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A promise unkept
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 29
He had promised his daughters to have dinner with them after he returned to the city after a test flight. Fate, however, willed otherwise for Manjit Singh, co-pilot of the ill-fated Punjab government aircraft that crashed in Ludhiana today. The news of his death reached his family around noon.

“Papa spoke to me on phone yesterday and promised to take us out for dinner,” his daughter Niharika (17) said in a choked voice.

Niharika and her sister Jasmine (14) live with their mother in Chandigarh after their parents separated.

Manjit Singh spent the day at his sister’s house in Sector 12-A here before leaving for the airport for the trial run of the plane at 9 am today.

Manjit was running a night club in the US before he returned to India a year ago on the insistence of his father, a resident of Ratia in Hisar district.

The family owns substantial property and his father wanted him to stay back in India, Vinay Singla, a family friend, said.

Manjit was an alumnus of St John’s School, Chandigarh, and had a stint in aviation before leaving India.

He stayed in the US for 18 years and after his return to India, he decided to pursue his career as a pilot. He took over the job of a co-pilot with the Punjab government.

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Over 120 sustain burns, eye injuries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
As many as 123 persons from the city and various parts of Haryana, Punjab and UP reached hospitals with eye and burn injuries, sustained during Diwali last night.

Last year, more than 150 persons had sustained such injuries.

“A majority of patients were young and in the age group of 8-15 years. Eight had to be operated upon for severe eye injury and it may affect their vision,” Dr Amit Gupta, advanced eye centre, PGI, said, adding that the most common cause of the injuries was blasts followed by “rocket” and “anar”, he said.

Most of the injured were onlookers. A woman standing near her children who were bursting crackers in Panchkula had to be admitted with 90 per cent burns.

Among 50 patients reported at the GMSH last night, 18 suffered eye injuries. Three of them had critical injuries and two others with head injuries were referred to the PGI.

At the GMCH, 24 cases of burns and the same number of patients with eye injuries were reported, said Dr Vipin Kaushal, medical superintendent.

Fight over crackers claims life

A 19-year-old youth was stabbed to death when he had an altercation with some youths at Karala village near Patiala. The victim, identified as Surmukh Singh, reportedly had a tiff with the youths after they threw burning crackers towards him. He was admitted to the GMCH in a critical condition last night. He later succumbed to his injuries.

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Quieter, greener Diwali this time
Himani Chandel
Tribune New Service

Chandigarh, October 29
Diwali this year was much quieter compared to last year. Environmentalists say that every year during the festive season, especially on Diwali, the air and noise pollution levels increase, but this year, Diwali was not as noisy.

“There was a mixed pattern of increase and decrease in noise levels. At some places, there was a downfall in the noise level. This may be due to higher awareness about the adverse effects of pollution among the public and the anti-cracker rallies by students, which were supported by the administration,” a senior official of the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee (CPCC) said.

Every year, the CPCC monitors the impact of crackers at its centres in the city.

Also, the sale of crackers went down by more than 50 per cent this year. According to shopkeepers and wholesalers, a major part of their stocks did not sell. “We are facing heavy losses because of it,” Ashok Khurana, a shopkeeper at Attawa village, said.

Some shopkeepers were seen selling crackers below the cost price. “These crackers cost me Rs 10 each. I tried to sell those for Rs 15 yesterday but didn’t get any buyers. So, I am trying to exhaust my stock by selling them at Rs 7,” he said.

The reason for the low sales of crackers is also being attributed to the rise in prices. The price of crackers soared by more than 20 per cent this Diwali.

“People were disappointed with the high prices of crackers and the festival also came at the end of the month when the family budget is usually taken care of,” another shopkeeper said.

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Notice to pvt schools on fee
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
After failing to educe a positive response from the private schools to its earlier demand of furnishing their balance sheets, the UT administration, in a fresh effort to check the ‘unregulated’ fee structures, has issued notices to all institutions once again today.

In the backdrop of its recent move of monitoring the fee structure of government-aided schools, the administration is all set to assess private schools’ claims that money charged from students was being ploughed back for the welfare of children.

Though the administration had sought their balance sheets earlier also, most of the schools failed to furnish them and justified their excess fees in the name of “best of facilities”, like AC rooms, sports infrastructure, transport, instructors and gymnasium, being made available to the students.

However, administration’s stand was that barring the schools run by Trusts or societies, no privately run school can legally divert the money towards raising fixed assets for the school. According to the Education Code under Clause 18, these schools could be questioned if they hiked fee to divert such expenditure to raise capital.

Speaking to The Tribune, Samwartak Singh, DPI (S) said: “They have been given 15 days’ time to furnish the details. They might have ignored earlier notice, but they will have to abide this time positively.”

Meanwhile, the demand seems to be unjustified to many principals of the schools. One of them said: “Administration is not funding us. Moreover, we bought lands at market rate. So when administration has no role to develop the school, they have no right to impose laws. We justify the fee with proper infrastructure, and till date, no parent has complained of being duped. Rather than trying to whip us, it should pay attention to improve ever-deteriorating government schools.”

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3 killed in accidents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
Prabhat Sharma (45) was killed after his motorcycle rammed into Matka Chowk here tonight.

He was rushed to the hospital in a critical condition, where he was declared brought dead.

The mishap took place when he lost control over his bike which hit a road divider before crashing into the rotary.

Meanwhile, two scooterists were killed while four persons travelling in a car were seriously injured in three road accidents in the city in the past 48 hours.

According to the police, 27-year-old Anil Kumar of Naya Gaon had come to Sector 28 to give sweets to his relatives.

He was returning home when his scooter rammed into the rotary of Sectors 10, 11 and 15 on Monday. He was critically injured in the mishap and was taken to the GMSH-16, where he died.

The accident was a result of overspeeding, a police officer said.

In another mishap, 22-year-old Mohkam of Sector 52 died after his scooter rammed into a railing on the divider of the Kajheri road.

A police officer said the victim was drunk and not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

In yet another accident that took place in the wee hours of Tuesday, an Indica car rammed into the rotary of Sectors 14, 15, 24 and 25. The driver, Sonu of Ropar, fell asleep and the car crashed into the rotary. All four persons travelling in the car were seriously injured and rushed to the GMSH and the PGI.

The car was also badly damaged in the mishap. Sonu, who sustained critical multiple injuries, was referred to the PGI and is said to be battling for life. The other victims have been identified as Subhraj, Darshan Singh and Jagmohan Singh, all of Ropar. They were coming from Kolkata to consign the mortal remains of their relative at Kiratpur Sahib. 

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Sarpanch’s brother murdered
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 29
Kartar Chand (40) of Mehdudan village was murdered this afternoon and his son was seriously injured as a fallout of poll rivalry.

The brother of the deceased had won the recent panchayat elections and had been elected sarpanch.

According to statements recorded by the police, Mahinder Ram had been elected sarpanch and since then, his opponents had been holding a grudge against him.

Ashok Sharma, police post in charge of Badali Ala Singh Wala, said the victim belonged to the Congress and the attackers were reportedly from the Akali Dal.

“They had been fighting with each other for the past several days. Six or seven men attacked the house of Kartar Chand with sharp-edged weapons and killed Kartar and injured his son,” he said.

Karam Chand (25), son of Kartar, was rushed to the Bassi Pathana Civil Hosiptal with serious head injuries.

Police officials said the attackers had been identified. They were influential people with political connections.

The accused had been identified as Sukhdeep Singh, Goni, Tejinder Singh Randhir, Balwinder, Surinder Singh and Harjeet Singh.

The SSP visited the spot and said efforts would be made to arrest the accused.

A case has been registered, but no arrests were made until the filing of this report.

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Man posing as food inspector booked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
A man, who was trying to fleece shopkeepers at the Sector 40 market, posing as a food inspector, landed in police net here yesterday.

Vineet Shukla, a resident of Kurukshetra, was booked by the police on impersonation charges. A fake identity card was recovered from him.

Vineet Shukla was asking for bribe from Satish Sharma, a dhaba owner, for using domestic gas cylinders instead of commercial cylinders.

Suspecting his credentials, Satish Sharma called the police, which registered a case under Section 419 of the IPC at the Sector 39 police station.

This was the second time that he came to collect money from the market, the dhaba owner alleged.

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Employer to pay benefits during national service mobilisation
Lt-Col gets due benefits, Rs 25,000 as compensation
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
In a unique case, the Chandigarh District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has come to the rescue of a Territorial Army (TA) volunteer whose parent employer stopped contributing towards the employees’ contribution when he was mobilised for national service.

Lt-Col Narasimhan G, a TA volunteer and an employee of Semi Conductor Limited (SCL), Mohali, a government establishment, has not only been granted his benefits, but also awarded Rs 25,000 as compensation. He was mobilised for counter insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir, the North East and also during the Kargil 
operations.

SCL authorities, however, refused to pay the company’s contribution to provident fund for the time the officer was embodied for military service on the ground that the TA authorities were supposed to deposit the share during such time.

Section 7 of the Territorial Army Act, 1949, however, provides for protection of all employment rights of TA volunteers with their employers when volunteers are called out for military service. Section 7-B also specifically provides that provident fund contributions are to be deposited by the employers and not by TA even when volunteers are performing national service.

SCL did not act act on letters written by the ministry of defence in this regard but also refused to obey the Provident Fund Commissioner when asked to deposit the share in the employee’s PF account.

The Consumer Forum, while holding the officer as a consumer, rapped the SCL authorities and also recorded that the officer “was on national duty in J&K, North East as well as Kargil area under most inhospitable conditions and volatile insurgency environment, no one came to his rescue and that too for meeting a purely legal obligation which was certainly not any favour or reward to him.”

Declaring SCL as having indulged in an unfair trade practice, the forum ordered it to contribute employer’s as well as employee’s contribution to the fund along with Rs 25,000 to the complainant as compensation for mental and physical harassment on account of inaction of SCL to discharge its statutory obligations.

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Cases against housing societies on rise 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
With the spurt in various well-heeled companies trying their hand at erecting and selling flats, the cases against the housing societies and builders for not allotting the flats to the allotees after taking the earnest money is on the rise.

The filing of cases pertaining to the housing society has increased from 0 to 947 in the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission while in the Consumer Forum, the number of these cases have gone up to 656. However, presently there are 307 cases of housing are still pending in the consumer forum and the commission.

On May 2, the forum had sentenced the chief administrator, HUDA, Gurgaon, and the estate officer, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), to a two-year imprisonment for not complying with its orders.

The forum had directed the estate officer, HUDA, to allot an alternative plot in Sector 21, Gurgaon, to petitioner Suresh Kumar along with a compensation of Rs 1,100 as costs of litigation on July 31, 2007.

A resident of Delhi, Suresh was allotted a disputed plot by the HUDA. He had already deposited the money for the plot but could not take possession of the same because of the dispute.

Soon after this order, the Sahara City Homes Marketing was asked to pay compensation of Rs 2.5 lakh on May 22. Petitioner Jyoti Prakash Monga stated in the complaint that he had booked a house with the company under the Sahara Swaran Yojna Scheme in December 2003 after depositing a sum of Rs 1 lakh.

He stated that he kept inquiring about allotment of a two bedrooms flat but he got no response from the company. He even wrote to the head office of the company in Lucknow but there was no response. Thereafter he was offered a flat in Faridabad that Monga did not accept because he wanted a house in the city. With nothing falling in place he filed the complaint in the forum.

Subsequently, the forum had asked the managing director (MD) of Sahara India to pay the compensation of Rs 40,000 for deficiency in service to Rakesh Srivastava, a resident of Sector 22.

Petitioner, Rakesh Srivastava, had taken a certificate of Rs 10,000 in Sahara Rajat Yojana on December 31, 2003 and against the said certificate a coupon of Rs 5,000 was issued in his favour but he did not receive the same.

On inquiring from the company he was informed that the said coupon had been delivered to the Chandigarh branch. Therefore the complainant requested the company to submit the said affidavit on April 26, 2007.

Meanwhile, the commission upheld the orders of the forum on July 7 and asked the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) to pay the compensation as the HUDA has charged compound interest in such cases.

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CHB residents complain of muddy water
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
Residents of the Chandigarh Housing Board Colony, Sector 55, have been facing acute shortage of clean drinking water for the past two days. They have alleged that the water being supplied to them is muddy.

CHB Residents’ Welfare Association chairman B.R. Rangara said muddy water was being supplied to residents of the area.

Every time they opened their taps, they got water contaminated with mud, he alleged. Even water purifiers installed in the houses had jammed due to this, he alleged.

He said over 500 houses in the society were being supplied with contaminated water, which was unfit for consumption.

He alleged that the contaminated water was affecting the health of residents.

Residents complained that the water was also not safe for doing other household chores.

An official in the corporation said work on a pipeline was under way and clean water supply would be restored by tomorrow.

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It was Diwali with a difference for legal fraternity
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
Over two months after the cash scam sent shock waves across the judiciary, some “light” ripples were felt by the legal fraternity during the Diwali celebrations.

For the fraternity, the verdict was Diwali with a difference. Rather, it was nothing less than quashed celebrations for the advocates. Unpronounced permanent injunction orders restrained them from wishing the judges.

So many lawyers actually shied away from calling up the judges they had grown up with since their childhood days.

The “advocate friends” were worried some lawyers would catch hold of the call details, grab the mike and read out the minutes of conversation publicly to establish nexus of sorts between them.

Only recently, there was much ado over phone calls between scam accused Sanjeev Bansal and a high court judge. The calls were made after High Court Chief Justice was informed of the incident to verify the genuineness of Bansal's initial alibi that the money was for a person with name similar to that of the judge. The subsequent calls to police were made to compel them to register a case, if something was found amiss.

Some other lawyers, meanwhile, withdrew their decision of visiting the houses of the judges. Of course, they were apprehensive. After a high court judge decided to expose attempts to corrupt the judiciary by handing over to the police Bansal’s clerk who had erroneously delivered Rs 15 lakh at her house, the lawyers were in no mood to take chances.

The result was there for all to see. Some of the newly elevated judges received lesser number of visitors than they had welcomed during their days as advocates.

The judges too left nothing to chance. The guards were directed not to accept gift. Just short of frisking the visitors, the curt question from the security 
guards was: “Are you carrying gifts? If so, please leave the stuff outside”.

No wonder, the revelry was there, but the bang was missing from the celebrations.

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Goods worth lakhs gutted 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
Garments worth lakhs of rupees were gutted in a major fire that broke out in a leading garment shop near Sector 17 plaza on Tuesday evening. Short-circuit is believed to be the reason behind the fire.

An adjoining shop selling electronic goods also suffered huge losses.

Two other shops of gifts and accessories were also caught in the fire, which caused partial damage to the goods.

It took four fire tenders three hours to douse the blaze that broke out around 9.18 pm. According to an official report, a short-circuit in air-conditioner caused the fire.

There were no reports of human loss in the fire incident.

MC additional commissioner-cum-secretary P.K. Sharma said as all four shops were closed early on account of Diwali, the fire team had to break shutters of the shops to control the blaze. They said the fire was controlled before it could get out of hand.

Meanwhile, no major fire incidents were reported from any part of the city.

In all, the fire department received six calls of minor fires from various parts of the city on Diwali.

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Fire destroys property worth Rs 35 lakh at Bata
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 29
Fire broke out in a company showroom of Bata in Phase III B 2 here last night damaging shoes and other items worth lakhs of rupees.
A Bata showroom after fire at Phase IIIB-2, Mohali
A Bata showroom after fire at Phase IIIB-2, Mohali. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

The fire broke out at around 11 pm and was brought under control by a team of employees from the local fire brigade.

The police control room informed the fire brigade about the incident.

It is suspected that the fire resulted because of a burning firecracker which fell in open courtyard at the back of the shop where some disposable material was lying.

Hindpal Singh of the showroom said he had closed the shop around 6.30 pm. Around 11 pm he received a phone call from a neighbouring shop and was informed about 
the fire.

He immediately rushed back and informed the company about the incident. He said the fire must have spread to the store adjoining the open courtyard. The fire was brought under control by fire brigade.

Even though the fire did not spread to the entire building it had destroyed a part of the stock while the remaining stock was damaged due to excessive heat. He said shoes worth about Rs 28 lakh were stocked in the showroom.

He estimated a total loss of around Rs 35 lakh as cash lying in the showroom was also burnt.

He said there was only one showroom of Bata in the town which would now remain closed and would be reopened after renovation work was carried out in it.

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Tagore Theatre reopens
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh October 29
Punjab Governor and UT administrator S.F. Rodrigues today inaugurated the renovated Tagore Theatre in the presence of theatre personalities and art lovers.

It is now equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, an auditorium, foyer, backstage, projection room boxes and 300 more seats, raising its capacity to about 900 seats.

General Rodrigues said the project had been undertaken to meet the emerging functional requirements of the theatrical world and changing patterns of society.

Advocating the need for a partnership and sense of “ownership”, he appealed to people to come forward with a positive contribution to make the city more beautiful, dynamic and vibrant.

Ram Niwas, home secretary and secretary, engineering, said the theatre was constructed in early 1960s.

With the passage of time, the building, seats, toilets and changing rooms required transformation. The engineering department had set up two transparent glass blocks at the entrances for a modern look. 

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Dancers mesmerise audience
S. D. Sharma

Chandigarh, October 29
After a long wait, the fully renovated Tagore Theatre opened today with new look as the artistes, both young and old, brought alive the diverse cultures of the region in their exuberant performances.

The opening ceremony commenced

with an invocatory dance recital ‘Ganesh Vandna’ by Bharat Natyam maestro Suchitra Mitra and her disciples. The dancers, with their precisely measured body movements, depicted the serene mood of the artistes.

The Chandigarh choir-song written by lyricist S. Rakesh was well received, which was followed by a tabla tarang recital by tabla virtuoso Avibhav Verma. Spirited young female dancers performed giddha, sammi, jindua, jugni and other dances matching the drum beats.

After a classical choreography on a song by Rabindra Nath Tagore, directed by S. Hazra, the musicians and dancers brought alive the élan, gusto and verve of Harynavi traditional orchestra and vibrant dances by Mahavir Guddu and troupe. The chief guest presented awards to the artistes.

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Fireman’s ex gratia case
Benefactor who — MC or Admn?
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
While the Chandigarh municipal corporation is set to move the compensation case of fireman Amarjit Singh Mavi, who died on October 14 after getting badly burnt in a fire-fighting operation, to the Chandigarh administration, doubts are being raised over whether the administration will accede to the request and release the amount or not.

Both the municipal corporation and the administration are yet to decide on the responsibility for releasing relief funds to firemen, should a mishap occur in the line of duty.

Sources said the administration had earlier denied the release of grant of ex gratia to the next of kin of another fireman, Gurbinder Singh, who died on October 7, 2005 in the line of duty, on the plea that he was the employee of the corporation and there was no concern of the administration with it.

In reply to a letter of granting ex gratia to the next of kin of Gurbinder Singh, the administration had stated that as the fireman was transferred to the corporation along with the entire fire wing of the market committee as per the orders of the administrator, he was no more an employee of the market committee.

The benefits of ex gratia were to be given by the corporation according to the terms and conditions of transfer.

According to the records of the fire department, as many as 12 employees, comprising one sub-fire officer, two leading firemen, eight firemen and one driver, were transferred from the board to the fire department.

But so far the corporation has not issued any notification regarding their transfer relating to service and functioning of these employees. So, these employees belong to the board only.

Mavi was earlier an employee of the state agriculture marketing board, Chandigarh, and was transferred to the fire and emergency services department, Chandigarh, on January 2, 1999. He joined the new assignment on January 25, 1999.

According to the norms, only those employees who have been transferred from the administration to the corporation by virtue of Section 428 A can get all benefits.

The administration and corporation are lest concerned about the services and functioning of board employees who got transferred long time back.

MC additional commissioner-cum-secretary P.K. Sharma said they were sending the Mavi compensation case to the administration after getting it approved from the house.

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Dimpy Murder Case
Prime suspects yet to undergo narco test
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
Even two years after the murder of Prabhjinder Singh Dimpy, who was gunned down by sharpshooters near Sukhna Lake in July, 2006, the Chandigarh police has failed to subject any of the prime suspects in the case to narco test.

Sources in the crime branch of the Chandigarh police said investigating officials would move the local court once again requesting to issue summons to Sandeep Bhau, one of the prime suspects in the case, for his nacro-analysis.

A senior police officer said they had already moved an application in the court in the past, which was not dealt with. They were now planning to forward another request in a 
couple of days.

Bhau has been evading the test on medical grounds and has remained elusive to the police.

The police had got an appointment from the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory (CFSL) at Gandhi Nagar in Gujarat in January, but Bhau did not turn up for the test.

The Chandigarh police has submitted charge sheets in local court in the case. The police had recently submitted a charge sheet against another prime suspect Jaswinder Singh Rocky in the court.

The police has so far only subjected Harneev Kaur, another suspect in the case, to polygraphy test at Gujarat.

However, she also cited health reasons and did not undergo narco test. Harneev’s role emerged in the case as she was the one who had called Dimpy out of the Lake Club minutes before he was killed on July 7. She was sitting beside Dimpy in her car, when he was killed.

The police had arrested Rocky in July. He was arrested with a .45 bore pistol, which the police claimed was used in the crime.

Meanwhile, the CFSL, Chandigarh, in its report had confirmed that Dimpy was killed with the same weapon, said a police officer.

Sources said the investigating officials were seeking appointment from the CFSL, Gujarat, to subject Rocky, Harneev and Bhau to the tests.

The police had earlier said that Rocky during his interrogation had named two Meerut-based sharpshooters, Sunil and Surinder Kumar Vakil.

The police conducted raids but failed to nab them. A senior police officer said it could be Rocky’s ploy to distract them, as it was yet to be confirmed whether he gave true names or was he just misleading them.

A senior police officer admitted that it was not easy to trace the shooters from Meerut two years after the murder.

It was unlikely that the two would be staying in Meerut at the same addresses two years on. As such, criminals keep changing their hideouts and even gangs.

Moreover, shooters were said to be accomplices of Ravinder Bhura, who was killed in an encounter in Uttar Pradesh in October, 2006.

Commenting on the proceedings and the course of the investigation in the case, a senior police officer said the probing officials had so far not been able to extract vital information from Rocky, who was termed as one of the prime suspects in the case.

The police claimed that Rocky had planned the murder, as they had parted ways with Dimpy, who had denied them their share of money they had made through extortion.

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Ripe time for new ventures: Expert
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
The difficult economic situation that has seized the world today is in fact the best time for entrepreneurs to start new ventures, said Sridar Iyengar, former chairman and CEO of KPMG India, during an interactive session with local entrepreneurs at the CEO Forum organised by The Indus Entrepreneur (TiE), here today.

He remarked that though the capital would be a problem initially for the new startups, it was survival through the difficult times that made an enterprise flourish.

He is currently a partner with Bessemer Venture Partners and serves on the Boards of ICICI Bank, Infosys Technologies, Rediff.com among other companies in the US and India.

“Indian economy has seen tremendous growth in the last two years and has been built for growth, which will continue though at much slower pace and not of the level as seen before the outset of global recession,” he remarked.

Around 25 CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs of the region participated in the forum, which held its first meeting today.

They discussed the current economic situation and strategies that the corporate needed to adopt to manage their survival, growth through creative marketing, better financial and brand management, said TiE Chandigarh president Puneet Vatsayan, founder director of Mobera Systems.

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Beant memorial centre, lake thrown open
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
UT administrator S.F. Rodrigues today launched two projects in the southern sectors — the Beant Singh memorial centre for performing and visual arts and a new lake in Sector 42 — here today.

Interacting with Jaswant Kaur, wife of late former Chief Minister Beant Singh, and senior officers of the Punjab government and the Chandigarh administration, including R.I. Singh, Punjab chief secretary, D.S. Jaspal, principal secretary, information and public relations, M.P. Singh, secretary to the Punjab Governor, Ram Niwas, UT home secretary, Sanjay Kumar, UT finance secretary, Tejveer Singh, Punjab director public relations, Rodrigues emphasised the need for making the memorial a functional and vibrant project, broad-basing its utility to fulfil the ideals and the cause for which Beant Singh laid down his life.

Rodrigues went around the library building, an open-air auditorium, a lecture hall, a conference hall, a committee room, a reading room and fountains installed in the complex and asked home secretary and the engineering department to landscape the surroundings and beautify the area to attract tourists and other visitors.

Later, the administrator inaugurated the new lake, constructed adjacent to the memorial site, at a cost of Rs 3.10 crore.

The lake complex comprises 3.25 acres of water body, two entry pavilions, 6-ft-wide walkway with interlocking blocks all around the lake and two decks to perform rituals.

The outline of the lake has been protected by constructing a retaining wall with stone masonry to retain the earth and water.

Four toilet blocks at various places, having six changing rooms for men and women have been provided.

The lake has been constructed to provide a place of relaxation and seclusion, like Sukhna Lake, for residents of the southern sectors.

City residents will also be allowed to perform their religious functions like Chhat Puja and Ganesh Puja at the new lake.

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Project helps mentally challenged youth earn livelihood
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
Anoop Kumar Goswami (23) drives down the stairs at the district courts complex in Sector 17 with a virtual steering in his hands and changes gears too.

Frequent epileptic fits had damaged his brain when he was nine months old. Popular among lawyers, Anoop has made friends with everyone who frequents the courts complex.

And thanks to the Umeed project, he has started earning a livelihood for himself also.

Narrating Anoop’s ordeal, his father Narinder Kumar Goswami said: “My son was a normal child. But his brain got damaged at a young age. His condition worsened after I took him to a quack in Uttaranchal who claimed that he could treat such children.”

Anoop was in class VII at that time. “After taking the medication, his condition worsened and he had to leave his studies. Thereafter, he joined the Government Institute for Mentally Retarded Children (GIMRC) and had been working at the canteen at courts for four years. Due to the medication, his mental faculties got affected. Earlier, he was suffering from epilepsy but after taking the medication from the quack his brain was damaged. He left his studies and started behaving abnormally,” added Narinder.

A resident of Sector 27, Narinder added that Anoop had matured over the period and was now keen on going to his workplace. He added: “In fact, he is earning and saving money. Officials at Umeed distribute the earnings among all mentally challenged children equally. Thus, we have opened an account for him where all his earnings are saved. He has become more confident and clear-headed.”

That Anoop has become more independent now can be corroborated from the fact that he catches a bus for his workplace and is anxious to reach there on time!

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Swindon delegatescelebrate Diwali
S. D. Sharma

Chandigarh, October 29
“The people here are equally warm, affectionate and beautiful as the city of Chandigarh, the paragon of panoramic natural ambience and modern architectural excellence,” observed UK-based Dr Benjamin Marius Schmidt, leader of a delegation of teachers from Swindon county. The delegation is in in city for a cultural and educational exchange programme, organised under the aegis of CFBT Eductaion Trust of United Kingdom and the Heritage Mohali and Patiala.

In city, at the Punjab Kala Bhavan, Dr Benjamin said in their county of Swindon, over 90 languages are spoken. He said the Punjabis have a distinguished image of uprightness and honesty.

“We, the eleven teachers, are here to study, imbibe and adopt the special features of Indian education-pattern. The respect for elders, parents and teachers among the younger people, especially students, is a highlight of Indian culture,” said Rhian Wyn Mathias, programme manager, League of Exchange of Commonwealth Teachers (LECT).

Having visited the gardens and city, the troupe celebrated Diwali with city residents in Sectors 16 and 44.

The religious festivals in India seemed to have influenced the social and cultural life of the people here, connecting them to their roots, observed Dr Benjamin, talking to the Tribune.

Rajpal Singh, heritage director said the delegation was scheduled to visit GPS, Kishangarh, and GGSSM-18 tomorrow.

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Govardhan Puja celebrated with fervour
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
The local chapter of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) celebrated “Govardhan Puja” and “Annkut” festival with enthusiasm and religious fervour at Hare Krishna Dham, Sector 36-B, here today.

A large number of devotees and people from all walks of life thronged the temple on the occasion.

The celebrations started with Mangala aarti in the morning followed by Gau puja, Giriraj parikrama, discourse, Harinam sankirtan and distribution of prasadam among those present.

The special attraction of the programme was Giriraj (Lord Krishna) made of cow dung as part of “Annkut” festival celebrations.

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German doc to perform live surgeries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
Dr Jorg Franke from the University of Magdeburg, Germany, will perform live disc replacement surgeries on two patients at Government Medical College and Hospital(GMCH), Sector 32, here tomorrow.

In the first operation, the doctor will replace the disc while in the second case of slipped vertebra (spondylosthesis) the doctor will be fuse the spine with minimal invasive spine technique.

Orthopaedic surgeons from Chandigarh will take part in the surgery, GMCH director-principal Prof Raj Bahadur said here today.

Having introduced disc replacement surgery at the GMCH in 2007, Professor Bahadur had invited Dr Franke for the benefit of orthopaedic surgeons.

Meanwhile, Dr Franke delivered a talks on “Metal on metal disc replacement” and “Minimal invasive spinal fusion” this evening.

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Stone of science centre to be laid today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
Panjab University’s project of Centre for Emerging Areas in Science and Technolgy is going to start off as its foundation-laying ceremony will take place tomorrow. Kapil Sibal, Union minister for science and technology, will lay the foundation stone near the botany department.

The project will come up at a whopping cost of Rs 8 crores. In the first phase, one crore will be utilised. The building of the centre will have three storeys, and house seven departments offering masters degrees.

More than 150 students studying stem-cell research and tissue engineering, microbial biotechnology, public health, nuclear medicine, medical physics, system biology and bio-informatics, and nano-science will study under one roof in the proposed building.

The centre will have a state-of-the-art laboratory along with a multi-display library.

According to sources, a memorandum of understanding will be signed between the centre and the CSIO for exchange programme and carrying out research work. Already, the centre has signed similar MoUs with PGIMER and IMTECH.

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e wild  wild
Cyber activism — boon or bane ?

Gie Schwartz, a business writer in the pen name of Stanley Bing in his column in the Fortune fortnightly gives a case study, perhaps apocryphal, of a senior business executive driven mad by Google.

There is a story about Briscoe (a senior executive) on a website that seems to be a repository for any press note that anybody wants to post there. The story said his position in his organisation was on thin ice because he had been on a climbing expedition to Mount Everest and had been arrested for improper conduct with a sherpa.

The post on the blog quoted a senior officer of the company saying that the board was concerned about even the slightest perception of impropriety. There was a picture of Briscoe, taken several years ago and with a lot more hair than he had today, next to a picture of a sherpa.

There was a contact name at the bottom of the post. Briscoe called the number. It connected him with the Tibet Centre out in Brooklyn (US). They knew nothing about it. He fired off a note to the aggregator website asking that they drop the article. The complaint was taken down, but it was too late. It had already migrated to Google News. Several people emailed Briscoe on it, including Bob, CEO of the company. The CEO was jocular but noted that if one searched out corporate name, the story of his bogus indiscretion was now third in the stack, right after the news of his earnings and a recent acquisition. Apparently, the link was showing up on other sites.

When approached, Google asked for the law department of Briscoe’s company to provide them with a letter to support the action, which seemed ironic, but Briscoe could see their point. People try to kill true things as well as false ones. Google eventually did the right thing, but after about five hours. During that time several wire reporters called from highly respected venues. Naturally, PR denied the story. The denial means in this culture means “admission of guilt”.

But the Web 2.0 services are causing a revolution in the news business as the Internet increasingly becomes a delivery platform for news of all types. This has tremendous ramifications for government operations and government communication with citizens. For example, in the Afghanistan war, NATO was pitted against terrorists who have been described as “cave dwellers”.

NATO secretary-general said: “The NATO coalition in Afghanistan is in the Stone Age when it comes to many aspects of using the media effectively to tell its story.”

The NATO spokesman said: “NATO is beating the Taliban on the battlefield, but they are kicking our asses every single day in the media. They have web sites, we don’t; they release footage instantly, we take weeks.”

When an incident happens in Afghanistan, the Taliban uploads a story immediately to YouTube and Al-Jazeera. NATO goes through a ponderous approval process that takes weeks.

Search engines such as Google and Yahoo have fundamentally altered how we seek information; if you want to know something about a person, you “google” him or her.

Similarly, Wikipedia is a free, multilingual encyclopedia project operated by the US-based Wikipedia Foundation. It’s currently the fastest-growing general reference on the Internet. It has become a main source for many young people when they want to retrieve background information on a person, event or happening.

YouTube is now being used as a crime-fighting tool by police agencies in the West posting videos of criminal activities that have been captured by surveillance cameras. The results are astounding and successful. On one occasion, a video of a convenience store robbery was posted and by noon that day, it had generated more than 16,000 hits, resulting in the arrest of one of the holdup suspects.

In August 2007, a hot air balloon basket caught on fire as it was lifting off from a community airport in the US. An eyewitness had a videophone at the scene and uploaded the tragedy to YouTube. The police received a call from a man at home, who was checking YouTube, and he apprised them on the situation. This was the first information the police had about what was happening. Within four minutes of the fire, there was a YouTube video on it.

Print journalism is also adapting, though slowly, to this new media reality. Major newspapers worldwide now advertise their web sites as the go-to place for up-to-date information. While papers still have printing and distribution deadlines, they’re striving to use the new media to stay on top. Readers are encouraged to submit pictures, written reports and become “citizen-reporters” -- Internet reporters or i-reporters -- for papers.

TV networks are actively seeking viewers to serve as citizen-journalists. They even give the citizen-reporter a name in the story and have developed distinctive citizen-reporters logos to use with the TV clip.

AnilM is an editor with Instablogs.com
[email protected]

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Letters
Save oil

The government should help people combat the global financial crisis, which has affected the whole world.

The people should espouse new and fuel-economy standards, and use more fuel-efficient means of transportations. This can be achieved by providing subsidy on less-energy consuming sources that do not rely on the oil.

There is a need to promote cycling in the city. Administration should start a campaign to educate people for this. People need to be told what difference cycling can make to the country's economy amid the financial crisis.

Due importance should be given to the cause of expanding travel networks. The government should build metro rail and regional bus-based transit system, and provide subsidised public transport, which will lower the demand for petrol.

This all will help in bringing oil prices down.

Rajesh Krishan, Chandigarh

Welcome outsiders

Lakh of examinees from Bihar and UP descend at Chandigarh to appear in the exam for railway posts. Most of them are stranded at the railway station or other public places as there is no stay facility for them in the city.

We should welcome our fellow brothers in Chandigarh, and try to make their visit comfortable as far as possible.

This way, we can stop hatred started by Raj Thackeray, which is slowly trying to spread in other states also. We all are Indians, and unity in diversity is best thing in the biggest democracy of world. Media should also help in spreading a message of brotherhood.

R. K. Garg, Chandigarh

Real-estate misdeed

This refers to the report ‘No meltdown for prices of property in city’, published in Chandigarh Tribune on October 24. The UT administration has conducted an auction of residential and commercial property, and the administration has earned more than 95 crore rupees.

The global economy is in recession, and the Indian finical position is also critical.

The price of the big plots has come down, and the price of lower plots has increased from the last year auction. According to small property-dealers, the price of the five-marla triple-storey kothi is about Rs 75 to 80 lakh in Sector 22.

The Tribune earlier also highlighted that few property dealers made a pool, and contribute money for purchasing auction plots at high rate. Such property dealers have many built-up kothis for selling in their hand. They got good chance to sell these kothis at very high rate, and became richer by their misdeeds.

The big builders, who have built the flats, are weeping since they lost their money in the business.

I would request the authorities to check the details as who have given auction.

Sahil Garg, Chandigarh

Southern Sectors neglected

The Southern Sectors, especially Sectors 48, have been neglected by the Chandigarh administration.

The residents of four dozen societies, Motor market and Jagat Pura are not having those basic amenities, which have been provided to other Sectors of the city.

The number of local buses plying on the routes to ISBT 43 and local bus stand of Sector 17 is inadequate.

There is no connectivity for the PGI, High Court and the Railway Station. Secondly, there is no shed at the bus stops in Sectors from 48 onwards.

Also, residents of these densely populated Sectors do not have even single post office.

Link roads in some Sectors do not have lights, which pose a threat to the vehicle drivers. The road behind Sector 48, running parallel to the railway track, is full of potholes.

The residents are irritated as dozen of liquor shops are situated in 
the area.

The administration must take necessary steps to sort out these problems. The residents will be relieved if new buses are started.

Suman Kukal, Chandigarh

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PU teachers’ retirement age
Confusion still prevails
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
Confusion reigns supreme in the Panjab University (PU) when it comes to the age of retirement for its teachers. Going by the recent retirements, it seems teachers are choosing their own age to retire from service. This system of convenience has not only hampered chances for the young teachers, it also has adverse financial and legal implications on the university.

According to sources, a group of teachers, who were to retire at the age of 60 in accordance with the university’s rules, filed a case and stay was granted on their retirement. Soon many followed suit and this continued till another group of teachers also approached the court for the same. However, the court declined them any relief in this matter. The teachers also later reportedly approached the Supreme Court, which held that it was a policy matter and that it should be necessary for the universities and managements of colleges to make necessary changes in their ordinances, rules, regulations and even asked the high court to decide about the matter in a stipulated time.

It is pertinent to mention here that earlier, on the recommendations of the Fifth Central Pay Commission, it was held that the age of superannuation of university and college teachers would be 62 years and thereafter no extension in service should be given. However, it would be open to a university or a college to re-employ a superannuated teacher according to the existing guidelines framed by the UGC up to the age of 65 years (from the present 62-65 years) only in central/deemed universities and centrally funded universities.

PU is an inter-state body corporate and is nether a central university nor is fully funded by the Central government.

After many hearings and court adjournments, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had in the last hearing on October 20 maintained that it would not be possible to allow the time for six weeks as there were specific instructions by the Apex Court to decide the matter on or before October 31.

Nevertheless, till the matter is decided, the retirement age of teachers of the PU remains a mystery. 

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Geology dept for green celebrations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
The department of Geology, Panjab University, has a list of things to do for culmination of PU’s year-long Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

The department is planning to urge its guests to adopt saplings, for which, around 120 pots have been brought. “We have urged our guests comprising department’s alumni, and friends of department, who though are not students of the department but have long associations with it, to bring over some plants,” said Prof A. D. Ahluwalia, chairman of the department.

On the same day, Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Geological Society of India will also kick-start. The department has extended an open invitation to the guests to bring along any specimen, poster, and photos to display in the Museum Mobile van, which will be travelling across the schools of the region. The main function for the culmination of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations will take place at law auditorium on November 1.

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