C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Home dream gets dearer
3-bedroom flat goes for Rs 68 lakh 2-bedroom Rs 40.54 lakh 1-bedroom Rs 23 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
Bad news for those looking for a flat at a reasonable price. Bidding for various categories of flats under the Sector 63 housing scheme of the CHB, held here today, is almost certain to further push up property prices in the tricity.The bidding was done under the assured allotment scheme.

As expected, in the three-bedroom category, the board earned Rs 68 lakh for each of the 16 flats reserved. The bid amount was Rs 28.43 lakh above the reserve price of Rs 39.57 lakh.

This despite the parliamentary standing committee on urban affairs recently observing that the prices of dwelling units in the area are too high for the common man.

It seems, speculators posing as investors, have attempted to push up the prices of flats.Whereas a furnished ready-to-occupy three-bedroom flat with an area of 1,424 sq ft is available for Rs 50 lakh, today’s bid for the same was Rs 68 lakh. Similarly, the price of a furnished two-bed room with an area of 1075 sq ft starts from Rs 35 lakh against today’s bidding price of Rs 40.54 lakh.

Officials say CHB flats are preferred because of the city’s proximity to the upcoming international airport. Another reason is that while the ownership of flats of coop societies is after five year of land allotment , the flats under the assured allotment scheme can be transferred immediately and money paid in instalments.

A bidder had quoted Rs 1.56 crore for the three-bedroom flat. Real estate consultants said the successful bid price was higher than the market price of partially furnished dwelling units, but the incentive of immediate transfer of ownership was a big attraction for investors who could pay the money in white.

Another attraction was that some flats in each of the three categories on the first and second floors had been set apart for bidders who had quoted a price for flats higher than the reserve rate.

“It is not the city which is riding high on the real estate boom Recent auction of residential property redefined the real estate market. The high bidding is along expected lines,” said N.K. Marwaha, a real estate consultant.

A two-bedroom flat fetched about Rs 40.54 lakh, which was Rs 11.40 lakh above the reserve price. The two highest bidders in this category quoted a price of Rs 1 crore each, but all 42 two-bedroom flats were allotted at Rs 40.54 lakh each.

A one-bedroom flat fetched Rs 23 lakh. This was about Rs 5 lakh above the reserve price of Rs 17,15,744 lakh.

The two highest bidders in this category also quoted a price of Rs 1 crore each but all 26 flats were allotted at Rs 23 lakh. There was a tie between two applicants for the 26th flat in this category. Both quoted Rs 23 lakh each.

A draw of lots will be held in this case.

A spokesman for the board said 2,582 persons had bid for 84 flats. Out of a total of 304 three-bedroom flats, 16 had been set aside under this sub-scheme for which there were 1,200 bidders. There were 1,076 bidders for 42 two-bedroom flats available for assured allotment out of a total of 836 such flats.

For the 26 one-bedroom flats, there were 306 applicants. The draw for the remaining flats in other categories will be held separately.



Councillors walk out; MC meeting over in minutes
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 26
Councillors of the opposition party, along with two from the ruling group, staged a walkout from the monthly MC meeting here this afternoon.

Alleging corruption, they protested against the inability of the council to remove roadside vendors. The councillors alleged that council inspectors were taking a monthly fee from vendors, which was being given to the council chief and councillors of the ruling party.

The issue of roadside vendors was taken up before the agenda could be discussed. Gyan Chand Aggarwal and Suresh Lucky, both of the ruling group, walked out after saying that council president Rajinder Singh Rana had failed to do anything about the vendors and the whole exercise of deploying inspectors to collect ground rent reeked of corruption.

Following this, opposition councillors led by Kuljit Singh Bedi and Paramjit Singh Kahlon also walked out, saying that the council chief had also failed to maintain cleanliness in the city. “The ruling group councillors and the chief are hand in glove with safai contractors and no effort is made to ensure that the contractors do their work,” Phoolraj alleged.

B.B. Maini also said the council chief had allowed hoardings all over the city in violation of a Punjab and Haryana High Court order. Showing the orders, he said even the process of allotting tender with regard to hoardings was done in a shady manner. The councillors demanded a CBI or vigilance probe into the matter.

Paramjit Singh Kahlon and Amrik Singh said the city was dotted with garbage and nothing had been done by the council since it came to power. S.S. Barnala said there was no check on the uncontrolled growth of congress grass.

Only 11 members were left at the meeting after the walkout. The meeting was wrapped up in a few minutes.

Talking to mediapersons, Rajinder Singh Rana alleged that the opposition group was working on the instigation of Capt Kanwaljit Singh and wanted to ensure that no work was done.

He said the allegations were false and there was no high court order regarding the installation of roadside hoardings.



Parking lot auction fetches MC Rs 1.19 cr
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
The municipal corporation earned around Rs 1.19 cr as revenue from the auction of its eight parking lots in Sectors 22, 35, 34 and 9 held at the municipal corporation office, here today.

While the parking area at Fun Republic, Mani Majra, with a reserved price of Rs 35.60 lakh, could not be auctioned for want of bidders, the parking area in front of Lake Club fetched Rs 19.51 lakh against a reserved price of Rs 12.11 lakh.

At Himalaya Marg in Sector 35, the parking area was auctioned for Rs 21.70 lakh against a reserved price of Rs 17.44 lakh.

The parking area opposite bus stand, Sector 22, fetched Rs 25 lakh against Rs 21.75 lakh as reserved price.

The parking area in Sector 9 was auctioned for Rs 14.74 lakh against a reserved price of Rs 12.08 lakh, while the parking in front of Himalaya Marg, Sector 22, went for Rs 18.05 lakh against Rs 11.71 lakh as reserved price. Against a reserved price of Rs 6.18 lakh, the parking lot of Sector 22-C earned Rs 8.51 lakh.



Open school system to help dropouts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
Keeping the universalisation of secondary education (USE) on priority, the education department, through the State Institute of Education (SIE), has proposed to set up an open school system.

This would benefit Class VIII passouts seeking admission at the secondary stage. The Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan project would take care of the funds.

The proposal was mooted following an observation by the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) that dropouts in the age group of 14-18 years deserved their due place in the education system. The administration has approached the ministry of human resources development in this regard.

Chanchal Singh of the district education department has been appointed nodal officer for submitting a report about establishing an open school cell in the city.

After examining the viability of the programme, SIE officials had stated in a report submitted to the education department that the cells could be opened in some government schools and principals could be assigned the duty of heading these centres.

The DPI (S), S.K. Setia, said, “We have approached the ministry to suggest us ways so that we can proceed further in this matter. Children will be admitted to secondary, senior secondary and vocational education. The centres will be accredited with the Regional Centre of National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) in Chandigarh.”


Palsora road a nightmare for motorists
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
A stretch of Palsora road leading to Mohali has become a virtual death trap for motorists, especially those commuting during night.

Congress grass and unkempt open areas being used for dumping of debris has aggravated the problem.

The absence of streetlights coupled with potholes has made the travel on the road a nightmare for motorists.

Among road users, two-wheeler riders are the worst affected with a large number of stray animals from nearby villages coming on to the road.

Drive during night becomes all the more precarious for motorists as they have to often come to a screeching halt to avoid hitting potholes. In the process, unsuspecting tailing vehicles end up crashing into the former.

The main road presents a picture of neglect and reflects the indifferent attitude of the authorities concerned as it has not been repaired or re-carpeted for the past few years, much to the chagrin of motorists.

The stretch of the road is in a dilapidated state and is full of potholes, some around a foot deep, posing a grave threat to motorist.

Wild overgrowth, garbage and dry leaves compound the problem, says R.N. Sharma, a resident of Sector 55.

Sources in the municipal corporation said the maintenance of roads was with the UT administration and would be handed over to the corporation after the widening of the roads was finished.

However, sources in the administration said the road was handed over to the corporation a few months ago but the corporation refused to take charge insisting that the administration should re-carpet the road before handing it over.

Road committee chairman Ravinder Singh Pali said: “The road belongs to the administration. It will hand the road over to the corporation after the widening and re-carpeting work is over.”



Free parking lots nobody’s baby
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
Free parking lots in the city are nobody’s baby as the municipal corporation has yet to affix the responsibility for their upkeep and maintenance.

There are six free parking lots in Sector 17 earmarked by the corporation for two-wheelers, but these are in a state of neglect.

In two such lots located behind Gurdev Photo Studio and Azad Hind Store, metalled road has not been constructed ever since these were earmarked as free lots in the area.

On the contrary, most roads of paid parking lots have not only been constructed once but have been recarpeted at the scheduled time of five years.

The authorities have spent money on even those parking lots where re-carpeting or repairs are not required.

In Sector 17, the corporation is carrying out work on re-carpeting roads in paid parking lots behind Gurdev studio, but the free parking lot just adjoining it has been left untouched.

Under the PWD rules, every road in the city has to be recarpeted every five years irrespective of its condition.

However, this rule does not seem to be applicable to free parking lots.

Beside, a specially constituted committee of the corporation makes surprise checks to inspect the condition of paid parking lots and their functioning, but officials and members have never visited free parking lots to assess their condition.

MC paid parking committee chairman M.P.S. Chawla said they had never visited free parking lots to check their condition.

He said he only headed paid parking committee and had no control on free parking lots of the city.

An official said if the authorities were not interest in maintaining free parking lots, they should convert these into paid ones so that the corporation could generate revenue and these were maintained well for use by public.



Road panel nod to building pavements
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
The roads committee of the municipal corporation has decided to construct paved surface along different roads and markets across the city.

A meeting was held under the chairmanship of Ravinder Pal Singh and was attended by members of the committee.

The committee has accorded approval to various agendas, including the rough cost estimate for PCC tiles in Muslim graveyard at the cremation ground, Sector 25, for Rs 9.53 lakh, 40 mm-thick pavement tiles in the Sector 23 market, around the police station in Sector 3 and in front of the green belt, Sector 20.

Other agenda items includes setting up of pavement tiles in the market of Sector 24 C and D, Sector 18-C market, on the road berm of V-4 road in Sector 31 C and D, inside Shrub Garden, Sector 46 C and D, and the construction of PCC path in the green belt of Sector 15.



Experts dwell on performance management
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
“The real success of performance management is to create performance-oriented culture as it brings transparency, openness and an enabling environment.” This was stated by speakers during a one-day training programme on performance management organised at PHD House, here yesterday.

Over 30 representatives of industrial houses in and around the city participated in the programme.

The major areas discussed were performance appraisal, appraisal system and performance-based compensation.

C.M. Krishna, honorary adviser, PHD Chamber, New Delhi, said the main objective of the programme was to explore different dimensions of performance management so as to enable participants to visualise and perceive their role and lead the organisation towards excellence.

He said that in the present scenario, human knowledge and human resources were the major assets of any organisation. The forces of globalisation had made organisations borderless and approachable, thereby exposing them to cut-throat competitiveness, he observed.

“Sustained effectiveness of organisations largely depends on their ability to manage performance and develop capabilities of their human resource,” said Dr A.N. Saxena, vice-president, World Academy of Productivity Science (WAPS), New Delhi.

Long-term competitive advantages depend upon the ability to attract, manage, develop and retain high quality talent, he added.

“Innovation, creativity and empowerment in a participative environment give a globally competitive advantage,” felt A.A. Niazi, consultant and adviser, WAPS, New Delhi.

The workshop focused on employees performance management processes, establishing performance goals, developing performance plans, establishing and acting upon the mechanism for observations and feedback, identifying performance problems, evaluating and rewarding performance and taking administrative decisions.



Mining resumes at Ghaggar
Prices of sand, gravel set to dip
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 26
The prices of coarse sand and gravel (bajri) are likely to fall substantially in the region after mining has started once again at Ghaggar river here since yesterday.

Following this, a few stone crushers and washing plants have also started working again after a gap of almost three months.

Prices of sand and gravel had spiralled in and around Panchkula which had led to substantial increase in the cost of construction. Gravel, which was being sold at the rate of Rs 600 per hundred cubic feet, was costing up to Rs 1,500. The price of small gravel (jeera) used for laying upper layers of lintel and submersible pumps had also increased substantially.

In fact, mining was suspended at the quarrying sites at Ghaggar and other rivulets of Panchkula on April 7 following litigation in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Mining contractors have appealed before the court that the stipulation of environment clearance did not apply to them, as had been notified by the Government of India in 2006, and demanded by the Haryana mining department.

However, after mining at the rivers was stopped, works being carried out in Panchkula district were hit as material was not available to government agencies like PWD. Roads in the district awaiting repair remained in a shambles as contractors expressed their helplessness in carrying out the work in view of high prices of gravel.

However, mines and geology department, Panchkula, has granted permission for extraction of boulder, gravel and sand at 55 minor minerals quarries comprising of 10 different zones of the district on short-term permit basis.

After the permission, it will still take at least one week to start work in full swing as there is no labour at the site.

“The labourers had left for their native places in the absence of work during the past three months. Moreover, prices are not likely to come down to the level they stood at as on April 7 when mining was suspended as fuel prices and inflation have touched new heights,” said Om Parkash, president of the Washing Plant Association, Burj Kotian.



BSNL Blues
Dial customer care service for inconvenience
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
BSNL customer care services are becoming a major irritant for customers, for these end up as a time-consuming exercise without mitigating their problem. Ironically, BSNL desk executives are also confused about the ambit of the help being extended by such helplines.

Due to confusion prevailing in the helpline services, complaints of customers are registered but no action is taken on them.

When the TNS made a random call to customer care service to lodge a complaint for dead phone number on “12678”, it was put through after a long delay.

The executive responded by saying that the problem would be solved by evening, the same day.

Interestingly, this helpline caters to only those customers with broadband related problems.

The compliant was registered at 12 pm and no response had been received from the BSNL till 7.15 pm.

Also, to connect and register a complaint on routine helpline “198” is another harrowing exercise.

Usually, the line remains busy the entire day. And if one gets lucky, it is a test for the consumer to lodge their complaint as the phone gets disconnected within 40 seconds (fixed pulse time). If one fails, they have to queue up again to get their complaint registered.

Besides, online services being provided by the BSNL are also shoddy. An online customer revealed that he had been trying to pay his bill through online billing on the BSNL website for the past three days, but to no avail, as the payment column of the facility had been unable to process the request.

He stated that he had to pay fine for delay in making the payment of bill.

He questioned the wisdom in extending such service if it remained nonfunctional.

BSNL general manager Naresh Sharma said they had not received any compliant regarding online services for bill payment.

He said they had appointed trained staff at the executive desk of the customer care services to deal with the problems. But the services needed to be improved further to save the customers from facing such harassments, he added.



Cable theft causing BSNL losses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
In spite of the intensification of efforts by the BSNL, cable wires are still being stolen.

Sources said last week about seven cable wires were stolen from under a manhole on the road dividing Sectors 34 and 44, after which almost 5,000 telephones in various sectors, including Sectors 31, 32 and 45, went dead. Last month, thieves decamped with cable wires after breaking a manhole cover in Sector 42.

Thieves stole 90 metres of cable wire from various parts of Sectors 32, 37, 38 and 40 last year.

With the rise in cable theft, the BSNL is facing huge losses. Moreover, with frequent disconnection of telephones following the thefts, the bill collection has also dropped.

Sources said there was a manhole cover after every 200 metres and there was a possibility of “technical hands” behind the thefts. V.K. Bedi, divisional engineering, BSNL, said more than 20 to 25 incidents of theft had been reported in the recent past.

Sudrashan Thakur, SHO of the Sector 34 police station, said the matter was under investigation and efforts were on to trace the culprits. Night patrolling had also been intensified.



International Day
Against Drug Abuse
City slums on a high
Jyoti Rai and Ishaan Prakash

— Tribune photographs

Sitting in a dingy room in the slums of Mauli Jagran, Shanti (name changed) has a somber look on her face. An HIV +ve sex worker, she also dabbles frequently in drugs and alcohol. Her husband, a chronic intravenous drug (IVD) user, died a year ago, leaving her to fend for herself and her sons.

“My time is up. At least these drugs make me feel good for some time,” she says. When asked about her two children she says: “They will be raised, someone will take care of them.”

This is just one of many stories from the dusty lanes of slums in the city.

The scourge of drugs plagues over 60 per cent of the rural Chandigarh. The demography of those addicted spans the entire population — from children to the old indulging in drugs of some form or the other.

The drugs range from correctional fluid to crack cocaine and opium.

At an age when kids in these slums should be going to school, they can be found semiconscious in streets past midnight, sniffing fluid, and boot polish solution or consuming Iodex. Many sniff petrol, and even burned used sanitary napkins.

Enter into adolescence and they get acquainted with higher drugs like bhang and ganja, and further with smack, heroine.

These drugs are easily available with local kingpins who deal with drug peddlers. Within Rs 300 in your pocket, one can easily buy 3 to 4 gm of any drug.

On whether they ever get caught, the kids reply: “Hisab kitaab to apko bhi pata hai. Ab hum kya bolen.” (You know the truth. There isn’t much for us to say.)

When short on money, these kids do not hesitate cutting iron grills from government parks, stealing water taps and manhole covers and selling them to junk dealers.

Many also pickpocket or mug people in dark alleys at night.

Bheem (10) from Bapu Dham started abusing correction fluid at the age of five. “At least four to five bottles a day is normal for me,” he says. Bheem has been admitted to several de-addiction camps, but has managed to escape each time.

In worse cases, addicts resort to injections and syringes. Not just the conventional ones, but cocktails of several pet injection fluids as well. One of the most common injection drugs available is diazepam and avinil, also known as IVD’s — its potency an added threat. “Three persons died recently due to IVD overdose at our village. Their hands and legs were full of boils due to repeated injection of drugs. Their condition was so bad that they had started praying for death,” says Surinder, a resident of Mauli Jagran.

Suren (21) from Bapu Dham has tried all kinds of drugs in the past eight years. He was put into rehabilitation two times, which cost his father, a vegetable vendor, around Rs 15,000.

His father says, “Six months ago, he went back to drugs. Even with an eight-month-old child, things have not changed. We have lost hope. He has now started beating up his wife, asking for money for drugs.”

Even though NGOs have been working in city slums, the addiction rate has shot up in the past five years.



Addiction up, but NDPS cases down
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Even as drug addiction is on the rise, with the Narcotics Control Bureau putting the figure of addicts in India at 90 lakh, the number of cases registered by the Chandigarh Police under the NDPS Act are on a decline.

Compared to 181 cases registered in 2006, 144 cases were registered under the NDPS Act last year. The figure for the first six months of this year stand at 44.

However, there has been a marginal increase in the seizure of drugs as 98.8 kg of drugs were seized in 2007 as against 91.4 kg in the preceding year.

In a city with a population of over 11 lakh, with three lakh residing in slums, the situation of drug addiction is alarming. Statistics apart, the question bothering the administration and the police is how to tackle the menace.

The first-ever case was detected in Sector 38-A by the police in 1983 when some Nigerian students staying there were nabbed with smack.

Experts say that the city is now a major transit point for drug smugglers from Amritsar, Ferozepur, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. The police has from time to time apprehended a few people involved in the racket following a tip-off, but the magnitude of the problem remains.

According to Shja Mohan, director, Narcotics Control Bureau, about 90 lakh Indians are under the influence of drugs. Besides ganja, charas, opium and poppy husk, heroin is commonly used. Of the 144 cases registered last year, 100 cases were of heroin smuggling alone.

A total of 88 persons were arrested on charges of drug peddling in 2004 while 172 were arrested in 2005 and 184 in 2006.

As many as 148 were apprehended for drug smuggling in 2007 as against 44 arrested till May 2008.

Police officials say a new trend of women drugs peddlers has caught on in the city. The absence of women police personnel on streets makes it easy for them to operate.

Mercifully, the conviction rate under the NDPS Act remains high. In 2006, the rate was 89.74 per cent as compared to 75 per cent in 2007.



Private de-addiction centres a hell
Jyoti Rai/Ishaan Prakash

In the absence of proper administrative checks, illegal private “drug de-addiction” centres and clinics continue to mushroom, more so in the city’s periphery.

Health officials admit that most of these private centres run without any registration or licence by the Mental Heath Authority of their respective areas. Most of them violate the basic conditions under the law and in some cases, the inmates are subject to unthinkable inhuman conditions. Several raids in the past have proved unfruitful in curbing this menace.

Health officials claim that 99 per cent of these privately run de-addiction centres in the tricity do not have a psychiatrist.

“We were treated like dirt,” says a scarred Pankaj (name changed) who was rescued after 25 days from one such privately run de-addiction centre in Punjab two-years back.

The police had raided the camp and rescued around 60 other inmates. “It’s been two years since that day, I am relieved to be out of there,” he says with a faint smile.

Talking to The Tribune a few days ago, he recounted tales of horror at the centre. Sixty inmates in one single hall were forced to sleep on the ground and share one bathroom.

“We were allowed to use the toilet once a day for three minutes in the morning,” he said. “I remember one instance where the guards put inmates on the ground and stomped them with football studs for hours. There was a 30-inch wooden log that was commonly used to thrash us,” he recalls.

Pankaj recalls that one of the worst experiences in those 25 days at the camp was when two inmates tried to escape from the centre. One succeeded, while guards caught hold of the other. “He was badly beaten up for hours. He kept howling and shouting. And in front of all other inmates, the guards laced a bamboo stick with red chillies and forcefully inserted it in his rectum.”

According to him, the centre promptly relocated to a new site and is functioning till date.



F&CC Meeting
Air ticket issue to be taken up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
The dispute between the municipal corporation and a travel agency over booking of foreign trip tickets will figure at a meeting of the finance and contract committee tomorrow.

The mismanagement on behalf of the corporation had cost it a loss of around Rs 4.29 lakh on account of ticket cancellation of two foreign trips by the corporation.

It has been learned that the corporation proposal to counterclaim Rs 20,000 from Paul Merchant will be taken up for final approval during the meeting.

The travel agency had earlier claimed that the corporation owed them Rs 4.29 lakh.

A sum of Rs 3.95 lakh was deducted after the cancellation of the first trip, while another Rs 34,000 were deducted for the second trip cancellation.

According to sources, the corporation had booked tickets for a team of councillors from Paul Merchant, for Singapore and Bangkok as part of a study tour on a budget of around Rs 12.18 lakh last year.

The members booked the tickets without taking the permission from the external affairs ministry, following which the tour was cancelled.

Following the cancellation of the tour, the travel agency deducted around Rs 4.29 lakh from the total amount.

In a revised bill submitted by the agency, Rs 4.29 lakh were shown pending amount with the corporation.

During the committee meeting tomorrow, a counterclaim of Rs 20,000 is likely to be made by the corporation.

Besides, the privatisation of the streetlights, widening of roads of various sectors, including Maloya village, construction of pavement and upgrade of green belts of Sectors 27 and 28, will be also be taken up during the meeting.



Submit job policy, CAT to education dept
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has directed the department of education to specify the policy while appointing retired persons on contract in preference to the younger lot who has worked with the department.

The applicant, Supinder Kaur, who works on contract with GMSSS-46, said she had been working at the school since 1996 and was “illegally” removed from service. She said after her B.Ed, she joined a private school in 1986 and worked there till 1996.

Thereafter, she was appointed a lecturer of political science at the GMSSS on contract. She worked there until March 2001. Subsequently, she was transferred from one school to another and was relieved from service on June 21, 2005.

She challenged her dismissal and the tribunal directed the department of education to reinstate her, but she was not taken back.

The CAT has now directed the department to submit a detailed affidavit of the competent authority on record along with copy of the policy framed by the respondent to hire retired persons on contract basis in preference to younger teachers who have worked with the respondent.



Domestic Violence
Verma refutes allegations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
Joining investigation with the police today, Anurag Verma, an IAS officer and managing director of Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation, refuted allegations of domestic violence levelled by his wife.

According to ASP Madhur Verma, Anurag recorded his statement with the police. “We are investigation and action will be taken accordingly. Anurag has denied all allegations and said that all charges against him are baseless.”

However, Anurag will provide the police with his statement in written in a day or two. His close associates will also be asked to join the investigation, he added.

Meanwhile, Shweta met senior police officials’ at the police headquarters in Sector 9 alleging that her life was in danger as she had been receiving threats from Anurag.



No letup in humidity: Met dept
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
With monsoon rains eluding the city for the past one week, hot weather conditions have been persisting in the area. According to met officials, with no break in the pre-monsoon showers in the region, the city will continue to reel under high humidity.

Official said increase in humidity was due to increase of pressure from the seaside winds.

He said the city has not had its share of rainfall, as the monsoon is weak in this part of the region.

The department added that weather in the city would remain cloudy with chances of thunder or light rain.

The city today recorded the maximum temperature of 36.2 °C and minimum of 24.8 °C.



Vijay Diwas
I was not the chief guest: ADC
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 26
Contrary to the claims of Panchkula additional deputy commissioner (ADC) Parveen Kumar that he was not the chief guest at the ceremony held yesterday to pay floral tributes to martyr Sandeep Sagar on his ninth death anniversary, the family confirmed that he had agreed to be the chief guest on the occasion.

The ADC, issuing a clarification in this regard, released a copy of the invitation letter sent to him by the family here today. In the letter, Prof Harbans Lal had requested Parveen Kumar to join him to pay floral tributes to the martyr. Though he admitted that there was a slip on his part, the state was represented by assistant secretary of Haryana Rajya Sainik Board, he said.

However, the invite issued by the family to the dignitaries categorically states, “Shri Parveen Kumar, ADC, Panchkula, has consented to be the chief guest.”

When contacted, Prof Lal said he had verbally told the ADC about him being the chief guest and he did not thought it proper to put it in writing in view of the solemn occasion.

“We waited for him for 20 minutes because he had confirmed his participation,” he added.



E-mail on Dera chief alarms cops
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 26
An anonymous e-mail was received at Haryana police headquarters here today, claiming that the Dera Sach Sauda chief would be eliminated in a couple of days.

The mail was received in the afternoon. Immediately thereafter SP Sandeep Khirwar was asked to tighten security and look into the matter. The police officials remained tightlipped.



CTU strike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
The hunger strike of the Chandigarh Transport Union (CTU) workers entered its fourth day today. The strike is being held to protest against the administration decision to allow plying of Punjab’s private operators in the city.




Spread traffic awareness

MC's move to computerise streetlights is a positive step. While it is true that non-functional streetlights contribute to a number of road accidents in the city, there is a serious need to educate people about the precautions they should take to stay safe. My real concern is about the safety of people who dot the roads for exercises during early mornings.

Administration should join hands with traffic police to spread awareness about general principles of walking/jogging on the city roads. Awareness about things like where one is and taking sensible precautions around planning a route can avoid road accidents. Ideally, people should avoid walking on medians and crossing roads at places where there are no zebra crossings, they should take the right side of a road, consider going out when there is enough light, be careful with listening to music while jogging and most importantly wear bright clothing. Apart from spreading awareness, there is a need to orient the traffic management towards walkers' safety.

Rajesh Krishan

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



Education dept ties up with British Library
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
To inculcate reading habit among government school students, the Chandigarh education department has tied up with the British Library in Sector 8 here.

Sixty thousand students would be benefited from this move.

All government schools would be made members of the British Library and the students authorised by these schools would be allowed to utilise the services of the library. The students can enroll themselves free of cost for the spoken English Club, Speakers’ junction and Readers’ Club.

The British Library would make 10 membership cards costing Rs 6,000 per annum in which the members would be entitled to have 20 books, 10 educational CDs, 10 periodicals, 10 music CDs and more.

Elaborating further, the DPI (S) S.K. Setia said the idea was to get children, principals and teachers acquainted with the library culture.

“The emphasis would be more on English language where the students of government schools lack the most. We would organise this programme in a phased manner. In the first phase, the principals and teachers would have an interaction session with the officials of the British Library. They can further teach the students about the reading culture. In the second phase, the students would undergo various programmes and can avail the library’s services after becoming its members,” said Setia.

The British Library has chalked out special programmes and orientation sessions for these students. Vipin Kumar, in charge of the British Library, said, “Almost all private schools are associated with us. So, we approached the DPI (S) to do the same.”

The staff of the government schools would learn the library methodology adopted in the UK. “School librarians and principals will learn basic library training programme. We would organise free workshops on reading, writing, speaking and listening module for the teachers for all schools, which otherwise costs Rs 500 per participant. This would teach them how to maintain and organise a bookshelf. This would further help them educate students about the library culture,” told Vipin.



Now, a patent can get you promotion in PU
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
Researchers in Panjab University have a reason to cheer. For very soon, apart from publications, even patents would get them promoted from a reader to a professor under the CAS scheme. Earlier, for promotion under the career advancement scheme (CAS) research papers were considered. But the UGC (University Grants Commission) has sent a directive to the university asking them to consider both patent and publication as equivalent.

The matter is due to come up for a final nod during the ensuing Panjab University’s syndicate meting to be held on June 28.

Welcoming the move, Prof Daljit Singh, former dean, engineering and technology and former chairman of DCET (department of chemical engineering and technology), said, “Intellectual property rights (IPR) are protected only through patents. If one publishes a research before patenting it, then the information is in the public domain and it becomes non-patented. Its very important to get it patented before publishing it.”

He suggested that the university must set up an IPR cell to guide and advice its scientists on how to obtain and sustain their patents. Such coordination already exists in almost all the universities abroad and even in PAU, Ludhiana, and IITs.

Dr Rajesh Kochar, former director, NISTADS (CSIR), New Delhi, and currently a professor at NIPER, Mohali, says, “The UGC directive is a very positive step as it is indeed easy to evaluate a research paper but papers don’t produce wealth, patents can. This move will propagate the culture of treating science as a tool of creating national wealth. But at the same time, the UGC and the university have to ensure that this doesn’t lead to exploitation of research scholars and students.”

Vice-chancellor Prof R.C. Sobti, who himself is a researcher, avers, “A research should be well translated and a patent is the first step in translation.”

However, Prof Bhupinder Singh Bhoop of UIPS (University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences) believes that filing and getting a patent done is itself a tedious process. Earlier, it was a saying that ‘publish or perish’ and now it is ‘patent or perish’. Research is an intellectual property. Presently, the trend in the industry is to accumulate both and it should trickle down to the university as well.” It should be patent granted rather than patent filed,” he suggested.

It is worth noting that to get a patent, one needs to keep in mind the following checkpoints: the research must have some application; it must be novel (non-obvious) and it should not be in public domain already.

Nevertheless, if the university endorses the letter, it will open new avenues for the university researchers and the research work will get a definitive boost.



PUSU seeks lift in girls’ hostel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
A protest was held by the PUSU students’ today lead by Tejpal singh Cheema (PUSU president) along with Parminder Jaswal (PUCSC president) for the installation of lift in the girls’ hostel No.6. The students said they had already given a memorandum in the month of November 2007 to the vice-chancellor.

Tejpal said at that time the VC had confirmed that the lift would be installed by the month of May but till now nothing has been done in this regard. The students again gave the memorandum to the VC today requesting him to do the needful. The girls’ hostel No.6 has six storeys due to which the girls are facing many problems.



Workshop on digital film-making
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 26
A seven-day workshop on film-making on the theme ‘Shoot the city beautiful beautifully’ by Mad Arts, a Jaspal Bhatti Film School, kicked off yesterday at Sukhna Lake. Experts gave free advice to people who got video cameras.

This programme is being organised in collaboration with Chandigarh Tourism, STEPS and 94.3 My FM at the Government Art Museum Auditorium in Chandigarh on Wednesday.

Speaking on the occasion Jaspal Bhatti, director Mad Arts, detailed the need for such a workshop. He said, “With digital technology, there is a tremendous scope of creativity. With the kind of digital equipment available today, anybody with creative inclinations can purse his dreams.”

“I would watch ‘Flop show’ during my school and college days and I have seen in Mohali studio that Jaspal Bhatti has got the best infrastructure in the whole region and whatever he does is perfect,” said Vivek Attray, director, Tourism, Chandigarh.

Training is very necessary to give an insight into the application of any new technology. Creativity combined with training can help anyone make a mark in the industry said Savita Bhatti, CEO, Mad Arts. Ravi Sharma, serial and film director from Mumbai, tracing the growth and detail of technology and videography said technology has grown manifolds. From the VHS standard we were now in the format of digital technology.

The other locations where the Mad Arts team will make themselves available for two hours from 5 to 7 pm everyday are Rock Garden, Sector 17 plaza, sector 34 market and Rose Garden.



40 delegates attend physics workshop
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
The department of physics, PU, organised a one-day workshop on “Curriculum and teaching methodology for electronics,” on Thursday. The workshop got an overwhelming response as about 40 delegates from different institutions participated. Subject experts in electronics deliberated upon the curriculum of electronics to be taught to physics students at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The topics included modem concepts of electronics teaching, new teaching strategies and experiments, as well as experiences concerning advanced electronics teaching and learning.

Prof. S.K. Kulkarni, DUI, PU, inaugurated the workshop. He emphasised the role of electronics in all aspects of life and underlined the need for trained manpower. Prof G. Holmes from Monash University, Australia, gave the keynote address and deliberated at length the optimum curriculum for electronics course at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.



Central Varsity Status
Students’ bodies to support fast
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
The teachers and research scholars of Punjabi language from the department of evening studies sat on fast on the 81st day of the chain fast. Those who sat on the fast among the teachers were Gurpal Singh, Nirmal Singh, M.S. Bajwa and among the research scholars were Manpreet Kaur and Manjit Kaur.

Meanwhile, Prof Manjit Singh said JAC leadership has approached all the students’ parties and all of them have promised to come out in a massive way.



Know your judges
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Rajan Gupta
CBI's standing counsel and chief prosecutor in the High Court, and additional standing counsel for the UT, Rajan Gupta belongs to a family of doctors. His father, Dr H.C. Gupta, was the head of surgery in Sector 16 General Hospital. His brother, too, is a doctor.

As a youngster at PPS, Nabha, and St. Francis School, Amritsar, Gupta was a keen horse-rider and a shooter. In fact, he has also participated in state-level shooting championship.

His maternal grandfather Ram Krishan Tamana was an Urdu poet and was bestowed with “Hali” award.

In the High Court, Gupta handled a number of sensitive cases, including the Kandahar hijack and the Moga sex scam.

Nirmaljit Kaur
She is first woman advocate to be elevated from the state of Punjab.

But that is not her only claim to fame. Assistant solicitor-general of India in the High Court, Nirmaljit Kaur has won several prizes in debates, athletics and games. A product of Jesus and Mary High School, Dehra Dun, and Sacred Heart, Dalhousie, she was also granted national scholarship on the basis of her graduation results. Previously, additional standing counsel for the Union of India, and counsel for DAV Colleges in Punjab and Haryana, she has practised on the service and criminal side.

A.G. Masih
He was always more into books. So, while others were whiling away time in extra-curricular activities, he was honing his skills through books.

After doing his initial schooling from St. Mary's Convent School, Kasauli, he shifted to pursue his education from Aligarh University. Armed with a law degree, he started practice on the civil and constitutional side; and was recently promoted as Punjab additional-advocate general. In fact, he has been functioning as a law officer for over 15 years.

Jatinder Kumar Chauhan
An avid walker, he gets all his ideas while strolling in the morning. Otherwise, his free time is spent at Bal Niketan in Sector 2, Panchkula.

Additional advocate-general with Haryana, he did his post graduation from Panjab University; and law from Delhi University.

He has also functioned as legal adviser and counsel for Haryana Agriculture University, Hisar, along with Haryana Land Reclamation and Development Board.

Ajay Tewari
He belongs to the third generation of advocates. His father was an advocate, so was his grandfather.

He did his schooling from St John's High School, Sector 26, Chandigarh, and law from Panjab University. Then he shifted to Patiala for pursuing LLM. Tewari has also taught part time in Panjab University and the Army Institute of Law. He has been practising primarily on the civil and the service side, besides handling constitutional matters.



Banking services in lok adalat ambit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
The Chandigarh administration has declared that banking and financial services will fall under the public utility services in the city.

The declaration will help a large number of people involved in disputes relating to banking and finance sectors.

People with disputes relating to banking and financial matters like loan cases and recovery litigations will benefit from the decision, as the permanent lok adalat for public utility services will now be in a position to settle such dispute with conciliation.

The disputes will be settled amicably, in the interest of both parties, by negotiation saving people from unnecessary litigation, harassment.

Such cases will be decided promptly without any delay.

The decision will also reduce burden on regular courts. Also, no court fee will be affixed by the permanent lok adalat for public utility services. The permanent lok adalat for public utility services is functioning from Sector 17.



4-day police remand for Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
Bharat Ghai, operational director of Air Slovakia, who was arrested by the police earlier this week, was remanded in four-day police custody by a local court here today.

According to sources, the police is investigation on the modus operandi of the accused. Ghai has so far submitted photocopies of the just four fake passports used in sending people abroad illegally. He has admitted to sending at least 35 persons abroad illegally.

The police is yet to recover photocopies of the remaining 31 fake passports, besides other important documents pertaining to the case.

The police is likely to raid the hometown of Bhinda, Lovely and Baazigar, close associates of Gurjinder Singh, alias Lucky, who had been operating in Italy.

Besides, efforts are being made to trace Raj, another acquaintance of Lucky, living in Kapurthala.



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