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PU introduces master’s in radiation, medical physics
Science congress takes off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 10
The first Chandigarh Science Congress took off at Panjab University auditorium this morning.
Started to promote interaction among scientists of the region and scientific temper, the congress was inaugurated by union minister for science and technology Kapil Sibal.

Sibal’s presence was the high point of a predominantly academic affair. Another highlight of the day was the announcement that the university will from the next session introduce MSc courses in medical physics and radiation physics.

These will be run in association with the PGI, which is university’s partner for the congress also. Sibal for his part took the gathering back to 1947 when the first science congress was held on “Science in the service of nation”.

Several years later, the theme hasn’t changed much, proving that science has not actually reached people. No wonder, Sibal asked scientists to find solutions to people’s problems.

He told them to look beyond their labs and find ways to make potable water accessible to 400 million people inhabiting the coastline.

“We are trying to convert sea water into potable water by using differential temperatures at the surface and bottom of the ocean. But we want our scientists to tell us how to produce one ton of rice with 100 tons of water.”

Right now, 1,000 tons of water produce one ton of rice - something as unacceptable as the fact that 70 per cent of water resources are used for agriculture.

As the minister made his point, the scientific community listened intently, promising to make a difference through the Chandigarh Academy of Sciences, which was also launched today.

Honorary fellowship of the academy was conferred on Sibal. Sobti introduced the theme of the congress, “Science and technology for emerging needs of society”. He said 67 per cent of the Panjab University students were girls, a fact that impressed him.

He later released two books: “The Abstracts of the Chandigarh Science Congress” and “The Journal of Biotechnology Reviews”.

The vice-chancellor, in his address, said the university was a premier institution engaged in quality teaching, research and development of intellectual capital.

Once formal addresses were over, it was time for real action but by then the venue had lost chunk of its attendance.

The presentation of PGI director Prof K.K. Talwar was made to a thin audience.

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Kapil Sibal rues dearth of investment in R and D
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 10
By 2009, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Earth Sciences would have “sufficiently modernised” Met Department, union minister Kapil Sibal said today. Here to inaugurate the first Chandigarh Science Congress that started at Panjab University today, Sibal said that by 2009, Met would be in a position to give district-level advisories on the state of monsoons in the country.

The minister informed The Tribune that Rs 288 crore had also been set aside in the 11th Plan for microzonation of 40 cities in zones III and IV. The idea was to study soil on the sites before allowing construction on them. Microzonation plans for Delhi, Jabalpur and Guwahati are already in place.

Another development is the ministry’s initiative to secure intellectual property rights of scientists. While urging the scientists to think out of the box and take their discoveries to people, Sibal said he was about to table a major bill in Parliament.

“Through the bill, we seek to protect the interests of scientists who create intellectual property. Even if we have funded the project, we propose that 30 per cent of the earnings from it go back to the scientist who has created the property in question. I want to break away from traditional moulds,” he said, urging the universities to evolve a system that ensures accountability.

“Professors must publish papers and the university must make recommendations to the Knowledge Commission to ensure accountability,” the minister said, confirming that Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula region was proposed to be developed as Knowledge City. The ministry will contribute 200 crore to the project. To be spread over 450 acre, the city will have the National Institute of Nanotechnology, the Indian Institute of Scientific Education and Research and an Agri-food biocluster. The biocluster will comprise the National Agri-food Biotechnology Institute, bio-processing unit to provide scale up facilities and agri-food biotechnology park to house start up companies.

A large part of Sibal’s talk centred on the inequity which development trends across the world have fuelled. The fruits of science and technology have not reached people, he said. “That’s why the theme of this Congress is as relevant as it was 60 years ago. Consider the conundrum that the aggregate income of 1 per cent of the richest population of the world equals that of 75 per cent of the poorest,” Sibal said.

Besides, whereas 60 per cent of the labour force in the world is contributed by women, they control only 1 per cent of the world’s wealth. In India, there are 300 million illiterates - a condition which scientists must ameliorate by evolving affordable and accessible solutions.

Referring to the inflation issue which has become a sore for the Congress, Sibal said the root of inflation lay in low productivity. “Science and technology can offer a solution to inflation by increasing productivity, by ensuring better seed technology and by proper genetic engineering,” he said, often inviting applause from the huge gathering at PU’s Law auditorium, where the minister along with the PU V-C Prof R.C. Sobti, presented lifetime achievement awards to 10 eminent scientists from the region.

Among those awarded were The Tribune trustee and acclaimed mathematician Prof R.P. Bambah, Prof N.K. Ganguly (medicine), Prof H.S. Hans (physics), Prof S.V. Kesar (chemistry), Prof R.C. Mahajan (medicine), Prof Harkishen Singh (pharmaceutical sciences) and Padma Shri V.S. Sethi (atomic physics). Two scientists who were awarded in absentia include Prof Deepak Pental (botany) and Prof AK Sood (physics).

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Hit and Run
4-year-old girl awaits aid
Despite tall claims, cops of little help
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Bishu
Bishu at her Sector 28 residence on Saturday. 

Chandigarh, March 10
Incapacitated in a hit-and-run accident, a four-year-old girl of Sector 28 has been provided with no assistance whatsoever, despite the tall claims of the Chandigarh Police in the matter. Even though 22 days have passed since the accident took place, the police has yet to contact the victim’s family.

Only two days ago, the police had claimed that its Victim Assistance Cell had provided the necessary documents of accident victims to their families to help them settle insurance claims and also to provide them counselling and guidance.

The police had said in all 68 accident cases had been registered till February 28 this year and it had sent the records to the victims’ families.

The victim, Bishu, lies motionless in her bed at her Sector 28 residence, waiting for assistance so that she is back on her feet again. Unable to hold back her tears, her mother, Sunita, told TNS that Bishu could not move her limbs after the mishap and had not spoken a word since.

The cops had paid a visit in hospital just once. They had not turned up after that. The family did not know if the cops had traced the vehicle or arrested the errant driver.

Sunita said on February 16, she was crossing the road dividing Sectors 27 and 28, when a speeding Honda City car (CH-03-H-6295) hit her daughter. She herself escaped unhurt but Bishu suffered an internal head injury and fell unconscious as the driver fled.

Some passers-by noted down the vehicle number and stopped an auto-rickshaw, which shifted the injured girl to the Sector 32 GMCH.

The doctors there referred her to the PGI and she was admitted in the emergency ward. The following day, they shifted her to the ICU ward, where she remained admitted till March 3. The doctors sent her back to GMCH from where she was discharged on March 6.

The doctors said it would take months for her to recover. Shibu’s father, Ganga Prashad, a watchman, said he had spent more than Rs 15,000 on her treatment and her condition appeared far from improving.

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FR case: CBI to widen investigation scope
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 10
A day after arresting Brij Mohan, an assistant engineer (AE) of Estate Office, in connection with the case of building violation at Fun Republic, Mani Majra, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is widening the scope of investigation.

While probing the case of violations at the multiplex, the investigating agency is probing the manner in which the file notings were put up before senior officials and the manner in which approvals were given, following written instructions from the highups.

Sources in the CBI today said some senior officials in the administration would be questioned. Certain clarifications had been sought from assistant estate officer Amit Talwar.The queries were posed to the AEO on March 7 as his cooperation was needed to clarify certain facts pertaining to the case.

The AE was today remanded to one-day police custody after being produced before the Special CBI judge.Though the CBI had demanded 10 days of remand, the judge gave a day’s remand. He would be produced before the judge tomorrow. The CBI also objected to a request of the defence counsel for a copy of the remand application moved by the agency. However, the judge directed the investigating agency to provide the same to counsel of the accused.

During the case hearing, the defence counsel argued that since the AE was cooperating with the agency, there was no need for the remand.

The CBI further said more record from the office of the Chief Architect and the Finance Secretary was being procured to examine all angles.

Sources said the investigating officials raided the residence of Brij Mohan on Friday night.Two bank lockers of Brij Mohan were yet to be searched.

Sources said the officials felt that such gross violation could not be carried out at the SDO-level officials. The officials believed that at some stage of the investigation the role of top officials would come forth, as certain approvals could be given on their orders alon.

The CBI officials also said that they were scrutinising the file and the notings on these by the officials.

The CBI in a communication to the Estate Office on March 6 had sought details of SCO 142-44, Sector 17 and booth 1121-D. 

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Farmers plan Gandhian protest; get Meeta Vashisht’s support
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Meeta Vashisht Chandigarh, March 10
Land owners of Kishangarh, including those whose land is being acquired for the third phase of the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP), today announced it would ask social activists, Bollywood and public figures to create public opinion against the acquisition.

The land owners have also decided to resort to Gandhigiri to put across their point of view. During an interaction with mediapersons, popular actress Meeta Vashisht, today announced her support for the agitating land owners.

“ I will talk to Yash Chopra and other Bollywood personalities who are being roped in by the administration for projects like Film City, Science City and IT Park at the cost of land owners”.

Sanjay Joshi, who owns land in the area said: “We are trying to contact the IT honchos so that we can convince them not to invest here at the cost of the land owners. We are ready to offer our land to the investors as per the planning of the administration”.

Questioning the haste with which the administration was going ahead with the third phase of the IT Park, the land owners said so far 25 per cent of the land in Phase I and II had not been utilised. The administration was going ahead with the acquisition, despite the announcement by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh that a policy covering compensation and rehabilitation of the displaced farmers was being prepared.

The land owners accused the top brass for the haste in the acquisition proceedings to promote the interests of private builders and investors. The administration had been asked to make public the IT companies which has started construction on the land allotted to them over the last few years.

Jyotii Subramanian, one of the land owners, said the administration wanted that the land owners should replicate the agitation against the land acquisitions across the country. 

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Viral Infection
Students fall ill, schools worried
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 10
The frequent change in weather and fluctuation in temperature has resulted in viral fever, particularly affecting children.
There were at least three to four students who had to go on a leave due to fever, informed Rakesh Sachdeva principal DAV School, Sector 15, Chandigarh.

As the examinations of different classes were already on, school has made special arrangements to hold exams for the affected students when they recover, however, in case of exams being conducted by education boards, the school authorities were helpless, added the principal.

Dr B.K. Sharma, a renowned physician when contacted said the flu (influenza virus) was a result of congestion in upper respiratory tract due to fluctuating weather temperature. The congestion in upper respiratory tract attracts another virus resulting in the fever.

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Abduction case
Victim’s father spoke to suspect on phone
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 10
Sunil Kumar, accused of abducting two girl students of Government Senior Secondary School in Sector 22, spoke to one of the girl’s father on Monday night.The police said the victim’s father pleaded with the accused to “release” his daughter, but his pleas fell on deaf ears.

The investigating officers have been making efforts to trace the accused by contacting his acquaintances, but have failed a breakthrough in the case so far.

In charge of the Sector 22 police post, Sub-Inspector Charanjit Singh said details of the calls from Sunil’s mobile cell revealed that he had received the last call from a cousin of his wife. Satwant Singh, the victim’s father, told the police that on learning that his daughter had gone in a Contessa car, he became certain of Sunil’s hand in his daughter’s disappearance.

He went to Sunil’s house and on his request a cousin of Sunil’s wife called him from his cell phone. Sunil answered the call and spoke to Satwant Singh.

Satwant Singh reportedly told the police when he asked Sunil about his daughter, he did not answer and disconnected the call.

The police today called Sunil’s father-in-law and two brothers-in-law and questioned them thoroughly.They expressed ignorance about the matter though they cooperated with the investigating officials.

The police has picked up certain telephone numbers from the call details of Sunil’s phone. The police is in touch with a Sector 20-based youth who was called by Sunil on March 4 and 5 eight times. The youth is studying in a private institute in Sector 17. He was traced in Agra, where he is on a tour.

He told the police that he would return tomorrow morning.The police has also questioned another youth who received cricket coaching by Sunil.

The Nayagaon police has raided various places, but have not achieved any success so far. 

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BJP-SAD councillors want paid parking to go
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 10
A meeting of leaders of the BJP-SAD, including councillors, was held in the BJP office in Sector-33 here today. Yash Pal Mahajan, president of the BJP Chandigarh, Gurpartap Singh Riar, president of the SAD and Harjinder Kaur, mayor, participated. Councillors Gurcharan Dass Kala, Anil Dubey, Sunita Choudhary, Gurnam Singh (SAD) of the SAD were also present.

The meeting discussed the promises made by the BJP-SAD alliance to the people during the election of the MCC in December, 2006. A detailed discussion was held in the context of abolition of paid parking. The meeting took a unanimous decision that a resolution on abolition of paid parking system would be brought in the next meeting of the house. Also, steps would be taken for speedy development of Chandigarh.The meeting also decided that the BJP-SAD leaders as well as councillors should again meet on Monday with the objective of accelerating the speed of development in city and for resolving various problems of the people of the city.

Among others present at today’s meeting were Purshotam Mahajan, P.D. Mongia, both vice-presidents, Bal Krishan Kapoor, Kewal Krishan Addiwal, general secretaries, Kamla Sharma, ex-mayor, and Ramvir Bhatti, state secretary.

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Fragrance, colour, music @ Spring Fest
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 10
The fragrance of flowers and the sound of music filled the air at the Town Park in Sector 5 as the 21st Spring Fest started off with a splash of colour here today.

Folk dancers of various states and a band playing melodious tunes attracted holiday revellers.

Traditional dances of Punjab and Haryana, “gatka” performances and traditional “been baja” were presented.

Artistes attired in different costumes brought diverse cultures of the region to the park.

While animal topiaries attracted children, the fest was a feast for flower lovers, who were busy admiring dahlias, phloxs, pansies and other entries of seasonal flowers, received in different categories of flower competitions.

The entries would be on display during the two-day festival.

The fest took off on a lean note in the morning, though the crowd picked up by the evening.

The stalls selling eatables and consumer durables were allowed in the parking space in front of the garden.

In the afternoon, the centre of activity shifted to the Yavanika open air theatre, where contestants in painting competitions could be seen putting their artistic skills to test.

While the younger ones were asked to resurrect the scene of a festival, the senior ones were told to depict scenic beauty through their drawings.

The entire run-up to the fest was dotted with colourful flags.

Though rangolis made for the competitions in the open got spoilt because of the wind, the flower competitions could be sustained because they were held under a tent.

Stalls of paintings, including those by the local Bama Art Academy, was set up inside.

The festival was inaugurated by commissioner Shakuntala Jakhu, who was taken around the park by chief administrator S.S. Dhillon and estate officer S.P. Arora.

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Warehousing body celebrates 50 years
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 10
The regional office of the Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) celebrated its golden jubilee here.
The function was presided over by A.N. Laller, former commercial manager of the corporation, who highlighted the journey of the corporation through 50 years.

He said the corporation was set up in 1957 under the administrative jurisdiction of the ministry of agriculture by an Act of Parliament for the scientific storage of agricultural produce and industrial goods.

He explained that the purpose of the corporation was to facilitate credit facilities to farmers, agriculturists, traders and merchants through a warehouse receipt issued against the goods deposited in its warehouses and by pledging it with commercial banks.

The corporation had a network of 515 warehouses, with storage capacity of 10.3 million tonnes, throughout the country. Recently, the corporation had signed an MoU with the Railways for setting up railside warehousing complexes at 22 locations in India. The corporation had also diversified its activities in the pest control area and was the main recognised national pest control agency.

S.C. Batra, secretary, CWC, and regional manager of the Punjab region, and A.K. Sharma, regional manager, Haryana region, also highlighted the achievements of the corporation.

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No flower show likely this year
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 10
Like last year, the authorities concerned are not likely to hold a flower show in Mohali this year also.
Till now, only two flower shows have been organised in Mohali by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority.

Greater Mohali Area Development Authority officials were planning to hold a flower show in the city park in sector 68 this year.

Now it appeared that the show would not be held as no preparations had been made in this regard so far.

Insiders said it would not be possible to hold a flower show this year because most staff remained busy in election duty.

The continuous rain last month has adversely affected the blossoming of flowers in the city park.

After the formation of the new government in the state, there was a possibility of officials’ transfer from Mohali and as such, they were not much interested in organising a flower show.

Dates proposed for holding it (March 11 and 12) overlapped with the flower show in Panchkula.

Examinations had started in many schools and parents would not like their children to waste time by paricipating in various contests at the flower show.

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Senior citizens honour 5 women
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 10
Five eminent women were honoured in recognition of their services to society at a function organised by the Chandigarh Senior Citizens Association here today in connection with the International Women's Day.

Those honoured on the occasion were Neelu Tuli (posthumous), founder-president of the Sahayta Charitable Welfare Society, Kanta Saroop Krishan, founder-chairperson of the Blood Bank Society, Bonny Sodhi, vice-president of the Youth Technical Training Society, Surjit Kaur Sandhu, president of the Sector 35 Gurdwara, and Lieut-Col Uma Ratra (retd), secretary of the Child Welfare Council Punjab.

Mayor of the municipal corporation of Chandigarh Harjinder Kaur, who was the chief guest, lauded the efforts of the association in celebrating the women's day in a unique way.

P.H.Vaishnav, president of the association, called upon women to wage a war against social evils such as drug addiction and female foeticide.

A colourful cultural programme was also organised.

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Honey bees attack kids
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 10
At least 24 children and a few adults were attacked by honey bees in sector 48-C here last evening.
A number of children were playing in a park in the evening and adults and senior citizens were walking about in the area when the bees attacked them.

There was a beehive on a tree near the park and some children accidentally hit the beehive.

Bees also entered certain houses. People fled from the area.

Some of the persons bitten were taken to the GMCH, sector 32, while others went to local doctors.

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Rickshaw-puller found dead

Chandigarh, March 10
A 35-year-old rickshaw-puller was found dead at the Mauli complex here this morning. Ruling out the possibility of any foul play behind the death, the police said the man might have died due to excessive drinking.

The police said the victim had been identified as Rajesh Kumar. He hailed from Uttar Pradesh. The body was found in a lane near mosque in the complex. No visible injury marks were found on the body. The victim’s relatives have been informed about the death.— TNS

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Seminar for budding entrepreneurs 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 10
A unique concept of lending a helping hand to the budding entrepreneurs to move up the corporate ladder was brought to the city by the Chandigarh chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs in association with Band of Angels.

At an interactive session held at the CII, here, today the Band of Angels interacted with the budding entrepreneurs in the city. Talking to the mediapersons, Saurabh Srivastava, co-founder of Nasscom and the Band of Angels besides being the president of the Indian Venture Capital Association, said the new breed of Angel investors which comprised of successful entrepreneurs were looking for brilliant ideas to put in the seed money into fresh enterprises which need not necessarily be in the IT domain.

Delivering the keynote address in the session on "Entrepreneurship Challenge: Raising Capital", he said India today needed more and more entrepreneurs to create wealth and employment opportunities that could help combat any economic recession.

Advising entrepreneurs as to how to get ready for early stage funding, Dan Sandhu, CEO, Vertex India, said it was imperative for the entrepreneurs to be clear about their business plans before approaching the investors. He said Punjabis had great potential for starting new ventures successfully, especially with the growing opportunities in retail, manufacturing, media and entertainment sectors which the angel-investors are looking at.

Ajay Kapur, CEO, SIDBI Ventures, said key decisions rested on the proposed enterprises' understanding of the customer needs and how they were going to fulfil it. S.N. Zindal, director general of the STPI, said the STPI was facilitating Angel funding for the young enterprises being set up in various STPI promoted incubators put up across the country.

I.S. Paul, president, TiE, hoped that many new enterprises would get encouraged in the northern region with the joining of two local TiE members on Band of Angels.

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