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Schoolgirl run over by vehicle
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
A 14-year-old girl, Laxmi, was killed while her two schoolmates were injured when a speeding Toyota Innova hit them near the rotary of Sectors 39, 40, 55 and 56 here early this morning.

According to eyewitnesses, the accident occurred around 7.40 am when the girls were crossing the road separating Sectors 55 and 56 and the Innova knocked them down.

While two of the girls, Renu and Chandani (both sisters), were flung aside, Laxmi’s clothes got stuck in the bumper of the vehicle and she was dragged along. The driver applied brakes, but the speeding vehicle halted only after ramming into the rotary, crushing her.

The onlookers nabbed the driver and informed the police, which rushed all three to the PGI. Laxmi was declared brought dead by doctors while the condition of the other two was stable.

The impact of the collision was so great that the rotary was damaged and bricks had come off.

Laxmi, a resident of Sector 5, was a student of Class VIII at Government Model High School-40. She was the youngest in her family.

The SHO of the Sector 39 police station, Inspector Janak Rana, said the driver, Satwinder Singh of Kurali, had been arrested.

Hit by car, motorcyclist dies

A 22-year-old software mechanic, Raj Kumar, was killed after an Alto rammed into his motorcycle at Manimajra last evening.

Raj Kumar was seriously hurt in the mishap and fell unconscious on the spot. The police took him to the PGI, where he later succumbed to his injuries.

Sources said Raj Kumar was a resident of Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh and had come to the city to meet his maternal uncle.

The police has arrested the car driver, Jatin Kumar, on charges of rash and negligent driving.

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Cheap houses, says who?
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
“Cheap houses”, formally christened so by the administration for the rehabilitation of the economically weaker section and built in 1953-54 in Sector 19-C, from house number 2031 to 2040, have reportedly encroached upon land demarcated for two lanes of houses (2041 to 2050) that were never built.
The original design of cheap houses that fails to cater to the needs of residents
The original design of cheap houses that fails to cater to the needs of residents. 
Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan 

Similarly, vacant land marked for house nos 2071, 2072, 2101 and 2102 is being illegally utilised by adjoining houses.

The plan for houses that were not built, is in the original layout map. No department of the administration has bothered to check the status of the land.

Sanjay Kumar, Chief Administrator-cum-Secretary Housing, said: “It is astonishing that such a violation went unchecked for such a long time. After getting it assessed, action will be taken against violators,” he said.

A probe into the alleged irregularities revealed that residents of almost every “cheap house”, built by the administration in Sectors 19-C, 19-D, 15-D, 20-C and 24-C, had made alterations without permission.

Sources said a survey was conducted in 2003 and notices were served on violators, but only around 10 per cent of residents responded. Thereafter, the administration hardly bothered to call them again. Later, the violations became rampant.

The residents, however, alleged that the administration adopted pick-and-choose policy while dealing with violators. The president-in-chief of the Chandigarh Cheap Houses Welfare Confederation, VB Khanna, said taking into account the genuine requirements, the notices should be withdrawn by the administration.

“We have been asking the administration for sanctioning the revised building plan for cheap houses just as it was done in the case of marla houses by paying the requisite composition fee, but nothing has been done,” he said.

The administration has allowed cheap house owners to cover 75 per cent of the total plot area 522 sq ft which amounts to 391.5 sq ft at the ground and first floor, but residents are seeking to regularise 95 per cent of the covered area and raising staircase leading to the first floor.

Sanjay Kumar said by covering 95 per cent, the area left would not be sufficient for light and ventilation.

Mohan Lal Joshi, president of the Sector 19 association, said the houses built in 1954 had dark and dingy rooms. “No official from the administration bothered to take stock of the conditions in which we live. What is the harm if residents have modified the houses according to their convenience?” he asked. 

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LS Poll: Going will be tough for Jain
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The battle royale for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat is set to be a triangular contest among old political rivals -- Minister of State for Finance Pawan Bansal, former Union Minister Harmohan Dhawan and former MP Satya Pal Jain.

With the BJP high command today clearing Jain’s name for the local seat, the former MP has overcome the challenge posed by five other candidates. Hoshiarpur MP Avinash Rai Khanna had also thrown his hat in the ring.

The BSP had already declared Dhawan as its candidate. The Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) has recommended Bansal’s name and his candidature seems to be certain with no one else applying for ticket.

While managing ticket may have been easy for Jain, it would be a tough battle ahead for the senior BJP leader, who as in charge of Himachal affairs has been credited with winning the state for the party.

During the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, Bansal had defeated Jain with a huge margin of 45,073 votes, with the Congress leading by 35,698 votes in rehabilitation colonies alone. It has been mixed luck for Jain in previous elections. While he won the in 1996 and 1998, he was defeated by Bansal in 1991 and 2004.

This time the BJP is pinning hopes on the anti-incumbency factor. The BJP is blaming the administrator-adviser standoff on the failure of the Congress-led UPA government to effectively govern the union territory.

On the other hand, the Congress is banking on Bansal’s clean image and the development works undertaken during his tenure.

The party is also taking credit for the enhanced budget outlay for the city by the union finance ministry.

Dhawan wants to replicate the success of the social engineering formula of BSP supremo Mayawati in the city.

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Zirakpur-Kalka Highway
Centre sanctions funds for widening
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The last hurdle in the way of widening the Zirakpur-Kalka highway has been removed.

The Government of India has not only sanctioned the project, but also the funds for widening the stretch. The development follows directions by a Punjab and Haryana High Court Division Bench headed by Justice Uma Nath Singh.

As the traffic regulation and highway widening case came up for hearing before the Division Bench of Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice AN Jindal this morning, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) told the court that the project was likely to take some time. In fact, it requested for six week’s time.

Status reports in the matter were also filed by the states of Punjab and Haryana. An affidavit was submitted by the secretary, department of road transport and highways, Ministry of Shipping, Government of India. The reports, along with the affidavits, were taken on record.

The development follows the high court’s resolve to ease traffic congestion and end jams on the highways. The high court had earlier also made it clear that the project to streamline the flow of traffic on the Pinjore-Kalka-Parwanoo stretch could not be delayed on account of red tape.

The road has been witnessing traffic jams, especially on the stretch passing through the towns of Pinjore and Kalka.

The Bench was also of the view that the NHAI was constructing expressway for the benefit of the people at large. As such, the land belonging to it could not be used for parking vehicles.

The issue of widening the highways, especially the stretches between Chandigarh and Kalka, besides Zirakpur and Kalka, has its origin in a petition filed in public interest by Harish Kumar Puri of Ambala.

In his petition, Puri had earlier asked for the construction of rumble strips, along with traffic signals, at the crossings. He had stated that his 27-year-old son Ashok Puri had died on May 14, 1996, due to complete failure of the signal system.

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Admn aims at dustbin-free sectors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
With a view to streamlining the garbage collection network in the city, the administration has endeavoured to involve residents of the respective sectors.

While holding the public hearing session at UT Secretariat here today, UT Administrator Gen SF Rodrigues (Retd.) met the Federation of Sector Welfare Associations, Chandigarh.

Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar and Municipal Corporation Commissioner Roshan Sankaria have been entrusted with the responsibility of implementing the scheme.

Sanjay Kumar said efforts were being made to make sectors dustbin-free. “It has been observed that garbage collectors have made their own mafia in different sectors. To curb them, the administration has proposed that residents would segregate the waste at home itself. Thereafter, it would be collected directly from the homes to the dumping ground by designated vehicles. The residents’ body of Sector 18 has volunteered to implement the scheme. If successful, it would be extended to other sectors too”, he said.

The administrator also asserted on identifying haemophilic patients in the city and ensuring requisite medicines under safe transfusion scheme.

He received representations on common issues and individual problems pertaining to the estate office, rehabilitation of slum dwellers, allotment of booths to handicapped people, cooperative societies, construction of roads and improvement in sanitation in colonies besides personal matters for guidance and support.

While listening to the delegations of the Chandigarh Grain Market Association, General Rodrigues stressed on the need to extend partnership to upgrade the grain market and sabzi mandi with state-of-the-art facilities.

Adviser to UT Administrator, Pradip Mehra, Secretary to Governor MP Singh, Home Secretary Ram Niwas, IG SK Jain, Deputy Commissioner RK Rao and senior officers from the municipal corporation and other public dealing departments were present.

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Traffic rules a casualty on roads
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
In the backdrop of traffic violations in the city, chaos rules the city roads with the traffic police failing to restore order. In the first three weeks of this year, seven persons have died while at least 24 road accident victims have sustained serious injuries in the city.

Sources in the police say on an average one person is killed every two days in the city, while over three persons are injured every day in road accidents here.

The figures are based on the reported accidents only, as a large number of accidents go unreported after both parties reach a “compromise”.

A random survey is enough to reveal the violations across the city, as motorists rarely stop before stop lines at zebra crossing or give way to pedestrians.

Scooter and motorcycle riders can be seen driving on cycle tracks. Also, some have made illegal passages on road dividers and use these as shortcuts on busy roads.

Residents of areas where cycle tracks have been built rue that the tracks have become a source of nuisance for them.

Violators find these as escape routes to avoid being caught by the traffic police, which has allegedly turned a blind eye to the menace.

Giving details, sources in the Chandigarh Traffic Police inform that seven persons, including the 14-year-old schoolgirl who was killed today, have died in road accidents to date.

Sources add that a substantial number of road accidents victims are pedestrians, including minor children, cyclists and two-wheeler riders.

In most of the cases, pedestrians, rickshaw-pullers and cyclists are seen violating traffic rules by entering from wrong sides and jumping red lights.

Though, the police booked 411 rickshaw-pullers last year, the figure is apparently small against the actual violations by these slow-moving vehicles.

This year has already seen some gory road accidents. Callousness of an auto-rickshaw driver claimed the life of a young motorcyclist, who was knocked down by his vehicle. The auto-rickshaw driver dumped the youth in Mohali after the mishap.

A photographer in his early twenties was killed when a recklessly-driven Mahindra Scorpio rammed into his Maruti car after crossing a road divider on January 12.

All these accidents point to the bad road sense among drivers, said a traffic policeman.

A road safety expert remarks that the accidents belie the tall claims of the traffic police of conducting 32 road safety awareness workshops, in which they claim to have educated 1.62 lakh schoolchildren, teachers and general public and distributed over 3 lakh pamphlets with road safety messages.

“Just drive down any road in the city and you will see traffic police personnel turning a blind eye to the violations,” he adds.

On road sense among residents, Balpreet Singh of Sector 20 points out that residents of Hallo Majra village use the railing installed on the busy Chandigarh-Ambala road in front of the village to dry clothes.

Women can be seen taking loads of wet clothes to the railing, inviting mishaps, unmindful of the heavy traffic on the road.

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Classmates, teachers in shock
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, January 19
The death of 14-year-old Lakshmi, a class-VIII student of Government Model High School (GMHS), Sector 40, has left her classmates and school authorities in a state of shock.

Teachers said students, especially the girl’s classmates, had been in shock and it took them almost an hour to get back to their routine work.

“The moment we learned about the tragedy, were rushed to the PGI and after confirming the incident, informed the higher authorities and requested to announce a holiday. But a team from Delhi had to come for inspection for the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan and the request for holiday was not approved,” said principal HS Kaur.

A teacher said the girl was quite popular among staff and students for her disciplined and courteous behaviour.

Poonam, a classmate of the victim, said: “She was a good friend of mine and we used to share the same bench and even the meal. Her sudden death has shocked me.”

Another student, Preeti, said the negligent driver should be handed down a harsh punishment.

A crowd assembled outside the victim’s house. The mother of the girl said she was the youngest child in the family and had two brothers and two sisters.

Victim’s father, a labourer, said she always wanted to become a senior officer and was good in her studies.

“We worked day and night for her studies but in vain. She went to the school with her friends as always but a road accident took her away from us. It is still hard to sink in the reality.”

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Chickenpox: Doctors visit colony
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 19
The district health authorities failed to react promptly when cases of chickenpox were brought to the Civil Hospital from a slum area here even as two children died subsequently in the locality.

A team of doctors visited Udham Singh Colony in the Industrial Area here today, a week after two children suffering from chickenpox, had reported for treatment at the Civil Hospital on January 12.

The mother of the deceased brothers, Guddi Devi, said her sons -- Roop Raj (16) and Ram Raj (14) -- were taken to hospital on January 12 and January 14, but they were not admitted for treatment. While Roop Raj died the same evening, her second son died yesterday.

Guddi, who works as domestic help, had lost her husband five years ago. She said her sons worked in a milk factory.

She has three more children and the family hails from Una in Himachal.

Two doctors, meanwhile, visited the colony along with health workers to check if any fresh case of chickenpox had surfaced. The task was assigned by the Civil Surgeon, Dr Avtar Singh. The medical team found eight more children suffering from chickenpox, but they were recovering and there was no chance of spreading the disease.

The doctors told the Civil Surgeon that a number of children of the colony were anaemic and sanitation was poor in the locality.

The Civil Surgeon said no emergency steps were taken in chickenpox cases because it was not a serious disease and did not lead to death. It was a disease relating to viral and was self limiting. He said it was still suspected whether the two brothers died of chickenpox or some kind of infection.

The SMO in charge of the Civil Hospital, HS Sarang, said generally patients suffering from chickenpox were not admitted to hospital. 

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Even after two big fires in nine years at furniture market
Administration refuses to budge
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Two major fires in the illegal furniture market in Sectors 52-53 in the last nine years have failed to wake up the Chandigarh administration from its slumber and make it spare a thought for the removal the encroachment on the prime land.

Yesterday’s fire, reportedly due to a short-circuit in a shop, reduced eight shops to ashes in the market. Officials claimed that in the absence of timely action by the fire and emergency departments from Mohali and Chandigarh, the incident could have turned into a greater tragedy. The fire report suggested that no shop had installed fire safety equipment to meet such exigency.

A bigger fire had occurred in April, 2000 in which around 20 shops were gutted. At that time instructions had been issued for the installation of the fire safety equipment till the shifting of the market to another place.

However, neither the fire department monitored the market for the installation of fire-fighting system nor the shopkeepers bothered to installed it.

Officials in the corporation revealed that repeated communication by the MC to the administration to remove illegal furniture market had fallen on deaf ears. And, shopkeepers’ demand for an alternative site had also been hanging fire for a long time.

Officials said if immediate action was not taken by the administration it could result in another tragedy as the raw material used by them for polishing furniture is highly inflammable.

Home Secretary Ram Niwas stated that he would look into matter when the MC fire department submit its report to him.

Shopkeepers claimed that minor fire incidents were a routine affair in the market.

Meanwhile, shopkeepers blocked traffic near the market for over an hour and raised slogans against the administration today.

Union Minister of State for Finance and Parliamentary Affairs Pawan Kumar Bansal, who also visited the scene, assured the shopkeepers of taking up the matter with the administration for their rehabilitation.

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Rehri markets sit on powder keg
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Devastating fire destroying rehri markets a number of times in the past notwithstanding, most of these still continue to defy fire safety norms.

A visit to various rehri markets in the city revealed that unauthorised encroachments in corridors posed a serious threat of fire. The shops are flourishing with articles of all kinds, from dress material to foodstuff. Food stalls and dhabas are especially prone to fire.

In some markets, stalls have allegedly come up in violation of allotment rules. These encroachments not only cause inconvenience to visitors but are pose a threat to the life and property of people in these markets.

The vendors who use LPG cylinders and gas lights can become an easy source of a fire. In some areas, shopkeepers have left loose electricity cables that run overhead.

A cloth merchant felt that dhabas and other eateries posed a risk to such markets. He said though there were a few fire extinguishers in the market, sand buckets or other fire-fighting devices were missing.

A senior official of the fire department said it was strange that the corporation’s fire department was equipped with hi-tech equipment but they failed to check fire safety norms in these markets.

Pointing to recent purchase of motorbikes by the department, officials rued that these were not being utilised for the routine checking of sensitive markets in the city.

Officials said the enforcement wing and the fire department should start joint drive in the city to remove encroachments in the market and insure installation of fire-fighting equipment.

MC Commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria stated that the corporation fire department had organised a number of fire drills in these markets recently to make the shopkeepers aware of safety norms.

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Acquitted candidate found unfit to be cop
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
While politicians with criminal background can contest in elections, the stigma of a trivial case registered against a person was enough to “disqualify” him from the recruitment for constable of the police.

Considering the constable’s post to be “sensitive” in the “disciplined force”, the SSP, SS Srivastava, has placed on record that Havaldaar Karamjeet Singh cannot be recruited as a constable because he has a case, though innocuous in nature, registered against him.

The SSP orders, dated January 15, say “whereas the post of a constable in the police is a sensitive post, it being a disciplined force, requiring persons of good character, it is found not desirable to appoint him as a constable in the Chandigarh police”.

Karamjeet was declared successful during the recruitment held in 2008 for the temporary vacancy of a constable, but was rejected on the plea that an FIR under Sections 323, 325 and 392, IPC, was registered against him in 2001.

As per the order, the SSP knew of the case and the acquittal from the court since Karamjeet was not proved guilty.

Ironically, the IGP in 2007 had presented him with commendation certificate (Class 1) for his excellent service record. The certificate read: “Karamjeet Singh is being awarded for the excellent work and displaying exceptional physical and mental qualities, industriousness and full devotion in the performance of his duties.”

But even this was not enough to convince the SSP. “I was awarded cash prize along with this certificate. I never concealed my credentials to the interviewing authorities. How long can the stigma of a trivial case haunt me?” he asked.

Karamjeet approached Home Secretary Ram Niwas to intervene in the matter. When contacted, the Home Secretary said: “I have gone through his case and found that serious allegations were not levelled against Karamjeet. It is not justifiable to deprive him of his ‘due’. I will certainly take up the matter with the police department.”

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Two orphan girls sent to Nari Niketan
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 19
Two girls from Bihar were sent to the Nari Niketan after they were found roaming near Mouli village at Barwala by the local police here today.

Both the girls identified as Manisha (15) and Gudiya (11) reportedly reached here after they boarded a train when they fled some orphanage in Patna.

According to Sewa Ram, the in charge of police post at Mouli village, the girls were noticed by locals when they were roaming in the area. The police was informed about them following which they were produced before the Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police who ordered to provide them clothes and shoes, as they were bare foot with clothes in bad condition.

The girls told that Manisha had lost her parents while Gudiya’s father left him at a railway platform after her mother died.

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Slowdown takes toll on realty
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chaandigarh, January 19
Global meltdown has begun to cast its shadow on the realty business in the region. Though the realtors and builders have so far managed to hold on to the high property prices in the tri-city, the city’s periphery and the sectors surrounding the periphery have started seeing a correction in prices.

Sources informed TNS that because of slowdown the realty business in the tri-city had come to a standstill. Since nobody was ready to quote lower prices, all property transactions have stopped in the region. While this is true for transactions in properties in the northern sectors of Chandigarh, the developed sectors of Panchkula and Mohali, the newly developed sectors in Panchkula and Mohali are already witnessing a 10-15 per cent correction in prices. “The first to be affected were the builders and developers in Zirakpur, Dera Bassi and Kharan-Landaran. Already, the property prices in these areas have come down by 25 per cent. This phenomenon is slowly catching up in the tri-city, as well. The sectors adjoining the periphery are already witnessing a correction, and within the next three months, we expect a similar correction in prices in all parts of the tri-city,” said Kamal Jindal, general manager with Berkeley Realtech.

He added that realty prices in most of the mega projects had come down by 25 to 30 per cent. “These projects have negligible buyers, thus forcing them to woo buyers by offering foreign holidays, free furnishing or discounts in paying EMIs,” he said.

Agreed leading real estate advisor, Amarjit Sethi, “Though the sellers are still holding on to the prices that were prevalent before the slump in the market, it remains to be seen how long they can continue to do that. In fact, the success or failure of auction of commercial property in NAC, Chandigarh, scheduled for later this week, will also determine the future property prices. Generally, the sites on auction fetch 40-50 per cent more than the reserve price. This then becomes the market price of the area. But now, it seems that these sites will not yield more than the reserve price,” he said.

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More grant for akademis
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Adviser to the UT administrator Pradip Mehra today chaired the meeting of the city arts council.

At the meeting, it was decided to increase the grant of each akademis, the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademy, the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademy and the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademy by 5 lakh each for the next financial year. The grant would be now Rs 15 lakh instead of Rs 10 lakh per annum.

It was also decided to make necessary provisions to accommodate the three akademies at the Nehru Centre of Performing Arts, Sector 34, till any permanent site is provided to them.

The UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas, finance secretary Sanjay Kumar, director cultural affairs RS Verma and chief engineer Krishanjit Singh were among those present.

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‘Guru Manyo Granth’ depicts religious relevance
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, January 19
“Blessed are those whose spell of ignorance is broken, truth has revealed itself in their soul, their illusion is over and knowledge absolute shines within,” this divine utterance of Guru Nanak Dev, elucidating the ultimate achievement for a mortal being forms the basic concept of the theatrical production. ‘Guru Manyo Ganth’ staged at the Tagore theatre here today.

The historical play hailed as the British bilingual theatrical bonanza of religious and socio-cultural relevance is a joint production of the Guru Nanak Sikh School UK and the Punjabi Theatre Academy UK.

The serenity and tranquil environment pervaded the venue even as art lovers thronged the theatre waiting in reverence to see a rare spectacle.

The audio-visual effects and soulful gurbani recital in the background with chiaroscuro effects augmented the presentation level though the production design apparently suited to the foreign milieu and needs improvement.

The actors from city scored over those hailing from UK but nevertheless a bold effort by SS Chhokar and Sindras to propound the ethical values of gurus to the West through the vibrant medium of theatre.

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No one to clean Dasehra grounds
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 19
Dasehra grounds, a venue of public functions in Phase VIII here, have been neglected as three days after Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal held a vikas yatra rally at the venue, waste paper plates and other garbage lies scattered around.

The garbage has been lying in full public view since Saturday and the civic body has not even bothered to clean it.

Interestingly, some employees of the MC were actively participating in the SAD rally. Naresh Kumar, a resident of Phase VII, said cleanliness of the town was important and it was above the petty politics of the political parties. 

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‘Expanding’ P’kula not equipped to fight major fire
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 19
While the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has removed the restriction over the height of buildings in the town, the fire brigade department here is yet to gear up to meet any exigency.

The town with two upcoming malls with a height of 30 metres and a proposed 75-m building of a five star hotel in Sector 5, is equipped only with three conventional fire engines. In addition to this, a housing society in Sector 20 has been allowed to raise 18 stories which could take the building to the height to at least 60 metres.

The HUDA authorities, due to the shortage of land and exorbitant prices, have allowed buildings to go vertically so that the ground could be used for parking purposes.

However, a clearance was required from the civil aviation authorities in case of a building goes beyond 30 metres. When the height is to be increased more than 60 metres, structural clearance was also needed, officials of the district town and planning department said.

The policy has left the fire brigade in the lurch as it has no infrastructure to meet the challenge in case of a fire in a high-rise building. 

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Zirakpur MC gets Rs 2-cr grant
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, January 19
“Planned development of the town is my first priority,” said Cooperation Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh while presiding over a function in Harmilap Nagar, Baltana last evening.

Capt Kanwaljit handed over a cheque of Rs 2 crore to Vijay Kumar, executive officer, Zirakpur Municipal Council.

Speaking on the occasion, he said the Punjab government was committed for all round development of the state and it would provide whatever funds were required for carrying out these works. He said he believed in work rather than making false promises.

He also announced Rs 25 lakh grant for the construction of roads and Rs 20 lakh grant for construction of a tubewell in the area of Harmilap Nagar.

Taking serious note of problems arising out of drinking water problem, he ordered immediate remedial measures.

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Tabla concert regales audience
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 19
The rhythm in Indian music be it classical, light or folk, is of paramount importance. The point got substantiated as Dr Mahendra Prasad Sharma of Benaras gharana recited Tabla at a concert organised by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) at the Randhawa auditorium, here today.

An academician, author and performer Dr Prasad illustrated a variety of rhythmic patterns through compositions of six Tabla gharanas and the salient features of their presentation styles.

He brilliantly displayed the syllables and different layakaries with perfection. Accompanied by Ashok Kumar on Harmonium for Lehra, Prasad explained the structural form of each while delineating qaidas, paltas, parans, rela, m Kuad, ad kuad Biaad and many more patterns.

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Home Secy reviews operations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas today chaired a meeting regarding shifting of the operation of long-haul buses from ISBT-17 to ISBT-43 and other issues related to the new bus stand. Niwas directed Chief Engineer Krishanjit Singh to examine the issue of underground parking and conduct a viability study whether to undertake conventional parking mode or mechanical parking mode.

Tender for surface parking should be floated immediately and work be completed by March 31, he added. Regarding overall beautification of the ISBT-43, he stressed that aesthetic signage, guide maps and security instructions be installed for guidance of general public. He asked Chief Architect Sumit Kaur to submit a proposal on the selection of spaces, size and the modes of display for advertisements.

Niwas also directed Director Health Services MS Bains to submit a proposal for outsourcing the staff of emergency medical room.

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ewild wild web
Virtual Net parallel world 

‘Second Life’ is a 3-D virtual Internet world created by its residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown and today is inhabited by more than 8 million residents from around the globe. They inhabit the digital continent through avatars, who own virtual property, build homes and conduct online lives. Plenty of fantasy is thrown in. The only limit is imagination. Even the surreal world of architecture is there.

Because residents retain intellectual property rights in their digital creations, they can trade easily. The commerce is handled with the inworld unit of trade, the Linden dollar, which can be converted to US dollar at several thriving online exchanges. A US congressional committee too investigated whether virtual assets and incomes should be taxed.

The budding fake world is not only attracting people, it is also taking on a real world twist: big business interests are intruding on digital utopia. The ‘Second Life’ online service is fast becoming a three-dimensional test bed for corporate marketers, including Sony, BMG Music Entertainment, Sun Microsystems, Nissan, Adidas/Reebok, Toyota and Starwood Hotels. In ‘Second Life’ Reebok, Nike, Amazon and American Apparel have set up shops to sell digital as well as real world versions of their products. Nissan has introduced its Nissan promotion, featuring a gigantic vending machine dispensing cars people can “drive” around.

‘Second Life’ is over. Twitter is hot, at least among marketers. Companies that rushed to set up shop in ‘Second Life’ have abandoned their islands. Meanwhile, marketers are rushing to try out Twitter, a service through which people (and companies) broadcast very short updates to anyone who wants to listen. Little wonder if we read in the coming months how companies have stopped twittering and moved on to chase the next online fad.

Google has dipped its toe in the virtual world by launching an alternative reality website. The plug-in service, called ‘Lively’, allows users to assume online characters and wander around different settings from a coffee house to an exotic island.

There are other web sites in the virtual world including Active Worlds, EGO, Entropia Universe, Habbo Hotel, Meez, Nicktropolis, Project Wonderland, Roma Victor, Runescape, There, The Sims Online, Worlds, World of Kaneva, Zwinky, Vivety and Maplestory.

The virtual world is a haven where people can fulfil their sexual fantasies by pretending to be the opposite sex, experimenting with homosexuality, owning a harem and more. But beware of the temptation. Recently, a ‘Second Life’ affair lead to real-life divorce in the US.

In another case, a man has sued another for copying and then selling a piece of furniture that exists only in the virtual world. A bed which allows avatars to interact intimately with one another is the first known case to be brought in virtual copyright. A Florida-based businessman who sells the bed inside ‘Second Life’ claims another man copied his creation, says thousands of copies of the bed had been sold for just over $45 each.

The writer is an editor with Instablogs.com

[email protected]

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Letters
Governor system best

This is in response to the report “Governor or Chief Commissioner for the city” . We have already seen the era when the Chief Commissioner used to run the administrative structure in Chandigarh.

More powers were given to the Punjab Governor as administrator so that officials don’t have to run to the Central government to solve the issues of public interest. Thus, if we revert back to the old system, same problems that we had faced earlier may rise again.

The Governor/administrator, being a political appointee and a nominee of the Centre, definitely have more influence and bring about faster developments in the city.

Giving dual responsibility to the Punjab Governor as the UT administrator does not seem to be impractical. Because, as a Governor, he has to perform few duties as the constitutional head only.

So in my opinion, the present system of governance is well-equipped than the earlier one. As Chandigarh is under direct control of the Centre, hence, if anything is found unfit then it can be taken care of by the Home Minister.

Moreover, election is near so we should leave it to the next government to decide the matter.

Charanjiv Singh, Chandigarh 

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at [email protected] or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030

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Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan projects reviewed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
A three-member committee of joint review mission visited various city schools today to review the ongoing projects under Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan.

The team that visited places like Juvenile Home, Sector 25, GHS Dhanas and RBC centre, Maloya, was briefed about the various initiatives under taken to promote education in addition to efforts pertaining to able kids and beggars through a power-point presentation after which the team proceeded for a field visit to various schools.

“The team seemed impressed with the programme, however, a formal feed back will be available once they submit the report,” said DPI (S) Samwartak Singh.

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GCG food court fails to woo students, faculty
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The repute of GCG-11 of being the favourite spot for food lovers has fallen prey to the college authority’s ambitions to render a ‘hep’ makeover to the campus, as the swanky food court has failed to woo not only the students but also some of the franchisees.

The court that replaced the old canteen few months back is yet get to gain popularity among the students and faculty. “ Most of us belong to middle class families, earlier, we could get a proper lunch for Rs 15, but now, everything is expensve and we cannot afford it, ” a student, Preeti, said.

“I’m working here for over two decades now. Earlier, even the people from GC-11 would come to our canteen as the food was available at a cheap price. But now, the authorities seemed to have forgotten it is a government college and not a mall, said a faculty member.

It may be noted the franchisees like Sundaram’s also had shut their joints down as they could earn no profits.

“The business came down to zero during holidays and on other days too there were few sales. I could not reduce prices beyond a limit so I could not compromise on quality.” said Sundaram, owner Sundaram’s restaurant.

However, contractor Vinod Dua feels like any other business it will take time for a new venture to establish completely.

Meanwhile, the court is also creating ripples in the education department as senior official has declared the move thoughtless.

“The principal replaced the old canteen with branded food court. It’s only benefitting those who come from affluent backgrounds. Interestingly, the department has never questioned the transformation of government college into a mall,” he said.

Principal Promila Kaushal could not be contacted for her comments even after repeated efforts.

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Placement drive at Landran College 
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 19
NJ India, a company dealing in distribution of financial products and services conducted campus placement drive on the campus of Chandigarh Business School, Landran. The drive was open to students who are pursuing their MBA degree from CBS.

Winter school

A five-day winter school on strategic management for excellence sponsored by the ministry of Human Resource Development and All-India Council for Technical Education was inaugurated by Prof Manoj Dutta, director Punjab Engineering College, at Indo Global College of Engineering here.

Prof Manoj outlined the mantras for excelling in engineering.

He emphasised the need for networking with the institutes of higher learning. Institutes must take up projects for upliftment of the underprivileged.

Eminent educationists, including Prof MM Malhotra, Prof RN Nauhria, Brig Surender Bakshi, Prof Daljeet Singh and Prof Rakesh Wats would be addressing the winter school.

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Goonj: GCM college best in play
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The third day of UIET (University Institute of Engineering and Technology) fest ‘GOONJ’ turned out to be a colourful show of creativity, intelligence and performance. Various competitions like rangoli, body painting were organised in the morning fun stage arena.

Streetplay and one act plays were also presented in the English auditorium that was jampacked. The first prize was given to the team from GCM for their play “tam jam”. This play captured the problems that India had faced in 2008. Second prize was given to UIET for the play “Jee Jan Se”, depicting confused and empowered youth.

Another event ‘Battle of the mecha trons’ organised by the technical committee witnessed a war among robots built by students from various universities from the region.

Another literary event, “I Spell” saw huge crowds. I -spy was an investigative video making event, a perfect test of mind media and matter.

The final game event LAN thrash was also held in the gaming zone. Teams competed with each other in the virtual world to play games like NFS, FIFA and Counter Strike.

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Conference on corporate governance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
An International conference on Corporate Governance was organised by GGDSD College, Sector 32, in collaboration with the University of the Fraser Valley (Canada) in the college seminar hall today.

The key speakers included Joseph Page and Nicolas Rouleau, both practicing lawyers hailing from Vancouver, Canada and Harsh Lata, lecturer in the department of commerce and management in the college.

The college is also organising a series of lectures on "Teachings of Srimad Bhagvad Gita" by Dr Saroj Bhanot, lecturer in Sanskrit, in the college seminar hall from January 19 to 24.

In the first lecture today, key aspects and moral values propounded in the Holy Gita were deliberated upon.

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