C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


10-yr-old beaten up with rods for eating nuts
Employers booked
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 15
In a barbaric incident, a 10-year-old maid was allegedly beaten up with hot rods by a couple of Sector 4 after she was found eating almonds. While the child is struggling for life in hospital, the police has registered a case under Sections 308 and 303, IPC, against the accused identified as Arun Singla and his wife Neelam.

The incident happened close on the heels of the death of a minor help under mysterious circumstances at the house of a businessman in Sector 17 a few days ago. In that case the police had not registered a case as the parents of the child did not suspect any foul play behind the death of their daughter.

As per the complaint of Vasudev, father of the girl, Veena, she was thrashed by her employers and sent back in a critical condition to them at Kala Sanghia village in Kapurthala district.

He said Veena was sent to Singlas as he was working at a factory owned by their relatives.

He alleged that the couple beat her up with hot iron rods when she was found eating almonds. They sent her home on Monday, he said. According to reports from Jalandhar, the child was still in the ICU of a private hospital.

Inspector Ajaib Singh, SHO of the Sector 5 police station, said the Jalandhar police had forwarded the complaint to them. A police party was sent to the house of the accused, but it was found locked. A case had been registered against them, he added.



Jet layoff triggers panic
Himani Chandel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The unprecedented layoff of nearly 900 employees by Jet Airways today has spread panic and uncertainty not only among its employees in the city, but also hundreds of aviation students who are uncertain about their placements.

Some employees are hopeful of escaping the axe on the grounds that the airlines has a very small office in the city, with limited staff. But nothing could be said unless they get some confirmation from the head office on the issue. “We have no information of any layoff in our office. But the confirmation is awaited,” an employee said.

The employees are, however, hurt and feel things could have been done in a better way. The city office of the airways has only 17 employees and it is one of the oldest airlines to have been operating from Chandigarh. Its office opened around nine years ago.

The move has also affected students enrolled in aviation institutes. They are anxious and uncertain about the goings-on in the industry.

“We have invested more than Rs 1 lakh in the course and we are now scared about our future,” a student of Frankfinn Training Institute said. “Though our teachers and instructors are assuring us of placements, only probationers are being sacked, which means that they don’t want freshers anymore,” she said.

Branch managers, however, have denied any panic among students and claimed that recruitment was going on.



Nepli, Kansal resorts may open to tourists
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Opening a new chapter in adventure tourism, the administration is set to open Nepli and Kansal forest resorts to tourists and city residents.

If the proposal, a brainchild of home-cum-tourism secretary Ram Niwas, sees the light of the day, tourists could enjoy the natural surroundings of the resorts with lower Shivaliks in the backdrop.

The modalities of the project, being coordinated by CITCO in collaboration with the forest department, are being worked out.

Options like trekking and tent accommodation for tourists are also being considered.

“The resorts offer excellent scope for adventure tourism. Like wildlife sanctuaries all over India and Tikkar Taal in Morni, the concept could be developed to tap the tourism potential of the city,” Ram Niwas said.

Officials said the opening up of the resorts could go a long way in making Chandigarh a perfect tourist spot. The city is at present dubbed a stopover destination for tourists bound for Himachal and other neighbouring states.

Though the proposal sounds attractive, the UT would have to cross the environment hurdle to make it a reality. Since a large part in and around these resorts is a reserve forest, the ministry of environment and forests could prove to be a spoilsport.

At present, the forest department allows visitors to the resort during the day through a special permit.

Since the resorts could prove to be an ideal getaway weekend destinations, especially for foreigners, security concerns also have to be addressed.

Since the resorts are isolated from the city and there is a possibility of wildlife attacks, the security of tourists would have to be taken care of before the proposal gets a nod from the authorities concerned, a police official added.



Scooterist run over by truck
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, October 15
A senior accountant of the AG Punjab and UT died in a road accident near the housing board chowk late in the evening here. Darshan Singh (50) was returning home when his scooter was hit by a truck from behind. According to eyewitnesses, the accident took place at 8.30 pm. A police officer said the truck was being driven at a breakneck speed and had probably lost control before ramming into the scooter going towards Panchkula. The truck driver fled the spot.

Darshan Singh was rushed to the PGI where he was declared brought dead.

A pall of gloom descended on Darshan Singh’s house as the news of his death reached Sector 2 in Panchkula. His son, Anjal, said: “I still can’t believe how this could happen to him.”


GMCH-32 faculty to retire at 60
Decision aimed at retaining top faculty
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
In a step that would go a long way in retaining the top faculty, the Chandigarh administration has enhanced the retirement age of faculty of Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32 (GMCH-32), from 58 years to 60 years.

In fact, the enhancement of the age of superannuation would address a major anomaly in the service conditions of the GMCH-32 faculty and would arrest the flight of senior faculty to PGI, where the retirement age is 65 years and the private sector.

With the private sector taking giant leaps in the medical sector by setting up state-of-the-art hospitals in the tricity, retaining top faculty had been a major challenge for the government-run medical colleges in Punjab and Chandigarh as the private sector pay hefty pay and perks to them.

In a way Chandigarh has followed Punjab which increased the retirement age of the faculty in medical, dental and ayurvedic colleges to 60 years in April 2007. The decision was reportedly taken to prevent the Medical Council of India (MCI) from reducing seats in the MBBS, MD and MS courses in the government medical colleges following a shortage of staff.

Expressing gratitude to the Chandigarh administration, Prof Raj Bahadur, GMCH-32, director-principal, claimed that the decision would boost the morale of the faculty and help improve medicare in the hospital.

At a meeting here last month, senior officials of the administration were "favourably inclined" to the genuine demand of the senior medical teachers. In fact, the officials had sent the file to the UT administrator, who cleared it bringing a festival bonanza to the senior teachers.

In fact, we are working towards a regime under which the GMCH faculty was treated on par with the PGI faculty, which retires at the age of 65 years, the senior officials said.



Temperature dips due to storm
Tribune New Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The first spell of the winter was felt by the city residents in the wee hours today after the sudden high velocity winds followed rain. The storm brought down the temperature by two degrees in the city.

The temperature descended so much that the people were even seen wearing sweaters while taking walks early in the morning. The maximum temperature was recorded at 30.8 degree celsius, which is two degrees below the yesterday’s temperature whereas the minimum was 21.8 degrees. “The maximum speed of the storm was recorded to be 76 km per hour early today morning,” said an official of the meteorological department.

Though the storm also brought some respite from the afternoon humidity, it uprooted several trees in the city. The storm had resulted in power cuts in several parts of the tri-city. 



CITCO to serve South Indian non-veg dishes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Those who crave for the South Indian food are in for special treat. The Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) has for the first time planned to introduce “non-vegetarian” South Indian delicacies for the upcoming food festival at its joints.

Starting from October 18, the three-day festival would commensurate with the ongoing cultural extravaganza of Tamil Nadu Poompoohar-2008, has been scheduled at Rustles, Hotel Mountview. The CITCO has tabled special “non- vegetarian” menu which would have two chicken dishes and one each with mutton and fish. This would be in addition to “vegetarian” dishes.

The three-course menu would start with soup which include Rasam with papad or butter milk for non- vegetarian as well as vegetarian food. In the non- vegetarian segment, the main course would have two varieties like “Chicken Chattinad” and “Koly Kuzhambu”. The dish with mutton has been named as “Mutton Vindaloo” and one with fish as “Meen Kuzhambu”. This would be apart from usual egg dosa.

The vegetarians, too, would savour with wider choice. The specially-planned vegetarian dishes would have choices among “Porrial”, “Avail” (seasonal vegetarian with coconut), “Alookora”, “Kanji Idli” and plain “idli” with “sambar”.

The “Thaijir Sadan” (rice) together with options like curd, lemon or coconut. The desserts would have “pal payasam”, “sweet pongal” and ice-cream while the closing gesture would have “veeda” (plain and sweet paan).

Chief general manager Amit Talwar said the CITCO was experimenting with the non-vegetarian South Indian food for the first time.

“It was a longtime thought to conceive some South Indian menu with the non-vegetarian ingredients. We were just waiting for the right opportunity to introduce this specially designed non-vegetarian South Indian menu for the people of Chandigarh. There could have been no better occasion other than the ongoing Tamil Nadu cultural festival”, he told.

New boats introduced

CITCO is now planning to introduce 90 specially-designed “jettis” (boats). These colourful boats would be imported from Taiwan. Made of high-density material, these boats would be corrosion-free and would have good carrying capacity. It had a few months ago done the landscaping of about an acre of triangular area adjacent to the lake and also the island, where the open-hand monument was beautified and illuminated.



Cheaper liquor fuels bootlegging
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, October 15
The huge disparity between liquor prices in Chandigarh and neighbouring Panchkula and Mohali has made it a lucrative business for bootleggers. And, smuggling is not limited to these towns alone. Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) bought from the city is now even being taken to Rajasthan.

If a bottle of ‘X’ brand sells at Rs 250 here, it costs Rs 380 in Mohali and Rs 280 in Panchkula. When these are bought in bulk, the difference is even higher.

The main reason for the difference is the tax structure of Chandigarh vis-à-vis Mohali and Panchkula. Liquor is cheaper in the city because of 4 per cent VAT charged, as compared to 12.4 per cent in Punjab.

There is even a difference in the contractual amount for liquor shops here and other states.

The police has made huge seizures of smuggled liquor in the recent past. On October 7, the crime branch sleuths seized 320 cases of IMFL at Sector 19. The liquor was being ferried in an oil tanker with cases concealed in its cavity. The liquor was allegedly being smuggled to Rajasthan.

On September 14, the Industrial Area police arrested three smugglers with 673 cases of liquor. The modus operandi was the same.

Also, 92 cases of liquor were seized from another oil tanker on May 18. The policemen of the same police station had intercepted an ambulance carrying 32 cases on August 4.

“We were surprised to see ambulance being used for nefarious activity,” said SHO Bhupinder Singh of Sector -31 police station.

The same day, a Tata 407 was impounded by the Mani Majra police with 150 cases of liquor being ferried from Mauli Jagran to Panipat.

“Liquor smuggling is on the rise. Bootleggers always look for new ways to carry out the illegal activities,” said a senior police official.



New Alfa proprietor told to pay Rs 5,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed Sukhwinder Singh, proprietor, New Alfa Electro Services, to pay compensation worth Rs 5,000 to a resident of Mohali.

Sarbjinder Singh Virk, petitioner, stated that the complainant had purchased a Whirlpool fridge from Arvindra Electrical, Sector 22, on September 9, 2005.

The complainant was getting the service on behalf of company, previously known as Alfa and Alfa, and at present working as New Alfa Electro service. However, the fridge started giving some trouble. Thereafter, the complainant approached the opposite party.

He was sent to an authorised agent of the Whirlpool who sent an engineer to get the fault rectified. The module of the fridge was changed. But, the problem resurfaced and the complainant had to purchase a stabiliser. The opposite party didn’t depose before the forum. The forum stated that it was evident from record that the necessity of repairing the machine and the purchase of stabiliser arose only due to the repairs of the fridge. The machine was not fully set in order. The facts have not repudiated by the opposite party, as he has neither put in-appearance in response to the notice served nor has he filed his written statement.

CONVICTED: Additional district and sessions judge, R.S. Attri, today convicted Gurmukh Singh for possessing 10 kg heroine. According to the prosecution, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) arrested Gurmurk, a resident of Amritsar, red-handed with the contraband from a bus stand in Sector 27 on the intervening night of January 24 and 25, 2006. The sentence will be pronounced on October 18.



Wash your hands to ward off diseases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
It’s a simple act, yet most of us neglect it. We tend to take it lightly, sometimes dismissing it as unnecessary, few realising its importance. But fact is washing hand with soap reduces the risk of water-borne and various other diseases; very few people take this seriously, said experts.

There have been no conclusive studies in the PGI, but various studies have established that washing hands with the soap reduces the risk of normal diarrhoea by nearly half and life-threatening diarrhoea by more than half, very few people take this seriously.

According to the Indian Public Health Association 2007-08, our hands spread 80 per cent of disease. Only 49 per cent washed their hands after using the toilet, and 38 per cent before eating food.

The percentage was even less for those who washed either before preparing (30 per cent) or serving (26 per cent) food. Only 53 per cent did so after defecation.

‘‘Lack of proper hand washing and general cleanliness can get serious. Diseases like diarrhoea, pneumonia and acute respiratory and skin infection are common when proper hygiene is not maintained,’’ says Dr J.S. Thakur, assistant professor, department of community medicine, PGI.

Experts say that proper washing involves six steps and 15 to 30 seconds spent soaping. ‘‘But the people barely spend that long and just wash their palms,’’says Thakur.

The correct way to do it is to not just clean the palms, but also the back and all fingers. People don’t realise how important it is to maintain hygiene at home.

Dr Pallav Ray, microbiology department, PGI, said the hospital does not vary on this. Patients are also affected with this because of the outer infections. The need of the hour, as most doctors emphasise, is to maintain good hygiene.



150 youths join BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh October 15
At least 150 youth hailing from Kishangarh village joined a BJP camp at a function organised Here today. This was stated by Bhajan Singh Maru, chairman, Zila Parishad, Chandigarh. Kamla Sharma, President of the city unit of the BJP, and former MP Satya Pal Jain welcomed the youths to the party fold. Both leaders criticised the Congress-led Central government’s anti-people policies. Sanjay Tandon, BJP state general secretary, Kewal Krishan Adiwal, vice-president, Satpal Gupta, state secretary Baljeet Singh Dhillon, Jagtar Singh Jagga, Ghanshyam Bansal along with the BJP councillors and district presidents were present on the occasion.

Meanwhile, Gurcharan Das Kala, Leader of Opposition in the municipal house and five BJP councillors have demanded the resignation of mayor Pradeep Chhabra. In a joint statement issued here, the BJP leaders said the Chandigarh Administration had set aside all the rules and regulations in allotting land in Sector 34 to mayor’s brother at a very cheap rate for exhibition purpose whereas others were deprived of getting such a permission. The BJP councillors have also demanded an inquiry by an independent agency on the entire issue.



CII fair from tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The four-day annual CII fair is set to begin from October 17. The shopping extravaganza will provide an ideal platform to the country’s leading brands to showcase their products and establish a direct connect with users. This was stated by Charu Mathur, regional director, CII Northern Council, while addressing mediapersons here today.

She said the fair would be inaugurated by the administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd). “Not only various states from across the country would participate, but also a number of traders from Pakistan would be exhibiting their wares,” she said.

The fair would serve as an umbrella for nine concurrent expos like States of India, International Arcade, Consumer Fair, North India Auto Show, Infocom, Mega Brands, Decor, Finmart and Persona.



P’kula SP moots joint patrolling
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The sixth central traffic advisory committee meeting was held under the chairmanship of the UT inspector-general of police, here, today.

Sources in the traffic police said 24 members from various walks of life, including the traffic police officers from Panchkula and Mohali took part in the meeting.

The SP (traffic) Panchkula advised to joint patrolling for curbing the traffic violations.

The other suggestions given by experts, included, carpeting of roads, improvement in road engineering techniques, markings on roads, zebra lines, synchronisation of traffic signal timers and setting their times anti-clock wise for the convenience of the motorists.

Among others, the senior police officers of the Chandigarh Police also took part in the meeting.



Visually impaired barge into secretariat
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Exposing chinks in the intelligence of the Chandigarh Police, agitating visually impaired from Punjab today sneaked into the Punjab and Haryana Civil Secretariat, here, this morning much to the embarrassment of the police. It was only after the disgruntled protesters raised slogans, when they were not allowed to go inside by the security staff, that the Chandigarh Police came to know about it and rushed to the spot.

The protesters, who were camping at Sector 34 since May 13, today decided to march toward the secretariat in a clandestine manner. A 31-member-group went to the Sector 43 ISBT and boarded busses in small groups and reached the secretariat. Despite the fact that they had earlier threatened to gherao the Punjab Chief Minister’s residence, the Chandigarh police was caught in oblivion.

They were demanding 1 percent reservation in job and said over 2,000 posts were lying vacant in Punjab, while there were only about 250 visually impaired candidates in the state. Even then, the state government was reluctant to fill the posts, they alleged.

Airing grievances, Harpreet Singh of Amritsar, Tarun Kumar, a B.Sc (information technology) student from Ludhiana, Gurmeet Singh Dehlon, an international player, and Gurbhinder Singh, a national athlete, rued that the state government had miserably failed to keep the promises it had made to them. They were cane-charged on August 25 near the Punjab Mini-Secretariat and on September 3 outside the director, public instructions (secondary), Punjab’s office in Sector 17. On October 7, N .S. Sangha, OSD to the Chief Minister, promised to get them appointment with the CM, but failed to keep his words.

A scene was created in the parking lot of the secretariat with the police officials placating the protesting members of the Netraheen Jagrati Sangh, Punjab. After having failed to persuade them, the police called Sandeep Hans, OSD to CM. Even he failed to reason with them, as he could not assure them an appointment with the CM. They maintained that they would continue their dharna there.

When the talks failed to yield any results, they began shouting slogans against the Punjab government. At this, the police bundled them into their vehicles.

Taking preventive measures, the police arrested the 31 of them under Sections 107 and 151 of the CrPC. Before being removed from there, they announced that they would block the Amritsar-Delhi railway track at an undisclosed place in case their demands were not met. They were released by the SDM in the evening.



Waste management needs more attention: Experts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Dutch environment experts who are here to attend a seminar on rotary strategy to address environmental concerns today said that the management of garbage waste was still in its infancy in the region. The experts opined that there was a lot of confusion among generators, operators, decision-makers and the general community about safe management of waste.

The team visited various places in northern India, including Shimla, Kufri, Yamunanagar, Panipat, Jagadhri, Saharanpur, Mohali and Chandigarh, and prepared a strategic plan to handle the issue involving management of municipal and bio-medical waste.

One of the experts, Geert Boonzaaijer, who visited various districts of Haryana, said it is strange that despite the policy framed by the government to set up garbage processing units in the country the state governments were not taking any initiatives to implement it. He said in most places that they had visited no interest was being taken for collection and management of garbage.

However, he appreciated efforts of some residents and NGOs that were collecting garbage at their own level.

Another member of the team, Pieter Hilbrand, who visited Saharanpur, said improper disposal of municipal waste could create unsanitary conditions. Theo Folmer, who visited Chandigarh, opined that there is proper management and collection of garbage in the city.



MCM Brawl: Frustrated, victim plans to leave college
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
While it has almost been over a month, the controversy over the MCM college brawl refuses to die down. While administration claims to have already decided the matter, the complainant has alleged authorities of forcing a compromise because of which she is planning to change her college.

Priyanka, the complainant, had approached the administration, alleging the college authorities of inaction against two students of the college, who had allegedly bashed her up outside the college gate. Taking the cognizance of her request, Raji Srivastava, director, higher education, had deputed two representatives and ensured a re-enquiry in the matter. While the decision was expected in couple of days, the deadline stretched to over a month.

Speaking to TNS, Priyanka said: “Justice delayed is justice denied. I was bashed up so badly and have been constantly suffering after that. Earlier, I was misguided to compromise in police, I had approached administration for justice, but whenever I go to them, they try to weaken my stand and suggest compromise saying there is no benefit in continuing fight after compromise in the police.”

Disappointed by the approach, Priyanka is also thinking about changing her college.

“Will she be able to survive in this college, when neither principal nor administration is righteous? We have visited authorities so many times, but either we are given another date or the statements suggesting compromise,” said her brother.

According to sources in the department, the constant delay on matter is outcome of the lack of interest due to nearing repatriation of Raji Srivastava, who, on her part, obviously denies this.

“There is nothing like lack of interest. It has been on my priority, but I have other things as well to do. I have not forced any compromise on anybody. I have already taken the decision, and will communicate it to the press in due course of time,” Srivastava said.



Admn invites applications for Education City
G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The Chandigarh administration has invited expressions of interest from eligible organisations for Phase III of the Education City to be set up in Sarangpur here. Spread over an area of six-acre, the administration intends to set up world-class educational institutions here.

The administration has laid down eligibility criteria for the aspiring organisations, which include that the organisations should have an annual budget or turnover of at least Rs 75 crores and should have tie ups with industry so that latest industry oriented programmes should be offered.

Home secretary Ram Niwas said the idea was to produce the stuff which can cater education as per the requirements of today’s industry. “We prefer those institutions which are currently running graduate or post graduate programmes in the relevant field,” he added.

The pact with the organisers will be planned in such a manner that the land will in any case be owned by the administration, and the selected organisations will have to pay annual fee and revenue share for the site. However, the Chandigarh administration will provide facilities like a gymnasium, a sports complex, an auditorium, serviced apartments and a commercial establishment in 20 acres of land.

The types of schools that will be integrated are design school, which encompasses product design, fashion design and interior design, besides the schools of foreign languages (both at graduate and undergraduate levels), schools of musicology and schools of development studies, which include study of social development, formation and management of co-operatives.

The schools of sports management, event management, property services management, fine arts, theatre, film-making and cultural studies will also be part of the project.

Some specially designed courses, include international relations, actuarial sciences, advertising, managerial and business economics.

Meanwhile, the plans for Phases I and II of the Education City have already been finalised.



Hailstorm, rain wreak havoc on farmers
Widespread paddy crop damaged in area
Tribune Reporters

Panchkula, October 15
Hailstorm followed by heavy rain last night played havoc with paddy crop in the area, as over 50 per cent crop was flattened in the fields.

No just the paddy ready to be harvested but also the harvested crop lying in the fields bore the brunt of the nature’s fury.

The worst-hit villages were Billa, Rihaod, Dhandalru, Batwal, Kheri, Khatouli, Tabar, Haripur, Badoan and Mouli, where farmers suffered up to 50 per cent damage to their paddy in the field.

At Billa village, near Barwala, a majority of fields were inundated with flattened paddy.

“We were expecting a bumper crop this year but after this calamity the produce will go down by half,” said Pakhira Ram, who had seven acres of land under paddy at the village.

“It is a double whammy for farmers this time,” said Pakhiria. First, labour shortage prevented them from sowing the crop in time and when it was available, labourers demanded higher wages, which increased the cost of the produce substantially, he said.

The price of sowing crop on one acre had gone up to Rs 2,300 from Rs 1,400, he added. In fact, a majority of land in the area was under paddy cultivation.

“The farmers had around 12,000 bighas of land and 70 per cent of it was under paddy cultivation,” said Krishan Kumar of Khatouli.

Though there was no damage to fields where fodder was sown, those under paddy had been damaged badly, said Krishan who suffered losses on his 15 acres of cultivated crop.

Similarly at Rihaod, 4,000 bighas were under paddy cultivation.

Hundreds of farmers from the area who visited the deputy commissioner’s office here today urged to assess the losses suffered by them and remedial measures.

Panchkula deputy commissioner Rajinder Kataria said the assessment of losses in the region had already been ordered and the fields would be videographed.

DERA BASSI: Unexpected heavy rains, which lashed the region last night, have caused worry to the paddy farmers who are expecting a good harvest this season.

According to sources, around 13 villages in the area, where over 1,000 acre is under paddy cultivation and which is yet to be harvested, have suffered damages during the rain and hailstorm.

Sources added that the uncovered paddy lying in mandis has also suffered damage due to rain.

The villagers claimed that they were likely to suffer financial losses and had demanded a compensation for their damaged crops.

In some areas, water logging has also led to the destruction of crops.

SDM (Dera Bassi) Sohan Lal Bhumbak said the weather over the last several days had been quite pleasant and last night’s hailstorm was most unexpected. The compensation of the loss would be given to the farmers as per rules after consulting with the authorities concerned, he added.



Vigilance mellows a day after arresting hotelier
Refuses to seek police remand
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 15
A day after arresting a Kasauli-based hotelier, Rana Iqbal Singh Jolly, in a case of alleged forgery, fraud, conspiracy and corruption relating to mutation of 432 kanals of land at Nada village, the Punjab Vigilance today told a local court that it had nothing to recover from the hotelier and his police remand was not required.

The vigilance officials found themselves in an embarrassing situation when a civil judge in the local court refused to entertain their application for not seeking police remand on the ground that it should be put up before the special court.

By the time the special court took up the application, it was too late and hearing of the case was adjourned for tomorrow.

In an application moved before the court, the vigilance sought presence of the hotelier whenever required during the course of investigation.

Sources in the vigilance bureau said arresting a person in such a case was unprecedented. They did not rule out the possibility of an old enmity between Punjab Vigilance Bureau head S.S. Saini and his batch-mate IGP Sanjeev Gupta to whom the hotelier is said to be close.

In the case details submitted before the court, the vigilance has named a former commissioner Patiala division, C.S. Srivastava, who had ordered the mutation of land in favour of the persons named as suspects by the vigilance.

Along with an Amritsar-based person, H.S. Kahlon, and his family members, the vigilance has also named a former tehsildar of Kharar and a number of revenue officials for their alleged involvement in executing the land deal.

Vigilance officials said original residents of the village had objected to the transfer of ownership of the village land in name of the suspects even as the revenue department had yet to transfer the shares in their name.

The commissioner, Patiala division, is learned to have given wrong orders of division of land. Sources in the vigilance said initially the division of land was turned down at every level before being wrongly sanctioned in 1993. At the site, the land mafia had started encroaching upon more land falling in the embankments of Patiala ki Rao choe. A large area of the village land is locked under the Punjab land Preservation Act, 1900, that cannot be used for any purpose other than forestry.



‘Poompuhar’ begins at Leisure Valley
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
A joint cultural festival of Tamil Nadu and Punjab ‘Poompuhar 2008’ was inaugurated by General (Retd.) S.F. Rodrigues, UT administrator, and Surjit Singh Barnala, Governor of Tamil Nadu, today.

The five-day festival was inaugurated at Leisure Valley, Sector-10, Chandigarh. The event is being organised in collaboration with the Chandigarh administration.

The original taste of the culture of two states, Punjab and Tamil Nadu, will be showcased in the festival.

Jagmohan Singh Raju, resident commissioner, Tamil Nadu House, Delhi, said the cultural extravaganza would present the two distinct cultures of south and north India. He emphasised to continue this cross-cultural inter-state feature on regular basis.

“Kalai Kolam” a special choreographic presentation, with about 200 artistes participating, was the major attraction of the inaugural ceremony. The artistes and performers set the stage ablaze with their vigorous performance, which combined the folk dance of Punjab and Tamil Nadu.

The presentation was prepared by Maitreyee Pahari with the fusion of classical dance and music of both the states. The presentation came as an example of integrity in diversity.

The festival will be open to public from October 16. The five-day mega event will be displayed at various locations, including Leisure Valley, Sector 10, University Law Auditorium, Plaza Sector 17, Mountview Hotel, Sukhna Lake and Chandigarh Club. The departments participating in the event include the department of tourism, the Government of Tamil Nadu (GoT), Cooptex, GoT, Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation, Aavin, GoT, Tamil Nadu Tea Corporation, GoT, TIDCO and the departments of tourism, UTA.



8,000 autos challaned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The Chandigarh Traffic police has challaned at least 8,000 auto-rickshaw drivers this year for various violations. Sources in the traffic police said the studies conducted on road accidents showed that the auto-rickshaw drivers were among the most reckless drivers on the city roads.

The police had booked at least 8,158 auto-rickshaw drivers till September 30. Out of these 1,057 were booked for wrong parking, 1,987 for plying without meter, 1,030 for jumping the red light and 292 for overloading.

The field staff has also been briefed to check the documents of auto-rickshaw drivers particularly their driving licenses.



‘88 pc diarrhoea deaths due to poor hygiene’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
To mark the Global Hand-Washing Day today under the UN International Year of Sanitation, the students and the faculty members of the department of social work organised an awareness programme at Don Bosco Navjeevan Centre, Sector 24, here. Around 100 students of the centre participated in the interactive activities on the right way of washing hands with soap. Those who washed their hands properly were given prizes.

Prof M. K. Teja, coordinator, masters in social work, said 18 per cent of the people do not wash their hands before eating, and even among those who do, one in 10 wash their hands with water only. Poor hygiene and lack of access to sanitation together cause about 88 per cent of deaths from diarrhoeal diseases, accounting for 1.5 million diarrhea-related under-five deaths each year.



Ban on polythene

Many residents are turning a deaf ear to the ban on polythene bags. The worst affected area remains the grain market. The traders rue that there is no alternative to the polythene bags.

Everybody knows that polythene causes blockage of drains, deterioration of soil’s fertility and harm to environment. Even the black polythene can cause cancer.

In past, people used to carry cloth-bags, which were environment friendly. If we are concerned about the environment, then finding the alternative is not impossible.

Kulbhushan Kanwar, Chandigarh

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at [email protected] or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030



OCET candidates to get refund on prospectus
December 31 last date for application
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The old saying, ‘Justice is delayed but not denied’, certainly holds true for Panjab University authorities. A testimony to this is the decision of the committee constituted by the vice-chancellor in April this year regarding refunding the money for OCET forms taken today.

The Chandigarh Tribune had highlighted on April 10 that a hasty decision by Panjab University on the cost of OCET prospectus had cost Rs 200 each to thousands of the students.

The committee coming to the rescue of students and parents, who had to shell out extra money for the thoughtlessness of the university in fixing the price of the prospectus earlier, has now resolved that the application of the person who claims the refund of Rs 200 for the OCET prospectus of 2008 be considered if it is submitted along with the original page of prospectus where the price is mentioned. The application may be submitted before December 31, 2008.

The sale of OCET prospectus began on April 2 and the prospectus cost was Rs 1,500. After five days, on April 8 after 3 pm, the university slashed the price to Rs 1300.

Since the university officials had no provision for refunding the money, the students who bought the prospectus during the first five days were running from pillar to post to get their refund but all in vain.

The OCET prospectus entitles one to appear in the entrance test for about 25 different courses such as LLB, LLM, mass communication and others, but for each course, one has to buy separate prospectus with the form enclosed.

The forms were being sold at the SBI bank counter on the university campus, and no receipts were given to the buyers. Also, when one bought a prospectus, the bank officials did not note down the form number of the prospectus sold as they had no instructions to do so.

It was only after the Chandigarh Tribune highlighted the case that a committee was constituted later to find a mechanism to return the extra money of the students.

Vice-chancellor Prof R. C. Sobti said: “This was a genuine grievance, and the students deserved to get their due amount back. It should have been done much earlier.”



Student council to get feedback
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The Panjab University Campus Students' Council launched a campaign, ‘Student Council at your doorstep’, today. Addressing the mediapersons on PU campus, Sahil Nanda, PU student council president, said: "In the campaign, we will go to various departments and ask the students for their problems, which we will try to sort out."

He further said: "We have divided the departments, and day-to-day, we will send our teams to different departments. We have planned to give students the feedback forms, in which we will ask them the questions related to their problems and suggestions. Through these forms, the students can give us their feedback regarding the governing and if they are satisfied with the solutions.”



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