C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


IT Park Land Acquisition
HC stays dispossession of residents
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
Taking up an application filed by Shastri Nagar residents against their dislocation following the UT administration’s move to acquire additional land for Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has stayed their dispossession.

The direction, issued by Justice M.M. Kumar and Justice Sabina, comes as a relief to over 200 families apprehending dislocation due to the land acquisition process.

The applicants had earlier sought directions to the UT administration and others to rehabilitate them before going ahead with the plans to expand the IT park.

Counsel for the petitioners had said resettlement of residents was binding on the authorities in view of the National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy of 2007.

The occupants belonged to the economically weaker strata of society and had purchased 5-6 marla houses with their savings.

The residents have since long been agitating against the acquisition of land. Pawan Kumar Bansal, MP, has extended support to the residents and has asked the administration to put on hold the acquisition of land in Shastri Nagar (Mani Majra) for the park. At least 272 acres are being acquired by the administration for Phase III of the technology park. Recently, the administration had turned down the request by landowners of Kishangarh village to exempt their land from acquisition.

Arguing that the administration should utilise the land already with it, instead of acquiring agricultural land, the minister, in a letter to the administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), had said the acquisition of Shastri Nagar area had left 5,000 residents in distress.

“Acquiring land which uproots hundreds cannot serve any public purpose. Allotment of land to private builders for deriving commercial benefit can’t be termed as a public purpose,” he had added.



Burning of dry leaves goes unchecked
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service


Mayor Pardeep Chhabra said the MC had bought three machines for removing garbage and dry leaves at a cost of about Rs 3 crore. More machines would be purchased to tackle the problem

Chandigarh, April 14
The MC has failed to ensure proper disposal of dry leaves, and this is causing environment concerns. Heaps of dry leaves can be seen being burnt openly or left to rot across the city.

A random survey by the Tribune team revealed that in southern sectors traces of burnt dry leaves are a common sight.

Sources in the MC admitted that compressor machines were more frequently used in northern sectors.

Traces of burnt garbage, bushes, shrubs and dry leaves can be seen along the road dividing Sectors 33 and 34. Garbage was burnt at small intervals along the road.

Similar is the condition of roads in other parts of the city. Leaves scattered in parking areas could cause a fire if vehicles equipped with catalytic converters are parked on dry leaves.

“In some areas, it has been weeks since the MC team was last seen gathering dry leaves. The burning of leaves is a health hazard, but the authorities don’t seem to be interested in taking action against offenders,” Balraj Singh of Sector 33 said.

The indiscriminate burning of dry leaves and other waste results in increased levels of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide in the air, causing respiratory problems, especially among children and the elderly.

Those suffering from allergies were forced to remain indoors when the leaves were burnt, another resident said.

Reshan Chand Jakhu, chairman of the sanitation committee, said some piles of dry leaves had been noticed in some areas and teams had been put on the job to remove them.

Citing the shortage of manpower and equipment as reason for the accumulation of leaves, he said the city would be cleaned in two-three days and special teams had been constituted for the purpose.

Dr G.C. Bansal, medical officer, said at present there was no permanent solution for the disposal of dry leaves. The leaves were being dumped at Dhanas along with other waste.

He, however, said a project to make refuse-derived fuel from leaves was under way and the project would be started in a month or so.

Asked about making manure from dry leaves, he said the project was not feasible as people did not buy compost, saying that manure made from waste was worthless.

Mayor Pardeep Chhabra said the MC had bought three machines for removing garbage and dry leaves at a cost of about Rs 3 crore. He said more machines would be purchased during the current financial year.



On Day 1 of fire safety week, office gutted
Tribune News Service

Fire officials inspect the office of a software company in Sector 34, Chandigarh
Fire officials inspect the office of a software company in Sector 34, Chandigarh, on Monday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, April 14
The office of a private software company in Sector 34 here was reduced to ashes after a fire broke out in a portion of the building this morning.

The fire department said no one was injured and the loss was yet to be ascertained as the owner of the company was out of station.

The fire broke out in the server room of the company, Live Wire Telecom, located on the fourth floor of the building. Electronic equipment and furniture was completely burnt.

Fortunately, the fire did not spread to other offices. Panic spread in the building and power was disconnected, making it difficult for people to rush out.

The MC had launched a fire safety week at the Sector 17 fire station when the fire was reported. Officials along with mayor Pardeep Chhabra, M.P.S. Chawla, chairman of fire and emergency services, and councillor Harjinder Kaur reached the spot and inspected the rescue operation.

A watchman of the building had noticed the fire first and raised the alarm.

According to S.K. Gosain, station fire officer, two fire engines from Sector 17 and 38 fire stations were rushed to the spot. The fire was contained within half hour. He said the fire was probably caused due to a short-circuit.

A fire officer said fire-fighting equipment in the building was functional, but people had not been trained to use it.



Fire safety week kicked off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
The Chandigarh municipal corporation launched a fire safety week today. During the week, the department will organise awareness programmes on fire safety measures and give presentation to sensitise public about the fire safety norms.

The week is being launched to commemorate the martyrdom of 44 fire-fighters who had lost their lives during a rescue operation on this day in 1944 at Bombay Stockyard.

Mayor Pardeep Chhabra unfurled the flag and paid homage to the martyrs at the memorial raised at headquarter, fire station, Sector 17, and laid wreaths.

Fire and emergency services chairman M.P.S. Chawla was also present.

During the week, drills would be carried out in densely populated building besides organising awareness camps in school and slums and other areas of the city to educate the people about fire safety.

Chawla said raids would be conducted in government and private building and fine would be slapped on those found violating the fire safety norms.

A fire officer said need to educate people on the use of fire extinguishers was being felt as in most cases it was found that people just did not know how to operate the equipment.



Fire Service Day
Fire engines used to create awareness
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 14
Vehicles of the local fire brigade were taken around the town to create awareness regarding fire safety measures among residents on the occasion of Fire Service Day, which was observed here today.

Two fire engines, one mini tender and a water bouser moved on the outer road of the town and reached Phase XI. Banners were tied on the vehicles on which slogans were written. A loudspeaker was also used at a number of places to tell people how they could save themselves from fire-related mishaps. Officials urged residents to tell their children about precautions that are to be taken to avoid incidents of fire.

From Phase XI the vehicles moved on the inner roads of the town and after passing through various areas including Phases VII, II, I, Mohali village, reached the fire station. Lakhwinder Singh, assistant divisional fire officer, said the Fire Service Day was observed in such a manner for the first time in the town. He said that on this day in 1944, a ship carrying ammunition had caught fire near Mumbai.



Machine repaired for Rs 3.4 lakh only to be dumped
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
The UT engineering department has spent Rs 3.40 lakh on the repair of a mini-loader that was never repaired. Instead, the machine was left to rust at the Sector 26 workshop of the department.

Among the fleet of “redundant” vehicles at the workshop, is the machine called ‘bob-cat’ that has been there for the past over five years.

In 2005, officials called tenders to get it repaired. After showing that it had been repaired at a workshop in Mani Majra, the machine was brought to the workshop.

Sources said during the tenure of a former chief engineer, K.K. Jerath, the bob-cat was purchased from a US-based company at a cost of Rs 16 lakh for cutting congress grass and lifting malba. It is a type of mini JCB machine.

After running it for a certain number of hours, its engine has to be changed. Information sought under the RTI has revealed that apart from the expenditure on fuel, Rs 3.40 lakh was spent on its repair. But after that, the machine was never used. “It has been dumped at the workshop as it is not road-worthy,” sources said.



Boost To Air Connectivity
City gets second direct flight to Mumbai
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
Air travellers of the northern region in general, Chandigarh and its peripheral areas in particular could not have asked for a better Baisakhi gift than a second direct flight to Mumbai, the business capital of the country.

Kingfisher, the country’s first and only five-star airline, has met the long standing demand of the business, trade and industry of the region with a breakfast flight to Mumbai on all seven days of the week. Till now only Jet Airways operated an early afternoon direct flight to Mumbai from the city.

The national flag carrier, Air India, operates a hopping flight between Chandigarh and Mumbai with a stopover at the union capital.

Timing of the new flight coincides with the launch of the much-publicised Indian Premier League of the BCCI. Mohali will be the venue for eight IPL games at the PCA stadium.

Chandigarh airport, which is under renovation and up gradation, also hopes to get onto the international air map later this year with flights to Far East, Middle East and a few other destinations. As of now, seven flights operate out of the city everyday.

Businessmen, traders and industrialists of Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh, besides those of the Union Territory itself use the Chandigarh airport.

Kingfisher has been the latest airline to enter into Chandigarh skies in a big way. Besides, the Chandigarh-Mumbai-Chandigarh flight, it has also started a morning flight from Delhi to Chandigarh with a return flight in the evening. The evening Chandigarh-Delhi flight basically goes to Kolkata.

MDLR Airlines also operates a Chandigarh-Delhi-Ranchi-Kolkata flight on five days a week. Jetlite, a subsidiary of the Jet Airways, also operates out of Chandigarh and provide direct connectivity to many other cities from Delhi.

Air Deccan, which was taken over by Kingfisher some time ago, has, however, ceased its Chandigarh operations. Now Air India, Jet Airways, Jetlite, MDLR and Kingfisher operate out of the city airport. Another private air carrier, Jagsons, also uses Chandigarh as a transit point for its Delhi-Kulu service.

The administrator of Chandigarh, Gen S.F. Rodriguez, who was at the airport to inaugurate the Chandigarh-Mumbai flight, said that efforts made since 2005 had started bearing fruit. Chandigarh airport, he said, catered to a population of 60 million people of the region. Efforts were on to convert it into an international hub as soon as possible.

Airport director Sunil Dutt said work on the construction of the new terminal building was being undertaken on war footing and might be completed ahead of schedule.

Sources point out that because of the growing pressure from the Punjab Government and the Chandigarh Administration, both customs and immigration departments have initiated work to commission their services at the new terminal building thus facilitating international air travel from here.



Hisar hottest as mercury soars in region

Chandigarh, April 14
As wheat harvesting picks up momentum in Punjab and Haryana, the temperatures in the region have begun to soar leading to tripping of power supply in several cities and towns of the two state.

Hisar in Haryana was the hottest place in the northwest with maximum temperatures touching 40 °C today.

This was three to four degrees above normal.

Elsewhere in the region the day temperatures remained two to three degrees above normal. Even the night temperatures were two to four degrees above normal at most places in the region.

In Punjab, Patiala turned out to be the warmest place at 38.4 °C, four degrees above normal. The industrial town of Ludhiana recorded a maximum of 35 °C, while Amritsar was normal at 33 °C.

Chandigarh was fairly warm at 37.4 °C, three degrees above normal.

In the hill state of Himachal Pradesh, the day and night temperatures have also begun to soar. Shimla was fairly warm at 22.6 degrees, four degrees above normal.

The met office has predicted light showers accompanied by high speed winds at isolated places in Punjab and Haryana. — PTI



Hooda announces Rs 21 lakh grant
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 14
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today said around 11,000 sweepers were being recruited in the state and will be deputed in the villages, while a package of Rs 280 crore was being implemented so that children from Scheduled Caste families could get education.

The CM, who was attending the foundation laying ceremony of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Bhawan in Sector 12-A on the 117th birth anniversary of the Dr Ambedkar, said the government has started numerous schemes to uplift the downtrodden. To create jobs for the unemployed from lower strata of society the government has decided to enrol 11,000 sweepers, out of which 6,000 have already been employed, he said. In addition, meritorious students of class 10+1 and 10+2 from Scheduled Caste families were being disbursed scholarships of Rs 1,000 every month.

Hooda also announced a grant of Rs 21 lakh for the construction of the bhawan from his discretionary quota.

The local Member of Parliament and Union minister of state for poverty alleviation Kumari Selja also announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for the purpose.

Others who were present on the occasion included Haryana Congress party president Phool Chand Mullana, former minister K.R. Punia, District Congress party president Om Parkash Devinagar and Congress party president of woman wing from Panchkula, Santosh Sharma.



Kidnapping Case
INLD workers demand action against guilty
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 14
Hundreds of Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) supporters staged a demonstration in front of the house of Panchkula deputy commissioner, here today.

The group demanded action against the accused in the alleged kidnapping of Gautam Prasad, a municipal councillor of the party.

The INLD, in a conference held on Saturday, alleged that the local Congress leader Naresh Rawal, along with president of Ration Depot Holders Association, Panchkula, Om Parkash kidnapped Gautam so that he could not vote in favour of the party at the time of election of president of newly elected municipal council.

A complaint was also lodged with the police by Gautam’s wife.

INLD supporters, led by former Haryana finance minister Sampat Singh, reached the residence of deputy commissioner Rajinder Kataria and handed over a memorandum addressed to the Governor of Haryana, demanding action against the accused. Panchkula SDM Virender Dahiya received the memorandum in the absence of the deputy commissioner.

The Panchkula BJP also demanded action against the accused in the case.

In a letter written to the DC, BJP councillor V.K. Sood, B.B. Singhal and Lakshmmi Devi while terming it the criminalisation of politics urged the state adminstration to take stern action against allthe accused in the case.



Wildlife dept seeks info from research institutions
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
In order to regulate animal dissection in the city, the forest and wildlife department has sought information from research and educational institutions to explain whether they have taken permission in this regard. The information has been sought under Section 12 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

Talking to The Tribune today, Mumbai-based PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) senior vivisection campaign coordinator Dharmesh Solanki said the administration was not serious about monitoring animal dissections in the laboratories. He said the administration acted only after the group lodged a complaint with the wildlife department.

“Under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, we came to know that Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, is annually using 450 rana tigrina, a frog species, in laboratory experiments.

“PETA had to take the help of the RTI Act because the department concerned never replied to our queries,” he said.

“We believe that it’s high time to shift towards virtual reality experimentation to learn the animal anatomy rather than mercilessly killing the speechless creatures,” he said.

PETA has also requested the University Grants Commission (UGC) to check the dissection of animals in university and college laboratories. It has called for an end to all medical and pharmacological animal experiments, which are cruel.

A directive issued by the UGC on November 27, 2006, asks all universities to ensure strict adherence to the provisions of the Wildlife Act while procuring plants and animals for experiments.

“In case your university/college has procured any plant or animal protected under the Act, it may be surrendered to the environment and forest department and no fresh purchase of preserved animal specimens and endangered plant species be made,” says the UGC directive.

Even the ministry of social justice and empowerment has issued guidelines to reduce animal use in laboratory courses in graduate and postgraduate courses.

Chief wildlife warden, UT, Ishwar Singh, said the administration was regularly monitoring the laboratories. He said more information had been sought from educational and research institutions to regulate animal dissection. So far, only homoeopathic college in Sector 26 had provided information.

The Tribune has in its possession a copy of the show-cause notice issued to GMCH and Panjab University by the wildlife warden on March 25.

R.S. Verma, additional director (administration), GMCH, said the hospital had received the notice.

“The wildlife department was not right in issuing a notice because we are working as per the guidelines of the Medical Council of India,” he added.



Fauji Beat
Will disgruntled officers deliver?

So disgusted are the middle-rung officers with the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission that their number for premature retirement is swelling by the day. The pay panel has completely failed to relate their pay and allowances to their peculiar service conditions. No doubt, the Army cannot and will not allow 60 per cent (going by a rough estimate) of its officers to quit service. But then, will the disgruntled officers deliver? This is a big question and needs to be tackled on a war footing.

Yet another blow dealt to the officer cadre by the pay panel is to pull them down in the warrant of precedence “indirectly and unannouncedly” by fixing for them the same salary as the IAS and IPS officers in the junior-rung of precedence will draw.

If the Army is to be kept going as a fighting force, the government should wake up to the alarm bells being sounded aloud by the exodus of officers. No high-level committees comprising bureaucrats alone can gauge the seriousness of this problem. Senior officers from the services must be included in these committees, if the problem is to be tackled head-on.

Veterans’ polyclinic

When Dr (Brig) M.L. Kataria (retd) apprised the then Western Army Commander Lieut-Gen S. Mehta of his proposal to establish a polyclinic for the ex-servicemen and their families at Mohali in 2002, the latter not only gave accommodation for it in the Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre but also assured him of all help, including supply of medicines from the Command Hospital.

Thus was started the Defence Veterans’ Polyclinic (DVP) at Mohali. The DVP was inaugurated on December 11, 2002, by the then Governor of Punjab, Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (retd), who sanctioned a grant of Rs 2 lakh for it.

This polyclinic is the only one of its kind in India as it is managed by the ex-servicemen for the ex-servicemen with full range of medical equipment. But the axe of the Army Headquarters Adjutant General’s Branch fell on this also like the Sector 21 (Chandigarh) MI Room for closing it down on March 31.

Mercifully, Brig Kataria has been able to save it by explaining its role to the Western Army Commander Lieut-Gen T.K. Sapru, who has agreed that the Command Hospital will continue to supply medicines to it. As for funds, two NGOs i.e. B.C.S. Katarias’ Foundation and Health Care India have come to render financial assistance to it.

CDS, a dead issue

After the Kargil war, the institution of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) became a reality for India. It was in 2001 that the Group of Ministers (GoM) had recommended that the armed forces should have a CDS.

In its inherent policy, that has travelled down from Nehru’s time, to “keep the Army down”, the politico-bureaucratic click first generated an inter-services controversy to stall this issue and then decided to consult other political parties.

The process of consultation, started in 2006, was meant to give a burial to this issue.

It resulted in only five parties replying to the Defence Minister’s letter. The other parties did nor respond to the reminders sent to them. So India has to wait for the next war to pull out the CDS issue from its grave.

— Pritam Bhullar



Hacked e-mail ids a cause of concern
Arun Sharma
Tribune news Service

Panchkula, April 14
O.N. Bhargava, a former director of Geological Survey of India, was in for a rude shock when six of his friends called him and offered to ‘bail him out of his economic crisis’.

They had received mails from his personal e-mail id asking for help as he had lost his passport and money during a tour to Nigeria! However, it was only after the calls that Bhargava realized that someone had hacked his email id.

Bhargava, who is a member of the governing body of Oil and Natural Gas Commission, has lodged a police complaint regarding the incident.

But this is not an isolated incident. Many others in the region have also received similar mails from the ids of their friends. Rohit, an advocate, said he received a mail in the name of his friend at Chicago in the same manner. A hacker was also arrested by the local police after he managed to withdraw more than Rs 35 lakh from nationalized banks in the region.

SP Sandip Khirwar said police have started investigations and it seems that the miscreants are operating from abroad.



Connecting corporates with social bodies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
“Connexions”, a voluntary body, was launched with the objective of connecting corporates with social organisations and individuals by a public relations agency here today.

“We interact with a large number of corporates who are increasingly becoming concerned with fulfilling their social responsibility and are interested in being of assistance to projects or programmes that fit in with their social objectives. At the same time, there are a large number of social welfare organisations as well as individuals who have such programmes and do not know how to reach out to the corporates. We intend to be of assistance to them by helping them connect with each other. The overall beneficiary will be the community,” Shanti Bhanot of Shaan PR said.

“We will also not be involved in any financial transaction, which will be directly between the corporate and the social organisation or concerned individual. Our role will be limited to helping the social organisation make an appropriate presentation to a corporate and after that the final agreement on the cause to be supported will be done by both parties directly,” she said.

To register themselves with “Connexions”, a social organisation/individual/company can send an email to connexions08@gmail.com for free registration.



Ram Navami celebrated with fervour
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
Religious fervour and gaiety marked Ram Navami celebrations here today.

Thousands of devotees thronged temples to pay their obeisance. At Shirdi Sai Temple, Sector 29, the celebrations started around 5 pm with “kakad aarti” followed by “mangal snan”.

Sai Baba was offered bath with honey, curd and milk, and offered 56 types of meals by devotees. A “bhajan sandhya” by a troupe from Delhi was another highlight of the programme.

Also, a seminar on “ideal personality of Lord Rama and Bharata” was organised as part of the 38th annual conference organised by Chandigarh chapter of the Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya in Sector 20-B here. Lieut-Gen B.K.N. Chhibber, former Governor of Punjab and UT Administrator, was prominent among those present on the occasion. Earlier, the disciples of Gaudiya Math organised a two-hour kirtan programme in the glory of Lord Rama.

Sankirtana was led by Srila Acharya Maharaj from Chakdah (Bengal), followed by Sri Deenbandhu Prabhu from Kolkata (Bengal). As president Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj appeared on the same day, the devotees arranged for “Vyas puja” followed by glorification of sadguru.



Baisakhi celebrated at Nada Sahib
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 14
Traditional fervour and gaiety marked Baisakhi celebrations at the historic Nada Sahib gurdwara, near here today.

The day began with Baisakhi shabad and bhog and akhand path were held as usual. Ragis and dhadis from all over the region participated in the kirtan.

The manager of the gurdwara Bhupinder Pal Singh said more than one lakh devotees paid obeisance at the Nada Sahib gurdwara on the occasion.

Visits by devotees began as early as 4 a.m. After that a steady stream of people continued till about 11:30 a.m.

Later in the evening, devotees thronged the Nada Sahib gurdwara in huge numbers and paid their obeisance.



BSP activists pay homage to Ambedkar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
Hundreds of the BSP activists gathered at the circus ground in Sector 17 to pay homage to Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar on his 117th birthday anniversary today.

Addressing the workers, convener of the local unit of the BSP Harmohan Dhawan urged workers to work relentlessly towards realising Dr Ambedkar’s dream of a casteless and classless society.

Later, the workers led by Dhawan took out a scooter rally against price rise.

The protesters raised anti-Congress slogans as the party had failed to arrest the spiralling prices.

The rally passed through Sectors 18, 19, 27, 28, 29, 30, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46 and culminated at Sector 47.

Local unit president M.C. Suman, and councillors Jatinder Bhatia, Ram Sumer Morya, Sarita Sharma and Raj Kumari Sharma also addressed the gathering.

Also, Dr Ambedkar Study Circle, Chandigarh, organised a function to mark the 117th birth anniversary of Dr B.R. Ambedkar at Ambedkar Bhawan in Sector 37 here today.

City mayor Pradeep Chabbra was the chief guest on the occasion. He announced Rs 5 lakh for the beautification of the bhawan. Students of Dr Ambedkar Computer Education Centre presented a cultural programme. Later, prizes were distributed among students.



Kajheri residents protest against police inaction
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
Residents of a colony in Kajheri, protesting against the indifferent attitude of the police over a complaint lodged by a woman of the colony, staged a demonstration outside the police post in Sector 61 here this evening.

Amrash, a resident of Kajheri village, alleged that a group of youths had gone to the woman’s house four days ago and threatened to kill her.

The youths had some old enmity with the complainant, it was learnt.

Though the police was informed about the incident, it had so far done nothing in this regard, alleged the complainant.

However, police post in-charge Diwan Singh denied the allegations.

A large number of colony residents gathered at the police post and demanded installation of a PCR vehicle in the colony, which the police did later in the evening.



Sec 33 D residents want apni mandi shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
The shifting of apni mandi to Sector 33 D a few weeks ago is giving sleepless nights to residents of the area. Every Sunday, the area turns into a dumping ground of leftover vegetables, which attract stray cattle. Instead of removing the garbage, sanitation workers burn it thereby polluting the area. Due to haphazard parking of vehicles by customers visiting the market, local residents are forced to stay indoor. Misbehaviour by customers with residents over haphazard parking is commonplace.

In the absence of a public toilet, farmers as also customers ease themselves along the boundary wall of houses. The residents have written a letter to Mayor Pradeep Chhabra seeking shifting of the site of apni mandi to the open commercial area in Sector 34.



‘Vyas puja’ of ISKCON founder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
The local chapter of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) organised “Vyas puja” of its founder spiritual Master A.C. Bhaktivedant Swami Sril Prabhapada at Hare Krishna Dham in Sector 36-B, here today.

A large number of devotees participated in the puja. The programme started with “abhisheka” of Sril Prabhupada, followed by his glorification, maha aarti and puspanjali.

Over 108 types of “bhoga” were offered to the Acharya and distributed among the devotees.



Yadav Sabha members elected
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
Following have been elected members of Yadav Sabha, Chandigarh: president - Vijay Yadav, senior vice-president - Gauri Shankar Yadav, vice-president - Shiban Lal Yadav, general secretary - Col Hoshiar Singh Yadav and treasurer -Darshan Lal.






Respect leaders

Chandigarh is a cosmopolitan city and most of the festivals are celebrated here with much fervour. Recenlty, Ram Navami and guru kirtan were celebrated in the city with the usual enthusiasm.

Today, I got a chance to pass through a procession being taken out on the eve of the birth anniversary of Baba Sahib Bhim Rao Ambedakar and it was really painful to see the manner in which the occasion was being celebrated. People were raising slogans of “baba ki jai”. I was deeply hurt to see how we, the society, have made the leader, a “babaji”, which he never was.

Ambedakar was the chairman of the committee that made the Constitution of India. He also worked hard for the upliftment of the poor like the other national leaders. We should remember the works of Ambedkar and not merely celebrate his birth anniversary as a ritual. Birthdays of our leaders mean mere holidays for most.

All residents of the tricity, particularly the educational institutions, should come forward and spread awareness about the leaders’ teachings and their sacrifice.

R.K. Garg

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Teachers from Britain visit city
Tribune News Service

A delegation of teachers from the UK visit Punjab Kala Bhawan in Chandigarh
A delegation of teachers from the UK visit Punjab Kala Bhawan in Chandigarh on Monday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, April 14
As many as 20 teachers from Somerset and North Somerset, England, paid a visit to Punjab Kala Bhawan in Sector 16 here today.

These teachers will visit various schools of Punjab under the League for the Exchange of Commonwealth Teachers (LECT) programme in collaboration with Heritage Art and Education Institute, Patiala. This visit, hosted by Prof Rajpal Singh, project director, Punjab Institute for Culture and Arts, Chandigarh, will provide these teachers with an opportunity to experience the rich and varied culture of Punjab.

The teachers, who all have a professional interest in arts, will have firsthand experience of the education system and way of life in Punjab. Hohvay Park School head teacher and leader of the group Paul Harper said, “Everyone in our group is a teacher who has specialisation in teaching music and the arts to young people. Let Punjabi music and dance play a vital role in our lives. We hope that by visiting educational institutions and witnessing cultural activities, we can learn from the Punjabi community, the ways to expand our arts programme. At the same time, we hope to promote a positive international cultural understanding through this exchange.”

Heritage has developed some meaningful art and education exchange programme with Britain, Russia, Singapore and Pakistan, enabling the artists, youth and teachers to visit, explore and understand each other’s way of life. “Our artists have already performed in the US, Canada, Germany, Singapore, Indonesia and Britain,” said Rajpal.

The troupe will visit St Stephen’s School in Sector 45 before leaving for Patiala to see some more schools there.



Fee hike: Admn to get tough with pvt schools
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
The Chandigarh administration has decided to be tough with private schools that are charging enormously high fee from hapless parents.

In order to assess the fee structure of private schools, finance secretary Sanjay Kumar has directed the Chandigarh education department to collect information in this regard within a period of three weeks.

Taking a benchmark of five years, the administration has specified that the fee structure chargeable should be commensurate with the facilities provided to students and based on “actual costs” towards the facilities. The administration has asked the schools to provide the “exact amount” of monthly fee and other “charges” including admission fee and annual expenses charged from each student class wise for the past five years.

The school authorities will be liable to provide year wise detailed information regarding the total income incurred for the past five years, ending March 31, 2008. They will be accountable for showing duly audited balance sheets including profit/loss account and income/expenditure year wise details for the past five years.

This decision has come in the wake of a justification put forth by private schools that they provided state-of-the-art facilities to their students in lieu of heavy fee that they charged.

The administration has illuminated that the fact whether the infrastructure and facilities available in the school were free to use or were being charged for separately, would be taken into account.

Expressing concern, the finance secretary said, “It will be checked firmly whether the infrastructure facilities are being used by the enrolled students and teachers only or by outsiders also.”

“If outsiders have access to these facilities, then they must have been charged extra for availing them. If any school is found to be doing so, then its authorities will have to explain on what terms and conditions and at what cost they have made the infrastructure available for them,” he added.

“The school managements, in no way, should be allowed to charge fee arbitrarily especially when the Chandigarh administration has allotted school sites on highly subsidised rates. The terms and conditions of allotment clearly stipulate that the schools will have their fee structure duly approved from the administration,” said DPI S.K. Setia.



Metro may derail expansion plans: College panel
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
Less than a week after the Supreme Court’s judgement on reservation; Delhi-based the Dyal Singh College Joint Action Committee on Metro today claimed the metro rail project was coming in way of the order’s implementation.

In Chandigarh to muster support for the “relocation of the project”, committee convenor-cum-faculty member Sachin N. said the move to acquire a part of the college land on Lodhi Road by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) would derail the institute’s expansion plans for accommodating the additional OBC students.

Sachin said the action committee would now be seeking a dialogue with union minister of human resource development Arjun Singh, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and even UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

In a memorandum, he added, the college had decided to admit 54 per cent additional students, in wake of the judgement, to provide 27 per cent reservation to the OBC students, in accordance with the Government of India guidelines.

He said the college, for the purpose, would require additional number of classrooms and laboratories. “If the corporation took away the land, it would be impossible to provide even the minimum infrastructure as per the UGC and the government norms,” he asserted.

To make the matters worse, some of the existing structures would also be rendered illegal in accordance with the per-floor-area ratio norms, Sachin said.

The college, he stressed, would also not be in a position to carry on with the construction of a 100-room girls’ hostel; and another one for the students belonging to the “weaker sections”. The intention, he declared, was to hold “remedial classes” and coaching sessions for the “weaker section” students after the college hours.

Besides this, the playground was also being “swallowed” by the DMRC.



Course on non-communicable diseases begins
Tribune News Services

Chandigarh, April 14
A national course on non-communicable disease (NCD) prevention and control in India organised by the School of Public Health, PGIMER, in association with GOI-WHO collaborative programme, was inaugurated by PGI director Dr K.K. Talwar, here today.

Thirty-two delegates, including resident doctors, health services doctor and faculty from medical institutions of 12 states, are taking part in the course.

The aim of the course is to strengthen capacity building among middle-level health officials and public health specialists in the area of NCD prevention and control, and to improve knowledge on issues related to NCD epidemiology and management protocols.

Dr Talwar said NCD was increasing in the country at a faster rate as compared to other countries.

He dwelled on the success of NCD prevention and control strategy in developed countries like North Karelia Project, Finland, and suggested its adoption here.

The Chandigarh administration has already started the state NCD control programme with PGIMER after the success of Chandigarh Health Heart Action Project (CHHAP) from 2004-2007, he added.

Faculty from the PGI, World Health Organisation (India office), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), ministry of health and family welfare, Government of India, AIIMS, NIMHANS and other institutions will deliver lectures and share their experience during the programme. On the first day of the course, burden of non-communicable diseases and their impact in South-East Asia region and India was discussed.



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