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Prideasia
Vigilance summons land record
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
More trouble seems to be in store for Prideasia, the flagship Rs 4,100-crore ultra-modern township being developed by Parsvnath Developers in public-private partnership with the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) at the IT park here.

Close on the heels of facing several hurdles, the prestigious project has hit another roadblock with the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) summoning the record pertaining to the allotment of land.

With allegations of favouritism flying thick against the administration, the very existence of the project is likely to come under a cloud. The CHB and the realtor are already on a collision course over the non-payment of over Rs 300 crore to the board. Parsvnath had reportedly paid only Rs 517 crore out of the Rs 821 crore bid money to the board. The realtor had defaulted on the payment as the administration had failed to provide the project land free of “encumbrances” and delayed the layout plans.

Parsvnath had bagged the prestigious project spread over an area of 123 acres by placing the highest bid of Rs 821 crore in 2006. The CHB was to be paid an amount of 30 per cent of the total amount from the sale of the residential property with the total earnings being around Rs 1,600 crore.

A substantial part of this sum was to be utilised by the board for an ambitious project of slum rehabilitation.

With the real estate sector passing through trying times in the wake of the global meltdown, the project has been left in the lurch. Though company sources claimed that the project was on schedule, the CVC probe was likely to delay the project as an atmosphere of uncertainty had been created not only for Prideasia, but also other projects, a senior official told The Tribune.

The proposed Chandigarh-Baddi rail link is also passing through the project, threatening to derail the housing project.

Earlier, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had raised serious objections to the deal as it was struck at “much less” market value, causing a loss of about Rs 1,200 crore to the state exchequer. And after allotment, there was a boundary dispute with the Haryana Government staking claim over an area of 1.3 acres. While the Haryana Government was handed over 1.3 acres, the developer was given equivalent alternative land.

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‘Guv must go on leave’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
Welcoming the Central Vigilance Commission’s inquiry into UT mega projects, a cross-section of society today demanded that UT administrator SF Rodrigues should either proceed on leave or relinquish his charge for a free and fair probe.

“The continuation of Rodrigues on the post could affect the CVC probe and the administrator should give up the post in the interest of justice and fair play since all major projects were his brainchild,” senior Congress leader Subhash Chawla said. Ajay Jagga, president of the local unit of the Janata Party, said it was in the fitness of things that Rodrigues should go on leave until the pendency of the inquiry.

Hemant Goswami of Burning Brain Society, an NGO, said the CVC should probe all deals and their ramifications, including the financial aspects. Since Rodrigues was the only top functionary left with the administration, who was instrumental in finalising the mega projects, his presence at the top position could jeopardise the inquiry proceedings, he added.

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ADC Nirvikar goes, finally
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
The extended tenure of Major Nirvikar Singh, the controversial and high-profile ADC to Punjab Governor and UT administrator S.F. Rodrigues, formally ended today.

Major Nirvikar, considered to be Rodrigues’ man Friday, was given a farewell, ending his controversial four-year tenure at Raj Bhavan.

Capt C Sandeep has replaced him as the ADC.

Rodrigues had reportedly gone out of the way to facilitate Major Nirvikar’s deputation since the Army rules clearly state that the tenure of an ADC would strictly be for two years following which he would “revert” to his regiment.

His original stint at Raj Bhavan was to be for two years, but thanks to Rodrigues, he got an extension of two years.

According to sources, as per the policy of posting of officers who have done a tenure as an ADC, they have to be reverted to their regiments after completion of 12 or more months.

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Devgan challaned for smoking
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
The police today issued a challan to actor Ajay Devgan for smoking at Chandigarh Airport on Tuesday.

The SHO of the Sector 31 police station, Inspector Bhupinder Singh, said the challan had been served on the actor for violating the provisions of the Cigarette and other Tobacco Products Act. The actor would pay a fine as per provisions. The actor need not be personally present to get the challan.

The SHO had gone to Hotel Taj last night and remained there for over an hour, but the actor failed to turn up to take the challan.

Chandigarh is the first smoke-free city and smoking is banned at all public places in the country. The UT IGP, SK Jain, while talking to mediapersons at the Sector 26 Police Lines, said the police would take action against the actor as per law and was under no pressure not to initiate action against him.

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Dog helpline
MC fouls up
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
The dog helpline launched by the MC today has turned out to be a farce. It seems to be a knee-jerk reaction, apparently to placate the judiciary after a stray dog bit a district and sessions judge two days ago.

The number, which has been circulated by the MC and published in various newspapers, is a personal number of an MC employee, Vikram, who is a resident of Kalka. He reportedly joined the MC only a month ago as a multi-purpose worker. He said he only came to know about his number being “converted” into a helpline only in the morning after he started getting complaint calls.

He said he had received 30-40 calls. “I have been noting down the details, but I don’t know what to do with these. I have not been informed by the department or briefed on how to handle the calls,” he said.

Asked if any action had been taken, he said being a holiday today, no vehicle was available.

MC commissioner Roshan Sunkaria claimed that all was well with the helpline. “We will pay his mobile bills even if he stays in Kalka. He will get the requisite training while on the job,” he said, adding that Vikram had been informed and had earlier also handled such assignments.

Meanwhile, MC sources admitted that the hasty move to launch a helpline could be because of the commissioner’s previous “unsavoury brush” with the judiciary.

One such caller, KK Sachdeva, said after repeated attempts to get the call through, the attendant conveyed that no medical help was available for victims of dog bite. He was also told that the helpline was not available after office hours, meaning no emergency help would be available during odd hours.

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Strike: Petrol pumps go dry
Long queues till late at night

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
More than 50 per cent of petrol pumps in the tricity went dry today as the strike by the Oil Sector Officers Association entered the second day today.

Panicky residents queued up outside the petrol pumps for from 45 minutes to one hour to get their vehicles fuelled.

Since morning today, the people had begun queueing up outside the petrol stations to get their vehicles filled.

By the afternoon, serpentine queues could be witnessed at almost all the petrol pumps in the tricity. As the Indian Oil and Bharat Petroleum retail outlets began drying up in the city, the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) pumps did brisk business.

It is pertinent to mention that the HPCL is not participating in the strike.

It may be noted that the average daily consumption of petrol in the tricity is 210 kilo litres and of diesel around 140 kilo litres.

As the petrol pumps began running out of stocks, many of the pumps started rationing fuel supplies and customers were told that they could buy fuel only for Rs 500 per vehicle.

Manjit Sethi, an employee of the Panjab University, said she had to wait for almost 40 minutes outside a petrol pump in Phase II of Mohali. “I had earlier gone to the Sector-15 petrol pump in Chandigarh and the Phase-VII pump, where there were long queues and these pumps were giving rationed supplies,” she said.

The petrol as well as the premium petrol began drying up since afternoon today.

As a result of the transporters’ strike and on account of less demand, the diesel supply was satisfactory.

The LPG supply was also hit in most parts of the state.

Though some senior officials had been deputed at the main LPG filling stations to ensure regular dispatches, the supply was restricted in the tricity.

Long queues could also be seen at Sector 2 and Industrial Area, Phase II, in Panchkula till late evening.

Heavy rush was witnessed at petrol stations till late at night.

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Zirakpur-Panchkula Highway
Access to banquet halls illegal
Rajmeet Singh and Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Mohali, Panchkula, January 8
Dubbing the access to the banquets halls, hotels and other commercial ventures from the Zirakpur-Panchkula section of the National Highway as illegal, the district administrations of Mohali and Panchkula have asked the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to demarcate its land and put up pillars on both sides of the highway.

Highlights

  • Slow carriageway along the Zirakpur-Ambala highway
  • Four bus queue shelters
  • Tow away zones

The affected persons would have to apply to the NHAI to get legal access from the highway. The decision was reached at a meeting of the coordination committee over the traffic management on the Zirakpur-Panchkula highway of the Mohali and Panchkula district administration officials held here today.

“Apart from the getting proper access, the owners of private establishments have been asked to make arrangement for parking of vehicles. The present access would have to be closed and parking of vehicles along the highways would not be allowed,” said an official who attended the coordination committee meeting. The government would provide police force in case the NHAI wanted to carry out demolition drive against the violators.

The NHAI Project Director, K.P. Sharma, has stated that the NHAI was in no mood to spare the offenders who have got access to the National Highway without following the norms. The offenders have already been issued notices in this regard and in case they did not comply with the rules and regulations within the next fortnight action would be taken against them as it has resulted as the bottlenecks on the highway creating frequent traffic jams.

Most of the housing societies, banquet halls and hotels have got the access to the National Highway without obtaining permission from the NHAI. The affected persons claim the Zirakpur MC had approved their structure, without any condition of access.

Mohali Deputy Commissioner Rahul Bhandhari, who visited the area along with the Panchkula Deputy Commissioner, Rajender Kataria, said the owners of private establishment had been asked to apply to the NHAI to get authorised access from the highway. The Panchkula Deputy commissioner said that the people in Panchkula, who got notices, have already applied for the permission with NHAI.

Regarding the diversion of traffic for construction of the railway overbridge (ROB), the coordination committee has reached on the conclusion not to divert the traffic towards Bartana or Chandigarh.

The officials of the tricity felt that the diversions would not only create chaos in the interiors of Panchkula and Zirakpur areas, the Madhaya Marg of Chandigarh already faces huge traffic and it would not be able to adjust the load of vehicles diverted from national highway. Moreover, it would not be advisable to force commuter between Zirakpur and Panchkula to go through Chandigarh.

The Panchkula Superintendent of Police, Sandip Khirwar, his counterpart of Mohali, SSP J.S. Aualkh and Chandigarh DSP (Traffic) J.S. Cheema were also present at the meeting.

The committee has recommended that instead of long diversions, side lanes would be provided along the existing road by putting up temporary level crossings. The NHAI has been asked to take up the matter with the Railways.

Meanwhile, the NHAI has been asked to provide slow carriageway at the congested sections in Zirakpur and Derabassi. The slow carriageway would also cater to the buses that often stop on the highway to pick and drop passengers.

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Municipal Council elections on Jan 20
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 8
Elections for the posts of senior vice-president and vice-president of the local Municipal Council will be held on January 20, said Kuljit Singh Bedi, Municipal Councillor, here today.

Bedi claimed that he had talked to the SDM on telephone and she told that the date for holding the elections for the two posts had been finalised and a letter had also been issued. The Deputy Commissioner had appointed the SDM as convener for the elections.

The Deputy Commissioner Rahul Bhandari, however, was not aware that a date had been fixed for the elections. The letter of the SDM had not been received even by the executive officer of the council. The SDM was not available for comments. Bedi said he had filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking elections to the two posts, which were lying vacant since August 2007. The court had today issued a notice to the secretary, Local Government, Deputy Commissioner, Mohali, and others for January 29.

About a month ago, Bedi had urged the Deputy Commissioner to get elections to the two vacant posts conducted within a month failing which he and other councillors would be compelled to take legal action.

Bedi said democratic norms had been thrown to the winds by the district administration, as it had failed to convene the elections for the two posts for such a long period.

The two posts have been lying vacant after the one-year term of Rishiv Jain, senior vice-president, and Harmanpreet Singh, vice-president, ended on August 16 last year. Both of them were elected after council elections were held in the town on July 30, 2006.

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Police drags feet in assault case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
Amit Malhotra, a Sector 7 resident, who was assaulted by several persons on January 1 in Sector 19, accused the Chandigarh police of dragging its feet to proceed against the accused even after a lapse of six days.

Amit said the incident took place near Hanuman Temple in Sector 19 on the road dividing Sectors 19 and 27. He was riding pillion on a motorcycle when a Hyundai Accent hit the motorcycle.

Amit (27), a call centre employee, alleged that the mishap occurred when the car took a sharp turn without giving indicators. Heated argument ensued and at the same time a group of persons emerged from the temple and assaulted him and his friend Sartaj.

He was injured in the attack and was rushed to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, where he was administered stitches. The matter was reported to the police, which recorded a daily diary report (1611) in this regard but did nothing till date.

He alleged the police was persuading them to reach a compromise. He further claimed that the police had identified the accused.

Investigating officer of the case sub-inspector Rakesh Kumar said the ‘mahant’ of the temple had admitted that the car belonged to him and he had given it to someone, when the mishap took place. He had provided the name and the address of the driver who had gone out of station. “We are waiting for him to come and both the parties will be cross-examined to proceed in the matter,” the sub-inspector said.

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Muharram observed
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 8
According to Islamic calendar, Muharram is the beginning of the year. Many centuries ago, a fight took place in Iraq at Kerbala on the bank of the Euphrates river. In this battle, Imam Husain, grandson of the holy prophet, was died and his martyrdom represents a conscious confrontation.

The tragedy was that the one who stood up to defend Islam was cut down in a cruel manner. It is for this reason that the death of Imam Husain is mourned annually in the Muslim world.

On Ashura, the Muslims take out processions carrying decorated taziyas (bamboo and paper replicas of the martyr's tomb) embellished with gilt and mica and more than 500 people were witnessed taking out taziyas in Sector 29 here.

The mourners walked barefoot to the beat of drums. In a frenzy of grief, they were beating their chests and crying out the name of Husain.

Arshad Khan, a spokesperson of the United Progressive Muslim Front, said similar taziyas were carried in Burail and Mani Majra with religious fervour.

Maulana Shakeel Ahmed Quasmi, prominent Sunni cleric of Mani Majra said, “There was one man who could stem the tide that was Imam Husain. He spoke without fear. The holy man was prepared to die rather than surrender the principles for which he stood.”

Haffiz Anwar-ul-Haq, president of Iqra Foundation said, “We should sit together and consider the great historic event and must not waste the sacrifice of the great martyr.”

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First inter-school radio drama contest
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, January 8
The Institute of Radio Jockeying ( IRJ) organised an Inter-School Radio Drama Competition for school artistes of the tricity.

Various plays by different schools were broadcasted live on a radio programme, “JJ Diamonds Radio Masters” every Sunday at 10:30 am on AIR FM 107.2 and 103.1 FM.

While a panel of judges, including Dr Mahendra, chairperson, department of drama, PU, Dr Virender Mehandirtta and film producer, JS Cheema, judged the plays on merit while twenty per cent weightage was given to public voting. The awards were presented to following winners by chief guest thespian scholar Dr Virender Mehandiratta at a function presided over by Ashok Kumar Gupta who sponsored the awards.

Best Play: DAV Model School-15. Respective runner-ups (1) Chaman Lal DAV-11 Panchkula, (2) Gian Jyoti Public School ,Phase 2 Mohali, (3) Mount Carmel- 47.

Best Story : Kundan International School- 46,

Best Dialogues: Bhavan Vidyalaya-15, Panchkula,

Best Sound Effects: Bhavan Vidyalaya-15, Panchkula.

Best Actor: Sahil of Chaman Lal DAV-11, Panchkula

Best Actress: Meher Oberoi of Sacred Heart-26,

Best Four Voices: (1) Gaurangi Sharma (Bhavan Vidyalaya- 15 Panchkula) (2) Devanshi Garg (Kundan International), (3) Akshya Kaushal (St. John’s-26) (4) Moushmi Manan (Mount Carmel).

SP Singh, the CEO of the institute, disclsoed the first-ever radio drama competion has evoked an awakening interest among the student artistes. All plays were broadcasted between November 16, 2007, to Januray 4, 2008.

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Corruption Case
CBI files challan against 3
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a challan against former deputy director of media, Haryana Prathmik Shiksha Pariyoajna Parishad (HPSPP), Kiran Mishra, head clerk in the office of DPC, Jind, Prakash Bhatnagar and assistant project coordinator posted in the office of DPC, Jind, Rakesh Sharma in a corruption case in the Special CBI court of Jagdeep Jain.

The accused have been booked under Sections 120-B read with 420, 468 and 471 of the IPC and Sections 13 (1) (d) read with 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

The case was registered against the trio on the directions of the Supreme Court. The apex court had directed the CBI to take up the inquiry of September 20, 2001, with the Vigilance Bureau relating to the fundamental irregularities, allegedly committed by Sanjiv Kumar with regard to purchase of various items.

The complaint alleged that the DPEP office had made suspicious purchases of items in 58 instances between April 1999 and March 2000. The irregularities came into light during the inquiry.

It was stated that about 780 puppets shows costing to the tune of Rs 7.8 lakh were organised through one Dildeep Bhatt. Out of these, 250 puppet shows costing Rs 2.1 lakh were have been conducted between October 28, 1999 and November 18, 1999, in the various blocks of Haryana.

Further, the puppet shows costing Rs 1.95 lakh were organised during between January 28, 2000, and February 15, 2000, in various schools and in other village schools worth Rs 3.75 lakh.

For the purpose of payment, Dildeep Singh was asked to submit blank bills, which were fabricated by the accused, and inflated amount was passed and drawn from time to time. Dildeep was given a meager amount.

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TB patient found dead in guesthouse
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
Vijay Kumar of Ambala, a TB patient, was found dead at a guesthouse in Sector 45 here this morning. The police ruled out any foul play behind the death as no external injury marks were found on the body.

According to the in charge of the Burail police post, SI Rajdeep Singh, the death came to light at around 9 am when the guesthouse staff went to his room and did not get any response.

They broke open the door and found him lying dead on the bed.

The staff told the police that Kumar, in his mid-50s, checked in at around 8.30 pm the previous night and told the staff that he wanted to go to the PGI for treatment early in the morning.

They went to enquire about him when he did not wake up late in the morning.

The police said the victim was taking treatment from a hospital in Dharampur and had come to the city to consult doctors at the PGI.

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Dental assn chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
Dr Gurvanit Lehi has been elected as the president of the Indian Dental Association, Chandigarh, state branch. Elections to the association were held at the annual general body meeting of the association. Dr Gautam Munjal became the vice-president while Dr Ramesh R Fry was elected as the general secretary and Dr Gurvinder Dhamija as joint secretary. Dr Ashish Gupta was elected as the treasurer while, Dr Jagjit Singh Dhaliwal as the convener.

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14-yr-old dies of fever
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 8
A 14-year-old boy died after suffering from fever for few hours, here today.

The relatives of the boy, who shifted him to General hospital, Sector 6, said he was suffering from fever since last night. He did not recover even after he was given treatment by a local medical practitioner at Budhanpur village,. The boy, however, was declared brought dead at the hospital.

The deceased, identified as Dhruv, was working at a grocery shop and was staying with his relatives at the village.

According to the doctors, there were some rashes on his body indicating that there may a reaction of medicines that the boy took during the treatment. There may be some other reasons as well and to know the exact cause of death, his body was sent for a postmortem.

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Symposium on astronomy from Jan 19
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
Prof Rajesh Kochhar, a city-based renowned astrophysicist and science historian has been invited to the prestigious international symposium on “The Role of Astronomy in Society and Culture”, from January 19 to 23.

2009 has been declared the International Year of Astronomy to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the astronomical use of telescope by Galileo. To mark the year, UNESCO is organising an international symposium at its Paris headquarters.

Prof Kochar will be delivering a lecture on “Astronomy in Indian cultures”.

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EDUCATION
 

UGC gives major project to PU lecturer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
A major research project entitled “ Association of foot with footwear-A forensic study based on characteristic impressions of soles on insoles of rubber slippers” has been sanctioned to principal investigator Dr Kewal Krishan, senior lecturer, Department of Anthropology, PU, by University Grants Commission. An amount of Rs. 7,30,300 has been sanctioned for the project.

This research project is related to the association of foot with footwear in crime scene investigation. The problem arises when the forensic scientist recovers footwear at the crime site and the identification of the criminal becomes difficult in the absence of any set standards of characteristics of foot inside the footwear. This problem prompted Dr Kewal Krishan to take up the research project. The study will be conducted on 1000 adult individuals both males and females. The target group will be identified and a pair of slippers will be given to each individual. After five months, the slippers will be collected and studied for individualistic characteristics. The results of this research will help to making proper standards for examination of foot impressions and footwear recovered at the crime scene and will help the scientist to decide about the inclusion or exclusion of potential suspect from having been at the scene of crime.

Dr Krishan is a renowned forensic anthropologist and his research papers are published in the world-acclaimed international journals of forensic sciences. Besides, he is the editor-in-chief of an international journal of USA and is serving on the panel of editorial board of eleven international journals.

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Parents want no more holidays
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
With the improved weather conditions providing a solace to city residents, the parents of primary and pre-primary wing students of city schools are more than eager to see their kids back at school.

Considering the UT administration’s decision to reopen schools for primary and pre-primary classes on January 12 useless, they want the authorities to revoke the decision and reopen them now.

“We truly agree that the vacations had to be extended due to dense fog, but weather is fine now, and hence, children can go back to school,” said a mother, Rekha Vashisht.

The parents want the decision to be revoked as there's no surety if weather will be fine after January 12 or not and it will be an academic loss for students. However, the administration has its own reasons for this decision, The decision was made, keeping in mind, the holiday for Moharram and second Saturday. We do not want to change the schedule gain for it becomes very confusing,” an official said.

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Prize distribution function at school
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 8
Jainendra Public School celebrated the annual prize distribution function, here today. The chief guest of the function was Mange Ram Gupta, education minister, Haryana, while Rajendra Kataria, deputy commissioner, Panchkula, presided over the function.

The principal of the school, Sudha Babbar, read out the annual report of the school in the session. The programme was started with Ganesh Vandana followed by a welcome song by the students. The kindergarten section put up a brilliant show, performances like fashion show and patriotic song mesmerised the audience.

It was a bonanza of rocking, wonderful and memorable items with maximum participation of the students. Haryanvi dance and fan dance were enjoyed by the guests. More than 500 students performed in the function.

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Truckers’ Strike
Notes fail to reach students
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
The ongoing truckers’ strike has hit students now. Thirty-odd students of the two-year diploma in international business in the newly started University Institute of Applied Management Sciences were unable to get their notes for two subjects.

According to sources, the students had to bear the brunt of the strike as their notes, which were supposed to come from Delhi, could not reach them. The other students, who are doing MBA through distance learning, have received their notes.

The examination would be held on January 24.

Dr AK Saihjpal, the director of the institute, said the truck carrying the notes could not reach here due to the strike. “We have cancelled the order, and are trying to make alternative arrangements. By Tuesday, the students should get their notes,” he said.

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CAT results today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
The results of CAT-2008 will be available from tomorrow at http://results.catiim.in.

The students can access their scores by keying in the test registration number and either the date of birth (preferred) or the CAT application number.

Surprisingly according to some unconfirmed reports, the results were available on the above mentioned link today afternoon for almost an hour after which the site was blocked.

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