials, the representation said adding that the panchayat should not be given permission to sell land.



Anganwari workers stage protest
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 11
Anganwari workers staged a protest outside the office of the Deputy Commissioner here today in support of their demand. The protesters raised slogans against the government and demanded that the problems being faced by them should be solved at the earliest failing which they would be compelled to intensify their stir.



9 held for Panjab University clash
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Nine students, including Panjab University Campus Students Council President Dalveer Singh Goldy and President of the Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) Abhishek Puri, were arrested today in connection with a clash on the campus last night. At least six students were injured in the armed clash between members of the Students Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) and PUSU at Boys Hostel No. 6.

Among those arrested, Goldy and his close associates Gurbir Singh, Gurpratap Singh Mann, Harpreet Singh Multani and Gurpreet Singh Kang have been booked under Sections 308, 147, 149, 506 and 323 of the IPC.

President of PUSU Abhishek Puri, Loveneet Lochan, Sarbjinder Singh Sandhu and Gurjot, all of whom were also hurt in the clash and remained in the General Hospital last night, have been booked and arrested for rioting, causing hurt and criminal intimidation.

While Multani, Brar, Kang and Puri have been remanded in one-day police custody, Loveneet, Sandhu and Gurjot have been sent to judicial custody. Goldy and Mann, who were arrested late in the evening today, will be produced before the court tomorrow.

According to residents of the hostel, Goldy, Gurbir and Multani, along with at least 12 other boys, some of them outsiders, came in cars and motor cycles to the hostel. They were carrying bats and hockey sticks. They headed for Puri’s room. Puri, who had an exam today, was studying alone in his room. After a short verbal spat, the group started beating up Puri who raised an alarm.

The group ran out of the hostel and gathered near a structure under construction next to the parking area and started hurling abuses at PUSU members and even pelted them with bricks.

Bleeding in the nose, Puri called his supporters and came out of the hostel while majority of the hostellers, too, had reached the hostel gates. “Supporters of SOPU and PUSU faced each other outside the hostel when suddenly a SOPU supporter came forward and hit Puri on the head with a bat. After this, it was free for all. When Goldy saw that the entire hostel was watching the whole scene, he and some others left in the two cars. The others left later”, said a resident of the hostel.

Other residents of the hostel said the clash was the result of a fight that had taken place between Puri and Kang in the hostel mess two days ago. “Kang was fighting with a PUSU activist Bhupi at the mess and Puri had intervened. The two had a verbal spat and later slapped each other. Supporters of SOPU and PUSU in the hostel had gathered for a showdown, but apparently a compromise was reached. However, it seemed the matter was not settled and it led to this,” said another resident of the hostel.

Interestingly, while many residents of the hostel said Goldy was leading the SOPU group that entered the hostel, when contacted late last night on the mobile, Goldy said he was at his home in Dhuri. He said he had come to know about the fight and added that it was a clash between the two groups in which his supporter Kang was beaten up and injured.

Meanwhile, the Dean Students Welfare, Mr Naval Kishore, ordered the sealing of the hostel rooms of all those students who were involved in the clash. “We have also noticed that there is not enough lighting arrangements outside the Hostel No. 6 and have asked the SDO concerned to take care of it”, he added.



Maid’s murder: landlady arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The local police arrested a Sector 30-based woman tonight on the charge of killing her maidservant, who was found dead at her residence under mysterious circumstances on September 30.

The police arrested Archana Bhardwaj, the victim’s employer, on the basis of circumstantial evidence, which pointed to her role in the killing of her 21-year-old maidservant, Urmila, a tribal girl hailing from West Bengal.

The police registered a case of murder on Tuesday following a post-mortem report which said the victim had died due to asphyxia. The doctors also found signs anti-mortal smothering on her face. Urmila was unmarried and had been living with the family for the past over six months.

Regarding the motive, the police said the victim in all probability knew certain secrets about the landlady’s conduct, which could have proved embarrassing for her.

Inspector Satbir Singh, in charge of the Crime Branch said the circumstantial evidence like single-entry point of the house clearly indicated that no one had entered the house nor left it.

The house was also locked from inside as declared by Archana and her family. Moreover, there were three pet dogs in the house, including a pointer dog, which also firmed the suspicion that no stranger had entered the house.

A special investigation team has been constituted to unravel the mystery behind the killing, he added.

The post-mortem was conducted on Tuesday at the Sector 16 General Hospital. The report says that the victim sustained injuries on the left side of her jaw.

Her body was recovered from the drawing room of the house on the second floor, which was occupied by Archana, who runs a boutique, her father Gobind Bhardwaj and her two children. Archana’s brother lives on the first floor of the two-kanal house.

The police initially thought that the death might have been caused by food poisoning until the post-mortem reports proved murder.

The post-mortem was delayed as the victims’ family failed to reach the city till Tuesday. Her father, Sadhna Uru, came from Bengal yesterday and the post-mortem was carried out thereafter.



Jewellery, cash stolen from house
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 11
Gold and silver ornaments and cash amounting to about Rs 1.5 lakh were stolen from a house in Phase IX. Mr Jaspal Singh, working as SDO with the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority, said the thieves had decamped with 13 tolas of gold, some silver ornaments and about Rs 4,000.

He said the family had gone to Panipat on Friday. Till Saturday nothing had happened as he had enquired from his neighbours.

But when he came back on Monday morning he found that the lock on the main door of the building had been broken by thieves to gain entry into the premises. The lock on the gate was, however, intact.

When he entered the house he saw that the cupboards in the bedrooms had been searched and all items were lying scattered in the house.

The matter was reported to the police in the morning and an FIR was registered on Monday evening.

In another case, Mr Partap, a resident of Naygaon, complained to the police that he, along with his family, had gone to his in-laws house on October 1 but when he came back on Monday he saw that thieves had broken into his house and decamped with silver and cash.

The police has registered a case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC in this regard.



Rs 25,000 stolen from truck
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Two cases of theft have been reported in various parts of the city. The police said Mr Gurmit Singh of Jammu lodged a complaint alleging that Rs 25,000 were stolen from his truck, which was parked at Circus Ground in Sector 17, on Tuesday.

In another incident, Mr B.B. Bhasin of Sector 38 reported to the police that Rs 300, a mobile phone and music system were stolen from his car, which was parked at his residence, during the intervening night of October 9 and 10.

Held with smack

The local police arrested Subash of Sector 38 while allegedly carrying 22 grams of smack in the same sector on Tuesday. A case under Section 21 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act has been registered.


A pedestrian, Mr Harbans Lal, resident of Sector 30, sustained injuries after being hit by a car driven by Joginder Singh of Sector 27 near Sector 20 and 30 traffic light point on Monday night. He was admitted to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32. The police arrested Joginder Singh.



50-yr-old man found dead at Hallomajra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
A 50-year-old man was found dead at Hallomajra here this morning. The police ruled out the possibility of any foul play behind the death as no visible injury marks were found on the body.

The deceased had been identified as Ram Parkash of Nepal. The incident came to light when a passerby noticed the body and informed the police. Ram Parkash was a vagabond and jobless. He had come from Nepal in search of a job.

The police said the people who had seen him roaming in the area said he was an alcoholic and that was the reason that he was expelled from jobs many times. The police was trying to find his relatives.

Meanwhile, the body has been shifted to the Sector 16 General Hospital. The police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code in this connection.

The police said the deceased might have suffered a heart attack or died due to excessive drinking. The exact cause of the death could only be ascertained after the post mortem, it added.



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