C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Drug Racket
Seizure of AK-47 rifles baffles NCB
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The recovery of two unaccounted for AK-47 rifles from the “malkhana” of the Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB)’s regional office, here, has the left NCB officials in a quandary. Sources said the NCB was trying to locate the source of the sophisticated weapons.

Sources in the police said the recovery of AK-47 assault rifles had again raised a question mark over the functioning of Saji Mohan, former zonal director of NCB, Chandigarh, who is in custody of the Anti-Terrorist Squad of the Maharastra Police, which arrested the top IPS officer for drug trafficking on January 25.

The UT police had earlier registered a case of corruption against Saji Mohan for embezzlement of funds to the tune of Rs 13 lakh on a complaint lodged by “malkhana” in-charge RC Bodh last week.

The seizure of the weapons assumes significance as it contradicts with the NCB officials’ initial claims before media, following the arrest of Saji Mohan, of not finding anything missing from the records.

It has been learned that the rifles belong to the gunmen of Saji Mohan who are currently being interrogated by the ATS in Mumbai.

The NCB officials are now trying to trace the origin of these rifles and have noted down their details along with their numbers.

The NCB has reportedly written a letter to the Inspector-General of Police (Intelligence), Jammu and Kashmir, asking him if the weapons have been issued by the Jammu and Kashmir police.

Saji Mohan had served in the state before coming to Chandigarh and his gunmen were also said to be related to Jammu and Kashmir.

Meanwhile, the NCB officials have handed over the weapons to the Chandigarh police. Under the rules, the unaccounted for and illegal weapons are deposited with the area police.

Confirming the development, the UT SSP said the police had taken the AK-47 rifles in its custody.

The NCB was trying to find out the origin of the weapons and how these managed to get into the “malkhana” at their zonal office in Sector 2.

He added that further action would only be taken in this regard on the basis of the report submitted by the NCB to the local police.

The ATS had reportedly given some reports about the misconduct of the two gunmen of Saji Mohan and NCB Superintendent Balwinder Kumar to the NCB.



Fiza wants some answers
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 5
After waging her battle through media, Chander Mohan’s estranged ladylove and second wife Anuradha Bali aka Fiza seems to be hoping against hope.

“I want him to come and clear his stand on the issue and reply to all those promises he made during the courtship and whatever he is saying now,” said Fiza during a press briefing at her Sector-48 residence today.

However, to keep the pressure up on the former Deputy Chief Minister, her counsel said Chand had been given a 48-hour public notice (through the media) to come clean on the issue or face legal action.

Though she remained evasive on the nature of legal action that she planned to take, her counsel indicated that the case could be pursued under the relevant Sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Denying repeated queries that she was playing into the hands of politicians, she said efforts were being made to lend a political colour to her family affair.

In this context, she said a TV channel had even spoken of her “political intentions” on the basis of her dress.

“Chand did not bother about me when I was hospitalised after his disappearance from their house. A husband should know his duties,” she said while hinting at his being under pressure of his family, including his brother Kuldeep Bishnoi, president of the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC).

On Chand Mohammad’s reported remark that he was on a pilgrimage, she said: “When would he return home. Is pilgrimage more important than the health of wife? He has been changing statements,” she said while getting charged and upset over pointed queries by mediapersons. She even threatened to leave the press briefing and sue those who indulged in wrong reporting.

Targeting the Kalka MLA, an emotionally charged Fiza claimed that Seema Bishnoi, the first wife of Chand, knew about their courtship for the past three years. She read out text messages and showed some love letters purportedly written to her by Chand to counter the MLA’s version that he had not sent the messages.

Claiming Chand’s true love for her, she flashed a letter purportedly written by him in his blood.

On whether she was ready to live as the second wife of Chand, she left the question for Seema to answer. “I am not ready,” she quipped.

On the remark of an Islamic scholar that their marriage was invalid, Fiza said she could prove it in court that it was valid. Meanwhile, Prof Mohammad Saleem (retd) of Postgraduate College, Ropar, announced that he was adopting Fiza as his daughter and would give her all kind of support.



PGI technicians at it again 
Feb 10, 16 strike to hit patients
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Giving scant regard to the inconvenience that may be caused to patients and their kin, PGI technicians are set to strike work for the third time in the past three years for two hours on February 10 and 16. They will hold a dharna in support of their demands.

While PGI authorities are gearing themselves up to deal with the “illegal” strike and making efforts to ensure that patients are not put to inconvenience, the demands of Medical Technologists Association (MTA), which is spearheading the agitation, are nothing new.

The association had struck work on two earlier occasions - once by going on a day’s mass casual leave in 2007 and then again for nine days in April last year - in pursuance of their demands, “most” of which according to the PGI authorities were met.

Talking to The Tribune, Deputy Director (administration) AK Gupta dubbed the strike illegal and said it was unfortunate that in spite of cooperation and assurance from them, the association had hardened its stand on striking work.

“It’s really unreasonable,” he said, adding that even as authorities were going all out to resolve the matter amicably, the technicians had given a call for dharna, which would cause undue harassment to patients and adversely affect the hospital’s functioning.

“We respect the rights of the employees to put forth their demands but striking work and putting patients to inconvenience is not the right way,” Gupta asserted.

He said employees must understand that in hospitals patients were a priority and it was unethical to add to their suffering by putting them to inconvenience by such strikes.

There was no place for strikes or unions in hospitals and the same should be done away with, he added.

“We will take strict action against them as we can’t remain mute spectators to the problems of patients.” He added that most of the demands had already been fulfilled and rest were under consideration.

The demands of the technicians include increase in patient-care allowance to Rs 3,200, making it on a par with nursing allowances and withdrawal of victimisation cases.

The two-hour strike is likely to affect institute’s functioning as nearly 400 technicians, including those working in pathology and radiology department, will suspend work.

However, association office-bearers claim that patients will not be inconvenienced since their dharna will commence at 4.45 pm.



Liver transplant to be reality in city 
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
If things go as planned, transplantation of liver would be a reality in the city within a couple of months as the PGI is all set to upgrade its Liver Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Once available, the facility will prove a boon for patients suffering from liver cirrhosis, commonly known as chronic alcoholism.

Confirming this development, Deputy Director (administration), PGI, A.K. Gupta said that within six months, the institute would have the facility of liver transplantation as the Union Health Ministry had cleared the pending proposal. He said: “The work related to upgrading the facilities at the ICU will commence soon and carried out in a staggered manner.”

"There is a rise in hepatitis C and cirrhosis cases in city due to high alcohol consumption. Liver diseases were predominantly in the productive age group. Alcoholism is one of the major factors behind contracting hepatitis A, B and C virus. Once it reaches the stage of cirrhosis, death is certain in 18 to 24 months. A combination of cirrhosis and hepatitis C can be fatal,” say experts.

As per the figure available with the PGI, there are almost 3-4 per cent cases reported every week in the PGI due to malfunction of liver after alcohol consumption. Besides, 2-3 per cent hepatitis B cases are reported every week in PGI OPD, said Prof Y.K. Chawla, head of hepatology department, PGI. “Most of the patients die due to non-availability of transplantation facility here,” he said.

As prices of liquor have come down drastically in the city, the cases of liver cirrhosis are on the rise. "There is an increase in the percentage of liver disorders due to liquor consumption. Many people do not disclose, as there can be problems in procuring pension. So, figuratively speaking, the data pertaining to liver diseases due to alcohol is not transparent,” said a doctor at the department of drug de-addiction at PGI.



Lecturer shoots himself at Dehradun
Tribune News Service

Dehradun/Kharar, February 5
A lecturer of Doaba Group of Colleges, Kharar, committed suicide at Dehradun today.

Manish Pal, a lecturer of mechanical engineering with the institute, had gone to Dehradun to distribute invitation cards of his sister’s marriage.

According to the Dehradun police, Manish shot himself in the head with a country-made pistol at 11 pm yesterday on the terrace of his friend’s house in the Nalapani area of the city.

As per preliminary investigations conducted by the Dehradun police, Manish had been under depression due to strained relations with his girlfriend.

“Manish had studied in Dehradun and had some friends here. His sister’s wedding was scheduled for February 13. A few days ago, Manish had come to Dehradun to invite his friends,” said Raipur police station in-charge Jawahar Lal. The body has been sent to the Doon Hospital for a post-mortem examination.

The news of his death came as a bolt for the faculty and staff members of the institute. A condolence meeting was held at the institute this morning.

His colleagues at the institute remembered him as a congenial and jolly fellow, who had joined institute just six months ago. “He had taught for just one semester.

He was amongst the youngest faculty members and had completed his MTech in 2007,” added a staff member.

His colleagues added that Manish was excited about his sister’s marriage and had invited staff members as well to the function.

Institute’s managing director SS Sangha said the institute stood by the family during its hour of grief.



No fee for SC/ST students at PU
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
From the next academic session, students belonging to the Schedule Caste/Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) category can just walk in and get admission to Panjab University without paying any fee.

A decision to this effect was taken by the university authorities recently. From the next session, the university will prepare the bills of the fee of SC/ST students and send these to the social welfare department of the respective states of the students for reimbursement.

Under the decision, all eligible students under the category will be exempt from paying the admission fee for their courses and will only have to produce their certificates to get the admission.

Under the university norms, each department reserves 15 per cent seats for SC students and 7 per cent for ST students.

A senior official said earlier students of the reserved category got a concession of around 30 to 40 per cent on the fee during the admission.

However, most students were not aware of such concession and ended up paying the entire amount to the university.

With the introduction of this scheme, the SC/ST students will be able to avail of this benefit provided by their respective states.

The official stated that the decision would be a bonanza for SC/ST students. However, it will put a huge financial burden on the university as most of the states delay reimbursing bills.

PU Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti said the decision would help students belonging to economically weaker sections as they could now take admission to the university without bothering about the payment of fee.

A student belonging to reserved category said they welcomed the decision as most of the times the university authorities took the fee fixed for general category students from SC students with a promise to reimburse it by the end of the academic session. However, more often than not, the reserved category students left the university after completing their courses without getting the reimbursement.


Admn seeks cut in radio taxi fares
Feb 10, 16 strike to hit patients
Amit Khanna

Chandigarh, February 5
Faced with the directive of the UT administration to bring down the fares for availing radio taxi facility in view of the diesel prices coming down, the radio taxi operators toughened their stance and threatened to take their cars off the road, if the move is not taken back, here today.

Taking a strong exception to the move, director of Mega Cabs Manish Dhariwal said the reduction in diesel prices would deal a decisive blow to the already dying business in the tricity.

“We will be left with no other option because we have been incurring losses for the past two years, as the prices of diesel have been continuously rising whereas the fares were not increased accordingly.”

In February, 2008, the fares were increased from Rs 12 per km to Rs 15 per km. “As the fares were increased with an increase in the diesel prices, so the prices should be reduced that will provide relief to the users,” UT Home Secretary. Ram Niwas said.

“Also, the price of engine oil was Rs 105 per litre in 2006 and has soared to Rs 165 per litre in 2009. The administration should take these into account before asking for a rate cut,” said V S Dhillon of Indus Taxi.

Meanwhile, the administration has also re-invited bids for the non-AC taxis, under which any taxi operator owning a fleet of minimum ten cars driven on petrol, CNG or battery can apply till March 15. 



Denial of certificate miffs Dalit leaders
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 5
The National Conference of Dalit Organisations (NACDOR) has condemned the denial of issuance of SC certificates to some children by Sub-Divisional Magistrate concerned in spite of orders by the Deputy Commissioner.

Addressing mediapersons here yesterday, Dalit leaders claimed that first the administration issued SC certificates in 1995 to the Dalits without considering the instructions of the Ministry of Home Affairs (dated March 22, 1977), which required residence proof before November 1, 1966, and now it claimed it was done by mistake.

This meant children of those who got their certificates because of administration’s “mistake” will not be issued certificates.

Another point in question raised was the non-implementation of Deputy Commissioner’s order by the magistrate. Sukhram of NACDOR said: “When children went to get the certificate issued on January 28 and 29, the magistrate demanded Center’s notice and refused to accept the DC’s order.”

The organisation also raised question mark over the role of the Social Welfare Department. They said if their plight was not heard and action not taken in this regard, they would take to roads in protest.



Rehri markets virtual firetraps 
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
With barely some space to move about in the corridors and with encroachment galore, rehri markets in the city are proving to be virtually death traps in case of immediate fire. Notwithstanding the fact that devastating fire has destroyed rehri markets a number of times in past few years, most of these markets still continue to overlook fire safety norms.

A visit to various rehri markets in the city revealed that unauthorised encroachments in corridors pose a serious threat of fire in these markets. The markets, located in the heart of the city, including those in Sector 22, Sector 19 and Sector 15, are most frequented. Selling from dress materials to eatables, from toys to daily-need items, these markets are catering to every need, sans fire safety norms. Top of it all, there are food stalls and even dhabas located inside these congested markets. With these eateries using LPG cylinders, it becomes all the more fire prone for the visitors and even the shopkeepers themselves.

Also, some markets have allegedly come up in violation of the allotment rules. While the fire safety rules state that minimum of eight-feet area for passage should be left, the shopkeepers have encroached all of this mostly, and have left only two to three feet for walking.

Consequently, these encroachments not only cause inconvenience to visitors but are also a threat to the life and property of the people in these markets. Even in some areas, the shopkeepers have loose electricity wires running overhead, which again pose a big risk to them.

It is pertinent to mention that there are only few fire extinguishers installed in the market, but no sand buckets or other fire-fighting devices have been installed as laid down by the fire and safety wing of the MC under the fire and safety Act.

While a section of the shopkeepers lament that it is because of the callous attitude of the fire wing that no regular checks are being conducted, and if conducted, are not taken seriously.

On the other hand, MC fire officials, expressing helplessness, claim that they are unable to get the fire safety norms in place, thanks to the alleged patronising of these shopkeepers by some local politicians.

This also explains the vanity of the drives conducted by the MC officials and the enforcement wing time and again.

Officiating chief fire officer PK Shaman said they had been trying to educate the shopkeepers on the importance of fire-safety norms and the hazards without them in place. Mostly, it was the hanging wires, naked electricity connections and LPG cylinders, which became the cause of fire. Also, they were working towards making the enforcement of norms more stringent. 



Finally, Rs 3-cr grant reaches Mohali MC
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 5
The Mohali municipal council has finally received the Rs 3-crore grant amount given by the Punjab government for the development of the town.

A draft for Rs 3 crore, which had gone missing after it was given by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal at sangat darshan in the town on January 17 for Mohali’s development, was today handed over to the executive officer of the civic body by Jasjit Singh Bunny, son of Capt Kanwaljit Singh and chairman of the Punjab State Cooperative Bank. He was accompanied by some municipal councillors.

The Tribune had highlighted the mysterious disappearance of the draft in its columns today.

The draft has been deposited with the bank and the council is planning to utilise the amount to bore new tube-wells to meet the shortage of water and also carry out maintenance of roads in the town.

The civic body had been waiting for the grant since January 17, as it urgently wanted to bore tube-wells fearing that the work would get held up if a code of conduct was announced in connection with the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Many areas of the town were facing shortage of water and the cash-strapped civic body was unable to bore new tube-wells to solve the problem.

Certain councillors owing allegiance to Capt Kanwaljit Singh had been claiming all this while that the draft had been handed over to council authorities soon after the function, held in connection with the sangat darshan, concluded even as Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu had been alleging that the government had withdrawn the grant, as it did not want Congress leadership of the civic body to take credit for development work in the town.



HUDA to approve compounding fee by post
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 5
In an effort to bring transparency and relieve the public from harassment at its office, HUDA, has decided to inform the applicants of completion certificate about the approval of compounding fee by post only.

It would not only save the allottees from frequenting the corridors of the HUDA office, but it would also protect them from the exploitation at the hands of middlemen.

The officials at the HUDA office here said an allottee was supposed to apply for the completion or occupation certificate after constructing building on the plot allotted by the HUDA.

After that the applicants are left to frequent the dealing personnel to know about the compounding fee as there was no trend in informing them about the amount of fee formally, said the sources.

In fact after the application for completion certificate is submitted, the HUDA official, visit the site and the allottee is supposed to deposit the fee against the violations in the building plan.

However, the applicant is not issued any notice regarding it.

This led to leave a chance of their exploitation at the hands of middlemen. There were reports when the applicants were duped by the middlemen telling them the inflated compounding fee and making them believe that the fee could be reduced with the connivances of staff, sources added.

While the actual fee is deposited with the HUDA, the inflated amount is pocketed by the middlemen, said the sources.



Encroachers eye urban land in Haryana
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 5
The lack of coordination between the enforcement department of the Haryana Urban Development Authority and the Panchkula municipal council has not only led to the encroachments at over 100 acres of prime land here, it even left the land reclaimed by the enforcement staff of HUDA exposed to the threat of encroachments.

In the absence of any concrete plan to keep the encroachments under check, the menace is on a steady rise since many decades, leaving the authorities to shelve its major projects. The inter-state bus terminus proposed to be set up in Sector 1 in Kharak Mangoli is unlikely to happen, as the land in the area is under encroachments.

Though the enforcement department of HUDA has claimed to have removed encroachments from 13 acre land last week, the exercise is bound to go futile in the absence of any fencing. The land vacated by encroachers after a major anti-encroachment drive at Mansa Devi Complex, where a JCB machine of the enforcement wing was damaged and HUDA officials were injured, was also not fenced.

The land at Sector 14 was again encroached upon after 700 jhuggis were removed, from here, a few months ago.

HUDA sources said while the engineering department of HUDA did not show any interest in putting a fence around the reclaimed land, Panchkula municipal committee also did not share any responsibility of checking the encroachers. Instead, the encroachers were provided facilities by the council for vote politics, they said.

On the other hand, an official in the council, Ravinder Rawal, said checking encroachments in the town was HUDA’s responsibility. In fact, no efforts were made to remove the encroachements in the town, he said.

Suggesting remedial measures, Rawal said he had to write a letter to the deputy commissioner proposing to constitute a joint action committee headed by him or sub-divisional magistrate comprising executive officers of MC and HUDA, superintendent engineer of HUDA, Xen, HUDA, Panchkula tehsildar, deputy superintendent of police, representatives of public as members.



Encroachers make hay ahead of LS polls
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
With the Lok Sabha elections around the corner, the encroachers are having a field day in the city, under the alleged patronage politicians cutting across party lines. This is likely to emerge as a serious headache for the law enforcement agencies in the run-up to the elections.

The demolition of an illegal structure at the Sector 38 West Gurdwara Santsar complex has brought to focus the tacit support of the politicians to the encroachers, particularly those encroaching upon the public land for building religious structures.

All major political parties, including the Congress, BJP, BSP and the SAD, seem to have gone overboard in supporting the encroachers in the backdrop of the vote bank politics.

While the local leaders of the Congress and the BSP met UT Administrator S.F. Rodrigues in support of the "demands" of the gurdwara committee, Union Minister of State for Finance Pawan Bansal went a step ahead and met Ahmed Patel, political secretary to AICC chief Sonia Gandhi seeking "de-notification" of the area of the disputed structure.

On the other hand, BSP convener Harmohan Dhawan claimed that the "illegal" religious structures had come up all over Chandigarh over a period of time and it was the need of the hour either to grant them recognition or relocate them alternative sites to be provided by the administration as reasonable and subsidised rates.

Not to be left behind, a delegation of the local unit of the Congress, led by Congress president B.B. Bahl, and Mayor Kamlesh also met the Administrator.

Senior officials conceded that there was a spurt of encroachments in the run-up to elections - whether of the Municipal Corporation or the Lok Sabha.

It may be recalled that around 200 acres of land worth several crores was under the occupation of encroachers in Chandigarh, a majority of which enjoy political patronage.

Repeated attempts to get the land vacated had come in for severe resistance from various quarters, including political parties and social and religious organisations.



691 voters’ cards found dumped
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, February 5
As many as 691 voter identity cards were found in an open sewer near Sukhmani Institute in Dera Bassi here today.

According to information, local residents saw the voter I-cards in an open drain near the institute and they immediately informed SDM Dera Bassi, Puneet Goyal.

The SDM stated that around 6 pm some local residents came with these I-cards and stated that they found these cards from an open drain. He said around 691 I-cards were dumped in the drain and they were made in 2002.

He said the matter would be inquired and action would be taken against those who found guilty in the matter.

The residents said with the increase in incidents of terror attacks, fraud and forgery anybody could have used these dumped I-cards to get a mobile connection and bank loan. It is a serious matter and should be investigated thoroughly, they added.



Mayor reviews projects
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Kamlesh, Mayor Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, today held first review committee meeting with all the councillors and officers of the corporation regarding developmental works.

While chairing the meeting, Mayor asked the councillors to brief about the problems of their wards, and give suggestions on development works.

She suggested that councillors should also give report about all sanctioned and completed works of their wards.

She assured that overall development is a priority and development works would be completed soon.

Councillors took up their issues regarding various problems in their respective wards and discussed other developmental issues.

Various councillors and senior officers of the corporation attended the meeting. 



GMADA Auction
Anomaly in number of flats
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 5
While finalising the details before holding the draw of lots for the third phase of plots in Sectors 76 to 80, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has found that it does not have adequate number of 100 sq yard plots reserved for the oustees under the housing scheme.

As per the existing oustees policy, each oustee is entitled to a residential plot depending upon the size of the land acquired. Against the land acquired for Sectors 76 to 80, there were around 250 oustees.

The number would be double if the Supreme Court directive on claim of the oustees was taken into consideration.

Sources said certain minor alteration would be made to carve out plots for the oustees. The draw of lots of oustees would be held along with that of the other applicants. Around 1,300 plots are likely to be allotted in the draw of lots.

So far, the GMADA has allotted 2,500 plots out of total 3,931 plots.

The sources said though the draw of lots would be conducted, physical possession of the plots would not be given immediately. Already two draws of lots have been held for the housing scheme.



Speed governors mandatory from March 21
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The Chandigarh Administration, through a notification issued here today, made the installation of speed governors (conforming to the Standard AIS:018, as amended from time to time) by the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) in its buses and by the operators of all school buses mandatory.

The UT Administration directed that the speed governor would be so set that the vehicle was incapable of being driven at a speed in excess of 50 km per hour except down an incline.

The order will come into force with effect from March 21, 2009, a press note said here today. 



Alka Yagnik to perform in Rose Festival
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Bollywood singer Alka Yagnik, actress-turned-singer Sanobar Kabir, and Punjabi singer Labh Janjua will be performing in the three-day Rose Festival commencing from February 20. This was stated at a meeting held today under the chairmanship of home secretary Ram Niwas.

The festival will have a fashion show for the first time on the inaugural day, which would be followed by a laser show. Alka Yagnik will perform on February 22 along with popular comedian VIP of the ‘Comedy Circus’ fame. Sanobar Kabir will enthrall the audience on February 21 along with Janjua.

Various other activities, including competition of Rose Prince and Rose Princess, on-the-spot painting competition, photography, antakshri and kite-flying competition will also be organised.

It was decided at the meeting that no commercial activity, including stalls would be allowed in the Rose Garden and on Jan Marg.



National folk dance fest from today
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 5
The cultural face of the country would emerge at the three-day National Folk Dance Festival 2009 beginning here from tomorrow. The event, being held for the first time outside Delhi, would see participation by 500 artistes drawn from various states, said DS Saroya, director, North Zone Cultural Centre (NZCC), Patiala, while addressing a pre-event conference here today.

Union Minister of Tourism and Culture, Ambika Soni, would inaugurate the event. The Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana are also expected to be present on the occasion. The battery of artistes would present an hour-long choreographed programme of folk dances at Dusshera Ground here from 7 pm to 8 pm daily.

Saroya said the event was being held outside Delhi due to an initiative taken by the Union Minister.

Giving details of the event, the director said all prominent schools, colleges and other educational institutions had been requested to send list of five to six achievers each from their institutions so that the NZCC could send invitation cards to them.

The organisers felt that the festival should get a wider exposure and people in other areas of the country should also get the privilege to see it. The event would showcase varied and vibrant folk dances of 28 states and union territories. A total of 31 items will be presented, including tribal and martial dances. 



Tributes paid to Dr Randhawa
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 5
Dr MS Randhawa memorial lecture on "A passionate promoter of architecture and architects" was the highlight of the 100th Dr MS Randhawa birth anniversary celebrations at Indo Global College of Architecture at Ahbipur, about 20 km from here.

Delivering the lecture, Dr SS Bhatti, former principal of Chandigarh College of Architecture, highlighted several facets of life of Randhawa, who was an able administrator, art lover and humanist.

While paying tributes to Dr Randhawa, SS Sekhon, principal of the college, said Dr Randhawa was a multi-faceted personality.



Parking blues

The car parking charges at the Chandigarh railway station is Rs 10 per car, which seems to be on the higher side as compared to other parking lots run by private contractors. The Railways should also display the parking rate list prominently at the railway station parking lot to make it users’ friendly.

Sunil Minocha, Chd

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Education dept to hire new counsellors
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
With exams round the corner, the UT education department, seems to be geared up for a fresh ‘counsellor hunt’ to combat the existing shortage, thereby forgetting about 14 prospective counsellors ‘nurtured’ by it last year.

It may be noted that in 2007, Ex DPI SK Setia, had identified about 14 schoolteachers after screening and gave them a year-long study leave with full pay to do an advance diploma in child guidance and family affairs from Government Home Science College, so that they could serve as in-house counsellors in respective schools.

However, like many of his projects even the fate of this seems unclear as even after a year of conclusion of the course, teachers await their result and a nod from the department to start counselling.

“Keeping CBSE guidelines in mind, 14 of us from various schools and subjects were identified and made to do this diploma, which ended in May, but we have not got any result. We have approached both the college and PU but they blame each other for the delay. After the exit of DPI, even the education department seems to have forgotten every thing even the minutes of several meetings that clearly stated that we would serve as counsellors in our respective schools during half of our working hours,” said one of the teachers.

It may be noted that these teachers paid around Rs 40,000 and the money was to be refunded after the expiry of the bond period of four years.

While DPI Samwartak Singh was unavailable for comment, certain officials claimed, the issue had more to it than what is on surface.

“The department had paid for their study leave and is liable to return their money, also though they are yet to act as counsellors. So loads of money seems to have gone down the drain this is not the lone case many of Ex DPI’s projects have been shelved mid-way, as most of the files and information is yet to reach the new authority, who gets to know about these by media most of the times,” said one of them.



Tribune Impact
PU cancels student’s admission
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Panjab University authorities today cancelled the admission of Jaswinder Singh (Jassi) in the law department of the university this year, as he had been disqualified for two years under unfair mean case (UMC) registered against him last year.

The decision was taken in the meeting of the board of controller, which met here today. It was decided to cancel the admission of Jaswinder and a forgery case may be registered against him soon.

The Tribune had reported about this case under the headline, “Panjab University Blunder, Disqualified student admitted to law”, dated February 5, after which the authorities took action against the student.

PU, vice-chancellor R C Sobti, confirmed the cancellation of admission of Jaswinder by the authorities.



Jimmy Shergill enthralls MCM girls
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Students of MCM DAV, Sector 36, were enthralled by the presence of Jimmy Shergill amongst them today evening.

The cine star apprised the girls of the opportunities and the struggle involved to make a name in the film industry. He light heartedly replied to the queries put forth by the students and even delighted them by jovially reciting dialogues from his films both Hindi and Punjabi.

He even exhibited his dancing prowess by joining in with the giddha girls. 



Law students seek more facilities, go on strike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Students of Institute of Legal Studies, Panjab University, went on an indefinite strike till the authorities conceded their genuine demands that have been pending for a long time.

Students are agitating due to the problem of parking space in the department. They said the road leading to the department was often clogged with cars parked at every nook and corner of the road, which made very difficult for them to reach the department.

Other demands of the students included installation of the computer in the department, which had also been delayed for a long time. They also demanded releasing of funds for setting up a department’s library and early completion of the department building.

Besides, they are also demanding to set up a good canteen. The canteen, which is there at present in the department, is in a bad shape and the food items available there are of a bad quality.

They also demanded the canteen contractor should be changed as he had failed to provide good quality eatables.



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