C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


SHOs to check hooliganism on New Year’s Eve
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
Acknowledging the need for being extra cautious to prevent planting of bombs and shootouts on New Year Eve, the Chandigarh Police today issued instructions to Station House Officers of all police stations to ensure the deployment of adequate police force at the venues of celebrations. The Deputy Superintendent of Police, in charge of security, has also been asked to ensure the carrying out of anti-sabotage checks at all important hotels, discothèques, restaurants and guest houses in the city. All the SHOs have been deployed for entire night patrolling and they have been directed to be in their areas from 6 pm till the New Year celebrations are over. Besides this, they would check all the newspaper distribution centres, vegetable markets, rehri markets and ensure proper deployment at these points.

The police would also remain present at parking lots and happening places and would also ensure that parking areas should be kept at a reasonable distance away from party places. The police would also keep colonies under their watch during the late night hours.

Senior officers have also directed police officials to be in contact with the people making arrangement for parties and the concerned SHOs have been asked to submit their reports with the DSPs of their areas, who would further inform the Police Control Room.

The Chandigarh police has also requested the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to provide one section of each battalion at pickets to be set up in various parts of the city. Besides this, one section of mounted police would be provided to each sub-division as per the requirement.

The SHOs of all the police stations have been asked to ensure that wine shops in the city are closed at the scheduled times. The officers have been given strict instructions to keep an eye on their subordinates so that they should not indulge in drinking and no one should leave his duty without informing.

UT Senior Superintendent of Police Gaurav Yadav said special emphasises was being put on drunken driving or incidents of hooliganism. The police force has been asked to be in touch with the traffic police in order to assist them in restoring law and order in parking lots and other places to ensure smooth flow of traffic.

He also added that traffic violators were being challaned in an aggressive manner to give signal to the violators.



Looking Ahead: 2007
Great expectations from UT
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
As the year draws to a close, residents of the city can look up with great expectations to a list of projects drawn up by the Chandigarh Administration for upgrading the current facilities and adding new ones to the existing infrastructure.

In order the curb the existing traffic menace on link roads to Panchkula, the Administration has initiated work on a link road from Hallomajra to Panchkula.


  • Work on an alternate route to Panchkula from the National Highway No. 21 has begun.
  • UT to go ahead with the plan for a 50-MW Solar Energy Plant.
  • Desilting of Sukhna Lake will get a major boost in case the Centre gives clearance to Rs 102-crore project for its desilting.
  • Institute for Mentally Retarded and Challenged Children in Sector 31.
  • Major renovation on Tagore Theatre and work to commence on the Nehru Centre for Performing Arts.

An amount of Rs 10 crore has been sanctioned for the dual carriageway. The earth embankment work is almost complete. In order to meet the shortage of power supply, the Administration has cleared a 50-MW solar plant that only needs a formal approval from the Ministry of Non-Conventional Resources.

The work will commence shortly on the Water Amusement Park with signing up of an agreement recently. The Administration is coming up with Education City which will house at least six major educational institutes with a state-of-the-art infrastructure and related courses in different fields.

The Administration has also cleared the preliminary work on a Milk City and one of the biggest names doing the names is of Amul Dairy Products. The Film City has witnessed big names, including Subhash Ghai and Sippy Brothers, besides others.

The Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park is one of the biggest developments in the recent years which will have a marked impact on the future of the city. Work has also commenced on the major housing project in the park which was bagged by the Parsvanath.

It has sanctioned the plans for a mural in Sector 17 which is the commercial hub of the city. The renovation of Tagore Theatre and the construction of Nehru Centre for Performing Arts have already been cleared by the Administration and the coming year is likely to show the results.



Unanimous win for 8 Deans
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
Elections of Deans of various faculties of the Panjab University were held here today.

Deans to eight faculties were chosen today from among members of various faculties of the university. The day belonged to the ‘rotation group’ of senators with all elections turning out to be unanimous.

No voting took place as no names were proposed by the members of the GK Chatrath group against the names proposed by the members of the ‘rotation group’.

Prof B.S. Ghumman of the Department of Public Administration, PU, was chosen as the Dean, Faculty of Arts replacing Prof Ashwani Aggarwal.

Prof Deepak Manmohan Singh of the Department of Punjabi retained his post as the Dean of Languages.

Prof S.S. Sangha, Principal, Dashmesh College of Education for Women, Badal, was elected as Dean of Faculty of Education while Dr Jagdish Bains, Principal, Dev Samaj College of Education, Ferozepur, was elected as secretary of the faculty.

Prof Satish Kapoor of the University Business School was chosen as the Dean, Business Management and Commerce, replacing Prof A.K. Sahajpal. Dr Jagwant Singh of the GGDSD College, Sector 32, here, was chosen as the secretary of the faculty with Prof Kapoor.

Prof Daljit Singh of the Department of Chemical Engineering, PU, was elected as Dean, Engineering and Technology, while Prof U.S. Shivhari of the Department of Chemical Engineering was elected as secretary of the faculty. Prof Akhtar Mehmood of the Department of Biochemistry retained his post as Dean of the Science Faculty.

Ms Pankaj Mala Sharma of the Department of Music has been elected as the Dean of Design and Fine Arts while Ms Gurpreet Kaur, Principal, Master Gurbanta Singh Memorial College, Kartarpur, was elected as the secretary of the faculty.

Mr V.R. Sinha of the University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences was elected as Dean Pharmaceutical Sciences and Prof Manoj Kumar of the same department was elected as the secretary of the faculty.

Elections to the new syndicate will be held tomorrow along with the election of the Dean, Medical Sciences, Dean of the Law Faculty and Dean of Dairying, Animal Husbandry and Agriculture.



New bylaws to change village landscape
Developers can construct 6-storeyed flats
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
The Chandigarh Administration has notified rules for the erection and re-erection of buildings in villages falling in the limits of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC).

The bylaws provide a big relief to the residents in the mixed use of buildings. All the buildings in the villages may be used for residential or commercial or any other trade or purpose prescribed under the rules. However, no industrial activity shall be permitted except for the existing household industries permitted by the Department of Industries of the Administration, a press note said here today.

This implies that the guest houses, which were illegal under old bylaws, are permissible now.This would help the inhabitants of these villages to improve their financial as well as living condition.

The minimum height of a building has been allowed to be 34 feet, i.e. two floors. This excludes the height of the parapet and water tank. The minimum size of a habitable room shall not be less than 100 sq ft.The site coverage shall be as below subject to condition of height and ventilation under the rules. Open balconies/projection not exceeding three feet in width are allowed, provided these do not project on government land.

The residents will now have to submit their building plans to the MCC for approval. The residents can submit their plans to the architectural wing in the office of Chief Engineer, Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, at Room No. 120 and at Ground Floor, New Deluxe Building , Sector 17, Chandigarh .

In the bylaws special incentives have been provided to encourage regulated development. These also provide for substantial incentives to those residents of existing village "abadis", who collectively opt for improving the existing civic infrastructure, specially roads and other services. Another important feature of the bylaws is that developers who can acquire minimum of half an acre of land in the abadi area of the village can construct six-storey flats with a mix of residential/commercial use.

The bylaws, with the special provisions, will certainly change the face of the villages and the village abadis would in long run develop into independent and environment friendly small towns with tremendous scope for future improvement.



Bajwa makes last-minute appointments before poll code
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 29
In a controversial decision, the Minister for School Education, Punjab, Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa, has made last-minute appointments in the Punjab School Education Board with one person joining less than an hour before the model code of conduct was enforced across the state.

Highly placed sources in the Education Department said the Controller of Examinations, Ms S.K. Saroya, was unceremoniously divested of her charge as the Controller and was replaced with Mr Avtar Singh, a Circle Education Officer, posted at Jalandhar.

Mr Avtar Singh joined the board this afternoon even as Ms Saroya is on a week’s leave and has not handed over her charge.

The sources said the minister had also filled the post of the Vice-Chairman, lying vacant for the past few months, by appointing Mr Ranjit Singh Bajwa Vice-Chairman. Sources pointed out that desperate measures were on to issue the orders in today’s date to hoodwink the model code of conduct.

The sources said in the appointment of Mr Avtar Singh, the minister had overruled an observation of the Principal Secretary, Education, Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, who had asked the board’s Chairman to appoint a regular Controller of Examinations in accordance with the rules.

Ms Saroya, who is the Senior Legal Adviser of the board, was appointed the Controller of Examinations in August, 2004, and the then Principal Secretary, Education, Ms Tejinder Kaur, had noted that Ms Saroya was the only person in the board who could have filled the post as she was suitably qualified for the same.

Ms Saroya had cracked down on the cheating mafia in school examinations.

The board has since 2002 not initiated the procedure for the selection of a regular Controller and the post continued to be occupied by senior board employees as additional charge.

Following a move initiated by the minister to appoint Mr Avtar Singh to the board as the regular Controller, Mr Kaushal had reportedly suggested that proper procedure be followed and only then a regular Controller be appointed. Proper procedure involved the issuing of an advertisement and passing a circular regarding the post within the department, for which all those qualified would have applied.

The sources added that the procedure had been started and a note to this effect even circulated within the board and the Education Department. However, even before the contenders for the post could send in their applications, the minister went ahead with the appointment.



Doc leaves surgery midway
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
A Sector 21-B doctor allegedly left the mother of a doctor in pain on the operation table without completing an endoscopic procedure here today.

Ms Manni Devi (61), the mother of Dr S.R. Meena, a child-specialist with the ESI Hospital in Ram Darbar, was undergoing endoscopic procedure for the removal of a stent in CBD when the surgeon, Dr Neeraj Nagpal, owner of Hope Nursing Home, left the procedure half way allegedly to attend another appointment.

The child specialist said after getting various tests conducted on his mother for locating the position of the stent, he sought appointment with Dr Nagpal. He reached the clinic this morning where he was told that the hospital charged Rs 10,000 for the endoscopic procedure to remove the stent called ERCP. He was asked to deposit Rs 7,500 in advance while the rest of the payment was to be made after the surgery.

Dr Meena alleged, “After administering local anaesthesia, the surgeon inserted endoscope inside my mother’s stomach. Dr Nagpal made futile efforts for over 15 minutes to remove the stent.”

“Dr Nagpal left my mother in pain on the table to attend another appointment, saying that the operation would take two-three hours extra so the endoscopic surgery on his mother could not be performed today.”

“I and my wife, Dr Naina Meena, who is also a gynaecologist at the Ram Darbar ESI Hospital, were inside the operation theatre during the surgery”, said Dr Meena.

“Moreover, he charged the full operation fee.”

Dr Nagpal, however, denied the allegations, saying that the stent got slipped from its actual place. “To remove it from its new place, a major surgery was required, for which neither we nor the patient were prepared. Apart from this, we had also not prepared the operation theatre for a major surgery,” claimed Dr Nagpal.

He also claimed that Dr Meena had been charged concessional rates for preliminary treatment given to his mother. “Dr Meena has threatened me to expose before the media. Moreover, he created a ruckus in the clinic and warned me of dire consequences,” said Dr Nagpal.



Drunk neighbour sets woman afire
Victim suffers 90 pc burns; money dispute cited as reason
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
In a fit of rage, a Burail resident in an inebriated condition allegedly set afire a woman in his neighbourhood by pouring kerosene on her at her residence late last night. The police cited an old financial dispute with the victim’s husband as the reason behind the attack.

The victim, 26-year-old Nanhi, mother of two, was admitted to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) in a critical condition. She reportedly suffered 90 per cent burn injuries. Her husband, Rajbir, a street hawker, also suffered burns on his face and hands while rescuing his wife.

The police arrested Bhagwandas, the neighbour, in a case of attempt to murder under Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code on a statement given by Mr Rajbir Singh. The accused has been arrested.

The police said the accused forcibly entered the victim’s house and poured kerosene over her and then set her afire. Nanhi and her two children, five-year-old son and one-year-old daughter, were at home at that time. The accused after setting the woman afire locked the house from outside. In the meantime, Rajbir reached home and found Nanhi engulfed in flames. He tried to extinguish the fire by wrapping her in a sack and raised the alarm. Soon people gathered there and rushed the victim to hospital.

Mr Rajbir told the police that he had borrowed Rs 450 from Bhagwandas, also a street hawker, which he returned later. Bhagwandas came to his residence on Wednesday and demanded money from his wife. When she told him that the amount was already returned, Bhagwandas forcibly snatched Rs 1,000 from his wife and ran away. This led to a confrontation and the matter was reported to the police. The police intervened and Bhagwandas returned the amount.

“Enraged over being forced to pay back the money, Bhagwandas nursed a grudge against me and last night he assaulted my wife in a fit if rage”, alleged Rajbir. The police said the victim’s statement has been recorded before a magistrate and it had also corroborated with the statement given by her husband.

The police said the accused was produced before a local court today, which remanded him in judicial custody.



Watch out

Mr Rajesh Bhasin, director of the Zirakpur-based ONS Developers and Promoters, will be in New Delhi on Saturday in connection with the business plans of the group. Promoted by professionals, the group plans to venture into real estate projects, including housing and shopping malls, on Chandigarh's periphery, particularly Zirakpur and Kharar. The main emphasis of the group is going to be on timely possession and quality construction.



In Town

Deepa Narayan Jha, wife of playback singer Udit Narayan, will be in town on Saturday in connection with the ongoing New Year celebrations by the Chandigarh Administration. A talented singer, Deepa has many songs, both duets and solo, to her credit. She forayed into producing films with her debut Bhojpuri film “Kab Hoi Gaona Hamar”. Her next Bhojpuri production, starring former Miss World Yukta Mookhey, is ready for release.



Passing Thru

Romi Bhinder, Administrative Director, World Cricket Academy (India), Mumbai
Romi Bhinder, Administrative Director, World Cricket Academy (India), Mumbai

What brings you to the city?

We are here to carry out a talent search programme in cricket at the Sector 26 St John’s cricket grounds. Actually, it is the Investors in Cricket (IIC) who is conducting this programme in 13 cities all over India.

How do you find the local upcoming cricketers?

At least better than Delhi. The decision to hold the trials here was taken at the eleventh hour when we could not find the right talent in Delhi. Actually, during the last JP Atray Memorial Tournament, it was the Chandigarh team who beat Mumbai badly in one of the trials, which we remembered. So our hunt leads us to choose Chandigarh boys.

How many boys have your chosen?

There are around 85 aspirants. We have shortlisted five boys. In Delhi, of the 600, we could find only 11 boys. We have already shortlisted 44 bowlers, but now we are on the lookout for batsmen only.

What is your agenda for the chosen ones?

The selected 23 probables from all over the country will be inducted into the Mumbai Academy where their skills will be further brushed up with our trainers. After that, there will be elimination rounds and only one will be selected.

What incentives will you offer to the final selected one?

The selected one will enter into a year’s agreement with the Leicestershire County Cricket Club and a cash prize between Rs 10 and 15 lakh will be given to him.

- G. S. Paul



Zirakpur's municipal limits extended
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, December 29
The municipal limits of the township of apartments and shopping malls - Zirakpur - have been extended with the inclusion of two more villages - Nabha and Singhpura.

According to sources, the Punjab Government has extended the limits apparently for the "development of the area in a planned manner" and to check haphazard urban growth.

This has been done keeping in mind the density of population, revenue generation for the local administration, percentage of employment in non-agriculture activity and economic importance of the area.

What it means

  • Singhpura, Nahba in Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat
  • Move expected to boost planned development
  • Civic body to get more revenue
  • Villagers hail proposed decision

Earlier, the government had asked the Nagar Panchayat to send a “proposal for including those areas of Nabha and Singhpura which have the potential for generating revenue and urbanisation to the Punjab Government”.

“Accordingly, the Nagar Panchayat is directed to consider the request of Nabha and Singhpura residents for inclusion in the municipal limits.

The only objection of the Nagar Panchayat of not extending the Nagar Panchayat boundary towards these villages was on account of the fact that the gram panchayats of these villages had not formally requested it in this regard. This objection has now been met with as the objections were filed by sarpanches and panches representing the village panchayats,” an earlier order had said.

Last year, the department had issued a notification inviting objections to the inclusion of three villages - Peer Muchhalla, Kishanpura and Gazipur - into the Nagar Panchayat. Later, these villages were included in the municipality.

While filing objections to the inclusion of these villages, residents of Singhpura and Nabha had pleaded for the incorporation of their villages in the Nagar Panchayat as they fulfilled the "prescribed" criteria.

Meanwhile, Mr Saudagar Singh, president of the Action Committee of the villagers fighting for the inclusion of the villages in the Nagar Panchayat, today welcomed the inclusion of the villages in the civic body, saying that the inclusion would give a fillip to the planned development of the area.

The chairman of the Kisan Anti-Eviction Forum, Mr Jagjit Singh Jaggi, while hailing the decision, also demanded the inclusion of Ramgarh Bhudda and Nagla in the civic body for planned urban growth.



Mercury dips

Chandigarh, December 29
Snow in the upper reaches of the Himalayas and cloudy weather throughout the day here brought down the temperature to the lowest ever during this season.

Though the maximum temperature remained static, there was a sharp drop in the minimum temperature - by almost three degrees - from 8.4°C yesterday to 5.6°C today in the city. The maximum temperature recorded in the city was 20 degrees. The chill in the air and the sun being obscured from view by the clouds, ensured that most people stayed indoors in the evening. — TNS



New winter home for migratory birds
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

Chhatbir, December 29
Nestled in verdant forests, grassy swamps and serene pollution-free atmosphere, the Chhatbir zoo lake is once again agog with activities of feathered guests.

A visit to the zoo today revealed that the lake is home to nearly 10,000 migratory birds, including cormorants, pochards, grebes (little and crested), coots, dabchicks, moorhens and barheaded geese.

The zoo, one of the largest parks in northern India, is spread in an area of over 500 acres. It plays an important role in attracting both local and migratory birds even from trans-Himalayan zone.

As we entered the lake catchment, we were greeted by a myriad of ventriloquial noises. Far away we saw painted storks roosting on trees and coots in flight. Treetops were occupied by bird colonies of various kinds.

Zoo caretakers say the painted stork is the most abundant species in the area. Every year seven to eight to 10 pairs breed near the lake. Nearly 100 storks are now permanent resident of the zoo.

The painted stork migrates within India, from Pakistan and Nepal. It is found in lakes, marshes and reservoirs. They stay in small groups, though large flocks with chicks may be found roosting on trees. Sometimes they made nests on huts.

The productive ecosystem of the area provides enough aquatic fauna to the thousands of birds throughout the year, while the protection from human interference enables the species to roost and breed. Last year during the winter over 15,000 birds were holidaying in the area.

“The migratory birds have started arriving since the last week of October. The migration will continue till February-end,” said Dr Kuldip Kumar, Director, Chhatbir.

He says the star attraction, a pair of black-necked storks, is yet to arrive. For the past two years the pair was regularly coming.

Avian Fauna

Of the 2,100 species and sub-species of birds found in the Indian subcontinent, nearly 300 are migrants from areas beyond the Himalayas — Central and Northern Asia — and Northeast Europe.

Based on their migrating habits, birds can be classified as resident birds that stay close to their nesting areas like the bulbul, tailor bird and Indian roller and migratory birds that leave their nesting ground each year in autumn or late summer and fly to warmer parts for winter and return again in spring. Ducks, wagtails and Siberian crane, who migrate to India, come under this category. 



‘Kalka to be No.1 constituency in Haryana’
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 29
Stating that special emphasis was being given to initiating new projects in Kalka constituency, the Haryana Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Chander Mohan, yesterday, said Kalka would become the number one constituency in the state.

He said this while addressing a gathering after inaugurating a two-day multi-speciality health mela at Chikken village. The Health Mela was organised by the District Red Cross in collaboration with the Health Department.

The Deputy Chief Minister said no state could make progress unless its citizens were healthy and strong. He said the state government was giving special thrust to promoting health services in the state. He directed the Deputy Commissioner to hold the next health check-up camp at Mandawala village so that the poor people of the area could avail of the health facilities being provided by the government at their doorsteps.

While referring to the demands put forward by the panches and sarpanches of the area, Mr Chander Mohan assured them of prompt action. The Deputy Chief Minister also inaugurated a bridge constructed between Chikken to Diwanwala road at cost of Rs 55 lakh. He inaugurated a dharamshala at Raipur village.

The District Congress President, Mr Om Parkash Devinagar, urged the Deputy Chief Minister to upgrade the Government High School, Chikkan, to senior secondary level while putting forward a demand for a veterinary hospital in the village.



Industrialists unhappy with their lot
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 29
Pot-holed slushy roads, inadequate street lighting, a shabby road network, a practically non-existent transport system topped by non-availability of power has taken the sheen off the city’s industrial hub. Plagued with problems, industrialists maintain that it is not lucrative to run their businesses in the given conditions.

“We pay the maximum rates for power and get it for a minimum period. This is unjust. Repeated representations have failed to elicit a favourable response,” says C.B. Goel, who is running a business in auto parts.

Maintaining that the businessmen have to incur production losses, Mr Satish Gupta, Chairman of the Haryana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, added there was absolutely no public transport for the convenience of employees working in factories. Each one had to make his own arrangements.

The law and order situation, too, was not very bright and non-functional streetlights in the area only made the matters worse for the business houses. The industrialists alleged that the Municipal Council was focusing on recarpeting good city roads, while they were turning a blind eye to the roads of Industrial Area which are in urgent need of repairs.

“Every morning it's a roller-coaster ride to for industrialists and workers. While Phase I has remained neglected for long, Phase II is in a slightly better condition. Despite all our efforts, there has been no improvement in the Industrial Area which has only gone from bad to worse. It continues to be neglected on all fronts,” remarks Dharinder Tayal, another industrialist. The industrialists are hopeful that their lot too will be redeemed in the coming times with industry catching the attention of the Haryana Government. 



Renewable energy schemes reviewed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
The Adviser of Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), New Delhi, Dr N.P Singh, reviewed renewable energy schemes, implemented by Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh at a meeting held here yesterday.

The meeting was attended by Mr S.S Bedi, Director, Regional Office, MNRE and Mr S.S Sekhon, Director, Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA), and officers of PEDA, Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (HAREDA) and Science and Technology Department, Chandigarh, attended the meeting. The issues such as Information and Publicity Awareness programme, including energy parks, renewable energy clubs etc., Biomass and Solar Energy Programme were discussed.

Appreciating the new and renewable energy policy notified by the Punjab Government, Dr N.P Singh said the provision of different tariff in the policy for different sources of new and renewable energy would help in attracting more participation from private sector for such projects.

He further said additional provision for purchase of power from new and renewable sources of energy (NRSE) projects outside the state in the northern grid would help in bridging the gap between demand and supply in the state.

The move by the Haryana Government to provide rebate in monthly electricity bills to the users of solar water heating system in domestic sector for a period of three years was also appreciated in the meeting.

The stress was laid on completing the already sanctioned state level energy parks in Haryana and Chandigarh at the earliest.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Sekhon informed the meeting that the state level Energy Park with a central grant of Rs 90.90 lakh at Science City, Kapurthala, had been completed.



Will Admn get World Heritage status for city in New Year?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
“Culturally speaking”, 2007 will be no cakewalk for Chandigarh Administration which has its hands full with promises. And when promises have been made, they must be fulfilled, too, especially when everyone is watching. In a way then, the year ahead will be less about making announcements about new projects and more about crystallising those already made.

Needless to say, on top of the agenda will be the promotion of Chandigarh’s heritage and tourism potential. Where 2006 brought the news of Chandigarh entering the tentative list for nomination to UNESCO’s World Heritage list, the year ahead is expected to take the news further and bring home the promise of “world heritage status.”

On job are top minds, including Prof Kiran Joshi from the Chandigarh College of Architecture, who has, along with UT Administration, prepared the city’s case for the global recognition. But whether the case stands UT Administration in good stead is to be seen over the coming months.

Interesting to note is the diverse package for tourism promotion which the UT Administration has worked out. The idea is to ensure that the city no longer remains a transit point. Much has been heard about adventure and theme parks which CITCO will develop, also about two lakes which are to come up along the course of Leisure Valley stream in Chandigarh. Work on the one of them, in Sector 23, has begun, though experts are apprehensive about the need of such lakes. The apprehension is backed by lack of studies that detail the inflow and outflow of water at the designated spots. The issue of flooding of areas near to the proposed lakes will have to be addressed. But how, no one knows.

What the Administration does, however, know is that it will fast-track the work on Chandigarh Film City project. The promise has been well-made considering Yash Chopra’s repeated warnings. As chairperson of Chandigarh Tourism Advisory Forum (CTAF), Chopra has made it clear to the UT Administration that he means business. When he chaired the first meeting of the forum on November 15 this year, he told the authorities that he will return only if he sees progress on the agenda items---professional school of acting and international film festival on regular basis.

In its zeal to deliver, the UT Administration did host the first Chandigarh Film Festival in mid-December this year. Well-conceived though, the project failed to take off due to lack of proper management. Classics were shown at Fun Republic for three days, but no facilities were provided to give the event a truly-festive feel. People did not know whether the entry was on passes or tickets. They also didn’t know where to get those tickets. And those who actually wanted to see the films were discouraged by a lame one-liner which all the Administration advertisements carried. The message said: “Limited seats available.” It is another matter that brilliant films were screened to empty chairs later.

More planning would has to come in if anything good has to be made of the annual film festival. The key to success, as film critic and buff Gautam Kaul pointed out during the inauguration of the festival, “is to constitute a committee of sincere professionals who know their films and film-makers.” A help desk at the venue of the festival is an absolute-must.

Equally important is to focus with conviction on the Film City project, which promises world class studios, courses in direction, acting and much more. As Yash Chopra said: “We need political will to see the project through. We also need passion, which is the quintessence of all projects related to creativity.”

Thankfully, political will is there, with UT Administrator Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) himself getting involved in the affair. Now the ball is really in the bureaucracy’s court. They have two important promises to keep — deliver on the film city project and build on Chandigarh’s medical tourism potential — which has been discussed in seminars over and over again.



Sharing honeydew of happiness
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
Consider this, one of the senior most teachers of the Art of Living who is an engineer by profession and also a singer. And if that’s not all, he happens to be a professional bike racer as well. Meet “Rishi Nityapragya”, better known as ‘Nitin Bhiaya’ who is in town for conducting a course designed for the decision makers of the society. Nevertheless he comes across, as a whiff of fresh air as he talks about Art of Living and his life.

He defines himself as a student of life and after having worked at IPCL in Baroda for seven years, he wanted to search for the purpose of life. And just when he was about to head a forum in Bombay that Art of Living happened to him and as he puts it, “I had never experienced anything better than this”.

Finally, one fine day he even found the purpose of his life and that is to put a smile on everyone’s face that no situation can ever take away. Incidentally he discovered the most sought after answer, when Shri Shri Ravi Shankar was replying to one of his followers as to what his aim is.

Terming the human body as a reservoir of energy and the human mind as a monkey, he feels human consciousness has got tremendous power and Art of Living is about exploring that potential and controlling the human mind.

Coming back to the ‘Decision Makers’ course, the five-day programme being held at DAV College Sector 10, he says it is designed for all decision makers such as the corporate, executives etc. Citing reasons, Rishi Nitaypragya said largely decisions taken by these people have effect on others. So it becomes all the more important for them to be happy and less stressful. Interestingly the caption of the course says, “ Let us change your world to change the world”.

And there are some innovative plans as well for the New Year eve and that too the Art of Living way. So gear up for a ‘Divine Rock show’ on 31st December where in more than 2000 youngsters are expected to come.



SMSing your way to New Year
Ruchika Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
Happy New Year… Soch rahe ho ki itni jaldi kyon?... Kya ab tum Don ko bataoge ki kab New Year wish karna hai?

With the SMS being one of the best communication mantras in today’s world, New Year greetings have already started beeping on mobile phones. Fearing a clogging of the network due to congestion around midnight on December 31, the last days of 2006 are already seeing a frenzied exchange of New Year SMS wishes.

Interestingly, most people come up with interesting explanations on why they were sending SMS in advance. A good example is: A photo of a teddy pleading: “Can I stay in your inbox until 01/01/07, so that I am the first one to wish u a Happy New Year?” Others decide to send simple greetings with a polite explanation like, “Well as the networks may be jammed for the next two days, and messages lost in thin air, I would like to wish you a Happy New Year in advance”.

Officials in various telecom companies say that SMS traffic increases 20 to 30 times on New Year’s Eve and on New Year’s Day. They, however, say that sufficient arrangements have been made to ensure that SMS traffic flows smoothly.

Airtel has made extra efforts to ensure this: "A new SMSC has been installed to tackle additional traffic." Officials of Spice Telecom told Tribune News Service that they are all geared up to deal with SMS traffic. “We have enhanced our capacity this year so that subscribers have no problem in greeting their loved ones. Besides, we have also launched a host of value added services, such as astro-predictions, juke box, caller songs, background music, polytunes and MMSs. 



General visits paraplegic centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
Reaffirming the commitment of the Western Command towards rehabilitating paraplegic and tetraplegic ex-servicemen, Lt-Gen Daljeet Singh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, has stressed the need for providing the most modern facilities to the inmates of the centre.

He also assured them that the Army would provide them the required financial and logistic help. During a visit to the Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre at Mohali today, he also interacted with inmates and the staff.

Giving a presentation on the centre’s activities, its director, Col Jaswant Singh Spehia (retd), said in the next phase of construction, the capacity of the Centre would be increased to 58 beds from the present 30..

In the final phase, the capacity would be increased to 100 beds. At present 36 former Army personnel, who have been rendered paraplegic, that is paralysis of both the lower limbs, or tetraplegic, that is paralysis of all the four limbs, are undergoing rehabilitation at the centre.

Aimed at instilling an urge to live and motivate them to become self-supporting citizens by providing suitable vocational training facilities, the centre provides facilities like medical treatment, physiotherapy, physical exercise and sports and computer training.

Stress is being laid on providing vocational training to the inmates and their families to enable them to earn a decent living. Already they are well-trained in the skill of weaving cloth, knitting woollen clothing, tailoring, candle making, caning of chairs and wire brush making.



PGI shines in rose show
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
The horticulture wing of the PGI has topped in the All-India Winter Rose Show held in New Delhi on December 23 and 24.

The institute has topped in the show by wining 36 first prizes, 16 second prizes and six third prizes in different categories.

Thje TThe institute has achieved the distinction with the efforts of Mr Hem Raj Singh, Assistant Engineer (Horticulture), PGI.

The PGI has been developing various varieties of seedlings and flowers in its own nursery like roses, chrysanthemum, seasonal flowers, foliage plants, herbal plants, ornamental trees and shrubs.



Nostalgic speeches mark MC meeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
The concluding meeting of the present House of the MCC today, saw nostalgic speeches by outgoing councillors who lost in the recently held elections.

While little business was slated for the meeting, the councillors spent the better part of the meeting exchanging pleasantries and appreciating each others’ work of the last five years.

Other councillors dwelt on the fact that the new team will lay greater emphasis on development works in the city. They said they hoped street lighting, roads, water supply and sanitation will continue to be a priority for the new team.

Even as the councillors of the opposition and the ruling party exchanged handshakes and hugs, outgoing Congress Councillor, Mr Subhash Chawla, said the election code had been violated a few times during the recent elections. Maintaining that 14 days was too long a period for such a small election, he added that it led to indulgence in corrupt practices to woo voters.

Nominated councillor, Ms Amar Kulwant Kaur said that the House had witnessed a lot of furore over petty issues .



Rodrigues’ New Year gift to prisoners
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
The UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues, today awarded special remission to prisoners on the occasion of New Year Day, i.e. January 1, 2007.

The remission has been done to encourage good behaviour among the prisoners and to get the convicts into mainstream. As many as 97 convicts will be benefited.

The prisoners, who are convicted by the courts of criminal jurisdiction, including special courts in the Union Territory of Chandigarh, and confined in the model jail, Chandigarh, will be granted remission.

The special remission for the prisoners sentenced to imprisonment for more than 10 years or for life will be one year, for prisoners undergoing sentence of more than five years and up to 10 years it will be eight months, for prisoners undergoing sentence of more than two years and up to five years, it will be four months. For prisoners undergoing sentence of not more than two years, two months’ remission has been awarded.



Cyclist killed

Chandigarh, December 29
A 40-year-old cyclist was crushed to death by a rashly driven truck near Colony Number 4 this evening, here.

The police said Gurnam Singh, an employee of PWD, Haryana, was going to Bhabhat on his cycle when a truck crushed him. The police arrested the truck driver Upkar Singh.

CDs seized

The local police arrested two Sector 20-based shopkeepers for selling pirated CDs and DVDs. The police arrested Raj Kumar, owner of Sonu Music shop, and Jatin Kumar of KP Music shop. TNS



Uppals to invest Rs 800 cr in realty projects
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
The Uppal Group will be investing over Rs 800 crore for its realty projects in the city, over the next one year. With three of its projects already on the ground, the group is now eyeing for projects in the Chandigarh Technology Park, Chandigarh City Centre and another housing project.

Talking to TNS here today, Mr Manish Uppal, Managing Director of Uppal Housing, said Chandigarh had a huge potential in the realty sector. “Being a well planned city, it attracts a lot of persons from outside, especially the NRI population. As a result, there is huge potential in the real estate market here,” he said.

The Uppal Group had made their debut in the city’s realty business last year with the taking over of a 5.4 acre chunk of land in Manimajra for over Rs 108 crore in an auction. The group plans to construct high end luxury apartments - Uppals Marble Arch - here, at a cost of Rs 1. 14 crore to Rs 1. 31 crore. In April this year, the group took over the Centra Mall - the tallest mall to come up in the Industrial Area here from Pasco Real Estate. Two months ago, the group successfully bid for a hotel site in Sector 35 and got the site for Rs 101.37 crore - the highest ever in the city on a leasehold basis.

Mr Uppal informed TNS that the Marble Arch apartments project would require an investment of Rs 300 crore, while the Centra Mall project would require an investment of Rs 125 crore. “The hotel will have 175- 200 rooms with large banquet halls and four F&B (food and beverage) outlets. We also plan to have high end retail space in the hotel. After construction, the hotel will be handed over to an international management company for operation. The total estimated cost of the hotel project is Rs 400 crore,” he said.

The Centra Mall will have a glass facade, 344-feet frontage and will have a clear visibility to all stores. The building will also have a food court, besides four state-of-art-auditoriums and a 53-ft high atrium. The building will be earth-quake resistant. The fifth floor will have a multiplex, which will have 1,000 seats. Keeping in mind that most commercial areas in Chandigarh have an external verandah, the architects have chosen to give an edge atrium instead of a regular central atrium to the building. The building will have panels of cold cathode red lighting running along the glass facade that is recharged by the sunlight and emits a reddish hue at night. The family entertainment centre aims to provide an all-round leisure and retail experience to the residents in an ecologically sound and responsible manner.

Mr Uppal said that all three projects in the city would be functional within the next two and half years.



Online travel market to reach $2 billion by 2008
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
The online ticket booking system is clicking like never before with passengers travelling frequently in and out of India. The programme is expected to expand in the near future with more internet users logging on to it.

Niti Batra, Joint Managing Director of Delhi-based Joy Travels Private Limited, who was in Chandigarh for the launch of “ travel Otravel.com”, a comprehensive travel portal, says, the Indian travel market, both offline and online, is valued at $13.5 billion. The online travel market is itself estimated at $796 million. It is expected to rise to $2 billion by 2008.

Elaborating on the reasons for the popularity of booking on the internet, Ms Batra says that very few people have the inclination and the time to visit travel agents. Moreover, escalating middle-class salaries and increasing awareness is encouraging people to travel, sometimes more than once in a year. “Indians are travelling more, in larger numbers and for longer durations. They turn to travel portals for an online comparison of hotel tariffs , in order to avail of the best possible deal”, she said.

Travel websites, with a database of a large number of hotels of major cities of the world, offers instant and real-time confirmations of bookings. The travel desk goes up to the extent of providing the travellers with information on health, worldwide weather, currency conversion, distance calculators and time zones, thus making it extremely convenient for customers.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |