C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


GMADA dumps Sahara City
Rejects licence; investors in soup
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 29
With the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) rejecting the case of grant of licence to a prestigious housing project of the Sahara Group here, the hopes of hundreds of investors to own a house in Chandigarh’s periphery have been dashed.

Following advertisements by the group in 2007, scores of investors had applied for a dream home in a state-of-the-art Sahara City Homes project at Rampur Kalan, near Banur on the Zirakpur-Patiala road.

Passing the orders under the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act (PAPRA), the Chief Administrator of the GMADA said the letter of intent (LOI) issued to the promoter on November 16, 2006, had already expired.

Since the extended validity of the LOI was for two months from the date of issue, the case of grant of licence to the company has automatically lapsed. The change of land use (CLU), a prior condition to get the LOI, also lapses on March 31, 2009.

Sources in the Punjab Urban Housing Department reveal that the CLU would be valid till March 31 only if the promoter deposits the pending dues recently notified by the government.

“In case the company wants to go ahead with the project, it needs to apply afresh for licence and the charges, terms and conditions would be applicable as on the date of grant of licence,” said the Chief Administrator while passing the orders in compliance of the orders of the Punjab and Haryana Court in the case.

The Sahara India Commercial Corporation Limited had applied for a licence under PAPRA to the Chief Administrator, PUDA, on March 9, 2006. The case was processed and LOI issued on November 16, 2006.

As per the LOI, the promoter was required to pay within 30 days the external development charges (EDC), change of land use (CLU) and licence fee, fixed on the basis of charges fixed in the periphery policy of January 20, 2006.

After waiting for one-and-a-half-month, the promoter, on January 3, 2007, sent a letter stating that external development charges demanded from him were on the higher side. A writ petition was filed in the High Court January 12, 2007.

The promoter stated that the LOI was issued on November 16, 2006, where as the notification of the state government dated July 12, 2006, in regard to calculation of the EDC in view of the external development works to be utilised by the company was not considered. The company, while claiming that their project was an independent and integrated township beyond the 10-kilometre distance of UT boundary, said that it was ready to pay charges as per the notification dated December 7, 2001 and June 23, 2005.

Rejecting the stand of the company, the Chief Administrator said the project was located within the controlled periphery of Chandigarh and condition of giving sanction outside the planning area was specially allowed. The EDC was applicable on the date of grant of licence. The state government was spending Rs 1,000 crore to provide road linkages around the international airport and to link Kharar to the Chandigarh-Patiala road at Chattbir and ultimately extend to Panchkukla.

Group may face police action

n The GMADA is likely to ask the Punjab Police to register a case against Sahara City Homes for violating various provisions of the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act, 1995.
n The company had given an advertisement inviting applications for booking houses in their proposed residential project without having the requisite licence or registration to develop land as a coloniser.
n It will be for the second time that the GMADA/PUDA will seek police action in this regard. The advertisements were issued by the company’s head office in Lucknow and not the local office.



Safety At Stake
UT asks STA to pass condemned buses
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
Is the Chandigarh administration compromising with the safety of the passengers? Perhaps yes!

If the transport department has its way, travelling in Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) buses could be an unsafe proposition. Due to shortage of “roadworthy” buses with the CTU, the transport department is pushing its case hard to keep around 28 such buses on road that have already outlived their life span.

In a recent communiqué, Home Secretary Ram Niwas directed the Secretary, State Transport Authority (STA), Vandana Disodia, to get “clear” these buses on the pattern of school buses as the prevailing grid system would be affected if these buses go off road.

Now, the STA is finding itself in a catch-22 situation, as its Board of Inspection, more than once, had declined to issue certificate of fitness for renewal of registration by declaring them “unfit” for plying on the roads.

As per the Central government guidelines, the buses after completing eight years or five-lakh kilometres -whichever is later - have to be condemned in view of larger public interest.

According to official figures, there is around 37 CTU buses of 1999 and 2000 make which fall under the category of “condemn vehicles”.

The defects pointed out by the STA were that most of these buses have outlived their engine life, emanate smoke up to 95 per cent, having loose wiring, defective acceleration, starting problem and jammed emergency doors. Still, the cash rich administration is bent on compromising with the safety of the passengers on the plea of “failure of grid system”.

Questions are also being raised on the “competency” of the transport department as it’s been over one-and-a-half-year since the pending files of tenders for the AC mini-buses are gathering dust. Even till date, the department has failed to submit a proposal to the Administration in this regard.

Official sources said that there are around 17 bus chassis rotting at the CTU depot for over six months and the decks have yet not been cleared for fabricating these chassis.

The tyres of these chassis, lying at depot no. 2, Industrial Area, have been damaged due to remaining stationery for long. Besides, batteries, lubricants and fluids have also been affected.

The Home Department, in reference to the Punjab and Haryana High Court in reference to MC Mehta vs Union of India and others (CWP No 13029 of 1985) and further the orders pronounced by Supreme Court, has directed that no commercial vehicle, including government vehicle, which is eight years old would be permitted to run except on CNG.

In view of the larger interest of the public, the directions issued by the court further say: “if the old buses of CTU are passed in violation of the directions issued by the court, it will result in contempt of the court and may put the Administration in an awkward position.”

Red tape to blame

The “ego problem” in the bureaucracy runs from top to bottom in the city and ultimately it is the public that suffers. Comparatively a trivial issue, the move to provide roadworthy buses has been hanging fire for over a year now.

When the STA Secretary Vandana Disodia asked Anupam Gupta, senior standing counsel of the UT Administration to seek a legal opinion on the matter, the latter objected to her approaching him directly. He remarked: “The STA Secretary appears to be chalking out a course of action at her own. I can only regret this manner of functioning. That besides under whose authorisation is the STA seeking my opinion directly, without reference to the Home Secretary.”



Industrialist shoots himself
Was suffering from liver ailment and asthma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
Frustrated by his chronic ailment, Gursewak Singh Brar, an affluent farmer and industrialist, allegedly shot himself to death with a 303 rifle at his Sector 18 residence here in the wee hours today.

In his suicide note, the deceased has held no one responsible for his death, said the police. The police said that 76-year-old Brar was suffering from liver ailment and asthma. He is survived by his wife and three sons. He had a farm in Uttar Pradesh and has automobile spare parts manufacturing units in city and Mohali.

The death came to light at around 6 am when Brar’s wife came to his room to give him tea and found it locked from inside. After failing to get any response, she called her sons and they opened the door with a duplicate key. Brar was found lying dead in a pool of blood on the floor. The police was informed about the incident at around 7.40 am.

According to a security guard in neighbourhood, he heard a gunshot at around 4 am.

The police said that Brar fired a shot in his temple and the bullet burst his skull. The police recovered a live and a used cartridge from the room.

DSP (East) P.K. Dhavan said that a suicide note written in Punjabi was recovered from the jacket of the deceased. Brar had written that he was depressed due to his aliment. Even as prima facie there was no foul play behind the death, the police got the spot examined by ballistic experts.

The body was removed after about six hours from the scene as the team from Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory arrived after about four hours.



Greed lands peon in trouble
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
In an attempt to embezzle funds, a peon with the Chandigarh Club today enacted a drama that three persons robbed him of Rs 72,000 in Sector 7, here, this afternoon. The truth came to light when the police searched his scooter under suspicion and recovered the amount from his scooter.

SHO of the Sector 26 police station Raghbir Singh said accused Tribhavan of Sector 8 came to Indian Overseas Bank in Sector 7 to deposit the amount. Overpowered by the greed to grab the amount, he enacted a drama and called his superiors informing them that he was robbed. Officials from the club reached there and also informed the police about the incident.

Tribhavan told the police that he came to the bank on his scooter and three persons stopped him outside the bank around 3 pm. They robbed him of the amount at the pistol point. He showed his torn pockets of his shirt and trousers to support his claims. The police questioned the people in the area, who confirmed that they did not notice any such activity.

The police got suspicious and asked Tribhavan to produce keys of his scooter, which he claimed he had lost. After the police exert pressure on him, he handed over the keys to investigating officials, who recovered Rs 72,000 from the scooter’s boot.

The police said Tribhavan was given about Rs 1.88 lakh to deposit. He deposited Rs 1 lakh at a bank in Sector 17 and Rs 16,000 at a post office. Believing that no one would suspect his nefarious design, as he had deposited the amount in the bank and post office, he decided to grab Rs 72,000.

A case of giving false information to the police under Section 182 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against him at Sector 26 police station.



Playing cricket costs youth his life
Tribune News Service

Kharar, December 29
Sandeep Singh alias Sanju (20), a resident of Kharar, was allegedly stabbed to death following an altercation over playing cricket in a vacant plot.

According to sources, on Sunday evening, Sandeep and his friend Gurpreet Singh had gone to play cricket in a vacant plot adjoining the house of Kirpal Singh alias Pal Singh and Ranjeet Singh alias Rana. Sources said that both the persons used to object to playing cricket in vacant plots. On Sunday evening, when Sandeep and his friends were playing and raising voice, Pal Singh, his son Sunny, Rana and his son Tony started arguing with the youngsters.

In his complaint, Sanjeev's father Jaswant Singh alleged that when he went to look for his son, he saw Tony attack Sanjeev with a sharp-edged weapon following which he fell unconscious.

Sanjeev was immediately rushed to Kharar civil hospital where he was declared brought dead. The post mortem report said that Sanjeev was stabbed in the chest. His heart got punctured leading to blood loss and ultimately death. Sanjeev was cremated amidst heart-rending scenes today.

Earlier in the day, around 200 people blocked the Landran road demanding immediate arrest of the accused. The blockade was lifted after Kharar DSP Raj Balwinder Singh Sandhu assured arrest of the accused within 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the police team led by investigating officer SHO (city) Manjeet Singh today raided various places in search of the accused. The police also inquired about Pal Singh at the Mohali district transport office where he works as a clerk. "We were told that Pal Singh had applied for three days’ leave today. We raided houses of the accused and all of them were found missing," he said.


MC Meeting
Community parking gets nod
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
The last house meeting of the Municipal Corporation, held today, had a mix of all with soaring temperatures of the opposition councillors to volley of questions pointed out to the MC officials and the tactful handling of the queries by the MC officials.

While councillor Devinder Babla and MC commissioner Roshan Sunkaria’s recent tiff did cast its shadow in the meeting when Babla got up again and this time confronted TPS Phoolka, joint commissioner, over some issue.

Nevertheless, the last meeting did prove itself fruitful in more ways than one. The house passed city’s first community parking in front of Burail village. The house unanimously appreciated the same and agreed that this was need of the hour. After this proves successful, more such community parking lots are on the anvil.

Brig KS Chandpuri, a nominated councillor, raised the issue of mismanagement and zero maintenance at the cremation ground in Sector 25. He apprised the house that how for so many years, the ground was lacking even a boundary wall. Gurchaan Dass Kala, SAD councillor, also said the cremation ground in Manimajra was in no better condition and crying for attention.

The mayor agreed to the demands and constituted a committee to examine what all was needed to fix the problems.

Arshad Khan, another nominated councillor, pointed out that the MC lacked a complaints’ management cell and even project management tools, which facilitate tracking the status of any project and even helps in pointing out that at which point the work is stuck. To this, TPS Phoolka apprised the house that the corporation had decided to outsource complaints to a government agency, DOEACC, for handling all the complaints and the same would start from next month.

Former Mayor and SAD councillor, Harjinder Kaur, and former mayor and Congress councillor, Anu Chatrath, were at loggerheads over the issue pertaining to Mayoral funds. Anu alleged that during her tenure, Harjinder Kaur used her ward funds in her own area whereas as per rules, it was unlawful. Harjinder Kaur also alleged that the development works of the ruling party’s councillors were given priority and those of the other councillors were not taken up.

Controversy saved for last

As expected, the issue pertaining to the non-functional garbage disposal plant in Dadu Majra takes the cake for being the most discussed matter. It’s another thing that today’s discussion about the same turned out to be a mockery in itself in the absence of the MC commissioner and even the MC officials’ inability to produce certain documents which the house demanded to see.

Councillor Chandramukhi Sharma, chairman of the garbage disposal plant review committee, who raised the issue, pointed out many loopholes in the whole issue, starting from its approval. It’s another matter that the entire project was conceived and approved during the tenures of Congress Mayors and was later ratified by the house. The MoU was signed after a high-powered committee headed by Anu Chatrath approved it and was also approved at the highest level in the UT administration after legal whetting.

Now a special meeting has been called on December 31 to discuss the issue in the presence of MC commissioner.



Streamlining agenda not on MC’s priority
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
It seems that that the Municipal Corporation house meetings have little sanctity. For all it takes a few weeks’ time to forget previous decisions that officials and councillors take.

A testimony to this was today’s meeting which had agenda items worth Rs 12 crore. This was in striking contrast of the previous meeting wherein it was decided that the items would be tabled on a priority basis.

At the recently held special house meeting on November 27, most part of the discussion was confined to streamline the agenda brought in the house. The councillors were of the view that each time passing so many new agenda items worth crores of rupees was serving no purpose as the execution and implementation of all the works suffers for want of sufficient number of staff members in the MC.

As a result, the backlog keeps on increasing and clearing new projects only adds to the existing list of pending works.

Yet today’s meeting began where the last one ended. With so many new items in the agenda, the councillors of the ruling party as well as the opposition had heated discussions with each one complaining that his/her development works in the ward remained pending even after being passed long time back.

Ravinder pal Singh, Congress councillor, rued that the renovation of the community centre in Sector 46 was approved during the term of previous mayor Harjinder Kaur but the works still pending.

Jatinder Bhatia, BSP councillor, complained that he had been pressing hard to bring the agenda pertaining to the development works in the industrial area but the same had not been brought despite the repeated requests. He questioned as to how the items were brought at today’s meeting while the agenda of the utmost important works had not been tabled once again.

Nominated councillors, including MPS Chawala and Dr A P Sanwaria, also seconded the other councillors on the issue of prioritising agenda items.



Pakistan epicentre of terrorism: US expert
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
Policy makers in the United Stated are coming to believe what India has been saying for the past many years. “Pakistan is the epicentre of world terrorism. With this sinking into the circles that determine policy in Washington, it will force the US to re-think its foreign policy in South Asia. Obama will be forced to re-look at Pakistan, especially after it is now clear that Pakistan has been indulging in a double talk while supporting extremism.”

Expressing his opinion about the possibilities of Indo-US ties in particular under the Obama regime and US foreign policy in general, Dr Clifford A. Kiracofe Jr., Department of History, Department of International Studies, Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, USA said, “Obama is expected to make some changes in Iraq and Afghanistan, but not as profound and rapid as one would like. But the US will be looking for greater strategic cooperation in South Asia, especially on the regional security issues”.

Organised by the Institute for Development and Communication (IDC) here today, Dr. Kiracofe, who has worked for the US Senate for 11 years said, “Analysts now believe that the Iraq war was the biggest strategic mistake in the history of the US. It is now expected to have a profound consequence which will mean that it will take a lot of effort to improve relations of the US with the Arab.”

Not mincing words about what policy makers thought of Pakistan, Kiracofe said, “After the Mumbai carnage, Obama will now be faced with the issue of how to promote democratic forces and roll back terrorist infrastructure backed by Saudi Arabia.” He said Washington was now truly fed up with Pakistan’s lies, double talk and support to Islamic terrorist. “Pakistan, which is being viewed as a semi-failed state, now stands exposed,” he said.

Kiracofe further said the US would also have to find a way to put some pressure on China asking it to stop helping Pakistan in its “misadventures”. “How Obama and his team does it, only time will tell.” So far, he said the US was not serious about analysing the Pakistan military and the situation there. “Obama and his team will now be forced to review it,” he added.

He said there was no consensus yet on the US approach on Kashmir, but with improved Indo-US ties and things expected to getting better during the Obama regime, the US was likely to be more supportive of India’s view point. He said the US would find it difficult to curb jihadi elements in the Islamic world, but would have to deal with the situation. Among the Muslim nations, Obama had expressed his openness to talk to Iran, he disclosed.



Indigenous trainer aircraft project a non-starter
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
An ambitious project by the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) to develop an indigenous basic trainer remains a non-starter as the laboratory has failed to develop indigenous components and sub-systems for the aircraft.

After 10 such trainers, christened Hansa were fabricated from imported components, NAL was left without any further orders for the market as the future commercial viability of the aircraft was not assessed.

Scrutiny by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) revealed that in the process of manufacturing the aircraft, NAL had imported all the components as the development work of the aircraft was initiated without developing the components. “Despite the first and foremost objective of indigenous development as envisaged, NAL continues to depend upon imported components for design and development,” CAG observed.

In June 1988, the government approved the project to develop a two-seater aircraft for training and remote sensing within 2-3 years at a cost of Rs 50 lakh. It was 10 years later that Hansa-3, meeting the desired weight parameters, was flight-tested. The CAG report revealed that NAL incurred an average manufacturing cost of over Rs 43 lakh per aircraft against an estimate of Rs 5 lakh.

Deficiencies in project management led to unfruitful expenditure and blockage of funds. Till June 2007, NAL imported 12 engines from Europe, out of which seven engines could not be used as there were no production orders or prospective buyers. Similarly, only six of the 11 propellers imported could be utilised within their stipulated shelf life of two years. Further, 29 components procured by NAL for product support and production of aircraft remained unutilised.

CAG scrutiny also revealed that the performance of the aircraft left a lot to be desired. Of the 10 aircraft manufactured, eight were supplied to the Director General Civil Aviation for distribution to flying clubs.



Blood transfusion services best in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
The Blood Transfusion Services of Chandigarh were declared the best in the country by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), New Delhi, at the recently held three-day Orientation-cum-Training Programme on Blood Transfusion Services.

The participants from 17 states attended the programme.

Director Health Services Dr M S Bains inaugurated the programme being organised by State AIDS Control Society, Chandigarh, on behalf of the NACO.

Nine different parameters of blood banking, including total blood collection, voluntary blood donation, blood donation camps, IEC activities to promote voluntary donation, trainings of blood bank staff, supervision, reporting and maintenance of data, low HIV sero positivity in selected donors and financial expenditure of the union territories and states of the country were taken into account and compared by the NACO.

Chandigarh topped the list and its performance was rated as very good (92%), ahead of the second best state at 78 per cent.



Consumer Court
Insurance co to pay Rs 53,790
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum directed United India Insurance Co Ltd to pay claim of Rs 51,590 to a resident of Mohali. The forum has also asked the insurance company to pay Rs 2,200 as costs of litigation.

The petitioner, Inder Parkash, a resident of Mohali, stated that he got his car insured with the insurance company for Rs 2 lakh, which was valid from April 10, 2007 to April 9, 2008. He added that the said vehicle met with an accident on December 4, 2007 at the Naraingarh-Panjlasa road.

Besides reporting the matter to the police, the petitioner also informed the insurance company. After getting the signatures of the petitioner on the insurance claim papers, the company directed him to take the vehicle to Jyoti Motors in Panchkula for repairs and told that after repairs, the claim shall be paid to the concerned person at Jyoti Motors directly.

The bill for repairs was to be paid by the motor company, which they did not. Resultantly, the motor company refused to release the vehicle for want of payment.

Due to all this the vehicle remained with the automobile repair shop for more than two months and the petitioner shuttled between the insurance company and automobile shop owner.



Dense fog hits life in city
Archit Watts/Priya Chadha

Chandigarh, December 29
The dense fog and cold wave with the maximum temperature recorded as 17.8 degree Celsius and the minimum as 6.8 degree Celsius interrupted the life of residents here today.

The effect of the fog was clearly seen as office goers were late to the office and it was not even possible for visitors to reach their destinations. This was the first day of fog this winter, which disrupted the activities of the residents during morning hours.

While giving the reasons behind such variation in the temperature, Surender Pal Singh, director, meteorological department, said,

“Temperature falls due to the snowfall in the hills, when atmosphere is stable and there is moisture in the air, the water’s droplets form the fog and the visibility is low.”

As per the meteorological department, there will be more fog in the coming days as the weather is changing daily.

Manoj, a resident, said, “It took more than two hours to travel from Ropar to Chandigarh and it was very dangerous to drive in the fog as the visibility was very poor.”

JS Cheema, DSP traffic, said, “Mostly accidents took place due to human error and if the journey cannot postponed until dense fog lifts, then drive the vehicle with high alertness.”

Driving Tips

l Always drive in a queue, maintaining a proper distance and never try to overtake any vehicle.
l Put headlights on low beam as high beam will only reflect back the fog and impair visibility. Even during daytime, lights help other drivers to see your vehicle.
l Put on the fog lamps and hazard lamps.
l Keep the windshield and headlights clean to reduce the glare and increase visibility.
l Make sure the brakes are working and drive slowly.
l Use wipers and defrosters for maximum visi bility. Sometimes, it is difficult to determine if poor visibility is due to fog or moisture on the windshield. Open the windowpane to avoid moisture in the car.
l Use the edge of the road or painted road markings as a guide.



Shatabdi runs late
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 29
Poor visibility due to fog has compounded the problem of the commuters who travel in the Shatabadi Express and the Jan Shatabdi Express, running between Chandigarh and Delhi.

Many frequent travellers are regularly complaining about the train running behind schedule, be it winters or other season.

The worst affected have been those who are regularly travelling on the Shatabdi Express (2011), running between Delhi and Chandigarh.

Today, the train reached the city railway station, one-hour-and- fifty-minutes behind the arrival time of 11:05 am.

Railway sources revealed for the past one month, the train had been running behind schedule.

“I boarded this so that I could reach Chandigarh on time to attend my meeting and go back to Delhi by the evening Shatabdi. But, I have been missing the meeting due to delayed arrivals at Chandigarh”, said Anil Sharma, corporate head of an IT company.

On December 4, the train reached one hour behind its scheduled arrival time. On December 2, the train was 45 minutes late, On December 13, the train was 55 minutes late, and on December 14, the train was 20 minutes late. On December 25 and December 26, the train was almost one hour and fifteen minutes late,.

On the other hand, the evening Shatabdi Express (2005) has been better, getting late by 10 to 20 minutes.

While the train has been running late, the railway authorities have been claiming to provide dedicated corridors between Chandigarh and Delhi.

The train could be losing its business to other modes of transport if it did not stick to its schedule, observed another commuter, Rakesh Sharma.



Consumer Forum
‘Purchase products with ISI mark only’
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
While splurging on grocery, consumers need to be cautious of purchasing adulterated goods as consuming these goods might affect health adversely.

Thus, while purchasing a LPG gas cylinder or a pressure cooker, one should not forget to check the authenticity of the product.

The president of the Punjab Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Justice SN Aggarwal, said, “While purchasing grocery, you must always ask for a bill so that if the product is adulterated or without the requisite ISI mark, the consumer can seek compensation. You must identify on whether the product that you are purchasing is standardised or not.”

Elaborating on the identification of standard products, Justice Aggarwal specifies, “The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has formulated licences to use a standard mark, known as the ISI mark, on the products that are issued under the provisions of the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986. The mark conveys that the product is carrying the ISI mark, which is certified an independent third party organisation that is BIS.”

Sharing a case that has been recently disposed of by the consumer courts, Justice Aggarwal disclosed, “We had granted a compensation of Rs 5,000 to a consumer in an appeal case, where the shopkeeper had sold a poor quality cloth worth Rs 300. Thus, he had to pay Rs 5,000 compensation for it. The shopkeeper had once replaced the piece of cloth but the colour of the cloth again faded which was not replaced.”

Laying stress on the authenticity of the ISI mark, president of the UT Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Justice K.C. Gupta said, “When you purchase something, as per the norms, the width to height ratio of the ISI mark is supposed to be 4:3. One must be watchful on the non-warranted items as it might cause damage or injury. We have earlier provided compensation to consumers where cockroach was found in soft drink or milk packets weighing less than the actual weight mentioned on the packet.”

BIS has attached number corresponding to each product:

n IS:366 for Electric Iron and its safety.
n IS:2347 for Pressure Cooker.
n IS:4246 foe Domestic LPG Stove.
n IS:10914 (Part 3) for Passenger Car Tyres.



Cong committee, adviser meet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
To submit a memorandum regarding opening of a police station in Mauli Complex, a deputation of Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee Colony Cell met the UT adviser, here today.

The memorandum led by Shambhu Banerjee, chairman and Birender Kumar, vice-chairman of Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee, also had a proposal of starting a permanent day market in various colonies of the city.



‘Banafshe da phull’ released
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, December 29
“Many Punjabis have excelled in their respective realms achieving a new high but normally their accomplishments are not documented and their shining glory fades away with the passage of time,” opined SS Dhindsa, MP and former Punjab minister. He extolled the success story of HS Bhatti, a revered INA freedom fighter, an electronic entrepreneur and above all a promoter of Punjabi culture. He was speaking at a function organised by the Punjab Arts Council and Punjab Sahit Akademy to mark a release of a biographical Punjabi book titled “Banafshe da phull” on the life of HS Bhatti.

Born on the Baisakhi Day in 1923 at Taihang in Hongkong where his father S Basant Singh was serving, young Hukam Singh visited his hometown only in 1935. His early association with Subhash Chander Bose makes him join the freedom struggle and he served the Indian National Army. Delving on Bhatti’s saga of sufferings and satisfactions in being the top player in the electronic industry and an ambassador of Punjabi culture in the world, poet Sham Singh hailed him a complete human being with diverse traits. Both poet Ram Arsh and actor Jaswant Daman were too articulate like the author of the book Prof Joginder Singh Kairon. A former director of the Punjab Text Book Board and prolific writer of 23 books, Kairon elaborated on the biographical details he captured in the book.

Earlier PAC general secretary Rajpal Singh welcomed and introduced HS Bhatti while PAC chairperson Harjinder Kaur eulogised HS Bhatti as an institution on himself.



Helmet awareness drive in PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
To make driving safer on the Panjab University campus, the university authorities in collaboration with the Eco Club of the university launched helmet awareness campaign today.

While speaking on the occasion Panjab University Vice-Chancellor R C Sobti called upon students to wear helmets while driving as it provided protection to head which was the major cause of deaths during accidents.

He also advocated students to avoid triple riding on the campus for their own safety.

Sobti stated that mostly students avoided wearing helmets on the campus, as there was no restriction of the traffic police within the campus area, which resulted into increase in head injuries in accidents. He said lately the cases of accidents had gone up on the campus area.

This is for the first time that the university authorities had taken such an initiative to educate students about this important issued. The camp was held both in the morning and evening so that maximum students could be made aware of the new campaign.



Wattas is Tagore Theatre director
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
Rajneesh Wattas, former principal, Chandigarh College of Architecture, has been selected as director of the Tagore Theatre for a period of one year.

This decision was taken in a managing body meeting of the Tagore Theatre headed by the adviser to the UT Administrator, Pradip Mehra, here, today.

The booking rates were also reviewed and some addition has been proposed in the meeting.

Now, charges for functions by private schools, colleges and educational institutions, semi-government organisations and all other categories/organisations, where show is sponsored and non-ticketed would be Rs 25,000.

About security arrangements, it has been decided that metal detector gate and CCTV cameras would be installed on the premises of the Tagore Theatre by the engineering department.



65 examined at de-addiction camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
As many as 65 patients were examined by the Drug De-addiction and Treatment Centre, the department of psychiatry, PGIMER, at a drug de-addiction and treatment awareness camp at Hallo Majra, here yesterday.

A team from the PGI headed by Dr Vineet (senior resident), Dr Dharmendra (junior resident), OP Giri and Seema (medical social workers), Surjeet Kaur (nursing staff) conducted the camp.

The doctors said most patients (about 70 per cent) who visited the camp found to be consuming tobacco alone in various forms like cigarette, bidi, zarda, and pan masala.

About 20-25 per cent of them were found consuming alcohol along with tobacco and remaining 5 per cent were addicted to opiates, cannabis and other sedatives. People from various age groups attended the camp ranging from 13 to 75 years for substance related problems.



Year of controversies on mega projects
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
The pet but controversial mega projects, including Film City, Amusement Park and Medicity, of UT administrator SF Rodrigues came under a cloud during the year 2008. With even his Adviser Pradip Mehra raising strong objections to some of the projects, the tug-of-the-war between the two top functionaries of the Chandigarh administration became talk of the town in the latter part of the year.

Breaking its silence over the mega projects, the Congress demanded a CBI inquiry into the “mega scams” worth hundreds of crores of rupees, beside urging the administrator to go on leave till the completion of the inquiry. In a way, the Congress toed Mehra’s line in demanding the CBI probe, who also demanded an inquiry by an independent central agency into the alleged irregularities in the allotment of 30 acres of prime land to the Parsvnath Developers for the film city project. The Congress even went to the extent of demanding the abolition of the post of UT administrator and reverting back to the office of the chief commissioner for Chandigarh.

While the demand for a high-level probe into mega projects gained momentum, the usually-inaccessible general-turned-administrator was seemingly on back foot and tried some “damage control” by certain leaks to a section of the media.

Chandigarh administration’s generousness towards big industrialists and realtors was reflected in the extension of the conversion policy for the industrial plots in the industrial area. Even as the civic amenities are yet to be in place, the administration allowed the conversion, resulting in conversion of industrial area, particularly Phase I, into a happening place with the construction of scores of shopping malls and multiplexes and office complexes.

However, the administration was not generous to the amendments to the building byelaws for the residential and commercial buildings. While it came out with a comprehensive set of amended building byelaws, the commercial and residential-building owners cried for more concessions in the byelaws.

Despite concessions to the industrialists in the shape of the industrial conversion, thousands of the general power of attorney (GPA) holders in the group housing societies continued to be at the receiving end of the administration in the absence of any “people-friendly” transfer policy.

The year also saw vacancy in the office of the home secretary after the repatriation of Krishan Mohan to Haryana for almost six months, seriously affecting the routine working of the administration. The officer crunch at the top level remained with certain officers going back to their parent cadres and replacements taking its own time.

On the positive front, the city got the Tagore Theatre in a new avatar and southern sectors got a new lake. The construction arm of the administration, the Chandigarh Housing Board, continued to be marred in controversies in the backdrop of the “faulty” designs of the dwelling units in Sector 63 and delay in the possession of flats in Sector 49.

At the fag end of the year, the Punjab and Haryana High Court “removed” the status symbols of several senior police and civil officials, including the adviser, the home secretary, the IGP, the DC and the SSP by taking away escort vehicles from them.



Orientation course for lecturers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
Valedictory function of the 80th four-week orientation course for college and university lecturers organised by Academic Staff College, Panjab University, was held today.

The course was attended by 44 lecturers from different institutions in six states include Punjab, Haryana, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Nagaland and Union Territory Chandigarh.

The training aimed to sensitise participants to different aspects of significant social issues, to improve professional skills, to develop a holistic personality. Prof RC Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, underlined the importance of such programmes, which give the participants a platform to interact with experts and their peers and to develop fresh perspectives.



CHEMCON enters third day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
On the third day of the international seminar CHEMCON 2008 held at Panjab University today, the symposium started with the “Inventa C K Murthy Memorial Lecture” given by Prof Rakesh Agrawal, Purdue University on Synergistic Processes to produce biofuels from biomass.

Dr Hugh Hillhouse, Purdue University, focused on solving the key challenges to decrease the cost and increase efficiency of photovoltaic energy conversion, by developing new nanomaterials and devices.Dr R V Jasra of Reliance Industries highlighted the steps to be taken for sustainable growth of chemical process industry.



Degrees awarded to 150 students
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 29
A total of 150 students were awarded degrees of B Tech in various disciplines of engineering, MCA and MBA at the second convocation of Swami Devi Dyal Institute of Engineering and Technology at Barwala near here today.

Dr RP Bajpai, Vice-Chancellor, Kurukshetra University, was the chief guest, while Rajender Kataria, Deputy Commissioner, Panchkula, was the guest of honour on the occasion.

Dr Bajpai exhorted the students to work hard as the technology worldwide is changing fast and to make our country compatible with the other emerging nations, young engineering graduates have a great role to play and the society has great expectation from them. He stressed especially on the recession world over and provided the remedy to address the recession. He suggested that 270 million population of youngsters can do wonders by adopting new innovation and new technologies in the areas of biological materials. With this, the new products shall come into being and number of jobs shall increase and the recession will be minimised.

Prior to convocation, the chief guest inaugurated newly commissioned computer centre of the institute and library block.



PU colleges hold NSS camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
As a part of NSS activities, the colleges affiliated to Panjab University are holding a seven-day special camp these days.

To inspect these camps, Dr M S Bains, programme coordinator, NSS department, Panjab University, Chandigarh, visited many colleges that included Malwa College Bondli Samrala, GHG Khalsa College, Gurusar Sadhar and GHG Khalsa College of Education, Gurusar Sadhar.

While addressing the NSS volunteers, Dr Bains said the nation could grow only if the youth would abstain from intoxication, drug de-addiction.

He further advised the students to sweep out the social evils like female foeticide, dowry, corruption, adulteration.



8 students selected in placement drive
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 29
Open Access Technology, the US-based multinational software development company, selected eight students of the 2009 batch pursuing their degree in B Tech, computer science, information technology and MCA, during a joint campus placement drive at Chandigarh Engineering College, Landran.

Students securing 60 per cent marks throughout their academic career were eligible to participate in the drive. The selection procedure included a written test, group discussion, technical and HR interview. A team of company officials headed by Tarlochan Kalsi interacted with the students to give details of the opportunities available with OATI.

OATI provides innovative software solutions to meet the challenges facing changing industries and organisations in the web-connected world.

Satnam Singh Sandhu, chairman, and Rashpal Singh Dhaliwal, president, Chandigarh Group of Colleges, said most of the students passing out in 2008 had already been placed in multinationals like Satyam, Infosys, HCL Technologies and TCS.



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