C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

‘Mobile’ biker skids and dies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
Yet another youth wearing a non-ISI mark helmet and trying to take out his mobile phone from his pocket while driving a two-wheeler was killed in an accident today.

With this, the number of fatalities of two-wheelers on city roads this year has reached nine.

Amit Saini (31) was coming from the Sector 20-21 light point side at around 2.15 pm when his motorcycle skidded and rammed into the road berm.

He suffered severe head injury and was rushed to the Sector 16 hospital where he succumbed later. He was working on a contract basis as information assistant in the health department of Haryana. He is survived by his wife and parents. Yesterday only the couple had celebrated their marriage anniversary. According to eyewitnesses, Amit’s left hand was in his pocket when his bike lost balance.




2 corridors, light rail, no metro
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
The union urban development ministry has sent a recommendation on the proposed transport system in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula. Officials of the Chandigarh administration and Punjab and Haryana are studying the details.

The expert committee says the projected transit load and future development needs will require a light rail-based system (not underground or elevated) between two corridors.

The first corridor will be from Sarangpur near the PGI to Maheshpur near Sector 21 in Panchkula on the East-West axis. The second line will be from the Motor Market in Mani Majra to Mohali’s Sector 105, running via the IT Park, and running south along The Tribune.

The ministry says a detailed project report will have to be prepared.The preparation of the report will take nine months and will be monitored by a high-level steering committee.

The light rail is like a metro rail-the only difference is that it runs on the surface. The committee says the report of RITES submitted in November 2007 that suggested seven corridors across the tricity area was not accepted.

The committee has opined that it does not favour the mono rail option as suggested by RITES in August 2006. This, it says, has limited flexibility, limited capacity for a city-wide system and high cost.

This, it argues, will undermine the aesthetic beauty of Chandigarh, particularly its core areas such as Madhya Marg and Himalaya Marg.

Another suggestion is that a city bus service should be operated for the Chandigarh urban complex comprising Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali, preferably under common management. As of now, the buses are run inter-city, making it unattractive for use as public transport.

It may be mentioned that the committee had been harping on a bus system but UT Administrator Gen S.F. Rodrigues (Retd) had shot down the proposal, saying the city needed a rail-based system.

Sources said General Rodrigues even spoke to policy makers in Delhi on the subject.

Finally the committee, after showing reluctance, relented and allowed DPR of two corridors. Sources said the administration will impress upon the Delhi officials for more rail corridors.

The train run on surface will entail several road crossings. How the planners will mange this without flyovers at crossings is to be seen. 



Now on, nurseries will be part of ‘garden centre’
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
Henceforth, nurseries will form part of a “garden centre”. Under the “Licensing of Sites in Chandigarh Garden Centre, 2008”, the administration has come out with a new policy to enable displaced owners of nurseries and government agencies to run business under the new model.

The applicants will have to provide common parking, cafeteria, play facilities for children and related conveniences. All nurseries, either run by different wings of the Chandigarh administration or private persons, are being relocated.

In July last, structures of private nurseries were demolished along the Chandigarh-Panchkula highway in Mani Majra.

The department of urban planning has been asked to identify the sites at different locations. The displaced owners will be allotted alternative sites in proportion to the area acquired by the administration.

The allotment on a monthly licence fee will be through draw of lot.



Stone laid, food street in 3 months
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
The foundation stone for Night Food Street, on the lines of the Food Street in Lahore, was laid in Sector 14 near the PGI gate mayor by Pardeep Chhabra here today. A second food street was also announced by the mayor.

“The Food Street will come up in Sector 17 too,” he stated. Work on eight food kiosks will be completed in three months. Municipal commissioner R.K. Rao, area councillor Anu Chatrath, , chief engineer S.K. Bansal and other MC officers were also present. The mayor said the size of each food kiosks would be 7’- 6’’X 7’-6”.The total cost of construction would be 14.28 lakh.



Wife held for caretaker’s murder
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 21
The local police has claimed to have solved the murder case of a caretaker on the farmhouse, near here, with the arrest of the deceased’s wife.

Padam, a caretaker at a farmhouse belonging to a famous jeweller family of Chandigarh on the Aasrewali road, near Billa village, was murdered on January 14.

SP Sandip Khirwar said Padam’s wife had hatched the plan to eliminate him as she had an illicit relationship.

The police will produce the accused in the court tomorrow, said the SP.



Punjab, Haryana in grip of HIV: UNAIDS
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
In the wake of the recent upswing in the injecting drug use (IDU), the HIV infection is staring in the face of the most prosperous region in the country -- Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh -- a survey by the UNAIDS has claimed.

The report of the survey, “size estimation of injecting drug use in Punjab and Haryana”, which was released by Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Gen S.F. Rodrigues(retd) here today, painted a sorry state of affairs saying the IDU was no longer confined to the metros and are ringing alarms bells for the health authorities. The report was prepared by the Society for the Promotion of Youth and Masses (SPYM) and AIIMS for the UNAIDS.

In fact, a majority of the IDUs belonged to the age group of 18 to 30 years and were employed, the survey says. The users used pharmaceutical preparations mixed with a variety of sedatives, it added. About 50 to 90 per cent were frequent injectors and about 34 to 94 per cent reported having shared their injecting equipment, giving rise to the fear of HIV infection. It may be recalled that as per the 2006 surveillance data from the NACO, HIV infection among the IDUs was 13 per cent in Punjab and Chandigarh.

Virtually indicting the intervention strategy to check the IDU, the survey said very few respondents received any kind of treatment and no one reported having received any oral substitution treatment.

General Rodrigues termed the situation as alarming, requiring enormous effort, commitment and dedication at the level of NGOs and general public.

The time has come for all of us to work together and find appropriate result-oriented solutions, aiming to tackle the contributory factors identified in the survey, he added.

Dr Denis Broun, UNAIDS country coordinator, India, said creating greater awareness of the high-risk of HIV transmission associated with unsafe IDU practice could be an effective step to deal with the issue. It should be followed by well-designed interventions to contain the risk of HIV transmission, he added.

Dr B.M. Tripathi and Dr Atul Ambekar of AIIMS, New Delhi, who co-authored the survey, said the first-of-its-kind survey could be replicated all over the country to bridge the gap in information on the extent and scale of the IDU.

Dr Vanita Gupta, project director, AIDS Control Society, UT, Chandigarh, T.R. Sarangal, secretary, Health, and project director, AIDS Control Society, Punjab, Dr Zeenat, chairperson of the SPYM, also spoke at the occasion.



Consumer Courts
Banquet hall fined Rs 3.2 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed Nimantran Banquets in Mohali to pay a compensation of Rs 3.2 lakh to a Sector 38 resident for unfair trade practice.

The commission stated: “It is admitted by Nimantran Banquets that the marriage hall was booked for May 6, 2007, in the morning. The opposite party had indulged in unfair trade practice by getting the hall booked for a marriage function and did not make it available at the proper time. The petitioner had got cards printed and later had to get them changed, for which he had to pay extra.”

The petitioner, Hardass Singla, stated that he had to arrange a marriage party for his brother. He got the party arranged in the banquet hall along with the courtyard and dinner for 600 persons had been arranged for.

Singla said he had paid the money for the arrangements to the banquet hall owner. It was averred that on April 22, 2007, the complainant came to know that the banquet hall owner had already booked the hall for a marriage function for the morning of May 6.

He said it was not possible to make arrangements for stalls by the evening. He contacted the hall owner, but he did nothing. The petitioner had to book another banquet hall and got the cards printed again.

Counsel for the banquet hall owner contended that Singla had not taken service from them. Thus, the petitioner was not a consumer. He said the petitioner had been informed.



A day after demolition of sheds, lawyers livid
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 21
Reacting against demolition of their sheds by district administration officials yesterday, lawyers at the district courts here decided to go on an indefinite strike today.

Sixty members of Haryana District Legal Cell of Pradesh Congress Committee, including its president Umesh Kumar Mohar resigned from the cell while Panchkula Bar Association in a resolution decided to issue a show-cause notice to its honorary member Bhupinder Singh Hooda, saying that why his membership was not cancelled when lawyers were being victimised by officials in the government headed by him.

The district administration ordered demolition of 157 sheds belonging to lawyers at the local courts yesterday. Panchkula deputy commissioner Rajinder Kataria said he had acted upon the instructions of Punjab and Haryana High court. He said although lawyers were allotted 113 chambers, many of them were occupying sheds in the names of their juniors. Many others were not even practicing at the local courts, he added.

Today morning after assembling at the court premises lawyers decided to stage a dharna against the alleged high-handedness of the administration, while suspending work for an indefinite period. They also raised slogans against the district administration, in front of the DC office located in the adjoining building of mini-secretariat.

Denying any illegal occupation, president of bar association Lalit Kumar Gupta said lawyers were allotted 113 chambers while there were more than 400 advocates practicing in the court. A total of 236 advocates were affected due to the demolition, he said.

Vice-president of the Bar Association Subhash Sharma said they were allowed by the then deputy commissioner in 1999 to occupy the land for erecting sheds, when the courts were shifted to the present location in Sector 1 from the markets of Sector 8.

He added that the administration also failed to deposit the required amount against the land allotted for the chambers by HUDA, even as the allotment was made two years ago, he alleged.



Ghaggar bridge re-opened
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 21
The old Ghaggar bridge, near Nadda Sahib Gurdwara, was opened to traffic after repairs this morning.

The repair work was started last month.

The bridge has now been opened to vehicular traffic from both sides. So far, the bridge, across the Ghaggar, on the National Highway-73, had been partially open to traffic.

The route between Panchkula and Barwala had been a bane of commuters ever since the repair work began.

Long traffic jams had become commonplace on the highway even as the authorities allowed traffic headed to Barwala.

The traffic coming from Barwala was diverted to Sector 3 through Sector 23 before it joined the Zirakpur-Parwanoo highway.

The bridge was closed for repairs for the second time within the one year after two of its gap slabs and joint expansions were repaired in December.

National highway Xen B.R. Kapoor said with the repair of four gap slabs, the bridge would not require further repairs for a long time.



Reaching out to underprivileged kids
Admn plans to set up contact centres
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
The Chandigarh administration has designed a special programme to attract and motivate children between 6 and 14 years, who have been deprived of education under the nationwide universal elementary education (UEE) programme.

For, the administration has spotted two contact centres- one in Vikas Nagar, Mauli Jagran, and the other in Sector 52, Kajheri, to reach out to those ‘hard to reach’ children. These centres would be developed as motivational centres.

Secondly, a special night care centre will be set up at the ISBT, Sector 17, for out-of-school children of older age group from scattered locations. The administration is also planning to build up short-stay home-cum-night shelters at the ISBT for these hard-up children.

An official of the administration assured that since such children were very poor and earning for survival was their first priority. Therefore, they would not be asked to stop working in the beginning. “Gradually, efforts would be made to bring in a change in their lifestyle. Our motto would be to introduce them to the civilised world. For their livelihood, they would be trained in various skill-development activities and at the same time, initiative would be taken to rescue the children from their employers.

A senior official of the education department said, “The plan has specially been designed for these disadvantaged children and we are quite flexible in our approach. Any child of even older age group may drop in at these centres. We are in the process of engaging ‘special educators’ and a regular bridge course from six months to one year has been designed to put them into the mainstream of education plan. We would generate earning opportunities within the centres.”

“These children will be free to come to these centres anytime. They can play, enjoy and relax by listening to music, watching movies, playing indoor and outdoor games, trying their hand on computers, glancing through pictorial books,” added the official.

The administration foresees that once these become habitual of coming to these centres, they would gradually be put to take academics and learn the basics of mathematics and languages.

“Slowly their confidence level will improve and it is obvious that a confident child is more likely to aspire for a better life and get mainstreamed in schools. It is a good initiative,” said Madhu Behl, a child counsellor.

A senior official of the education department said special teams would be constituted to identify these underprivileged children. “It is a complex task to identify them as majority of them are homeless. They change their places of stay as their parents frequently shift their working places,” the official added.



Mother of two commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
A 28-year-old woman allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself from the ceiling fan of her room here today. No suicide note was found.

A resident of Sector 22, Anu, a mother of two: a nine-month- old boy and five-year-old daughter, was reportedly fed up with the harassment meted out to her by her husband, who did no work. She used to make both ends meet stitching clothes. At 3 pm today, Anu’s body was found hanging in her room by her mother-in-law.

Five-year-old Charu said she last saw her mother before leaving for school in the morning.

The police is investigating the case. 



‘Ensure’ timely delivery of LPG cylinders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
The city unit of the BJP has criticised the delay in the supply of LPG cylinders.

In a joint statement issued to the press today, Kamla Sharma, president of the city BJP, and general secretaries Sanjay Tandon and Ramvir Bhatti stated that residents were facing difficulty in the absence of cylinders.

They said the cylinders were not being provided even after two-three months and they were being driven from pillar to post. They said gas agencies did not book cylinders before 21 days and when consumers got it booked after 21 days, they did not get the supply for months.

The BJP leaders urged the administration to remove the blocks. They said it should be ensured that the cylinders are made available to consumers within two or three days. The time limit of 21 days should also be abolished, they added. 



Apartment Act does not apply on us: Forum
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 21
The housing societies here today contended with the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) officials that it is not mandatory for registration of immovable property under their possession according to the Haryana Co-operative Societies Act, 1984.

Pleading their case, the confederation of all group housing societies, Mansa Devi Complex, under the banner of Forum for Common Cause, said as the housing societies were already registered with the registrar, co-operative societies, they were exempted from compulsory registration under the Haryana Apartment Ownership Act, 1983. Moreover, the ownership rests with the society and the member was merely a shareholder, the forum contended.

HUDA chief administrator had accorded a personal hearing to the group in compliance with orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on December 10 on a petition filed by the Forum. The petition had sought directions to authorities concerned against notices issued to members of societies according to which they were asked to execute and register a declaration deed under the Haryana Apartment Ownership Act, 1983, of their flats. Even notification of Haryana Apartment Ownership Act 1983 was published on November 10, 1997, due to which the member of societies were asked to register them under the Act. Hence the notification could not be implemented on retrospective basis. 



GMADA greening venture hits ground
Now public participation in maintenance of parks being sought
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 21
Development and maintenance of parks, green belts and open spaces in the town has become a headache for Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA), as the Rs 4 crore ambitious plan drawn up in this regard has hit the ground. GMADA has now pinned its hopes on residents by proposing another plan that requires public 

Earlier, GMADA had planned to beautify and develop 558 parks, including green belts and open spaces in various sectors of the town. Four divisional engineers - two from the civil works branch and two from the public health wing of GMADA - were asked to supervise the work of developing these parks. Tenders for the work were floated by GMADA less than three months ago.

However, the scheme could make no headway as GMADA failed to get a response from contractual agencies due to professional differences between them. Some agencies even made complaints regarding a few tenders received for the work. Inquiries into these complaints are in progress.

Sources said GMADA has now planned to hand over work on these parks to residents’ welfare associations; to be handed over to the Municipal Council later.

The plan was discussed by GMADA officials with representatives of Citizens’ Welfare Federation and Mohali Development, and residents’ welfare association at a meeting held on December 12, 2007. Representatives were told that GMADA intended to transfer parks and green belts having an area of less than one acre to residents’ welfare associations for development and maintenance. GMADA would bear one-time development cost and also pay monthly maintenance charges as per established norms and estimates prepared by the authority.

It was also pointed out that if these parks and green belts are maintained by welfare associations, work would be done according to their satisfaction and a feeling of personal belongingness will be generated.

Further, it was suggested that a core group of each sector be set up, comprising a municipal councillor, representatives of welfare association and residents of houses adjoining the parks as members. Funds could be disbursed to this core group.

According to sources, the proposal of public participation has been approved by the executive committee of GMADA.

Meanwhile, welcoming the new plan, president of Citizens’ Welfare Federation B.S. Tej said the final decision regarding would be taken after holding a meeting with various units of the federation. Later, committees would be formed to undertake the work.

He said GMADA would have to give an undertaking and also make such type of development a permanent feature. Moreover, cooperation from GMADA officials would also be required to make the plan successful, he added.



Market meltdown
Local investors upbeat amid scare
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
In spite of the plunging stock market, it was buying time for local investors and traders. Along expected lines, investors were rather upbeat about the downfall in share prices and decided that this was the right time to buy.

The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) sensitive index today plunged sharply by 1,408.35 points or 7.41 per cent in the biggest-ever single-day fall to close at 17,605.35 on extended selling pressure across the sector, triggered by a global setback.

Nifty tumbled by 8.7 per cent, BSE mid-cap slid by 11.38 per cent and small-cap dipped by 10.27 per cent, registering a record single-day fall.

The day began on a negative note at 18,919.57 from last week’s close of 19,013.70, as the Sensex nosedived by 692 points on heavy profit booking.

It slightly recovered in the afternoon, but soon after the Sensex hit the day’s low at 16,951.50 shedding 2062.20 points, following weak performance in the Asian markets on worries over US economy heading towards recession.

In the past 10 days, the Sensex has plunged 3601.42 points or 16.98 per cent from a record high of 21,206.77 on January 10, 2008.

“It was a long-awaited correction, though unexpected. It is definitely time when one must go in for buying blue chips and hold on to their stocks,” says Arun Sharma, an employee in the private sector.

He says he will wait for another day before he takes the plunge in investing in Reliance Industries, IDBI and Bharti shares.

Supporting his views, V. Kumar, Director, Vikson Commodities/ Finance and Investments, says the time is ripe for new investors to enter the market.

“But one should not be in a hurry to buy shares and instead wait for further correction — which is inevitable,” he advised.

However, not all are happy with today’s fall in share prices. Vikas Ghai rues he has suffered losses on account of the downslide in Sensex. “People who are short-term investors should have sold while the prices were still at the top,” he said.



Vaccine for cervical cancer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
About one-fourth of the nearly five lakh cases of cervical cancer diagnosed in the world every year are reported from India.

This was stated by Dr Partha Basu, head of the department of gynaeoncology at Chitranjan Institute of Cancer in Kolkata, during a two-day workshop at a private hospital, which concluded here today.

A majority of cervical cancer cases were at an advanced stage when diagnosed, making the treatment outcome poor.

Regular screening and early detection could help to a large extent, he stated, adding that a vaccine had been developed for the prevention of cervical cancer which would be available in India soon.



Chaos on Dakshin Marg
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
Chaos was witnessed along Dakshin Marg as pipes were being laid on roads of Sector 30.

The police had put barricades to block the road and the traffic was diverted towards the parallel road.

The narrow single lane was converted into a double lane and commuters rued the inconvenience.



Obey traffic rules

Driving without helmet is becoming a fashion among youngsters these days. They are not concerned about their safety and ignore the traffic rules quite often. One can easily find the instances of jumping red light, wrong side entry and driving without helmet, especially during the wee hours.

Nothing is precious than life, but youngsters are putting it at stake for fun. Besides penalty, the administration should come up with some strict measures to curb traffic violations.

Kamal Batra, Chandigarh

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030



Archana Shastri is arts college principal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
Archana Shastri, a professor with the fashion communication department at the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Delhi, has been appointed principal of Government College of Arts, Sector 10, with immediate effect.

She has been appointed for a period of two years on deputation or till the post is filled on regular basis through the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), New Delhi.

Confirming this, Vivek Atray, director, public relations, Chandigarh administration, and also one of the members of the administration’s selection panel, said, “We were in search of a suitable candidate who could fulfill the norms set by the UPSC. After scrutinising all applications, the selection panel decided to hand over the charge to Archana Shastri.”

“The orders have been dispatched to her to take the charge from Brahm Prakash, who, at present, is officiating the principal's post,” added Atray. Archana, a gold medallist in bachelors of fine arts (painting) from MS University, Baroda, is a professional and practising artist. She has over 19 years of experience in teaching, research and curriculum development as liberal art faculty of the NIIFT to her credit. She also holds administrative experience having served as faculty chairperson for two terms at the NIFT.



PU Notes
Entrance test for MD/MS on January 29
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
Panjab University will hold an entrance test for admission to MD/MS courses at Government Medical College and Hospital on January 29. The admit cards to the candidates have already been dispatched. However, students who do not receive their admit cards may get the duplicate ones from the CET Cell, Aruna Ranjit Chandra Hall (near post office), on January 28.


Staff members of the university assembled to mourn the untimely demise of Jai Devi Sood, deputy registrar, RRC, on January 20, after a brief illness.


The general body meeting of the Indian Institute of Public Administration (regional branch for Punjab and Chandigarh) was held at the department of public administration today. The general house unanimously elected B.S. Ojha as chairman, D.V. Bhatia as vice-chairman, Prof B.S. Ghuman as honorary secretary and Prof B.B. Goel as honorary treasurer. The status of finances of the regional branch was also discussed. It was resolved that a special drive to mobilise resources might be undertaken by the branch. The house constituted a resource mobilisation committee under the chairmanship of Prof S.L. Goel.


Panjab University has declared the results of BE (computer science and engineering) second, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth semesters.

Blood donation

PUSU, in association with the AIHSA (All-India Himachal Students’ Association), organised a blood donation camp today at Students’ Centre in the memory of Major Somnath Sharma. Gurpreet Singh Gapi, district president, youth congress, Chandigarh, inaugurated the camp. At least 88 persons donated blood. 



Shuttle service for PU girl boarders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
After a section of media reported the demand of hostel students to have more security for hostel residents and buses for girl residents, the vice-chancellor convened a meeting of a committee, constituted to look into starting bus service for hostellers, on Sunday. The meeting was attended by dean students welfare, chief security officer Prof D.N. Jauhar and Sunny, secretary, PU students’ council.

After deliberating on various issues relating to security on the campus and the need for revamping the security system, it was decided to start a shuttle bus service for girl students from January 21 between university library and girls’ hostels from 6 pm to 9 pm at an interval of 45 minutes.

In addition, it was also decided to put extra lights at strategic points, set up roadblocks at sensitive points and revamp the security system for which a proposal would soon be submitted by the chief security officer.



Expert highlights inequities in IPR regime
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
Dr Daljit Singh, professor in the department of chemical engineering and technology, and dean, faculty of engineering and technology, PU, proposed a new model for the IPR while addressing a workshop of chemical engineering teachers from the region. The seminar was organised at the National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research (NITTTR), Chandigarh. Dr Singh was delivering his address on “IPRs: Some issues related to chemical and allied industries”.

Daljit Singh, in his power-point presentation, focused on some inequities of the present IPR regime and emphasised that in its present form, the world of IPR and commercialisation of scientific success was largely one-sided and western-dominated and the major beneficiaries were the large corporations with financial, legal and technical clout.



PU holds workshop on organic farming
Tribune News Service

Gurpreet Singh addresses a two-day workshop on organic farming at Panjab University, Chandigarh, on Monday.
Gurpreet Singh addresses a two-day workshop on organic farming at Panjab University, Chandigarh, on Monday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, January 21
Agriculture in Punjab is going through a deep crisis nowadays. If we look at the agricultural scenario in the state, there are four main concerns associated with the agriculture- economical, environmental, health and social. “In order to provide food security to the country, we have ruined our natural resources,” said Surinder Singh, director of Nabha-based Kheti Virasat while speaking at the two-day state-level workshop, organised jointly by the Kheti Virasat and Nabha Foundation, on “Organic Farming: Transition to Organic Agriculture, Challenges and Prospects” at Panjab University, today.

The workshop aims at bringing key stakeholders on a common platform to review the impacts of the contemporary agriculture practices, status of organic farming and to identify the barriers for promoting the best practices in organic farming.

Speaking on the occasion, K. Ashok Rao, an executive member of the All-India People Science Network, while discussing the impact of the WTO on Indian agriculture, said an important mechanism for protection of domestic agriculture was ‘qualitative restrictions’. “This means the nation has the right to disapprove imports if it hurt their farmers,” he said.

He further added that subsidies are major problems. In countries like India, the World Bank and World Bank-trained economists never tire of expressing concern about non-merit subsidies. “For example, in India the subsidy given on fertilisers and electricity is considered a disaster for the nation. But the same World Bank does not expresses its concern when the United States brings in a Farm Bill that increases the already high subsidies,” he asserted.

His views were seconded by Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, chairman, Punjab Mandi Board, and admitted that implications of the WTO would affect small and marginal farmers, as the former would leave them landless.

Voicing his concern, Surinder Singh said more than 109 blocks are overexploited for water and the soil has very low level of organic matter at present. He said our farmers are under about Rs 27,000 crore of agriculture debt and each farmer was having a debt to the tune of Rs 2 lakh. “More than 13,000 farmers have committed suicides in Punjab. According to the State Farmers Commission, this figure consists of about 2 lakh marginal farmers. The main reason is that input cost has been increased in the past 5-10 years and returns are not enough,” he maintained.

Chander Parkash, joint director of Kheti Virasat, added Kheti Virasat has successfully established organic farming model in Punjab with financial assistance from the Nabha Foundation. More than 150 farmers from different areas of Punjab participated in the workshop.



Doctor, wife convicted in abortion case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
Dr Ajit Grover, owner of Lovely Nursing Home in Burail, and his wife Kamlesh Kaur have been convicted by additional district and sessions judge, Raj Shekhar Attri for allegedly carrying out abortion without the consent of the patient.

The quantum of the sentence will be pronounced on January 25.

Dr Ajit Singh Grover and his wife, trained midwife Kamlesh Kaur, were booked in April 2006, on the complaint of one Surinder Singh. The complainant alleged the two carried out abortion on his pregnant wife, Bimlesh, without consent.

As per the prosecution, Surinder’s wife complained of pain in the stomach and was taken to Lovely Nursing Home. The doctor told her she was pregnant and advised her a few tests. Surinder was asked to wait outside while his wife was taken in for treatment, but was operated upon.

The condition of the patient deteriorated during the surgery. Thereafter, the doctor referred her to the General Hospital, Sector 16, where the doctors sent her to the PGI.

The police had booked the accused under Sections 313, 308, 201 and 34 of the IPC and Section 5 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act. Dr Grover and Kamlesh are facing trial in a case registered in March 2003 after the death of a woman allegedly due to negligence by them.



German national deposes in court after 9 years
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
The German national who had accused former RBI deputy manager Suresh Kumar Sharma of molesting her returned to India after nine years to give evidence against him.

She entered in the courtroom with her friend Harbet, who was with her on the day the incident occurred, and had her statement recorded.

On August 11, 1999, the German national had accused Sharma of using lewd language when she visited the RBI in Sector 17 for foreign exchange.

She said the deputy manager followed her till her hotel room. A trial was pending with the investigating agency failing to help the victim appear before the court to depose against the accused.



Former chief engineer, wife get bail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
A local court today granted bail to a former chief engineer of the PWD (B&R), Punjab, and his wife after they compromised with the complainant. The couple was arrested yesterday by the economics offences wing for allegedly cheating the complainant, S.K. Vohra.

The couple had issued a cheque for Rs 30 lakh in favour of Vohra.

As per law, the complainant and respondent can compromise with the consent of the court if a case under Section 420 of the IPC has been registered as it is a compoundable offence.

Vohra said, “This man troubled me for over two years by not returning the money. I met him several times in this regard but nothing was done.” The accused, Gurmail Bhatwa, and his wife Sneh Lata furnished bail bonds of Rs 25,000 each.

Counsel for the complainant said, “In the court the complainant has stated that he has taken the cheque towards the full and final payment and compromise, subject to the encashment of the cheque.”

The counsel for the complainant denied placing any compromise deed on record in the court.

Vohra had complained to the SSP that the accused had sold the second floor of a shop-cum-office in Sector 20 to him. He stated that the couple told him that they were facing some financial problems due to which they were ready to sell the second floor at a lesser price.

The accused made a sale agreement for Rs 48 lakh.

When the possession of the building was not transferred in his name despite the payment of earnest money of Rs 23 lakh, Vohra discovered that the property had been declared resumed by the estate office for building violations and a case was pending in the high court. Vohra demanded his money back, but the couple refused. 



Custodial Death
HC issues notice of motion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
Taking up a petition for direction to add the Section of murder to a custodial death case in Panchkula, Justice Rajesh Bindal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion for March 18.

The petition has been filed against the state of Haryana, Panchkula SSP and others by Shinder, widow of Jogi Ram.

She also demanded the arrest of SHO Hari Pal and Hari Pal Walia and Ravinder Kumar for the “murder” of her husband.

Directions for handing over the investigation to the CBI were also sought, along with compensation on account of the custodial death.

Claiming that the accused police personnel were influential, the petitioner said the respondents had picked up her husband on December 8 and framed him in some false cases.

She also alleged that one of the officials demanded Rs 30,000 to release her husband. Being poor, she could only pay Rs 5,000. However, the accused did not release her husband and demanded the remaining money.

On December 17, she was called by the Panchkula DSP and told that her husband had died.

Though an FIR was registered, a case of murder under Section 302 was avoided, the petitioner added.



Assault on tenant: 3 convicted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
Additional district and sessions judge S.K. Aggarwal today sentenced three for assaulting their landlord. The accused were released on probation for two years by the court. According to the complaint, Prithvi Singh Chauhan, Surinder Pal and Satwanti were staying on rent in Mani Majra. The complainant, Vikas Gandhi, alleged that the accused entered the his house on September 1999 and assaulted him. The accused had been staying as tenants since 1995.

The complainant and respondents had strained relations. The accused have been convicted under Section 323 read with 34 of the IPC.



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