C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Chidambaram cold-shoulders UT
Announces paltry outlay hike of Rs 12.63 cr
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 28
The total outlay of budget estimate for Chandigarh for this fiscal has been rather disappointing, with a marginal increase of just Rs 12.63 crore from 2006-07 revised estimate.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram today hiked the Union Territory’s budget outlay for 2007-08 to Rs 1102.63 crore. The revised estimate for 2006-07 had been Rs 1090 crore.

In fact, the outlay for housing and urban development under the non-plan outlay has gone down considerably, from Rs 55.34 crore in the revised estimate of 2006-07 to Rs 34.82 crore during this fiscal. Besides this, the finance minister also did not come up with any specific provisions or schemes for the benefit of the Union Territory.

The budgetary outlay for 2007-08 includes Rs 267.63 crore as planned and Rs 835 crore as non-planned budget. In fact in all the non-planned budgetary outlay for this fiscal, which includes police, housing and development, education, health, labour, transport, energy and others, the sum is Rs 5 crore less than Rs 840 crore of the revised estimate of 2006-07. The major gainer under this section is the education sector, which has got a hike of Rs 5.22 crore.

The annual financial statement tells that revenue receipts for 2007-08 have been estimated to be Rs 1278.62 crore, an increase of Rs 47.23 crore from the revised estimates of 2006-07. The tax revenue during 2007-08 is estimated to be Rs 820.10 crore and the non-tax revenue Rs 458. 52 crore.

Under the non-plan budgetary allocations, the energy sector has been allocated the maximum amount of Rs 339.73 crore in the budget, an increase of just Rs 1.33 crore from the revised estimate of 2006-07. The education sector under non-plan gets Rs 174.46 crore this time, a substantial hike of Rs 5.22 crore from last fiscal’s revised estimate of Rs 169.24 crore.

The transport sector gets Rs 93.63 crore, the police Rs 88.78 crore, health Rs 52.58 crore, housing and urban development Rs 34.82 crore, labour Rs 4.48 crore, secretariat Rs 3.61 crore and others Rs 42.91crore under the non-plan budgetary allocations.

In the plan allocation, the housing and urban development sector has been allocated Rs 109.39 crore, an increase of Rs 5.53 crore from last year’s Rs 103.86 crore. The 2006-07 fiscal saw a substantial increase of Rs 20.23 crore from the revised estimates during 2005-06.

The education sector under plan head gets Rs 44.96 crore, a hike of Rs 1.35 crore. The energy sector in the planned budget has been allocated higher sum than the revised estimates of 2006-07. The sector gets Rs 25.10 crore compared to revised estimates of Rs 19.94 crore during 2006-07.

The transport sector’s budgetary allocations under planned allocation are down from Rs 14.31 crore in the revised estimates of 2006-07 to Rs 11.68 crore this time.



Mixed response to budget
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
The budget 2007-08, announced by the finance minister P. Chidambaram today, may not benefit the common man directly, but the steps initiated by him to control inflation will help in controlling the spiralling prices of all essential commodities.

The city residents are upset over the minimal raise in exemption on income tax and the withdrawal of benefit on RBI savings bond and tax saving bonds and imposition of one per cent cess.

However, the ban on future contracts for wheat and rice, reducing duty on edible oils and cement and benefits on investment in venture capital funds may bring cheer as those will ultimately help in curbing the price rise.

The budget has received a mixed response in the city.

While residents have welcomed the proposal initiated for increasing growth in the agriculture sector and increased finance outlay in health and education, they are upset about the rise in prices of electrical and electronic goods and automobiles.

Jatinder Sharma, a general physician practising in Chandigarh, hailed the budget for the enhanced allocation in the health sector.

“Though the budget of Rs 15,291 crore for the health sector will help create better health infrastructure, the government should also show concern over the rising prices of life saving drugs. The allocation for AIDS control programme has been raised to Rs 969 crore, and the introduction of AIDS tests at the primary health centre level is a good step”, he said.

Ashok Gupta, a city based banker , said reduction in excise duty on cement, so as to ensure a correction in cement prices, would boost housing and real estate sector in the country.

The prices of cement had been on the rise since last year.

“But there is little consolation for the common man in the budget. The service class was looking forward to some increase in savings limit under section 80-C. The government could have raised the ceiling to RS 1.25 lakh, but this has remained untouched at Rs 1 lakh . Had this been raised, the service class would have been able to save more”, he added.

Geeta Bhatia, joint manager, Punjab Communication Limited, Mohali, said, “There is a minimal increase in exemption on income tax limit for women to Rs 1.45 lakh. This should have been raised to Rs 2 lakh, so that it will be in consonance with the inflation. But overall the steps initiated to control inflation are welcome”.

Balbir Singh, a senior citizen and resident of Sector 19, supported her.

“I am happy with the budget as the exemption for senior citizens has been increased to Rs 1.95 lakh. The proposal to launch a scheme for insurance cover to senior citizens is also in our interest. Effective steps have been taken to control inflation”, he said.

Rajiv Sharma, a taxation consultant, hailed the budget, saying it was in accordance with the ongoing process of growth and reforms initiated by the finance minister.

The government should have taken more steps to broaden the sphere of taxpayers and thereby reduce the burden on the common man, he said.

M.P.S. Chawla, president of the Chandigarh Industries Association, opposed the budget proposals, saying it was the worst-ever budget to have been tabled in the Parliament.

“The government has not given much benefits, but several new taxes have been imposed and tax benefits on some schemes have been withdrawn like the withdrawal of tax benefit on education loan. The only beneficiary, it seems , will be the government as it will earn more revenue through these taxes”, he said.



Budget: UT’s gains

Chandigarh, February 28

  • Rs 5 crore for government housing scheme.
  • Rs 3 crore for strengthening of infrastructure in UT villages.
  • Rs 1 crore for regional centre for mentally challenged.
  • Rs 1.15 crore for new health care project.
  • Rs 50 lakh for trauma hospital in Phase III.
  • Rs 50 lakh for elevated highway from Madhya Marg to Housing Board Chowk.
  • Rs 1.5 crore for desalting of Sukhan Lake.
  • Rs 7 crore for acquisition of new buses.
  • Rs 1 crore for cricket academy
  • Rs 25 lakh for football stadium.
  • Rs 2.50 crore for mid-day meal scheme. — TNS



Budget funds: Panjab varsity left high & dry
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
The Union Budget has once again ignored Panjab University. While the finance minister P Chidambaram today proposed a special grant of Rs 50 crore each to Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and technology, Pant Nagar, Uttar Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, Panjab University has been left high and dry in its Diamond Jubilee year.

Panjab University has a unique status among universities in being both a state and central university. But the university has been paying a price for this status. The Punjab Government tends to ignore the university in terms of grants on the pretext that it is a central university and the centre has been over the years consistently ignoring the university by not providing it adequate funds. As a result the university here is left to fend for itself.

Over the years Panjab university has achieved remarkable successes in the field of science, specially biotechnology, Pharmacy and Physics. The university is part of many national scientific projects. A large number of departments of the university have been recognised as centers for advanced studies. The university also does not have a tradition of unhealthy students or teacher politics.

The Union Budget has last year set aside a grant of Rs 100 crore to Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, for research and PU senators had in one of the senate meetings also discussed the issue. The PU faculty has been suffering under anomalous working conditions. The age of retirement at PU continues to remain at 60 despite the fact that all other major universities in the country has enhanced the retirement age to 65 years and more.

An amount of Rs 30 crore for four institutions working on Mahatma Gandhi has also set aside in the Union Budget. Once again the PU’s Department of Gandhian Studies, which could do with a large push has been ignored.

The four institutions that will get this grant include Sabarmati Ashram at Ahmedabad, Sewagram Ashram at Wardha, Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute at Pune and Rajendra Samriti Sanghrahalaya at Patna.

PU Vice-Chancellor Prof RC Sobti said he had still not lost hope. “We have sent a detailed proposal to the Union Government regarding the Diamond Jubilee celebrations and are awaiting a response from them. We are hopeful that our requests will not be rejected,” he said.

The university has sent a proposal worth Rs 250 crore to the centre and has planned ambitious projects for this year.

Other than expansion and upgradation of the existing infrastructure, the university proposes to have a Medical College, a Higher Studies Centre and an Area Study Centre.

One of the oldest universities in the country, PU was established as a result of the local residents of Punjab showing interest in the field of education. In fact the university was created wholly through the financial contribution of the people of Punjab. It was set up in 1883 in Lahore from where it shifted to India and came to the present campus in late 1950s.



Budget could have been better, says Bishnoi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28 
Various political leaders have reacted to the Union Budget presented in the Lok Sabha today on expected party lines. 

However, ruling party MP Kuldeep Bishnoi said though overall the Budget was good, yet it could have been "better and more realistic so that the common man can reap the benefits of the overall high growth rate in the country."

Bishnoi, who has left no ambiguity about his plans to walk out of the Congress, said though incremental allocation of resources for social sector had been proposed, the real need of the hour was the actual delivery of benefits to the common man, for which the finance minister should have indicated hard measures to be taken by the government. 

The agriculture sector, which was showing a negative growth, should have been given path-driving measures "to restablish the green revolution in the country”. 



Hope for destitute girls
School at Mata Mansa Devi shrine in April
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 28
There's hope for the destitute girls of Haryana with a brand new home being readied for them under the aegis of the district administration which has also started a toll-free number, 1089, to deal with distress calls from the children of the city.

While the first-of-its kind home for destitute girls is being set up at the premises of the Mata Mansa Devi Shrine, the toll-free number has become operational and is housed at the Bal Bhawan, Sector 15.

The home, likely to be functional from the new academic session in April, will invite candidates from all districts of the state. "Since it has to be operational in April, we are writing to the Deputy Commissioners to forward names of poor girls, who are deserving. Initially, the target is to have 50 seats which will be increased as per the need," says Neerja Shekhar, the Deputy Commissioner, supervising the project.

Under the blueprint worked out for the home, the girls will be sent to regular school and taught skills at the home after school hours. The criterion prepared by the administration lays down that the girls taken in would be in the age group of eight to 21 years.

In a different project, the helpline initiated by the administration will tackle all kinds of problems faced by the children. Operational from 9 am to 5 pm, the phone is attended by a contract employee being trained as a counsellor.

"We have tied up with the three NGOs running in the city. Bal Niketan, Sector 2, Bal Sadan, Sector 12 A, and Ashiana, Sector 16, for organising short stays and long stays for children, who may need such arrangement in addition to counselling," the Deputy Commissioner explained.

While the helpline primarily aims at targetting "stressed" children, the tie-up is aimed at providing accommodation in cases where the child may need to be under constant supervision. However, there's a technical snag involved in accessing the number from the different block of the district.

Though the helpline number is meant for the entire district, its scope is limited to the city so far. With Panchkula city covered under the Punjab circle and the rest of the district coming under the Haryana circle, children from Raipur Rani, Barwala, Pinjore, Kalka and Morni will not be able to avail themselves of the services. However, the district administration has decided to take up the matter with the BSNL authorities and find a way out to ensure it covers the entire district.



Kher signs MoU for acting school
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
For Anupam Kher, it was a moment of emotion; for Chandigarh, a moment of pride.As the actor sealed the deal for the Chandigarh Acting Institute (CAI) by signing the MoU with the UT Administration today, it was time for both regalia and skepticism to step in.

But the general mood of the day was upbeat, with Kher promising sunshine to those who “care” to act. Somewhere in his eyes were streaks of commitment, stemming from his humble roots.

By now, everyone knows that Kher started his forays into the world of acting as a student of the Department of Indian Theatre, Panjab University. Earlier, he had spent precious time pursuing his passion in Shimla, his birthplace.

But today the actor was in a mood to pay back. “I want you to respond with warmth to the institute, which I have personally nurtured. It will be a symbol of my commitment to the talent available in Chandigarh and Shimla, the cities that made me what I am,” he said, his voice resting on nostalgic notes.

As for the institute, it will be the first regional extension of Actor Prepares, Kher’s Mumbai-based academy. The others are slated to start in Ahmedabad, Banaras, Dubai, London and Los Angeles. But Chandigarh has taken the cake, following the UT’s zeal to start the academy, as desired by Yash Chopra.

Chopra had made the suggestion when he came here to chair the meeting of the Chandigarh Advisory Tourism Forum.

The CAI will start functioning at the Central Crafts Institute, Sector 11, where the design is being formalised by Hemendra Bhatia,Dean of Actor Prepares, Mumbai. For his part, Anupam will be involved in the selection of curriculum which he says is very scientific.

“I don’t want to boast but I designed my courses after keeping the requirements of world cinema in mind. Moreover, acting is not just about getting academic information. With the entertainment business pegged at 7 billion dollar, it is about lot more. At the CAI, we will make actors with attitude,” he said after signing the MoU with Vivek Atray, Director, Tourism, UT, at Dr Ambedkar Institute of Hotel Management, Sector 42.

But it was not all rosy for Kher, who faced some pointed queries from Neelam Mansingh, member of the Forum, who wanted to know if the CAI will have regular staff and orientation courses for professionals.

As an answer, Kher went back to his promise of “paying back what he got”. “Education takes time to yield results. I would rather have my work speak,” said Kher, promising to teach the students the art of marketing.

His school in Mumbai has churned out 120 students in two years; 80 of them are already absorbed in business. For the skeptics, Kher listed these figures.

Later he made another point: “I could not possibly tell you that a Naseeruddin or a Shahrukh Khan will come here to take classes. I feel I have proved my credentials well enough, and I hope my name as an endorsement to the CAI should be sufficient.”

For the time being yes, but people will be watching while wishing the project luck.



National Science Day
Various aspects of science discussed
Tribune News Service

Kharar, February 28
Rayat and Bahra Institute of Engineering and Biotechnology, Sahauran, celebrated national science day. On this occasion, Dr Girish Sahni, director, Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), delivered a lecture on ‘Exploitation of microbial diversity for biotechnological benefits’.

He said that there exists an enormous potential in a large number of useful bio-active molecules, enzymes and proteins. He discussed the development of third generation proteins and clot buster molecule development by his group for cardiac diseases.

Students participated in various events like seminar, group discussion, thematic poster making to promote and discuss various aspects of science. Issues like science: vision 2020, global warming, India’s status in space technology, natural resources, human cloning and nuclear energy were taken up by students.

The prize winners include Harminder Singh, Prashansa, Divya Nishant, Aditi Bali, Arushi, Shaurya, Shivali Tangi, Manpreet.

The vice-chairman of the group Gurvider Singh Bahra appreciated the efforts of the college. Managing director C.M. Bahl said that the era of globalisation requires synchronisation of all spheres like science, technology, education and management to make India a top nation.

Shivalik Institute

Students of Shivalik Institute of Education and Research, Phase VI, here celebrated national science day today. Poster making competition on the topic ‘Conserve Energy’ was organised in the college campus. Students participated in a wall magazine contest. Best posters were given awards. Students presented papers on the same topic.

As many as 25 students along with teachers visited CDAC. Principal Satpal Kaur Grewal advised students to conserve energy as it would be the best gift for the coming generations.

CDAC, Mohali

The National Science Day was celebrated at the Centre for the Development of Advanced Computing here today.

The centre was opened to people to educate them about the latest developments in the field of science and technology. This provided an opportunity to encourage technical aptitude and stimulate technological temper among public.

On the occasion, Director of the CDAC J.S. Bhatia talked about the role of IT in today’s environment and how IT was useful in day-to-day part of our life. He also spoke about the importance of science and technology in this entrepreneurship environment. He highlighted the activities of the CDAC.

Public Relation Officer Deepak Rana said, “We have been extending special invitations to the students and teachers from various schools and institutes in and around Mohali.

He arranged the special technical demonstrations on tele-medicine technologies, cyber security, Multimedia and on other latest trends of information technology. Inderpal Kaur spoke about the professional use of mobile phones and its technological importance in various development activities.

More than 400 students and teachers from various schools and institutes visited the centre.



Admn sits over building plans
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Stakeholders in the much-hyped conversion policy for Industrial Area are losing patience, thanks to the delay in the sanctioning of the building plans by the Chandigarh Administration.

The Administration which gave different relaxations - like lowering the specifications for the potable area and increasing the floor area ratio (FAR) for conversion of industrial plots in commercial ones - is now struck on giving some more “relaxations” under the Capital of Punjab ( Development and Regulation) Act, 1952.

“A final decision in four to five cases regarding the clearing of the building plans is awaited. A committee comprising of senior officials has to clear the plans. The applicant would to have wait till the cleaning of the building plans to avoid unnecessary penalties,” confirmed a senior official.

In light of the recent raid by the CBI in the Estate Office regarding the building violations in the Fun Republic, Mani Majra, officials were apprehensive in relaxing some parameters which could also land them in trouble, said sources.

Provisions like adequate parking in basement, proper natural lighting and ventilation and violating control norms were some of the constraints in sanctioning of the building plans.

Enquiries revealed that so far around five building plans under the conversion policy had been sanctioned and others were in the process.

“We have invested crores and our financial liability is increasing with each passing day. The Administration should fulfill its promise of speeding up the process of clearing the plans,” said an applicant, who did not wish to be quoted.

An applicant of a plot (no 125) in the Industrial Area, who applied for converting the site into a car showroom, had applied about four months back. Awaiting sanctioning of the building plans, the applicant went ahead with construction. A visit to the spot revealed that the building is nearing completion. A similar situation existed for another building in Industrial Area, Phase II.

Not willing to come on record, the affected persons said the Administration has been time and again making announcements to speed up the processing of the applications through the single-window agency, the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB). They lamented that delay in sanctioning of the building plans was hitting them financially

Enquiries with the CHB revealed that the final approval of the building plans was awaited from the high-empowered committee. Around 28 persons have so far applied so far under the conversion policy.

Many of the stakeholders have entered into agreements with business houses to run their ventures. Delay would mean embarrassing situation for the applicants.



Kidney patient needs help
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Hailing from Bhatta Bazaar of Purnia in Bihar, Samar Nandi (28) has been suffering from renal failure. After being diagnosed for renal failure, Nandi approached the CMC Hospital in Tamil Nandu and later got treatment at the AIIMS, New Delhi. Financial crunch forced him to switch over to the PGI, Chandigarh.

The agony of the family that the same disease had claimed his elder brother (Amar Nandi) three years ago. In hope of better treatment for their son, parents of the patients have also been running around for financial help. The family is under severe debts as it has sold its landholdings for Nandi’s treatment.

In Chandigarh, his friends have been bearing the cost of his treatment. To meet the heavy expenses of dialysis and medicines, his friends, who earlier used to pool money, are now unable to carry on with it.

The family, staying with Nandi’s friends in Khudda Lahora village, near PGI, is in desperate need of financial help. Donors could contact Samar Nandi at 9334350785.



Illegal tree felling continues
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Even though Chandigarh has grown to be the greenest city in the country with 35.5 per cent of its total area under tree and forest cover, the menace of illegal tree felling by cultivated residents continues in the city.

The booking of three persons and the arrest two by the Chandigarh police on the allegations of chopping a healthy mango tree on Sunday night is a testimony to this effect, sources in the municipal corporation’s horticulture department admit.

They add that the Chandigarh police has time and again been registering cases under the Indian Penal Code and other provisions of law.

Only recently, two first information reports were registered by the police after the offence of 
tree-felling was brought to its notice.

Yet the residents continue to take the law, and the axe, in their hands to cut the trees.

The sources add that Chandigarh has two legislations for the protection and preservation of trees - the Indian Forests Act, 1989, and the Tree Preservation Order, 1952.

These legislations clearly state that no tree can be felled in Chandigarh without the permission of the UT finance secretary.

They assert that the administration gives permission for felling trees that are dead, diseased, left damaged by high-velocity winds, or are threatening life 
and property, besides obstructing traffic.

The permission for removal of the trees is accorded for executing development works.

But while issuing permission for felling trees for projects, the administration ensures the planting of at least double the number of trees that are felled, to compensate the loss to the forest cover and the environment.

Giving details, they assert that during the last 15 years, from 1991 to 2006, as many as 13,843 trees were felled across the city by different departments.

For compensating the loss, more than 50,000 trees were planted.

But in case of illegal felling, such action is seldom initiated.

The sources add that more often than not, the trees are felled by new owners of old houses just after purchasing the property.

Often the existing owners also order the pulling down of trees in front of the houses because they believe that better visibility improves the property’s value.

The clandestine operation is mostly carried out on Sunday nights to escape detection by the horticulture department and the police.

A senior officer in the department says most people do not realise the amount of effort that has gone into making the city the number one green city.

During the past 15 years, over 22.22-lakh saplings have been planted by different departments of the administration.

Over and above, 750,000 saplings have been distributed and sold by agencies, along with the department of environment and forests during the same period.

The department is involved in the process of creating awareness among the masses, particularly students, to plant more saplings and to popularise eco-friendly activities on a regular basis.



Spat over shifting of office 
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 28
Tempers ran high at the district secretariat in Sector 1, here today, as a routine shifting of offices took an ugly turn. Trouble began when the Assistant Superintendent, Mohinder Singh, began the process of shifting out the District Statistical Department from its present rooms to the hall shared by the staff of the District Town Planner.

The District Statistical officer (DSO) arrived on the scene after the tables, chairs, files and racks of his department had been moved out of the rooms allotted to his department.

Seeing everything lying in the corridors he protested and shouted at Mohinder Singh for having begun the task without awaiting his arrival.

To add to the tension, the staff of the DSO found that there was no place in the hall allotted to them. The staff of the DTP was spread out in the hall in a way that they could not be accommodated. Following this, the DSO complained to senior officers of the administration.

However, later in the day, the Deputy Commissioner, Neerja Shekhar, intervened in the matter and the dislodged staff members were allowed to shift at the new place allotted to them.

She had directed the shifting of the DSO and his staff to the new location over 10 days back and the shifting was initiated as per her orders. 



Fauji Beat
Restructure Rashtriya Rifles

The necessity to raise a force like the Army was felt in the early nineties when militancy in Punjab was at its peak and the Army in large numbers (about nine divisions) was deployed there to quell insurgency. To release pressure on the Army of counter insurgency duties, six Rashtriya Rifles (RR) battalions were raised in 1991, by drawing manpower from various arms and services. Over the years, this force was enlarged to 36 battalions. And subsequently, some more battalions were added to it.

The RR went a long way in releasing pressure of counter insurgency duties from the Army besides, acquitting itself well initially in Punjab and then in Jammu and Kashmir and North East. But with the passage of time, it became unmistakably clear that the RR’s manpower lacked comradeship, cohesion, ethnic affinity, self-pride and pride in their units. The reason for this was that this peculiar “hotchpotch” apart from being drawn from various arms and services, was replaced after every two to three years.

Understandably, the RR battalions’ manpower cannot be expected to be well trained in infantry tactics. They cannot, therefore, measure up to the task of countering insurgency so well as the infantry battalions. This is an inherent defect in the RR’s structure, which needs to be corrected. The answer lies in restructuring these battalions with infantry manpower. This can be done by raising a training centre for the RR like other infantry centres.

Solan polyclinic

“If Mohali on becoming a district needs a polyclinic, then does it mean that our polyclinic from Solan should be shifted to Mohali?” remark Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) members from Solan district in Himachal Pradesh with anguish. “Solan is an old and big district”, they further add. They also say that if the Solan polyclinic is shifted to Mohali, then they will be put to great inconvenience, as there is no other polyclinic between Shimla and Chandimandir.

When the proposal to shift the Solan polyclinic to Mohali was being finalised last year, the ECHS members from Solan district represented against this move. As a result, the move was pended but not cancelled. “Unless the move is cancelled, we would not be sure whether our polyclinic will remain with us”, say the ECHS members from Solan, Kasauli, Dharampur and Dagshai.

Rather than waiting till March 2008, to consider raising more polyclinics, a decision should be taken now so that the districts like Mohali get their own polyclinics. There is no justification for inconveniencing the ECHS members in one district to help members in another district.

War memorial

This magnificent war memorial at Nowshera in Jammu and Kashmir was constructed by the Fifth Battalion of the Eleven Gorkha Rifles, which is deployed in the Nowshera sector. The war memorial showcases names of all the war heroes and civilians who laid down their lives in Lam and Darhal areas since Independence.

The imposing 12 feet high marble and granite structure stands on a four feet high platform of 30 feet by 15 feet. Interestingly, the request for constructing the memorial came from the local people who had fought the Pakistani Army and raiders in 1947-48. Not only that, they were also successful in preventing the enemy from reaching Nowshera.

Recently, at an impressive ceremony, the memorial was presented to the people of the area by 5/11 GR.

Air maintenance

The Western Air Command of the Indian Air Force (IAF) is maintaining the troops by air over the longest distance in the world. The troops located between the Saltoro and Karakoram ranges in the Siachen Glacier and in the surrounding areas are wholly and solely maintained by the IAF, which has to travers through the dangerous mountains to maintain them by air.

— Pritam Bhullar



Interview goof-up by HUDA
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 28
It was a day of high drama at the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) office here where candidates, scheduled to appear for an interview for the post of manager, Gymkhana Club II, descended at 3:30 pm today.

However, the interview was postponed even as Ashwini Sharma, an employee of the tourism Department, transferred to HUDA, gave in his 
joining report.

The candidates, who gathered at the HUDA office, said the interview was postponed without any prior notice. "We came for the interviews despite the inclement weather only to be told that these had been postponed.They haven't even given a new date for the same," they rued.

Chief administrator S.S. Dhillon said he had constituted a two-member committee, comprising administrator, HUDA, Neelam Pradeep Kasni, and estate officer S.P. Arora to hold the interviews.

"Though I don't know if the interviews were finally conducted or not, no permission to postpone the same was sought from me.

“Also, even if somebody from the tourism department has joined HUDA, we can still go ahead with our interviews to pick the best candidate. The transferred employee can always be repatriated to his parent department anytime," Dhillon said.

Administrator Kasni said the interviews were postponed because she had to go out of station. "I don't know whether or not the employee from the tourism department has joined," she added.

However, sources in the HUDA confirmed that Ashwini Sharma had been relieved from his posting in the tourism department and had given his joining report to HUDA officers before noon.

He had still not been given a posting though he had served as the manager of Gymkhana Club II since the inception of the club in his last stint.

He was repatriated to the tourism department in October last year. 



Unclean drinking water root cause of all diseases
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
From cholera to dermatology, Dr Paul Dean has mastered many a medical art. For the start, he was part of the team that developed the first oral solution for the treatment of cholera.

Famously called the ORS (oral rehydration solution), the treatment was a turning point in the history of medical science. It promised life to those that would otherwise die of dehydration in the event of an outbreak. Developed way back in Dhaka in 1970s, the treatment still brings back memories of difficult times which Dr Dean saw in Dhaka. He was there as a doctor of Centre for Disease Control, an Atlanta-based organisation, that was sending out help to save the suffering.

In Chandigarh today to visit the progress of an NGO being run by a friend, Dr Dean took The Tribune through different phases of his career. He is presently a board member of the International Medical Core (IMC), a California-based organisation that delivers medical relief to places in the world that don’t have the ability to receive aid. The IMC has an annual budget of 100 million USD for medical relief.

“We set up our first clinic in Afghanistan at the time of the Russian war,” said Dr Dean, “Today our medical practitioner in Afghanistan is running 600 clinics in the area. We have huge intervention in disaster relief sector. We were there in South East Asia when the Tsunami hit.”

`We also work out of Somalia, Sudan and many other conflict hit areas. Essentially, we provide specific medical care,” said Dr Dean, who is the guest of MC councilor Amrit Bolaria, the driving force behind the project now being run by Dr Dean’s friend Frederic Shaw at Janta Colony, Sector 25.

The NGO - Developing Indigenous Resources (DIR), India - is helping slum dwellers take control of their health by using their own resources. For his part, Dr Dean, here as chairperson and trustee, DIR, the US-based parent organisation of DIR India, was pleased to see the zeal among people. He has himself been part of such tough settings across the world. Starting out as a student of medicine, who went to Nigeria to help people, Dr Dean has come a full circle.

In between he acquired other skills. He remained Head of Epidemiology for the State of Florida and then went on to study dermatology and practice it for a while. But by far, Dr Dean’s greatest contribution has been to public health where he has worked extensively on hepatitis in blood transfusion, among other things.

Having toured the world extensively, he feels unclean drinking water is the root of all evil. “The majority of infant mortality happens due to diarrhoeal diseases,” he said today, making a reference to Janta Colony as model which is addressing key issues of health and hygiene proactively.

Not so upbeat about the state of world’s health, Dr Dean said there was a long way to go before the UN can realise its dream of “health for all” - something it had pledged years ago. “But let us hope for things to change. The solution lies in following the golden rule - Do unto others what you would have them do unto you,” said the doctor, who wishes for a world where health would be a universal right.



80-yr-old accident victim succumbs to injuries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
An 80-year-old woman of Daria village, who suffered serious injuries after being crushed by a Haryana Roadways Bus at Sector 17 ISBT on Tuesday afternoon, succumbed to her injuries in in the PGI in the wee hours today.

The police said victim Harbans Kaur had come to the bus stand along with her son. The accident took place at around 3 pm when the driver was reversing the bus, unmindful of the fact that the woman was behind it. The victim’s legs were crushed under the wheels of the bus.

She was shifted to the Sector-16 General Hospital in a critical condition. The doctors there referred her to the PGI, where she succumbed to her injuries at around 3 am.

The police has arrested bus driver Parveen Kumar of Ambala district on the allegations of causing death due to rash and negligent driving.



Day, night temperatures converge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Unseasonal rains continued for the second day in a row today, with the city recording 38 mm rainfall from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm today. Return of the cold wave is also being attributed to the persisting rains which are expected to continue into tomorrow. Cold wave in the upper reaches of Himachal is causing the shift in weather systems, Met said today.

Interestingly, the maximum temperature drop continued today, so much so that there was hardly any difference left between day and night temperature. Whereas the maximum temperature recorded today was 14.6 dehrees, the minimum temperature was just slightly less at 14 degree.

The near-absolute convergence of day and night temperatures is the result of fast-changing weather condtions that are propelling both rain and chill.



Parking contractor liable to pay for vehicle theft: MC
V-5 roads in sec 46, 47 to be widened
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
There’s a good news for the owners of sports utility vehicles (SUVs) paying double the fee at all places where paid parking has been imposed. The Finance and Contract Committee (F and CC) of the Municipal Corporation today recommended clubbing the SUVs with cars in the four-wheeler category for parking charges.

Based on the shortcoming of the previous contractors for parking contractors, the committee also decided that the contractor would be liable to pay compensation in case of theft of vehicles, if any, and paid parking time had been stipulated between 8 am to midnight against the old timings from 7 am to 11 am.

The proposal of new terms and conditions for the management of paid parking areas was held under the chairpersonship of Mayor Harjinder Kaur, while the MC commissioner P.S. Aujla along with other members also attended the meeting.

The members of the F&CC were apprised about the direction passed by the High Court on February 29, 2003, and were informed that as long as the paid parking system was in place, it was desirable to make it more people friendly.

These new terms and conditions would now be placed before the general House in its next meeting for final consideration and approval. In the new terms and conditions, the following clauses had been provided in order to strengthen the terms of contract.

These include the procurement of copies of PAN number, balance sheet, memorandum of articles, partnership deed in case of partnership firms and verification of antecedents of the contractor through a district magistrate. The auction will be open to shortlisted applicants only.

The members also put their stamp on the use of parking tokens so also to avoid congestion in the parking areas, introduction of well defined fine system, specification of irregularities particularly misbehaviour with public and imposition of fines and penalties thereof and circumstances which were likely to lead to premature cancellation of licence. The parking tokens would be provided by the corporation.

The other conditions included depositing adequate security by the licencee in shape of bank guarantee and advance licence fee, payment of all dues on account of licence fees instead of earlier system of payment on monthly basis through postdated cheques.

The allotment of parking licence would be for a period of three years subject to the satisfactory performance of terms and conditions by the licencee instead of the earlier tenure of one year. The wearing of uniform by employees of the licencees along with name tabs had also been made mandatory.

In addition, the widening of V-5 roads in Sectors 23 C and D, 46 C & D and 47 C & D, the replacement of existing PVC pipelines in colonies of Khuda Lahora, modernisation of dhobighats and launch of counselling centre and skill development programme on the eve of International Women’s Day on March 6 and hosting the National Mayor’s conference in Chandigarh were among the other items on the agenda, which got the nod of the committee.



Defeated MLAs told to vacate houses

Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, February 28 
The Punjab Vidhan Sabha today issued notices to all defeated MLAs to vacate their houses, garages and quarters for their servants within a period of two months from now. Sources said the notices were sent out today. 

Separate notices,signed by the chief secretary, will be sent out to the ministers in this regard.The cars allocated to the ministers were already deposited with the Transport Department when the model code of conduct was imposed.



Goods worth Rs 5 lakh stolen from garment shop
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
A shopkeeper, Harish Gulati, reported to the police alleging that saries and garments worth about Rs 5 lakh were stolen from his shop, Gulati Creations, Sector 44, on Tuesday night. He told the police that the theft came to light this morning when he reached his shop and found its shutter opened. The locks of the shutter were also broken. The shop was ransacked and expensive garments were missing.

The police said the spot inspection revealed that it was the handiwork of some insider. They questioned the staff, but nothing has come out of it so far. A case has been registered in this regard.


Subhash Chander of Subhash Nagar, Manimajra, lodged a complaint with the police alleging that Rs 1,350, three gold rings, one pair of tops, two gold nose rings and other articles were stolen from his residence on Tuesday.

In another incident, Munish Gupta of TBRL Hostel in Sector 29-A reported to the police alleging that Rs 1000 and water taps were stolen from his hostel on Tuesday. Two separate cases of thefts have been registered in the Manimajra Police Station in this regard.

Man held for theft

Hem Raj of Maloya Colony was reportedly caught red-handed by Abdil of Khudda Lahora village while stealing his mobile phone from his residence on Tuesday.



Cop caught red-handed on wrong side of the law
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Sleuths of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today caught Chandigarh police constable Satish Sharma red-handed while allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 1000 from a sector 23 resident.

The accused tried to flee, but was nabbed with public help from sector 22.

Sources in the CBI said the cop had told Anuj Sharma of sector 23 that non-bailable warrants had been issued against him by a local court and demanded the money to extend favours to him.

Anuj was a witness in a hit-and-run case registered at the sector 17 police station, where Satish was posted in the summon staff.

Raj Kumar Sharma said his son Anuj, along with his friend Gurvinder Singh of sector 23 and a cousin, met with an accident in 2003.

Anuj had noted down the registration number of the vehicle, which was given to the police.

His cousin had been injured in the mishap and Anuj became a witness in the case.

Sharma added that Satish had told his son that a local court issued non-bailable warrants against him on December 6.



‘Budget to boost social, farm sectors’
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 28
Reacting to the Union Budget, Gurmeet Singh Bhatia, Managing Director, Punjab Biotechnology Park Ltd, today appreciated the budget stating that it was dedicated to social and agriculture sectors as well as new technology segment.

However, the tax holiday for another five years to Jammu and Kashmir would badly effect the growth of industry in Punjab, he said. “Particularly for the bio-fuel sector the finance minister has realised the need and importance of substitute of crude oil for making bio diesel. The Budget is in line of the President of India’s dream to make India self sufficient in the field of energy since technology creates wealth,” he said.



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