C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


School kids’ safety
DTO cracks whip on auto drivers
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News service

Mohali, October 24
In a belated move, the district transport authority has cracked the whip on three-wheelers, illegally ferrying school children. The drivers have been told to adhere to the norms as are applicable to school buses. To enforce the orders, accountability has also been fixed on the private schools that allow the three-wheeler operators to pick and drop students.

The District Transport Officer, Mohali, has given a week’s time to the private schools to enter in to agreement with the auto drivers so as to ensure that the latter comply with the norms. The district education officer has been involved to communicate with the schools.

The orders would also apply to the autos that operate under the inter-state agreement from Chandigarh. Presently, the autos operate under the contract carriage permit, unlike school buses that run on private service vehicle permit. The DTO, Balbir Singh, told the Tribune that it had been seen autos used for plying school children do not adhere to norms. Often, the autos are overloaded and safety norms are ignored. Unauthorised alterations have been made by the drivers to adjust a maximum number of children.

“We have given a week’s time to the schools to enter into an agreement with the autorickshaw drivers. Under the agreement, the auto-operators and the schools would be responsible for the safety of the children. The auto operators would have to submit copies of the registration papers and driving licence with the school authorities ”, said the DTO.

As per norms fixed by the state transport department, a maximum of six children can be ferried in an auto. For other passengers, the limit was for three persons. In the past, the authorities have observed that the auto drivers do not keep registration papers and ply the machines in a dangerous manner. In the past few days,the transport department has seized over-loaded autos ferrying school children.

However, there is no plan to ban autos from ferrying school children as announced by the Chandigarh Administration. For the safety or the children, the administration has proposed use of small-size four-wheelers. 



Cops-Drug Peddlers Nexus
Sekhon joins NCB inquiry
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
The Chandigarh police controversial SI H.S. Sekhon, whose name has appeared during the investigations of the local drug peddlers by the Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) sleuths, today joined the bureau’s investigation.
SI H.S. Sekhon, along with his advocate, enters the NCB office in Sector 2 to join the inquiry under “Call for Information noticeSI H.S. Sekhon, along with his advocate, enters the NCB office in Sector 2 to join the inquiry under “Call for Information notice”. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari 

Sekhon along with five other cops namely head constables Bachhiter Singh, Kuldeep Singh, Sukhjinder Singh, Baljit Singh and Mohan Singh was sought by the Narcotic Control Bureau unsder Section 67 of the NDPS, ‘Call for Information’ for their alleged involvement with the local drug paddlers Harpal Singh, alias Raju, and Suresh, who were nabbed red-handed along with drug consignments recently. During interrogation, both paddlers have claimed proximity to these cops and alleged that they were ‘protecting’ them in lieu of money.

Visibly relaxed Sekhon, being accompanied by his advocate Harish Bhardwaj, reached the Bureau’s office at Sector 2 at around 3 pm.

“I got the notice only yesterday evening through my department so I am going there (the NCB office) to complete the legal formalities”, said Sekhon before entering the bureau’s office.

The bureau has sent the notice of ‘Call for Information’ last week, seeking them (the cops) to join the inquiry procedure on October 22 and October 23. Sekhon was given two dates (October 22 and October 24) for appearance.

“On October 22, my client was called by the bureau in connection with the allegations by Raju, while today they are verifying the claims of Suresh from him”, said Harish Bhardwaj while talking to TNS.

“As we did not get any notice till yesterday evening, we could not join the inquiry on October 22”, added Bhardwaj.

The other five cops also did not turn up for joining bureau’s inquiry on their due dates.

These cops have been placed under suspension. After the preliminary internal departmental inquiry by DSP J.S.Cheema, which is largely based on the statements recorded by the accused before the investigation officers of the Narcotic Control Bureau, DSP B.S. Chadha is conducting a regular inquiry.

According to bureau sources, Ranjit Bajaj, son of IAS couple, was also summoned today morning but he did not turn up for the proceedings. 



UT amends allotment scheme for institutes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh,October 24
While amending the allotment scheme for the institutions, the Chandigarh Administration has renamed it as “Allotment of land to various bodies/associations/trust /organisations of religious, charitable, cultural, social nature and governments/semi-government organisation and its autonomous bodies on leasehold basis in Chandigarh, (Amendment) Scheme, 2008.”

With the new amendment now the Clause 3 for sub clause (iv) of the scheme will be substituted as “Institutional purposes” and include any activity relating to the field of art, social, charitable, culture, health, environment, sports, music, political etc. A new sub clause (viii) will be added in clause 3, after sub clause (vii) according to which, “political party” means any national political party declared as such by the Election Commission of India and shall be eligible for allotment, if it has got at least one member of Parliament elected from Chandigarh in the last 20 years.

In the said scheme, the Clause 6 will be substituted as 6 (i). Land for residential purposes to Central Government and the Governments of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, including its autonomous bodies/ semi government organisations, boards and corporations owned and promoted by the respective Government will be allotted at a price which would be 48 per cent of average auction price fetched in the auctions held in the last three auction years. Land for institutional purpose to the Central Government and the governments of Punjab and Haryana will be allotted at a price which would be 15 per cent of the average auction price fetched in the auctions held in the last three auction years of the commercial property in the locality.

Whereas Clause 7 will now be assumed as “7(i) Land for institutional purposes to wholly-owned PSUs, boards and corporations of the Central Government and the governments of Punjab, Haryana will be allotted at a price which would be 25 per cent of average auction price fetched in the auctions held in the last three auction years of the commercial properties in Chandigarh.



Close down dept of evening studies: NAAC
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
The department of evening studies, Panjab University, is in the eye of the storm again as the National Accreditation and Assessment Council (NAAC) team has suggested the varsity to close down the department as it has “outlived its utility”.

Earlier, it was the UGC team that had observed that the department of evening studies has outlived its “relevance”.

The NAAC team members suggested that the teachers of the department should be shifted to other departments or be utilised in new departments given the current crisis of faculty on the campus.

As required by the committee, the chairmen of all the teaching departments had to make presentations giving details about their department, faculty members, infrastructure and the working of the department. In the absence of a regular chairman of the evening studies department, the dean, university instructions, Prof S.K. Kulkarni, who is the officiating chairman of the department, made a presentation along with few other representatives of the department.

The sources said that after the presentation was over, the members of the NAAC team questioned the department representatives on various aspects, including if it caters to the employed or the self-employed, what time the classes are held, is it an evening college or a department, number of faculty members, if any research work is carried out by the teachers in the department, et al.

Not satisfied with the replies, the members, including the chairman of the team, F.C. Jhangmuthu, suggested that evening colleges have outlived their utility in India and they were relevant 20 years back. This concept is not applicable anymore. Given that this should immediately be closed. In fact, the courses should go to the colleges, said the NAAC team. They also remarked that this is not university’s function to run undergraduate courses.

When contacted, DUI and chairman of the department, S.K. Kulkarni said, “I did give the presentation, but as far as the remarks of the NAAC team, I am not aware as I left the venue thereafter. Moreover, it would only be known when the team submits its report”.

It is pertinent to mention here that the department has over the years lost its sheen given the innumerable options to pursue higher education such as distance learning, online courses, etc. The number of students who have enrolled for the courses on offer in the department such as BA, B.Com, MA has dropped significantly.

Also, the department has its own set of controversies which include the pending court case of the chairmanship of Atul Veer Arora for which the vice-chancellor had even sought an inquiry from a retired judge. Further, on many instances, the faculty members were also alleged to have forged the data pertaining to the number of students studying in the department, flaws in time-table of classes has also added to its losing popularity among students.



Life term for killing husband
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 24
Additional district and sessions judge Sanjiv Jindal today sentenced Sehlata, wife of Padam Singh a caretaker at a farmhouse, to life imprisonment for murdering her husband. A fine of Rs 5,000 was also imposed on her. The failure in depositing the amount of fine would attract additional imprisonment of five years.

Padam (35), was employed at Talwar Farmhouse on Aasrewali road, near Barwala, and was found murdered on the intervening night of Januray 13 and 14. Sehlata informed the police about the murder in the morning. She stated that Padam had been killed by thieves during a scuffle when they broke into the farmhouse to steal fowls.

Later, however, during the investigation it was found that she and Padam had strained relations and he used to beat her up frequently. She also had an illicit relationship with Padam’s nephew. When Padam came to know about this, he became more brutal. The police said Sehlata attacked Padam with sharp-edged weapons while he was sleeping on the night of January 13, killing him on the spot. 



A clarification
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Reacting to the news item, “Beauty business turns ugly for entrepreneur”, published in these columns on October 10, Richfeel Health and Beauty Pvt. Ltd. has claimed that provision for monopoly rights for the tricity does not exist in the agreement with the franchise.

In a communication to The Tribune, the CEO, Col (retd.) Dr Romi Jiandani, has also asserted that the expenses incurred by the company “far outweigh that of the entrepreneur”. Dr Jiandani added that both the parties were not on a warpath as “the company has always endeavoured to resolve the situation amicably”. The initiative for legal recourse has been taken by the entrepreneur, and not the company.

He further added that the company had “always and invariably gone out of the way to ensure that this franchise flourishes”. 


Pre-natal Act fails to curb foeticide, say experts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
The Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, which prohibits pre-natal sex determination tests, has failed to achieve its goal in curbing female foeticide. This was stated by experts on the concluding day of the two-day conference on Population Health and Social Development organised by the Population Foundation of India (PFI), here today. According to the data available, in Punjab, 99 court cases, including 10 convictions, have been reported till date of not complying with the rules of the Act. While in Haryana, 39 cases of the Act violation had been lodged in the state. “Legal action alone is not enough to deal with this problem and a proper mechanism needs to be formed to curb this menace,” the experts said.

Speaking on the ‘Role and Impact of Media in Addressing Child Sex Ratio’, Editor-in-Chief of the The Tribune, H.K. Dua said there was a dire need to focus on women achievers since they had to strive harder and undergo much more hardships in order to attain the same levels than their male counterparts. Emphasising on the need for continuity in highlighting such issues, Dua said, “This should not be restricted to one particular day like the Woman’s Day but observed for 365 days a year.” Stating that The Tribune had always played a proactive role in highlighting women and girl child related issues, Dua said the publication had run several series of stories with special focus on these issues. Saying that media, in general, had played a positive role in highlighting the problems related to female foeticide, newspapers could play even larger role of changing the attitudes of the people through editorials.

Citing the Jessica Lal murder case, Dua said it was the media that had kept the issue alive by highlighting the lacunae in the investigations and the attempts of the defence to twist the case. The media’s efforts helped in creating a mass peoples’ campaign and finally helped in getting justice for the slain model’s family. B.G. Verghese, a renowned journalist, emphasised that the larger issue was of changing the attitude and mindset of the masses and this could only be done by the media. “We should force politicians and bureaucrats to take initiative in this field by writing stories which highlight the gravity of the issue,” he said. B.G. Deshmukh, vice-chairman of the governing board, PFI, concluded the conference by observing that one of the key recommendations that emerged at the conference was the need to focus on holistic health. He further mentioned that the holistic approach for healthcare could not be implemented by a single player and had to be a collaboration of various agencies, with the government being at the forefront.



Water supply bylaws to be amended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
The Finance and Contract Committee of the municipal corporation has approved a proposal to amend the bylaws for supplying water to Mother Teresa Home, Chandi Kusht Ashram and Deaf and Dumb Institutes at the rate of Re 1 per month. The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by mayor Pardeep Chhabra yesterday.

The committee also decided to grant Rs 5 lakh ex gratia to the family of Amarjit Singh Mavi, the fireman who lost his life after succumbing to burn injuries that he received on duty in a fire incident at Sector 22.

Besides, the committee approved other agenda items, including estimates of boring and installation of 12”x 8” (304.80x203.20mm) deep bore tube well in lieu of low discharge and abandoned tube well at Shivalik Enclave No. 1, Mani Majra, providing water facilities in Faidan village, fixing of reserve price of vacant paid parking areas, providing consultancy services for augmentation of water supply and sewerage systems, amendment in the Chandigarh Hand Cart Control and Regulation Bye-laws 1989 and bye-laws of Hawkers in Chandigarh 1961 and terms and conditions for allotment of eight kiosks at night food street in front of the PGI, Sector 12. Municipal commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria, additional commissioner-cum-secretary P.K. Sharma, joint commissioner T.P.S. Phoolka and other senior officers were also present.



DSP to regulate traffic
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
The Punjab and Haryana High Court wants the traffic to flow smoothly on the Zirakpur-Parwanoo stretch of the Shimla highway.

Issuing a series of directions in this regard, a Division Bench of Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice Daya Chaudhary asked the SP concerned to ensure that there was no hindrance.

Directions for deploying recovery vehicles, along with first-aid vans, were also issued by the Bench.

Taking up the highway widening and traffic regulation case, the Bench added that traffic police personnel would be deployed under the supervision of a DSP. The Bench added any laxity on the part of the authorities concerned would be viewed seriously.

The issue of a reconstituting a committee set up to monitor the day-to-day progress also cropped up during the hearing. At one point of time, the Bench even considered the name of retired IPS officer Kiran Bedi as the committee head. The judges on the next date of hearing would consider the names of officers to head the committee.

The High Court had earlier made it clear that the project to streamline the flow of traffic on the Pinjore-Kalka-Parwanoo could not be delayed on account of red-tapism.

The road has been witnessing traffic jams, especially on the stretch passing through the towns of Pinjore and Kalka.

The Bench has all along been expressing its unhappiness at the red-tapism enveloping the issue of transfer of defence land between Chandigarh and Pinjore to the NHAI and also on the issue of alternative land to be provided to the Army authorities by Haryana in exchange for the land to be transferred to the NHAI.

The issue of widening the Chandigarh-Kalka highway has its origin in a petition filed in public interest by Harish Kumar Puri of Ambala. In his petition, Puri had earlier asked for the construction of rumble strips, along with traffic signals, at the crossings. He had stated that his 27-year-old son Ashok Puri had died on May 14, 1996, due to complete failure of the signal system.



IGP holds crime review meeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Motor vehicle thefts have risen by 32 per cent this year as compared to 2007 while snatching cases have increased by 16 per cent. However, the police today claimed that the crime against person was on decline during the past nine months this year.

UT IGP S.K.Jain today held a crime review meeting at Sector 9 police headquarters, here, today. The meeting was attended by all senior police officials.

At least 163 snatching cases have been registered till September 30 as against 140 in 2007 while 348 vehicles were stolen this year as against 262 last year. The police has managed to recover 84 vehicles this year as against 78 in 2007.

Robbery case have declined during the last nine months as compared to the corresponding period last year. Similarly, 20 robbery cases were reported in this year as compared to 27 in 2007. Out of 20 robbery cases 18 have been worked out.

The police has launched the sector-sealing scheme, which has helped in curbing such incidents, claimed a police official. With the arrest of gang of snatchers, 50 per cent snatching cases have been worked out.

The police said the crime against person was well under control as 14 murder cases were registered in nine months this year as compared to 16 in 2007. Out of 14 cases, 11 have been worked out.At least 23 cases of attempt to murder were reported in nine months compared to 26 in 2007.

Out of 23 cases 20 have been worked out. The IGP directed the official to solve these cases as early as possible.

The robbery cases have declined during the past nine months, as 20 cases were registered as against 27 last year.



Street kids celebrate Diwali 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
The children who are seen begging at traffic lights were today beaming with confidence as they staged performances in their glowing uniforms.

The initiative has been taken by Good Beginning, an open school for street children. The school today held the Diwali celebrations for their students at Punajb Kala Bhawan, Sector 16.

Chairperson of the Children’s Film Society of India, Nafisa Ali Sodhi, was the chief guest. The school is being run from under a tree at the traffic lights of Sector 8.

“Good Beginning is an effort at mainstreaming children who are forced to beg for a living. These children face poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition and lack of hygiene like others living in the slums, but they live a harsher, harder life,” said Sangita Vardhan, founder of the school.

“They have to go through social, physical and mental abuse, violence, extortion and addictions. Nobody values them so they value nothing,” she said.

The schools has got support from the Chandigarh sarv shiksha department in the form of mid-day meal, stationery, games, two volunteers and a classroom at GMSSS-8.

“We run our school from under a tree to encourage mothers who are reluctant to send their children from the beginning so that they can come and see their children learning, singing and dancing,” she said adding that this encourages other beggars to join the school as they see their peers learning in an non-intimidating informal way.



1 month on, shopkeepers await possession 
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, October 24
Even as pucca booths constructed at a cost of Rs 3 crore by PUDA about five years ago gather dust, fire-hit shopkeepers of Janta Market here are eagerly waiting to shift their business to the concrete structures.

As many as 130 booths were constructed by PUDA (now GMADA) in Phase III B-1 in 2003 to accommodate shopkeepers of Janta Market, but those are lying in a state of neglect over the years.

A visit to the area revealed that a few booths were being used illegally by outsiders. Only a few of these booths were locked. There was filth all around and the place was stinking. Manhole covers and electrical fittings had been stolen.

One of the shopkeepers who had been allotted a pucca booth said he was not sure when the possession would be given to him. Nothing had been said about giving possession by GMADA officials at the time of the draw of lots nor any intimation in this regard was given at a later stage.

He said a devastating fire had destroyed the rehri market on June 1, 2007. It took a long time for the shopkeepers to start their business all over again. While some of them had reconstructed booths to run their business, many were still running shops along roadsides. But giving an early possession of booths to the allottees was not on the priority list of the authorities concerned, he added.

GMADA kept delaying the allotment of the 130 booths because there were 377 persons seeking these booths. A draw of lots was finally held a month ago on September 25. It was decided that the remaining shopkeepers would be shifted from the rehri market to a temporary site so that more booths could be constructed at the site and be allotted to others.



Mutations in Land Record 
Dubey for disciplinary action against revenue officials
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 24
Financial commissioner (revenue) Romila Dubey has recommended disciplinary action against revenue officials who executed mutations in land record of about 500 acres at Mullanpur Garibdass village here.

The deputy commissioner, Mohali, has been asked to implement the orders of the financial commissioner. The recommendations have been made on the basis of an inquiry report that had held the district revenue officer, tehsildar of Kharar, naib tehsildar of Majri, the kanungo and the patwari responsible for the irregularity. The inquiry has established that the mutations were executed and approved by these officers on September 5 while the clarification over the issue was sought from the government on September 12 and September 18.

Sources said the administration was likely to suspend the kanungo and patwari, who were primarily responsible for the mutations in the back date.

The prime land worth several crores has been under contention for the past several years as the village panchayat claims ownership of the land, stating that it is shamlat (village common land). On the other hand, a few villagers belonging to the choe reclamation society have been claiming that the land was private and belongs to them. A division bench of the High Court passed order in favour of the societies.

Meanwhile, the rural development and panchayat department is learnt to have filed an SLP in the Supreme Court against an order of the High Court.

The department maintains that the niab tehsildar entered the mutations despite clear instructions under the Act. Under the Punjab Land Revenue Act, 1887, the financial commissioner, (revenue), was empowered to set aside any orders that were not legally right.



Be ready to spend more this Diwali 
Himani Chandel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
For cracker lovers, this Diwali might not be as glittering as it used to be. The rockets that burst into stars and illuminate the sky during the festival of light are all set to make a big hole in people’s pocket.
A shopkeeper prepares a crackers’ stall in Sector-22
A shopkeeper prepares a crackers’ stall in Sector-22 on Friday. A Tribune photograph

In fact, the prices of crackers have gone up by almost 40 to 45 per cent this year. A Sector 26-based wholesale cracker dealer said “Prices of raw materials used for making crackers have increased five folds during the past six months. For instance, the cost of sulphur, a major ingredient used for making crackers was Rs 9,000 per tonne in April and now it is Rs 52,000 per tonne. Similarly, the price of potassium nitrate has increased by 33 per cent i.e. Rs 40,000 from Rs 30,000 and is expected to touch Rs 50,000 within next two months. Waste paper price has also increased by 15 per cent,” he added.

“Until last year, we were offering discount up to 50 per cent on the MRP to our regular customers, or those buying the stuff in bulk. But now, with the reduction of profit margins, we would not be able to offer any discount,” he added.

“You can buy a pack of 10 whistling ‘hawais’ for Rs 130. The one that explodes into 250 stars can be brought between Rs 16,00 to Rs 2,000.

However, the sustained anti-cracker drives have made crackers less popular in the city. This lack of interest has gained momentum due to the price rise. “Crackers are losing their importance with every Diwali,” said a cracker whole seller in Sector-26.



Councillors condemn MC employees
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 24
As many as 15 councillors condemned employees of the Municipal Council for raising slogans against them when they had raised their voice against the executive officer (EO) for allegedly shielding a corrupt employee.

In a written statement, the councillors said they had staged a walkout from the meeting held on October 17 in protest against the attitude of the EO but soon after employees held a protest against the representatives and raised slogans against the government.

They alleged that large-scale corruption was going on in the civic body and development works were suffering. The EO had failed to remove illegal rehris despite an assurance. Parking areas were in a state of neglect, streetlights in many parts of the town were not functioning and sanitation was in a poor state.



PB 65 H 6565 goes for Rs 96,000
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 24
The second phase of the auction of fancy vehicle registration numbers was held at the office of the district transport officer, Mohali, here today. The auction was held for the PB 65 H series from 0101 to 0999.

The maximum bid of Rs 96,000 went for number PB 65 H 6565 against a reserve price of Rs 1,000. The fancy number was bid by Karanvir Singh Gill. The second highest bid was attracted by PB 65 H 1212 which went for Rs 36,000. Another two numbers PB 65 H 1313 and PB 65 H 1515 went for Rs 16,000 and Rs 6,500, respectively.

The DTO was able to earn Rs 1,56,000 from today’s auction. 



LPG shortage irks residents
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, October 24
The shortage of LPG cylinders in the city has made the life people miserable, as even after waiting for long hours in a queue one is not sure getting a refilled cylinder.

This has come as a blessing in disguise for those selling LPG cylinders in the black market.

A random survey conducted by The Tribune revealed that those living in labour colonies are selling LPG cylinders in black. Surprisingly Rs 60 was being charged in exchange for giving another company’s cylinder.

Main reason behind this shortage is that hotels, sweets shop owners use domestic LPG cylinders as these cost less. Sadly, the food and civil supplies department and oil companies are not doing much to tackle this problem.

Residents also accused the police for failing to keep a check on those who illegally run their vehicles on domestic LPG.

Sanjeev Kumar, a consumer, said: “I have booked my cylinder on October 10, but it has not been delivered as yet. It’s very difficult for my wife and me. If there is so much shortage, then how cylinders are being sold in black?

When an official of a gas agency was contacted, he said, “The shortage in supply is from the depot, but the consumers don’t understand our problem.” Komal, a housewife, said: “The officials should conduct raids at hotels, restaurants to keep a check on the use of domestic cylinders for commercial purposes.”

A dhaba owner said,” We admit our mistake, but it’s necessary to earn the living as we have less sources. But even rich hoteliers are indulging in this activity.”



e-Sampark centre in Sec 17
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
UT administrator S. F. Rodrigues launched an e-Sampark centre at the Central Treasury in Sector 17 here today.

While interacting with Manjit Singh Brar, IT director, and other functionaries, Rodrigues asked them to make it more people-friendly through computer interactive processes. Also, he said, its scope of service should be enhanced for coverage of maximum population in the tri-city.

Meanwhile, three more villages-Dadu Majra, Khuda Alisher and Daria-came under the gram sampark facility today.



Exhibition opened
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
An exhibition-cum-sale by women entrepreneurs began today at Gulati Bhawan, Sector-34.

The exhibition was inaugurated by Keshni Anand, secretary and commissioner, Haryana Tourism, along with KK Misra, general manager, Circle Office, Chandigarh.

The exhibition is being organised by the Centre for Entrepreneurship Development for Women, Canara Bank, Sector-34, to provide marketing support to women entrepreneurs by providing them a common platform.

There is a collection of formal and casual suits, fabrics in hand and machine embroidery, phulkari, ribbon work, block printed, hand painting, etc.



Max New York Life opens office

Panchkula, October 24
Max New York Life opened its first sales office in Sector 11, here, today. The company has a countrywide network of 443 offices across 27. 

The company has recorded a sum assured of around Rs 85,300 crore with around 2.95 million policies, said regional manager Ashish Jaitly. With this launch, the company will have 21 offices in Haryana, which includes eight offices dedicated to emerging markets. — TNS



Fee driving litigants away
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
After paying lofty fee to city-based lawyers, litigants are now reluctant to pay Rs 4,000 to mediators at the Mediation Centre that was inaugurated five months ago at the district courts.

If one wants to avail of the services of the centre for early disposal of cases pending at the courts, one has to shell out Rs 4,000. This is turning litigants who are financially not sound away from the centre, which offers counselling.

Accepting the fact, a mediator at the centre, Ashwini Bansal, said: “In the initial few months after the inauguration of the centre the court gave fee to mediators according to the number of cases that were disposed of. I currently charge a fee of Rs 4,000 for every case that is resolved. The effort that goes into resolving disputes is very high as one has to convince litigants.”

Bansal said: “I have five cases out of which two have already been resolved and litigants in three cases, which pertain to matrimonial dispute, are still getting counselling.”

On the contrary, another mediator at the centre, Atul Lakhanpal, asserted: “I have three cases of domestic dispute with me but have not taken fee from any of the litigants as yet. I don’t think any of the mediators are charging fee from litigants.”



Four DSPs transferred 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
The UT IGP today ordered the transfer of four DSPs while giving posting orders to the newly appointed DSP with immediate effects.

DSP Jagbir Singh has been transferred from the Police Lines to the operations cell training centre and DSP Vijay Kumar has been shifted from operations cell to the police control room. DSP B.S. Chadha has been transferred from the women and child support unit to the economic offences wing and DSP B.S. Negi has been transferred from economic offences wing to the Police Lines. In addition to this recently promoted DSP Kulwant Singh Pannu has been transferred to the women and child support unit. 



Young maestros liven up Sangeet Sammelan
S D Sharma

Chandigarh, October 24
The 31st Chandigarh Sangeet Sammelan got off to a melodic start with young virtuoso Arshad Ali giving a melodic start to the annual event organised by the Indian National Theatre at Randhawa Auditorium here today.

Young Arshad Ali captivated the audience from the very beginning with his sonorous and melodious voice matured more than his age. He commenced the recital with an alaap in raga “Yaman” followed by a slow-paced (Vilambat) “Sajni jaa”, a composition in “Ektaal”. He rendered a crisp tarana in “Drut Teen Taal” and concluded the recital with a light composition in raag “Des”. Arshad Ali cast a spell with doling out intricate sargams with adroit mastery over Lya and Taal. Padmashree Mahmood Dholpuri and the young tabla virtuoso Avirbhab articulated the melody meter while Neha and Navneet accompanied on “Taanpura”.

The second session belonged to yet another young Pune-based vocal maestro Ranjani Ramachandran. She opened her recital with a Vilambat composition “Pyari Pag” which was followed by Chota Khayal “Ren din kase kate” in raag “Vihagda”. Her recital was marked with dexterous Alaap and Sargams. She also presented a bhajan later.

Ranjani was accompanied by Dr Paramjit Singh on tabla, besides Mahmood Dholpuri on harmonium. Earlier, Usha Saboo honoured the artistes.

Well known sitar maestro Deb Prasad Chakraborty and vocalist Raja Kale will perform tomorrow.



Charge sheet in Dimpy murder case submitted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
The UT police submitted a charge sheet against Jaswinder Singh, alias Rocky, in the sensational blind murder of “gangster” Prabhjinder Singh Dimpy in judicial magistrate Sumit Ghai’s court today.

Dimpy was gunned down in front of the Sukhna Lake Club by two motorcycle-borne shooters on July 7, 2006.

Meanwhile, the police submitted the charge sheet against Rocky and Amandeep Singh, alias Deara, for possessing illegal weapons. They were arrested on night of July 27 from Sector-11.



UT staff to get pay on Oct 27
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Due to the rush of bills and claims pertaining to the salary for the month of October, DA arrears as well as the festival advances, the Central Treasury will remain open on October 25, a gazetted holiday.

The administration has ordered that the pay and allowances for the month of October of all employees working under the UT administration (both gazetted and non-gazetted) will be drawn and disbursed on October 27.



Students take out anti-cracker rallies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
The Camphor Eco Club of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 35, organised an anti-cracker rally and painting completion today. As many as 100 club members marched with placards in their hands giving the message that we should not burst crackers on the occasion of Diwali for protection of our environment.

Mount Carmel: The Eco Club of Mount Carmel School, Sector 47, organised an anti cracker rally to spread awareness on harmful effects of bursting crackers. The main theme of the Rally was ‘Say No to Crackers’.

Moti Ram School: In continuation of the Moral Values and Civic Duties Week, students of Moti Ram School, Sector 27, took pledge to celebrate ‘cracker-free’ Diwali. Dr Sabina Kalra, retina expert, GMCH-32, a lecture through visual presentation on how to celebrate a safe Diwali.

Guru Teg Bahadur School: To spread the awareness in society, a peace rally was organised by the students and staff of Guru Teg Bahadur Public School, Sec-15, here to observe the UNO Day.

St Kabir: Students of senior wing of St Kabir Public School, Sector 26, shared the festive spirit with Sanjay Colony Pustak School children. St Kabir has adopted the school and the students of the school distributed stationery, greeting cards, sweets and fruits among the underprivileged children.



NIPER scientist gets Indo-EU project 
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 24
A prestigious Indo-European Union (Indo-EU) FP7 research project has been awarded to Prof Prati Pal Singh of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), SAS Nagar, for his research project “New Approaches to Target Tuberculosis.”

The projects primarily aims at the discovery of new anti-tuberculosis drugs, especially for those tuberculosis causing bugs which are resistant to commonly used anti-TB drugs, said Prati Pal Singh, investigator-in-charge of the project.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bug that causes TB, has been reported in 9,000 year-old skeletons. The TB kills 1.6 million people every year, 4, 400 people per day and every 20 seconds one-person dies of it. Multi-drug resistant strains of M. tuberculosis are now prevalent in 90 countries. 



PU heritage youth fest ends 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
The four-day Panjab University Diamond Jubilee Youth and Heritage Festival, Zone B, concluded at Government College, Sector-46, today.

Mayor Pradeep Chhabra was the chief guest. He congratulated the host college and the teams for putting up a panoramic show and appreciated the talent in the participating students.

He underlined the importance of cultural and heritage events and applauded the efforts put in by the organisers.

The day included events in the cultural and intellectual categories. The last of the youth festival proved remarkable for the host college as it bagged two first prizes in giddha.



Tiny tots of Saupin’s mesmerise audience
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 24
Saupin’s School, Panchkula, organised its annual function for students of Play Group to Class II here today. Around 400 students took part in the function titled ‘Saupinite Symphony’ organised at Indra Dhanush auditorium, Panchkula.

The tiny tots of Play Group, LKG and Nursery walked the ramp in spell-binding manner. Western folk dances left the viewers mesmerised. ‘Indian Idol Auditions’ provided rib-tickling humour to the audience. English play ‘A Tiny House’ highlighted the fact that man is never satisfied with what he has unless he is left bereft of it.

Star attraction of the evening was bhangra performed by the students of Classes I and II.

Earlier, the inaugural lamp was lighted by chief guest S. K. Kalra, DGM, Allahabad Bank.

Annual Day

Students of Hansraj Public School presented a visual treat with a combination of music, dance and drama during annual day celebrations here today. The students, in traditional costumes, welcomed the guests.

Principal of the school Vijay Kumar presented annual report highlighting achievements of the school. Chief guest H. R. Gandhar, director, public schools, DAV College Managing Committee, New Delhi, gave away the prizes to the students for excellence in academics, creativity and sports.

This was followed by chanting of mantras from the Vedas.Puppet dance, followed by fanciful play ‘The Man Who Wanted to Fly’ was also staged.

‘Say No to Crackers’

Junior wing of Blue Bird High School celebrated Diwali on the school premises today. Tiny tots presented a series of items. Conveying a message of ‘Say No to Crackers’, students of Pre-Nursery came dressed up as crackers and explained bad effects of the crackers to the atmosphere. Students of Nursery and KG sections presented various characters of the Ramayana.

Diwali Celebrations

Doon Public School, Panchkula, celebrated the Diwali eve. Rangoli, dry-flower arrangement, lamp-making competition was held. Students participated in the competitions with enthusiasm.



Plan to turn Stu C into‘no-vehicle zone’
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Waking up to the need of checking the entry of outsiders on the Panjab University campus, the authorities are now planning to make the Students’ Centre, which has of late turned into a “fight centre” given the number of brawls that have taken place, a “vehicle-free zone.”

In fact, the suggestion has come from members of the Panjab University Campus Students’ Council. They have also suggested that the university should even otherwise work out modalities for restricting the entry of outsiders who are mostly responsible for bringing weapons and clashes.

They also suggested that there should be pre-allocated parking lots beyond which no vehicle should be allowed. Areas beyond such parking lots should be barricaded.

According to sources, the dean students’ welfare met the council members in this regard yesterday. Also, ABVP activists who had submitted a memorandum to the authorities have suggested in the meeting that there should be ban on plying of vehicles near the Students’ Centre. This would go a long way in keeping the notorious outsiders at bay, they added.

The proposal of making campus “vehicle free” seems all the more logical, when authorities are soon going to start an intra-university bus service.

It remains to be seen that whether the university accepts students’ suggestions or chalk out their own strategy for dealing with the menace of “outsiders” on the lines of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, and others which don’t allow outsiders to enter the campus unless they have some university-related work.



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