C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Mumbai Terror Attack
Unmoved, admn plans New Year extravaganza
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
While voices for subdued New Year celebrations in wake of the Mumbai terror attack gain momentum, the Chandigarh administration appears to be euphoric about heralding in 2009 by organising several functions at its flagship hotels and these may well include belly dances by Arabian artistes. On the other hand, Hotel Taj, which was in the thick of the terror attack, is yet to finalise its New Year Eve’s plan, but there would be no fireworks at midnight this time.

In contrast, revelry finds top place on the administration’s list and it is going ahead with elaborate plans, including week-long celebrations with artistes and pop singers from Mumbai. The administration has planned celebrations from the Christmas eve.

Citco’s decision to go all out for the celebrations when the mood of the nation is sombre has come as a surprise to many who dub it “insensitive”. An angry university student, Satpal said: “When a politician dies, they fly flags at half-mast and postpone government celebrations, but when 180-odd persons die in the worst terror attack on the country, they do nothing, but plan celebrations.”

The administration’s move appears “ill thought” when viewed in the light that even Muslims celebrated Eid on a low key wearing black badges and churches all over the country have already given a call not to go overboard with Christmas celebrations.

Citco has asked for offers, through newspapers, from event management companies to make available renowned Mumbai-based singers like Sonu Nigam, Jassi and Shaan at Hotel Mountview and hi-tech dance performers at Hotel Shivalikview. Though, the advertisement was issued a couple of days prior to the Mumbai attack, a senior Citco official confirmed that there had been no change.

The advertisement seeks expression of interests for mimicry and comedy artistes like that of “Laughter Challenge” along with DJ, fireworks and theme-based sets within the sponsorship preview. The Arabic food festival during the first week of 2009 would have belly dancers as the main attraction, officials preferring anonymity disclosed.

Mountview general manager R.K. Singla said though it would take some days to finalise plans, “Rocky DJ and dances” are on the list of celebrations. “We will issue a detailed press note for the functions,” he said excitedly.

Officials confirmed that in lieu of arranging stars from Mumbai, the administration had offered to provide 75 complimentary tickets worth Rs 5 lakh to the sponsoring event management companies “in kind”.

The administration had assured the companies publicity through logo on tickets, press advertisements, radio jingles, AV presentation and adequate space at hotels for showcasing their products.

Condemning the administration’s move, mayor Pardeep Chhabra said it was morally and ethically incorrect to hold lavish functions. “Even the annual MC function which was scheduled on December 21 at Leisure Valley was cancelled due to the unfortunate happenings,” he said.

Nominated councillor Brig Chandpuri (retd) said these should be avoided as a token of “our tribute” to the victims.

Bhupinder Jain, a social activist, said instead of holding New Year parties with pomp and show, the money should be given to needy children and the poor.

Arshad Khan, another nominated councillor, who celebrated Eid without the usual festivities, said he would not celebrate the New Year.



PUTA struggle in new avatar
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
The agitation mood is back in PUTA (Panjab University Teachers Association). Smitten by the rejection of its demand for a central university status for the PU, PUTA is set to relaunch its agitation in a new, practical avtar.

Unlike the previous campaign, members of the non-teaching staff association and the teachers union would unite for a common goal of getting “100 per cent central funding” for the university.

The non-teaching association president, Dharampal Sharma, has assured the support of 3,500 non-teaching employees for the struggle.

According to sources, the support of non-teachers has come after a series of meetings between the two bodies and the decision was arrived at today.

The joint action committee (JAC) would have non-teaching staff as members as well. The president of PUTA would be the convener of the JAC and the president of the non-teachers association would be the co-convener.

New issues have been added to the struggle, including special rebate for children of employees of the PU in self-financing courses, permanent employment for daily wage earners and those working on an ad hoc basis, besides improving the infrastructure and facilities of the university’s health centre.

When Raunki Ram was PUTA president in 1990s, the non-teaching association and PUTA had launched a struggle for pension scheme for employees and had succeeded. “We intend to repeat the feat again,” he said.

In August this year, the Punjab government had sent a letter to the PU conveying its no-objection in PU becoming a central university, but the same was withdrawn within a few days.

Prof Raunki Ram said: “We all fight for a common goal as employees of the university and would take the struggle to its logical conclusion. We will launch the struggle in a phased manner.”

Ashwini Koul, general secretary of PUTA, said: “We will work together. We will start with a dialogue and if need be, hold rallies, not against any individual or government, but to show our solidarity”.



Toilets gateway to success
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, December 12
It’s examination season and once again, toilets are the “gateway to success” at various city colleges and Panjab University. Students are using slips (micro photostats) and hiding books in college toilets.

When this correspondent visited some colleges and the university, chits were seen lying in the toilets.

A student of DAV College, Sector 10, said: “We are not using micro-slips for the first time. It is success mantra and without cheating, we can’t even think about an examination.”

In every college and the PU, a committee has been set up to check irregularities during examinations, but it seems the students are least bothered. Only a few cases of unfair means have been registered against students.

A student of GGDSD College, Sector 32, said: “You can hide the chits and even books over the flush tank and nobody will ask you about the material. It is safe to take it inside the examination hall from here.”

A professor at the university said: “We are aware of the cheating methods, but only when we find somebody using unfair means inside the examination hall, can we register a case against them.” Another lecturer at the GCG-11 said: “We try to curtail cheating by restricting the number of times a student leaves the examination hall. It’s not our job to check toilets.” Sanjeev, a meritorious student, said: “This is not the only method which students adopt during examinations. They should realise that unfair means could ruin their career.”

B.C. Josan, principal of DAV College, said, “We have controlled the situation, but there are some loopholes and it will take some time to curb it totally.”



Balmiki-Shiv Sena activists clash
Two shot at in Mauli Jagran
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Simmering tension between Shiv Sena activists and Balmiki community over the past three days in Mauli Jagran took a violent turn today, leaving three persons from both sides injured.

Throughout the day, members of both groups kept the police on its toes amid sporadic incidents of violence, including an alleged firing of shots.

The police has registered cases against both parties. Sources in the police said both parties were at loggerheads and clashed with each other today. Activists of the Balmiki community had reportedly ransacked the office of the Shiv Sainiks during the melee.

Last night, representatives of both groups had reached a compromise before the police and the Sainiks agreed to the demand of the other party that they would not allow a Sena activist, Barista, to come to the Sena office in the locality. Rajesh Kala, president of the Balmiki community of the locality, was present during the compromise.

Sources said today Surinder Thekedar, a Shiv Sainik, was allegedly thrashed and the police was informed. The police took him to hospital and registered a case. At the same time, the police got information that there was a firing in the locality and two persons had got injured. Vishal and Barista were admitted to hospital with gunshot injuries.

The police registered another case on a complaint lodged by Vishal and Barista against Kala and others.

The SHO of the Manimajra police station said they were verifying the complaints and would take action following the outcome of the probe.



2 students held for snatching purse
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
The police has arrested two Class IX students of a Sector 18 private school in less than 24 hours after they reportedly snatched a purse from a woman in Sector 27 yesterday.

According to the police, one of the accused is an inter-school basketball player and after snatching the purse, the duo had gone for merrymaking. They had also used the credit card of the woman.

The police said the duo was nabbed following a tip-off from Mani Majra. They were the sons of an advocate and a draftsman.


City lacks specialised lab for diagnosis
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Even after high incidence of tuberculosis among HIV-positive patients in the region, the city has no accredited multi-drug resistant laboratory to diagnose such cases.

The lack of testing facilities for patients, who stop responding to the treatment, is proving fatal as in the absence of correct diagnostic tests, proper treatment is not being administered to them.

According to experts, TB is the single largest killer of AIDS patients in India. National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) reveals that over 60 per cent of all AIDS patients contract and ultimately die of TB.

Even a study conducted by the PGI has revealed that out of 1,000 patients, 123 have been found to be suffering from HIV-tuberculosis co-infection.

Research has shown that the arrangement for multi-drug resistant laboratory is the need of the hour as timely detection of TB in HIV and AIDS patients improves quality of their life and gives them comparative longevity, said Dr D. Behera, director, Direct Observation Treatment Scheme (DOTS), Delhi.

He said in such cases, the mode of treatment had to be more intense than the regular direct observation treatment scheme (DOTS) otherwise it could be fatal for such patients. He said such cases occurred when a physician did not diagnose the problem of MDR-TB and prescribed a common treatment.

However, diagnosis facility is available in city’s private centres but the Government of India does not accredit them and they cost exorbitantly.

Dr Behera said certain guidelines were fixed for such laboratories by the government. Currently, only four laboratories in the country — Bangalore, Agra, Chennai and Delhi — fulfil the standards.

Looking at high incidences of tuberculosis among HIV positive patients, the government has approved intermediate reference laboratories for 26 states and Chandigarh is one of them, he said.



Skip broken slip road, face challan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
It’s a double whammy for motorists at the transport light point. Either they have to use a slip road which is in a terrible state or face a “wrong turn” challan for bypassing the slip road.

Surinder Singh, a resident of Sector 21, was challaned by the traffic police for not using the slip road. He told The Tribune that he was carrying a physically challenged person who suffered from spasm pains due to the jerks.

“In an attempt to avoid that, I bypassed the slip road. A traffic policeman stopped me and said I would be challaned. I told him the reason, but he did not relent,” he rued.

Mahinder Singh, a motorcyclist, said: “It is difficult to drive on that stretch of the road as it has deep potholes. The problem gets aggravated at night in the absence of adequate streetlights.

Harman Singh Sidhu, a road safety activist, said he had raised the issue of the recarpeting of the stretch several times during traffic advisory meetings, but in vain. It seems the authorities concerned are waiting for a major mishap to address the problem. 



Hospital authorities in spot
Forensic sciences’ head seeks voluntary retirement
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Decision of the head of the department of forensic sciences, Dr Krishan Vij of GMCH 32, to seek voluntary retirement a week before the crucial visit of the Medical Council India (MCI) has put the hospital authorities in a spot.

While Dr Vij, who is reportedly set to join a private hospital at an “attractive” pay package has gone “incommunicado” after putting in his papers, his voluntary retirement has still not been cleared by director principal, Dr Raj Bahadur.

According to sources, Dr Vij had applied for the voluntary retirement yesterday, three months ahead of his scheduled retirement, but the decision on the same is pending. This, the sources say has been done to ensure his presence during the crucial inspection visit of the MCI team on December 18.



Science exhibition on wheels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
The science and technology exhibition on wheels, fondly called the Science train, is finally drawing a large number of inquisitive kids.

The modified version of the earlier ‘Science Express’, an Indo-German collaborative project, this train has 300 large format visual images, over 150 video clips and multimedia exhibits dealing extensively in Science and Technology.

Though the government schools have failed to organise any trips to this train, various private schools have made special arrangements to take their kids around the train explaining nuisances of hardron collider, nano technology and origin of the universe.

Amongst the coaches, the one dedicated to ‘the joy of science lab’, in which students were shown experiments practically, was a real crowd puller.

“I am very excited to be here. The fact that we can interact with exhibits with the help of multimedia is really exciting,” Divya Deep, a student of Vivek High School, said.

Another student Ishaan said, “I liked the section on universe and galaxies. The way things are explained, I felt that the schools, too, should take an initiative to explain things in this innovative way.”



Gelatin Sticks
Real contractors record statements
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Even as the local police is struggling to establish the source of the 14 gelatin sticks and detonators seized from six Nepalese earlier this week, it has confirmed that the sticks belonged to the Public Works Department (PWD) of Himachal Pradesh.

Sources in the police said apart from the Chandigarh police, the intelligence bureau (IB) was also closely monitoring the probe.

Bureau officials were making efforts to trace the person who had illegally procured the sticks, which were issued by the PWD.

The mystery regarding the sources further deepened when the police learned that the PWD had not allotted explosives for the construction work of road, where the six Nepalese were working.

The police said PWD officials claimed that gelatin sticks were brought from Gujarat, but investigators had so far been unable to zero in on the persons who illegally procured the sticks, as these did not carry any number.

Under the norms, gelatin sticks always a carry number, which help detect the person to whom these have been allotted.

Meanwhile, the police today called the original contractors of the PWD, Naresh Zinta and Shashi Bhushan, to record their statements. It is learnt that the even the Nepalese failed to identify the contractors, as they had never come across each other, which attributed to their earlier claims that they had been working for Vikul Nainta.

The police said the work Nainta was doing did not need any explosives, as he was not assigned to cut hills to make way for the road.

ASP (central) Madur Verma said the police was looking for Sher Bhadur. Vikul had maintained that Sher Bhadur could have arranged for the explosives on his own. Sher Bhadur has been working in the hills for the past over eight years.



No more TV for PU boarders
Common rooms to accommodate youth fest participants
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, December 12
PU hostellers might have to do without their daily doze of idiot box for a while now, as the university has converted most of the common rooms into dormitories, to accommodate the participants of the North Zone Inter-University Youth Festival.

“How can they encroach upon our comfort like this? If they don’t have proper space why do they arrange such big events? This is a shameful thing that the authorities can’t even make proper stay arrangements for the performers and they have to stay in the common rooms,” said Mohit Setia, a hostel resident.

The Youth Festival is going to be held in the Panjab University from December 13-17. It may be noted that this is not the first time it’s happening, prior to this, hostellers had protested against similar inconveniences during programs like ‘Horse show’ and ‘Revolt of Indian Independence 1857’ held last year and ‘LIC convention’ and ‘All India Forest Games’ held recently.

“I don’t understand, how the authorities can allow anyone to conduct the program during exams. Even earlier two programs have been conducted in the past few days and now this one,” said another student Ankush Deep.

“Last time, when any programme was conducted in the university, the participants stayed in sports’ hostel, but this time they are harassing us,” said a girl student.

If sources are to be believed university has plans to accommodate 30-35 students in each hostel, that’s why they are vacating the common rooms.

Ashwani Kaul and Gurmeet Singh, wardens of the hostels said, “We are doing our duty and the higher authorities took this decision as the university is not having much space to make their stay arrangement.”

Even after repeated efforts vice-chancellor R.C. Sobti could not be contacted for his comments.



10 more Zirakpur colonies under scanner
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, December 12
After years of skirting the issue of private builders raising illegal structures in connivance with Zirakpur MC officials, the Punjab local government department has initiated a probe in this regard. The inquiry threatens to expose the official-builder-politician nexus that has been going strong for years.

The recent suspension of an MC executive officer, Girish Verma, in the case of construction near Sukhna Colony, Bishangarh, is an indication in this direction. The officer reportedly enjoyed patronage of a senior Akali politician.

Sources in the local government said the department had started probing cases of 10 other colonies in Zirakpur. Stakeholders in the colonies had complained that the builders had constructed houses without reserving land for social development and parking.

It seems officials approved building plans without undertaking the physical verification of the sites. The MC has been asked to provide details of plans and approvals.

Though the complaints had been pending with the department for long, the official-politician nexus did not allow action against erring persons when the projects were in progress.

Sources said there were a number of such colonies wherein land had not been kept for parks, parking and other basic amenities. The GMADA has also been highlighting the issue with the local government. “Though the schemes are approved by the local government, building norms have to be fulfilled,” an official said.

Another issue being probed by the department was whether the colonisers evaded fee by showing colonies on smaller plots instead of group housing projects. On the paper, the housing plans appear like small plans, but the physical verification has revealed that the housing was on a bigger scale and norms had been violated.

There have been cases where land grabbers have been trying to sell lands, semi-built showrooms and flats on the land that actually was part of a choe. Surinder Singh, lambardar of Bishanpura, revealed said according to the revenue record, builders had encroached upon around 4,000 sq yard for constructing flats on shamlat land.

The department had initiated an inquiry in 2005 into the involvement of its officials in permitting some builders and individuals to construct buildings and other structures in the Zirakpur nagar panchayat limits.

While an assistant town planner, Gautam Kumar, had been suspended, an inquiry was initiated against Girish Verma.

(with inputs from Rajiv Bhatia)



CRRID Seminar
India’s look-east policy ‘needs’ intensive effort
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Stating that India’s “look-east” policy needs a more intensive effort, former Ambassador Kishan S. Rana said the ground situation was positive and a concentrated effort would produce effective results.

Delivering a lecture on “India’s diplomacy in a changing political and security environment in Asia” at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID), here today, he said business community had already taken a lead in this arena.

He said the government must have a commitment to regional and sub-regional diplomacy, accord a higher priority on selection of better envoys to south-east Asian nations and go in for a multi-layered dialogue involving intellectual, economic and cultural institutions, in addition to diplomatic channels.

The ASEAN members too should understand that a stronger engagement with India was in mutual interest as there was a huge amount of congruence of objectives. A deeper study and engagement by non-state actors, strengthening language, area studies and developing “soft power” in a smart way were some of the requirements, he added.

He said while a cooperation-rivalry environment would prevail in Sino-Indian bilateral relations where neither side could gain from overbalancing into confrontation, there was no conflict of interests with Japan or Korea.

Rana was of the opinion that India did not have a credible power projection capacity or a history to dominate south-east Asia and hence was not a threat to other nations.

As far as India being a competitor was concerned, the playing field was not tilted in India’s favour in exports. This made India an ideal partner in the field of economic cooperation and development, he added.



76 challaned for traffic violations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
In a joint operation, the Chandigarh traffic police and the state transport authority today booked 76 motorists for violating various traffic rules and regulations.

Sources said out of the total 76 violators, 56 were auto-rickshaw drivers. The police impounded five auto-rickshaws, a school bus and booked another school bus driver for violations.

Besides, 13 vehicles of different types were challaned and impounded for violating the Motor Vehicle Act and traffic rules.

The drive was conducted under the supervision of secretary, state transport authority, Dr Vandana Disodia.



CITCO rebuffs fund diversion charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Officials of the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) have denied the alleged diversion of funds for the renovation of the residence of UT adviser Pradip Mehra at New Delhi.

At a meeting with Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) director Mitter Sain here yesterday, the officials reportedly termed the allegations of misuse of CITCO funds as “baseless”. Former CITCO managing director J.S. Bir, now posted as commissioner of the Patiala division, and CITCO chief general manager Amit Talwar were among those officials who met Sain.

Recently, Ram Kishore Verma, in a complaint to senior functionaries of the Chandigarh administration, had alleged that expensive tiles and split ACs, purchased from the CITCO funds, were installed at the private residence of Mehra. However, Mehra denied allegations claiming that he had no private residence in New Delhi.



UT police sets up lab to train staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
To make the Chandigarh police computer savvy the UT Inspector-general of police inaugurated a computer lab at recruitment training centre in Police Lines, Sector 26, here.

Information technology has great influence on all aspects of life and to make the police tech savvy, S.K. Jain, Inspector General of police, has inaugurated a computer lab. DIG Vivek Gogia, SSP S.S. Srivastava, SP H.S. Doon, all DSPs and other police officers were also present.

About 14 computers, projectors and other required hardware have been installed in this computer lab. A lecture room with modern facilities for theory classes has also been established. Two faculty members have been engaged through department of Information Technology, for this purpose.

In this lab, training on basics of computer and use of CIPA software will be imparted to all ranks of police personnel.



Energy award for Mansa Devi board
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 12
The Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board, Panchkula, has won the Energy Conservation Award for using energy-efficient fixtures, which led to savings of Rs 2.5 lakh against the electricity bill during last financial year. The administrator of the board, Rajender Kataria, deputy commissioner of Panchkula, will receive the award at a state level function of the National Conservation Energy Day on December 18 at Gurgaon.

The award carries a cash prize of Rs one lakh and citation for the excellence in energy conservation in government buildings’ category.

The board had replaced 315 ordinary tubelights with energy-saving bulbs. Similalry, 180 ordinary bulbs were also replaced. Twentyfive twin tubelight fittings, with other kinds of bulbs, were also replaced, resulting in saving of 152 units of energy every day.



Another treat for theatre lovers
S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh, December 12
The city theatre lovers were treated to yet another performance of rare experimental physical theatre genre with ‘60 Seconds Deep’ by the Durga Das Foundation here today.

The play staged at the amphitheatre of their Strawberry Fields World School was evolved by the Mumbai based actors of prominence in absurd theatre format and scripted by noted playwright actress Nayantara Roy.

The play, a region specific one depicts the life of urban milieu through a collage of short scenes that appear to offer a direct as well as a more oblique references on life. With out a proper storyline it was indeed challenging for the actors to keep the audience in rapt attention.

Equipped with various performative devices like movement, sound, gibberish, chanting and masks Nayanatara, Sheila Govindraj, Mandhar Gokhle, Atul Mongia and above all Jaimini Pathak, the director of the play raised the day to day issues relating to the chaos due to socio-cultural problems of urban life with adroit perfection.

The relationships, cultural pollution, influence of fast-food culture, sex, spiritual salability and many more. The green and panoramic ambience and sound design was in sync with the nature of the play and it significantly enhanced the production as a whole.

Foundation director, Atul Khanna, honoured the artistes.

From its bare, minimal set design (its centrepiece is an imaginative timekeeper- a resonating visual) to its few, simple and handy props, the piece revolves around the four actors- four individuals whose search translates into a metaphorical parody- a parody of the routineness of relationships, conversations, first attractions, of sex, of reality television and gaming shows, of soothsayers and of saleable spirituality. The actors employed the best of body language, geometrically measured movements, and emotional expression while making instantaneous shifts to diverse roles.



MC Posts
SDM told to hold elections
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, December 12
Even as the SDM, who is the convener of the elections to the posts of senior vice-president and vice-president of the municipal council, declined to hold the exercise, the deputy commissioner has taken a tough line of action, directing the official to hold the elections at the earliest.

The elections to the two posts of the civic body have been held up for nearly one and half year with the SDM, Raghbir Kaur Khaira, failing to abide by the directions of two deputy commissioners to get the elections conducted.

Former deputy commissioner H. I. S. Garewal had appointed Khaira as convener on August 14, last year, and directed her to get the elections conducted for the two posts, which would fall vacant on August 16. Later, the present deputy commissioner, Rahul Bhandari, also directed the SDM to hold the exercise, but to no avail.

According to sources, after Kuljit Singh Bedi, municipal councillor, urged the deputy commissioner, on December 3, to get the elections to the two vacant posts convened within a month, failing to which he and other councillors would take legal action, Bhandari, in a letter to the SDM on December 8, directed her to conduct the elections.

The SDM told The Tribune on Wednesday that she had sent back the file to the deputy commissioner. When asked about the reason for sending back the file, she, while leaving for some official work in the field, said: “I will not tell you that.”

However, the deputy commissioner said today the SDM had sent back the file claiming there was political pressure on her in connection with civic body elections. He said he had again directed her to convene the elections as she could not designate her powers to anybody else.

The two posts have been lying vacant after the one-year term of Rishiv Jain as senior vice-president and Harmanpreet Singh as vice-president. Both of them had been elected after council elections were held in the town on July 30, 2006.

Last year, on July 30, the then executive officer of the civic body had brought to the notice of the then deputy commissioner that the term of the senior vice-president and the vice-president of the council would expire on August 16, and the needful should be done to get the elections to the two posts convened.



Land Acquisition
Lahora Khuda residents rue raw deal
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
After at receiving peanuts from the cash-rich administration, owners of 250 acres at Lahora Khuda village filed cases in the district courts seeking compensation for the meager amount paid by the land acquisition collector (LAC).

Around five years ago, a piece of land measuring five acre was acquired near Khuda Lahora village at a meager amount of Rs 15 lakh per acre.

The people whose land had been sold have now expressed anguish at an order by the court of additional district and sessions judge S.K. Aggarwal that had provided meager relief to petitioners.

Disposing of three petitions, the court held: “The instant reference petition is accepted and the claimant is awarded compensation at the flat rate of Rs 23,13,139 per acre instead of Rs 15,54,098 per acre, as awarded by the land acquisition collector.”

Considering the difference in market rates and scheduled rates, the LAC is directed to pay Rs 25,000 for each tubewell in their acquired land. While some landowners feel that the surrendering of land has ruined their life, some rue over the meager compensation given to them.

Jasbir Singh, a resident of Janakpuri in Delhi, said: “The compensation given to us is peanuts. Our plot measured two acres and the government had settled the deal at Rs 28 lakh per acre. While the administration has sold the area parallel to my plot at Rs 126 crore per acre and the amount that we are getting even after the court orders is peanuts. The plot was purchased by me and five brothers in 1985.”

Kanwaljit Mujral, a resident of Vikaspuri in Delhi, had surrendered his one-acre land at a raw deal of Rs 13 lakh.

Talking to the TNS, he said: “The Punjab government has found a better way out by purchasing land from people at the present price.”



Scholarship information to be available on PU website
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
With an aim to curb the wastage of scholarships due to ignorance about them, the Panjab University authorities are all set to popularise the scholarships and draw applicants for it by putting the information on its official website, www.puchd.ac.in.

Recently, the issue of scholarships going waste was raised in the senate in its first meeting held on December 6. Nominated senator, Dr Gurmeet Singh, department of Hindi, had picked up the issue.

He was of the view that those scholarships, which have very few takers, either should be clubbed with other scholarships or the amount should be increased.

According to sources, each year, many scholarships, including those offered by various states for their students, go waste because of lack of knowledge about the same among the students.

With the authorities deciding to put the same on the website, it would be easier for the students to apply for the same, and at the same time, it would enable them to take up many courses with the help of scholarships, which they may not be able to take up otherwise.

Talking to The Tribune, he said: “Like other global universities, the university should also try to have fellowships, which can help students take up research work and other projects.”

Dr Gurmeet Singh further said: “The university can also take help from its alumni to contribute for the same, by allowing them to start scholarships in the name of their relatives.”

A meeting in this regard was held today to discuss the matter and chalk out modalities on how to popularise scholarships among students and make them more lucrative.

Earlier, an RTI query had pointed out that more than 60 students from various states had failed to claim scholarships announced by their respective governments. As per the data available, 25 students for the academic session 2006-07 from states such as Punjab and Haryana have not claimed the scholarships announced by their states. The figure is around 25 for the next two sessions, 2007-08 and 2008-09, as well. The scholarships up to Rs 10,000 announced by various states are lying unutilised.

DSW Naval Kishore said: “With the wi-fi facility available on campus, the students can look for all the information on the Internet about the scholarships and ally for the same easily. Also, the notices for the same, which are otherwise put up on the notice boards of the departments, will be put on the website.”



Trade fair from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Home secretary-cum-secretary industries Ram Niwas will inaugurate “CHANDIKRIT-2008”, an industrial bonanza, at parade ground in Sector 17 tomorrow.

The five-day fair is being organised by the department of industries, Chandigarh administration. The fair aims at facilitating local, small and medium-scale industrial entrepreneurs as well as local traders having their outlets in Industrial Area for exhibiting and marketing their products. The main attraction of the fair will be the performance by eminent singer Shankar Sahney at a musical nite on December 14.

Competitions for schoolchildren comprising on-the-spot painting on December 14, quiz on December 15 and dance on December 16, will also be organised during the fair.



Film preview on female foeticide

Chandigarh, December 12
A preview of the film, “kahin aap to nahin”, on female foeticide was organised today at the Press Club in Sector 27.

The film, written and directed by V.K. Kaushik, showed how people get rid of the girl child by killing her in mother’s womb. It also shows how doctors, who are otherwise, supposed to enlighten the people against this social evil, are fleecing people and misguiding them to make an extra buck.

The film also focuses on the psychological mindset of the people, which is the main cause for the evil taking roots not merely in the rural areas but also to the urban population.

“Numbers of street plays are staged on this issue but I wanted to convey a social message through a short film, it took me a long time and lots of research to write down a script on female foeticide”, said Kaushik.

Kaushik has made films on sensitive issues like AIDS and drugs, when asked what provoked him to make a film on female foeticide, he said, “Sex ratio has assumed alarming figures in Punjab, after so many years of independence, sexual discrimination still exists in our society, still people prefer boy child instead of having a girl child.”



Consumer Forum
Indian Airlines asked to pay Rs 3,500
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has asked Indian Airlines to pay taxi charges of Rs 3,500 and to refund appropriate amount of fare for the journey from Chandigarh to Delhi, which was not performed by the complainant in their aeroplane that was cancelled.

The petitioner, Ashok Kumar Verma (52), stated in the petition that he had planned his holidays along with his family members from Sheetal Travels, Sector 17, for travelling between Chandigarh to New Delhi.

The trip was scheduled on December 8, 2007, from Delhi and from Delhi to Goa on December 10, 2007, thereafter from Goa to Bombay for December 13, 2007 and from Bombay to Chandigarh on December 18, 2007.

It was alleged that on December 8, 2007, the scheduled flight was cancelled without any intimation. Even the airlines refused to make any alternative arrangement, due to which the complainant had to take a taxi for Delhi.



Prof gets national award
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Prof Sunandan Sood, head of ophthalmology department of Govt Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, has been awarded “National Award” by National Society for Prevention of Blindness (India) for his outstanding services in the field of community of ophthalmology.

This award was given to him by P. Lakhmi, union minister of states for health and family welfare, yesterday in New Delhi.

Prof Sood is serving this institution since 1999 and he has developed the department, including its sub-specialities to an international level.

He is conducting numerous camps for eradicating blindness and has developed an eye bank in GMCH.



GMCH PG exam centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
To conduct postgraduate examination for medical sciences in various disciplines, the National Board of Examination (NBE) has recognised Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, as the centre.

About 118 candidates would be appearing for the entrance examination, schedule to be held on December 13 and 14 at GMCH-32.

The selected candidates then would have the access to join various institutions and hospitals for their post graduation training in various specialties for three years.



Mountview gets health club, salon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
UT administrator S.F. Rodrigues inaugurated a health club, a salon and an open-terrace restaurant at Hotel Mountview here this evening.

The administrator went around the facilities in the health club and salon, which have been equipped with the state-of-the-art facilities for tourists. Nail Art, a world-class technique, has also been introduced for high-end customers.

These facilities will be of international standards under the pattern of Wellness Lounge in terms of beauty salon, aqua pool and oxy gym.

Rodrigues also inaugurated the new block of Parkview Hotel in Sector 24, Chandigarh, a unit of CITCO comprising 42 rooms with modern design and stylish interior, built at a cost of Rs 1.98 crore for budget tourists.

With the addition of this new block, the strategically located hotel has distinguished itself as the biggest hotel with 141 rooms.

Senior officers of the Chandigarh administration present on both these functions included home secretary Ram Niwas, secretary to governor M.P. Singh, CITCO managing director Niharika Rai.



Nature trails for tourists opened
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
With a view to give a fillip to eco-tourism in the union territory, UT administrator S.F. Rodrigues today launched new tourism initiatives of CITCO and forest department by flagging off “nature trails tour”of tourists to Kansal and Nepli Forest area at Sukhna Lake at a brief ceremony.

The innovative programme has been started with a view to educate children and generate awareness among people about the rich floral and faunal heritage and to enable them to enjoy the bounties of nature through trekking at the nature trail, which ranges from 2 ½ km to 8 km in both these forest sanctuaries.

He asked the conservator of forests and CITCO officials to introduce innovative recreational and adventure activities like rock climbing and mountaineering in these forest areas.

Senior officers present at the function included home secretary Ram Niwas, secretary to governor M.P. Singh, CITCO managing director Niharika Rai and conservator of forests Ishwar Singh.



Chrysanthemum Show
Cong councillors abstain from inaugural function
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
The tug of war between the Chandigarh administration and the local unit of the Congress intensified today with all Congress councillors of the municipal corporation “abstaining” from the inaugural function of the chrysanthemum show at Terrace Garden, Sector 33. The first lady Jean Rodrigues inaugurated it today.

Senior officers of the Chandigarh administration like Ram Niwas, Sanjay Kumar and R.K. Rao were present and the Congress councillors of the MC were conspicuous by their absence at the show organised by the Congress dominated corporation. Surprisingly, former mayor and SAD councillor Harjinder Kaur was present at the inauguration. The abstention of the Congress councillors is seen as an offshoot of the differences between UT administrator S.F. Rodrigues and Pawan Bansal.



CAT ruling against 20 power dept employees
Bars them from challenging selection criteria
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Taking the risk of appearing in the examination and failing in the same has cost 20 employees the of electricity department dearly, as the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has ruled that the applicants cannot be allowed to challenge the selection criteria, as the principle of estoppel will work against them.

The principle of estoppel refers to a legal principle that “bars a party from denying or alleging a certain fact owing to that party’s previous conduct, allegation, or denial”.

Pronouncing the orders, division bench of Shayama Dogra and Kushi Ram observed: “Once the applicants have themselves not qualified the selection, in our view, they cannot challenge the selection of qualified candidates. We are of the view that since the applicants have sought to appear in the selection for the post of junior engineer (electrical) as a direct recruit, they cannot be allowed to take benefit of certain provisions of rules of 2004 and attack other provisions of the same on the ground of same being detriment to their interest.”

The tribunal further held: “The applicants have appeared in the selection without protest... and having failed they cannot be allowed to challenge the selection on unnecessary grounds.”

Numerous employees of the engineering department had filed several applications wherein they had sought for directions to be issued to the engineering department to allow applicants to appear in a written test and interview along with making them direct appointee for the post of junior engineer, electrical. The applicants had also sought for directions to be issued to the respondents to relax the age limit for the category of the applicants.

CAT had initially passed an interim order wherein all applicants were allowed to appear in the examination for the post of junior engineer (electrical), UT, with subject to final outcome of the application.

The respondents pleaded before the tribunal that the applicants had failed to compete on merit except one and they cannot challenge the provisions of the very rules under which they were initially claiming appointment. The respondents specified that once the applicants appeared for the computer test they had no objection to the test.

The computer test was not in the nature of rendering a candidate eligible or ineligible. Rather, it was only an additional criterion that was earmarked a maximum of five marks out of 100 depending upon the proficiency of the candidate in computer skills.



List of holidays
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
The Chandigarh administration has issued the list of public holidays in all government offices for the year 2009.

Besides all Sundays and Saturdays, birth anniversary of Sri Guru Gobind Singh (January 5), Muharram (January 8), Republic Day (January 26), Guru Ravidas birth anniversary (February 9), Shivratri (February 23), Holi (March 11), Ram Navami (April 3),Good Friday(April 10), Janamashtami (August 14), Independence Day (August 15), Id-ul-Fitr (September 21),Dusshera (September 28), Mahatma Gandhi birth anniversary (October 2), Diwali (October 17), birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev (November 2), Id-ul-Zuha(November 28) and Christmas (December 25) have been declared as holidays.



Where are the playgrounds?
Sandeep Rana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
With not even a single new playground either been approved or built in the city in the last decade it is all set to loose some of the existing ones with the Chandigarh municipal corporation heading on a conversion spree to transform some grounds into either parks or green belts.

The move that might rejoice various residents has educed a strong resentment amongst sports’ lovers. “It is unfortunate that nobody is making efforts to promote sports. The number of grounds are reducing so can we dream of getting superstars out of kids who play cricket without a proper pitch or are netting goals in bushes?” said an agitated member of a city-based cricket academy.

“I agree we have not made any new grounds for quite sometime but I think making parks is not that bad. Children can play there too,” said director sports I.S.Sandhu, the Chandigarh sports department.

However, his logic of the children playing in the parks gets ruled out if it is declared a green belt.

“The children are not allowed to play in the green belts but can only play in internal parks,” commented Arun Kansal, Xen, the horticulture department.

However, if the city kids are to be believed the problem doesn’t lessen even if its parks.

“They have put benches and shelters all over the park. How do we play? Moreover old people sitting in park shoo us away.”

The director sports said, “There has been much work done in the sports stadiums of Sectors 46 and 42, however, no open grounds have been earmarked.” “I categorically believe that the open grounds should be earmarked as there is a lot of talent in local boys and I had even sent a proposal in this regard four years ago and will resend it again,” he added.

When asked the officials of the sports wing of the education department they seemed clueless about it. Speaking to TNS sports organiser, the education department, Jeet Singh, said, “It will be difficult to tell how many grounds have been set up but we have a few cricket grounds and basketball courts recently made in schools.”

“There has not been any new ground set up, its just the maintenance of the school grounds have been done,” said another sports official.

However, the government school grounds are in a shambles and the education department hasn’t bothered to do the due inspection.



ITBP cop injured in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 11
An assistant commandant of Indian Tibetan Border Police force was injured seriously in a road accident here last late night.

The injured identified as K.K. Nagi, has been admitted at the PGI, where his condition stated to be stable.

Nagi was injured, when he was coming towards the city and his vehicle was hit by a tipper at Majri Chowk asserting him a head injury. He was taken to General Hospital, Sector 6, where doctors keeping in view of his critical condition referred him to PGI.



Chand Mohd cared nothing

This refers to a report “Chand, Fiza run into protest at dargah” Chandigarh Tribune, December 12. The former deputy Chief Minister, Haryana, Chander Mohan remained absent from his office for more than a month and came back with a new name Chand Mohd, after his second marriage with Fiza alias Anuradha Bali.

During his absence, he visited a number of religious places, including Rameshwaram. He did not care for his political post, position, votes, property and his aged parents. His open message ‘jab pyar kiya to darna kya’ is nothing but a madness and by taking such a step he has crossed all limits.

His father Bhajan Lal, former Chief Minister of Haryana had formed a new Haryana Janhit party but now his son’s actions would disrupt his goals.

The Supreme Court’s verdict in 1995 is quite clear that a Hindu cannot convert to Islam for marriage purpose without divorcing his wife. Fiza has compelled him to marry and has destroyed his family. My heart goes out to his wife Seema and children who now have to pay for his actions.

Sahil Garg, Chandigarh

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Job fair at SVIET tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Banur, December 12
Swami Vivekanand Institute of Engineering & Technology (SVIET) will conduct a job fair on its central campus Ramnagar, Banur, on December 14.

About 100 technical and professional colleges will participate for the joint campus placement and over 5,000 job aspirants of 2008 and 2009 pass outs from the northern region comprising Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Chandigarh are going to grab the opportunities.

Companies like Hero Cycles, Bajaj Capital, Vardhman Group, ABC consultant, Job Seekers.Com, Khanna papers, Spray Engineering Devices Ltd, IMI Soft, Shrishti Construction Ltd, Genpact and many more will visit the campus.



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