C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Two Sec-22 shops gutted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
Homoeopathic medicines and grocery items worth lakhs of rupees were destroyed in a fire which broke out in two stores in Sector 22-C here this afternoon.

Four firemen sustained minor burns during the rescue operation that lasted several hours.

Duggal Homoeo Store and a provisional store shared a common plywood partition. The fire broke out in the drug store at around 3.30 pm and spread to the other store. Within minutes, the entire area was engulfed in thick smoke. There was panic as people ran for their lives. Firemen rescued some people who had gone to the terrace of the shops to avoid suffocation.

Harmesh Dass, owner of the provisional store, said the fire broke out in the drug store. “I was sitting in my shop when employees of the drug store barged into our store after breaking down the plywood partition. I also rushed out. When we looked back, there was a huge blaze in the shops,” he said.

The fire brigade reached in about 15 minutes. Another shopkeeper, Paramjit Singh, said on seeing the flames, he rushed to the grocery store and saw blasts in high-tension wires. “I rushed to the transformer and cut the power supply,” he said.

Ashok Duggal of the drug store claimed that his loss was around Rs 15 lakh while Harmesh said he lost goods worth Rs 4 lakh in the fire.

Some said the fire broke out due to the bursting of LPG cylinders while others said there was a short-circuit in an air-conditioner in the drug shop.

Fire station officer M.L. Sharma said the fire engines reached within five minutes after receiving information at 4.07 pm. Seven fire engines were pressed into service.

Firemen faced difficulty in detecting the source of the fire, which delayed the operation, he added.



Firemen, cops couldn’t care less
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The apparent lack of coordination between the fire department and the police hampered rescue operations.

The failure of the police to provide a clear passage to fire engines resulted in loss of precious time.

Also, fireman violated norms relating to their own safety and possibly, injuries sustained by four firemen was their own doing.

A fireman suffered from nausea after he inhaled gases as he chose to enter the building without a protective gear.

Some firemen were seen entering the fire zone without helmets while others were without proper masks.

It was only when the operation came to an end that a fireman entered the shop with a mask and oxygen cylinder.

They had a narrow escape when a blast occurred in one of the stores around 5 pm.

The police, on its part, took time to divert traffic on the busy road separating Sectors 21 and 21.

Though the fire was reported to the fire brigade at 4.07 pm, the police was seen diverting the traffic at 4.50 pm.

Time was lost as fire engines had to make their way through busy roads before reaching the market place.



40 city candidates make it to IIM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The wait is over. After prolonged deliberations on the OBC quota, the IIMs declared their results today to bring cheer to at least 40 local candidates. Last year, the figure of successful candidates from the city was nearly 20.

The IIM, Bangalore, was the first to declare its list, followed by the other IIMs.

PEC student Sidharth Ahluwalia got a call from four IIMs. “I am thrilled. A regular study schedule and a well- rounded personality played a key role in my success,” he said.

As Sidharth is among the top 25 in the list of the IIM, Bangalore, he is eligible for Aditya Birla scholarship.

Rajdish Singh, who has been working with Infosys, has made it to the IIMs in Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Lucknow.

Rohit Kwatra, another successful candidate, said, “My selection was a pleasant surprise as I thought I did not do well during the interview.”

The other successful candidates are Abhishek Singh, Aman Dhingra, Ankit Gupta, Anmol Singh, Avinash Prakhya, Avinash Trakhya, Gaurav Dutta, Gaurav Kochhar, Gaurav Sharma, Himanshu Sharma, Karan Clair, Madhusudan Aggarwal, Maneesh Nayyar, Mohit Bharti, Neha Singh, Pathikrith Ghosh, Rajesh Meena, Sameer Malik, Shobhit Bhatnagar, Sidhaarth Ahluwalia, Sonia Rawat, Vaibhav Kansal, Vineet Saini, Yatish Mishra, Amit Mitta, Anand Justin, Ankit, Deepika, Lokesh, Paras Rawal, Ravi Gupta, Mohit Goyal and Rohan Mahajan. 



Big bucks follow
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
An entry into IIM translates into a world of big bucks. A student who passed out from the prestigious IIM, Ahmedabad, this year, has surpassed all previous records of salary, bagging a package of Rs 1.44 crore. Another student of the IIM-Kolkata, has been offered Rs 1.36 crore.

Sources said the average domestic salary this year was Rs 17.85 lakh as against Rs 13.7 lakh last year.

“The IIM has become a big attraction for students of all streams. It is evident as 2.25 lakh students appeared for CAT across the nation. One of the major reasons is the fat pay package. In 1998, only 1,800 students took CAT and last year the number rose to 13,500,” Hirdesh Madan, head of an institute for MBA training, said. 



PGI director’s email ID hacked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
PGI director, Prof K.K. Talwar, was in for a rude shock when six of his friends called him and offered to “bail him out of his economic crisis” this morning.

They had received mails from his personal ID, kktalwar@hotmail.com , saying that he was in Nigeria and wanted $ 2,500. It was only after some calls that he realised his email ID had been hacked.

He has lodged a complaint with the police. “I was scared when I came to know about the hacking. My account carries a lot of information. When a close friend told me about the email, I tried to log in, but failed as my password did not match,” he said.

This is not an isolated incident. O.N. Bhargava, a former director of the Geological Survey of India, had also faced a similar problem a few days ago.

Prof Talwar said he had given his password in response to an email received from hotmail a week ago. “The sender of the mail had sought confidential information due to congestion and I gave my password immediately as I did not want to discontinue my account,” he said.



Civil Hospital gets notice
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 1
The Panchkula health department today issued a notice to the Civil Hospital, Sector 6, here for allegedly violating the PNDT Act.

Finding shortcomings in the records of ultrasound machines and maintenance of records in the department, the civil surgeon, Kamla Singh, issued a show-cause notice to the SMO, V. K. Bansal.

The offices of the civil surgeon and Haryana director-general, health, are situated in the same complex.

The civil surgeon said government hospitals were also supposed to keep records as per the Act. Usually, ultrasound machine records were not checked, leaving the scope open for the misuse of the facility, she said.

Keeping in mind the need of patients, the machine had not been sealed, she said, adding that the SMO had been asked to reply within a week.

Dr Bansal, denying any knowledge about the notice, said there could be some lapses in maintaining records as there was a huge rush of patients.



No deluxe status for Taj yet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The Hotel Taj will have to wait for some more time to get the five-star deluxe rating. A committee of experts, while declining the grant of the status to the hotel for the time being, has reportedly asked the hotel authorities to upgrade certain facilities and apply again.

Recently, a team of experts headed by regional director (north zone), union ministry of tourism, S.P. Singh inspected the hotel on an application filed by the hotel to get the five star status.

Besides the Hotel Taj, the committee also did not approve four-star status to Mark Royal, Zirakpur, and hotel Western Court and Hotel KLG, both in Sector 43 here.

The inspection of Hotel Pankaj for upgrade to three-star category could not be carried out.

The denial of star status to the hotels does not reflect on the facilities there, said as a senior official.

The ministry of tourism has strict guidelines for according star status to hotels.

Currently, CITCO-run Hotel Mountview is the only five-star category hotel in the city.



Contractor’s staff man parking lot illegally
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
Staff belonging to a contractor were found issuing parking tickets to public at an unauthorised parking lot, running under the name of the Market Association of Sector 34, here this morning.

According to sources, a group of men came around 8 am and fenced in the area to prevent vehicles from going past without paying the fee.

The problem arose when shopkeepers objected to the illegal issuance of parking tickets.

The men, who confirmed themselves as workers of a parking contractor, argued with public when they refused to pay the fee.

The men issued parking tickets (one of the tickets is in possession of Chandigarh Tribune) bearing the name of the Market Association, Sector 34, zone 1.

The group vanished soon after public got agitated and started objecting to issuance of parking tickets.

Sources said the market association was allegedly hand in glove with the contractor, even though the former denied any involvement.

Market association president, Parveen Gupta, whose showroom was right in front of the barricade set up by the contractor’s men, remained a mute spectator to the goings on.

The contractor had dug the surrounding area to prevent motorists from going to other places to park their vehicles.

The police was called in to inquire into the matter.

Gupta said: “We had already complained to the police about the presence of the men. When the matter was brought to my notice, the group had already vanished.”

Denying any involvement in the matter, contractor Baba Nanak said: “I have no idea about the illegal parking lot being run here.”



Rallies held to commemorate May Day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
Demonstrations and rallies by different trade unions and employee associations marked May Day celebrations in different parts of the city today.

The Tribune Employees Union paid tributes to Chicago Martyrs at a rally at the office. Union president Bablir Singh Jandu called upon workers to unite and work for their betterment.

Workers and employees under the banner of Confederation of Trade Union and MC employees celebrated the day in a colourful manner at the Sector 17 piazza.

Union leaders addressed the gathering and exhorted employees to work hard to achieve the targets.

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions organised rallies at different places in the city and paid tributes to the heroes and martyrs who lost their lives while fighting for the rights of workers.

Leaders expressed concern over the plight of labourers and demanded enactment of a law by the Centre to “save them from the clutches” of industrial houses.

They also demanded revision of wages of labourers and sought more employment opportunities.

The Chandigarh wing of the Indian National Trade Union Congress too paid homage to the martyrs in front of the municipal corporation building in Sector 17, while the Public Health Workers Union marked the day by hoisting a flag at the waterworks department in Sector 39.

The Jan Shihshan Sansthan celebrated the day at Dadu Majra and Maloya Colony, and highlighted the problems faced by working women at their workplace.

Also, the New Trade Union Initiative organised a demonstration at MW, Industrial Area, Phase 1, to highlight the problems of workers by authorities.

Among others, employees of the Punjab State electricity Board (PSEB), the Indian National Trade Union Congress, the Punjab Roadways and various technical unions also commemorated the day.

Meanwhile, members of Chandigarh-Punjab Union of Journalists (CPUJ) today observed May Day and World Press Freedom Day-2008 by forming a human chain at the Sector 17 piazza here today.

Over 100 journalists, both from electronic and print media, participated in the celebrations.

CPUJ president Vinod Kohli demanded immediate release of interim relief to the tune of 65 per cent for journalists by the wage board.



PUTA members submit appeal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The joint action committee (JAC) members, in their effort to persuade political leadership of the region on the issue of central university status for PU, today met Satyapal Jain, former MP and a member of national executive committee, BJP.

The members explained how PU is being made an arena of political tug-of-war by different parties. The delegation also submitted a copy of the appeal to Jain, seeking his party’s support for their demand for a central varsity status for PU. Jain assured full support in the matter. He promised to write to the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in this regard.

Jain also extended his support for the ongoing chain fast and also expressed a desire to join it on May 3.

Prof Rajan Gaur, vice-president PUTA, and one of the volunteers of today’s chain fast, expressed his satisfaction over the positive response of leaders of Punjab Government during the last couple of days. Braving the heat, Prof R.N. Vashisht, Prof A.K. Sinha and Dr Gayathri Pathmanathan, along with a research scholar Sukhbir Singh, sat on the chain fast today. Prof A.S. Ahluwalia, chairman, JAC, appealed to political leaders in Punjab to work positively for the upliftment of higher education in the state.

Meanwhile, on May 5 teacher-senators of PU have volunteered to join the chain fast and register their protest against the undue delay in declaring PU a central university.



Call for social movement against suicides
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
“The increasing rate of suicides and unnatural deaths in society can be checked by law alone,” said Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Vijender Jain during a conference of students, teachers and parents, organised by Yuva Sankalpa Foundation (YSF), a NGO working to intensify the social movement against suicides, at the Panjab University campus here today.

He said parents are also partly responsible for the communication gap with their children and put extra pressure on the wards, which results in social tensions. Lashing out at tele-serials, he said it is unfortunate that most of them were creating a wedge in society, which is a matter of great concern. Introducing the subject, former MP Satya Pal Jain said he was moved by a number of incidents in which either young people ended their lives by committing suicides or died in accidents, which could have been be avoided. He said time has come to start a social movement against these tendencies.

Prof R.C. Sobti, PU vice-chancellor, gave a presentation on the theme and suggested corrective measure. S.K. Jain, IG police, presented the data on unnatural deaths in Chandigarh during the last three years. He said the general public should take up the cause and create consciousness regarding the issue. Davesh Moudgil, president of the NGO, said, “Yuva Sankalp Foundation will take up these issues on a priority basis and will hold such conferences, marches, demonstrations on a large scale in future.”

However, there was hardly any concrete solution that was offered by the experts during the one-and-a-half hour conference. 



Inquiry ordered into INLD councillor’s dual votes
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 1
In what can prove to be another setback to the INLD in the local municipal committee, Panchkula deputy commissioner Rajinder Kataria has ordered an inquiry into the allegations against a party councillor for contesting Panchkula municipal committee elections even as his name figures in the voters’ list of district Balia in Uttar Pradesh.

The deputy commissioner said the findings of the inquiry would be set to the Election Commission for further action.

In case the allegations turn out to be true, the councillor could lose his seat in the civic body reducing the number of INLD councillors to four.

The party had won six seats in the elections held on March 30 and had already lost one councillor to the Congress when Gautam Prasad, its councillor from ward No. 27, had declared his decision of joining the Congress on April 20.

Now the Congress claims to have 16 votes in the 31-member house while INLD, with support of four independents, claims to have 9 votes. The BJP won eight seats in the elections. The election to the posts of president and vice-president of the body is yet to be held.

Congress candidate Jaswant Singh Thambar from ward No. 17, who lost the polls, lodged a complaint with the deputy commissioner and demanded that the election in his ward be declared invalid as Subhash Nishad, who had won the election, was a voter at Balia in Uttar Pradesh.

However, when contacted, Nishad denied the allegation and said it was the ruling party’s conspiracy against him. He said he was settled at Panchkula for over than 20 years now and if his name was there in the voters’ list at his parental home, it was not proved that he ever polled his vote out of Panchkula.



No hope for Republicans in Prez poll: US scribe
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

James Richard Dickenson
James Richard Dickenson  

Chandigarh, May 1
Veteran American political journalist and election expert James Richard Dickenson who has covered many US presidential elections including those of Robert F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon has virtually ruled out the possibility of Republicans retaining the White House in the forthcoming presidential poll.

Terming the next poll to be historic on account of election of United State’s first black Afro-American or a lady to the White House, Dickenson said the picture would emerge clear next week after North Carolina and Indiana make their choice for presidential nomination.

Dickenson was talking on ‘Media and Elections in Democratic Societies’ at the Institute for Development and Communication, where he highlighted the American perspective, while Kanwar Sandhu, editor Chandigarh Hindustan Times provided the Indian perspective on the issue.

Dickenson said change in the American political landscape was phenomenal where four years ago the republicans were for a permanent Republican majority as compared to a near pre-poll elimination of the same party.

“The US presidential poll has never been so long and intense. Barack Obama has a clear lead and is a favourite for the nomination being young, idealistic and is often compared to John F. Kennedy. He is seeking nomination on issues of progress and unity of the US. While on the other hand he said Hilary Clinton had the advantage of being experienced and hardworking”.

Talking about news media Dickenson said free flow of information was integral to any democracy. Enhancement in technology had helped the flow of information. The US media he said had come to be trusted by the people due to the “Pinocchio” factor (Pinocchio was an Italian cartoon character whose nose grows if he lied. Bigger lies resulted in a longer nose). Explaining this he said newspapers like the New York Times had reporters to monitor advertisements of political parties for accuracy and rate them on their truthfulness, evoking the reader’s confidence. He attributed the fairness of media to the evolutionary process of the press.

Sandhu while describing election in India as nothing short of a “wonder of the world” due to the number of voters (700 million) and vastness of area said literacy was increasing participation in the poll process.

Indian media was equally interested in the US presidential election due to the large number of NRIs living in the US and also because the US foreign policy in South Asia directly affected India and its relations with its neighbours like Pakistan and China.

Sandhu went on to highlight the need for regulation on exit and opinion poll that invariably go wrong. He said there was a need for debate on issues like criminalisation of politics, funding of elections, registration of non-serious groups as parties and need for negative or neutral voting. He expressed concern over the growing trend of surrogate advertisements and blurring of news and advertisements by the media.

Dr. Pramod Kumar, who moderated said large families, mainly funded the US media, yet it maintained its free flow of information and remained unbiased, evoking readers’ trust. The issue of winning readers’ trust was a big challenge for the Indian media, which was loosing credibility due to trivialisation of news. Retreating the observation made by Sandhu he added that the media must learn to distinguish between “what is of public interest but not in public interest”.

“Media constitute the core of an election campaign” Pramod said. He added that elections are treated as events where the voter is bombarded with advertisements as if candidates are nothing but a sop product. “There is no doubt, that people have tremendous trust in the information supplied by the media. But the moot question is whose interest this trust serves?”, he further added.



2 cops suspended
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 1
Two police officials in charge of two police posts have been suspended here today.

According to the police, Lakhwinder Singh, in charge of the Phase VIII industrial area police post, was allegedly having liquor in a shop in Phase 3B2 while on duty and in uniform.

Meanwhile, in charge of the Balongi police post Dalip Singh was misusing his power by helping someone to take possession of a piece of land illegally.

Mohali SSP R.S. Khattra directed Kharar DSP Raj Balwinder Sandhu to immediately suspend Dalip Singh and send him to the police lines.



Two killed in accidents
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 1
One person was killed while two others were injured when a canter loaded with LPG cylinders hit a tree on the Panchkula-Barwala road here today. The deceased, Narinder, a resident of Sonepat, was driving the canter.

The injured - Yogesh and Kamal - were admitted to Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh, in critical condition.

With this, the death toll on the highways passing through the district has reached 14 since the last month.

The police said the canter driver, who was on his way to Baddi, lost control over the vehicle, presumably due to drowsiness and hit a tree on the roadside.

The police has registered a case and sent the body for postmortem.

KHARAR: Meanwhile, Sohana resident Bahadur Singh was killed while two others Dinesh and Ram Chander were injured as the car they were travelling in was hit by a speeding truck here late last night. The accident took place near Radiala village. The victims were on their way back home after attending a marriage at Balachaur in Hoshiarpur.

When they reached near Radiala village, a speeding truck hit their car. All injured were rushed to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh.

The deceased worked as driver with a college in Sohana. The police has booked truck driver Ajay Kumar. No arrest has been made so far



Turban Row
Normalcy restored at Lawrence School
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 1
Lawrence Public Senior Secondary School functioned normally here today after witnessing a tense atmosphere for two days in connection with the turban row even as the police has not registered any case against the school for allegedly hurting the religious sentiments of the Sikh community.

Three Sikh students of the school studying in Class X were not allowed to enter their classroom on April 29 when they had come to the institute wearing turbans.

This attitude of the school authorities had created a lot of resentment among members of the Sikh community who staged a protest outside the institute. Following this, the principal tendered an unconditional apology in writing yesterday.

DSP Swarandeep Singh (city II) said no case was registered against the school as his office had not received any written compliant against the same. Moreover, the principal had apologised and members of the Sikh community were satisfied with that, he added.

SGPC member Hardeep Singh said no school could ban wearing of a turban by any Sikh student of any age or any class and the director of education had also confirmed that there were no rules in this regard. He said legal experts were being consulted after which there was a possibility that legal action could be initiated against the school for hurting the religious sentiments of the Sikh community.

J.P. Singh, general secretary of the Gurdwara Sri Kalghidhar Singh Sabha, Phase IV, demanded that wearing of turban should be made compulsory in schools after Class VI.



P’kula police to review firearm licences
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 1
In the wake of recent incidents involving the use of firearms in killings and suicides at Pinjore, the district police has decided to verify the antecedents of all firearm licence holders in the district.

Panchkula SP Sandip Khirwar held a meeting of police officials from all over the district and asked them to verify the antecedents of all firearms holders so that licences of those who did not need them or were alcoholics could be cancelled.

Recently, two incidents were reported from Pinjore in which persons used their licensed arms to indulge in criminal acts. A man shot at his wife before attempting suicide while a 33-year-old man ended his life with his licensed revolver last week.

In both the cases, the accused were found to be under the influence of liquor and it was reported that they were alcoholics, said Khirwar.

In fact, it was apprehended that many people in the district were possessing firearm licences even when they did not really require them, said the SP.

Moreover, it was also felt that many license holders did not apply for renewal of their licences which could result in forfeiture of the same, he added.

In order to check highway crime as well as road accidents, it was decided that close-circuit cameras would be installed on the Kalka-Pinjore highway. The points for installation of the cameras had been shortlisted and initially, these would be installed on both ends of the roads passing through Panchkula, Pinjore and Kalka, he added.



Revenue: Mohali transport office excels
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 1
The Mohali district transport office collected Rs 1,488.30 lakh as revenue during the year 2007-2008 which is an increase of 61 per cent against the budget fixed for the year.

This is the maximum revenue earned by any district throughout the state.

The revenue earned by other districts of Punjab varied between 12 per cent and minus 12 per cent.

DTO Balbir Singh said it was possible because of constant monitoring and proper checking.

According to figures available, the Mohali office earned Rs 110.47 lakh against a budget estimate of Rs 56.04 lakh as licence fee and registration fee. A sum of Rs 1283.29 lakh was earned against a budget of Rs 783 lakh as motor vehicle tax.

Similarly, revenue earned as compounding fee was Rs 94.54 lakh against an estimate of Rs 84 lakh.

While the Jalandhar transport office and those located at Bhatinda and Fatehgarh Sahib earned 12 per cent more revenue than the budget estimate, the Mansa and Ropar district offices registered an income of minus 12 per cent and minus 11 per cent, respectively.



PF disbursal expedited
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The regional provident fund commissioner, Punjab and Chandigarh, has decided to hand over PF cheques to retiring employees on the day of retirement.

S.K. Aggarwal, regional provident fund commissioner, said as part of the exercise they handed over the cheques to 13 retiring employees of various public sector undertakings and to employees of Hero Cycles, Ludhiana, yesterday.



Fire at furniture factory
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
Goods worth lakhs of rupees were gutted in a fire that broke out in a furniture manufacturing factory in Industrial Area, Phase II, here this afternoon.

According to sources in the fire department, the fire broke out around 3 pm on the factory premises of Naresh Steel Furniture.

Paints, warnish and other inflammable goods were stored on the premises. The fire broke out due to short-circuit after a running fan fell on paint. A fire officer told the TNS that the inspection of building revealed various violations and action had been recommended to the local police in this regard.



Markanda re-elected ICA vice-chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
P.C. Markanda, a senior advocate has been re-elected as the vice-president of the Indian Council of Arbitration (ICA), New Delhi.

This is the second term for the advocate. The election was held during a meeting of the governing body of the council held recently at Mumbai.

ICA is a body sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce, to promote alternative means of dispute resolution in the country. 



Encroachments galore

Although Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) was set up for the betterment of Mohali, the authority has achieved nothing substantial so far. Encroachments by shopkeepers and residents are a common sight. The situation is particularly bad in Phase 5, near Khalsa sweets, and Phase 3B2 near Katani sweets shop. In addition, the green cover in Phase 7, along the central road, was demolished long back. A large stretch of green cover in Phase 5, near the booth market, was converted into concrete pavements sometime back. I feel these changes are being made without considering their long-term implications. It is high time the authorities wake up from their slumber and take corrective action in this regard.

B.S. Kaberwal, Mohali

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



Appointment of Readers
New DCI guidelines puts institute in a fix
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
Changing norms for the appointment of readers in dental colleges by the Dental Council of India (DCI) has put Dr H S Judge Dental Institute of Panjab University in a fix. Even though the institute is facing a severe crunch of faculty, the recently held interviews hardly brought any respite.

Selection of a professor and four readers approved earlier have been held in abeyance, as they reportedly do not conform to the new guidelines issued by the Dental Council of India.

The institute had advertised for the post of readers in different departments in October 2007 and in February 2008. The interviews for both the advertisements were held in April this year.

Everything would have passed off normally if it was not for the change in eligibility criteria by the Dental Council of India (DCI). The DCI changed the eligibility criteria for the post of dental readers in September last year. Earlier, a candidate with three years of teaching experience after post-graduation was eligible. Now the minimum teaching experience limit has been raised to four years.

The university authorities, however, failed to mention the change in eligibility conditions in any of the advertisements. So the interviews were held on old criteria and four dental readers and one professor were selected.

Soon, the officials realised their mistake and the vice-chancellor held back the appointment letters of the candidates for a few days, till they were sent on April 30.

Meanwhile, to get a clearer picture and reach a solution, the PU vice-chancellor R.C. Sobti constituted a committee today under the chairmanship of former Justice S.K. Jain. G.K. Chatrath, PU fellow, Dharinder Tayal, fellow, Ashok Goyal, fellow, R.S. Grewal, director, UILS, are the other members.

The committee recommended that regular appointments be made only in case of candidates who have four years of teaching experience and those who have less than four years of experience be appointed on an adhoc basis, subject to approval of DCI.

The director of the institute Dr K. Gauba said the Dental Council of India has its own norms and prior to the approval they have to consider each and every aspect related to the institute in terms of infrastructure, teachers, their qualifications and other prerequisites. “To us, whatever will be approved by the council will be acceptable in the larger interest of the profession,” he said. “We will go by recommendations of the committee and no appointments will be made against norms,” Prof Sobti said.



From Schools & Colleges
Tiny tots beat the heat with pool party
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 1
A pool party was organised for tiny tots of Shishu Niketan School, Mansa Devi Complex, Sector 5, yesterday. The children were seen attired in swimming costumes with headgears and sunglasses. The students enjoyed themselves a lot and it took an extra effort to take them out of the pool. PAINTING CONTEST: Aditya Arya of Class VI-A and Pallavi Sharma of Class VIII-A stood first in the categories I and II, respectively, of a painting competition organised at Chamanlal DAV Senior Public School, Sector 11. Students from Classes V to VIII participated in the competition. The themes for the competition were ‘Say No to Tobacco’, ‘Female Foeticide’ and ‘Road Safety’. Abhishek of VII-B and Neelima of VII-A bagged the second and third positions, respectively.

BUSINESS SUMMIT: Dr I.T. Business School, near Banur, will organise ‘Business Summit-08’, a plethora of corporate discussion, in association with Economic Times and sponsors Pearls and Dr I.T. Planets on May 3 at PHD Chamber House, Chandigarh. The event will start at 10 am. Pawan Kumar Bansal, MP, Chandigarh, will preside over the summit.

SHORTLISTED: A team from Cipla visited the SVIET campus of Swami Vivekanand Group of Institutes (SVGOI) to select suitable candidates to fill managerial positions in the company’s various establishments/field formations. The company shortlisted 25 students for interview.

FAREWELL: BCA students of the 2005-2008 batch were given a farewell by their juniors on the GJ-IMT campus. Titled “Rendezvous 2008”, the party was replete with fun-filled events and performances by both seniors and juniors.

INTERACTION: International Institute of Fashion Technology, Phase VII, Mohali, had two designers Anup Kumar and Jaswinder Kaur interacting with its students. Anup is senior executive designer working with Lee Cooper at Mumbai and Jaswinder is coordinator merchandising with Supra Overseas, an export house, at Jaipur.



Christ chair to be constituted at PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
With an aim to bring students closer to the principles of life as preached by Jesus Christ, the Panjab University has proposed to establish a chair in the name of Jesus Christ.

The proposal was moved by John Victor, member of Catholic Council of India (CCI). Pawan Kumar Bansal, minister of state for finance, has given Rs 10 lakhs for establishment of the chair. 



High Court
Stay on pollution board notification vacated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today vacated the stay on January 17, 2006, notification of the Punjab Pollution Control Board, wherein norms for setting up colonies in the proximity of industries had been relaxed.

The stay orders were vacated after the board filed an affidavit stating that the guidelines in the order had been revoked.

Taking up the matter, a division bench of Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Jaswant Singh also asked the State of Punjab to file within four weeks an affidavit on developers leaving adequate buffer for maintaining green lungs in Dera Bassi area.

Dera Bassi residents had moved the High Court praying for issuance of appropriate directions for ensuring their safety.

Directions were also sought against granting permission to developers proposing to set up residential colonies within the industrial area.

The petitioners had stated that norms for setting up residential areas in proximity to industrial areas had been relaxed by the pollution control board in a complete disregard to the environmental norms.

Taking up the petition, the division bench observed: “The order of January 30, 2007, stands vacated, whereby the court had stayed the operation of those instructions.”

Directing the filing of affidavit, the bench directed the respondents “to place on record” the site plans indicating “hazardous industries, source of pollution” as well as distance between the source of pollution and residential settlements.

“We make it clear that if within four weeks the plans are not filed either by the Punjab government or by individual respondents or other instrumentality, who are covered under the policy, in this court, we will pass further appropriate order to maintain the environmental norms.”

Earlier, Punjab advocate-general H.S. Mattewal submitted that as per the directions of the High Court, a committee headed by chief secretary had been set up.

He added that previously 100-metre distance was prescribed in notification of August 7, 2007, in case of most hazardous industries, where no distance whatsoever had been specified by any authority to be maintained from residential colonies.

However, in view of HC observations, the AG submitted, it had now decided to increase the distance from 100 metre to 250 metre.

Shed demolition

The Punjab and Haryana High Court today stayed the proceedings initiated by Panchkula District Bar Association in a court at Panchkula for payment of compensation for the demolition of advocates’ sheds in close proximity to the district courts complex.

The stay order was given by a High Court division bench of Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Jaswant Singh on the resumed hearing of a petition filed by Panchkula-based advocate Jayaender Singh Chandel in connection with the demolitions undertaken by the district administration.

The proceedings in Panchkula civil court have been initiated by DBA vice-president Subhash Chander Sharma.

He has alleged that the district administration has undertaken demolition as part of a drive for the removal of encroachments from the government land near the district courts complex.

It was in line with a communication sent by the office of Haryana advocate-general.

Meanwhile, an affidavit on the subject had also been filed by Panchkula deputy commissioner Rajinder Kumar Kataria.

He has given details and background of drive against encroachments. The matter will now come up for further hearing on July 8.



Consumer Courts
Bank penalised Rs 1.26 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed Corporation Bank’s Sector-8 branch to pay around Rs 1.26 lakh in compensation towards interest for not disbursing loan.

The penalty includes a fine of Rs 10,000 for harassment and mental agony.

Coming down heavily on the bank, the forum stated: “The bank is free to recover the whole or part of the amount from its employees who were responsible for lapse in not disbursing loan.”

The petitioner, Parveen Kumari, a resident of Panchkula, was allotted a share in the Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation and Department of Industries Haryana (SIDCO) Society at IMT, Manesar.

Thereafter, the petitioner applied for a loan of Rs 10 lakh in August, 2006 for which she got permission from her office based at Panchkula.

Thereafter, Kumari completed the requisite formalities for sanction of housing loan and was accordingly sanctioned a loan of Rs 9.8 lakh, which was repayable in 15-year installments after moratorium period of 36 months. She then contacted the bank for release of the loan installment of Rs 3.25 lakh, which was payable by January 31, 2007.

And in failure to deposit the same the society was to be charged interest at the rate of 14 per cent per annum over due installments.

The bank, instead of releasing the amount, told the petitioner that the housing loan had been declared null and void as it was valid only for period of three months from the date of sanction of loan.

Subsequently, the petitioner applied for loan in State Bank of India for which she suffered a net loss of Rs 1,16,125, on account of high interest and processing fee.

The bank argued that the petitioner had not only failed to avail of the loan in the stipulated period but also not completed the formalities due to which the loan had been repudiated. The petitioner stated that the bank after sanctioning the loan in August 30, 2005 didn’t inform the petitioner if any other papers were to be deposited till the time the bank sent a letter informing her about the repudiation of the loan.



Arms Seizure
SP’s bail plea rejected
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1Additional district and sessions judge Ravi Kumar Sondhi today declined bail to former superintendent of Punjab Police Surinder Singh Atwal. The former SP was arrested after a cache of unauthorised weapons was seized from his residence in Sector 15 on April 20.

Atwal had called the police to his house following a theft. While carrying out inspection of his house, the police made the seizure of firearms and arrested him instead.

The court rejected the bail as the offence was serious in nature. Also, the seizure involved high quantity of weapons.



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