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Move to scrap film city pact
Satish Kaushik threatens to move court
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
The administration’s reported move to “bail out” Parsvnath Developers in the controversial film city project today hit a roadblock with actor-director Satish Kaushik, a partner in the project, crying foul over Parsvnath’s “unilateral decision” to withdraw from the project.

“Parsvnath Developers never consulted me while expressing its desire to back out from the project. The administration should put the decision on termination on hold until it hears my side of the story as I am an equity partner in film city,” he told The Tribune over phone.

Parsvnath Developers, in partnership with Kaushik, had bagged the film city project, coming up on 30 acres at Sarangpur, with the highest bid of Rs 191 crore in January 2006.

Kaushik, who has his roots in Delhi and Haryana, asserted that he was already in the process of developing a film city in the region when Parsvnath Developers approached him for the film city in Chandigarh.

“It was my presentation to the administration that clinched the deal in our favour as the real estate giant Parsvnath had little background in cinema,” claimed Kaushik.

“It may be a real estate project for Parsvnath, but for me it was a dream creative venture aimed at turning the city into a cinematic tourism destination and bringing the best cinematic facilities to the city. A lot of creative input and passion had gone into the presentation and Parsvnath and the administration cannot scrap it in a jiffy,” he said.

Kaushik warned that he would be forced to move court if they went ahead with the termination of agreement without taking care of “his concerns”.

Recently, while responding to Parsvnath Developer’s move to withdraw from the project, the adviser to the administrator, Pradip Mehra, had raised questions on the evaluation of the land for the same and said the benchmark figure of Rs 175 crore was grossly “undervalued”. He had gone on record demanding an inquiry by an independent central agency into the project.

Mehra alleged these controversies raised doubts on whether procedures were followed and all bidders were given a level playing field. Stating that the examination of the relating file showed that no project report was prepared prior to its initiation, Mehra said: “Its absence raises disturbing issues as the project’s outlay was over Rs 500 crore.”

Mehra also questioned the haste behind the clearance of the project by pointing out that the proposal was moved by the director (IT) and was approved by the finance secretary and the then adviser and the administrator on the same day.

Responding to Parsvnath’s desire to withdraw from the project, finance secretary Sanjay Kumar had suggested the setting up a committee comprising the home secretary, the deputy commissioner and the director (IT) to negotiate for a mutual and amicable termination of the agreement between the administration and Parsvnath.

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Governor or Chief Commissioner for city?
Send your views to The Tribune

A body of public opinion is growing in Chandigarh, which is questioning the nature of the set-up that is governing the Union Territory.

Local units of two political parties - the Congress and the Janata Party - and a federation of residents welfare associations representing the citizens of Chandigarh have demanded a change in the set-up

At present the Governor of Punjab is also the Administrator of the UT. The political parties and the residents welfare associations are critical of the way the UT, which is not large in area or in the size of its population, is being administered.

The running tiff between the Administrator and the Adviser, who practically heads the UT’s administration, has made the political parties as well as the citizen welfare associations demand de-linking of the office of the Administrator UT from that of the Governor of Punjab.

In essence, they want restoration of the old administrative structure in which a Chief Commissioner used to run the UT’s administration. This was changed in the 1990s during the days of terrorism for providing better coordination between Punjab Government and the UT Administration. Although terrorism is not a serious threat in Punjab any more, the set-up continues.

The main objection to the present set-up rests on the feeling that saddling the Governor of Punjab with the responsibility of administration of Chandigarh has caused distortions and led to problems, which citizens have to face.

One, the citizens do not have an easy access to the Administrator, who is also the Governor of Punjab. And two, combining the office of the Administrator UT with that of the Governor of Punjab has led to the absence of accountability of the Administrator to the public.

The Tribune is throwing the question open to the people of Chandigarh whether they want the present system, providing for the same person being the Governor of Punjab as well as the UT Administrator, or the appointment of a separate Chief Commissioner for Chandigarh for providing easy accessibility and greater accountability.

The readers can send their views on the question to the City Editor, Chandigarh Tribune, The Tribune, Sector 29 Chandigarh. Alternatively, send on email: cityeditor@tribunemail.com.

Raveen Thukral, City Editor

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Devgan lights a smoke & a controversy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
Taking cognisance of a news report highlighting actor Ajay Devgan smoking at a public place, published in a section of the Press, activists of an NGO have filed a complaint against him with the police.

Hemant Goswami, chairperson of Burning Brain Society, who filed the complaint said: “We have filed a complaint with the SSP against Ajay Devgan after spotting his picture in a Hindi daily yesterday, where he was smoking in the passage of Chandigarh Airport.”

Chandigarh is a smoke-free city and anybody is liable to face action under the provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act.

The SSP, SS Srivastava, confirmed that a complaint in this regard had been received and the course of action would be decided later as per law.

The complaint said: “Even the in charge/manager of Chandigarh Airport failed to adhere to Rule 3 read with Section 4 of the Act for not displaying warning boards as prescribed under the Act and failed to check its violation.

“This attracts provisions of Section 21 of the Act. He should also be penalised for violating law,” a legal expert said.

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Major theft at Sector 37 temple
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
Robbers decamped with gold and silver ornaments worth about Rs 15 lakh after assaulting two watchmen in a Sector 37 temple here in the wee hours of today.

This is the second incident of theft in less than a fortnight. Earlier, robbers took away scrap worth several lakh of rupees from a plot in the Industrial Area.

The robbers scaled the boundary wall of the temple and hit a watchman, Vikram Singh, on the head with an iron rod and gagged the other before committing the robbery at pistol point.

Jagdish Raj Gupta, president of the Snatan Dham Sabha of the temple said as per the watchmen, the robbers came at around 2 am. Ornaments worth Rs 15 lakh and Rs 7,000 was stolen after breaking open the cash boxes. They also took away silver canopies installed on idols. Each canopy weighed around 15 kg. Besides this, they took away gold jewellery and a silver snake weighing around 3 kg.

The watchmen informed the authorities about the incident at around 2.45 am. The injured were rushed to the Sector 16 Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, from where they were discharged after first-aid.

The police called forensic experts and dog squad to examine the crime scene. A police officer said they were cross-examining the statement recorded by the watchmen as there were contradictions.

The SHO of the Sector 39 police station Inspector, Janak Rana, said a case had been registered and a special team constituted to nab the culprits.

The temple authorities, meanwhile, flayed the police for its failure in curbing thefts at religious places. They alleged that earlier also a theft was committed in the Sector 22 temple and the police had failed to crack the case.

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Maga Projects
Admn’s claims on bid falls flat
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
The Chandigarh administration’s attempts to issue clarifications regarding the alleged misappropriations meted out in its mega projects apparently turns out to be void if the revenue sharing bid for theme-cum-amusement park is any indication.

The official document in possession of The Tribune belies the administration’s claims that the bid of any firm was 13 times higher than the one that was finalised for the project.

The administration in its paid advertisement claimed: “It is incorrect to say that the bid of M/s DLF was 13 times higher than that of M/s Unitech Ltd who was allotted land for this project.” The advertisement further mentioned that they were not even aware about the said bid and said, “Its financial bid was never opened”.

However, the facts on the file tell a different story. In a file noting dated November 4, 2007 it was mentioned that, “DLF Limited has sent a fax dated November 3, 2006 at 8.04 pm stating that the price proposal submitted by them is very significantly higher.”

The noting further reads, “They have quoted fixed licence fee of Rs 5.5 crore plus 13.5 per cent as development fee percentage, which shall be applied on gross revenue amount from the project minus service tax or any other tax collected, any from the guests/or visitors and paid to the government.”

Strangely enough, this was not only ignored but also on the contrary the then advisor to the Administrator, Lalit Sharma, tried to justify the administration’s stand and noted, “The chapter is closed. Moreover, SBI Caps had estimated the IRR of the project at about 15 per cent. I wonder how it is possible for anyone to offer DLF percentage of gross revenues plus ground rent.”

Questions are being raised that such a big difference in the percentage to be shared by the developer could not have been ignored and the official note expressing surprise over as to how DLF will provide 13.5 per cent with the suggested internal rate of return (IRR) is ridiculous. “All the calculations done by the administration are deliberately erroneous. The overall loss of revenue to the government over a period of the next 33 years is likely to be over Rs 1,000 crore,” mentioned a financial expert, preferring anonymity.

The theme-cum-amusement park has been planned on 73 acre at Sarangpur village, near here. Besides the ground rent, the administration had asked the developer to bid on the amount of revenue to be shared by them with the government.

M/s DLF, which was a qualified bidder till the last stage and had offered 13.5 per cent of the gross receipt from the project, was declared ineligible just a few hours before opening of the financial bid. Nevertheless, the administration finalised the deal with M/s Unitech Builders, which had quoted a lowly 1.1 per cent. This implies that ultimately the 73-acre land was handed over to M/s Unitech on a simple annual ground rent of Rs 5.5 crore calculated at 2.5 per cent of the total cost of the land.

The financial experts believe that the value of 73 acre in Chandigarh should not have cost less than Rs 1,500 crore in 2006 and on that basis the annual rent of the land at 2.5 per cent of the total land value should have been around Rs 35 crore per annum and not Rs 5.5 crore. “Even if the other party was genuinely found to be ineligible, the difference between 13.5 per cent and 1.1 per cent was so large that that the tender should have been cancelled and recalled,” argued an official.

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Three found dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
Mahinder Pal, a debt-ridden peon of Punjab State Corporation of Labour Federation and Construction allegedly hanged himself to death at the office premises in Sector 23, here, last night. While in two separate incidents, two persons were found dead in various parts of the city.

In the suicide case, the police said the incident came to light at around 9 am when the employees reached their office in Sector 23 and found Mahinder missing. They found his room locked from inside and there was no response to their calls. They called the police who broke open the door and found Mahinder hanging in his room. The police suspected that the suicide was committed during the night.

Mahinder, in his mid-forties, lived in a room at the backyard of the office and his family lived in his native village in Moga. The police has informed the family about the death and shifted the body to Government Multi Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, for autopsy. Quoting Mahinder’s colleagues, the police said he had borrowed money from several persons and was under depression for not being able to payback the dues.

The second death came to light around 9.30 am when Rajinder Shah (43), a watchman of Punjab Backward Classes and Land Development office in Sector 17, was found dead in the office premises.

The employees found Shah lying dead on his bed. The police ruled out any foul play behind the death as no injury mark was found on the body.

The police suspected that Shah, who was suffering from asthma, died due to cold and suffocation. The police said his family lived in Darbanga in Bihar and had been informed about the death. The body has been sent to the GMSH.

In another incident, an unidentified beggar in his forties was found dead at a bus stop near the Tribune Chowk, this morning. The police said some passer-by informed about the incident and the police recovered the body. The death might have been caused due to cold. No documents or any other article, which could help in identifying the deceased, was found on the body. The police has flashed information with the description of the deceased to all police stations in an attempt to identify him.

The police has initiated three separate inquest proceedings into these deaths at Sector 17 and 31 police stations.

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Defaulting NGOs bleed Red Cross dry
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
Commercial “misadventures” of the UT Red Cross are not the only loss-making propositions for the society. Certain NGOs defaulting on the rents of their offices in the Karuna Sadan building in Sector 11 are bleeding the society with outstanding rent arrears touching Rs 3.74 lakh for 2007-08.

Information sought by a resident under the RTI showed that the outstanding rent amount from the NGOs, which was Rs 3.08 lakh during the financial year 2005-06, touched Rs 4.46 lakh the next year. However, it came down to Rs 3.74 lakh in the last financial year.

The city administration has reportedly transferred Karuna Sadan to the Red Cross, which has rented space in the complex to NGOs and social organisations supported by the state and central governments. The revenue earned through the rent collection was to be used for the welfare and charitable activities of the society.

While some NGOs had been regular in the payment of rent, the others are regular defaulters.

For the year ending March 31, 2006, the outstanding rent was Rs 3.08 lakh, with the Centre Education for Voluntary Action (CEVA) topping the list with about Rs 1 lakh as dues. The other NGOs included the Environment Society of India, the Indian Council of Social Welfare, Chandigarh, the Society for Health Education and Environment, the National Association of the Blind, the Consumer Forum, the North Zone Deaf and Dumb Society, the Andhra Samuratika Sangam, the Theatre Age and Yuvsatta.

Data showed that for 2006-07, the amount increased to Rs 4.46 lakh and this year too CEVA has topped the defaulters’ list. (Concluded)

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On the sets of ‘London Dreams’
Jasmine Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 6
Kurali Railway Station, on a regular day, sees one or two trains, a few passengers, loading and unloading of luggage, and nothing much. But on Tuesday, the railway station saw something it had never seen before. Almost everybody from Kurali was out to have a glimpse of Salman and Ajay Devgan.

The police even pulled out their ‘danda’ to shoo away the fans. 'No photos please,' they announced. But nothing stopped the fans. So, when Salman came to drop his friend Ajay to the station, everyone in the crowd, who had camera, captured them. For those who couldn't do so, retakes were a blessing in disguise. They captured more. Salman dressed up as a Punjabi and Ajay Devgan in brown jacket and denims.

Road Rage

Rannvijay, winner of MTV Roadies 1, makes his debut with ‘London Dreams’

Everyone was whisked off. The actors headed for their vanity vans under tight security, leaving behind the director, Vipul Shah. The Gujrati community will disown me soon," he jokes with the journalists gathered. The movie is slated for an August release. “Is it about a rock band, a love triangle, about ‘dosti’, what is the movie on? "No one of these," he stands by his earlier statement. What about the sequel to Singh is Kinng? "We are planning but nothing has been materialised yet. We want the sequel to be better than the first one.” One of the journalists wanted to know more. We heard that Asin, the ‘Ghajini’ girl threw tantrums on the sets? “These are rumours. No matter how much I clarify, people still want to believe it,” says Vipul. “She is a nice girl and why would a newcomer through tantrums.” Asin could be innocent but Salman... “He is lovely to work with. In fact, no actor is difficult. We are all friends and we had a blast while shooting.”

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Showroom allottees upset over delay
Archit Watts

Panchkula, January 6
The showroom allottees of Shalimar Mega Mall here, are harassed over the possession of the showroom, which is pending for the past two years.

According to the contract, the mall developers were bound to give the possession of showrooms within two years, from the date of issuance of acceptance-cum-demand letter.

As per the information, the letter was issued on December 16, 2004, but they did not keep their words.

Even after paying the initial amount, they were not fulfilling their promises, Atul Gupta, a showroom allottee, said.

He said the basic amenities required in the mall were not yet operational and mall developers claimed the mall was ready and they were asking us to take its possession.

Denying the allegations, RK Aggrawal, owner of Shalimar Mega Mall, said: “The mall is ready and we have even invited the allottees to take the possession but they did not turn up.”

“For delaying the project, the developers have paid us the penalty for the financial year 2006-07. Also, they sent us a letter to complete the works till April 10, 2008. But, till date, the mall is not ready,” complained another allottee.

The mall has around 168 showrooms and the delay is causing the financial as well as mental burden, tells a showroom owner.

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18 autorickshaws, 10 school buses challaned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
Cracking a whip on those school buses and auto rickshaws, which commit blatant violations, the State Transport Authority (STA) today came into action and put “check points” at various parts of the city.

The STA today challaned as many as 10 school buses and 18 auto rickshaws for committing various offences pertaining to the Motor Vehicle Act.

Besides this, three auto rickshaws and one school bus was also impounded by the STA, as their drivers could not produce documents of the vehicles.

According to information received from the STA, the auto rickshaws, which were not having documents, city permit or were not complying to the prescribed pollution norms were penalised today.

Vandana Disodia, Secretary, the STA, said, “Taking safety of schoolchildren as prime concern, the team was instructed to target the school buses and auto rickshaws. Though, we could hardly find any auto rickshaw carrying more than the prescribed limit of the schoolchildren but spotted many which were not complying to the anti-pollution norms, not having driving licence or were not being run on fare meter.”

The school buses, too were found to be not complying to the prescribed norms like having school’s name and logos prominently displayed or were not having first aid kits.

Among others the school bus No CH03 F-0684 of Carmel Convent School, Sector 9, and bus No CH03J 7932 of DAV Model School, 7 B, were challaned as their conductors were found to be “without valid licence”.

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Defaulting chemical units told not to store raw material
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 6
The Panchkula SDM Ashok Kumar Meena, today asked both the chemical industries owner to lift all the raw material from the premises. He further ordered them not to store any raw material on the premises till they attained the permission from the department concerned.

Both the chemical units -Gaurav Industries and M/s Colour Udyog in the Industrial Area, Panchkula, were sealed by the pollution control board following a devastating fire that raged one of the units for 17 hours on August 24, 2008. Despite being sealed on records, they did not stop producing inflammable industrial thinner. Even, the Guarav industry was not issued ‘no objection certificate’ by the fire brigade officer, Panchkula, when the mishap occurred. The Tribune highlighted the issue on November 7, 2008.

Taking a note of the reports appeared in The Tribune, Deputy Commissioner of Panchkula Rajinder Kataria, had ordered an inquiry. He ordered for inspection of records of both the industries and the departments of sales tax, fire brigade office, pollution control board, inspector (factories), and the central excise department to look into the matter.

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‘Ghost invites’ to R-Day function
Freedom fighters’ families peeved
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
A partial ghost list has raised the heckles of families of freedoms fighters of the city who, while grateful at an invitation to the annual Republic Day function, are peeved that the administration had not taken care to maintain a list of surviving freedoms fighters nor given due recognition to their wards.

Though the decision of the administration to invite freedoms fighters to the function by requisitioning a bus for this purpose has been welcomed, the families say some of them are too frail to use public transport.

There is also the problem of deceased freedom fighters being invited to the function. This includes Mota Singh Dhaliwal of Khuda Ali Sher who died long time back. Another invitation to the widow of late Hans Raj Wireless is also of no use with the wife also having passed away.

Another freedom fighter — Jagir Singh Bajwa, who passed away in January 2007, has also been “invited” to the function. Same is the case with OP Sharda who passed away recently.

Giving details of the list, rights advocate HC Arora said there were also cases where invitations had been sent to wrong addresses.

He said in case of freedom fighter Jagir Singh Sekhon, the later had changed his address.

Arora said most of the surviving freedom fighters were above 80 years of age and were unable to ride CTU buses. 94-year-old Munish Sharda, (H No. 410/43-A) is paralytic and is confined to bed. Ved Parkash Mehra (H.No.402/43-A) can hardly walk. He has totally lost his hearing faculties. Guran Devi (H.No. 404/43-A), widow of freedom fighter late Bhopal Singh, is also bed ridden.

Most of the family members of the deceased freedom fighters want the administration to issue them identity cards showing them as sons/ daughters of the freedom fighters, to facilitate their respectful entry into public functions like the Republic Day function. KK Sharda, son of Munish Sharda, is quite active in social life. He wants the UT Administration to nominate sons and daughters of the freedom fighters to various institutions, including the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation. Sharda also laments that freedom fighters are dying ‘unsung’.

He says no representative from UT Administration attends their funeral/cremation, and no political leader offers floral tributes at the occasion of their last rites.

Meanwhile, the Citizens Forum on Human Rights, headed by Sushil Gupta, has announced that a special function would be held in Punjab Kala Bhawan on January 25 to honour freedom fighters and their families.

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Terrorism a political strategy: Experts
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
An overzealous approach to tackle terrorism has skewed attempts to promote justice and reduce crime. Various governments, including that in India, has tried to hide behind terrorism to cover its poor governance. The entire focus is on actors and not the factors that lead to terrorist incidents and most government fail to bring out and discuss the real causes of terrorism. These were some of the opinions that emerged as a consensus during the round-table on “Security Sector Reforms”.

Deliberating the issues of “Challenges of Terrorism” at the Institute for Development and Communication (IDC), Prof. Christopher Stone from Harvard University said, “To fight terrorism, criminal justice system reforms, civil society engagement and evolving legal models based on local needs may have to be initiated. The rights of citizens must be protected while combating terrorism.” He said the security sector reforms, in response to terrorism, had distorted the thrust of the criminal justice reforms.

On the other hand, Dr Pramod Kumar, director, IDC, said terrorism was not merely a state of mind; it was, in fact, a political strategy. He argued that the use of violence to punish the aggressor neither resolved a conflict nor de-legitimised violence. “While dealing with terrorism, the focus is to target individual perpetrators of violence, whereas the factors leading to terrorism are not addressed.”

Dr Pramod emphasised the need to understand the nature and causes of terrorism and formulate a long-term strategy to combat it. Terrorism unleashed was footloose and its roots were elsewhere. India is a soft target, every time there is an attack on Indian soil; it intends to send a strong message for global powers active in war against terror, he said.

Gen VP Malik, former Chief of the Army Staff, said there was nothing that could be called a global strategy against terrorism. Terrorism was a method of employing violence for a political ideology that was specific to particular areas. “Even if Pakistan releases all the terrorists India is seeking from it, terrorism will still not end. Organisations and individuals will continue to exploit weaknesses in society,” he said.

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Fun with work
1st meeting at Mayor’s house
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
The first meet of all councillors organised by newly elected Mayor, Kamlesh, to know their agendas and priorities in their respective wards and MC officials turned out to be more fun than just discussing work.

It was a unique bonhomie between the councillors and the officials despite their political inclinations, who stole some moments to relax.

Everyone enjoyed a round of antakshri and some of the officials even enthralled everyone present with their shayri.

The get together where the MC top brass, including MC Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria, Additional Commissioner PK Sharma and others were also present, was arranged at the Mayor’s residence in Sector 24 here today.

However, former Mayor Pradeep Chabra, Congress councillor Chandramukhi Sharma, SAD councillor Harjinder Kaur and nominated councillor Amrit Bolaria were conspicuous by their absence.

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Army Postal Service reunion today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
The three-day celebrations of the 6th reunion of the Army Postal Service (APS) will begin at its centre in Kamptee near Nagpur tomorrow, according to a statement issued here today.

Held once in five years, regimental reunions is an occasion where the present generation of soldiers meet their comrade-in-arms as well as veterans and exchange their ideas, experiences and cherish old memories.

Army Postal Service is responsible for mail communication within the armed forces and paramilitary organisations. Although raised on March 1, 1972, the history of the APS dates back to the 19th Century, when a Field Post Office accompanied the Army on expeditions.

The APS services as a link between the Army personnel posted in remote and inaccessible terrains and on special duties like the United Nation assignments and their family members and friends back home. The service is manned mostly by officers and personnel drawn from the Department of Posts, who don the uniform for varying periods.

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Mohali cops honour motorists
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 6
As part of weeklong traffic awareness celebrations, the Mohali police today honoured motorists, who were found possessing all registration documents, at a function organised in Phase 8 here today. IG training, SK Sharma, was the chief guest on the occasion.

The students of Chandigarh Engineering College took out a rally on the traffic awareness. SSP Mohali, JS Aulakh, was also present on the occasion. Speaking on the occasion, the chief guest said the traffic rules should be followed to ensure safety. Compared to 750 cases of murder in the state, the number of persons dying in road accidents was 3,000. The loss suffered by the state was around Rs 3 crore annually. The increasing number of vehicles had become a source of nuisance for the traffic police.

On the occasion, DSP traffic, Raka Girra, urged the students to follow the traffic rules.

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Sufi soiree enchants audience
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, January 6
The city music lovers were treated to a divine sufina spell with the mystic wisdom of sufi saints in a music concert “ Sada-E-Sufi” organised by the Sufi Foundation of India, in collaboration with IDC, Chandigarh, at the Tagore theatre, here today.

The noted classical vocalist, Vinod Sood, brought alive the spiritual bliss of the renditions composed by acclaimed music director HM Singh.

Opening up with a didactic submission to the Almighty through a saint Farid’s mystical utterance, Vinod struck the sufi chord with the rendition of classic kalaams of royal mystic Baba Bulle Shah. Be it Bulle Shah’s Ab lagan lagi, Rahiye naal sajan de or Rabba mere haal da mehram, Vinod attempted to enliven the concert interspersing with couplets and dohas of Sultan Bahu and others.

He also paid a tribute to other sufi saints, including Amir Khusro in “ Chhap Tilak ” and Mohe Rang De and the boisterous Dama dam mast qalander. Vinod was ably supported by Gautam Dhar (Tabla), Rajesh Sarangi, Laxman (Octopad) and others.

Vinod’s adroit mastery over classical genre and HM Singh’s experience of film music direction was fairly perceptible, as the compositions were weaved in ragas like Puriya Kalyan, Bihag , Rageshwari and others. The mayor, Kamlesh, honoured the artists. 

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PCCTU to stage dharna on January 12
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
The indifferent attitude of the Punjab government towards the problems of teachers of non-government colleges has forced the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union (PCCTU), to stage a daily dharna in front of the office of DPI(c), Punjab, w.e.f. January 12.

Dr Jagwant Singh, general secretary, PCCTU, said there was a widespread resentment among teachers due to the policies of the government, which were doing irreparable damage to the educational infrastructure. He said the PCCTU demanded implementation of CAS for DPE's/librarians according to the letter and spirit of letter issued by UGC on October 19, 2006, relaxation of refresher courses condition as recommended by UGC, HRA for rural colleges, amendment of the ‘Security of Service Act’ to bring back employees working against unaided posts within it purview on an urgent basis and prior to the implementation of new UGC pay scales notified by MHRD on December 31, 2008.

He has also appealed to Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, Punjab, to implement the ‘UGC pay scales in Toto at the earliest.

Teachers from various districts will proceed on mass casual leave on a day and stage a dharna in front of the DPI (c) office, Chandigarh. On January 12, the first day of the dharna, teachers of Jalandhar will proceed on mass casual leave.

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Widening of highway: Tension escalates
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, January 6
The ongoing tension between the officials of NHAI and the owners of the banquet halls over the widening of Panchkula-Zirkapur highway today resulted in the alleged bashing up of an employee of the company engaged in the widening work. Jatinder Singh, an owner of the banquet hall, denied the allegations of the employee.

The employee of the company has filed a complaint to the Zirakpur police, alleging that the owners of banquet halls assaulted him and snatched his mobile while he was supervising the construction work. No case was registered till the filing of report.

The NHAI had issued notices to the banquet owners and petrol pump for using unauthorised accesses to the national highway.

The banquet hall owners lament that NHAI officials were not providing the formalities required to regularise their openings. If nothing worked out, the unauthorised structures could be demolished, said an official.

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Orientation programme for resource persons
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
A two-day state level orientation programme on ‘Procedures of Evaluation and Monitoring’ for key resource persons and active literacy functionaries of Punjab is being organised by the Regional Resource Centre for Adult and Continuing Education on January 6 and 7 at Panjab University, here today.

55 participants from 12 districts are participating in the programme. The procedures of monitoring and evaluation were discussed by the faculty members of Regional Resource Centre emphasising on the objectives and monitoring, which needs to be implemented by the Zila Sakharta Simiti (ZSS) in the field.

The causes and reasons of slow progress are to be monitored and evaluated periodically to improve the programme. The issues were discussed with the participants. They expressed the problems being faced by their respective districts, which were discussed in detail by the faculty of the department, including Dr Manjeet Paintal, director, Dr Anuradha Sharma, Dr Ashwani Sharma and Dr Navleen Kaur.

The participating districts are Nawashahar, Ropar, Patiala, Hoshiarpur, Mansa, Ferozepur, Faridkot, Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Tarataran, Muktsar and Bhatinda.

Various programmes of Adult Literacy are being funded by the National Literacy Mission, government of India, and the Academic and Technical support is being provided by SRCs in other states and by RRC in Punjab and Chandigarh.

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92 medical officers given job letters
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 6
As many as 92 homoeopathic medical officers were given appointment letters by the homoeopathic department, Punjab, under the National Rural Health Mission Scheme.

The letters for employment to the medical officers on a contract basis were handed by Prof Laxmi Kanta Chawla, Health Minister. She urged them to work with sincerity in the service of the patients. She said the appointments of the homoeopathic medical officers were done purely on merit basis.

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Punjabi poetry book released
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 6
A Punjabi poetry book “Tusin Kadon Udas Hovoge” by Khushhal Singh Naga Bezaar was released at a function organised by Punjabi Lekhak Sabha at Punjab Kala Bhavan, here today.

The chief guest, Jagjit Singh Kang, released the book while Dr Gulzar Singh Pandher and Dr Baljit Singh read exhaustive papers on critical appreciation of the book.

The fourth book by Bezaar largely depicts the poet’s observation of the depraving ethical values, caste prejudices, growing political corruption and related reasons causing social disparity.

Noted Punjabi scholars participated in the discussion that ensued while Sabha president Dr Labh Singh Kheeva welcomed the audience.

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Film school artistes enact play
Tribune News Service


Students of Jaspal Bhatti’s film school enact a play in Mohali on Tuesday. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, January 6
In a drive against taverns and liquor shops, the students from Mad Arts, Jaspal Bhatti’s Film School, organised a play ‘Theko Theke’ in Phase V, here today.

The play was written by Jaspal Bhatti and directed by Anup Sharma to create awareness about the ill-effects of alcohal among the youth. The satire was also directed against the government, which was indiscriminately allowing opening of liquour vends in every conceivable corner of the state.

The play has already been staged in Amritsar, Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Abhoar, Ganganagar, Kharar and Barnala.

The CEO of Mad Arts, Savita Bhatti, said the land of five rivers had now become a ‘land of free flowing liquor’.

She said the number of Punjabis entering the Army was dismally low. Winning the hockey medal was still a dream, but if any international drug and liquor competition be held, we could win the title easily,” she added.

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Staff protests union leaders’ victimisation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
Employees of the New India Assurance, CMD today staged a demonstration against the alleged victimisation of trade union leaders by the New India Assurances on a call given by the National Federation of General Insurance Employees (NFGIEU), Mumbai.

Surinder Singh, president of the NFGIEU, and other representatives of the federation condemned the victimisation of the leaders terming it as a ploy to destabilise the trade union in New India Assurance.

They threatened that if the authorities do not stop the victimisation they would be forced to launch a massive campaign throughout the country. They also urged the management to restore the penalties imposed upon the union leaders failing which they would be responsible for the action by their agitating employees.

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Cops, drivers get driving tips
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
The police today conducted workshops to impart safe driving tips to the cops and other drivers of the commercial vehicles in various parts of the city as a part of the ongoing 20th Road Safety Week.

The police said workshop for school bus drivers and taxi drivers was held at Children’s Traffic Park and the third workshop was held for truck drivers at the transport area. More than 150 drivers participated in the first workshop held at the traffic park while as many as 450 truck drivers attended the workshop at the transport area.

Similarly, over 50 school bus drivers gained tips for safe driving during the workshop. A medical and eye testing camp was also organised on the occasion.

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Indefinite strike by market committee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
A joint emergency meeting of Sector 26 sabzi mandi and grain market was held today in the wake of agitation by the commission agents opposing the installations of check posts at the major entry points of the market.

However, the meeting with the Chandigarh administration could not lead to any consensus, and hence, the market committee decided to go for an indefinite strike as announced earlier.

The check posts have been installed with the decision of the higher authorities to record the approximate quantity, commodity, rate and weight of agricultural produce to check the evasion of the market fee.

Meanwhile, the political leaders and traders did not forget to extend their support to those, who staged dharnas in front of the market committee office today.

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EDUCATION
 

PU to introduce book for neo-literates
Smriti Sharma

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
At a time, when market forces are driving the world economy after a recent economic meltdown, Panjab University’s regional resource centre for adult and continuing education (RRC) is aiming to make the neo-literates stand on their own feet.

For the centre is coming up with a unique handbook, which would not only carry the information to make them learn and pick up professions of their choices, but is also very unique.

RRC, which has been successful in creating awareness in the society against various social stigmas such as AIDS etc, is now going to take up this initiative and take its objective to the next level.

For the purpose, RRC is organising a five-day workshop, wherein, 30 eminent writers would be handpicked from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh to discuss and contribute to the handbook that can be used by any neo-literate to earn his livelihood.

The writers would be given six to seven topics based on different fields and each one of them would prepare a curriculum, which would be compiled later.

The topics that would be covered in the handbook are disaster management, physiotherapy, beauty expertise, mobile repair, mehndi application etc.

Dr Manjeet Paintal, director of the regional resources centre, adult and continuing education said, “We have been successful in creating awareness against social stigma prevalent in the society, health related awareness, and thus, we want to start this initiative”.

The book’s unique as it would be easily readable and in order to facilitate the users, the font size of the letters would be kept 120-22; the sentences would be kept short and simple so that they could understand. The book would have a lot of pictures and illustrations for easy understanding and would be published in both Hindi and Punjabi.

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Administration’s Directive
Students, auto drivers bear the brunt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
The UT administration finally seems to have succeeded in doing away with the problem of overcrowded autos as on the first day after the winter vacations most of the autorickshaws were spotted ferrying maximum of five students at a time in city schools.

While it can be termed as success of the administration to make auto drivers comply with the Motor Vehicle Act that restricts the number of students being ferried at a time to five, the auto drivers and students claimed to have faced acute inconvenience.

“I used to ferry 12 kids, but today I picked up six in morning and had to leave the others. In the afternoon I had to make two trips to drop everybody back,” said Rajneesh, an autorickshaw driver.

“I had to make three rounds to ferry 15 kids I used to carry. It was not only wastage of time and fuel, but I was abused by the parents too. The administration should have given us some time to implement this directive,” added another.

Parents and students too claimed that they were not given enough time to tackle this situation.

“I dropped my daughter to school today but could not pick her up and she reached home 2 hours late as the auto driver had to make three rounds.

The decision came during holidays and we could not make any arrangements. I think it will take some more time to make arrangements,” said Neetu Singh, a resident of Sector 32.

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PU suspends UIET student
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
Two days after the incident, wherein, a student of UIET along with an outsider banged his car against Panjab University’s gate number 2 and broke the barricades and newly-installed drop gate, the university authorities today decided to suspend Saurabh, a final year student from UIET, involved in the incident.

According to sources, a committee constituted under the chairmanship of DUI (Dean University Instructions) S K Kulkarni and DSW, Prof Naval Kishore, DWS (women) Prof Nistha Jaswal and UIET director B S Sohi met today and took the decision. It was decided to suspend him from the department till any further orders would be issued.

Earlier, the same student who belongs to Delhi was suspended yesterday from the hostel.

It is pertinent to mention here that Saurabh, along with his friend, was driving his car at a high speed on Sunday night. When the security guards tried to stop them, they allegedly banged the car against the gate in an attempt to escape and hit the drop gate costing around Rs 1.25 lakhs. With the impact of the collision, the drop gate got damaged and one security guard was also injured.

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Education board selects 41
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 6
The Punjab Education Minister Upinderjit Kaur, today distributed appointment letters to 41 candidates. The appointment letters are given to eight Master Cadre, five C and V Cadre, 18 clerks and 10 Class IV employees.

Upinderjit advised the candidates to work hard. The minister also said it was the fifth camp in which around 300 appointments letters were distributed. 

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British Columbia school launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
The Canada India British Columbia Academy announced an official launch of the first British Columbia (BC) Offshore School in India here today.

Anup Shahi, president of the board of the Canada India British Columbia Academy, considered it as a revolutionising achievement in the area of education in the region. “13.5 acres of land has been purchased in Punjab to build the world-class educational facility. In the first year of the operation, the school would register students in classes 5 to 9, expanding rapidly from a KG to class 12 over the next few years,” he said.

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