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Pain for Rodrigues, Gain for Mehra
Mega projects under CVC lens
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
The first round of the slugfest between UT Administrator SF Rodrigues and his Adviser Pradip Mehra over the Administration's much-touted mega projects has ended in favour of the latter with the the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) deciding to hold an inquiry into the land deals in the run-up to the allotment of land for these projects.

The CVC decision is being viewed as a "personal setback" for Rodrigues who pushed his pet but controversial projects, including the Amusement-cum-Theme Park, the Film city, the Medicity and the Phase III of the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP), despite the stiff opposition from various quarters.

In fact, the CVC probe has provided fresh ammunition to a cross-section of society, including the local unit of the Congress, which had been demanding a CBI inquiry into land deals terming them as "mega land scandals".

Now, the CVC has summoned all records regarding the mega projects for a "direct inquiry" into the land allotments. The entire record will be sent to the CVC for a free and fair probe, sources said.

The lack of transparency and low land compensation awarded to the farmers, whose land has been acquired for the project, are stated to be causes behind the hue and cry about the mega projects, touted to change the face of Chandigarh and push it to the metro league.

In fact, the ball for the CVC probe was set rolling by The Tribune expose on October 26 highlighting Mehra's strong objections to the proposed move of the high-profile Medicity Committee, headed by Rodrigues, to fix Rs 203.70 crore as the reserve upfront project fee price for 45 acres of prime land for Medicity, valued at about Rs 2,000 crore, in the IT park area.

The chorus for a high-level probe into these projects got a shot in the arm recently when Minister of State for Finance Pawan Bansal demanded a review of the projects in the wake of the "lopsided" financial models finalised by the Administration. In fact, even Mehra had gone on record demanding a probe by an independent central agency into the allotment of land for the Film City.

Information sought under the RTI formed the basis of a slew of news reports about alleged irregularities in the allotment of land to the Film City and the Theme Park in the Press recently.

While Bansal could not be contacted, a senior Congress leader claimed that the probe should expose various "acts" of omission and commission by various functionaries of the Administration.

Hemant Goswami, whose Burning Brain Society blew the lid off at least two projects, the Film City and the Theme Park, hoped that the probe should expose various financial irregularities in the allotment of huge chunks of land to the major realtors, including Parsvnath and Unitech.

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Under scanner

Medicity

Proposed on prime 45 acres in the IT park area, the project sparked off confrontation between Rodrigues and Mehra with the latter raising objections to the low reserved price of Rs 203.70 crore as the upfront fee for the land reportedly valued at Rs 2,000 crore in the open market.

Film City

While Parsvnath wants to opt out of the Rs 191-crore project to be developed on 30 acres in Sarangpur, Parsvnath's technical adviser and eminent film director Satish Kaushik has objected to the "unilateral" withdrawal move. Objections are also being made at the last-minute changes in the project. In fact, the Adviser had demanded probe by a central agency alleging that the land for the project was "undervalued".

Theme Park

A world-class amusement park on 73 acres in Sarangpur is also mired in controversies as Unitech has failed to deposit further installment except Rs 5.5 crore already deposited as the Administration has failed to provide an “encumbrance-free” land to it. An RTI information showed that the general financial regulations were allegedly given a go-by while shortlisting companies and a company offering 13 times higher revenue was ignored.

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4 of family drugged, valuables stolen
Police suspects servant’s hand

Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 7
Four members of a family were found unconscious under mysterious circumstances at their residence in Haripur village, Sector 4, this morning.

The police suspected that a servant, employed a few days ago, had drugged the family to commit theft. While the servant was missing, the driver of the family who introduced him to the family was also found unconscious at the house along with Rakesh Kapil, his wife Tripta Kapil and their children Abhilasha and Abhishek.

The police said though some ornaments worn by the family members and three mobile phones were missing, the exact loss would be ascertained only after the owners were declared fit by doctors to record their statement.

According to SC Sharma, a relative of the family, Tripta ran a school on the ground floor of the house, while her husband had retired from a bank a few years ago.

The incident came to light in the morning when students and teachers reached the school but Tripta failed to come down from her residence.

When a teacher went to enquire about her, she found the doors open and the family lying unconscious. The victims were shifted to the General Hospital in Sector 6.

Abhilasha, who gained consciousness by afternoon, said the servant who introduced himself as Deepak was employed three days ago after Ram, the driver, said he was known to him.

Yesterday, after having dinner they started feeling uneasy and threw up, she said.

After visiting her house, she said the locks of almirah were found open while the jewellery worn by her and her mother, including gold bangles, gold and diamond rings, gold chains were missing.

While the police has registered a case in the regard, doctors at the hospital said all victims were out of danger and kept under observation.

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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 1980s 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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Truckers’ strike jack up vegetable, fruit prices
Harpreeti Bassi and Sheetal Mahajan

Chandigarh, January 7
With the truckers’ strike entering the third day today coupled with Sector-26 market traders’ strike, the residents are in a double whammy due to the sharp increase in the prices of a majority of vegetables and fruits in the city.

As large number of shops remained closed following the agitation for installing check posts at the various entry and exit points of the market, a few small time vendors were still found selling a vegetables and fruits.

Though the prices of the vegetables and fruits have increased by 15 to 20 per cent in the wake of these strikes, the prices of some vegetables like potatoes, garlic, cabbage, bottle guard, radish, keenu and guava have by enlarge remained unaffected.

“Outside vendors have bought the perishable commodities in bulk. Most probably they first hoard and then sell these at higher rates as the market remained closed today.” said Deepak, a commission agent. Observers believed that inspite of having enough stock to last for at least two more days; the vendors seem to be overtaken by the excuse of the strike and the shortage of stocks to earn some extra buck.

Giving a political hue to the situation, Harmohan Dhawan former Union Minister and local BSP convener, while addressing a press conference, demanded that Minister of State for Finance Pawan Kumar Bansal should resign due to his alleged failure to resolve problems faced by the grain and vegetable market traders.

The traders have been forced to go on an indefinite strike from today, which will cause great hardship to the residents of the city. Still, Bansal didn’t care to either visit the market or issued any statement to the fact, alleged Dhawan.

Dhawan spoke at length about cases like the Rent Act and the Building Bye laws in which the minister has remained failed to yield any desired result. However, Davinder Singh Babla, chairman, Sector-26 market committee, nullified all allegations by saying that Bansal has always stood with the traders and does not deserve such harsh accusations.

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Porters look for other alternatives
Priya Chadha

Chandigarh, January 7
While the city is yet to feel the pinch of the ongoing truckers strike, daily wagers at the local mandi in Sector 26, particularly those who earned their livelihood by loading and unloading the supplies, are increasingly finding it difficult to make their ends meet.

Forced out of work, these loaders are now moving to the other areas in the city in search of alternative means of employment as their hopes for an early end to the strike have dashed. “I have three children and an ailing wife. With no work things are becoming unbearable,” said Deepchand, who came to the city a year ago from UP in search of work.

With his kitchen stocks at the brink of getting exhausted, Deepchand said that though he used to earn about Rs 400 everyday, he had not earned a penny for the last two days. “I am moving to the Labour Chowk, Sector 20 from Sector 26 ‘sabzi mandi’ in search of work and to earn sufficient money for a decent meal for my family,” he said.

Jagmohan is among hundreds of daily wage workers who has been among the worst hit following the truckers’ strike that commenced from Sunday midnight. “When we get work, we usually earn between Rs 200 and Rs 400. But since yesterday, we have not earned more than Rs 50. If this strike goes on for a longer duration I am afraid that we will have to migrate to some other place in search of work,” he added.

Several porters expressed their fears about the days to come with the truckers continuing their strike. “At the end of the month, making the ends meet becomes extremely difficult. Our family questions us for every penny we earn, spend and bring home. The strike has created a tongue-tied situation for us,” said Baljit who, like many others, earns Rs 500 a week.

According to the work they do, traders pay porters Rs 500 a week and sometimes Rs 50 to Rs 70 towards food expenses.

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Trouble on LPG front
Priya Chadha

Chandigarh, January 7
More trouble for city inmates as after the grain market strike, it is oil officers who have made a similar noise by announcing to go on an indefinite strike.

The effect was quiet evident on the first day as many people who were suppose to receive their cylinders did not get them as no bookings were made.

“I had booked a cylinder since a week but could not get it, if this strike continues I wonder how are we going to manage”, said Pratibha, a consumer.

Meanwhile, Manoj B Nangia, secretary of LPG distributors, said, “Though the distributors have enough stocks to supply to consumers for two more days the fear is that if this agitation continues for a long time than the whole region would be affected as no release of LPG to distributors will worsen the condition.

Jagdish Rana, senior area manager said, “Our demands of the revision of pay scales are simple and need-based. Earlier, the pay revisions granted by the Cabinet were not sufficient.

I do not understand that why the management is not considering our demands”.

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Gulmohar residents in agitation mood
Say withdraw acquisition notice or face protest

Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 7
Members of the Gulmohar Resident Welfare Society, Desu Majra, have urged the government to withdraw a notification issued for acquiring over nine acres of land falling under Kharar municipal limits failing which they will stage protests.

They raised slogans against the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) and said they would organize relay fasts, block traffic and also seek legal help in case the authorities concerned tried to forcibly displace them from the area.

Addressing a press conference here today, Rajvinder Singh, president of the society, said people had purchased plots in the area as it fell within the jurisdiction of the Kharar Municipal Committee. People had started constructing houses after getting their building plans cleared from the civic body. They were officially given water and power connections.

He said the residents of the area got a shock when they saw advertisements in newspapers on October 19 last year issued by the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, for the acquisition of 260 acres of land, including nine and a half acres of the Gulmohar Complex.

He said the affected residents had met the ACA, GMADA, who said he was helpless in the matter as the acquisition was being done by the government.

Mangat Rai, a resident, said tension had gripped the residents ever since acquisition notices were issued. Plots holders had done nothing illegal by purchasing land falling under the municipal limits. If these people were to be uprooted, why was the civic body allowed to clear building plans.

People had purchased plots after spending their hard-earned money or by taking loans. He alleged that master plans were being changed by the government to benefit certain colonisers and builders. He said residents had no objection if land was acquired for constructing the 200-ft wide road which would link up with Sector 74 of Mohali. But displacing residents for acquiring 200 metres of land along this road for mixed use was totally unjustified.

Gurprem Singh, municipal councillor of Kharar, said GMADA was claiming that representatives of the Kharar civic body were present at the meeting at which the case relating to acquisition was discussed. But this was untrue. He said the land had been under the possession of the civic body for the past nine years and it had cleared building plans of houses and shops falling in Gulmohar Complex. People should not be uprooted in the name of development. He said the civic body would not issue the NOC to GMADA for the acquisition of this land.

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Appeal by intellectuals
India, Pak must resume talks
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
A group of Indian and Pakistani intellectuals have appealed to India and Pakistan to resume the peace process immediately because “all talk of partial or targeted action (against terrorist camps in Pakistan) is ill-informed and dangerous given the nuclearisation of the subcontinent.”

The group, which met for two days under the auspices of the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation, Gurgaon, said its members understood and shared the anger of the people over the Mumbai attack. The members also stressed the need for naming and punishing the guilty “in a free, fair, impartial investigation and prosecution.”

While acknowledging the need to eliminate terrorism, the group appreciated the restraint exercised by the Indian government on those who advocated reprisal.

The two-page statement issued by them said the group appreciated the Indian government’s “readiness, indeed its determination, to discourage hasty conclusions concerning the nature and extend of the involvement, if any, of the Pakistani state. But precisely because it has shown sagacity so far, we would urge it, in the strongest possible terms, to refrain from taking any steps, and discourage members of the government from making any statements, that will weaken the bonds that have developed between civil societies in our two countries over the past five years.”

Those who signed the statement were Rajmohan Gandhi, Salman Haidar, Kapil Kak, Wajahat Habibullah, Amitabh Mattoo, Teesta Setalvad, M. Syed Malik, Muzamil Jaleel and Neerja Chowdhary, Humayun Khan, Aziz Ahmad Khan, Prem Shankar Jha, Syeda Hameed, Sushobha Barve, Siddharth Vardarajan, Irftekhar Gillani and Nidhi Razdan.

The group regretted that a need, being felt in Indian political circles to take some symbolic action, had endangered the precious yet fragile web of emerging relationship between the two countries. They urged the Indian government to check this tendency and reverse at the earliest the restrictive measures on travel and people-to-people contacts imposed in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

Considering the recent elections in Jammu and Kashmir as “some encouraging signals”, the groups said the elections by themselves could not provide a solution to the larger issue of the state.

The elections, however, offered an opportunity for achieving consensus amongst Kashmiris of all shades of opinion. The intellectuals urged all Kashmiris to enter the dialogue process and work towards a consensus about the future of the state.

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Reva, not cop-friendly
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, January 7
The much-touted environment-friendly Reva car has become a source of trouble for the police. For, the three cars purchased by the police in 2006 have made more rounds to the workshops than seen moving on the roads.

Teginder Singh, maintenance officer at the police lines, Sector 26, said, “There is no workshop near Chandigarh and that’s why the repair is costly. Even the company officials told us, while purchasing the car that the battery (imported) will have to change after every two years and it costs around Rs 80,000.”

The car, manufactured by a Bangalore-based company, costs about Rs 3.41 lakh and a total subsidy of 1.30 lakh was given to the police by the UT and the cars have been allotted to the police post (PP) Sector-17, PP-lake and the traffic police to make patrolling, as the city has become smoke-free.

A police officer added that it was not easy to get rid of these junks. Citing the rules, he said the government vehicles could not be disposed of before completing a fixed mileage limit or before six years.

Sources in the maintenance wing of the police said, “After completion of one year, the cars are regularly going for repair at workshop. But we can’t repair it in the city, only the company officials come from Bangalore to repair”.

A mechanic said, “Two cars came to the workshop with major problems and we have exchanged some parts with the other. But now one car needs much repair and company official will come and take the car to Bangalore for repair.”

A car driver said, “This car has a really bad image in our eyes. This is useless, even now, I am standing on the road, because the car’s battery is low.” The car is for two adults, runs at the top speed of 60 km per hour and it can travel 50 km or five hours on full charge, he added.

A senior police official at the police headquarters said, this car was a zero-emission vehicle and environment-friendly, this was the purpose of purchasing the cars. But now the cars were proving much costlier and even two have broken down.

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Implementation of Directives
Transport authority in dilemma over less manpower
G.S.Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
It's ironical that while the administration passes hasty directives, like the one imposing the conditional ban on the number of schoolchildren travelling in a three wheeler or school buses running without conforming prescribed norms, but it does not have the wherewithal to implement the same.

The State Transport Authority (STA), which along with the Traffic Police is responsible for the proper implementation of the ban, finds itself in a quandary since it does not have the adequate manpower to get it effectively.

According to sources, presently there are just three policemen from the Chandigarh police that have been detailed to provide support to sensitive departments like the STA during challaning drives. There are four officers in the STA and sources added that ideally at least two policemen should accompany each officer.

Vandana Disodia, STA Secretary, when contacted admitted that the inadequate police staff was hampering the department's work. " I have requested the administration many a time, but the things have not been materialised so far."

Quoting an instance, Vandana said soon after her appointment as STA Secretary, a weight and measurement issue was raised at Sector-22 and the orders of administration could not be enforced because the traders over there got agitated.

"I reported the matter to the then Home Secretary Krishan Mohan that being a woman officer, I feel that without PSO staff with me, I have not been able to do justice to my job profile. Instead, he advised me to refrain from going to such sensitive spots", she added.

" My job wants me to put up nakas even at odd hours but without any PSO staff, I feel bit hesitant to do it", rued Vandana.

On the other hand, HS Doon, SP, Chandigarh Police, when apprised of the matter said, "Sensing the sensitivity of the situation, we provide security personnel, irrespective of any wing of the administration. If the STA plans for any special drive even during odd hours, I can make sure that adequate manpower should be provided to them."

The sources in the Home department disclosed that a few officers in the administration, who do not have any enforcement duties in their job profile, have been allotted permanent PSO staff. "The officers like the Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC), the SDMs and even Legal Remembrancer seldom have to do any enforcement activity, still they have been given the PSOs", said an official, preferring anonymity.

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Dog Helpline
Hounded? Call 9888864775
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
It takes a stray dog to bite a District and Sessions Judge for the Municipal Corporation to wake up to the need of setting up a dog help line in the city. That is precisely the case as the corporation started a help line today exactly two days after the dog bit District and Sessions Judge KK Garg.

Now, residents can avail of this facility in case of any exigency, nuisance, dog bites and information about rabid dogs on telephone No. 9888864775 to Vikram Singh.

According to corporation officials, the menace of stray dogs is being tackled under the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules 2001. The dogs are captured by a special team of the corporation. The captured dogs are then sent to the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and the People for Animals (PFA). These agencies administer rabies vaccination and sterilize the dogs. Thereafter, the dogs are notched i.e. a sign is left (ear-notched so as to identify them for having sterilized and vaccinated).

About 5,309 stray dogs are loitering in the city as per the census done in October 2007. The corporation had in 2008 managed to sterilize 1,655 stray dogs through these agencies and efforts are on to rope in more NGOs to keep a check the dog’s population.

The Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules 2001 under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, under Rule 7 (3) provides that on receipt of specific complaint or for capturing dogs in normal course, the dog squad will visit the area concerned, capture dogs identified by the complainant in case of complaint-oriented capturing and other dogs in case of general capturing. All dogs caught will be tagged for identification purposes and to ensure that these are released in the same area after sterilization and vaccination.

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Dog Bite
MC sends carcass to Kasauli
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
Taking cognisance of Monday’s incident, wherein, a District and Sessions Judge was bitten by a stray dog, which died later, the municipal corporation authorities yesterday sent the carcass of the dog to Kasauli for examination.

According to sources, the carcass had been sent to the Anti-Rabies Institute in Kasauli to ascertain, if the dog was suffering from rabies.

It must be mentioned here that a stray dog bit K K Garg, District and Sessions Judge, when he was going to attend a langar ceremony in Sector 24.

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PGI to have geriatric care centre
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
The Union Health Ministry has finally woken up to address the growing healthcare needs of the ageing population of the country. As part of its nationwide programme to provide geriatric care (read healthcare for the aged), the ministry is set to open specialised centres and PGI here is going to be one of them.

This was disclosed by Prof NK Ganguly, advisor, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and also the chairman of National Institute of Immunology, who was in city today to attend a function of new academic session, 2009, of PGI. “Presently, there is no specialised curriculum in medical colleges. There are also no training courses in the post-graduate level in this field. But the need for specialists to take care of the elderly is increasing. Senior citizens are prone to degeneration, strokes, malignancy and prostrate problems,” he said.

“Government hospitals are so crowded that the elderly end up waiting for hours, and this can be a tortuous process at their age,” said a doctor at PGI. Since most of them live alone and on pension, they cannot afford private healthcare, especially for so many ailments, he added.

However, two hospitals in Chandigarh run geriatric clinics, but the facilities are far from adequate. “We need this facility at PGI," said Anil Joshi, a pensioner. Not only treatment but counselling also should be made a part of hospital visits, said another pensioner.

The department would consist of doctors of all specialties under one roof and cross referral of patients would become convenient. “Elderly complain that they have to run from one department to another. This would be solved by having one unit dedicated to geriatrics,” said Prof Ganguly.

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Nine nurses get commission as lieutenants
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
Nine probationer nurses were commissioned as lieutenants into the Military Nursing Service (MNS) at a commissioning ceremony held at the Command Hospital, Chandimandir, today.

The nurses are from the 40th batch of School of Nursing. The General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lt Gen TK Sapru was the chief guest on the occasion.

Congratulating the newly commissioned nursing officers, General Sapru said nursing was a noble profession which embodied the qualities of humanism and empathy, providing selfless service in alleviating the sufferings of the wounded and sick soldiers.

He also elucidated some personality traits that were essential in this noble profession.

Presenting the school report, Lt Col SP Pradhan, the principal tutor, said the ultimate aim of training at this institution was to impart a blend of scientific knowledge, technical competence, basic ethical standards and above all inculcation of an attitude of compassion, empathy and selfless devotion.

Lt Gen AN Aul, Chief of Staff, Western Command, Maj Gen Charanjit Singh, head of the medical branch at Command Headquarters and Maj Gen Shamsher Singh, hospital Commandant, were also present on the occasion.

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Road Safety Week concludes
Do more to cut accident rate in city, says IG
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
UT IGP SK Jain today asked the traffic police to make more efforts to reduce the accident rate on city roads during the concluding day of the 20th Road Safety Week under the theme of "Drive Carefully, Reach Alive" at Children Traffic park in Sector 23 here.

Jain, who was the chief guest, said though the fatal accidents in 2008 were 10 less than 2007, similarly the non-fatal accidents had also seen a decline in 2008, it was not enough, as they failed to reach their target of reducing the number of accident to 10 per cent. He added that as with the vehicular population was increasing, the task of regulating traffic was becoming a challenging job.

The IGP flagged off two new Gypsies as interceptor vehicles in the traffic police fleet. Students from various local schools participated in a painting competition organized during the occasion. Schoolchildren also presented a cultural show during the function.

The IGP and other senior officials gave away prizes to the winners of various competitions and participants of the blood donation camp.

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Mayor, team start work
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
After an informal meet yesterday, it was back to work for the Mayor as well as councillors today.

As said earlier, Mayor Kamlesh asked all councillors to submit a list of all projects with respect to their wards, which included the projects, which were pending or going on.

Sources revealed that those who have submitted the list of projects included Ram Sumer Mourya of ward number 13, Anju Beniwala of ward number 17, Kuldeep Singh of ward number 12 and Rajkumari Mishra of ward number 20. Rest of the councillors are yet to submit their lists.

After studying the lists, works would be taken up on priority basis and it would be taken up with the appropriate officers in the corporation.

All other councillors are expected to submit their lists as well within a day or two.

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Sunkaria inspects ongoing projects
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
Roshan Sunkaria, commissioner, municipal corporation, Chandigarh, along with the chief engineer, MC and other officers of the MCC inspected various projects undertaken by the corporation. He also issued necessary directions for the projects.

He directed the officers to expedite the work pertaining to laying of pavement blocks on the roads berms in Sectors 17 and 22.

While inspecting the construction of parking near Sip ‘n’ Dine in Sector 7, he directed that the space between the parking and showrooms be cleared and levelled. Besides, the officials also inspected the green belt, Sector 30, laying of HDPE pipeline for tertiary treated water, work pertaining to laying of pavement blocks on the footpath in Sector 48, sewage treatment plant and the tertiary treatment plant.

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Tribune staffer bereaved
Tribune News service

Panchkula, January 7
Damyanti Bambroo (80), mother of Tribune staff correspondent Sanjay Bambroo and wife of former News Editor of The Tribune J.N. Bambroo, died here last night after a prolonged illness.

The cremation was held today at the Manimajra cremation ground, which was largely attended. She is survived by her husband, son and a daughter. The rasam kirya will be held on January 15 at 9 am at Ghaghar Ghat (near Shani Mandir), Sector 21, Panchkula.

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Grant to develop anti-cancer drug

Chandigarh, January 7
Dr Malleshappa Noolvi of Amar Shaheed Baba Ajit Singh Jujhar Memorial College of Pharmacy, Bela, Ropar, has received a grant of Rs 16.56 lakh for development of anti-cancer drug from the department of sciences and technology, government of India.

The project has been sanctioned under the fasttrack young scientist scheme. — TNS

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Relay fast

Chandigarh, January 7
The relay fast by the Chandigarh Industrial Area Tenants Association entered the seventh day today. The members, who sat on relay fast, were Sabhajit Yadav and Ajay Yadav. According to a press release, Chandigarh houses one of the biggest screw manufacturing industries in Asia which may face an axe due to the “anti-industry” policies being pursued by the Chandigarh administration. — TNS

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Education department probes a sham?
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
While the UT’s education department shows alacrity in ordering inquiries, its seems most of these fail to achieve any tangible result. For, more often than not, these end up as a mere exercise to hand out clean chit to those who fall in the ambit of such probes.

This seems to be the only plausible conclusion if one goes by the fate met by such inquiries ordered in the recent past. Senior officials of the department claim that all inquiries are “fair and just” but in the absence of any transparent mechanism for such probes, some questions continue to remain unanswered.

A Mohali resident, HB Malhotra, recently raised objections to the UT administration’s decision to give a clean chit to the GMSSS, Sector 32, authorities over making 50 students to stand in the sun for coming late.

Going by the report procured by Malhotra under the RTI Act, the principal was given a clean chit and media was made a scapegoat as the entire incident was declared an attempt by the newspaper to malign the school’s image. The Tribune had carried the report highlighting the fact that around 50 students were made to stand in the sun for almost three hours for coming late.

In a written representation submitted to The Tribune, Malhotra said while the school authorities claimed that students were made to sit in shade, the inquiry officers overlooked the shadow of students visible in the photographs published in the newspaper, proving that they were made to stand in the sun.

He also sought justification for the declaration of news article baseless when it carried the version of the principal admitting his fault in addition to those of students and parents.

According to him, the department had tried to shield a guilty official as it even ignored the basic rule of holding an inquiry to record the statement of all concerned.

While DEO (UT) Khushinder Sharma who was the main inquiry officer was unavailable for comments, DPI Samwartak Singh promised to “look into the matter” if approached by anybody against the report.

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PU Examinations
Metal detectors to check cellphones
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
In continuation with its efforts to curb the usage of mobile phones by students inside the examination hall, the Panjab University authorities have now decided to use metal detectors to search students before they enter the examination halls.

In fact, ten extra minutes have been kept for carrying out the ‘search operations’. To start with, hand-held metal detectors are being used in the ongoing examinations at the Dr H S Judge Institute of Dental Sciences, Panjab University.

For the same, one female and one male guard would be posted outside the examination halls.

If the insiders are to be believed, instead of using hand-held metal detectors, the authorities are mulling to install metal- detector doors at the entrance of all examination centres soon.

Interestingly, the need of a metal detector arose only after some senior professors of the university discovered the modus operandi of students using the mobiles inside the examination halls.

Sources revealed the students used to take two mobile phones with them and would deposit one with the examiner and would sneak the other one inside their undergarments after removing its body cover. Once the phone was taken inside the hall, the student would send message to their friends asking them answers for the questions.

It must be mentioned here that using metal detectors for checking is in continuation of a recent decision taken by the university Syndicate, wherein, it was decided that carrying of mobiles inside the examination centre would amount to using unfair means, and hence, be a fit case of a UMC (Unfair means case).

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PU Notes
Varsity music teacher honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
Dr Pankaj Mala Sharma, Professor in Music Department, PU, received “Shruti Puruskar-2008” for her book “Samagana: Udbhava Vyavhar Evem Siddhanta”, a work in the field of Vedic Music, from Akhil Bhartiya Vidvat Parishad, Varanasi. Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, former Union HRD Minister, conferred a shawl, memento, certificate and a cheque of Rs 5,000 on her at a function organised by the parishad at Varanasi recently.

Guest lecture

As part of the industry-activities awareness programme, the placement cell of the department of chemistry, PU, organised a lecture for MSc honours students by Dr Sanjay Trehan, Vice-President, Panacea Biotec on the “Role of Science and Technology in the Development of the Country”. Dr Mahindra Rao from Panacea Biotec briefly highlighted the working culture in industry.

Lecture on non-violence

Dr VK Kool, Professor of psychology, State University of New York UTICA, New York, USA, delivered a lecture on the “Non-Violence, Spandrels and Building Peace Cultures” on PU campus today.

Professor Raj K Gupta, Chairperson, Department of Education, PU, highlighted the achievements of Prof Kool.

Professor Kool emphasised that priming is activation of thought process, which is very important. If we are primed for violent thought process, we become violent and if it is non-violence thought process, it is non-violence. As per the Post- Darwinian Concept, the spandrels are important for peace and violence. Talking about building peace cultures, he gave examples of his research experience in non-violence, cultures and society.

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SD College gets nod for courses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
GGDSD College, Sector 32, has been granted the UGC approval for running two more career-oriented add-on courses of "Video Reporting" and "Electronics and its Equipments Maintenance” making it the only college in India to run 26 parallel add-on courses.

The college has been granted Rs. 17 lakh as seed money to run these two new courses.

Principle A.C Vaid said, “This is another milestone for the college as the training given in these fields will help the students diversify and hone their skills for a better market performance.”

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