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Private schools safer
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
When it comes to complying with fire safety norms, private city schools are better placed than their government counterparts.

A visit to some of the private schools revealed that newly constructed school buildings in Sectors 26 and 46 had a proper fire-fighting system with automatic sprinklers and detectors. However, the old buildings only have fire extinguishers, but there is a plan to switch over soon.

The installation of a proper fire-fighting system, according to some, is a pre-requisite for obtaining an NOC from the MC for procuring CBSE affiliation.

What is commendable is the initiative by these schools, wherein evacuation drills, identification of exit points, first aid and even usage of equipment is a regular feature.

“Students’ safety is our priority. We not only have the required equipment, but also consider training and awareness as a mandatory task that has to be undertaken regularly,” Atul Khanna, director of Strawberry Fields School, said.

According to officials at Bhavan Vidyalaya in Sector 27, the school authorities have prepared a contingency plan in case of a fire. The teachers and school captains are trained regularly in evacuation exercises.

But most schools feel the need for intervention of the authorities when it comes to training the staff. “We can build infrastructure and try to provide information to our staff and students, but it would be good if the authorities would train us on a regular basis. Why can’t it be a part of their routine. We have organised fire drills on our own. The MC doesn’t seem to care much,” one of the principals said.

The role of the MC assumes significance in case of schools in slum colonies, where due to lack of funds and awareness, the school authorities overlook the need for a fire-fighting system and airy buildings are considered sufficient. It is reported that the MC has never cared to inspect those schools.

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Partial reprieve for Kalka residents 
SC stays demolition for time being 
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Kalka, February 2
Hundreds of shopkeepers and residents got a temporary reprieve with the Supreme Court today granting a stay on demolition along the national highway here.

39 get breather

Confusion prevails over the fate of 203 persons as the stay order granted by the apex court was on an SLP filed by 39 out of 242 persons who were served notices by the NHAI. The NHAI project director said he would have to seek legal advice on the stay order before taking further action.

A Bench comprising Justice SH Kapadia and Justice Aftab Alam passed the order of status quo until February 10. The case would come up for hearing on February 9.

Confusion over the fate of 203 persons, however, prevailed throughout the day as the stay order was granted by the apex court on a special leave petition (SLP) filed by 39 out of the 242 persons who were issued notices by the NHAI.

The petitioners moved an SLP against the demolition orders issued on January 31 by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which asked the petitioners to remove encroachments by midnight of February 1. The NHAI and the Panchkula administration were directed to take action in case they failed to do so.

Even as a lot of people started removing encroachments on their own, officials of the NHAI started reaching the spot before noon along with a heavy police force. Deputy Commissioner Rajender Kataria and SP Sandip Khirwar were monitoring the situation.

The town was turned into a cantonment in the morning as police teams were requisitioned from Ambala and Kurukshetra to tackle any untoward incident. Sources in the police said around 100 policemen had been deployed in the morning and more had been requisitioned in the afternoon.

It was around 1 pm when NHAI workers got ready to demolish kiosks that they were informed about the stay.

NHAI project director KP Sharma when contacted, however, denied that the anti-encroachment drive had been deferred due to orders of the apex court. “I did not get any such orders till evening and the NHAI preferred not to interfere as people themselves were removing illegal construcions at over 200 points,” he said.

A team of the NHAI would visit the spot at night and assess the progress before taking further action, he added. Residents, meanwhile, visited the Kali Mata temple after they came to know about the stay orders and distributed sweets.

However, some residents seemed unwilling to wait till the case is decided and continued to demolish staircases and other constructions. 

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CBI likely to take up Saji Mohan case
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
The police has booked Saji Mohan, former zonal director of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Chandigarh, who has been arrested by the Mumbai police on the charges of drug trafficking. The CBI is likely to probe the case and has asked the NCB to hand over the complaint to it.

A senior police officer told The Tribune that the police had booked Saji Mohan under the Prevention of Corruption Act the same day it had received a complaint by the NCB.

The police had also invoked Section 409 of the IPC (criminal case of breach of trust by a government servant) against the tainted officer.

The police had initially registered a case under Section 409 of the IPC and had sent a press note in which it was not mentioned that a case of corruption had been registered against Saji Mohan.

The police officer said the investigations were almost complete and they only required the handwriting sample of Saji Mohan to ascertain whether it was he who had signed the documents to commit embezzlement.

The documents would be sent to the central forensic sciences laboratory for matching and if these matched, the section of forgery would be included in the case.

The case was registered on January 30 on a complaint by RC Bodh, investigating officer and malkhana in charge of the NCB, Chandigarh, saying that record inspection revealed that around Rs 13.81 lakh of a case property was handed over to Saji Mohan on December 22 by Balwinder Kumar, superintendent in the NCB, for depositing into the NCB account.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the CBI would take the case from the Chandigarh police for further action. Highly placed sources in the CBI said the contents of the case suggested that it was a clear case of corruption and came under the preview of the apex investigating agency as a top rank officer was involved.

Confirming the development, DIG CBI (Chandigarh) BL Soni said he had asked the NCB to forward the complaint to them for investigation. Though it would be premature to say anything, but the contents of the allegation suggest that provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act could be invoked against Saji Mohan, he added.

The IGP, SK Jain, said the police had not received any communication from the CBI in this regard.

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Drug Racket
UT police seeks info on cops’ role
IGP writes to Anti-Terrorist Squad of Maharashtra police for interrogation report of Saji Mohan 
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
The Inspector General of Police, SK Jain, today forwarded a communication to the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of the Maharashtra police, seeking a report of the interrogation of Saji Mohan to find out if any officer of the Chandigarh police was also involved in the racket.

The development assumes significance as the arrest of Saji Mohan had caused a stir in police circles that he was involved in “groupism” of the local police.

He had allegedly aligned with a group to sideline the other group, which resulted in the suspension of six Chandigarh police personnel, including Sub-Inspector Harinder Singh Sekhon.

The IGP today said that he had specifically asked the ATS to send a report if anything came up during the questioning of Saji Mohan about the six police officers of the Chandigarh police, including Sekhon, who were facing regular departmental inquiry here.

The local police had been claiming after Saji Mohan was arrested that it would write to the ATS to get details of the interrogation.

Sekhon and five other policemen were placed under suspension on the basis of a report send by the NCB during the tenure of Saji Mohan here last year. It was alleged that the said officers had links with drug peddlers.

Sources in the police said senior officers were worried over reports that Saji Mohan had admitted during his interrogation that he had links with police personnel.

Though senior officers had been refuting reports regarding “groupism” in the force, it has been giving a headache to them as time and again this angle emerges whenever the police deals with a sensational case.

Certain sections in the police had been alleging that Saji Mohan had targeted only those police officers who were playing an active role in curbing drug menace in the city.

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Now, Fiza alleges threat to life
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 2
Fiza alias Anuradha Bali, second wife of Haryana deputy Chief Minister Chand Mohammad alias Chander Mohan, today alleged that she was continuously receiving threatening SMSes on her cell phone from close associates of her husband’s kin.

“Nobody knows whether I will be alive or not tomorrow,” she said, while attacking her husband for playing with her sentiments. Claiming before mediapersons that Chand had persuaded and convinced her to marry him, she read out series of SMSes, purportedly sent to her between year 2006 and 2008, expressing his love for her.

Repeatedly accusing the former deputy CM of playing with her sentiments, she asked him to come out clean on the “status” of their marriage. “'I have lost everything,” said Fiza, while adding that she has been a victim of emotional blackmail.

“Chand must come out clean whether he is Chander Mohan or the man who married me after converting into Islam,” said an irritated Fiza, while reacting to former’s statement that he still loved his first wife Seema and their children, clearly hinting that his two-month-old marriage to Fiza was on the rocks.

Questioning the move of Chand’s family of disowning him, she said, “If it is so then why they are giving shelter to him.” Fiza claimed she was not after Chand’s money or property. “Had it been the case, I would have got married to him two years ago when he became the deputy CM,” she added.

The advocate also hinted that she might consider legal action against her husband in case he deserted her. “'I will take some action. It may be legal,” she said.

Chand Mohammad had gone missing from his residence on January 28 and Fiza had allegedly attempted suicide. Later, Fiza denied that she intended to kill herself. 

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Gurdwara Clash
Finally, MC calls Baba its employee
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
After initial reluctance, municipal corporation officials today accepted that Baba Swaroop Singh, chairman of Santsar gurdwara, Sector 38 West, was indeed its employee.

On January 30, inmates of the religious place had pelted enforcement staff and police with stones and allegedly fired gunshots when a team had gone to demolish an “illegal” floor of a residential quarter on the premises.

The pitched battle against the team headed by the ADC IS Sandhu and escorted by the UT police lasted almost half-an-hour, leaving six, including the ADC, injured.

On the day of the incidence, when The Tribune had first reported that the Baba, chairman of the gurdwara trust, was believed to be MC’s employee, none of the officials had admitted the same.

However, when MC Commissioner Dr Roshan Sankaria sought records today, it was established that he was an MC employee posted as a tube-well operator.

According to the official records, he was currently posted at tube-well No. R H 81 in Sector 38 A.

The records also stated that in March, 2003, he was posted at tube-well in Sector 38 West next to the gurdwara but was transferred from there to his present posting on October 21, 2008.

He remained on leave from November 5, 2008 till January 15. Thereafter, he joined back on January 16 and was on duty till January 29.

Due to closure of MC on Saturday and Sunday, he was supposed to join back today. However, he didn’t turn up today, claimed officials.

Meanwhile, various employee organisations said staying absent for a day without notice should not go against him.

The Chief Commissioner said he had sought records and an enquiry would be marked into the matter if need be. The UT Administrator has already marked an inquiry into the incident that took place on January 30.

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Encroachment
Stick to law, Guv tells officials
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Noting that rules were paramount, UT Administrator SF Rodrigues today told senior officers during a public hearing session to adhere to the provisions of law and not condone any kind of violation in respect of encroachment of government land.

He asked different enforcement agencies to work in close coordination and respond quickly to the action warranted by the situation.

He also ordered a full-scale internal inquiry to know the facts of the episode at the Sector-38 encroached site and the altercation between the enforcement staff and people of the locality.

Responding to the request of the disabled persons, Rodrigues asked the Finance Secretary and the Deputy Commissioner to allot booths to the needy after necessary formalities as part of programmes for their empowerment and making them useful members to the society.

Reacting to the demand of Footpath Cycle Workers’ Union, Rodrigues asked the Finance Secretary and Municipal Corporation Commissioner to explore the possibility of constructing small-size kiosks, with a standard design and colour scheme, for these service providers at appropriate places in different sectors depending upon the needs of the area.

He also took serious note of the complaint of safai karamcharis at Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, over non-payment of their dues by the contractor and asked the Home Secretary to ensure speedy justice to them.

The Chandigarh Shop-cum-Flat Welfare Association also met the Administrator on the SCF building bylaws issue and the Administrator asked the Chief Architect to sort out the issue within the parameters of law without any delay.

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An acre to cost govt over Rs 1.05 crore
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 2
Acquiring land for public purpose in the periphery of Chandigarh has become a costly proposition for the Punjab Government.

Going by the average rate of registries, the Mohali District Price Fixation Committee today recommended a rate ranging between Rs 1.05 crore an acre and Rs 1.25 crore an acre for acquiring around 125 acres for three important roads planned in the sectoral grid of the Mohali master plan. A solatium of 30 per cent would have to be added to the final compensation to landowners.

However, the issue of fixing rate of land to be acquired for a major road connecting the upcoming international airport with another road linking Kharar (at Desumajra village) with the Patiala road at Chatt village was deferred in the wake of certain clarifications sought by Prabhjot Singh Mand, deputy commissioner-cum-chairman of the price fixation committee.

After giving Rs 1.50 crore as compensation for an acre for acquisition of around 300 acres at Jeheorehi village for the international airport, the land rates have shot up in villages around Mohali city.

Chunks of land in Mauli Baidwan, Chila, Manuli, Kumbhra, Sohana, Shambalki, Raipur Kalan, Sukhgrah, Raipur Khurd villages are being acquired for the purpose and Chila, Manauli and Sohana villages are being acquired by GMADA for various projects. The DC said recommendation of rates for three projects had been sent to the Secretary, Housing and Urban Development.

The rates were approved in a meeting of the price fixation committee held under the chairmanship of the deputy commissioner. Balbir Singh Sidhu, Kharar MLA, and Ropar MP Sukhdev Singh Libra, who also attended the meeting, demanded higher rates for the land being acquired for the road connecting the international airport.

The Kharar MLA said landowners had no objection to the acquisition of land for the road at realistic rates, but the 200-feet-wide stretch being acquired for mix land use on both sides of the road was not acceptable to the people. He cited high registry rates in Ballomajra, Mauli Baidwan and Desumajra while demanding a high land compensation rates. GMADA has ordered survey of the structures, which were coming in way of the land acquisition at Desumajra village.

Alignment of road changed

Sidhu today claimed that alignment of the road connecting Kharar with the Patiala road at Chatt village had been changed to save land of influential persons in the Akali government.

He said an unnecessary bend had been given at Bakaurpur village to save land of a senior politician. The proposed alignment of the roads would run through the revenue estate of Landiali, Shafipur and Bakarpur villages before it joins the 300-metre-wide road connecting Balomajra (on the Chandigarh-Kharar road) with Chattbir village (on the Zirakpur-Patiala road).

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Zirakpur MC launches anti-encroachment drive
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, February 2
The Zirakpur MC today launched a drive to remove encroachments on both sides of the Baltana-Panchkula road.

They removed around 20 boards that were lying on the roadside.

Most shops were closed, as it was a day off.

According to the MC officials, the road had been encroached by the shopkeepers.

The boards, utensils and rehriwallahs occupy a major part of the road, he added. MC officials stated that they had given prior information to the shopkeepers.

They added that they took away the boards with them and no challan was issued to the shopkeepers.

Meanwhile, shopkeepers alleged that MC officials were adopting pick and choose policy in removing the encroachment. Shammi, a shopkeeper, alleged that the MC officials took the boards from the complex, which was not causing any problem to traffic.

The shopkeepers further alleged that the department concerned could not remove the hoardings of politicians, which they had put up along the busy road sections in Zirakpur. 

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Admn modifies terms for operators
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
The monopoly of AC radio cabs is set to be broken with the Chandigarh administration today modifying the terms and conditions for prospective non-AC taxi operators.

Under the new proposal, which could be submitted to the State Transport Authority (STA) by March 15 by taxi operators, low-cost non-AC taxis run on petrol/diesel/LPG/CNG/battery would be allowed in the city.

Earlier, the STA had invited applications from taxi operators running taxis on LPG and there were reportedly no takers for the proposal.

Currently, diesel-run AC radio cabs charge Rs 15 per km, the tariff that is considered to be on a higher side by a cross-section of society.

It is argued that in a city like Chandigarh, where traffic jams are virtually non-existent and traffic moved at a fairly high speed, the rate should be “reasonable” particularly in the wake recent reduction in the diesel prices.

AC taxi operators also earned revenue by virtue of putting up advertisement on taxis.

In a bid to provide relief to commuters, the administration has already decided to reduce tariff for AC cabs, a decision which is being opposed by AC taxi operators.

In fact, a delegation of cab operators today met Home-cum-Transport Secretary Ram Niwas and opposed the proposed reduction in cab rates.

They claimed that Rs 15 per km rate was “non-viable” for them with an increase in running cost. However, Ram Niwas put his foot down saying that the administration would effect a reduction in the current rate.

Meanwhile, Ram Niwas reiterated the commitment of the administration to offer an affordable non-AC taxi service to residents.

Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula offered vast scope for ferrying passengers from different points, making the non-AC taxi service a viable option, he opined.

Officials expected a good response this time as the diesel-run taxis provided better connectivity at less running cost. With public transport system failing to cater to the travel needs of a substantial number of tricity residents, visitors and tourists, non-AC taxis provided an affordable mode of transport, Ajmer Singh, an IT professional, added.

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Pulse Polio: Rotary International impressed
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 2
Moved on seeing the way migrants lived in Madanpur village, members of the Rotary International who toured the area here today, along with health officials, in connection with the pulse polio campaign said the poverty here was unbelievable.

Three members of the Rotary International - Rhonda E - Beth Stubbs from Tennessee, Rachel Oropeza from Florida and Robert L Beck from Virginia - said finding a way out for dealing with the poverty here was a challenge for India. People should be given pure drinking water, proper sanitation and the required immunisation to keep them free from various types of diseases.

Beck, who was going from door-to-door in the village, along with others to check whether polio drops had been given to children below five years of age, said he and others had been supporting the pulse polio programmes for the past 20 years and had come to India to see the progress. Indians were encouraged to provide the required cooperation in order to eradicate polio from the country. He said children suffering from polio were still found in four countries and India was one of them. The other three were Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria, he added.

All the three members of the Rotary International were impressed by the way the pulse polio campaign was being carried out in the town. There were 370 children below the age of five years in the village out of which 250 had been given polio drops on the first day of the campaign yesterday. Now the team members were moving from door to door to give polio drops to children who could not reach the booths set up for the purpose. The Rotarians spent about three hours in the village.

Dr Raju Dhir, nodal officer for the pulse polio campaign for Mohali, said that 14,970 children were to be given the drops out of which 8,636 were covered yesterday while 4,113 were given the drops today. The remaining would be covered tomorrow.

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Beopar Mandal for warehousing project 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
The annual general meeting of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, presided over by its president Charanjiv Singh, was held here yesterday.

Addressing the meeting, Charanjiv thanked the administration for its initiative to develop grain and vegetable market, Sector 26, and form core committee of traders for the same.

He urged the administration to launch the godown/warehousing project in the city at the earliest as there was no authorised godown here.

General secretary Diwakar Sahoonja appealed for early notifications for some pending issues like box type SCOs and commercial usage of all floors of existing buildings in the commercial markets of the city.

Sales tax-cum-VAT committee chairman Ram Karan demanded deemed assessment and lowering of VAT rates on certain items on the pattern of Punjab and other neighbouring states.

Food supplies and weight and measures committee chairman Ravi Kansal appealed to the central government to effect necessary amendments for the simplification and rationalisation of various provisions relating to food and supply, weight and measurement, packed commodity and the Essential Commodities Act.

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Contest winners awarded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
The valedictory function of the oil and gas conservation fortnight-2009 was organised here on Saturday.

In his welcome address, Amit Mehra, state-level coordinator (oil industry), UT, spoke about the importance of conservation of oil and gas activities undertaken during the fortnight.

Creator-director of Rock Garden Nek Chand, who was the chief guest on the occasion, stressed on the need for the conservation of petroleum products as India was dependent on their import for meeting domestic requirements.

Meanwhile, winners of various contests, including quiz competition, drawing and painting contest, slogan-writing contest and extempore speech contest were awarded by the chief guest.

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ewild wild web
Blog bug bites celebrities
Anil Maheshwari

The blog bug has bitten Indian political leaders, movie stars and journalists. Sakshi Didwani writes on the Reuter blogs: “Obama aka ‘the digital candidate’ reached out to voters by making himself accessible online. He used Web 2.0 with a passion, engaging and interacting with them on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter and also used new platforms like podcasts, online video and text messages to get his message across.

“So, is there a lesson there for Indian politicians, especially the younger lot led by Rahul Gandhi and his team of young Congress leaders like Milind Deora, Sachin Pilot and Jyotiraditya Scindia who are known to data-mine and number crunch to understand their support bases.

Even BJP’s Arun Jaitley is said to maintain an extensive database of the electorate and voting patterns in states and constituencies. Some of them have Facebook groups dedicated to them, but none with more than 500 supporters, a pittance when compared to Obama’s three million.”

But a comment on the post said: “You are talking about a group of people who were given laptops by the government but let the machines collect dust as they did not know how to switch them on.”

Moreover, Indian politicians are smitten by sensitivity: Omar Abdullah, before he became the Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, bid adieu to his blog as he could not fathom adverse comments.

BJP’s LK Advani recently started his blog. In his inaugural post he wrote: “Welcome, friends, to my blog. My young colleagues who have created this website told me that a political portal without a blog is like a letter without a signature. I quickly accepted this compelling logic.”

But his posts seem to be ghost-written, with a conversational tone. The blog allows comments, even though the comments are moderated. Most of the comments so far border on sycophancy. Moreover, Advani does not reply.

Gaurav Mishra, a blogger, opines: “That particular campaign style worked for Obama because he is a young, fresh-faced, charming man who promises change. But Advani has too much baggage, both good and bad, attached to him. It strains one’s credulity to imagine the austere, unsmiling Advani being rebranded like Obama.”

Even as Advani embraces web 2.0, India’s tech-savvy younger politicians still seem to be stuck in the pre-Internet era. Both BJP and Congress websites are strictly web 1.0.

The maverick Lalu Prasad Yadav’s blog, however, is hosted in the ‘celebrity blogs’ section of the entertainment web site MyPopKorn.com. The only Indian politician on Twitter is BJP’s VK Malhotra.

Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan has launched a website, inviting people to send their suggestions. It is in Hindi too.

A comment on the Gaurav’s post informs that Chandra Babu Naidu uses SMS to reach out to his supporters. But the SMS strategy had boomeranged on the ‘Shining India’ campaign of the BJP in 2004.

Both Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have past-era websites. The Communist parties have well edited and censored, but totally lackadaisical party websites.

Blogging is catching up with Bollywood stars too. Amitabh Bachchan has extended credibility to his “good friend” Anil Ambani’s Social Network BigAdda.com by using the platform to launch his own blog. He has started enjoying it as almost every day he posts his day diary. Many celebrities are using surprisingly strange platforms managed by some companies who don’t know about feeds and other important blogging basics.

It is always a pleasure to read Shekhar Kapur’s regular posts. In a recent post he writes: “Our world and the way we interact with each other is changing. Social behaviour is changing because of it. So we should be sharing points of view on it. In Asia Internet surfing is increasingly done on cell phones. It is estimated that in India 65 % of the basic internet usage is done on the cell phone. We seem to be jumping the PC technology straight into mobile technology.”

In another entry, he said: “We must be responsible bloggers. We are exploring very sensitive issues on our blog and I do not put any form of editorial control except for obscenity, or very personal and direct insulting behavior towards another member of our community… But we must remember that the future of blogging, if it is to be a tool of social change, then we, the initiators bear the responsibility to nurture and shepherd this new movement.” Recently, some big newspapers groups too have entered blogosphere such as htblogs.com. In it there are posts or entries by the senior editorial staff members, but these blogs are not updated and the bloggers have failed grandly and gravely to respond to the comments. The posts are lengthy like newspaper articles. The editors/bloggers do not care for the cardinal rules of blogging: Writing well; posting frequently and interacting with comments.

The writer is an editor with Instablogs.com & can be reached at anilm@instablogs.com 

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Letters
Frequent transfers not done

This is in reference to a news item in Chandigarh Tribune (30 Jan) "Frequent transfers of DCs and SSPs in Mohali". The startling revelation of transfers of 4 DCs and 5 SSPs of Mohali in just three years is indeed highly deplorable. The frequent changes in the higher echelon at the district head quarter level not only cause set-back to the development works but burdens the exchequer due to delays resulting into cost over-runs.

The system also has an adverse effect on the education of the children of the affected officials due to frequent movements besides avoidable expenditure (in the form of transfer grants/TA/DA) to the state already under financial crunch. For good governance and effective administration, imperative incumbent is given a minimum of two-year tenure to achieve the results and also to prove the administrative acumen.

In the changing political scenario need of the hour is to bring the administrative reforms giving guidelines for postings/transfers, non-political interference in implementation and accountability of the officials.

SS Arora, Mohali

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030

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Fire safety
PU yet to wake up
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, February 2
A year after the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) asked Panjab University to tone up its fire fighting system, the university continues to turn a blind eye to civic body’s directive, apparently endangering lives of students and faculty.

Flouting provisions of the Delhi Fire Safety and Prevention Act as extended to the city, the university is still to spare a thought for the installation of sprinklers, automatic fire, and detective alarm systems.

Sub fire officer of the MC Madan Lal Sharma, informed that the corporation had served a notice on the PU to comply with the fire safety norm over a year ago.

However, the university is yet to comply with MC’s instructions despite regular meetings, Madan Lal said promising a strict action against the university.

A random survey revealed that a majority of the buildings, including hostels, are violating the provisions of the Act. The AC Joshi library, the administrative block and certain departments having laboratories had fire extinguishers, which expired in April 2008. The condition of most of the auditoriums, where hundreds of the students and teachers attend functions regularly, is no different.

A girl boarder said: “There are seven girls’ hostels, including four having six floors, yet no hostel conforms to the fire safety norms.” In the boys’ hostels, not even a single fire extinguisher was visible.

University registrar SS Bari, said: “We are aware about the violations and have set up committees to tackle the situation. The companies have been invited to install the new fire extinguishers and to refill the old ones.”

Bari further said another committee had been set up to deal with the requirements of sprinklers and water pipes at the buildings, depending upon their requirements.

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Student injured in group clash
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Dinkar of Panchkula was injured when a group of boys assaulted him with roads and sharp edged weapons outside SD College in Sector 32, here, this afternoon.

According to the police, Dinkar had a dispute with Piyush of Sector 31, following which he assaulted him last year. A case was registered against Dinkar then. Piyush along with three others boys armed with weapons assaulted Dinkar to take revenge. He sustained injuries on his limbs and was rushed to the Sector-32 Government Medical College and Hospital, from where he was later discharged.

The police has registered a case under sections 323, 506 and 34 of the IPC against Piyush and three others.

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