C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Chief Commissioner’s Post
Issue catches MHA’s attention
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has taken cognizance of the demand of the local unit of Janata Party (JP) for the revival of the post of Chief Commissioner for Chandigarh.

In a telephonic conversation with the president of the local unit of the JP, Ajay Jagga, an official of the MHA, has asked him to send a hard copy of the representation regarding the revival of the post to the ministry.

The Tribune had recently highlighted the party’s demand for the revival of the post for the city for better governance.

Ajay Jagga had suggested the revival of the post to end the slugfest between UT administrator SF Rodrigues and his adviser Pradip Mehra over the administration’s controversial mega projects.

The Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) and the Federation of Sector Welfare Association (FOSWAC), an apex body of 46 resident welfare associations, had already endorsed the demand for the revival of the post, which was scrapped in 1984, during terrorism in Punjab.

Jagga had pleaded that the revival of the post would go a long way in defusing the present crisis arising due to the “sour” relationship between Rodrigues and Mehra as a senior IAS officer as the executive head would apparently be more accountable than an unelected administrator.

Following the passage of the Punjab Disturbed Areas Act and the Chandigarh Disturbed Areas Act in 1984, Punjab was put under Governor’s rule and the Punjab Governor was made the UT administrator.

The post of the Chief Commissioner was later converted into adviser to the administrator. However, with the return of normalcy and installation of a democratically-elected government in Punjab, Governor’s rule was done away with while the post of the UT administrator remained.

The administrator is appointed under Article 239 of the Constitution, where a Governor so-appointed exercises his functions as administrator independently of his council of ministers. In such a scenario, the matter rests with the Central Government. And the MHA, which directly administers Chandigarh, seemed to be mulling over the proposal for the revival of the post under these provisions.

Recently at a meeting here, FOSWAC came out against the “Governor-cum-administrator” system in Chandigarh and pleaded for participative governance that ensured that the functioning in the Chandigarh administration was transparent and democratic. A resolution for the restoration of the post was also passed at the meeting.



Registration of LPG autos banned
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 9
The hope of Mohali residents to travel in zero-polluting autorickshaws has been dashed with the district transport authorities discontinuing the registration of LPG-run three-wheelers in the district.

A few LPG-run autorickshaws were registered here in November year before the state transport department directed the district transport authority not to register such vehicles. The decision does not pertain to Mohali alone, but covers all cities where there are no LPG filling stations.

Only the transport authority at Ludhiana and Jalandhar have been given permission to register LPG vehicles. “Due to the absence of LPG filling stations, there was pilferage of domestic LPG as there was difference in the price of auto LPG and the domestic LPG,” an official said.

Petroleum dealers have been pressing upon the state government to first set up adequate LPG filling stations and then register LPG vehicles. While there was no filling station in Mohali, there were two filling stations in Chandigarh.

It was an irony that while LPG-run autos were being registered in Chandigarh, the facility was not extended to Mohali despite the fact that autos ply in the tricity.

Sources in the state transport department said the district transport authorities across the state had been told that only those living in Ludhiana and Jalandhar cities could avail of the facility of getting vehicles registered that were fitted with LPG kits. The applicants have been asked to furnish an affidavit regarding their residential address, but these days, a number of LPG-run three-wheelers were being sold in the market.

Though the district transport authority has so far banned the registration of LPG-run three-wheelers, there is confusion about private and commercial vehicles that run on LPG like Wagon R and Santro. The orders of the state transport commissioner say that no LPG-run vehicle should be registered.



Craze for VIP nos. wanes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
VIP numbers no longer seem to catch the fancy of car owners. The global meltdown seems to have taken a toll on the auction of VIP numbers by the Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) here today.

The craze for VIP numbers seems to be on the wane with the RLA richer by only about Rs 7.19 lakh as against Rs 9.8 lakh it earned through the auction of VIP numbers on September 29 last year. The highest amount -- Rs 2.3 lakh -- was fetched by CH-04-H-0001 this time as against Rs 2.11 lakh for CH-04-F 0001 during the September 2008 auction. This was in sharp contrast to Rs 5.15 lakh fetched by 0001 in an auction held in early 2008.

While single digit numbers did not attract bidders this time, the second highest amount, Rs 90,000 each, was netted by 0090 and 1313. In the September auction, while 0009 had gone for Rs 1.5 lakh, 1111 had got Rs 1.05 lakh and 0011, Rs 75,000.

The amount fetched by other numbers was 0002 (Rs 18,000), 0004(Rs 21,000), 0786 (Rs 21,000) and 7272 (Rs 30,000). The number 13, otherwise considered unlucky, went for Rs 10,500.

While the last time shraddhs which played the spoilsport this time it was the general recession which led to poor response from the bidder. “Usually, big corporates, who consider VIP numbers as status symbol, bid for these numbers. However, the global meltdown seemed to have discouraged the bidders this time,” official sources said.



SD college student dies as car falls into gorge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Malvika Kalra (19), a BBA-1 student of GGDSD College here, died in a road accident near Jabli on the Kalka-Shimla highway last night when the Skoda she was travelling in fell into a 500-ft deep gorge around 1 am.

Out of the four other students -- Padmini, Anuradha, Abhishek and Rohan -- who were accompanying her, two received minor injuries while Padmini was admitted to a Mohali hospital. Her condition is stated to be stable.

The police, with the help of local villagers, rushed the injured to the ESI Hospital in Parwanoo, from where they were later referred to the General Hospital in Panchkula. Malvika died on her way to the hospital.

The SDPO, Parwanoo, Ramesh Pathania, said: “The car was on its way to Chandigarh. The driver and owner of the car, Rohan Arora, failed to negotiate a sharp curve as he was speeding and it fell into the gorge.”

Preliminary investigations revealed that the occupants were in an inebriated state and were returning to Chandigarh after having spent some time in the hills.

The police has registered a case of rash and negligent driving against Rohan.

Meanwhile, Malvika who was living in a PG accommodation in Sector 32 and belonging to Rajpura, was cremated this afternoon.

Speaking to The Tribune, her father, a transporter, claimed that she was with five girls and the accident happened when the driver dozed off.

Meanwhile, Rohan left for his native place Dehradun with his parents and has not associated himself with the investigations. Abhishek, too, left for Karnal with his parents without informing the police.

The college principal, AC Vaid, expressed sorrow on the tragic incident, but said he had not been informed formally about the incident.


Administration reviews ongoing projects
A new school will be built in Sector 50 at a cost of Rs 3.5 crore
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The Chandigarh administration’s major concern would be completion of the ongoing projects this year. Home Secretary Ram Niwas and Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar today jointly presided over a meeting to review the progress of these ongoing projects here.

During the meeting, the Finance Secretary said the administration’s top priority would be on the health and education projects, while areas like maintenance of roads and enhancement of water supply would also be given importance.

He said the “J” block of the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, would be completed this year, whereas the work on “E” block, to come up at an estimated cost of Rs 23 crore, would start this year.

The construction work of “E“ block would be completed within 18 months of its start.

The construction work on new OPD in General Hospital, Sector 16, costing Rs 9 crore, was at full swing and would be completed in December, 2009.

Work on nursing school building at a cost of Rs 1 crore would be over by September, 2009.

Senior officials further added that the work on sheds in six schools, for the preparation of mid-day meal, would be completed at a cost of Rs 2.5 crore in March-end.

Toilets at 67 schools would be renovated by March this year. As many as 12 new schools would be revamped and renovated this year, while others would be covered in the next financial year. A new school will be built in Sector 50 at a cost of Rs 3.5 crore.

Sanjay Kumar further said the city boasted of world-class sports infrastructure and to further enhance the existing facilities, a new basketball court in Sector 42 would be built.

The Cricket Stadium, Sector 16, would be equipped with lighting for holding day and night matches. This would cost Rs 1 crore. Another Astro-turf hockey ground would be added in Sector 42 for holding international matches.

Also, maintenance work on city’s main roads (V-3) would be completed this year whereas work on slip roads and roundabouts will be taken up next year.

Beautification of the regulator end of Sukhna Lake and the lake in Sector 42 would also be done at an estimated cost of Rs 1.5 crore. The parking area at Sector-42 lake would also be increased. The plan of a weather bridge at Dhanas Lake was in its final stage.

The concrete road between Sectors 39 and 39 West would be completed within six months.

Director, Health Services, MS Bains, Director, Public Instructions (schools), Samwartak Singh, Director, Technical Education, Pirthi Chand, Chief Architect Sumit Kaur, Chief Engineer Krishanjit Singh, Director-Principal, GMCH-32, Raj Bahadur and other senior officers of the Chandigarh administration were present at the meeting.



It was a tough day for oil-hunters
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Almost 90 per cent of the petrol pumps of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) in the region on the third day of the strike by Oil Sector Officers’ Association went dry today. Even though the strike was called off in the evening, it would only be around Saturday afternoon that the fuel supply would become normal.

In all major cities in the region, almost all retail outlets of the above mentioned oil marketing companies ran dry.

Barring some petrol pumps located on the highways, the ones within the city limits and those located in the vicinity of the cities were running dry since late morning.

Since officers of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) had refrained from going on strike, customers flocked to the retail outlets of the company. HPCL dealers in the region said they had been sending higher indents and because of excessive demand, the three depots of the company could not dispatch the supplies till afternoon today.

At a number of HPCL outlets, too, customers were turned away in the morning as the supplies had not yet reached.

Long winding queues outside the retail outlets remained the order of the day, even as the petrol pump owners continued to ration supplies.

Even the commercial vehicles were not given fuel for more than Rs 1,000 at a time. LPG supply in most cities of the region, too, went dry as the LPG dealers claimed to have exhausted all their reserves.

Dealers told their customers that it would take at least seven days after the strike was called off that they would be able to make supplies on fresh bookings.

Later in the evening, as the news of the strike being called off reached, officials in IOC and BPCL said it would only be around Saturday afternoon that they would start dispatching supplies.

BPCL officials said they were already in the process of dispatching supplies at their retail outlets and some of these had become operational by late evening.

“At the IOC retail outlets, the situation would ease by tomorrow afternoon and things would be back to normal by Sunday morning,” said a seior IOC official.



When all roads led to select petrol stations
Priya Chadha

Chandigarh, December 9
With over 70 per cent petrol stations running dry, it was a harrowing time for vehicle owners in the city on account of the strike, which was called off later in the day, by officials of oil company here today.

Motorists had to stand in long queues for hours together at select outlets of the HPCL to get a fuel refill. However, much to the chagrin of vehicle owners, there were reports of VIP vehicles jumping the queue and getting preferential treatment.

Objecting to the bias, Reetu, a BCA student, said: “When we are forced to wait for hours to get fuel for our vehicles, why should these VIP cars not be asked to wait for their turn.”

Surjeet Singh, a software engineer, said: “I have been moving from one petrol outlet to another since morning. I went to Sector-34 petrol station and then to Sector 10 but did not get fuel there.”

Some consumers were seen standing in queues with containers in their hands. “My vehicle ran out of petrol at Sector 23 in the morning. I parked the car there and have been wandering to get fuel ever since. How can these companies hold consumers to ransom,” said Vivek Sharma, a government employee, who missed his office. As filling stations run by Indian Oil Corporation and Bharat Petroleum went dried, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) outlets, only ones functional in the city, did brisk business.

Meanwhile, several roads, particularly Madhya Marg, which are otherwise abuzz with vehicles, wore a deserted look with a large number of vehicles remaining off road or queuing up at petrol stations.



‘Bed and breakfast’ scheme may have new name
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
In keeping with the Indian tradition of “atithi devobhava” (guest is god), there is move to rechristen the name of Chandigarh administration’s ambitious “Bed and Breakfast” scheme to “Home Stay”.

The issue has already been discussed with the Union Ministry of Tourism at New Delhi.

Though, the response to the scheme is good, officials say “bed and breakfast” somehow doesn’t convey the basic objective of providing homely ambience. Thus, the proposal was mooted out to change its name.

“The step is being initiated to widen the horizon of the objectives for which the scheme was started. “Bed and Breakfast” was restricting us from communicating its purpose. So the need was felt to get its name changed,” he said.

“Moreover, our purpose was to catch the fancy of tourists, especially foreigners, to savour the Indian hospitality by providing them affordable homely accommodation. Under the scheme, the applicants who have consented to offer their homes, have never been restricted to providing the breakfast alone. They are free to arrange lunch and dinner but of course at extra cost,” opined an official.

Nevertheless, the final word on renaming the scheme would be announced officially after getting a go-ahead from the Union Ministry of Tourism, the sources said.

A part of “Incredible India” campaign of the Union Ministry of Tourism to woo tourists, particularly foreign, the central government has encouraged to adopt this scheme.

The Delhi government is already implementing the scheme ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games to tide over the shortage of reasonable accommodation in the metro.

With Chandigarh being a gateway to Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana, around 7 lakh domestic tourists and 40,000 foreign tourists visiting the city last year, the scheme is set to gather good response.

The accommodation has been kept under the silver and gold categories to maintain uniformity and avoid confusion among tourists. Under gold scheme, tourists would get comfortable one-night stay for Rs 900, while in silver category, Rs 700 would be charged for night stay. The breakfast of the guests’ choice would be inclusive in both cases.

Vinod Kalia, Deputy Director, Department of Tourism, Chandigarh, said currently they had 19 such accommodations in different sectors of the city that were registered with the administration.

“We receive a couple of enquiries daily from those interesting in offering a part of their accommodation under the scheme. Keeping in mind over 30,000 foreign tourists coming to the city annually, we are proposing to expand the scheme by inducing more such house owners having sufficient space and parking facility,” he said.

On safety, Kalia said a three-member committee would visit the house to be put under the scheme.

“Even house owners have been instructed to maintain proper record of their guests and provide details with us and the adjoining police station within 24 hours of their guests’ checking in,” he added.

Gaurav Dhir, a lawyer, has got his house (under gold) registered and seems to be happy with the outcome. “It is a positive initiative and if the administration allows us we are ready to provide the guests with lunch and dinner too,” he said.

Two former CITCO employees — Shashi Kapoor and Jyoti Swarup Sharma — too have chosen to offer accommodation at their houses in Mani Majra (gold) and Chandigarh (silver), respectively.

The bed and breakfast (registration and regulation) ordinance 2007 allows people to offer their houses to guests through a system of registration by a prescribed authority. The condition is that there should be adequate space to house guests. The owner should be able to provide quality food prepared under hygienic conditions and sleeping arrangements for guests. The details of house owners are available on the tourism department website: www.chandigarhtourism.gov.in



Domestic Violence
Guv for core groups at village level
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Concerned at increasing domestic violence and other household problems faced by families in the rural areas, Punjab Governor and UT Administrator S.F. Rodrigues has asked sarpanches of UT villages to set up cooperative core groups to come into action in the event of such incidents and sort out the issues at the local level, as part of their societal responsibilities.

The Administrator inaugurated an awareness camp organised by the Social Welfare Department of the Chandigarh administration at Daria village here today.

The community-based service-oriented programme attended by various organisations like social welfare, the health department, the State AIDS Control Society, the State Legal Services Authority and the Red Cross will have a special focus on ensuring benefits of various schemes, including pension for old, disabled and women, poor strata of society besides financial assistance for the purchase of wheelchairs for the disabled and disadvantaged people for setting up their own businesses to earn their livelihood.

During interaction with senior officers, Rodrigues told them to establish linkage of loan schemes to the beneficiaries with training programmes in different trades to achieve better results.



CITCO issues show-cause notices to 4 employees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The Chandigarh Industrial Tourism and Development Corporation (CITCO) today issued one-week show-cause notices to four of its employees of Hotel Mountview, for not following procedural practice while booking a function a month back at the hotel in Sector 10, here.

Those issued the notices include banquet manager Sandeep Kapoor, kitchen superintendent Surinder, senior assistant, the food cost controller department, Prem Kumar and bill clerk Pushpinder.

Confirming this, chief general manager Amit Talwar, who conducted the preliminary inquiry into the controversial incident said, “These four persons have been given a week’s time to explain why rules were not followed while booking the function at the hotel. Further an action will be decided only after we receive their side of story,” he said.

It is pertinent to mention that on December 9, 2008, a ring ceremony organised at the Banquet hall of the hotel came under controversy when it was found that the bills of the party were manipulated.

“It came to light later that the service charges were not included in the bill. Though, it was not of a big amount but as the prescribed method of billing was not adopted, it is liable to raise certain doubts,” said Amit Talwar.



Ban on sale of non-ISI helmets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The Chandigarh administration has imposed a ban on the sale of non-ISI mark helmets in the city.

District Magistrate RK Rao has asked for immediate check on the sale of non-ISI mark poor quality helmets in order to ward off danger to human life in the event of an accident and to prevent gullible customers from buying a cheap/poor non-ISI headgear.

Breach of the order will be punishable under provisions of the Indian Penal Code. The order will come into force from January 10 and would be effective up to March 10.

In another order, the administration, as a measure of emergency, has prohibited assembly of five or more persons, taking out processions, making speeches, raising slogans sitting in dharnas, carrying of lathis within sectors falling north of the Madhya Marg i.e. Sectors 1 to 12, 26 and on the Jan Marg stretch from the Cricket Stadium chowk to housing board chowk, including the kutcha space on both sides of the area, on the road Sectors 24/25, including the kutcha space on both sides of the area in the UT for a period of 60 days.

However, the above orders would not apply to police, paramilitary or military persons or any other government servant on official duty.

To hold any customary and ritual procession like marriage or funeral, prior permission from the office of the District Magistrate/Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Chandigarh, is mandatory.

The order will come into force from January 10 and will be effective up to March 10.

Meanwhile, the District Magistrate has also prohibited the sale of correction fluids to minor children. These orders, for a period of 60 days i.e from January 10 to March 10, have been issued as a measure of emergency under Section 144 of CrPC.

The orders have been issued keeping in view the abuse of fluid (white fluid generally used by typists for making corrections on types matter) by minors, specially schoolchildren.



Booklet on healthy lifestyle released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
PGI doctors released a booklet on “Cultivating Healthy Lifestyle” here today.

With a focus on lifestyle modification among youngsters, the book has been written by Dr Suraj Singh Senjam (senior resident), Dr Parveen Bhalla (MPH student) and Dr Amarjeet Singh (Professor) of School of Public Health, Department of Community Medicine, PGIMER.

Earlier, Dr Suraj Senjam had studied the lifestyle of 200 students of various colleges of the city during his MD thesis.

It was found that only 19 per cent students searched health related articles or magazine on the Internet.

Almost 44 per cent students did muscle stretching exercise, 13 per cent did yoga, 49 per cent played outdoors games and 24 per cent students consciously made efforts to choose a low fat diet, 24 per cent limited use of sugar, 65 per cent ate breakfast regularly and 25 per cent of them ate burger, pizza or hot dog daily.

The booklet attempts to help college students to cultivate healthy lifestyles.

The book has messages from experts on specific healthy lifestyle, weight management, positive and strong role models.

The booklet deals with subjects like physical exercise, diet/food, yoga, transcendental meditation, philanthropy and spiritual peace.

Experts said one often came across health related news covering one aspect of life as published in newspapers or telecast on television e.g. taking ghee can increase cholesterol, alcohol in moderation is good for heart, chocolate is good for depression.

However, only cholesterol or chocolate/alcohol are not everything. Physical exercise also affected cholesterol levels.

“We cannot improve our lifestyle by concentrating on only one aspect.

A wholesome comprehensive approach is required.”

Dr Suraj also received a grant from Ford Foundation/IAPSM for carrying out a project on lifestyle.

A short training course on lifestyle changes under the project was organised for graduate students of DAV College, Sector 10, in August by the department of community medicine, School of Public Health, PGIMER, under the guidance of Prof Amarjeet Singh.

A team of doctors from PGIMER, including Dr Suraj Singh Senjam, Dr Rajit Gupta, Dr Atreyi Ganguli, Dr Gaurav Aggarwal organised the training sessions.

A total of 70 participants were trained in the course. Resource persons from various backgrounds were involved in the training sessions.

Film shows, lectures/discussions and practical session were organised on yoga, diet, physical exercise, environment safety, spiritual peace and philanthropy. The booklet was also distributed to these students free of cost.



Minor fire at Industrial Area
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
A minor fire broke out today afternoon at one of the industrial plots in the Industrial Area, Phase I. The fire broke out due to a short circuit on the top floor of the Chandigarh Flour Mills housed at plot number 128.

According to sources, at about 3.20 pm after short circuit the generator situated next to a telecom tower on the top floor caught fire. By the time fire tenders reached, the generator was completely burnt.

Meanwhile, the workers present in the mill tried to douse the flames using fire extinguisher. Within minutes, four fire tenders, including two from Sector 17 fire station and one each from the Industrial Area fire station and Sector 32 fire stations were called. Fire was controlled within few minutes. While no human injury was reported, the loss of property was estimated at Rs 50,000.



Police beat boxes cry for repair
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, January 9
The terrible condition of the police beat boxes across the city has educed a resentment among the cops, who find it difficult to keep a vigil on everyone during the cold weather.

“We have to sit in this chilled weather to keep a vigil on everyone. No senior police official pays a visit even to check the condition, it seems as is they are least concerned over the issue,” said a cop at the beat box.

This correspondent conducted a survey in various sectors and revealed beat boxes were in a pitiable condition.

It is pertinent to mention here that during winters, it is not an easy task to sit in the open, but these cops are doing their duty hard and seems administration or senior police officials have no sympathy with them.

A senior police official at headquarters said the beat boxes had been renovated, but if anywhere beat boxes were in a poor state, then we would build them surely.

While repeated attempts , the SSP, UT, SS Shrivastva, was not available for his comments.



Bansal barred from legal practice
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The Bar Council of India today debarred Haryana law officer Sanjiv Bansal from practice.

The case, meanwhile, has been adjourned to February 6.

The matter had surfaced after a packet containing Rs 15 lakh was delivered at the residence of a High Court Judge on August 13.

The Judge had reported the matter to the police and a case was registered against him.

The case was later transferred to the CBI as it involved the judiciary and leading lawyers.



Vehicle involved in accident had fake number
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 9
The alleged hit-and-run case involving 40-year-old Navneet, a resident of Sector 9, by an unidentified vehicle here on September 12, 2008, has taken a new turn. Even as police fails to crack the case, it has now transpired that the erring vehicle was carrying a “fake” registration number.

Inquiries by The Tribune revealed that the number had never been allotted to the cab involved in the accident by the Chandigarh registration authorities.

However, misuse of an unallotted number by a vehicle involved in accident failed to make the registration authorities at Chandigarh and the tricity police to set the house in order.

The police, instead of taking the case as a threat to the security of the residents, found it a fit case for close, declaring the vehicle untraced. The registration authorities at Chandigarh failed to notice that whether it was a coincidence that a number not allotted by it was used as fake one by unscrupulous elements.

Navneet was hit by a maxi cab, injuring him seriously, on September 12 near Sector 9-16 petrol pump. Though the driver of the cab filed the spot, two eyewitnesses noted the registration number of cab as CH-03-A-0053. Dr Deepak, a resident of Sector 10, and Sudeep Agnihotri of Sector 11, who were present on the spot, confirming the number of the cab, said the driver, after waiting for a few minutes on the spot, escaped when Navneet was being taken to hospital.

KN Vohra, father of Navneet, said the police had approached him to get his nod to close the case, telling him that the number of the cab was untraceable. On the other hand, the registration authorities at Chandigarh confirmed that the number reported was never allotted to any vehicle. Moreover, it was not meant for commercial vehicles.

A taxi with a number not meant for a commercial vehicle, plying in the tricity, has left several questions on the working of security agencies.

“How was it possible that a cab with this number had been allowed to ferry the passengers? It leaves a question mark on the working of the traffic police of tricity,” said Vohra.

The inquires at the registration office in Chandigarh also revealed that the Chandigarh police was never informed of the incident.

Moreover, the Panchkula police also had never showed any enthusiasm to find the accused, said Vohra. Neither eyewitnesses were contacted nor any efforts were made to draw the sketches of the accused, added victim’s father.



Eviction of DC
MC chief seeks Chief Secy’s help
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 9
The President of the local Municipal Council today sought the help of the Chief Secretary, Punjab, to get the house vacated in the municipal complex, which had allegedly been unauthorisedly occupied by the former Deputy Commissioner HIS Garewal, and to recover over Rs 10 lakh as rent to the council for the accommodation.

In a letter sent to the Chief Secretary, Rajinder Singh Rana, the council president said the house, with no. 1985, at Phase V, had been unauthorisedly occupied by Garewal for quite some time and he had not vacated the house despite several reminders. Garewal was at present working as Secretary, pensions and grievances, Punjab. A sum of Rs 10,05,900 was outstanding as rent till December 31, 2008, against him for occupying the civic-body accommodation. Copies of the letter had also been sent to the Principal Secretary, personnel, and Principal Secretary, local governments.

A similar request for getting the house vacated has also been made by the Executive Officer of the council, Amna Kumar Goyal, in a letter written to the Director, local governments. In the letter, Goyal said the matter of getting the house vacated from Garewal and recovering outstanding dues should be taken up with the Chief Secretary.

The Punjab government, in a letter dated December 17, had asked the Municipal Council to send a report in this connection. The council authorities had earlier requested Principal Secretary concerned to intervene in the matter to get the house vacated and also help in realising the rent amount from Garewal.

Garewal had tried to take possession of the two-kanal house amid high drama on April 14, when he and the President of the council tried to occupy the house after it was vacated by a former EO of the council.

Truck loads of belongings of both Deputy Commissioner and MC President reached the municipal complex. A dispute arose as to who would occupy the house.

Garewal finally took possession of the house on April 17 and continued to live there even when he was no longer DC of the Mohali district.



MC issues notices to 200 for encroachment
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, January 9
Even as the NHAI battle it out with the banquet owners on Zirakpur-Panchkula highway over the illegal access to the highway, the Zirakpur Municipal Council has issued notices to around 200 shopkeepers on Zirakpur-Patiala highway to remove encroachments to the four-laning work.

The shopkeepers have been asked to remove the encroachments for the widening of the highway.

According to the Municipal Council officials, the notices were served after the PWD approached the MC with the order from High Court to remove the encroachments from the government land.

Executive Officer, Zirakpur, Vijay Gupta, said the notices to more than 200 shopkeepers had been issued and had told them to remove the encroachments. In case of failure by the shopkeepers to remove the encroachment, further action would be initiated by the administration, he added.



Pvt practitioners, health authorities sign MOU
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 9
A MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) was signed here today between district health authorities and sentinel private practitioners on sharing of information regarding spread of diseases. “IDSP Mohali Alert”, a monthly and annual bulletin, was also launched.

The MOU was signed at a workshop on the integrated disease surveillance project (IDSP) organised by the district surveillance unit at the IDSP training centre at the office of the civil surgeon.

Dr SPS Sohal, director, the Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, inaugurated the workshop and launched the IDSP Mohali Alert. He said that under this agreement the information would be shared between the private practitioners and district health authorities. This would help in taking timely action to control the outbreak of any disease. It is also first of its kind bulletin that the district surveillance unit had come out with. It would give the monthly statics’ of Mohali district for different diseases, he added.

Dr SP Surila, the district surveillance officer, gave his presentation regarding co-operation and sharing of health situation of Mohali with the private practitioners. He further said the IDSP was fully implemented in SAS Nagar district since September 2007. All para-medical staff, including laboratory technicians, ANMs, MPHW (Male) and pharmacists had been trained. IDSP Mohali Alert would highlight the monthly activity and the latest situation of the Mohali health.

Dr Avtar Singh, civil surgeon, said inter-sectoral meetings were held under the chairmanship of the District Surveillance Committee in which various factors were discussed, which caused the outbreak of diarrohea, cholera, dengue, malaria, etc.



Sober man challaned for drunk driving
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, January 9
Can a sober person be challaned for drunk driving? The answer should be in the negative but the Chandigarh traffic police seems to have performed this feat by challaning Vikram Singh, a resident of Sector 7.

However, not taking the police highhandedness lying down, the car driver presented himself before SP (traffic and security) HS Doon within minutes of the incident.

It is not the first time that the traffic police has gone beyond its brief to enforce the traffic rules on the car drivers.

The only offence the victim committed was that he had wrongly parked the car at Leisure valley. While being challaned, an argument was enough to provoke the policeman to teach him a lesson and slap a “drunken driving” case on him.

Vikram Singh, the victim, said, “I had parked my Verna car (CH 04 B-7340) around 12.30 pm at Leisure Valley, Sector 10, and SI Kapil Dev came up to me and asked to show the documents. After checking the documents, he gave me a ticket of wrong parking and drunk driving and took away my licence. Even after repeated requests, he did not listen to me. But I was not drunk at that time,” he claimed in a written complaint to Doon.

He added: “I went to SP (traffic and security) HS Doon to file a complaint against the policeman around 1 pm and the former assured of looking into the matter.”

Doon confirmed to the TNS: “He met me regarding his complaint and I have marked an inquiry to DSP (traffic) JS Cheema.” The complainant is a manager with a private bank at Delhi.



Partial relief for residents
Sheetal Mahajan and Harpreeti Bassi

Chandigarh, January 9
It was only a partial relief for city resident’s today. For, even after the calling off of strike by the Sector-26 grain market association following the removal of the checkpoints by the Chandigarh administration, the normal supply was yet be restored.

With truckers’ strike still on, the supply of several essential commodities, including edible oils and cereals, had been crippled.

However, as most of the commodities were non-perishable, there was no scarcity of the items in the city.

The available stocks of fruits and vegetables were being sold to consumers. Farmers from nearby areas also rushed to sell their perishable produce at the mandi.

By the evening, there was heavy rush at the mandi with a large number of people buying fresh vegetables and fruits.

“There is more variety in the market and the prices are also relatively nominal. With the end of the standoff between traders and the administration, we are finally getting fresh vegetables and fruits,” said Parveen Kaur, a homemaker.

Traders also heaved a sigh of relief after their demands were met. They have now joined hands with the authorities to check evasion of taxes.

Meanwhile, the decision to remove checkpoints was taken at a meeting of traders with senior administration officials, including UT administrator SF Rodrigues.

In fact, Rodrigues gave a dressing down to traders to either to “cooperate” with the administration or face authorities’ wrath.

Sources said traders promised to co-operate with the administration in checking evasion of various taxes.

The administration officials, on the other hand, assured traders that they would not be harassed.



HIV+ as outreach workers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The executive meeting of the State AIDS Control Society (SACS), Chandigarh, was held under the chairmanship of home-cum-health secretary Ram Niwas today.

The meeting was attended by Director, Health Services; Project Director, SACS; District Family Welfare Officer; president, Indian Medical Association; vice-president, Chandigarh Network of Positive People, and secretary, Servants of People Society.

The committee complimented the 13 targeted intervention projects being implemented through NGO to provide care, support and treatment to the high risk groups.

The projects have been instrumental in bringing down the prevalence of HIV in the city amongst female sex workers, intravenous drugs users and patients having sexually transmitted infections.

The committee also approved the proposal to employ 10 persons living with HIV/AIDS as outreach workers for free counselling and testing centres. One new free testing and counselling centre has been opened at the ITBP, Chandigarh, and another is being opened at the university.

This will facilitate creating awareness among the young vulnerable population.



Speaking Out
Fuelling chaos

With petrol stations running dry on account of a strike by oil officers, in a conversation with Priya Chadha people spoke strongly against the strike for the inconvenience that they had to face throughout the day

I have been standing in a queue for the past half hour and still could not get fuel. I do not understand how these officials could trouble us in support of their demands. We are already hassled by the hike in prices of vegetables and fruits after the grain market strike and this only added to our woes.

— Isha

I had gone to the Sector 15 petrol station, but there was no fuel. I then came to Sector 10 and here I have been standing for more than three hours. I could not even go to my office. Oil companies should have followed some other way to show their protest rather than inconveniencing the public.

— Vakinder

People are panic-struck and are fighting with one another over fuel. Before announcing such strikes; the management should make some alternative arrangements in advance so that there is no disruption in the routine life of the common man.

— Narender

My mother- in-law is a heart patient and is in a critical condition in hospital. Since the past two hours, I have been standing in a queue. I have to reach hospital in time as she is alone over there. I have been pleading with the manager of the petrol station to fill my car, but he has not bothered.

— Kanchan



Office-bearers elected
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The following have been elected as office-bearers of the Universal Co-operative House Building (1st) Society of Sector 21, Chandigarh. President: Davinder Kumar; Vice-President: Surjit Chaudhary; Secretary: SS Purba; Cashier: Devinder Pal Sharma. The executive members included Vijay Dutta, Kulwant Singh Sandhu and Kuldeep Singh.



Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Residents of Defence Colony, Baltana, elected Capt Gurbachan Singh as president of their welfare association during a general body meeting held recently. Chhaju Singh was elected joint secretary while Capt Mohinder Pal was elected treasurer.



e Wild Wild Web
Internet and censorship

The recent crackdown by Chinese officials on “vulgar” websites, including Google and the Chinese leading search engine, Baidu, has once again brought the sensitive issue of the Internet and Censor to the fore. China has named 19 leading Internet companies for failing to censor inappropriate content despite warnings, or did not do so swiftly enough. Baidu has captured about two-thirds of the world’s largest Net population — over 250m and growing — with Google in second place in China.

Wang Junxiu, a blog pioneer and critic of censorship, said the new campaign might have more to do with taming online opinion than stamping out pornography. I’d guess that this is in response to all the sensitive dates in 2009. They want to tighten up. This year sees the anniversaries of the 1959 uprising which sparked the Dalai Lama’s flight from Tibet, the bloody crackdown on the Tiananmen Square democracy protests in 1989, and the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

Internet censorship is control or suppression of the publishing or accessing of information on the Internet. The legal issues are similar to offline censorship.

One difference is that national borders are more permeable online as residents of a country that bans certain information can find it on websites hosted outside the country. Conversely, attempts by a government to prevent its citizens from seeing certain material can have the effect of restricting foreigners because the government may take action against Internet sites anywhere in the world, if they host objectionable material.

Barring total control on Internet-connected computers, such as in North Korea, total censorship of information on the Internet is very difficult (or impossible) to achieve due to the underlying distributed technology of the Internet. “Pseudonymity” and data havens (such as Freenet) allow unconditional free speech as the technology guarantees that material cannot be removed and the author of any information is impossible to link to a physical identity or organisation.

In November 2007, “Father of the Internet” Vint Cerf stated that he sees “Government-led control of the Internet failing” due to private ownership. There are a number of resources that allow users to bypass the technical aspects of Internet censorship. Each solution has differing ease of use, speed, and security from other options. There are proxy websites which are often the simplest and fastest way to access banned websites in censored nations. Such websites work by being themselves un-banned but capable of displaying banned material within them. This is usually accomplished by entering a URL address which the proxy website will fetch and display. They recommend using the ‘http’ protocol since it is encrypted and harder to block.

The “Reporters without Borders” has listed 15 countries as “enemies of the Internet”: They are: Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

The “OpenNet Initiative” (ONI) categorizes some nations as practicing extreme levels of Internet censorship. Such nations often censor political content and may retaliate against citizens who violate the censorship with measures such as imprisonment. China is one of such countries who are in the Pervasive category.. There is another list called “substantial” in which South Korea, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen figure prominently.

India has been clubbed with other countries in the “Nominal Category” In July 2006[update] <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Internet_censorship&action=edit> the Indian government directed ISPs to block seventeen websites, including some hosted on the Geosites, Blogspot and Typepad domains. Initial implementation difficulties led to these domains being blocked entirely. Access to sites on these domains other than the specifically banned ones was restored by most ISPs after about a week. The first documented incident of Internet censorship in India was the Yahoo! Groups ban in September 2003. Kynhun, a Yahoo! group linked to the outlawed “Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council”, a minor separatist group in the Northeast, was ordered banned by the Department of Telecommunications. Difficulties in implementing the ban by the ISP's ultimately led to all Yahoo! groups being banned for a period of about two weeks.

Recently, Indian law enforcement has entered an agreement with the popular social networking site Orkut to track down what it deems defamatory content which, in their example, includes content critical of Bal Thackeray

Pakistan is also in ONI's watch list. It has blocked access to websites critical of the government. Currently], the government has blocked blogs hosted on Blogspot.com.

Major portals occasionally exclude websites that they would ordinarily include. This renders a site invisible to people who do not know where to find it. When a major portal does this, it has a similar effect as censorship. Sometimes this exclusion is done to satisfy a legal or other requirement, other times it is purely at the discretion of the portal.

Anilm is an editor with Instablogs.com



Hardwork sees Pavneet through
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
‘I always knew I would score this much,” beamed Pavneet Singh Gulyani with confidence, as everybody applauded him for creating history by scoring 100 percentile in CAT prelims.

A final year student of mechanical engineering at PEC, Pavneet, son of a retail shopkeeper from Mohali has been declared engineering’s loss but management’s gain.

“He is just an average student at PEC but one of the best in the institute. He shatters the notion that toppers are good in academics throughout as what could not be seen in his mark sheets came out in this aptitude test,” said Gurmeet Sethi, centre head PT Chandigarh Centre.

“It was my first attempt at CAT and I know one need not be super intelligent to crack it. I am an average student who is good at maths but a little weak at language but my hardwork took me to the top. It was not that I studied like mad but I made sure I never let my routine get disrupted,” he revealed.

Pavneet considers the tear in his mother’s eyes on the declaration of result, the best compliment and foresees his future in education sector. “I have already received calls from about six IIMS. I want to be a pioneer entrepreneur in the field of education. I am not sure of what I will do but I will start my own venture for sure.”

Rome was not made in one day and so was his success, as according to his mother, Pavneet was always exceptional in maths and solving puzzles was his hobby.



More IIM calls for girls
Harpreeti Bassi/ Sheetal Mahajan

Chandigarh, January 9
The CAT results have brought all smiles for city students as not only the percentile increased but also the number of students hitting scores above 97 percentile has increased. An added brownie is the fact that the city’s fairer sex has taken everybody for surprise as more girls compared to the last five years have got calls from various IIMs.

According to Hirdesh Madan, head north, Bulls Eye, "The CAT results affirm our perception that IIMs are moving towards a stronger inclination for non-engineers. Even though successful students from Chandigarh region are still from an engineering background, there is a distinct bias tilting in favour of candidates with strong linguistic abilities. Surprisingly the number of girl students securing IIMs’ calls has increased this year as compared to the previous years." This year, more than nine girls from the city have already reported calls from IIMs.

“Though only a few hours of self study is sufficient but the mantra is to remain consistent and never give up. The routine needs to be followed religiously,” said Swati Gupta, an engineering student, who secured 99.85 percentile and has got three IIM calls from Bangalore, Indore and Lucknow.

The admission process will now zero in on close to 2,000 names for seats in top-notch management institutes around the country. Final admissions depend on the CAT score along with marks obtained in the group discussions and interviews to be conducted by various institutes individually. They are expected to commence in end of January and would last through the end of March. Final admissions would be declared from April onwards.



UIET students assemble single-seater car
Pawan Tiwari

Chandigarh, January 9
An 18-member team of the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET), Panjab University, has assembled a single-seater car of 340 CC petrol engine with 9 bhp for participation in the Society for Automotive Engineers (SAE) event in Indore, scheduled for January 30 to February 1.

Students from 55 top colleges of the country will participate in the event, said team captain Rana Singh Balgir.

In the three-day event, various cars will be tested on their design on the first day. The dynamic test and final run of the cars will be held on the second and the third day, respectively. The participants will require running the car for the endurance test for four hours.

“Around 200 colleges had applied for the competition and the UIET team had been selected after a documentation process and a technical interview over phone,” said Rana Singh.

Giving details, the team captain said national channels would telecast the event and a number of companies have been approached for sponsorship.

“It took around three months to complete the manufacturing process and its total cost has been around 1.75 lakh and the entire sum has been contributed solely by the team members,” added the team captain.



From PU
Seminar on disaster management from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The department of education, Panjab University, is organising a two-day national seminar-cum-workshop on “Partners in disaster management: Institutions & Community” under the aegis of assistance programme of UGC. This event will be hosted at ICSSR Complex on Jan 10- 11. Vice-Chancellor Prof RC Sobti, will inaugurate the seminar and director general of CRRID Rashpal Malhotra, will preside over.

The seminar will be attended by resource persons from defence force, police, fire department, disaster management department of municipal corporation, health department, banking and insurance, intelligence, engineering and architecture, media and education, NGO etc. It aims to draw action-oriented recommendations for various departments of governance, educational institutions and member of community through collaboration between policy makers, administrators, professionals, teachers and NGOs.

Workshop: The ICSSR North-Western regional centre is organising an advanced training workshop on “Qualitative methods and techniques in social science research” from January 12-23, 2009 at the ICSSR Complex, PU.

The programme will also expose the participants to the use of information technology particularly Internet applications in social science research and promoting quality research in social sciences and to motivate social science scholars to bring additional funds for undertaking national and international research projects.

The regional centre has been conducting such training programmes every year. The participants are from various universities and colleges from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and the Union Territory of Chandigarh.



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