C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Kidnappers of Japjit arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
In a major breakthrough, the Chandigarh police today arrested four local youths in less than 48 hours after they released seven-year-old Japjit Singh by taking a ransom of Rs 3.50 lakh.

The police recovered a country-made a .315 bore pistol along with a cartridge, Rs 50,000 of the ransom amount and two cars (a Chevrolet Optra and a Maruti Zen), used in the kidnapping of the child from the accused. Addressing mediapersons, UT SSP S.S. Srivastva said the accused were arrested on the basis of scrutiny of criminals, technical surveillance and information gathered through police sources.

The accused have been identified as 20-year-old Prem Singh of Kishangarh village, 26-year-old Sandeep Kumar of Dhanas, Vishal and Sahil, both residents of Thaska village in Yamunanagar district. They were arrested from Dhanas this afternoon.

The initial probe indicated that the accused were well versed with the topography of the city. Thus the police suspected the involvement of some local persons behind the kidnapping. The police constituted various teams to crack the case.

Narrating the sequence of events leading to the kidnapping of the child, the SSP said the accused had planned the kidnapping about three weeks ago and were conducting a reconnaissance in the city. They chose Sector 38-West, as middle-class affluent families reside there. The child was targeted randomly, as he was found to be roaming alone in the area. They picked him up in a Maruti Zen car (CH-03-V-1914) on which they had displayed a fake registration number.

The accused took him to Leisure Valley in Sector 10 and shifted him to Chevrolet Optra (CH-04-A-4399) and set for Dehradun. They took route via the Nadha Sahib area and “won over” the child during the journey. They promised to take him to his parents and gave him snacks and cold drinks. They treated him well and the child was confident in their company.

They had also reportedly helped the child in getting easy and freshen up at a Dhaba in Nahan. Through their run, they remained in the car. On their way back to the city, they moved slowly and were waiting for the twilight, said the SSP.

Meanwhile, they kept on talking to the victim’s family by using different sim cards to avoid being identified by the police. They received the money contained in the bag from the railway tracks near Kalagram.

Describing the profile of the accused, the SSP said all four accused were graduates and were working. Prem Singh, who was working with a private company, was the mastermind behind the kidnapping. He is involved in nine cases of snatchings and thefts and was arrested by the Chandigarh police in the past. His name was recently included in the list of bad character persons in the records at the Manimajra police station.

During the scrutiny of the records, his description matched with the profile of the kidnappers given by the child, which led to his arrest and the ultimately busting of the gang.

About Sandeep, the police said he was working in a private bank and was known to Prem Singh. They had studied together and Prem Singh earlier lived in Dhanas village. Both Sahil and Vishal were working for a mobile operator company and were into the job of installing towers. The police has so far not found any criminal record of these three accused.

The Chevrolet Optra belonged to Sandeep Kumar while the Zen is owned by Prem Singh. The accused had a high-profile lifestyle and Sandeep had installed expensive tires and alloy wheels in the Optra.

The accused would be produced before a local court tomorrow for police remand. The police said they would also investigate from where the accused procured the sim cards and how they manage to give fake identity proofs.

The SSP also said strict action would be taken against the people selling sim cards without verifying the antecedents of the buyers.



Terror Threat
CCTV project far from becoming reality
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
The Chandigarh administration’s preparedness to tackle a major terrorist attack seems to be a sham. Several months after the proposal to install CCTVs at vantage points to keep an eye on anti-social elements was mooted, the proposal is yet to be translated into reality.

With no visible coordination between the two agencies — the police and the engineering department — the proposal is still at the tendering stage with December 10 being the last date for submitting tenders for the project.

Even as several cities in the country, including Jaipur, New Delhi and most-recently Mumbai, have been rattled by terrorist strikes, claiming scores of precious human lives, the local authorities seem to be “undecided” on the installation of CCTVs.

Earlier, the administration had asked the local police to work out the details of the ambitious project to install CCTVs at key locations, including traffic lights and busy markets in Sectors 17, 22 and 35.

However, after sitting over the proposal for several months, the police found that a lot of “technicalities” were involved in the proposal and sent the proposal to the engineering department.

Even UT administrator S.F. Rodrigues, presiding over a meeting of the top brass of the administration and the police, today noted “with concern the laxity in security at vulnerable points”.

Rodrigues told the home secretary and the IGP to coordinate with important institutions and managements of public-dealing organisations to put in place foolproof security arrangements with no compromise at any level.

Meanwhile, Rodrigues asked the officials concerned to set up quick reaction teams in case of any untoward incident, besides giving special attention to intelligence wing and control room operational network.

He emphasised the need for effective coordination between the intelligence and action groups of security wings of the police to respond to situations without any loss of time and effort.

Official sources, however, claimed that prompt efforts were being made to shortlist the firms for the installation of CCTVs at key locations. With Chandigarh reportedly figuring on the list of potential cities on the terrorists’ strike list, concerted efforts were being made install CCTVs and beef up other security measures, the sources added.



Theft of ‘heritage’ furniture to be probed
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
V.N. Singh, director, Le Corbusier Centre, will inquire into the incident of alleged stealing of the Government College of Arts, Sector 10 hostel’s “heritage” furniture by one of the professors Ajay Pandey.

According to the principal Archana Shastri, the inquiry will be the outcome of the college’s initiative to bring out the truth.

“It is more or less established that the professor is guilty and we have accepted his resignation. We have asked Singh to inquire and clarify whether the furniture was heritage,” she said.

However, contrary to her claims, Ram Niwas, home secretary, UT, marked the inquiry after the two boys from whose belongings the furniture was recovered.

According to him, “The boys came to me and narrated the incident, but when I called the principal, she said it was an ordinary matter and regular furniture of hostel. However, I wish to establish the truth in the media reports that it belonged to the lot designed by Le Corbusier.”

Many hostelers are also accusing the college of making continous attempts to push the matter under the carpet, as one of them even claims to be forced by professor to repaint the furniture before dismantling it.

The incident came to light on Friday night when on suspicion, the warden checked the belongings of two students, Joginder and Pawan Tikku, who were leaving the hostel for Delhi and recovered dismantled “antique” furniture, which according to unconfirmed reports was designed by Le Corbusier.

The boys accused that Prof Ajay had requested them to carry some of his “stuff” in the truck, who denied it initially, but later resigned from the college.



30 pc rise in HIV cases in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
The number of HIV positive cases and AIDS patients in the city is rising. According to the figure available with the State AIDS Control Society (SACS), over 548 HIV positive cases and 235 AIDS patients have been reported in the city so far.

The city has registered a 30 per cent increase in the number of HIV cases (from 95 in 2006 to 124 in 2007). The other cases are from the neighbouring states of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana. These HIV positive cases turn into full-blown AIDS cases in subsequent years.

The number of full-blown AIDS cases reported in 2005 were 41. The number increased to 45 in 2006 and 53 in 2007. There has been a 17 per cent rise in such cases, with 21 patients confirmed with AIDS till June this year.

“We are witnessing a rise in HIV positive cases that are tested at the PGI, GMCH and General Hospital here,” says Dr Vaneeta Gupta, project director of the State AIDS Control Society (SACS).

The number of HIV positive patients using same needle for drugs is on the rise among youths aged between 18 and 25 years, said counsellor at VCCT centre.

According to the local NGOs, those infected are mostly middle and lower middle-class housewives whose husbands work in other cities.

Health officials say these men are carriers of the disease. SACS officials blame educated middle class, who migrate to cities in search of jobs, for spread of the disease.

Gupta said increasing awareness on the disease was one of the reasons for more patients coming forward for treatment.

Experts say the human immuno deficiency virus (HIV) causes AIDS. This virus harms the immune system, which protects a person against infections.

With weakened immunity, people with HIV/AIDS can suffer from opportunistic infections (OIs).

If the test result is positive, it means you are infected with HIV and you can pass it on to others. It does not mean that you have AIDS or that you will get it. AIDS is the last stage of the HIV infection.



Look up! Heavens are smiling on you
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
The Monday night was different. For, it wore
a perfect smile. As the sky beamed with joy, a celestial wonder — a crescent Moon with the Venus and the Jupiter appearing in form of a triangle, almost at right angles to each other — left the astro-scientists an excited lot.

“This spectacular sight is visible only in India. In Europe, the Moon will appear occulting Venus. They two heavenly bodies would appear in one line, with the Jupiter just being towards the right of Venus,” explained Dr Tejbir Singh Sandhu, who has been associated with the department of astrophysics, Punjabi University, Patiala.

Dr Tejbir added that the three celestial objects come together from time to time, but often they are too close to the Sun or unite at a time when they aren't so visible.

According to Jack Horkheimer, director of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium, the next time the trio will be as close and visible on November 18, 2052,” he said.

However, the crescent moon and Venus would be seen together on the New Year’s eve, while the Jupiter and Venus will next time appear in conjunction in May 2011.

“From now till January-end, Jupiter and Venus will continue to appear close. On February 1, 2009, they will be just half-a-degree apart,” he said.

Dr Tejbir said the entire spectacle can be easily captured by viewers on their cameras.



ASI beaten up by son, injured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
In an attack by an alleged drug addict, assistant sub-inspector Rohtash posted at the Sector 34 police station was injured at Sector 33 here today.

Twenty-six-year-old Vivek Verma, a resident of Sector 33, not only injured Rohtash but also damaged four cars with pots.

Police sources said the police got a call around 8 am that Vivek was allegedly beating his father and created a ruckus by throwing flowerpots on the parked vehicles.

“When the ASI entered the house, Vivek hit the cop with a broken glass following which he (the cop) received a deep cut on his forehead. The injured cop was then taken to the hospital, where he got stitches”, the sources said.

Meanwhile, Vivek was taken to the Sector 34 police station, where a case under Sections 332, 334 and 506 of the IPC was registered against him.



Firing: 2 more suspects held
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, December 1
The suspects involved in the November-25 firing incident here have turned out to be members of a gang involved in printing fake Indian currency.

The gang members, two of whom - Ravinder, alias Changa, and Mangal - had been arrested on the day of the incident were also involved in theft of expensive cars.

With the arrest of two more youths, Vikas Garg, alias Kala, and Aman Kumar, the CIA wing of the Mohali police today claimed to have recovered fake currency of Rs 500 and Rs 100 denomination worth around Rs 1.4 lakh from them.

The gadgets and machines used in printing the fake currency have also been recovered.

On November 25, a group of five persons had exchanged fire with a team of the CIA, Mohali.

The youths, while trying to flee the scene, kept firing at the policemen, who managed to overpower two of them, Ravinder, alias Changa, and Mangal.

SP (detective) R.K. Bakshi said the two youths arrested were involved in printing of fake currency. A stolen Honda city (PB 65 D 6970) was found in possession of the youths.

The car, bearing a fake registration number (HP 69 D 0951), had been stolen from Phase 3 B 2, Mohali, on November 10.

A .315 bore and a live cartridge has also been recovered from them. Besides, a Tata Safari (PB 06 D 2500) has been recovered from the suspects.

The police had earlier recovered a US-made pistol and six cartridges from the other suspects.

The police was probing the involvement of the gang members in other incidents of crime in the area. The police is yet to arrest another suspect, Jatinder, along with a Skoda car (HR 06 D 0782) used in the incident.

The accused were planning to commit an armed robbery. A case has been registered at the Zirakpur police station.



Power Shutdown

The power supply will remain suspended due to urgent maintenance work today from 10 am to 2 pm in Maloya village and colony.


Varsity goes soft on retirees
Allows grace period to vacate official accommodations
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
With the Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissing the petitions pertaining to enhancement of retirement age of PU teachers and at the same time upholding their supperannuation age at 60, questions are now being raised as to why the university authorities going soft on them by allowing two to four months grace period to vacate their official accommodations.

The university authorities are also in a quandary over the issue whether to recover or let go penal rents from these retired teachers, who had retained their official accommodations due to the stay orders on their petition.

The issue has been raised since the High Court did not give any relief to the teachers and categorically stated that “We find ourselves unable to agree with the submissions of the petitioners and do not find it a fit case for quashing the order dated 23.7.2002 or to issue a mandamus to direct the respondents to allow the petitioners to continue up to the age of 62 years.” With most of the teachers having retired much before the High Court order, which was delivered on October 31 this year, and in the absence of any relief, they are technically liable to pay the penal rents for their official accommodations.

Significantly, one interpretation of the High Court order, with which incidentally even the top brass of the university covertly agrees, is that with the dismissal of the petition, the affected teachers would be deemed “retired” on the day they attained the age of 60 years. And if this interpretation is accepted, all teachers who have overstayed in their official accommodations are liable to pay the penal rents that are about almost double the market rent, as per the PU regulations.

While the PU syndicate in its meeting held on November 1, decided that those teachers who want to seek the re-employment in PU can vacate the house within two months and the rest can retain the house for four months. What makes the situation more complicated is that the PU calendar volume III, states that any teacher seeking the re-employment at 60, can be allowed to retain the house for a period of two months at the normal rates and others can retain the house maximum for six months time at the normal rates after which they are liable to pay the penal rent.

It is rather questionable that how the provision of the PU calendar of six months in case of those who do not want the re-employment could be changed to four months.

It is pertinent to mention here that as many as 58 teachers were relived on October 31 and a majority of them were and are still retaining the university accommodations even after six months of their attaining the age of 60.

Significantly, this issue has also been raised in an application filed under the RTI Act 2005.

When contacted, Prof R.C. Sobti, vice-chancellor said, “ The decision was taken by the PU syndicate. I am bound by the dictate of the syndicate.” 



PU senate meeting on December 6
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
The first meeting of the newly constituted Panjab University’s senate will be held on December 6. The meeting would be attended by both the newly elected and appointed senate members. The meeting would be held after the syndicate meeting to be held on the same day.

The members will give their approval to re-employment scheme for retired PU teachers. The syndicate in its previous meetings has already approved of the scheme. The retired teachers would be re-employed on contractual basis for a period of one year on the last salary drawn minus PF. Also these teachers will have to vacate their official residence by December 31.

Besides the re-employment, the fellows would also discuss the issue pertaining to Government College of Arts, Sector 10. According to sources, as per the report of the committee constituted to look into the matter, the college is not fit to carry on with classes and thus should not be given affiliation. The matter will, however, be discussed in the senate to reach a final conclusion.

Other issues to be discussed in the meeting include promotion of teachers and new appointments. A final decision with regards to OBC admissions would also be taken in the meeting though the syndicate has already approved the same.

Meanwhile, the elections for the deans of faculties and next syndicate would take place on December 7 and 8, respectively.



Controversy over IAS-centre directorship
Smriti Sharma/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
The honorary directorship of the IAS study centre at Panjab University has sparked a controversy after the authorities moved down the honorary director Prof V. K. Mahajan to the post of the coordinator.

According to sources, Prof Mahajan, who was the honorary director of the study centre from the past four months, received university’s orders on November 25, stating that he would be the coordinator of the centre.

Mahajan submitted his resignation to the vice-chancellor on November 26, and refused to accept the post of the coordinator.

Earlier, he was coordinator of the centre for two years, but after the retirement of the then director, G. P. Mehta, he was made the honorary director of the centre. According to sources, this was decided by the university syndicate in one of its meetings held earlier.

As per the new orders, Prof Manju Jaidka of the department of English has now been made the honorary director.

Mahajan confirmed that he had resigned and would not continue either as the honorary director or as the coordinator. “VC is like the CEO of this organisation, he would know what’s best for the university,” he said.

On the other hand, VC R. C. Sobti said: “It is my prerogative to reshuffle the persons working at the university. This is an administrative decision of the university. Earlier, Mahajan was made the director till further orders.”

Meanwhile, as per the new orders, Apart from Manju Jaidka being the new honorary director of the centre, Dr Sinha is the new director-incharge of hospitality, Bimal Roy has been made the director of the central placement cell, replacing Prof Dinesh Gupta of the UBS. Also, some new members, including Prof Rupinder Tiwari, A. K. Saihjpal, A. K. Vashisht, have been added to the advisory committee of the Centre for Industry Institute Partnership (CIIP) programme.



Sale registers manifold rise
Condom no longer a taboo
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
With sex, gayness and lesbianism coming out of the closet, condoms seem to be no longer a taboo in our so-called conservative society.

Backed by a strong campaign for use of condoms not only for family planning but for the safe sex too (remember the condom ring-tone advertisement), the sale of this product has increased manifold in the recent past.

And what is heartening is that it’s not only the people from the higher strata of the society who are using the product for safe sex. The figures collected by the State AIDS Control Society (SACS) of higher sale of relatively cheaper brands of condoms from vending machines and also the increased distribution of free condoms by various NGOs under centrally sponsored schemes by National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) indicate that the efforts of the government for promoting both safe sex and family planning seem to be percolating to the poor sections of the society too. Over 20,000 condoms, manufactured by Hindustan Latex Limited priced at Rs 5-15 for a pack of three of different brands, were sold in less than four months between August and November from 22 vending machines. However, as many as 4,96,500 condoms were distributed free of cost through the organisation in a period of eight months as compared to 4,32,700 in 2007-08. “In the feedback, we found most people did not hesitate to pick condom. The change in risk behaviour, they said, could bring down the incidence of various sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV,” he further said. Surveillance studies done by the SACS showed that the highest mode of transmission up to 15 per cent in the city was through the unsafe sex. With over 548 persons tested positive, at least thousands more were unaware of their status. To bring down the prevalence rate, SACS would push to triple condoms’ sale this year, he added.

While female condoms are not yet popular as a pack of three condoms costs about Rs 100 as compared to male condoms that are available even free, officials of the SACS said the price clearly was a hindrance in the way of its wider acceptability. “We have sent request to NACO to subsidise their rates.”



Parking Fee Waiver
MC denies issuing order to contractors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
Contrary to rumours on waving off of parking fee for those halting for brief periods, the municipal corporation (MC) authorities have denied issuing any such verbal instructions to contractors in this regard.

Recently reports had appeared that the MC authorities had verbally instructed parking contractors not to charge from such vehicles plying on public roads unless they actually parked in the parking lots. MC commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria said as they had not received any order from the Punjab and Haryana High Court regarding the waving off of parking fee for those halting for brief periods, they could not issue such instructions to contractors.

He said even if they had received such directions from the court, they would implement it after working out its modalities with parking contractors.

Ajay Jagga, a lawyer who had filed a PIL on this issue in the court, stated that during the last hearing, the court had directed the municipal corporation to analyse how the contractors were charging parking fee from those halting for brief periods. It had observed that it should not be allowed and asked the corporation to submit a report in this regard with the court.

He said the PIL was filed as vehicle owners often had to argue with contractors who insisted on issuing tickets even if they had just dropped someone and come out of the parking lot. However, contractors stated that in the agreement there was a clause that only taxis were to be exempt from parking fee for dropping a visitor. However, rest of the vehicles were to be charged if they entered the parking area.

Most contractors said they had not received any verbal or written orders from the corporation for waiving off the parking fee from passersby but if the authorities asked them to execute any such clause, they would also approach the court against it.

They asserted that it would be difficult for the parking attendant to keep track of the movement of those halting for brief periods, as the parking area was usually huge.



Bir Devinder eyes Anandpur Sahib ticket
‘Will stick to Congress, come what may’
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bir Devinder Singh pays obeisance at Kesgarh Sahib Gurdwara in Anandpur Sahib
Bir Devinder Singh pays obeisance at Kesgarh Sahib Gurdwara in Anandpur Sahib on Monday. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, December 1
At a time when the Congress leadership has been pushed to the wall over the handling of the Mumbai terror attacks, a senior Punjab Congress leader, Bir Devinder Singh’s, move to decide unilaterally on staking his claim to the party ticket for the newly created Anandpur Sahib parliamentary seat is being viewed in the political circles as a mistimed gesture.

Crediting himself with being the best parliamentarian and having a good knowledge of the area, like the back of his hand, the former deputy speaker today presented a “show of strength” while marching in form of cavalcade towards Anandpur Sahib to pay his obeisance at Takht Keshgarh Sahib.

“I do not say it is show of strength. I am putting across my point before the leadership due to my longstanding stint in the constituency. It is for the leadership to see,” he said while putting across the point.

Not giving in to the statement made by the former Kharar MLA, political observers do not rule out the possibility of the seasoned politician doing the act to force the party leadership to expel him from the party.

This will facilitate him to fight from the seat on an SAD ticket, a fact vehemently denied by Bir Devinder. “I will remain a Congress man and respect the decision of the leadership, irrespective of the result,” he added.

As long as Capt Amarinder Singh was in-charge of the campaign committee, getting a Congress ticket seems to be a daunting task for the former MLA, who had last time been denied the Kharar ticket in spite of being a sitting MLA.

Claim of Ambika Soni for the Anandpur Sahib seat was equally strong, said party sources.

“When I was denied the ticket, I finally accepted the decision and went home. I have a very long career in the party,” he stated.

When he kicked off his “public response campaign”, district Congress party office-bearers were conspicuous with their absence.

“My strength is the party workers who are with me. It is they who ensure win in any election,” he said, while moving for Anandpur Sahib in a cavalcade with Congress flag fluttering on the vehicles.

Posters and stickers had been chosen carefully avoiding the pattern of tricolour.

He told mediapersons that he would gauge the public response before he again stakes his claim to the seat at the time of selection.

The political observers also feel that the campaign can be a warmup exercise to rejuvenate his political career.

He reiterated that even if the party opted for some other candidate, he would abide by the decision of the high command.

Claiming that he had initiated a number of development projects during his stint as an MLA, he said the political leadership was not monitoring the development in the constituency. “I will be a vocal Member of Parliament,” said Bir Devinder.



Naya Gaon Master Plan
Meeting to decide on building height today
Tribune News Service

Naya Gaon (Mohali), December 1
The contentious issue of fixing the height of buildings in different zones in the Naya Gaon master plan will come up for approval at the meeting of the Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Board tomorrow. The meeting will be chaired by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

The department’s draft master plan is already under focus for defining the land use to facilitate certain vested interests.

Since certain real estate companies had purchased land in the Naya Gaon NAC area, the local government department has been pushing its case to allow more height controls to enable high-rise buildings.

Officials state that the urban housing department has managed to get a maximum of 40 m height in the areas of Mullanpur where private companies had already purchased land.

In the Mullanpur master plan, the overall height has been fixed at 20 m, 30 m and 40 m as the development slope moves away from the base of highly sensitive ecological area of Shivalik Hills.

The height control of 30 m and 40 m has been allowed in the area where influential sections of the society, including private developers, had stakes.

Same benefit was being asked by the local government department as a private company had planned to have multi-storey flats and it has already paid a hefty sum to the MLA society from whom the land has been purchased.

A former chief town planner, ministry of urban development, D.S. Meshram, has raised the issue of the legality of the Naya Gaon master plan in violation of the directives of the union urban ministry.

“In the name of orderly growth of Naya Gaon, a mirror image of Sectors 2, 3, 4 and 5 of Chandigarh up to radius of one kilometer from eastern end of secretariat complex would destroy the concept of Capitol Complex of Chandigarh. The clearance of the forest ministry is required as the area lies in the catchment area of Sukhna choe and heavy development will disturb the ecology of the area”, the CTP has mentioned in his objection filed with the local government department.

Besides, in master plan of the NAC, it has been stated that since UT’s Khuda Ali Sher village was protruding into the Punjab territory, integration of essential services like road, water and sewerage was not possible, unless allowed by the UT.



Agriculture needs pvt sector support
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
Value addition in farming is the only way for it to become an attractive vocation. For the farmers to become consistently prosperous in the long term, it is very important that private sector invests in setting up food processing industries and help Indian agriculture move up the value chain.

This was stated by Pawan Kumar Bansal, union minister of state for finance, while presiding over the valedictory session of Agro Tech 2008. He said he was impressed by the agri fair and the thought-provoking international conferences held as part of the fair.

“This has helped in creating an atmosphere through which industry will be able to reach to the farmers in terms of new seeds and new production techniques, apart from setting up food processing industries. While, the government is doing all it can to support the farmers, it is the corporate world that can help achieve consistent growth of the agricultural sector.”

Speaking on the occasion, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, minister for cooperation, Punjab, said, “The farmer has to focus on ‘profit motivated agriculture’ to ensure his prosperity and it is here that the private sector can guide him and be of assistance to him. The farmer needs to grow crops which are based on the soil quality of his farm and which have a ready demand not only in India but the world market. He needs to adopt the best and scientific agri practices to improve yields and move up the food value chain,” he said.

During the four-day fair, over 23,700 farmers visited the exhibition from across 17 states, while there were 45,454 business and general visitors. Over 100 joint ventures / MoUs were signed and more than 175 new products were launched. Later, prizes were also given for best display in various pavilions. 



Wary parents refuse to take chances
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
The kidnapping of six-year-old Japjit near his house in Sector 38-West has spread panic in the area. Many parents, especially mothers, have now started accompanying their children to the nearby parks in the area fearing for their safety.

Oblivious of the kidnapping, children were today seen enjoying swings and games in the park even as vigilant parents tagged along looking for strangers.

“How can I risk sending my child alone to the park, especially in the wake of kidnapping just close to my house? My husband and I have decided to accompany our son every time he ventures out of the house,” said mother of 4-year-old Shaurya.

While in a bid to instill a sense of security in the minds of area residents, the police has stationed a PCR van near Japjit’s house, the welfare association of the area has made its own security arrangements.

“A watchman was appointed on round-the-clock duty soon after the incident. Even local residents have requested the elderly of the area to sit in the park and keep a watch on the movement of strangers as well as children,” said Rajesh Kumar, another resident.

Head constable Mohan Singh said: “We have been instructed not to leave the place until an emergency arose. A policeman of the beat concerned will be present here till further orders.”

The policemen deputed near the child’s house prevented everyone, including mediapersons, from going to the kidnap victim’s house. Also, anxious parents of the child, too, were reluctant to talk on the issue. “I am not in the position to say anything right now” was all that Surjit Singh, father of Japjit,” told mediapersons.



PGI doctors to help rehab centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
The ongoing efforts of the Society for Rehabilitation of Mentally Challenged (SOREM) to provide support to mentally challenged children in the city have got a fillip with eight specialised therapists from the PGI pledging support to the organisation.

SOREM CEO Promila Chandra Mohan termed it a milestone in the effort to rehabilitate special children.

“This will ensure better attention and requisite care to the inmates. With more and more people associating with the cause, I am sure the special abilities of these kids will be recognised.”

In addition to the doctors from departments like psychiatry, psychology, paediatrics, ENT, ophthalmology, odontology and physical medicine and rehabilitation, some students of psychology department, Panjab University, are also undertaking voluntary internship at the centre.

The Sector 36-based centre currently has 42 children who are being trained in taking part in events like special olympics through specialised training modules. 



No fleecing, says Aryan Brokers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
Reacting to a news-item, “Aryan brokers fleeces shareholders”, published in these columns on November 21, Chennai-based Aryan Share and Stock Brokers Limited has refuted the allegations of fleecing “any of their share-holders”.

In a communication to The Tribune, the company has asserted that the complaint lodged by the people referred to in the news-report were not their shareholders. Rather, they were enrolled as “clients” in their books.

The company has claimed that the news-report gave the impression that their organisation was a finance company and had usurped public funds. “On the contrary, we are into stock broking and have due, valid, licences of concerned exchanges and statutory authorities,” the company has asserted.



Land Compensation
Bansal shedding crocodile tears: BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh December 1
The local unit of the BJP today lambasted local MP and union minister of state for finance Pawan Kumar Bansal for shedding “crocodile tears” on the issue of inadequate compensation for the acquisition of land in various villages of the UT and accused him of trying to “fool” people of issuing highly irresponsible statements.

In a joint statement issued here today, zila parishad chairman Bhajan Singh Maru, market committee vice-chairman Ramvir Bhatti, BJP (rural) president Shingara Singh, BJP (rural) general secretary Hukam Chand and BJP Kissan Morcha chairman Jujhar Singh said Bansal owed a clarification to the people of Chandigarh on many issues.

The Chandigarh administration was not directly under the control of the union government and he himself was the union minister of state for finance. If he felt that the compensation being paid to farmers for acquiring their land was inadequate, he should get it enhanced by his own central government.

Since the UT administrator was an appointee of the central government, Bansal by criticising him was criticising the Congress-led UPA government, they asserted.

The BJP leaders asked Bansal to either to “act” or “quit” because people were fed up with his irresponsible and evasive statements on almost all issues concerning people. 



Hotels flush garbage in sewerage lines
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 1
The opening of hotels in the Sector 10 market is a bane for the residents here, who have been suffering from choking of sewerage lines for long.

The municipal councilor, B B Singhal, said the sewage consisting of food particles flushed in the sewerage system by the hotel staff led to choking of pipes and hence, the roads remained submerged under the sewage flowing from these choked lines.

“The contractor at one of the under-construction hotel building tried to lay a 12-inch pipe against the permissible 4-inch wide sewerage pipe joining to the main line laid by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) today,” Singhal said.

It was, however, stopped by HUDA officials when the residents informed them about the violation, he said .



Evolve scheme to guard NRI properties: Guv

Chandigarh, December 1
The Punjab Governor and UT administrator, S.F. Rodrigues today called upon a meeting for evolving a suitable mechanism for the protection of NRI properties in the city.

Responding to the representation of the NRI families during the public hearing session, Rodrigues shared his concern over the security of NRI properties and asked the finance secretary Sanjay Kumar to evolve a suitable mechanism, supported with legal and administrative measures here, for the protection of their properties and to safeguard their interests. He further asked Sanjay and the deputy commisioner to formulate a policy for giving low cost houses and small booths to those, who are BPL, for setting up a small scale business in order to earn their livelihood.

He also asked him to ensure the implementation of building bye-laws, which had given a major relief to different stratas of the society.

Senior officers, who attended the public hearing session, included M.P. Singh, secretary to the governor, home secretary Ram Niwas, finance secretary Sanjay Kumar, chairman of the CHB Mohanjeet Singh, commissioner of the municipal corporation of Chandigarh Roshan Sankaria, inspector-general S.K. Jain and deputy commissioner R.K. Rao. — TNS



Traffic chaos at Zirakpur
Marriage palaces violate norms
Archit Watts

Traffic jams on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway due to haphazard parking in front of banquet halls in Zirakpur.
Traffic jams on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway due to haphazard parking in front of banquet halls in Zirakpur. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Zirakpur, December 1
It seems that the local administration and the police authorities have become a party to the nuisance of noise pollution “generated” due to celebrations at marriage palaces and banquet halls here.

Most of the times, the cops are mum as the VIP’s functions are taking place at the venues, either on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway or the Zirakpur-Panchkula highway. “We cannot stop the blaring music after 10 pm at the cost of our jobs”,a cop said. As per the orders of the Supreme Court, no music will be played after 10 pm. Even prior permission is compulsory to play the music and nobody can play it after the permitted time. This correspondent made a visit to the marriage palaces and found that music was being played even after 10 pm.

The residents here recount a number of occasions when calls made to the police station did not elicit any response. With just 10 cops to manage the law and order duty in the Zirakpur area, the VIP duty consumes most of their energy.

The party organisers and the administrators were least bothered about the issue and even the authorities seemed to be closing their eyes, said Arun Kumar, a resident of Baltana.

Most of the palaces situated on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway violate the parking norms. While no challan has been issued to even a single violator so far during the wedding season, the vehicles also were parked outside the palaces on the highway causing chaos.

A resident Harish said, “It is not an easy job to live near any banquet hall, we cannot sleep whole night due to this loud music.”

DSP Traffic Raka Girra said, “The palaces are having their parking space, but the situation gets worst when it is a VIP’s wedding.”



Rs 2 lakh grant for community centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
Punjab cooperation minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh today announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh for construction of a community centre at the Silver City Extension in Zirakpur. He was speaking on the occasion of bhog of the akhand path organised by residents’ welfare association.

The minister also assured the association of meeting their demands, including connecting the sewerage line of the area to the mainline, the electricity supply of the flats to the urban feeder, a slip road and traffic lights at the turning outside the complex and a bus stop for the residents of the Silver City and Silver City Extension.



ISO for Kalka Shatabdi

Chandigarh, December 1
The Kalka Shatabdi Express 2011/12 has been certified ISO 9001:2000 by SMR, a Korean company. The group that manages catering services on this train has provided new trays and crockery. Anil Dulat, chief regional manager, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC), congratulated the staff. — TNS



Tribune employee bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
Uttami Devi Sharma (86) mother of Ravinder Sharma, employed in TheTribune Press, Jalandhar, died at Tribune Model Gram, Baltana, today.

She was cremated at Sector 25 crematorium today afternoon. She is survived by two sons.

Her husband Agya Ram Sharma was also employed in the advertisement department of The Tribune at Chandigarh.



Registration of pets

It is a good news that the municipal committee has made up its mind to introduce the scheme for the registration of pets in Chandigarh. It should not waste time in implementing the scheme. I may add that as a majority of pet owners are from well to do families, they will not agree that such schemes should come into operation and would fight tooth and nail for scrapping the scheme. The scheme should be implemented in the right spirit and strict action should be taken against defaulters.

G.K. Chopra


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



Sex Education Project
Schools ignore directives on holding regular classes
Sumedha Sharma

Chandigarh, December 1
The CBSE’s school sex education project remains a non-starter in the city schools, as many of them are yet to comply with the directive of holding regular sex counselling periods for students.

Going by the words of Madhu Bahl, the project in charge and the master counsellor, “I got trained two years back for the project. The CBSE has been regularly issuing notices to all city schools to hold regular counselling sessions for the students and teachers. However, sadly most of the schools seem to be completely ignoring the directive.”

It may be noted that ex-DPI (S) UT, S. K. Setia had also instructed all government schools to hold regular periods for sex education but none of them seems to have followed the instruction and the situation gets more grave as the teachers are skipping the lessons on reproduction.

“It is a sorry state of affairs as the teachers are skipping the lessons on reproduction that are an essential part of the syllabus and this taboo at times even leads to serious adolescent problems.” adds Madhu.

“It is very difficult for me to teach the chapter on reproduction in a co-ed class,” revealed one of the government school teachers.

“When I am not comfortable with the subject how can I act normal in the class?” quips another.

Though the schools consider it a must to deal with the adolescent behaviour of the students but they are confused how to impart the information.

Meanwhile, Samwartak Singh, DPI (S) claims to be in touch with the NACO over the subject. “We are in touch with them to train our teachers to impart sex education on regular basis to the students.”



Parents, teachers, students in a fix
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
With teachers in a fix on how to make adolescents sexually aware, the situation at home is also not quite encouraging as most of the city students and parents are still reluctant to utter the “X” word.

Speaking to TNS most of the parents claimed to realise the need to discuss it but did not know how to talk.

“Children today have access to all sort of information on sex which at times is misleading. I wish to make my 13-year-old son aware but do not know how to talk to him.” Says Ritu Singh, a Sector 33 resident.

“The problem is that neither our parents nor our teachers ever discussed it with us and we got the information over the time so I do not know what is the right way of approaching the subject. So I am forced to rely on the idea that even my child will learn with time,” adds Sumer Singh, a Sector 44-based teacher.

Well it is not only the parents but also the students who consider peer group a better source of information.

“I cannot discuss it with my parent as for them it is a taboo. We friends talk about it and I have seen a blue film also once with them,” revealed a student.

So while AIDS awareness campaigns continue to profess to talk and avoid deadly disease, parents, students and teachers are still pondering how to talk. 



Seminar held on AIDS
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
Sky Hawks, Aviation and Hospitality Management, Personal and Corporate Training Institute held a seminar, “AIDS and its truths”, on the occasion of World AIDS Day.

The students of Sky Hawks, part of the Career Weavers Consultants Pvt. Ltd., also staged a skit on AIDS to communicate the message via the youth-friendly medium of dramatics.

The seminar was conducted by Anita Sharma, peer educator, HIV-ACTFAST programme, and head of department, lab medicine, Fortis Hospital, Mohali.

She educated students on AIDS, its causes, symptoms, diagnosis and precautions needed to protect oneself from the disease. She stressed the need for better and continued awareness, especially amongst the younger generation, to help control the spread of AIDS.

Street play

Yuvsatta and State AIDS Control Society, UT, organised an awareness programme and a street play on HIV/AIDS at Transport Area, Sector 26.

Around 300 transporters, drivers, cleaners, mechanics, etc. participated in the same.

Yuvsatta coordinator Parmod Sharma raised awareness on free services of counselling available at their Bapu Dham office for appropriate behavioural change with regards to usage of condoms, access to treatment of sexually transmitted infections, which is a critical factor in reducing the transmission of HIV infection and voluntary blood testing for knowing HIV status.


Aryan Business School celebrated World AIDS Day on the college campus. Students were made aware through presentations and they pledged to fight the disease and help victims.


The GMSSS, Sector 33, observed the day by organising various competitions like slogan writing and declamation. Students also organised an awareness rally.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |