C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Kapil Poster Row: PCA on the backfoot
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 18
Exactly 25 years after Kapil Dev put India on the winning track to the 1983 Prudential Cup with his superb unbeaten 175 against Zimbabwe, he is trying to salvage his reputation against his country’s own Punjab Cricket Association.

The cricketer, who has been at loggerheads with the BCCI ever since joining the ICL as one of its top official, has been extremely hurt after the removal of his life-size poster from the main wall of the stadium last month.

Though the PCA authorities initially claimed that this was done to undertake some building extension work, they have changed their statement several times leading to all sorts of speculations.

With Kapil now writing to the PCA authorities for the return of his memorabilia in protest, the issue has snowballed into a major controversy which has put the association bosses on the backfoot.

“It was more heart-burning as nobody from the PCA bothered to clear the position to him even after the matter was reported in the media immediately after the incident”, a close associate of Kapil said.

In a damage-control bid, BCCI joint secretary and PCA honorary secretary M.P. Pandove today said, “The removal of the poster was not intentional but was the result of a storm and rain, which had lashed the city on May 26. But now the poster is ready and will be put in place soon. We have also informed Kapil about it”.

Incidentally, it was Pandove only who had earlier said the poster had been removed for undertaking building extension work.

Contrary to Pandove’s claim, Kapil said he had not heard anything from the PCA. Talking to TNS on phone, he said, “I have not received any response from the PCA till the moment. It is their sweet will whether they want to put it (the poster) or not. And I am also not expecting anything. But I am defiantly concerned with my belongings. It’s better to return my articles instead of throwing these”.

Kapil made the demand to the PCA yesterday through e-mail. “For me, it’s a not a big issue. But it’s insulting so I requested the authorities to give back the articles”, Kapil said, indicating towards the BCCI’s anger on his joining the ICL.

The memorabilia, which Kapil provided to the association following the naming of the dressing room at the world-class stadium after his name, includes a blazer, a cap and a tie.

The articles were used by the cricketer during world cup matches and have been put on display in the long room of the stadium.



UT to have school board
G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
The Chandigarh education department’s proposal to form its own education board is in the final stages.

It is likely to be implemented from the session 2009-10. At present, Chandigarh follows the Punjab Education Code.

The move will enable the administration to tighten its noose around private schools which often skirt certain norms and bylaws governing then on the pretext that they are affiliated with the CBSE or the ICSE. Hence, they argue, the administration has no powers to impose its decisions on them.

To be initiated under Section 87 of the Reorganisation Act of Haryana or Punjab, the move will enable the administration to have its own board which would conduct its own examination from Class I to Class XII.

Under the proviso, the administration will adopt the constitution of either Punjab or Haryana, but will enable the administration to amend laws as per needs.

DPI (S) SK Setia said: “The proposal is at the final stages and will be sent to the higher authorities for approval soon. From next session, it will be made applicable”.

Setia said the move would come as a major relief for parents who end up paying hefty donations and fee for their kids’ admission in private schools.

The provision will also help the administration to effectively monitor implementation of the mandatory 15 per cent quota for students belonging to the economically weaker sections (EWS), fee structure, admission procedure and recruitment norms by privately managed schools.

Since there is no education board in Chandigarh, every school has to seek affiliation from the CBSE or the ICSE on upgradation from the middle school to secondary or senior secondary level.

The proposal will be a boon for UT cadre teachers as the deputation quota from Haryana and Punjab will be decreased. Besides, it will mean more promotion avenues for them. “It has been felt that the private schools are taking undue advantage as Clause No. 14 rests with the state education board.



PU slashes fee in private affiliated colleges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
After several meetings and months of speculation, finally Panjab University today decided on a uniform fee structure for its 176 affiliated private colleges, beginning this year.

The fee has been substantially slashed. For instance, the fee for BA, that varied between Rs 14,000-Rs 16,000, is now Rs 10,000.

The decision was taken by a fee regulation committee under the chairmanship of Prof GP Mehta, acting DUI.

The meeting was attended by representatives of managements of various colleges, fellows, teachers and students.

The annual fee for BA will be Rs 10,225 as against to Rs 16,410 being charged by DAV College.

Apart from Rs 10,225 as annual fee, Rs 1200 for add-on course, Rs 540 for two-wheelers and Rs 210 as library security will also be charged from students. This money is refundable.

The fee for BCA will be Rs 27,605-- including Rs 632 as university charges. For BSc (medical and non-medical), it will be Rs 12,425 and Rs 11,825, respectively, in addition to Rs 2,400 for any add-on course. For students pursuing MSC - IT, the committee has reduced the fee to Rs 36,905.

It has also been decided that the institutions will charge funds only for those facilities already being provided to the students.



Disclose appellant’s marks, CIC to PU
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 18
The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the Panjab University to disclose the marks obtained by an appellant in the M.Ed examination.

Upholding the plea of a Delhi-based appellant, Harvinder Kaur, the CIC has directed the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Panjab University to disclose by June 27 the subject wise marks obtained by her.

In an application moved in June last year under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, Harvinder had sought information on eight counts relating to the M.Ed examination conducted by the PU.

The registrar and PIO of Punjab University replied to the RTI application on July 24, 2007. Not satisfied with his reply, the appellant filed an appeal with the first appellate authority on August 14 and then approached the Central Information Commission (CIC)with a complaint on September 6, 2007.

Through an order dated April 30, 2008, the CIC directed the respondents to provide the required information by May 25 and asked them to appear before the commission on June 5. The Bench of Dr O.P. Kejariwal, information commissioner, heard matter.

While Harvinder Kaur was present at the hearing on June 5, the registrar and PIO of PU, Dr S.S. Bari represented the respondents through audio conference.

After hearing both sides, the commission noted that the PIO had sent his explanation for the delay in providing information. He had also responded to the question as to why penalty not be imposed on him.

The commission said that the aspect of imposition of penalty on the PIO will be examined separately.


Sector 8 paver blocks sink after downpour
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
Concern for the safety and convenience of the pedestrians does not seem to matter to the municipal corporation.

Recently constructed paver blocks in Sector 8 here sunk soon after the recent downpour. The internal gurdwara road of the sector recently got a new pavement, the work on which was completed about 15 days back. A portion of the pavement has sunk to a depth of nearly half a foot.

According to one of the residents, the newly constructed pavement has been washed away after a heavy downpour that the city witnessed recently. The pavement developed cracks at a couple of places.

The residents themselves have got it reconstructed. The municipal corporation, it seems, is least bothered to listen to the grievances of the residents of the city.

Another resident, whose house is in the front, where the pavement has developed cracks, told The Tribune that despite a number of complaints made to the contractor, the problem remained.

The pavement, which is used by the people throughout the day, is now threatening their lives. There are instances where pedestrians, failing to see the cracks, have fallen down while walking.

One of the area officials, on condition of anonymity, said the contractor could be busy in some other work. I was not aware of the problem, but I would look into it tomorrow. The pavement would be reconstructed within two days.

The area councillor was not available for comment, but Harash, the owner of the construction company Savpriya, which constructed the pavement, said being out of station, he could not do anything about the problem.



Oil firms force premium fuels on highway users
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
It is double whammy for the thousands of highway users in the region. Even as repeated hikes in the prices of petrol and diesel by the Central Government have sent the motorists in a tizzy, three major public sector oil companies are forcing costlier premium fuels on them, delivering another blow to their budgets.

"Immediately after the fuel price hike, ordinary petrol and diesel have vanished from a majority of the outlets of Bharat Petroleum, the HP and the Indian Oil outlets on the Delhi-Chandigarh national highway especially falling under Haryana state", alleges Varinder Arora, convener of the National Highway Users Association (NHUA), the apex body of motor vehicle users on various national highways in the country.

Motorists allege that this had put additional burden on them as there was a difference of about Rs 5 in the prices of premium and ordinary fuels.

A majority of the vehicle owners have no choice as normal petrol and diesel have virtually gone missing from the market, Tarlochan Singh, a regular highway user, complained.

In fact, highway travel in personal vehicles was going out of reach with each passing day, Ashok Sharma, who regularly uses his car for commuting from Ambala to Panipat, says. Hefty toll tax coupled with the sale of only premium fuels have delivered another blow to the budget of the middle class, alleges the government employee.

With a view to cut huge losses incurred by the oil companies in the wake of the rising crude oil prices in the international market, the oil companies had recently mooted a proposal to sell only premium petrol and diesel in the municipal limits
of the major cities.

However, the move was resisted by the petrol station owners and the general public as it would have put additional burden on the vehicle owners.

Meanwhile, the association has decided not to take this "loot" lying down. "We plan to write to the union minister for petroleum and the management of the oil companies, highlighting these malpractices," Arora adds.



The woman behind India’s missile power
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
Missile woman Tessy Thomas is proud of her achievement in a quiet sort of way. The fact that she is the first woman scientist to head a key missile project, that she has broken the glass ceiling in yet another profession and that she is an inspiration for scores of women scientists doesn’t have her gushing about what she did right in the 20 years of service in the DRDO.

Instead, all she manages to say is that she was “only doing her job” ever since she started working on the Agni class of missiles right after her M. Tech.

In the city for a function of the Aeronautical Society of India, here today, Thomas, also dubbed as ‘Agni Putri’ (daughter of fire), says the Agni project and work on its variants has kept her fired and been a source of inspiration.

“Everyday is a learning curve in the life of a scientist. The project gave me the spirit to work for the nation. This elevation has only put me in the leading role. However, there’s a whole organisation working behind me for every little progress that we make in our Agni-II project,” she says.

The best thing about her service has been that there has never been any gender bias. “We were all scientists, no men and no women. Only scientists working towards a common goal. Discussions and sharing of knowledge, very important in our profession, was very free,” she maintains.

However, she has had her share of compromising on family time and making adjustments. “My husband is in the Navy. I was always doing the balancing act, trying to give my 100 per cent to my work and home,” she remarks.

Having joined the division working on Agni when former President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, was the Director of the Lab, she adds: “All my seniors as also Dr Kalam taught me only one thing, to be determined and never give up till the end. That is the one motto that I have imbibed from them,” she states.

Besides her work, she has one other interest - that of spending time with Tejas. No, the country's light combat fighter jet, Tejas, does not take up her after-work hours. Instead, Tejas is her tennage son who she has been exceptionally worried about.

“The past two years have gone by in focusing on him since he was doing his plus two. With his examination out of the way, I love to play badminton whenever I have time to spare,” she quips.

For now, she is tight-lipped about the new version of the Agni-II but is neck-deep in work. She says she never ever dreamt of reaching the position she is at. Now, she is even beginning to learn to dream.



Ward Nos. 1, 2, 3 cry for attention
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, June 18
Roads with potholes, hardly any sweepers and low water supply - the situation is almost the same in ward numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 in Zirakpur.

With a voter population of around 5,000, these wards consist mainly of colonies. Residents are hoping and waiting for development.

The residents of Saini Vihar Phase I in ward No 1 are unhappy over the fact that the roads have not been laid properly. They claim that they have been demanding a proper road since long.

“During the rainy season, the roads become swampy and a nightmare for two-wheeler riders”, says Varun, a resident of Saini Vihar Phase I.

“The water pressure is too low; streetlights do not function and in the absence of security guards during night, safety is a major concern,” says Surjit Singh, a resident of Ekta Vihar.

Streets, too, remain littered. “In the absence of sweepers, the authority concerned is not taking cleanliness seriously,” says Vivek, a shopkeeper at Baltana. He sums it up by saying the garbage was lying in vacant plots near the shops.

“We have brought this to the notice of the concerned authorities, however, no action has been taken so far. The nauseating stench from the garbage nearby also needs to be checked,” he said.

The residents of ward numbers 2 and 3 are also facing the problem of power shortage. Transformers do not work properly, claim residents of these wards.

However, ward No 4 has witnessed major development works. The residents are happy with the provisions of civic amenities here.

"We have got proper sewerage system and roads have also been well-developed," they said.



110 file nominations for Zirakpur poll
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 18
Campaigning is in full swing for the municipal elections in Zirakpur, Dera Bassi and Nayagaon. The filing of nominations ended yesterday.

While 110 candidates have filed their nomination from Zirakpur, another 84 filed their nominations in Dera Bassi and 102 candidates have filed their nomination in Nayagaon. The candidates include those fielded by major political parties.

In Zirakpur, Pavan Sharma has been fielded by the Congress from ward number 6. He will fight against former Congressman Lambardar Santokh Singh who is the SAD candidate from the ward.

Former MC chief N.K. Sharma, leading the Akali breakaway group, will oppose both these candidates from this ward.

Sharma has fielded 14 other candidates from his group for the elections. These include ward number 1: Shashi Goel, ward number 2: Sham Lal, ward number 3: Ajaib Singh, ward number 4: Amru Devi, ward number 5: Bharat Bhushan Chaudhry, ward number 7: Harmesh Kaur or Harpreet Kaur, ward number 8: Nachattar Singh, ward number 9: Surinder Singh, ward number 10: Parvinder Kaur, ward number 11: Dharminder Sharma, ward number 12: Jagtar Singh, ward number 13: Sheila Devi, ward number 14: Kulwinder Sohi and ward number 15: Shakuntala Devi. Many candidates fielded by Sharma include former councillors of the city.

Dera Bassi saw a major upset for the SAD when city president of the party Ravinder Vaishnav resigned from the party’s membership and declared himself an Independent candidate from ward number 4 after he was denied a ticket by the party.

SAD secretary Bhupinder Saini’s wife Ranjana Saini also filed her nomination as an Independent candidate from ward number 3.

SAD candidates here are Naresh Saini from ward number 1, Harjinder Rangi from ward number 4, Hari Om Dhiman from ward number 9, Jai Dayavir from ward number 10, Manjit Kaur Dali from ward number 11, Harjit Kaur from 12 and Tara Singh from ward number 13.

The BJP had released its list of candidates from Dera Bassi. The Congress candidates here include: ward number 1: Inderjit Singh Saini, ward number 2: Shobha Kapoor, ward number 3: Chaman Kumar Saini, ward number 4: Amritpal Singh Modi, ward number 5: Baljit Kaur, ward number 6: Ramesh Mahindru, ward number 7: Prem Singh, ward number 8: Geeta Jain, ward number 9: Amrik Chand Dhiman, ward number 10: Dr Ashok Verma, ward number 11: Raj Bala, ward number 12: Manpreet Kaur and ward number 13: Bimla Devi.

The candidates were accompanied by senior leaders of the party during the filing of the nominations. The election commission had extended the time limit for filing of the nominations from 3 pm to 6 pm.

Wasting no time, the candidates have begun campaigning. Capt Kanwaljit Singh visited various wards in Zirakpur today as part of the campaigning.

Kamal Kishore of Khizrabad village has been made incharge of the BJP candidates fielded by the party in three areas.

BJP district president Khushwant Rai Giga said Kamal Kishore would be coordinating the election campaign of BJP candidates.



Debt-waiver plan for farmers
Banks appoint grievance redressal officials
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
As many as 3.42 lakh loan cases of farmers in Haryana as compared to 1.57 lakh cases in Punjab are likely to be settled under the Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme announced in Budget 2008-09.

NC Jain, general manager, Punjab National Bank, Chandigarh, stated this while talking to mediapersons here today.

For smooth implementation of the relief schemes, the State-Level Banker Committee at Chandigarh and Ludhiana had created dedicated cells. All the banks had appointed Grievance Redressal Officials.

Jain said according to the report submitted by the banks to the RBI on Tuesday, the farmers in Punjab would be benefited to the tune of Rs 608 crore as compared to Rs 1,037 crore in Haryana.

Talking about the scheme, Jain said under the debt- waiver, the entire amount of small and marginal farmers, of legible loans disbursed up to March 31, 2007, and overdue as on December 31, 2007, and remaining unpaid till February 29, 2008, was to be waived.

Whereas under the debt-relief scheme, a rebate of 25 per cent is allowed and in case of revenue district OTS rebate of 25 per cent of eligible amount or Rs 20,000, whichever is higher, is to be waived.

He stated that the convener bank, PNB, in both the states had constituted a special steering committee for monitoring and implementing the scheme.



Streetlight upkeep in southern sectors to be privatised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
After the privatisation of nine parks, including the greenbelts of the city, the municipal corporation is now all set to privatise the maintenance of streetlights of the southern sectors.

The corporation had recently privatised greenbelts and parks of Sectors 20 and 36 and now is further looking to privatise five more greenbelts, including that of Sectors 22, 46 and 48.

Proposals to this effect will be discussed and taken up during the monthly meeting of the Finance and Contract Committee to be held on June 27.

The private contractor, who earlier looked after the maintenance of the parks, will now be given the contract to maintain the streetlights of all the southern sectors.

Sources in the municipal corporation said the corporation, after looking at the deteriorating condition of the streetlights especially in the southern sectors, would propose their privatisation.

The contractor would be responsible for every single streetlight falling under his area, including the maintenance, efficient lighting and proper covering of the high- retention electric wires of the streetlights.

Mayor Pradeep Chhabra told The Tribune that after the improvement of public parks after privatisation, the corporation was now looking to privatise the maintenance of streetlights.

“I will take up the proposal in the F&CC meeting. Besides ensuring 100 per cent performance, the contractor will be liable to incur a fine if he fails to maintain the streetlights.”



Govt-Radha Swami mgmt imbroglio resolved
Dera to give 34 acres to GMADA
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 18
The six-year-old imbroglio between the Punjab Government and the Radha Swami Satsang, Beas, management over encroachment of government land by the dera in Mohali has been resolved.

The management had been given 200 acres of land in Sector 76 more than six years ago. However, while constructing the boundary wall, the dera management included, within its limits, almost 34 acres of land towards its north earmarked as institutional land by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA).

The Punjab Government had been half-heartedly pursuing the matter with the dera’s management but the matter remained unresolved. Numerous notices were issued but nothing came out of it. The dera management had been seeking extension on one pretext or the other.

The matter was resolved during the meeting of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) held under the chairmanship of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal yesterday.

“The dera’s management has agreed to give up 34 acres of land towards its south provided we allow them to keep the 34 acres they have encroached upon in the north,” said GMADA chief administrator Vivek Pratap Singh. The 34 acres to the dera’s south would be handed over to GMADA.

“The dera management has also agreed to hand over 1.78 acres of land in Phase VII to GMADA. The Chief Minister has also approved that this piece of land, opposite the main market in Mohali, be allowed to be used commercially,” said Vivek Pratap.

It was further decided that GMADA would hand over eight acres out of the 34 acres released by the dera to the 13 housing societies which had been recently promised land by the Chief Minister.

Another two acres would be given to the Semi Conductors Limited (SCL) in lieu of the land they gave up near the gate for the widening of the road.

“We will still be left with 24 acres of land which can be put to better use,” said Vivek Pratap.



Joshi Autozone to replace car AC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed Joshi Autozone Private Limited to replace the defunct air-conditioner of the car of the complainant, Rajnish Mahajan, and to pay litigation costs of Rs 550.

The agency had refused to repair the air-conditioner despite it being within the warranty period.

Mahajan claimed that he gave his car for service to Joshi Autozone in the
Industrial Area. He asked them to repair the car’s air-conditioner, which was not working efficiently.

At the time of delivery of the car, the agency added the charges of the air-conditioner's repair. When the complainant asked them about the warranty, the agency refused to pay heed.

On the other hand, Joshi Autozone pleaded that condenser of the air-conditioner was damaged due to external impact, which doesn't count in the warranty.

After listening to both the parties, the forum observed that the agency was liable to repair the compressor of the air-conditioner and by refusing to do so it had caused harassment to the consumer. It, therefore, directed the agency to repair the compressor free of cost.



Book Voyage launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
To promote reading habits among the children, Yuvsatta, an NGO, today launched Book Voyage, a book reading promotion programme, in Bapu Dham Colony, Sector 26, here.

Pooja Sharma, member, Chandigarh Social Welfare Board inaugurated the programme. Shailender, a student of Class X in GMHS, Sector 26, and incharge of Kitab Ghar, a children's library started by Yuvsatta in Bapu Dham Colony, said, “ In this campaign children of the area will be motivated to read more and more books during their summer vacations. And at the end of the month long campaign, best five children, who have read maximum number of books, will be honoured with cash prizes and gifts.”

Parmod Sharma, coordinator, Yuvsatta, said, “ People, especially students, remain glued to TV, mobile and video games more than the books. Majority of people perceive reading as an academic exercise. The kids who learn to read when they're young are less likely to end up in prison, drop out of school, or take drugs.”



Constable test on July 22
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
A written test for the post of constable will be held on July 22, followed by driving skill test, which will be held from July 23 to 27.

Interview of the qualified candidates will be held on July 29. The written test of 2040 candidates for posts of 270 constable in the Chandigarh Police got cancelled.

The investigation revealed that an accused took money from candidates for leaking of the question paper.



65-yr-old man found dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
Karnail Singh, a 65-year-old man, was found lying dead on the road, near the market, in Hallomajra here yesterday morning.

Ruling out the possibility of any foul play behind the death, the police said no visible injury mark was found on the body.

According to the police, the death came to light at around 9 am. On reaching the spot, the police found the man lying dead.

The family members of the deceased told the police that Karnail Singh was not under the control of the family and was addicted to alcohol.

The deceased was said to be under the influence of liquor. Meanwhile, inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC have been started.



Seventysix donate blood
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
Adviser to the UT Administrator Pradip Mehra today inaugurated a blood donation camp organised by the UT

Administration in association with the department of transfusion medicine of the PGI. The camp was held at the conference hall of the UT Secretariat.

Mehra interacted with donors and encouraged them to donate blood regularly. Senior officers and employees donated blood during the camp. As many as 76 volunteers donated blood during the camp.

Senior officials, including IGP S. K. Jain, home-cum-finance secretary Sanjay Kumar and special secretary finance Raji P. Shrivastava, were present on the occasion.



Make railway ticketing easy

While very few people seem to buy railway ticket through Internet, and most, until now, had little choice but to bear the agony of queuing up at the railway counter, postal department's proposal to tie up with the Indian Railways brings good respite.

Much to the commuters' delight, railway tickets will soon be sold through the post offices in sectors 17, 22, 47 and PGI all of which are ideal locations.

The postal department should invest in their young staff for this job, to produce the robotic efficiency that would be expected of them due to the new assignment.

The Indian Railways should install automatic ticket vending machines at the city railway station and at the post offices. Not only it will lessen inconvenience, it will also put an end to the scuffles between railway staff and travelers.

Rajesh Krishan, Chandigarh



Power Shutdown


Power supply will remain suspended on Thursday in Sector 41 and Badheri village from 10 am to 3 pm due to some maintenance work.



Summer workshop for kids concludes
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 18
A 15-day summer workshop concluded with a cultural programme at Chandigarh Press Club here today.

The children, trained by artistes from the local Pracheen Kala Kendra, displayed their skills on the occasion.

Malkit Singh, a prominent comedian, staged a play highlighting current issues. The 22-minute play depicted increasing incidents of murders in the city along with other subjects relating to social life, price rise and politics.

While Harpreet Kaur took the art and craft classes at the camp, Ravinder Sharma trained the children in various dances. The children performed folk and western dances at the function.

They performed solo as well as group dances. The workshop ended on a colourful note with a display of beautiful drawings and paintings by the children. An exhibition of toys and other items prepared by the children was also held on the occasion.



Workshop at GGDSD College
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
A two-day workshop on molecular biology is being conducted in GGDSD College, Sector 32, here, as part of the Faculty Development Programme.

The participants include faculty members from the host college and nearby
colleges of Chandigarh.

The workshop, sponsored by Bangalore Genie, gave an opportunity to participants to have hands on experience on different techniques in molecular biology.

Dr A.C. Vaid, principal of the college, said, "Such workshops should be conducted on a regular basis to enhance the teaching skills of the faculty."



Central Status for PU
Dental staff, students join protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
Doctors and students of the Dr H S Judge Institute of Dental Sciences (IDS), Panjab University, sat on fast today to join the ongoing agitation for the central university status for PU.

Dr Devinder Preet Singh and Dr Rajiv Rattan, joined by the dental students, Rohit Balu, Udey Singh and Paramveer Singh, joined the chain fast.

Expressing worry on the serious financial crunch the university is undergoing,
Udey Singh, wondered how PU would secure clearance from the Dental Council of India (DCI) without constructing a hospital of 100 beds, which is a pre-condition
of the council.

“PU must be complemented for meeting a serious need of setting up such an independent dental institute, but it is a big challenge to realise the dream. If PU is not given a massive dose of funds, which we hope would flow automatically once it is declared a central university, it is not easy to go ahead with the project,” said Dr Devinder Preet Singh.



PU declares results
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
Panjab University has declared the results of ME (electronics and communication) first semester, MTech (engineering education) spell III, ME (electronics and communication) spell III, ME (construction technology and management) spell V, MTech (engineering education) modular programme spell I, MTech (engineering education) spell V, ME (construction technology and management) spell I, BE (construction technology and management) spell III, MA (defence studies) part II, BSc Honours (biotechnology) first year, BSc Honours (biotechnology) second year, MSc (nuclear medicine) first year, BSc Honours (geology) second year and ME (manufacturing technology) modular programme spell III.



Exemptions in RTI Act
Give information if it is in public interest: HC
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that information prohibited under the Right to Information (RTI) Act can also be provided. The information has to be given if “public interest outweighs private interest”.

The RTI Act was enacted in 2005. In Section 8 of the Act, as many as 10 “exemptions” have been provided, under which “there shall be no obligation to give any citizen” the specified information. In at least four “exemptions”, absolute Bar does not exist, the high court has ruled.

Taking up civil writ petition number 9427 of 2008, challenging denial of information in a selection matter, the high court Division Bench of Justice M.M. Kumar and Justice Sabina has ruled: “A perusal of the Sections shows that there is absolute Bar on six out of 10 exemptions - namely clauses (a), (b), (c), (f), (g) and (h)”.

The clauses pertain to information, the disclosure of which “should prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India”; which has been “expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal; which would “cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the state legislature”; which is “received in confidence from the foreign government”; which “would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the sources of information”; and which “would impede the process of investigation”.

The bench has further ruled: The central or the state public information officer has been left with no option, except to refuse to divulge information in respect of the subjects covered by these six clauses”.

In its detailed order, the bench has added: “For the rest of the subjects covered
by clauses (d), (e), (h) and (i) of Section 8 of the Act, the information officers have to record findings by assessing the comparative weight between the public interest and secrecy”.

The clauses relate to information, which is “commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property”; which is “available to a person in fiduciary relationship”; and which is on “cabinet papers, including records of deliberations of council of ministers, secretaries and other officers”.

The bench has held: “If public interest outweighs private interest, information has to be divulged. Otherwise, the officer could record refusal to divulge.”

The Judges said: “It only prohibits the furnishing of information, which relates to an individual and the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest or it would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of the individual unless the central or the state public information officer or the appellate authority is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information”.



Police remand for pimp, 2 hotel managers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
The trio, including the two managers of Hotel Moon and Venus, Sector 35, Rajinder and Dayanand, and the pimp Mohammad Alam, who was arrested for running a call-girl racket, was sent to three days’ police remand by the court here today.

Another pimp Dilip along with a call girl was arrested from Sector 45 here this evening. According to Vijay Kumar, DSP, Operation Cell, Dilip was caught by sending a decoy customer.

Hotel Moon and Venus in Sector 35 came under the scanner when the police, on receiving secret information, yesterday arrested 14 persons, including six call girls, from the hotel and a rented accommodation in Sector 45.

Those arrested included two managers, Rajinder and Dayanand, pimp Mohammad Alam, his wife Sashi Alam, Muhammad Kalam, a three-wheeler driver, and three customers. Hotel owner Dr Kuldeep and his partner Mahabir are still missing.

During the proceedings in the court, the public prosecutor demanded five-day police remand to interrogate the two managers and the main accused Mohammad Alam.

The prosecutor said the police was to find out from where the girls belonged. There was possibility of some other person being involved in the racket, which the police wanted to investigate.

The defence counsel countered the public prosecutor, saying that the police had nabbed the accused and no more recoveries or arrests were to be made. The police was just wasting time.

According to sources in the police, Mohammad Alam, the main accused, used to fix deals through his mobile phone and thereafter sent the customer to the hotel. The payments were made to the manager present in the hotel, before the customer was given a particular room number.

The girls were from Assam and West Bengal, who were working as prostitutes in one of the prostitution dens and the payments were directly made to the owners in the den. Each girl was paid Rs 20,000 per month.

The girls were brought to Chandigarh on the pretext of employing them in the city. Mohammad Alam hailed from Bihar and brought the girls to the city. The girls, after a time, were sent back to their native state and new girls were arranged.

A couple of girls involved in the racket are minor, said the sources. “I was called on the pretext of a job in one of the private banks here in the city. However, of late I was forcibly pushed into prostitution by the owners of the hotel”, said one of the girls, a graduate.

The sources said the police laid a trap here yesterday and sent a decoy customer to arrange a girl from the pimp. When the pimp arranged a girl for the decoy at the hotel, the police swooped down and nabbed them.



Mercy would be insult to senior citizens: Judge
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 18
Additional District and Sessions Judge Panchkula Dr Shiva Sharma, who sentenced assailants of Major-General K C Dhingra (retd.) and his wife Sangeeta to death on Friday last, has noted in his verdict that any mercy to the killers would be an insult to the entire community and particularly the senior citizens who are in the last stage of their lives.

Cold-blood killing of the couple by a domestic help for money made the case as the rarest of rare.

In his nine-page verdict, Justice Sharma has stated that Anand was a domestic servant of the deceased and he betrayed the trust of his employer.

“This was a gruesome murder of the two senior citizens. Major-General Dhingra has been a decorated officer. He was a saviour of the nation,” he said.

Justice Sharma did not accept the arguments of defence counsel that leniency should be shown to the two as they were poor persons without any previous criminal background.

The counsel had also stated that both Anand and Rajan were the only breadwinners for their respective families after the death of their fathers.

Their legal aid counsel Anju Suri had also argued for a lenient view because of the “young age” of her clients. She had also pleaded against death penalty on grounds that the case was based only on circumstantial evidence.

However, Justice Sharma set aside all pleadings on grounds that the punishment must respond to the society’s loud cry.

“The case falls in the category of the rarest of rare cases and mercy to the convicts under these circumstances would be quite misplaced and an insult to the entire humanity, particularly the senior citizens in their evening of lives”.

“There are no mitigating circumstances for taking a lenient view in the matter. Heartless convicts Anand Kindo and Rajan do not deserve mercy of this court and sparing them from gallows will be nothing short of letting loose greedy maniacs on the prowl”, pronounced Justice Sharma.



Slogans alone won’t do
Rooms in Sec 17 BSNL office left with lights on
Jyoti Rai and Sandeep Rana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
"Save one unit a day, keep power cut away," is one of the several power-saving logos one encounters on stepping in the BSNL Building, sector 17, here. But the officials themselves seem to believe otherwise.

Without turning off lights, fans, computers and air conditioners they leave their rooms everyday.

There was not a single empty room with their lights and fans switched off when a Tribune team walked in the BSNL premises today.

While a logo saying, "Switch off your ACs before you leave your room," can be seen outside almost every cabin on the third floor. Walking inside, one finds empty rooms with computers, air conditioners, fans and lights on with no one inside.

Amit Singhal, general manager, BSNL, Chandigarh, responded on the situation by saying, "The stickers do not mean that every time one walks out of office, lights and fans have to be switched off. But instead, when an official leaves the office in the evening, that is when it applies."

"We obviously cannot turn out the lights and fans during the day, or else people will think there is no one in the office," he added.

It seems that the BSNL officials are least bothered about the situation. The entire move of the pamphlets and stickers put up in the entire building is a hoax.

Cabin numbers 302 to 305, 308 to 310, 327 to 329,and 339 to 341 were among many rooms on the third floor with no one present and all the electrical switches turned on.

BSNL chief civil engineer Behl's office also had no one inside and again all the fans and lights were turned on.

The problem unveils another question as well. After all, why these rooms are empty on a weekday, when it is neither lunch or break timings?

A reporter was in the building for around one to two hours, and almost 80 per cent cabins had no officer inside them.

The general argument is that, these officials are in the field during the day. But another senior official commented that electricity was just to give an impression that someone was there in the office.

V.K. Gupta, who heads the concerned division, reacted with a cynical smile, and commented,"Do you have a solution for the problem? At least the stickers are providing awareness. All the fans, lights and PC's switches are manually controlled. It's up to every individual in the building to turn off the lights every time one leaves the office."



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