C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Panchkula police beefs up security
133 additional cops reach town; sketch of suspect released
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 13
The Panchkula police today released a sketch of one of the accused in the bank robbery at the State Bank of Patiala yesterday. The police is also screening 261 files of criminals from the region, including seven history-sheeters.

Left red-faced after a robbery spree in Panchkula, the authorities have strengthened the security with deployment of police personnel in the areas bordering Chandigarh and Mohali district.

A total of 133 Haryana Police jawans reached the town for the purpose on temporary posting. Besides, eight motorcycles have been inducted in the fleet of local police. Superintendent of Police Sandip Khirwar said: “The additional staff reached here today on temporary posting and will be deployed on the all entry points of Panchkula.”

Security lapse

The banks in the town ignore the instructions issued by the police on security measures. All the banks, including the State Bank of Patiala, Sector 15 branch, where the robbers took away Rs 9.57 lakh at gun point, were asked to install CCTV cameras by the police through a letter in 2007. Later, a meeting of bankers and police authorities were also held on the issue in May 2008. Even then, most of the banks have failed to follow the instructions

Earlier, there were around 700 regular police personnel with the district police, supported by more than 150 security personnel from IRB and the home guards.

Meanwhile, the bank authorities in the town were seen taking steps to tighten the security arrangements in their respective branches. While the Assistant General Manager of SBoP V.K. Gupta reviewed the security of all six branches in the town, officials from many other banks were seen contacting Panchkula administration for issuance of arm licenses.

Deputy Commissioner Rajender Kataria said that officials from three bank contacted him for the purpose and he had assured them that the licences would be issued to them.

However, the security guards in front of the banks were already deployed since morning. During a visit to the Sector 20, it was found that guards at both the branches in the adjoining buildings of State Bank of Patiala as well as ICICI Bank were deployed.

“There are lessons to be learnt from the yesterday’s incident which can help to nab the miscreants,” said the SP. There should be good quality CCTV cameras installed at the banks and other sensitive places, he said, adding: “The recording gadgets are to be kept at safe place. The footage retrieved from CCTV cameras installed at the PC Jewellers where was of poor quality and the robbers at State Bank of India, Pathrehri, had taken the recording system of the CCTV camera along with them while fleeing from the spot,” said Khirwar.



Medicity lands UT in Catch-22 situation
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
The administration is caught in a Catch-22 situation on its ambitious state-of-the-art Medicity project yet again. Now, questions are being raised at the administration's decision to re-invite the expression of interest (EoI) for the controversial project at a time when the project is under scanner of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).

Questions are being raised at the administration's decision to re-invite the expression of interest for the controversial project at a time when the project is under scanner of the CVC

While the administration's senior standing counsel Anupam Gupta informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court yesterday that the administration would invite the EoI afresh in the wake of the project's relocation from Raipur Kalan to the IT Park area, the moot question is whether it is ethical for the administration to do so till the pendency of the CVC inquiry.

Acting on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by advocate Harmeet Singh Grewal, the high court directed the administration to re-invite the EoI following the relocation of the Medicity site to the IT Park. Despite the high court directive, the administration should wait for CVC clean chit before going ahead with the project.

Senior advocate ML Sarin echoes similar sentiments saying that the administration should keep its "hands off" the project till the CVC gives a go ahead in the case.

The CVC probe into the administration's controversial mega projects in being conducted under the CrPC and it would take at least two years for the completion of the inquiry.

UT Adviser Pradip Mehra's strong objections to the valuation of the 45 acres of prime land for the project, costing over Rs 2,000 crore at merely Rs 203.70 crore (upfront project fee price) had set off the ongoing tug of war with Rodrigues over the latter's pet mega project. In fact, the Adviser has also questioned the revenue model of public-private participation vehemently being pushed by the Administrator.



City gives thumbs up to Nithari death penalty
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

The Sector 27 residence of Moninder Singh Pandher. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, February 13
An uneasy calm prevailed at the Sector 27 residence of Moninder Singh Pandher toady after a special CBI court awarded the death sentence to him and his domestic help Surinder Koli for Nithari killings.

While none of the members of the Pandher family were present in the house, anxiety was writ large on the faces of servants and a gardener, who were apparently aware of the impending verdict. “Kya hua ji”, was the first question one of the servants asked this correspondent when she revealed her identity them.

When told that the Pandher had been sentenced to death, the anxious looks turned into despondency albeit for a few minutes. They refused to comment, except repeating that “sab log teen-chaar din se kahin gaye hain” (everyone has been out for the last three-four days.”

When cajoled further, they admitted that they did not know much about the “bara sahib” (Pandher) since he used to stay out most of the time. When asked if they were aware about Nithari, all they said “sunna to hai”. However, in contrast to these muted response, some of the neighbours were vocal, albeit on a condition of anonymity. “Yes we were expecting that the sentence would be harsh. Nothing less than death sentence would have been befitting for the heinous and inhuman crime,” said a young couple who stayed in the vicinity.

Another neighbour said though he never expected Pandher to be “such a man” but the death sentence was the most appropriate in view of the nature of the crime. “I have met that man a few times, but now I’m sorry for having even shaken hands with him,” he said with disgust.

A senior citizen, S. Singh, said, “When the news of killings of several children was flashed on news channels in 2006, I was taken aback. It is shocking how can someone cook and eat human organs. It is really unfortunate and a person who has committed such insane act must be hanged.”

Social activist and advocate Madhu P. Singh said, “The crime was heinous and the court has rightly convicted him as it falls in the rarest of the rarest cases. It’s not the killing of only one child, there were 19 children who were killed mercilessly.”



School board gets tough on staff
Tribune News Service

The locked main gate of the Punjab School Education Board in Mohali on Friday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, February 13
To ensure attendance of its employees during the office hours, the Punjab School Education Board today locked the entry to the board premises here.

A notice on behalf of the chairman read that the gate had been locked to ensure that employees did not leave their seats during working hours.

However, the employees would be allowed to move out during lunch hours.

Sources said the step had been taken to ensure the attendance of the employees, as board authorities were preparing for the smooth conduct of the annual board examination.

Meanwhile, the union has objected to move.


GMADA mulls ‘work-shop-play-live’ concept
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 13
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) is all set to unveil a new concept of “work-shop-play-live” in the commercial business district (CBD) being developed in the Sector 62 City Centre in Mohali.

Planned on the concept of free-flowing design, the plan of the business district is a shift from the concept of “work-n-shop” seen in Chandigarh’s commercial centres of Sectors 17 and 34. Unlike the view of central piazza of Sector 17, which is blocked by buildings on all sides, a visitor would have a free view of the central piazza planned in the heart of the commercial area in the city centre.

To ensure that the business district reflected vibrancy, the GMADA has allowed mega malls, hotels, commercial area, mix land use activity, including residential quarters. After reducing the land allotted to two gurdwaras, PUDA complex, Fortis Hospital, the authority was left with around 200 acres to give practical shape to the concept. The first project to take off will be a hotel-cum-convention centre.

Once the concept takes shape, the town’s skyline would change as a height of up to 65 metres (around 213 feet) has been allowed after taking clearance from defence authorities as the area falls in the funnel area of the Chandigarh airport.

Apart from the commercial venture, the GMADA has been entrusted with the responsibility of providing all the basic amenities as per the international standards. The leisure valley running through the sector would also be redone. “Around Rs 17 crore is already being spent on widening of roads running around Sector 62,” said an official.

The Singapore-based consultant, Jurong Ltd, is reported to have also suggested central place for metro station as the feasibility study for the metro project in the region was already underway.

Since Sector 62 is the gateway to Punjab, the development will serve as the new landmark for the entire state. Besides, the City Centre will be in continuity to the city centres in Sectors 17, 34 and 42 of Chandigarh. The Chandigarh business centres, Sector 62 and another proposed in Sector 88 all fall along the main road that will serve as a vital road link for the region.



Sampuran Singh gets his due, finally
HC directs allocation of land to freedom fighter’s son
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
Sampuran Singh never got what was due to him, because of the state apathy. Only the late freedom fighter’s son got justice from the Punjab and Haryana High Court today.

Lashing out at the state for not acknowledging the sacrifices made by Lyallpur’s former MLA Sampuran Singh, Justice Ranjit Singh asked the state to allocate land to Parampit Singh in lieu of 50 acres, which was confiscated by the British for his father’s role in the freedom struggle.

Bar-at-law Sampuran Singh was also the leader of Opposition during the pre-partition days.

“He must be tossing in discomfort, wherever he is,” Justice Ranjit Singh has asserted in his orders.

A leading personality in the freedom struggle against the British rule between 1930 and 1942, he had taken part in Satyagraha and had also participated in the Quit India Movement.

His activities were treated by the British government as act of treason and his 50 acres of agriculture land in Pir Mahal in Lyallpur district in Pakistan was confiscated.

The strong-worded order, apparently straight from the heart, begins: “Yet another freedom fighter is before the court to get what is his due. This freedom fighter has approached the court not to seek any favour or honour or pension, but seeks the return of his own property, which he lost due to the action of a foreign ruler through confiscation because he fought for the freedom of the country.

“He died fighting to get back what was his own. His son is now seeking justice through the present writ petition”.

Miffed over the attitude of the state and its functionaries, Justice Ranjit Singh questioned: Would not he be thinking that the nation has forgotten so easily his sacrifies to deny him or his ward what is his own?

“This new struggle for the son of the freedom fighter in the 60th year of Independence, to get back what was owned by his father, would not show us all in good light.

It does not speak well of our system. Is this the way to show gratitude to those who fought so that we can have our today?

“The petitioner is seeking return of his own property unfairly confiscated and is not seeking any favours, grant or doles, which should receive any objection.

Still, the state has been totally reluctant and evasive to concede to this genuine prayer made by the petitioner….”

Allowing the petition with costs quantified at Rs 50,000, Justice Ranjit Singh concluded: “The state would take immediate action to allot land to the petitioner as per entitlement.”



Farmers must adopt soil-less cultivation technique: Expert
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 13
Farmers in the northern region need to adopt soil-less cultivation technique to fetch good price for the off-season produce, said Rubizive, an Israel-based expert on soil-less cultivation.

He was speaking at a seminar on “Soil-less cultivation in greenhouse’ organised by the INA Rural Development Society and SAS Institute of Information Technology and Research here today.

Rubzivi, who also works for an Israeli company dealing in specialised equipment used in soil-less growing of vegetables, roses, cut flowers, herbs and other plants, said cocopeat (made from coconut skin), the raw material used in growing of the plants, was easily available in India. The farmers here can make optimum use of the concept to maximise their produce, he added.

“Farmers are growing cucurbits during their normal growing season by sowing of seeds and when such vegetables are harvested for marketing, the markets are flooded with these vegetables and the growers at times do not get back their cost of production,” he said.

Seedlings of these vegetables cannot be raised through the traditional system of nursery growing in soil media because these vegetables cannot tolerate slight damage to their root and shoot system, he added.

“At the Indo-Israel project of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, plug-tray nursery raising technology by using cocopeat, vermiculite and perlite as soil-less media has been standardised to raise off-season seedlings of almost all the cucurbitaceous vegetables. This technique is capable of vigorous root development, suitable for nursery raising without any damage to the seedlings,” he said.

The technology is quite economical for the vegetable growers of the northern plains of India, because with the introduction of this technique, farmers can grow a large number of seedlings as per requirement for off-season cultivation of these cucurbits for fetching high price of the off-season produce, he added.

Among the prominent who attended the seminar were Dr MS Bajwa, a known soil scientist and a former director, Research, Panjab Agricultural University (PAU), Dr Rajwant Singh, a former head of department of Antomology, PAU and Capt SS Dhillon, secretary, department of parliamentary affairs, Punjab.



7 Cavalry is 225 years old
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
One of the Army’s oldest armoured regiments, 7 Cavalry, is observing its 225th Raising Day. A series of functions are being organised at the unit’s location in the Western Sector to commemorate the event over three days.

A special sainik sammelan, quarter guard inspection, cycle polo, band display, barakhana, anniverasy dinner and some social events are on the iternary. Senior serving and retired officers, old British officers, former regimental personnel and widows of martyrs are attending the event. An adventure expedition visiting all the locations where the regiment fought in the 1965 Indo-Pak war is also being undertaken.

Raised in 1784, 7 Cavalry is the Army’s second oldest and the most highly decorated armoured unit, having earned 21 battle and theatre honours of which nine are from post-Independence operations.

The history of the regiment can be traced to 1784 when troops had been hired from the Nawab of Arcot by the East India Company and re-organised as the 2nd Regiment of Madras Native Cavalry. The title was soon changed to the 3rd Madras Native Cavalry and it was under this title that the unit was the first in action during the Third Mysore War in 1790 against Tipu Sultan. It was also designated as the 3rd Madras Lancers and the 28th Light Cavalry at various times, until 1922, when it was re-christened as the 7th Cavalry.

The regiment fought all major wars since Independence and has been bestowed with 294 awards till date. It is best known for its exploits during the Battle of Zoji La in Kashmir during November 1948, it was the first and the last time in the annals of armoured warfare in the world that tanks were decisively employed at an altitude of 11,578 feet. Its then commanding officer Lt Col (later Lt Gen) Rajinder Singh Sparrow, who had played a pivotal role in the recapture of Jhangar, was decorated with the Maha Vir Chakra.



GMSSS-32 authorities accused of embezzlement
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
The audit and inspection report of the Pupils funds of GMSSS, Sector 32, has found the school authorities guilty of inappropriate expenditure worth lakhs of rupees and bifurcation of purchases in many cases.

The report released in October, 2008, pointed out that though the funds that had no mention in the education code were collected from students after obtaining a sanction from the education secretary. However, they were spent without seeking an approval from the competent authority.

In many cases, stock entries of articles purchased was not shown and even the expenditure was not a fit charge from the fund it was incurred. The audit committee also highlighted bifurcation of purchases with an intention to avoid the sanction of competent authority.

Going by the details of purchases, those at helm of matters, have utilised money from almost all funds, including amalgamated, child welfare and building fund to buy tiles for school.

These purchases not only lacked a prior sanction from the competent authority ie the DPI in most of the cases, but were also inappropriate, as the money from these funds could not be spent on such purchases.

Principal Anil Sharma, however, justified himself saying, “It was Setia’s order to buy tiles for the school and we even got sanctions later.”

Having failed to explain the reason of bifurcation of the bills in addition to various other disparities, he threatened the correspondent with dire consequences.

The school has claimed to have spent Rs 3200 on the deposit of camp fee for 8 scouts and 8 guides, however, could neither present the list of students who attended it and nor the APR. Two paintings worth Rs 10,000 were also purchased from the Lalit Kala Academy, however, no proper bill was produced to the committee.

The school has paid Rs 21,175 for floor tiles fixing in the IT laboratory, but the report has objected to the lack of quotation, APR and even a stock entry of this purchase.

When contacted, DPI Samwartak Singh, promised to enquire the matter whereas a senior official said, “Setia had prescribed to buy tiles but made it clear about where and when, which fund has to be utilised. Its really grave if the expenditure is not a fit charge on the fund and is bifurcated.”

However, one fails to understand that why has department evaded any action even after 3 months of the release of this report. By no means can the bifurcation, purchases without APR or stock entries and utilisation of building fund without the DPI’s prior sanction can be overlooked.



Dog menace hounds MC
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dogs in front of a CITCO restaurant’s entrance in Sector 10 in Chandigarh . Tribune photo: Vinay Malik

Chandigarh, February 13
Despite tall claims of the Municipal Corporation to keep the stray dog population under control, the menace continues unabated. A testimony to this fact is the CITCO’s Stop n Stare, eating joint in Sector 10.

A visit to the eating joint reveals how right at the entrance, one is greeted by a hoard of dogs, out of which many are diseased. Despite repeated requests by the staff of the eating joint, nothing has been done about the matter.

Also, there is fear of infection among the customers now due to the diseased dogs.

According to sources, not only this has been affecting the clientele even in the past, but also has become a deterrent for the regulars as well.

Being in the location that it is, the eating joint is frequented by a number of students from various colleges nearby such as Government College of Arts, GCG 11, GC-11, Government Polytechnic, Central Crafts Institute, DAV 10 and others.

A CITCO official said, “we are helpless in this matter. At the most we can only ask the authorities to do the needful.

Recently, the MC had even launched a dog helpline to prevent such cases in collaboration with the PFA and other such agencies but despite many calls, nothing has been done by the authorities to either sterilise or treat the affected dogs. An MCC official said the matter would be looked into soon.



IT raid on Paras Group
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
In a major inspection drive, the Income Tax Department has carried out a survey on the premises of various well-known business houses, including the Paras Group, having a shopping mall in Zirakpur, and the proprietor of the Raj Engineering Works and Erectors Pvt Limited, Chandigarh.

The IT officials swooped down on the Paras Down Town Square - a shopping mall in Zirakpur - and its Sector 34 office in Chandigarh yesterday under the supervision of Income Tax Commissioner (CIT II) Ashok K. Kaushal.

While the officials refused to divulge details of the outcome of the survey at both places, sources in the IT Department revealed that tax evasion had been detected after thoroughly examining the records of the Paras Group. The survey was still on till the filing of the report.

According to sources, the mall is a joint venture of Kharar-based businessmen, Jaspal Singh and Kanwal Jeet Singh, who had not filed the tax return for past three years.

“Once the department is able to calculate the extent of concealed income by the proprietor on the basis of information collected during the survey and details of high-value transactions, a survey report will be prepared and due tax liability raised against the group,” department sources said.



Recession hits sale season
Neha Miglani

Chandigarh, February 13
Global meltdown is clearly reflected in the Sector 17 sale season this year but mad rush in the plaza parking does not really give a correct picture of the story. A majority of people usually come to window shop and hang around and sales is not what they have been aimed at as compared to previous years during the sale season.

“The recession has certainly affected the sale season. The number of walk ins’ are less and the sales have come down by 20 per cent,” says Manish Jain of Adidas.

This is primarily because of the global meltdown. Though lean period has brought a slowdown in the sales, the shopping plaza attracts as much crowd as ever. “The parking lots are full and there is mad rush all around. For one, the recession has not affected the crowd in the plaza,” adds Ajay Arora of Capital Book Depot. On the other hand there are brands that claim to be untouched by the recession period.

“Our sales are the same as before, the recession has not really affected our brand in general, the sales are more than what we stated in the plaza three-and-half-year back,” says Supreet of Tommy Hilfiger.



Cops on toes for Valentine’s Day
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, February 13
The UT police has made elaborate security arrangements to capture hooligans, reckless drivers and speedsters on geri-route, gardens and near educational institutes on Valentine’s Day, here tomorrow.

The police said the violators would not be spared and special video cameras would be used as an evidence against them. Moreover, the move would also help in acting as a deterrent for such hooligans.

Besides, the police will remain present at majority of the places to tackle any untoward incident.

The police personnel will be deployed from 7 am to 4 pm at Panjab University, girls’ colleges, near paying guest accomodations and alco-metres will help the traffic police for issuing challans to drunk drivers.

The PCR vehicles have been issued instructions to keep a check everywhere and the police control room officials have been briefed to take quick action as per the information.

A meeting was held between the senior police officials for the security and traffic arrangements to maintain law and order and keep a tab on the activities of the hooligans here.

SP (traffic and security) HS Doon said, “We have given the orders to the SHOs and other police officials to keep a check on all activities of youngsters. Such offenders will be issued challans and in some cases vehicles will be impounded.”

Doon further appealed to the public that those found indulging in eve-teasing and harassing women would be arrested. Even, if any political or religious organisation tries to violate the law, they will have to face the strict action of the police.

The police has not yet planned any diversion in the city and all roads will be open for the traffic movements.



Railway Budget
Residents happy over reduced fares
Neha Miglani

Chandigarh, February 13
Though the Railway Budget 2009 has educed a huge satisfaction among city residents over the reduced fares, it is yet to meet the expectations when it comes to ensuring quality service.

As expected, Railway minister Lalu Yadav has done his best to roll out a populist budget in the wake of upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The fares of the second class, sleeper class as well as AC First Class, AC II tier, III tier and AC Chair Car, have been reduced by 2 per cent.

The summer special Dibrugarh-Chandigarh Express that has 19 trips to its credit hitherto has been converted into a weekly train. The Chandigarh-Jaipur Gareeb Rath, commencing from tomorrow ie February 14 will run three times a week.

Though the minister has promised to conduct a pre-feasibility study of the proposed Delhi-Amritsar Bullet train, he remained silent on the high speed Chandigarh-Delhi train that was proposed earlier.

“When the global meltdown has hit almost every sector, it is indeed a releif to see the fares going down,” said Dr Rajesh Dhir, a city resident.

Nami Mehta, a student of Panjab University and a resident of Jaipur, said, “ The starting of Gareeb Rath is a pleasant surprise for me. I have more options to choose from and easy availability now, since the train is running thrice a week.



‘Mohan Das’ portrays villager’s hopes
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, February 13
The elements of fact, fiction and fantasy form the social and intellectual content of the “Mohan Das”, presented by Suchetak Rang Manch on the second day of ongoing Katha Manchan--2009 at Randhawa auditorium.

The festival organised by the Mask theatre, is featuring plays based on stories by eminent writers.

The play portrayed the hopes, desires and frustrations of a villager, Mohan Das.

Though his virtues and admirable element of character match the ideas of Mohan Das Gandhi, the father of the nation, but he is doomed to face all the apathy of the corrupt administration. Despite being a graduate with first division, he fails to get a job as he qualifies written test and is made to fail in interviews.

If at all he gets a temporary release and momentary happiness, he has to pay a price for it. A fake Mohan Das is made to join for the job on the basis of real Mohan Das’s degrees. While the real Mohan Das gets reprieve from the court getting the fake man jailed, he gets much more trouble because of the identity problem.

The sensibility of Uday Parkash as writer and directorial elegance of Anita managed to keep the momentum and suspense till the end.

The audience watched in curiosity the narratives between the reader and writer portrayed by Amita and Gurpreet Waraich. Manbhavan played as real “Mohan Das” and Shanti Sani as fake “Mohan Das”.



Talk on police discipline, accountability
Amit Khanna

Chandigarh, February 13
This otherwise has all ingredients of a regular school lecture except the students are top police and administration officers.

“To ensure the effective and efficient working of the police, mechanisms must be devised, wherein, politicians are not allowed to manipulate the force for their vested cause,” emphasises Prof David Bayley from US.

A specialist in international criminal justice is here to deliver a lecture on ‘Police Discipline and Accountability: Problems and Solutions’ organised by the Institute for Development and Communication (IDC) and Punjab IPS Association.

He says India is in the forefront to experiment in bringing about changes in controlling the police to deal with the challenges of new global order. While arguing that there should be a periodic interface between the police and the masses, he believes the public should never be suspected because its support is vital for the proper functioning of the system.

“If parents tell their children to seek help from a police officer in case they are in trouble, they must be assured that the state is having a good moral force, but if parents teach them otherwise, its of no use then,” he adds.



Traffic chaos on Kalka-Zirakpur road
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, February 13
Traffic on the Zirakpur-Kalka highway came to a standstill for over an hour on this morning due to the closure of railway crossing for repairing work. However, the traffic was diverted by the traffic police to leading roads and the vehicles moved at a snail’s pace.

Due to the diversion, hundreds of commuters of Panchkula and Shimla had to face problem and the major problem faced by school buses, who stuck in the jam. Even some people got late for office and they took long way to reach their destinations.

Traffic in charge Sanjeev Kumar said the traffic moving towards Panchkula and Kalka was diverted from Dhakoli village. Meanwhile, the traffic was also diverted through Baltana village leading to Panchkula.

While talking to railway officials about the matter, they stated that the work in progress to fill the potholes on the railway crossing and it would be completed tomorrow evening.



PGI without power for over 4 hrs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
Patients and attendants were inconvenienced as power supply remained disrupted for over four hours in the PGI.

This is not the first case of power failure in the PGI as a similar snag had occurred in the institute a few days back.

According to sources, lifts remained non-functional from 1 pm to 5.40 pm and patients had to take the ramp to go to the upper floors.

“We called up the engineering wing to restore the power supply, but to no avail,” said an attendant of a patient.

However, the PGI officials claimed that the power failure did not affect the services as they had power backup.

PGI spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar admitted that snag had occurred but the PGI has power backup for all emergency services.



BSP campaign from tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
As the parliamentary elections draw near, political parties are busy in chalking out poll strategies and preparing for campaigning in a big way to woo maximum voters.

Initiating their exercise for the polls, the local unit of the BSP also announced to launch its election campaign in the coming days.

Harmohan Dhawan, BSP convener, said during a press conference organised today that BSP was going to formally kickstart its campaign on February 15.

Workers of the party are going to assemble in the circus ground in Sector 17 where they will be briefed up about the whole preparation for the elections.

Dhawan said the BSP had around 33,000 workers in the city and they all would be gathering at the venue. The venue for the day has been named as “Dr B R Ambedkar Nagar”, he added.



RBI staff wear protest badges
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 13
The United Forum of Reserve Bank Officers and Employees today held a badge-wearing protest against long pending pension and superannuation-related issues in Chandigarh branch. The course of action was decided after the United Forum met on January 22 under the chairmanship of Sri Arun Samaddar, president, AIRBWF. The forum met the bank authorities where deputy governor, Dr Rakesh Mohan, ED, Sri V K Sharma and other senior officials, represented the bank’s side.



Rodrigues gets DLitt

Chandigarh, February 13
Goa University has conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) on the Governor of Punjab and UT Administrator, SF Rodrigues, on the occasion of its 21st convocation held recently at Goa . The chancellor of Goa University and Governor of Goa SS Sidhu presented the degree to Rodrigues. — TNS



Rose festival on campus
PU insensitive to students’ examinations
Aarti Kapur

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
It seems that the Panjab University authorities are least bothered about annual exams of the students, as they are busy in organizing cultural events and festival on the campus. Interestingly, the authorities organized events when the exams are hardly a month ago.

Pradip Mehra, Adviser to the Administrator, today inaugurated the first rose festival on the university campus and complimented the authorities for their strenuous efforts in restoring its beauty of the campus.

The authorities organized the rose festival without keeping in view the crucial time for the students. All rose festival stalls have been put up in front of the hostel number three and even swings have been put on the ground near the hostels.

Students of the hostel are amused at the selection of the venue of the festival by the authorities. Rather than organizing it in the residential area of the university, they have chosen the place near the hostels disturbing the studies of the students preparing for their exams.

Students revealed that this is the time when students go through their course and clear their doubts from the faculty members. But in such an environment, it is not easy for them to concentrate on their studies.

Students are surprised at the policy of the authorities because on the one hand they say that organizing such events create problem on the campus and on other hand they are arranging such events during preparation time of the examination. They are also upset as the teachers have been put on duty in these events and they are not available to guide them at this vital time of their studies.

Students, which are residing in hostel number 1 and 2 face problem in reaching their hostels as the road was blocked for the rose festival. Students believe that the authorities should organize such events in the campus but they should work out on the venue and time period of organizing such events.



Theatre, music mark youth fest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
The second day of SYNERGY-2009 of 4th South Asian Universities Youth Festival was dedicated to theatre, fine arts, music and literary items.

The play, “Joshiley”, presented by Panjab University, here, was based on the theme of the patriotism, freedom and universal brotherhood. The acting and sets of the play were widely appreciated by the audience.

The students of BRAC University, Bangladesh, presented a mime, which enthralled the audience and was applauded by the guests. A participant from Banaras Hindu University presented a ghazal. Students from various universities participated in the debate on the topic “Youth is the most potent force in promoting peace in South Asia”.

J Partap Reddy, director, Telgu Academy, Hyderabad, was the guest of honour on this occasion.

Some participants from Bangladesh, Nepal and India took part in poster making, cartoon-making and on-the-spot painting according to Dr SM Kant, director, Youth Welfare of University.



Importance of literature highlighted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
The department of Hindi, Panjab University, organised a special lecture on Sahitya Se Dosti, here today. Literary activist Vikas Narayan Rai and additional director-general of police, Haryana, spoke on this occasion.

The main theme of the lecture was “What literature gives to us”. Rai underlined the need of literature in a society that needs change through various facts, anecdotes and stories.

He stated the revolution was the other name of change. Literature prepares the ground for revolution and it has small effects on the consciousness of the society, as no big change happens everyday.

As every writer is a great reader, every reader is a great writer. Both participate in the process of reading and writing the society, he added.

He said: “Literature breaks stereotypes and initiates a fresh thinking. A story or a folk tale makes us understand subtle things, which cannot be understood by other means of knowledge. At present, when human beings are becoming machines, literature helps to keep the inner human alive.

He also exhorted the audience that they should be interested in literature of all languages and not indulge in linguistic fanaticism, as no single language can express the experiences of humanity.



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