C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Urban panel: Admn sends reply to MHA
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
Avoiding a debate on the contentious issue of the Urban Arts Commission on the floor of the Municipal Corporation House, the Chandigarh Administration has sent its response to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

Not denying that members of the sub group, constituted by the Administration, had strongly advocated discussion in the MC’s General House, sources said the Union Government had sought an early response on the subject. The MHA was keen on knowing the response of the Administration before the start of the Budget session.

Sources did not rule out the possibility of the issue being tabled during the Budget session.

Advocating that the commission should have its own character, the Administration is learnt to have cited legislations which could hamper smooth functioning of the proposed commission. At least two Acts --- Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulation) Act, 1952, and the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act, 1952, which govern Le Corbusier's master plan regarding development of the city, have been passed by the Parliament.

It has further been proposed that the proposed commission should be headed by the UT Administrator and he should select its members. The commission would have to pass a speaking order within 45 days, explaining why a specific proposal has been rejected.

According to sources various irreconcilable differences would creep up between the proposed Urban Arts Commission and the local bodies like Municipal Corporation and the Panchayti Raj Institutions. Certain justifications have been given to support its point of view.

On the issue relating to Le Corbusier’s vision regarding the city’s periphery, it has been proposed that the commission should also include the periphery area falling in Punjab and Haryana. Representatives of the two states should also be among members of the body.

To be enacted by an Act of the Parliament, the commission will have the competence to reject or modify any plans of any local body which impinge upon urban aesthetics. Plans of private buildings would also come under the scanner of the commission. In a note sent to the Administration, MHA had advised the former not to sanction any new project till the constitution of the proposed commission.

Objections had been raised by a group of non-political original inhabitants of the city over ‘‘disfiguring’’ Le Corbusier's master plan. The group comprising eight prominent city residents had met the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, seeking her intervention to put an immediate end to the haphazard development in the city and its periphery. 

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Kidnapped boy freed after 12 hours
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
In a dramatic turn of events, a 16-year-old son of a Joint Secretary, Haryana Vidhan Sabha, who was “kidnapped” on Monday night by four unidentified men from Sector 22, was recovered from Sector 35 this morning.

Quoting the victim, Kunaldeep Singh, a Class IX student of St John’s High School, Sector 26, the police termed it a case of mistaken identity so far. The police said it was working on various theories and also taking the version of the complainant with a pinch of salt as certain loopholes were detected in the sequence of events narrated by him.

Giving details about the incident, sources in the police said the victim’s father, Mr Kuldeep Singh, informed the police on Monday around 9 pm that his son was kidnapped. He told the police that his son came back home after attending tuition in Sector 23 at around 8 pm.

As he had an exam of social study on Tuesday, he went to market saying that he wanted to buy a map. He also took his mother’s mobile phone before leaving home.

At around 8:45 pm Kunal called them on phone informing that he was kidnapped from Sector 22 market by four unidentified men travelling in a car. The kidnappers forced him to inhale some intoxicant, following which he fell unconscious.

Soon after getting a call from Mr Kuldeep Singh, a police team reached his home and launched a search operation, which continued throughout the night and ended at around 9 am today when the boy was recovered from near hotel South End in Sector 35.

The police said the boy called back at around 12:30 am saying that he was locked in a room located in a colony. He told his parents that he heard his kidnappers discussing that they had picked up a wrong boy and they would leave him by morning. After some time he again called and said his captors were shifting him to another place, said the police.

Meanwhile, the police traced his location in Sector 34 at that time through his mobile phone. The police also contacted his friends in order to get some vital clues. Quoting a friend of Kunal, a police officer stated that Kunal had not appeared in science exam. However, his father denied it saying that his son was good in studies and had prepared well for the exams.

The police has registered a case of kidnapping and causing hurt by means of poison under Sections 365 and 328 of the Indian Penal Code.

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Indian law should apply to NRIs: Justice Jain
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
The Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr Justice Vijender Jain, today stated that the Government of India should have a bilateral agreement with the countries which have a large number of NRIs in order to protect the rights of the Indian brides in these countries.

He also called for the creation of social consciousness and awareness in rural areas “from where most of the unfortunate girls come and make their parents aware of the risk they are getting by entering into foreign matrimonial alliances without proper verification of the antecedents of the NRI grooms.”

Mr Justice Jain was speaking at the inauguration of a seminar on ‘NRIs Abandoned Brides-a challenge to meet’ organized by the Department of Laws, Panjab University, here today.

Stating that the NRI husband is conscious of the proceedings pending in the courts in India, Justice Jain added, “He takes advantage of the procedural laws of India, files an appeal against the order passed by the single judge of the High Court, not only in the High Court but in the Supreme Court. On the other hand he does not take summons of the division bench of the High Court in the matter of appeal filed by the wife.”

“We must not lose sight of the fact that even during the colonial era when the British were masters in this country the English judges in the privy council applied the customary Indian law in cases of maintenance, adoption, marriages etc. Therefore, it is the Indian law, which should be made applicable to NRIs settled abroad holding Indian passports. The situation is grim when the NRI is a foreign citizen,” he said, adding that an inter country arrangement must be resolved by bilateral agreement for protection of such marriages.

“The Ministry of Overseas Affairs which has been set up in recent years can take upon the task of sensitising the personnel of the Indian High Commission and Indian embassies as part of their councilor obligation, who can supply relevant information regarding offending NRI husbands,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Justice SS Nijjer of the Punjab and Haryana High Court gave a different perspective to the problem of NRI brides. “It is not the NRI who is responsible for the problem. But the parents of the bride who do not bother to cross check the antecedents of the boy before marrying off their daughter. “It is the extreme desire to make their family settle abroad that leads parents to take such decisions. Daughters married abroad are in turn a way to make the entire family settle abroad. Daughter are sacrificed for the rest of the family,” he said.

Stating that NRIs are themselves struggling to settle down, Justice Nijjer added that the NRI point of view was always missed out in such discussions and seminars. “An effective solution can be found only if we know what the other party has to say. Marriages break up for many other reasons also. All of these don’t have to be an NRI deserting his wife,” he said.

“It is not a huge disease affecting the entire Doaba region. This is a small problem and needs to be seen more realistically. A seminar like this for example should have included at least an NRI in the discussions,” he pointed out.

Pleading for evolving a constructive responsive and caring mechanism with a universal reach out approach for tacking the problem. Gen SF Rodrigues, Governor, Punjab, and UT Administrator called for developing a sense of commitment and firm resolve in society to find solution within itself instead of looking for help from other societies. He said the implementation of the safeguards and social measures needed to be addressed earnestly by core groups of caring people in different countries by establishing an institutional contact with the NRI facilitation chapter already in place.

Mr H.K. Dua, Editor in Chief of The Tribune Group of Newspapers, was a guest of honour at the occasion. 

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Banks defy RBI directive on collateral security
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
With most commercial banks in Punjab and Haryana failing to adhere to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) directives for advancing group loans under the Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY), the Ministry of Rural Development has now decided to take up the case against these banks with the RBI.

It is alleged that most of the commercial banks in the region are demanding collateral security for group loans which are below Rs 5 lakh. However, as per the RBI guidelines for SGSY, no collateral security is required for group loans up to Rs 5 lakh. The ministry, in a letter to the Rural Development Departments of Punjab and Haryana, has warned that any violation of these instructions by banks would be reported to the RBI for necessary action.

The ministry has clarified that the assets created out of the bank loan would be hypothecated to the bank as primary security. In case, where moveable assets are not created, mortgage of land may be obtained. Where even the mortgage of land is not possible, third party guarantee may be obtained at discretion of the bank. Only for group loans above Rs 5 lakh, in addition to primary security (hypothecation / mortgage of land/ third party guarantee), suitable margin money or other collateral security may be obtained at the discretion of the bank.

With banks demanding collateral, target beneficiaries under this poverty alleviation scheme cannot avail its benefits. Under the SGSY scheme, Self Help Groups (SHGs) of persons living below the poverty line are formed. The government provides these groups subsidy, whereas banks provide them loan assistance for undertaking various income generating activities. The beneficiaries also consist of members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The scheme also ensures micro credit linkage of SHGs.

The ministry has expressed its concern about a large number of loan applications under the SGSY, being kept pending with the banks and the wide gap between sanction and disbursement of loans by the banks. They have asked the state governments to take up the matter with the banks.

Banks are also alleged to have denied loans to relatives of defaulters. The ministry has said that the terms “family” and “willful defaulters” have already been defined by the Government of India, and that banks should not deny loans to all relatives of defaulters. Banks have also been asked to ensure that bank officials regularly attend the block level and district level SGSY meetings, so that they can exchange relevant information with the government functionaries about the progress of the scheme.

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Chandigarh Calling

Heart-shaped cakes are a hot favourite in Chandigarh on Valentine’s Day
HAVE A HEART THIS VALENTINE’S: Heart-shaped cakes are a hot favourite in Chandigarh on Valentine’s Day. — Tribune photo by Vinay Malik

 Size matters! After all, in these days of ostentation all good things come in large packages. Love too is getting dearer and bigger for youngsters expanding their friendship horizons! Living life king-size in palatial houses even meager flats, they are opening up their hearts largely to buy full-fashioned teddy bears and even youngsters with tubby wallets are going in for full-blown celebrations by picking up giant velvet hearts dyed in the hues of passion. For, the concept of `bigger the better’ is back in a big way on St Valentine’s Day. Well, expensive gifts were always in. But it seems that the young lovers are now going in for not just pricey, but also “enormous” gifts. If you have any doubts about the enormity of celebrations in the gigantic love season of 2007, just zip down the fast track of emotions all the way to the arcades. You will find youngsters looking for jumbo excitement in card and gift shops. Or else, in bakery shops where “impressive” heart-shaped cakes are on display. Anyway, this is not the end of the big story. Even the cards with “I love you” messages are of “full-size”. You can, in reality, outsize your rival by presenting a stupendous card. Costing somewhere around Rs 500, it does all the talking for you. Just in case you are wondering why this big hullabaloo about giant celebrations, well the youngsters today believe in affectation, and not affection. So, the gifts have to be capacious if they have to appear impressive.

Yoga for health

Age seems to be no bar for yoga lovers and a fitting example of this is Tara Devi for whom yoga is a way of life at 85. This tough lady can do a number of yoga asanas with amazing skill even at this age. An early bird, Tara Devi, is free from her morning chores dot at 5 am everyday. Leaving behind her grandchildren and her daughter-in-law wrapped up in cozy quilts, this steely soul starts her day with yoga asanas at her residence in Dhanas. She performs 'anulom vilom', 'kapaal bharti', ' om shabad' and other asanas with ease. She has learnt these asanas from her doctor son, who runs a clinic-cum-medical store at Jeori in Shimla district.

"Back home in Himachal's sleepy Phalwara village, it is yoga the whole day as I keep myself busy with one or the other household chore. I do not recall having had any serious ailment ever", she says proudly. Even at this age she can walk up to 20 miles a day without feeling tired. She gives the credit for this to yoga. Her message for the younger generation: "Everyone should make yoga a way of life and bid goodbye to disease".

Woollens out again

Caps and mufflers are out again as the chill has returned riding high on the wings of rain. This has brought out the heavy woollens that had been almost packed by city residents who bade a bit pre mature farewell to Winter. On PU campus, youngsters can be seen wrapped up nicely and properly not just in jackets, but also in shawls.

But in any case, the youngsters are a happy lot as they now don’t have to wait for good nine months for wearing the stuff purchased from sales organised by garment houses across the city at the fag end of winter.

Contributed by: Saurabh Malik, Ramesh K. Dhiman, and Rajiv Bhatia.

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Youngsters set to pour out spirit of love
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
Chandigarh may have witnessed a constant flow of young lovers on the geri route, but incessant rain in the region may eventually dampen their spirits on St Valentine’s Day, especially with some parents apprehensive about allowing their precious ones to move out on February 14.

The Met centre prediction of more rain, though less in intensity, on Wednesday may well throw a wet blanket on the spirits of youngsters hoping to try their hands at the little game of chance called love.

Old-timers feel that in case of continuous rain, not many students may eventually be able to pour out of their houses on the day. For, the inclement weather, combined with parental restrictions, will keep them at bay.

Valentine’s celebrations have always been big in the city. In fact, Krishna Sahoonja of Dewsun says the festival in Chandigarh is even bigger than Diwali and Holi with young revelers partying around in a big way.

The day’s importance can also be gauged from the fact that almost all joints in the city are hosting special Valentine’s Day bashes. Located just on Panchkula’s outskirts, Hideout is hosting a party for the youngsters to cut footloose into dawn and delight.

Event management group Anti-Gravity too is organising a gala Valentine’s bash at Antidote in Sector 26. Along with wine and champagne, the youngsters will get a taste of love on the dance floor illuminated by nice little intelligent lights, says one organiser Nitesh Sharma.

At the Taj, Chandigarh, the youngsters can set the floor ablaze and groove the night away on scintillating music mixed by the in-house disc jockeys at Lava. Or else, they can enjoy candle-light dinner, champagne and exotic menu at Black Lotus. The hotel is also offering the youngsters a chance to raise a toast and enjoy special menu by master chefs at Dera or else some nice live music and delicacies at Café 17. The city’s first multiplex Fun Republic has been decked up with pink balloons. Blue Ice in Sector 17 too is organising a V-day unique bash. At Himani’s in Sector 35, the couples will get discounts, along with special dishes.

This is not all. Even the bakeries and confectionary shops are offering love nicely and properly baked in cakes. “You can gift cakes in shape of hearts pierced with Cupid’s arrow designed especially for the occasion,” says Mr Jagdish Seth of Sector 32 Kandy Pastry Parlour. He adds that youngsters from as far as Mandi Gobindgarh are picking up the stuff from here.

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Gift of youth at 70 on Valentine’s Day
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, February 13
In a unique development, two couples from the UK gifted their partners a "makeover" at Fortis Hospital here for the Valentines Day. Interestingly, both the couples are over 60 years of age (two of them over 70 !) and possess a great zest for life.

According to a press release issued here today, one of them, a husband and wife duo, has travelled all the way from the UK so that the husband Gerard Conroy, 70 years, could undergo a face and neck lift and upper and lower eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) to look younger. This, he says, is a special Valentine Day's gift for his wife, Carol, who he always thought looked much younger than him.

The other couple, ‘lovers’ as they call themselves, Geoffary Pemberton, 74 years, and Norma Wilcox, 61 years, decided to show how much they care for each other by going under the scalpel together. While Geoffary decided to undergo a neck lift and upper eyelid surgery (Blepharoplasty), Norma has undergone liposuction of abdomen and flanks, thighs and removal of back rolls, so that they could present each other a new look this Valentine.

"While the traditionalists may be sticking to flowers and chocolates, we decided to go for this more radical approach", quips Norma, delighted with her new, much younger look.

"These couples are a perfect example of how partners are undergoing cosmetic surgery to improve their faces and bodies to match their partners," said Dr. KM Kapoor, cosmetic surgeon, who operated upon the couples.

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Ryan row: Parents get positive reply from CBSE
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
The aggrieved parents of Class X students of Ryan International School, Sector 49, here received the most sought-after reply from CBSE officials on their second visit to the CBSE office at New Delhi to accommodate the students.

A four-member delegation of parents, Mr A.K. Dua, Mr Arun Malhotra, Mr Prahlad Sharma and Mr Dinesh Mangla, went to meet higher officials of the CBSE, New Delhi.

Though, they could not meet the Chairman of the CBSE, Mr Ashok Ganguly, they met the Secretary, Mr Vineet Joshi.

Conveying this news on the phone, Mr Arun Malhotra said, “As we could not meet the CBSE Chairman due to his prior commitments, we met Mr Joshi who heard us patiently. His approach was positive. He seemed to be concerned for the future of the students." We also submitted two copies of our representation to him”.

Mr Malhotra further said, “he assured the delegation that since the matter is in the court and the hearing is fixed on February 15, so they should wait till then.”

Mr A.K. Dua, another parent said, “Officials have assured us that their senior representative will appear in the court on the date of hearing of the case and the matter will be discussed. They told us that we should tell our children to concentrate on their studies as the exams are approaching”.

On being asked, Mr Malhotra said, “The officials have told us that the CBSE's regional office situated at Panchkula will look after the examination forms and other formalities and the decision will be taken keeping in mind the future of the children only”.

The accompanying parents also said though the officials had indicated that some way out would be find out in such a way that the students' one year should not go waste, they did not speak about the “special permission” through affiliated branch of the school or some other affiliated school situated in Chandigarh.

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Cracks in flats: Fresh probe ordered
Tribune News Service

A crack in a wall speaks about the quality of construction of flats in the Progressive House Building Society, Sector 50, Chandigarh
A crack in a wall speaks about the quality of construction of flats in the Progressive House Building Society, Sector 50, Chandigarh, on Tuesday. — Tribune photo by Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, February 13
With cracks appearing in certain flats of the Progressive Cooperative House Building Society, Sector 50, here, the quality of the construction has come under cloud. The role of some officials of the Estate Office is being questioned.

For the past few weeks, wide cracks have surfaced in the terrace wall, ceiling and walls of a number of flats, lament the occupants of the flats. Seepage due to incessant rain has worsened the matters, they said.

Acting on a complaint of occupants of the Progressive Cooperative House Building Society, Sector 50, here, the Ministry of Home Affairs, in a communication to the Home Secretary-cum-Secretary, Cooperative Department, Chandigarh Administration, in October, 2006, had directed the latter to probe the matter.

Now, the Joint Registrar, Cooperative Department, Mr R.S. Verma, has been asked to enquire the matter.

Accusing the previous management of not fixing the responsibility on contractor, the members of the society lament that the repeated complaints to the authorities had failed to make any impact. “We have invested our hard earned money. It is unfair that no action is being taken against those who supervised and those who constructed the flats”, said they.

Without caring for the rule and regulations, the occupants were allowed to extend their courtyards. The president of the society has now been served the notice under Section 15 of the Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulation) Act, 1952. The Assistant Estate Officer ( Appeals) has asked the society to remove the violations.

“ If the people managing the affairs in the Chandigarh Administration encourage us to raise the structures, then action should also be taken against those who allowed it”, said an occupant.

They said the previous management failed to hand over the possession in time. Though the construction of the flats was completed in early 2005, the possession was handed over in September, 2006.

On taking over the possession, the allottee had complained the use of substandard material. A consultant hired by the allottee also pointed out over payment and use of substandard material. 

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Now Home Secy will pass building plans
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
To enable the conversion from industrial activity to commercial activity, the Chief Administrator, Mr S.K. Sandhu, has delegated his powers under Section 21 of the Capital of Punjab ( Development and Regulation) Act, 1952, to the Home Secretary, Mr Krishan Mohan.

The delegation of powers will enable the Home Secretary to approve building plans, passed by the Single Window Committee, constituted for the conversion of land use from industrial activity to commercial activity, under the scheme called “Chandigarh Conversion of Land Use of Industrial Sites into Commercial Activity/Services in Industrial Area, Phase 1 and II, Chandigarh Scheme 2005”.

The powers conferred under Sub-Section (2) of Section 21 of the Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulation) Act, 1952, have been delegated to the Home Secretary.

Earlier, the powers regarding hearing of appeals under the policy had been delegated to the Home Secretary.

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F&CC members elected

Chandigarh, January 25
Kamlesh and Kuldip Singh from the Congress, Jatinder Bhatia of CVM, Rajesh Gupta of BJP and nominated councillor MPS Chawla were elected unopposed to the Finance and Contract Committee of the Municipal Corporation today. The meeting also saw the councillors requesting the Chair that the members to the other committees should also be elected through election process. Members to the seven other committees are yet to be elected. — TNS

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Panel gives approval to road projects
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
With the aim to provide infrastructure matching with upcoming mega projects in the Industrial Area, the Empowered Committee comprising Home Secretary, U.T., Finance Secretary U.T., Chairman, Chandigarh Housing Board, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, and Chief Engineer, Municipal Corporation, today gave approval to start various important projects of widening and strengthening of existing roads.

The road in front of Ordinance Cable Factory will be made dual carriage way having three lanes width on each side whereas the Mango Grove road and road from Purv Marg to the railway station will be widened. All internal roads, which are presently 16’ to 18’ wide, will be widened up to 33’. All along these roads 6’ wide footpath with interlocking pavers will be constructed to facilitate the movement of pedestrians.

In the estimates one car parking area has been sanctioned which would accommodate 175 cars. In addition to above three more temporary surface parking area have been created by C.A.U.T., which will cater to the need of coming up shopping malls and multiplexes in the near future. All these roads and parking will be constructed in a time period of one year as projected in short term action plan.

In addition to above, augmentation of storm water/sewerage network will also be carried out. Street lighting will also be provided with the latest version of decorative poles and fixtures so as to create proper ambience in Industrial Area and to make it a vibrant place. The following estimates have been approved. The work would now be executed in a time bound manner.

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UT all set to release new excise policy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
After seeking legal opinion, the Chandigarh Administration is all set to release the Excise Policy for 2007-2008. The new policy is expected to be announced within this week after getting the Administrator’s approval, said an official.

While doling out benefit to the liquor licence, the UT Excise Department has decided to respect the public sentiment regarding the location of the liquor vends in the city.

The MRP of liquor was also being analysed. The issue of certain liquor companies going to court against the stand of the Excise Department of not allowing increase in the ex-distillery prices (EDP) was also being discussed.

The policy will be on the lines of the Draft Policy released by the department earlier, said an official.

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Screening body set up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
In order to discourage contractors and to decentralise the existing system of supplementary nutrition, the UT Administrator has constituted a Screening-cum-Selection Committee under the Chairmanship of the Secretary Social Welfare, Chandigarh Administration.

The committee has been set up to select non-profit organisations which will provide supplementary nutrition to the aanganwadi centres beneficiaries of the ICDS of Chandigarh. 

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5 contractors get notices

Chandigarh, February 13
The Medical Officer (Health), Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh, today issued notices to five private contractors for not providing proper toilet facilities to their labourers.

Under the bylaws, any contractor having manpower of more than 10 employees is required to provide one toilet for 10 persons and separate toilets for men and women.

The Medical Officer today inspected the Industrial Area, including Mani Majra, and directed all sanitary inspectors to inspect the construction sites of the contractors in their respective areas and initiate action if any violation was found. — TNS

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Rejected candidates resent goof-up
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 13
Braving inclement weather, candidates who had applied for the post of Hindi translators, today protested outside the office of the Haryana Staff Selection Commission in Sector 2 here after they were turned away on grounds of "ineligibility".

The Secretary of the Board, Mr P. D. Verma, however, said that most of them did not fulfil the condition laid down for the post. "Despite the varied qualifications, we are holding interviews for some candidates. The Chairman has said that while we can go ahead with the interviews, a final nod with be given to the selections only after a clarification has been sought from the department concerned," he said. Mr Verma explained that they would have to verify the qualifications of the candidates as sought in the advertisement.

The candidates, however, made no bones about the casual approach of officers dealing with them. "We travelled from all over Haryana to be here in such cold only to be rejected by the board. They should have told us in advance about our eligibility," said Ramesh Chander, a resident of Jind.

Interestingly, the board had sent interview letters to all candidates without the scrutiny of forms. "We had mentioned our qualifications in the form. If we were not eligible, we should not have got these call letters at all," said Satinder Garg from Sirsa.

The board seems to have goofed up with call letters sent to all without any scrutiny of forms. The fate of the candidates is decided on the spot which is not only inconvenient but also harrowing for the candidates.

"We invite applications without any documents. We agree that there has been carelessness on the part of the scrutiny officer but it's a policy matter. Usually, there are only a handful of ineligible candidates unlike today when their number exceeds those eligible," an official said.

The candidates, however, were unwilling to take no. With six- month-old baby in her lap, Nisha Rangara from Sirsa, could not curse the officials enough for forcing her to come all the way to Panchkula and then, shutting the doors on her. There were other women candidates who came with their babies only to go back dejected.

Amita Shah from Pinjore, Kavita Gupta from Panchkula, joined the men to raise slogans against the board and its officials in the open, outside the office, as the rain drenched them.

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Water leakage in Raj Bhavan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
At least, 20 complaints of leakages in government buildings following rain in the past two days has been received by the UT Engineering Departments.

Water leakages from Punjab Raj Bhavan, dinning room of the Chief Justice in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the District Courts and the Central State Library have been received, said sources.

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Shopkeepers observe bandh
Claim losses due to closure of market entry points
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 13
A complete bandh was observed in the Sector 7 market on a call by the Market Welfare Association even as irked shopkeepers blocked traffic for an hour and opened the entry points recently closed by the police in the name of streamlining traffic, here today.

In response to the protest, the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Neerja Shekhar, said that a committee to look into the whole scheme to close entry points would be formed. “This will comprise people from the business fraternity and also from the Residents Welfare Associations of the city. While the number of accidents has come down due to closure of multiple entry points, we will reconsider these in the light of the objections,” she said.

Meanwhile, all shops in the market remained closed in protest against the “indifferent attitude” of the police towards the losses incurred by the business community due to closure of sector entry points. The shopkeepers held a demonstration on the Sector 7 and 8 dividing road hoping to elicit a reaction from the administration.

Raising slogans against the police and officials of the district administration, the shopkeepers parked their vehicles at the disputed crossing to block traffic for over an hour. While traffic on the road came to a grinding halt, no policeman reached the spot to take charge of the situation as chaos ruled.

School buses were stranded or took wrong turns as did other motorists to circumvent the blockade of the shopkeepers. Agitated with the attitude of the police over “business losses” suffered following the closure of the crossings, they went on to uproot tiles of the divider.

After removing all the tiles which were cemented together to block the entry to Sector 7, the shopkeepers raised another round of slogans at the spot. It was then that the Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Chander Mohan, staying just across the road, stepped out to placate the businessmen.

He assured them that there interests would be taken into consideration before taking any decisions and asked a delegation of the shopkeepers to meet the Deputy Commissioner.

It was only when the Deputy CM had settled the issue that the SHO of the Sector 5 police station came on the scene and stood like a mute spectator.

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Saraswati Samman for Oriya poet J.P. Das
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
The prestigious Saraswati Samman for the year 2006 has been conferred upon Dr Jagannath Prasad Das for his collection of Oriya poems, Parikrama. He is the sixteenth recipient of this award instituted by the K.K. Birla Foundation.

Recognised as the most prestigious and the highest literary honour in the country, it is given every year on an outstanding literary work in any Indian language. It carries an award money of Rs 5 lakh.

Dr Das’s collection was selected for the award after the consideration of works published in 22 Indian languages during 1996--2005 by the Chayan Parishad, headed by former Chief Justice of India Justice G. B. Patnaik and consisting eminent literary persons from various parts of the country.

Born in 1936, Dr Das took a master’s degree in political science from the University of Allahabad. After a brief stint as a lecturer in that university he joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1958. He continued his academic pursuits even while in service and obtained his doctorate in art history, a course in development economics from the University of Sussexs, UK, and the Homi Bhaba Fellowship.

He left the IAS in 1984, almost 10 years before his superannuation, to devote himself to full time writing.

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Talk on alcohol, drug abuse
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
A talk on the topic “Tackling the problem of alcohol and drug abuse in today’s society: challenges, opportunities and a road map” was held under the chairmanship of Prof. K.K. Talwar, PGI Director here today.

Prof. P Kulhara, Head, Department of Psychiatry and In-Charge of Drug De-addiction and Treatment Centre of the PGI, introduced the topic to the participants. Dr. S.K. Mattoo from the drug de-addiction centre, highlighted the contribution of drug de-addiction centre and the future plans. The participants were from various segments of the society. They discussed on the issue of problem of addiction and the present scenario.

They expressed their opinion on how the menace of addiction should be dealt with. The participants were unified in their opinion that medical experts, government agencies, government and voluntary social agencies should come together to chalk out a comprehensive programme to deal with this problem.

The participants included Mr. B.L. Soni, DIG, CBI, Chandigarh, Mr. Dhiraj Rastogi, Additional Director, Drug Revenue Intelligence, Ludhiana, Mr Onkar Chand, Chairman, Servants of the People Society, and representatives of Alcoholic Anonymous and the Narcotics Anonymous. 

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Hero who defied definition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
A small group of people came together on Sunday evening to observe the 100th death anniversary of Brahmabandhab Upadhyay. They did not know whether to observe the day or to celebrate it, as Sunday was his birthday too.

That was Upadhyay, who defied definition. For his admirers, it was difficult to describe him as a Catholic or as a Hindu. He had multiple identities. Born a Brahmin, he embraced Catholicism, remained faithful to the church for nearly two decades and went back to Hinduism.

Upadhyay was also a journalist, who founded and edited several publications. He was a friend of Tagore and played a small but significant role in the setting up of Vishwa Bharati at Santiniketan. He was one of the pioneers of the ashram movement in the church. He visualised the Indian church as one with its roots deep in the country’s traditions.

In many ways, Upadhyay was ahead of his times. He sought to integrate Vedanta with the teachings of Christ. For him the ultimate was Jesus. Yet, at the fag-end of his life, he chose to return to his parent religion, which he tried to synthesise.

Held at the Pastoral Diocesan Centre at the Catholic Church in Sector 19, the meeting had the benefit of scholastic presentations by Dr V.T. Sebastian of Punjab University and Rev Joel V. David.

While Mr Ashish Alexander presented the theme, “Relevance of Brahmabandhab Upadhyay for today”, a choir belonging to Bhartiya Masihi Satsang presented a song entitled “Sachidananta”, which encapsulated the philosophy Upadhyay sought to preach and practise. Bishop Gerald John Mathias presided over the meeting. Fr Jose M. Rodrigues welcomed the audience.

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Session on resume writing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
The American Corner at the Central State Library, Sector 17, organised a presentation on "Learn how to write an effective resume and cover letter" here yesterday. Mr Parveen Khurana, Director, American Corner, while addressing the students, said an effective resume was a selling tool in a competitive job market.

He said the workshop on resume would be held very shortly.

Mr Hardip Chandupuri during his presentation said the most effective resume clearly focused on a specific job title and addressed the employer's stated requirements for the position.

The more you know about duties and skills required for the job and organise the resume around these points, the more effective it would be.

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Watchman found dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
A 35-year-old watch man was found dead under mysterious circumstances in house number - 130 in Sector 8, here, this afternoon. The deceased was living alone in the house and his employer was settled in the USA, the police said.

The deceased has been identified as Kishan Bhadur.

The death came to light, when Ashwani Kumar, a servant, working in house number 129 saw Kishan lying in the veranda of the house.

He scaled the boundary wall of the house and found listless body of Kishan. Blood was oozing out of his mouth.

On seeing this, Ashwani called his employers, who in turn informed the police about the death.

The police inspected the spot and ruled out any possibility of foul play.

It said the deceased could have suffered injuries after falling. It was also said that he was a habitual drinker.

The body has been shifted to the Sector 16 General Hospital and the exact cause of death could only be ascertained after the postmortem examinations reports were available, said a police officer.

Meanwhile, inquest proceedings have been initiated under Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code in this connection. 

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‘Coca-Cola Love Machine’

Chandigarh, February 13
To celebrate, Valentine’s Day, Coca-Cola has launched a first of its kind initiative, called the ‘Coca-Cola Love Machine’ from February 12 to 14, the young at heart will have the innovative option of using the ‘Coca-Cola Love Machine’ to create lasting memories with their loved ones. As a part of the same initiative, consumers will also be able to play a host of exciting games and win a range of exciting gifts, including diamond pendants, dinner coupons and gift hampers.

This unique initiative will give consumers a chance to personalise their can of Coca-Cola with the picture of themselves and their Valentine. This personal and affordable memento ‘Coca-Cola Truly Yours Can’ will be made available free of cost i.e. consumers will just need to pay for the Coca-Cola can, costing Rs 20 only. Furthermore, consumers who bring in Coca- Cola labels of 600 ml or 2 litre-pet bottles to the ‘Coca-Cola Love Machine’, and stand a chance to win sparkling diamond pendants and candlelight dinners. — TNS

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HDFC ties up with Godrej Aadhaar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
HDFC Bank has entered into an agreement with Godrej Aadhaar, the agri services-cum-retail initiative of Godrej Agrovet Ltd. (GAVL) to offer attractive agri credit facility to rural community.

Both HDFC Bank and Godrej Agrovet Ltd. are focused on the rural sector and intend to customise and consolidate the product offerings as per their local needs and requirement. Through this venture, Godrej Aadhaar store customers can avail of world class banking services and loans on a preferential interest rate from HDFC Bank.

The farmers, associated with Godrej Aadhaar, can now avail of the credit in the form of cash and term loans post assessment of their land holding and cropping patterns. These farmers could also avail of the loan facility for their farm mechanisation needs like tractors, combine harvesters and other agri-related implements.

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