C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Rs 1 cr recovery notice to Central Club
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
New Year celebrations at Sector 9 may not go smoothly as the administration has slapped a recovery notice of over Rs 1 crore on the Central Club management to realise rent.

The amount to be recovered from the club management has been evaluated as per the revised rate of rent at over Rs 1.31 lakh per month. As per the notice dated December 18 and issued by the finance department, the recovery amount comes out to be over Rs 1.10 crore.

The department has asked the estate office to recover the amount from the club authorities and deposit the same under head “0059-Public Works”. The department had marked the notice as “treat this as most urgent government recovery”.

A copy of the notice has been sent to the president of the club.

The club had been paying Rs 25,567 per month as rent since April 1998 and paid this amount only till 2000. The administration had instructed the management to deposit Rs 1,31,947 per month as rent (licence fee) along with the interest.

It has been learnt that the lease of the building was never renewed, rather it was cancelled in July 2004. Officials of the engineering department said the rent was calculated by taking the cost of land under building norms at a rate Rs 4,000 per sq yard.

The administration has decided to take over the club, which was called a “house of cards” because of the high stake gambling by some members. Officials said after restoring its original status of community centre, the site would be handed over to the municipal corporation.

The administration had received numerous complaints from residents pertaining to “blatant misuse of premises”. The tennis court had been converted into a “tavern” while the table tennis room looks more like a card room.

The site was originally allotted as a community centre to the plot holders’ association in 1961 for five years at a token rent of Rs 25 per annum and was leased out to Central Club in 1975 for one year. The lease was later extended till 2004.

With around 1,100 members, the club became a centre of attraction for card players even from Shimla, Patiala, Delhi, Ludhiana and Amritsar. The club has reportedly been associated with South Delhi Club, Model Town Club, Ludhiana, and Services Club, Amritsar.

It became a nuisance for residents living nearby, who lodged their objections with the administration.



You can’t beat them in manners
English players leave security guards impressed
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, December 22
Security guards deputed for the security of the England and Indian cricket teams are impressed with the etiquettes of English players and have little to say about this aspect of Indian players.

The guards say the English players are more sophisticated and even greet them whereas Indian players, barring a few, don’t bother to interact with them.

Though both teams have thanked the police for better security arrangements, sources in the stadium said English players always greeted security personnel who were working hard for them. While going to the ground or returning to the pavilion or hotel, English players are more friendly.

Police personnel, on the condition of anonymity, said: “We are working hard day and night for the security of both teams, but it is disheartening that our own players are least bothered about us.”

Even match spectators say: “Sachin and Dhoni are better in the sense that they are not proud. The other players like to show off.”

HS Doon, SP (traffic and security), says: “We have to provide security to both teams and both teams thanked us for the security arrangements. They were surprised to get this kind of security.”



Seniority list of lecturers not finalised in 30 years
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
Three decades on and the UT administration has yet to finalise the seniority list of lecturers of Government Science and Arts College cadre.

Lecturers are set to move the court against the administration, alleging that the promotions and allotment benefits done so far were “arbitrary”.

The list was last finalised in 1978 and since then the department has been carrying on functions based on the provisional lists, despite the fact that it is well equipped with Rule 12 of the Punjab Educational Service (College Cadre) to finalise the same.

The lecturers claim to be suffering professionally as it affects the appointments of principal, vice-principals and gradation.

“Due to lack of the seniority list, three out of four government colleges have no regular principals but it’s senior lecturers who look after the work of the principal. What have I gained if even after serving as principal I retire with a grade of lecturer?” a principal said.

“Till date, the department has not been able to give a valid reason on why the delay of 30 years. We have sent representations, but there has been no response. The reason why favouritism prevails in appointments and promotions or allotment of charge is the absence of a final list,” a lecturer of GCG-42 said.

Raji P. Shrivastava, Director, Higher Education, could not give any reason for the delay. “I am outside and can’t talk right now. I will show you the related papers tomorrow,” she said.



Charges framed in German gangrape case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
Additional District and Sessions Judge RS Attri, today framed charges against Manvir Singh Jolly, Pankaj Punia, Harpreet Singh Dalli, Sukhwinder Singh Sukhi and Sompal in the German tourist gangrape case.

During the arguments of the case, counsel for the victim placed on record the statement of the German tourist that she had made before the German embassy. According to the statement, the victim had stated that she was raped by the accused.

While the court also framed charges under Sections 471 and 473 of the IPC that deals with fraudulently using genuine documents and making or possessing counterfeit seal against Pankaj Punia. Meanwhile, the police moved an application before the court seeking for a translator for recording the statement of the tourist.

The case has been adjourned to January 16.

The defence counsel contested that the victim had not made any such statement that she had been raped by the accused and they could not be booked for the offence.

There are 42 witnesses in the case. The police might submit a supplementary challan after the statement of the victim, who is in Germany, is recorded. As per a report submitted by Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) experts, the DNA profiles obtained from the stains on the victim’s skirt establish the involvement of the accused.



Fog-related accidents on rise
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, December 22
The early morning fog has started taking its toll on the Chandigarh-Ambala national highway.

Apart from drastically reducing speed of the traffic due to thick fog that engulfs the area, one person has died and six others were injured in three separate road accidents on the highway in the last 36 hours.

Commuters are complaining that four laning of the highway was of little help as slow traffic converging on the highway was resulting in accidents. There are several such illegal openings on the highway where accidents have been taking place.

A man died and three were injured late last evening in an accident between a car and a tractor trolley at Zirakpur-Patiala highway road. The accident took place near Sharda dhaba, when a Maruti car was coming out of a petrol station while a tractor trolley coming from the opposite side rammed into the car. The tractor trolley was at a high speed and lost control over the vehicle. The deceased has been identified as Bhag Singh, a resident of Dyalpura village, and the injured were Gurmeet Singh, Gurpreet Singh and Satwant Singh, all residents of Dyalpura village

In another similar accident, Mohinder Singh and two of his family members, who were travelling in their Santro were injured after their car hit another car from behind due to poor visibility caused by fog.

There had been no casualty in other fog-related accidents, said the police.

Sources revealed that the traffic came to standstill for more than half an hour on Zirkapur-Ambala highway in Dera Bassi due to low visibility. Sources added that the fog forced vehicular traffic to move at a snail’s pace with headlights on in the morning. Himmat Singh, a resident of Karnal, stated that the traffic was affected as a thick white layer of fog engulfed the entire highway this morning.

4 hurt in accidents

Panchkula: Four persons, including a woman, were injured in separate accidents caused by fog here on Monday. One of the injured has been admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 6, while two have been referred to the PGI.

Rajvir, a resident of old Panchkula, rammed his bike into a truck when he was going towards Maheshpur. There was dense fog in the region at the time of the accident and Rajvir could not see the truck ahead of him. He sustained injuries on the head.

A woman who had taken lift from him suffered minor injuries.

In another accident, a car hit a stationary vehicle near Ramgarh, injuring two occupants of the car. Eyewitnesses said the driver did not notice the vehicle parked on the road. The injured were rushed to the PGI where their condition was stated to be stable.



Admn in fix for adopting double standard 
Fixes three rates for land in Sarangpur 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
What can it be called- a sheer miscalculation or lackadaisical approach? Otherwise, how is it possible that the assessment of price of the same piece of land got fluctuated to the extent of hundreds of crore of rupees on a single day?

That’s what the cash rich Chandigarh Administration did, while evaluating the land at Sarangpur village for proposed theme -cum- amusement park in an official notification dated July 12, 2006.

The notification describes three different rates of land at Sarangpur village. The collectorate rate mentioned in the proceedings of the committee meeting for the park has been calculated at Rs 28,80,000 for an acre, whereas those for commercial area (68.65 acre) in rural side have been calculated as Rs 1,54,00,000 an acre.

Nevertheless, for dispossession of the land, the compensation award No (584) to the landowners, under Section 15 of the Land Acquisition Act, announced by the Land Acquisition Collector, dated December 27, 2006, announced Rs 25,76,121 as the rate of the land per acre at Sarangpur.

Questions are also being raised over double standards adopted by the administration to “bestow” land at different prices for two projects, to be developed on corresponding land falling in same village and the meager compensation extended to farmers in lieu of their ‘priced’ land at Sarangpur.

The Tribune had on December 16 highlighted this discrepancy in evaluating the land cost raise certain unanswered queries, which otherwise has cost the state exchequer loss worth Rs 300 crore.

The official plan of the park, to be set up over 73.65 acres on the rural land of adjoining Sarangpur village, five acres has been worked out to be for Rs 93.75 crore.

This implies that the commercial rate for the hotel site at the same piece would come out to be Rs 18.75 crore for an acre. The rest of the land has to be developed for amusement purposes, which included games, rides, parking etc.

Ironically, the rate of land, falling in same village, while fixing the reserve price of the land for the purpose of another project-multimedia-cum-film city- had been fixed at Rs 4.16 crore per acre. The administration, in its notification, dated November 16, 2006, has analysed Rs 125 crore for 30 acre.

In a reply to the query put forth by Hemant Goswami, the administration, admitted in an official note dated May 16, 2006, that the cost of land for the park and the film city had been evaluated at Rs 8 to 10 crore for an acre.

“In a democracy there can be no justification for robbing one for benefiting another. This is open loot with no rationale for squandering public resources and property like this. Clearly the landowners have been victimised at the cost of giving benefit to big land mafias,” opined Hemant.

Reacting to the low compensation awards, the Mani Majra farmers’ welfare association president H.S.Johl said: “The farmers have suffered irreparable traumatic, psychological and socio-cultural damage as the land for the proposed project of the Theme Park has been acquired forcibly at 1 per cent of the market rate.”

Vivek Aditya, the RTI activist and a financial expert, who procured all relevant papers, disclosed that the whole misappropriation of public exchequer had been brought to the notice of adviser to administrator Pradeep Mehra.


70-ft sand Santa 
Sheetal Mahajan

Chandigarh, December 22
With Christmas round the corner, the city is all set to experience something unique. A 70-ft sand replica of Santa Claus will be erected in the city, which could well be making its way into the Limca Book of Records.

Four artists have been called all the way from Orissa to create the replica.

The credit goes to Suresh Kapila, an exhibition organiser. Talking about the material used, Kapila said: “Only sand and water are being used. About 50 trucks of sand have been brought in for creating this masterpiece.”

Sanjay Mittal, his coordinator, said: “In spite of being Hindus, the zeal and excitement of these artists is not less than that of any Christian devotee.”

“This is the first time that such a big sculpture is being made in India. I have been making such sculptures for the past six years. It is a symbol of peace,” sculptor Sidar Das said.

Nothing lasts forever and in a few days, the replica would be flattened 
and the sand would be given in donation to religious buildings and those in need.

A shopping festival in Sector 34 would be the venue for the artists to display their work. 



Mock fire drill at Centra Mall 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
To ensure preparedness and timely response of the fire and emergency department and the resultant response of the cinema hall owners, a mock drill was conducted on the 4 th floor of the PVR Centra Mall, Industrial Area, Phase-I, Chandigarh, today.

Roshan Sunkaria, Commissioner, P.K.Sharma, Additional Commissioner, Chairman, Fire and Emergency Services Committee, MPS Chawla, Harjinder Kaur, Gurcharan Dass Kala, SK Gosain and ML Sharma were supervising the mock drill. The drill was conducted in the afternoon.

The screening of the movie was stopped and the viewers asked to evacuate the premises immediately and gather on the ground floor. Then, the fire and emergency equipment was put into action. The elderly physically challenged and children were requested to use the mall’s lift. A few persons were evacuated through the hydraulic turntable ladder. As the people gathered at the ground floor they were apprised of the mock drill being carried out by the fire department. However, a few cinemagoers got irritated and could be seen complaining about the same.



Poultry farms suffer as prices crash
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 22
Even as no case of bird flu was reported from the state or the adjoining regions, the poultry farm owners of the district have already started feeling the heat of the situation as the prices of eggs and chicken have crashed during last fortnight.

The price of eggs that were hovering around Rs 240 for 100 pieces have touched as low as Rs 160 before taking a little surge to Rs 180 during last couple of days in the wholesale market. Similarly the chicken was being lifted from poultry farm at a meagre price of Rs 15/kg which was half the price prevailing in the market last month.

The district produces more than 60 lakh eggs per day from its 130 poultry farms housing around 65 lakh birds. The majority of produce from these farms is mainly lifted by dealers from New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.

However, denying any risk of virus in the region, the poultry farm owners said even this time the panic among the consumers had no basis like the previous years. The poultry farmers had to suffer huge losses in 2006 and 2007 even as no case was reported from the northern part of the country. While the cases of bird flu have been reported from West Bengal and Assam this season, the virus in the birds was reported from Maharahstra and Manipur in last two years.

Only four months of the winters were the main season for the sale of poultry product in this part of country and the rates have been crashing for the last four years every time leading to huge losses to the farm owners, said Parmod Gupta, president of the Haryana Poultry Association, Barwala. Last time, in the month of January, the prices of eggs were slashed to Rs 135 for 100 pieces on the reports of bird flu from other parts of country, he said.

Taking no chance, the district administration has asked the officials concerned to visit the poultry farms regularly to ensure proper cleanliness, collection of samples and to monitor the situation. Meanwhile, the pachayats have been asked to inform the villagers to keep a vigil and report immediately after a dead bird is found in the region, said deputy commissioner Rajender Kataria.



MC to record proceedings 
Move to discipline officials and councillors
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
The Chandigarh Administration has hit upon a novel idea to inculcate a sense of discipline among officials and councillors of the municipal corporation. In the backdrop of the spat between municipal commissioner Roshan Sunkaria and Congress councillor Devinder Singh Babla recently,the administration today asked the civic body to videograph the proceedings of all 14 committees, including the finance and contract committee(F&CC), of the corporation.

Home Secretary-cum-Secretary Ram Niwas today sent a communication to the municipal commissioner for recording the proceedings "on camera" for the smooth functioning of the corporation.The decision had been taken to instill a sense of responsibility among the councillors and officials during the meetings, official sources said here.

Recently, officials of the municipal corporation got together and complained to Ram Niwas against Babla for "misbehaving" with Sunkaria during the course of a meeting of the F&CC. He was also accused of regular interference in the administrative work of the corporation.

However, in a counter-complaint to the secretary local government, the Congress councillors and four nominated councillors decried commissioner's behaviour alleging that Sunkaria had been riding roughshod over the democratic norms and behaving in a "dictatorial way".

Though administration's intentions in getting the recordings of the meeting may be laudable effort yet its efficacy is being questioned by a few councillors. While the proceedings of the monthly meetings of the House of the corporation are videographed yet allegations of derogatory and unparliamentary remarks by councillors against each other have been levied on different occasions, a councillor informed.

At one occasion, Congress councillor Ravinderpal Singh Palli was alleged to have made derogatory remarks against BJP councillor Anil Dubey during a meeting of the House. However, the video recording was reportedly of not much use.



Garbage plant still not operational
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
The MC garbage processing unit mega project, which was formally inaugurated in May at Dadumajra, will remain non-functional for six to eight months.

This was revealed by officials of the Jaypee group, which is undertaking the project, at a meeting with committee members of the MC who had been appointed to review the progress of the plant.

Highly placed sources in the corporation said when the committee asked about the time it would take for the plant to become fully functional, officials of the company said it would not be possible to get the plant functional before June as their Himachal plant in which the fuel generated by the garbage processing unit is to be used has yet to get pollution control board clearance.

The sources said when the members asked how much garbage was being processed at the plant daily, the company officials revealed that around 100 tonnes of garbage was being used by the plant and the rest was being dumped at the dumping ground in the city.

As per the agreement, the company had to use 350 tonnes of garbage on a daily basis and the corporation had allotted land to the company for dumping stones and bricks.

A senior MC official said the plant was allotted to the company on the condition that it would not dump garbage in the dumping ground when the plant would become functional.

The sources said as per the agreement, the company was to create a storage capacity for 5,000 tonnes of garbage within the plant so that in bad weather, garbage could be stored there, but committee members found that no storage area had been earmarked for the purpose.

The chairman of the review committee of the unit, Chander Mukhi Sharma, stated that the company had been given time until December 28, and any action against the company could only be taken after the expiry of the period.

The committed would submit a status report of the project to the authorities soon.

The authorities have so far only issued a show-cause notice to the company for the non-functioning of the plant rather than imposing any penalty on it for violating the agreement. 



Sec-22 residents against toilet in green belt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
Residents of Sector 22-A are up in arms against an under-construction toilet block in the greenbelt of the sector.

In a representation to the UT chief architect, Janta Party President Ajay Jagga alleged that the new toilet block, which was just opposite the ISBT in Sector-17, had come up right inside the greenbelt.

Terming it as "unplanned and haphazard" construction, Jagga claimed that the block was being constructed in violation of the urban planning norms.

Meanwhile, area councillor Pardeep Chhabra claimed that the toilet block was being constructed for the convenience of the public. Earlier, the visitors used the space adjoining Gurdial Singh petrol station, Sector-22, for answering the call of nature. Its construction would discourage this practice, he added.



MHA guidelines on protective gears
Front submits memo to Home Secy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
A delegation of the Chandigarh unit of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF) led by its president Rajesh Sharma today submitted a memorandum to UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas and demanded immediate implementation of the Ministry of Home Affair’s (MHA) guidelines on the use of protective gears.

The memorandum claimed that in 2003 the Home Ministry had issued certain guidelines on the use of protective gears so that this material did not fall in the wrong hands for carrying out subversive activities against the state.

The ministry had further asked the state governments, Union Territories to issue suitable notifications for regulating manufacture, distribution, sale, possession and use of the protective gear for achieving the objective. However, no such notifications, executive orders have been issued by the Chandigarh Administration so far. Thus, action can’t be taken against anyone if he uses the protective gears, including bulletproof vehicle and jackets and “patkas.”

The front has raised this issue after it was found that the Punjab Ex-Servicemen Corporation (PESCO) had sold 38 tons of bulletproof steel to a junk dealer thereby ignoring the ministry’s guidelines over the use of protective gears and the due procedure was also not adopted.

Meanwhile, the front also raised the need of increasing the strength of the police force in Chandigarh, proper implementation of beat system, verification of residents, tenants and servants, need of making unique ID of every citizen and meet the requirements of more police stations in the city.

Rajesh Sharma offered any support to impart free self-defence training to students, working women and residents of the city. The Home Secretary assured that the issues would be taken up at the meeting of senior officials to be held tomorrow.



Martyrs’ gallery at bougainvillea garden 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
The city is set to have its own “India Gate” with the municipal corporation’s proposed martyrs’ gallery coming up in the Bougainvillea Garden, Sector-3, where the war memorial is also housed.

While the memorial is dedicated to all those who laid down their lives during the Kargil war, the martyrs’ gallery would be dedicated to 14 valiant defence personnel who resided in the city and had laid down their lives in the 1971 Indo-Pak War and various other operations like “Operation Pawan”, “Operation Rhino”, “Operation Rakhsak” and “Operation Parakram.”

Brig Sant Singh, Zila Sainik Welfare Officer, UT Chandigarh, has sent the list of 14 names to the corporation. These are Capt Balbir Singh Kang (Indo-Pak War 1971), Maj MS Bajwa (Indo-Pak War 1971), Maj DP Lakhanpal (Indo-Pak War 1971), Sqn Ldr JD Kumar (Indo-Pak war 1971), Maj Kanwaljit Singh (Indo-Pak War 1971), PO Rup Singh (Indo-Pak War 1971), Sepoy Mukhtiar Singh (Indo-Pak War 1971), Sepoy Tara Chand (Indo-Pak War 1971), Sepoy Shyam Lal (Operation Pawan 1988), Col TS Mahil (Operation Rhino 1994), Col KL Gupta (Operation Rakshak 1995), Maj Mohit Whig (Operation Rakshak 1997), Maj APS Mahal (Operation Parakram 2002) and Capt Atul Sharma (Operation Rakshak 2005).

Mayor Pradeep Chhabra proposed the martyrs’ gallery on January 26, 2008, during the function organised by the corporation to mark the day.

Though it took almost a year to realise the same, the delay according to officials, was due to the lack of availability of an appropriate place to house the gallery.

The proposal was taken up in one of the coordination committee meetings between the UT Administration and the corporation held earlier. “Later on, the proposal was caught in the bureaucratic rigmarole throughout the year with the place not decided,” a corporation official said.

It was also thought to house the same in Shanti Kunj in Sector 16 but the idea could not click.

The proposed gallery will have a separate pillar where the names of all 14 defence personnel would be inscribed.

“ Already the project got delayed due to the lack of proper place. Now, with the finalisation of the same, the work would be done soon,” said Pradeep Chhabra, mayor.



Bonanza awaits civic staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh,December 22
Even as the country struggles with the after effects of the global meltdown, the new year bonanza awaits the employees of the local municipal corporation.

While the civic amenities cry for attention, the Chandigarh Administration has accorded its approval to the new year "gift" for the employees.The quantum of the cash or kind award would be decided by the corporation, sources told The Tribune here today.

Earlier, the corporation had proposed the "Diwali gift" for civic body staff. However, the proposal could not be cleared by the administration as it was reportedly sent "too late" for Diwali.

However, the employees' unions kept on pressurising the civic body authorities for the grant of the incentive and ultimately the administration seemed to have bowed to their pressure.

Employees unions of the administration and the corporation had been on the warpath for the restoration of the annual bonus to the employees, which was discontinued a few years ago by the authorities concerned.

Welcoming the administration's decision mayor Pardeep Chhabra claimed that it would act as morale booster for the thousands of the employees to perform better. 



Lenient MC makes it easier for encroachers
Rajiv Bhatia

Baltana, December 22
In the absence of any action by the Zirakpur municipal council, encroachers along the Baltana-Panchkula link road are having a field day.

The 22-ft road has shrunk by several feet leading to regular traffic jams, especially in the evening.

According to sources, the road has been encroached upon by shopkeepers. Utensils are put on display along the road and rehriwallahs occupy a major part of the road. Shoppers also add to the congestion on the road, making it unsafe for pedestrians.

Sources said whenever a vehicle of the encroachment team of the MC entered the market, these rehriwallahs pick up their goods and ran into adjoining lanes.

The encroachment staff does not attempt to chase these violators, despite knowing that the moment they are gone, the encroachers would be back in business.

Zirakpur MC president Narinder Kumar Sharma said the matter was in his knowledge and violators would be fined.



Dogs vaccinated against rabies
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 22
At least 107 stray and pet dogs were inoculated against rabies at an anti-rabies camp organised by the Mohali unit of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in association with the Department of Animal Husbandry at Manadpur chowk here on Saturday.

The camp was inaugurated by Rajinder Singh Rana, president of the municipal council. He assured SPCA members of taking up their demand for allotment of land for a shelterhouse for sick and injured animals with the authorities concerned.

Handbills enunciating various provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 were distributed among dog lovers and horse driven cart owners.

They were also made aware about the amount of weight they could carry on their carts.



MC to seek fogging machine
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, December 22
The Zirakpur Municipal Council will seek a new fogging machine and dustbins for the town. The need for the same was being felt after the outbreak of epidemic in Dhakoli village.

The issue is scheduled to be taken up during the municipal council meeting slatted to be held tomorrow.

The other important agenda is the quality of material being used in repair or relay of roads, the sample of material of which would be sent to Punjab Engineering College and other places for testing.

According to municipal council President N.K. Sharma: “We are planning to buy new containers and dustbins for collecting garbage in the precinct of Zirakpur”. 



No Xmas, New Year celebrations: Hoteliers 
Priya Chadha

Chandigarh, December 22
Christmas is going to be a subdued affair in the wake of Mumbai terror. In fact, unlike previous years, prayers will replace the elaborate celebrations. Beside churches, private hotels in the city are also bracing up for low-key Christmas celebrations.

“Christmas means peace, this time we are organising ‘Live Crib’, which will be a live depiction of the Jesus Christ’s objectives of rooting out violence and spreading love. Earlier, we used to convey this message with the help of posters, statues and cardboard cuttings”, Father of Catholic Church in Sector-19 Stephen Fernandes said.

“Festivity should be in the heart, I believe in peace, this time we want to salute the martyrs, who lost their lives in the Mumbai attack”, said Errol Rodrigues, a member of the Catholic Church.

“I believe that differences among communities should not exist as God has made all of us equal,” said Shibu Mathew, a DEL employee.

“We won’t celebrate Christmas this year. There will, however, be a prayer meeting for those killed in Mumbai terror attack,” said Mohan Singh, manager, Noodle Bar.

“The festivity isn’t important this year as we have lost so many persons. It is the time to fight back and wipe out terrorism by joining hands”, said Naveen Sen, an hotelier.

It may be recalled that CITCO-run hotels such as Hotel Mountview and Hotel Shivalikview had already announced that there would not be any Christmas and New Year celebrations. Even general public is contemplating a subdued Christmas and New Year to express solidarity with the families of those who died in Mumbai violence.



ewild wild web
Top Google searches in 2008

A majority of an estimated 50 million Internet users in India keyed in a query at Google during 2008. Yahoo failed to reclaim its position as the ruler of the Internet scene.

Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska and the Republican vice-president nominee remained at the top of the fastest rising search words. Beijing 2008 came second while the US President-elect Barack Obama bagged the fifth position in the global ranking of the searched keywords on Google.

The search giant recently unveiled statistics of the most popular keywords that originated from its India-based users. The study is an interesting barometer of public taste, preoccupation and concern. The heart-throb of Bollywood, Katrina Kaif, was one of the two personalities and placed third in the list of the first 10 fastest rising searches. Another actor, placed seventh, is Genelia D'souza.

Among the top 10 searches on Mobile, Kaif comes sixth but in the list of the top Bollywoord celebrities, she is on the top, notching a rank higher than Aishwarya Rai.

Among sports personalities, Sania Mirza rules, outnumbering cricket stars Tendulkar and Dhoni. Hindi cinema has always swept the top film title searches and 2008 is no exception with Jodha Akbar in the lead and another eight titles in the top 10.

When it comes to politicians, Mahatma Gandhi is a perennial number one. Indira Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi find a place in the top 10 list.

Here is a look at 2008 through the collective eyes of Indian users on the web. It offers a unique perspective on the year's major events and hottest trends. While developing the report, Google looked at various aspects of these searches to understand what was on the users’ minds. It retrieved the most frequently-searched terms for the period across many categories like Bollywood celebrities and Holiday destinations. In compiling the lists, Google studied the aggregation of billions of search queries people typed in the search box.

Fastest Rising: youtube, orkut, Katrina Kaif, cricket, irctc, facebook, Genelia D'souza, Beijing 2008 olympic games, sixth pay commission and IPL

Most Popular: orkut, gmail, yahoo, google, youtube, yahoomail, Indian railways, rediff, cricket and Katrina Kaif

Top searches on Mobile: orkut, yahoo, waptrick, gmail, games, Katrina Kaif, rediffmail, yahoomail, Namitha and google

Top Bollywood celebrities: Katrina Kaif, Aishwarya Rai, Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor, Shahid Kapur, Deepika Padukone, Shahrukh Khan, Mallika Sherawat and Genelia D'souza

Top holiday destinations: Goa, Kerala, Kashmir, Dubai, Singapore, Australia, London, Shimla, Switzerland and Manali

Top “how to” searches: How to reduce weight, how to kiss, how to earn money, how to get pregnant, how to learn English, how to gain weight, how to play guitar, how to create a website, how to impress a girl and how to wear a tie

Recession does not figure prominently in the list of searched words. Google claims that worsening economy has sent marketers looking at online medium. At a time when both print and electronic mediums are seeing a dip in advertisement revenues, Google said money is still flowing into online marketing initiatives as advertisers are looking at cost-effective mediums to reach the target audience.

Google has added another feature for search engine visitors. Have you ever wanted to mark up Google search results? Maybe you're an avid hiker and the trail map site you always go to is in the 4th or 5th position and you want to move it to the top. Or perhaps it's not there at all and you'd like to add it. Or maybe you'd like to add some notes about what you found on that site and why you thought it was useful. You can do all this and tailor Google search results.

SearchWiki, a way for you to customise search by re-ranking, deleting, adding, and commenting on search results, has been launched. With a single click you can move the results you like to the top or add a new site. You can also write notes attached to a particular site and remove results. These modifications will be shown to you every time you do the same search in the future. SearchWiki is available to only signed-in Google users. Changes are stored in individual’s Google account.

Anilm is an editor with Instablogs.com




PEC alumni fund raises stink
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, December 22
The ongoing practice at Punjab Engineering College to deduct Rs 500 each from the otherwise refundable security amount as membership fee of the alumni association, PECOSA, has irked students.

The students are questioning the need to charge them again on every alumni meet, post the deduction. As per information under the RTI, the college has collected Rs 5,26,500 since 2006 through these deductions but still, every time a student wishes to attend an alumni meet, he/she has to shell out some more money.

“They never ask if we wish to be part of this association and deduct the money on their own. What is worse is that if we have to attend an alumni meet, we pay around Rs 1,000 again. Where are those deductions?” a student asked.

“When they admit us they say that security is refundable in total and then they make deductions on their own and term it voluntary. Where has the collection gone if we have to pool in money again if we wish to be part of the alumni party? Is the college not accountable to us?” another student wondered.

Manoj Dutta, director of PEC, admitted that it was a malpractice. “The security has to be returned in full and no deductions can be made. The issue was raised and I have already issued orders to discontinue the practice. I have also made it clear that to create some kind of alumni fund, the contributions have to be strictly voluntary.”

He, however, was unable to comment on the utilisation of the money collected so far.



Workshop on computer training in physics
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 22
A five-day UGC-sponsored national workshop on “Computer Laboratory Training in Physics” got underway at the Punjabi University here today. Organised by the department of physics, under special grant for the DSA programme, the workshop was aimed at introducing computer-based courses in physics to generate qualitative material and human resource.

While inaugurating the workshop, Vice-Chancellor Dr Jaspal Singh emphasised upon the role of computer programming languages and their applications to the problems of computer simulation related to the discipline of physics.

There was an urgent need to make the research and teaching methodologies, especially in disciplines related to physical and life sciences compatible with the revolutionary changes in the digital world, he said. He advocated the cause of utilitarian research, may it be in pure or applied areas.

Prof R.C. Verma, dean, faculty of physical sciences, in his welcome address disclosed that the physics department has already introduced multimedia-based training besides launching a “Parallel Processing Computer Laboratory” for advanced computations. To serve the cause of community welfare, the department was working on a DST project for fabricating silicon sheets and tubes which could be used for making solar cells at much cheaper cost. Prof A.C. Sharma, head of the basic sciences in Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi, focused on the importance of recent developments in computing technology and paradigm of grid-computing in times to come. Prof H.S. Bhatti and Prof Raj Mittal also spoke on the occasion.



PU Notes
UIPS alumni pledge development of dept
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
The Panjab University Pharmaceutical Society of UIPS organised a class reunion meet of Golden and Silver Jubilee BPharmacy batches of 1958 and 1983, respectively. Nearly all alumni who travelled from far off places like the USA, Canada, Australia and Philippines participated in the event. In addition all the local alumni of UIPS were also present.

It was a walk down the memory lane for all those who were present. Vice-Chancellor Prof RC Sobti presided over the function and appealed/invited all the alumni to serve their alma mater either professionally or financially.

Prof Karan Vasisht, chairman of the department, emphasised the need to continue this event, which was held for the first time.

He stressed to generate a corpus for which he made a personal donation of Rs 1 lakh as seed money. A special supplement issue of ‘The Pharmacos’ comprising profiles of these UIPS pass out was also released by the VC during the conclave.

An alumni introduction, in which each one of them presented a glimpse of their journey during 25 years, left everyone enthralled. All the participants opined that alumni could play an active role in the growth and development of UIPS, and also pledged their active support for the same. All of them also became the life members of the PU alumni cell.

A colourful cultural evening was also organised by the students of the UIPS, which left the pass outs spellbound.

Annual function

Dr HSJ Institute of Dental Sciences & Hospital, PU, organised its 1st annual function “IGNITION 2008” here today.

The programme also had a prize distribution ceremony to mark and commemorate the first ever annual day function where students who have excelled in academics and extracurricular activities were honoured.

Prof KK Talwar, director of PGIMER, was the chief guest during the function. The first souvenir of the institute “IGNITION 2008” was also released. 



Recruitment drive at Landran college
Tribune Reporters

Mohali/Chandigarh/Panchkula, December 22
A multi-national company in the field of pharmaceutics, Dr Morepen, conducted campus recruitment drive at Chandigarh College of Pharmacy, Landran.

According to a press release, students completing their bachelor degree in pharmacy and biotechnology of 2009 batch were eligible for the drive. A host of company officials conducted the recruitment process which comprised of written test, followed by PPT and personal interview. Giving details regarding the company, the officials said that Morepean Laboratories had steadily grown from a single product company to a multi-activity company with a global vision and satisfied customers in over 50 countries.

Satnam Singh Sandhu and Rashpal Singh Dhaliwal, chairman and president of Chandigarh Group of Colleges, respectively, said pharma and biotech courses had emerged as the biggest attraction for the students as they received better job opportunities. The Indian pharmaceutical industry was growing vary fast and its worth was set to grow beyond Rs 6,521 crore during the next five years. Already a number of multinational companies like Glennmark, Cipla, Ranbaxy had recruited students during the placement drives held earlier, they added.

AKSIPS-65 organises ‘Tarkash’

AKSIPS- 65 organised its first theme-based field show “Tarkash - The Goblet of Life” in the school premises, in which students of classes pre- nursery to IX presented an enthralling display of drills and dances. Amidst a backdrop of multi-hued depiction of the seven stages of human life, the programme commenced with the lightning of the torch by the executive director of AKSIPS group of schools, followed by the colourful troupe consisting of clowns, jugglers, acrobats, animals, gymnasts, and magicians.

Christmas at Golden Bells

Golden Bells Public School, Sector-77, celebrated Christmas with enthusiasm. The X-mas tree of the school was beautifully decorated with balls, stars and bells.

Various activities and events were organised to give vent to their inborn skills and talents. The children were enlightened about the life and deeds of Jesus Christ. They were attired in beautiful dresses as Joseph, Mary, Jesus and little angels and conveyed the message of love and brotherhood.

Santa in the red gown, fur cap, white beard carrying a bag full of brightly wrapped gift packs, distributed sweets among all.

DAV Public Sr. Sec. School

Santa Claus was in for a surprise at the DAV Public Senior Secondary School, Phase-X, here where students instead of accepting gifts implored the Santa to give solace to victims of terrorism, especially in the Mumbai attack.

The school was decked up with subdued decorations and message to uproot terrorism from the country.

Principal Jaya Bhardwaj said the students were more than ready to forsake their Christmas and New Year celebrations in the wake of the recent terrorist attacks.

Shishu Niketan

Shishu Niketan Public School, Sector 43, celebrated Christmas today. On the occasion, the students were briefed about the sacrifices of Jesus Christ and a Christmas tree was decorated. The ceremony concluded with the cake cutting and the distribution of sweets by the school’s Santa Claus.


Children at KIDS are KIDS School performed various skits and dances to celebrate Christmas today. Parents of the younger children were the guests of honour and were invited to join in the festivities. The message of abolishing child labour, so that even poor children could go to school, was presented by Classes III & IV in a short play entitled ‘Chhoti si Aasha’. Classes IV & V expressed the sprit of sharing and giving what we see in nature all around us with a skit entitled ‘The Giving Tree’.

St Joseph’s Sr Sec School

St Joseph’s Sr Sec School, Sector 44-D, celebrated Christmas with great enthusiasm and fanfare. The school was tastefully decorated with a huge Christmas tree having shimmering stars, bells, little snowmen, and beautiful candles. This gave the feeling of Christmas holidays round the corner. The tiny tots of kindergarten performed popular Carol- Rudolph, the Red Nose Reindeer.

‘The Nativity’ play presented by primary block recreated the scene of the birth of Jesus Christ explaining the religious origins of Christmas. Students of middle block presented another melodious carol. Ashmin Singla presented a poem on Christmas -- a day that spreads the message of peace and love. The little ones of kindergarten stole stole the show with a Hindi carol and a Western dance performance by the students of Class I mesmerised the audience.

Finally it was time for the much-awaited part of the show where the students of Classes IX, X and XI presented a game show, which was a hit. Children enjoyed every moment of the Christmas function in the school.

Montessori celebrates silver jubilee

Firstep Montessori School, Sector 7, celebrated its completion of 25 years yesterday.

The occasion was marked with great fervour and enthusiasm. The programme was commenced by a welcome song followed by the school anthem. There was resounding applause for the patriotic dance drama performed, which bagged 2nd prize in Fanta Fiesta Thematic Drama competition earlier this year for the school. The performance was an ode to the recent terror attack in Mumbai. Parents and former students shared their experiences on the occasion.



CRRID inks pact with Canadian varsity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
The Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) has teamed up with Canada’s University of Fraser Valley (UFV) to help entrepreneurs focus 
on north India’s rural communities.

A memorandum of understanding in this regard was signed by CRRID’s director general, Rashpal Malhotra and Dr D.J. Sandhu, advisor to UFV’s vice-chancellor on India related issues.

Engaged in promoting research, publications, development and training northwestern India, CRRID’s primary focus is to conduct socially relevant research on rural and industrial issues in the wider socio-economic framework. UFV, on the other hand, is a fully accredited Canadian public university that operates the world’s only centre for Indo-Canadian studies.

The agreement between the two also lays the foundation for educational, research and cultural linkages.



Bhavya, Suman shine in painting competition

Panchkula, December 22
Bhavya Kush of Sarthak, Government Secondary School, Sector 12-A, Panchkula, bagged the first prize while Suman from Jainendra Gurukul Senior Secondary School stood second in the painting competition held at an exhibition organised on energy conservation by the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) here today. The students from local schools took part in the modal-making, painting, slogan writing competition on the occasion.

Government Senior Secondary School, Sector-6, bagged the first prize in the model-making competition while Jainendra Public School won the second prize. However, Government College, Panchkula, had to remain content with the third prize in this category.

The state has a potential of 600 MW energy conservation for which the gadgets duly approved by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency and Bureau of Indian Standards would be of great help, said director (finance) of UHBVN Nazli J. Shayine while distributing prizes to the winners.— TNS



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