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UT wakes up to sale of drugs
Calls meeting of health officials; asks cops to act
Neha Miglani

Chandigarh, March 24
Shaken by the revelations about the easy availability and distribution of addictive scheduled “H” drugs in the city in these columns today, the UT administration went into the overdrive and convened a high-level meeting of health officials tomorrow. It also ordered the police to initiate action to curb the menace.

The UT police conducted several raids in Ram Darbar and Industrial Area throughout the day and claimed to have identified at least two persons involved in drug trafficking.

The UT officials also alerted their counterparts in Haryana (Ambala), from where the drugs — Buprenorphine and Pheniramine Maleate — were being procured, and Punjab.

UT Home-cum-Health Secretary Ram Niwas said a meeting of the health officials had been convened to take policy decision on the issue of sale of scheduled “H” drugs.

He also directed the police to take action in the matter. The UT SSP ordered the crime branch to investigate the matter.

DSP (crime) KIP Singh said the suspected drug-peddlers on the motor cycle had been identified as Prem Lal and Sobti, alias Kala.

While Prem Lal is a resident of # 1471 in Ram Darbar, Sobti is a resident of house No. 24 in the locality.

Both suspects have fled after the publication of the news and raids were being conducted on their suspected hideouts.

The DSP said the motor cycle (PB 03 K 8007) used by the suspects had been registered at Bathinda and they were procuring details about its ownership.

In the picture carried by the Tribune, Prem Lal was riding pillion on the motor cycle, while Sobti was driving it.

They were working as volunteers in the State Aids Control Society and had its identity cards.

Sources in the police said according to unconfirmed reports, drugs were being brought from Ambala, but the exact source could only be traced after the arrest of the two suspects.

The police said the accused used their identity cards to procure drugs.

Local residents alleged that the practice had been going on for months with the connivance of the area police, which preferred to turn a blind eye to the growing menace.

The lackadaisical attitude of the local police was resulting in indirect support to the flourishing of the trade in the locality.

Residents said the availability of scheduled “H” drugs in Ram Darbar was an open secret — something that was apparently known to everyone but the police.

Even after the revelations, the police had not taken any action against the beat staff of the area or the police officials supervising the staff.

The residents claimed that among others, Billu of Ram Darbar, who is in his mid-twenties, was a known name as a supplier of such drugs.

Though the police was seen patrolling the area, its presence failed to deter drug-peddlers from selling drugs in out in the open.

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Shameful, say residents
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 24
With The Tribune unearthing the ongoing unchecked drug-peddling on the streets of Ram Darbar yesterday, the city’s “who’s who” has expressed utter shock and despair over the callousness of the khaki brigade accusing the cops of being hand-in-glove with the culprits, the city residents have demanded stern action, not only against the guilty but also those who have “protected” them so far.

Says veteran sportsperson Milkha Singh, “It’s a matter of shame for the city and the country. I would specially advice the youngsters to stay away form such addictions. Sportspersons in particular need to be very careful, any action they take can bring shame to the country.”

Adds P Lal, former DGP, Punjab Police, “I am shocked with the expose. The police should be more vigilant and strict action should be taken not just against these peddlers but even the kingpin should also be nabbed.”

The citizens feel that if the law enforcement agencies were alert, such incidents would never happen.

Echoes Dr Raj Bahadur, director, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, “All efforts should be made to stop this practice immediately. But I am sure the police knew about it since such incidents cannot happen without involvement of the police.”

Incidentally, the administration and the police got into action and the UT police conducted raids in Ram Darbar area.

Quips theatre personality Neelam Mann Singh, “It is extremely shocking that now drugs can be found on the paan shops or ever more shocking that the youngsters, who are drug addicts know exactly where the touts are waiting for them. This issue has not been taken seriously by the police earlier and I also believe these peddlers have their protectors in the system as well, else it cannot flourish so openly. The whole system is rotten.”

The misuse of the sale of Scheduled-H drugs has also sent a wave of shock in the medical community in the city. Adds Adarsh Kohli, psychologist, PGI, “Strict laws should be in place to make sure such drugs are not misused and punishment should be awarded to the guilty. Open availability of these drugs is stunning. Without proper prescription, it is extremely wrong to use these drugs.”

The medicos agree that such incidents can serve as an example for misuse of drugs as they can self-prescribe them.

Adds Kohli, “I do not believe that the police had no information on it. It is an entangled kind of situation and definitely, there would have been a nexus between the police and the peddlers.”

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Land worth crores, but worthless without road
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
For want of a road, the prime piece of land worth multi crores in Sector 19 has been lying abandoned.

Though the administration has identified some area in this sector to put under hammer in an auction scheduled to be held on March 27, still a large chunk of land has failed to catch the fancy of the administration.

The reason, as per engineering experts, is that the approach road to this piece of land has never been materialised.

The layout plan, prepared in 2003, demarcates 8 one-kanal plots (Nos 1266 to 1273) on this land, which, if put to auction, commanded a market price of over Rs 2.5 crore each, but till date this part is crying for “due” attention of the administration.

Two houses for judges too have been proposed on this piece of land for which the tenders have been received and the work will be awarded after getting nod from the architecture department.

Similarly, 17 plots of 10 marla each (1245 to 1261) have been identified on paper only. These plots could not be sold or auctioned because of obstruction of an old building which houses Building and Roads Department of the Haryana and Municipal Corporation office, Chandigarh (CP division no 5).

The official noting, dated February 25, 2003, say, “This old structure is not safe and should be demolished immediately and the offices should be shifted to some other suitable places and the feasibility of road could be made as property worth crores could be sold”.

Nevertheless, a probe into the planning of the area revealed that a move had been mooted in 2003 when a survey of the area was done by the Divisional Town Planner, Department of Urban Planning, Chandigarh, to locate the residential plots.

In this survey, the copy of which is lying with The Tribune, 20 plots of one- kanal each were identified and a proposal to demolish the old building was made by the administration.

Three one-kanal plots (nos 1288, 1289 and 1298), a four-kanal plot (no 1322), two 10-marla plot (nos 1199 and 1210) have been identified to sell in the auction to be held on March 27.

PN Mehta, a senior citizen, on whose initiative these plots were brought to the notice of administration, said the plot nos 1199 and 1210 were identified in 2003 and the layout plan was drawn up then too but the required services like extended road and sewerage connections etc could not be materialised in all these years.

“The plot nos 1277 and 1278 can be sold for Rs 2 crore each after the administration demolished the dilapidated building of Nagla post office”, told Mehta. 

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ICSE Class X geography paper ‘leaked’
Subject exam shifted to April 2
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
The ICSE Class X geography paper scheduled for tomorrow has been postponed to April 2 following a “leak” in a Bangalore centre yesterday.

Speaking to The Tribune on the phone, Jerry Arathoon, Additional Secretary and officiating CEO, ICSE, said: “The paper was wrongly opened at a Bangalore centre on March 23 and thus has been postponed nationwide. It will now be held on April 2 at 11am.”

However, what perturbed the authorities and students alike was the online leak mania that preceded it. When the rumours started doing rounds, students started logging on to various social networking sites, and even created communities like “ICSE geography paper leaked”, which had a record number of member joining in.

Various websites claiming to be in possession of the “leaked” paper cropped up and even students offered to sell the papers on social networking websites. The situation turned grave as most of them started claiming to be in possession of all papers and bargaining online.

Even websites that have ICSE referrals, turned into rumourmongers, as the member students offered to help others with questions on the pretext of procuring them from co-students in Delhi.

“We are facing such a situation for the first time, so will have to work out how to counter Net mania? I got to know that one of the sites has made many communities about it,” added Arathoon.

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Teachers come to blows; one injured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
Tension prevailed in Government Middle School, Indira Colony, today with two teachers retorting to a fistfight allegedly to decide upon their rightful seats in staff room.

According to sources, the tiff between a guest teacher and a contract teacher began with an argument over sitting on a specific chair but turned worse with one of them abusing another. Soon the war of words transformed into the fistfight that left one of them injured.

“We all were in the staff room when both of them started shouting and abusing each other for sitting at the specific place. We immediately intervened and called the principal but they had already started hitting each other and one of them sustained a deep cut over his eyebrow,” said one of the staff members on the condition of anonymity.

Though onlookers and staff members confirmed registration of a DDR, the police when contacted denied any information about it.

Meanwhile, the education department has marked an inquiry into the matter.

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81 booths, 12 areas identified sensitive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
The Chandigarh police has identified about 81 booths and 12 areas as sensitive in various parts of the city for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The police has sought eight companies of reserve force from the Central Government for election duty.

Police sources say that emphasis would be put on all 18 slums in the city. Besides five villages in the city have also been termed sensitive as far as poll related violence is concerned.

It is learnt that out of the total 404 polling booths, 81 has been identified sensitive, which will be located in 26 buildings across the city. The inelegance report has not found a single polling booth in the city as sensitive. The sensitive areas in the city included Bapu Dham Colony, Sector 26, Indira Colony and Mauli Jagran Colony in Mani Majra, Colony No. 4 and 5, Dadu Majra Colony and Sector 25 Colony. Apart from this, among the UT villages, Darua, Hallo Majra, Kajheri, Palsora and Maloya have also been considered as vulnerable. Interestingly, no booth or area is considered as hypersensitive as per the intelligence reports.

Around 2,000 police personnel will guard the 404 polling booths in the city. The city has a history of witnessing a large number of candidates contesting the elections. During the 1991 elections, as many as 55 candidates contested the elections, while in 1996, 48 candidates were in fray and in 1998 and 2004, 18 and 17 candidates respectively contested. A police officer said the police had to make an arrangement for the security of the candidates and larger the number of candidates, more security forces were required.

The UT SSP, S.S. Srivastva, said they had sought 8th para-military forces from the Centre. The 404 polling booths are located in 161 buildings in the city. Each building, would be manned by a non-gazetted officer, while on normal polling booths- a head constable along with constables and home guards would be deployed.

The SSP also said the police was scrutinising the lists of the weapon holders in the city and firearms would also be taken into the police’ possession after verifying the antecedents of the weapon holders. He added that carrying of weapons is banned in the city and one could only carry a weapon after getting permission from the SDM.

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Development real poll issue: Bansal
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
Playing development card to the hilt, Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal today claimed that anti-incumbency was not an issue in the May-13 elections to the Chandigarh parliamentary constituency.

“Voters have watched the performance of the three candidates, including Satya Pal Jain and Harmohan Dhawan, and would vote on our past track record both inside and outside Parliament,” Bansal told Chandigarh Tribune here.

Accusing the opposition parties of indulging in “negative politics”, the Minister of State for Finance alleged that while the BJP was bereft of any worthwhile issue, the BSP was more interested in burning effigies rather than concentrating on positive issues, Bansal asserted.

Bansal, who is aiming for a hat-trick, said even though the Congress had failed to have any major pre-poll alliance with UPA partners, it was in the ascendent as the electorate wanted overall development, which only the Congress government could ensure.

Development and progress were going to be twin issues both at the national and the local level, Bansal said claiming that the country and Chandigarh had witnessed unprecedented progress during the past five years.

“Relief to a cross-section of city’s population, including marla house owners, traders, colony residents and general power of attorney holders, besides trade and industry gave a lie to opposition’s claims that I had no say in the administration,” Bansal stated.

Responding to the challenge posed by the allies and colony leaders to his poll prospects, Bansal claimed that the RJD candidate would cut into the votes of Jain and Dhawan also.

Clarifying that he was not against mega projects, Bansal reiterated his opposition to the revenue model for controversial projects. In fact, it was the Congress government that was responsible for the setting up of the IT park here.

While amusement park was necessary for a world-class city like Chandigarh, there was hardly a need for the ambitious medicity and the film city. Instead of the medicity we needed another government hospital in the southern sectors to cater to the healthcare needs of the common man.

The correct revenue model could have ensured at least Rs 40 crore per acre for developed land and Rs 20 crore per acre for the land on chunk basis, Bansal claimed.

In fact, farmers whose land was acquired for mega projects deserved a price of at least Rs 2 crore per acre, he added.

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Follow poll code, DC to parties
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
The returning officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner today again reminded the political parties that sending bulk SMS shall be counted as election expenditure and slandering will tantamount to violation of the code of conduct.

This was conveyed at a meeting of all political parties for discussing the implementation of the model code of conduct convened by the Deputy Commissioner.

He emphasised that the vehicles to be used in campaigning must bear a permit affixed on windscreen and there should not be more than three vehicles in the convoy.

He further deliberated that for holding the rallies/processions, the parties concerned would have to inform the police station concerned and obtain permission for loudspeakers from the authority concerned.

It was decided at the meeting that the political parties/contesting candidates would furnish a copy of publicity material like posters, pamphlets, buntings, etc. carrying the name of the printer in the office of the returning officer/district election officer in advance.

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BJP wanting in second-rung leadership
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
While the BJP may boast of being a strong cadre-based party, personal ambitions of its senior leaders in the city seem to have acted as a major impediment for the party’s growth at the grass roots and the cutting edge levels. And this could well prove to be its nemesis in the coming Lok Sabha polls.

Though personal ambitions of Congress leaders has also prevented the emergence of a strong second-rung leadership in the city, the formation of the municipal corporation more than a decade ago has strengthened its base in colonies and surrounding villages and even some sectors.

Several Congress councillors over the years have emerged as leaders in their own right with their own areas of influence, unlike the BJP.

While the Congress can boast of having councillors and leaders like Kamlesh, Pradeep Chhabra and Anu Chatrath, Subhash Chawla, Bhupinder Singh Badehdi, who have considerable following in the respective areas, on their side the BJP has practically none, except Harjinder Kaur, who hails from its ally party, the SAD.

According to BJP insiders, the party is to be blamed for the present situation as infighting (some call it the crab culture) has prevented the emergence of party leaders at the grass roots level. Incidentally, things were not like this when the MC came into existence in 1996. The BJP then had a majority in the MC but over the years, rather than capitalising on these gains, they frittered away the opportunity.

Its leaders like Gyan Chand Gupta, Shanta Abhilashi and Kamla Sharma once enjoyed a considerable clout but everything went haywire — when Ranjana Shahi, who was the official candidate for mayoral post and was believed to be from Gyan Chand Gupta group, lost elections due to alleged cross-voting within the party.

At that time, even despite being in majority in the house (with 13 councillors), Ranjana lost elections due to party infighting, to a Congress candidate. It was said that party insiders turned the tables on her to ensure she was ousted. What followed were bitter rivalries that weakened the party’s base. This paved a downfall for the BJP in the MC.

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Cong, BJP cross swords over rehab issue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
The war of words between the BJP and the Congress over rehabilitation of the Faidan villages intensified today with senior Congress leaders Rampal Sharma, Subhash Chawla, D.D. Jindal, Bhupender Badheri, Pardeep Chhabra and Pawan Sharma lashing out at the statement of BJP leaders, in which they alleged that Pawan Bansal has misled people of Faidan village.

Reacting to the allegations, leaders claimed that Bansal's electoral record proves that he need not make false promises to people. It was on account of negative politics of the BJP that Satya Pal Jain lost by over 45,000 votes in the last Lok Sabha poll. On the contrary, Bansal had been taking up issues like power, water, roads, employment and security, which concerned the common man, leaders added. Bansal also held a padyatra at Maloya village in the morning.

Dhawan's rally: BSP candidate, Harmohan Dhawan, today addressed a public meeting at Sector 29-C market and promised to solve the problems of business community of the city after winning the next Lok Sabha polls. Dhawan blamed the sitting Congress MP Pawan Bansal for neglecting the issues related to the businessmen. "Bansal could not fulfil his promise of a balanced Rent Act in favour of building owners and tenants.

BJP allegation: BJP women’s cell president, Ramnik Sharma, and vice-president, Shashi Bala Jain, said the claim of Madhu Bansal, wife of Pawan Bansal about Congress working for women’s progress were a pack of lies.

Addressing women workers and supporters of BJP, these leaders said such claims are mere paper claims. 

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Tenders for finishing items delayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
The Chandigarh Housing Board today confirmed that the tender process for finishing items of 208 units of two-bedroom flats have been delayed because of legal implications.

According to a communiqué, the board has stated that the tenders have been re-invited and as many as nine agencies have applied for it. However, the board, in its meeting held on February 20, decided to re-invite the tenders.

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270 examined at eye camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
A free eye check up camp was organised by Mahajan Sabha at Mahajan Bhawan, Sector 37, here yesterday.

About 270 persons were examined by a team of PGI doctors. Free medicines were also given to patients, especially to poor patients.

About 130 patients were advised to report for further investigation and treatment at the PGI

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Move to abolish BEd entrance test
VCs of three universities to meet soon
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
Universities in Punjab are pondering over a proposal to abolish the entrance test for the admission in B.Ed colleges affiliated to the universities.

To finalise this proposal, a meeting of Vice-Chancellors of all three universities, Panjab University, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, and Punjabi University, Patiala, is being convened soon. This was decided at the meeting, chaired by Panjab University VC R C Sobti, of principals of about 174 colleges, held in Panjab University today to discuss various issues relating to colleges of this region.

Sources stated that there was unanimous decision that all universities should go in for open admissions in B.Ed courses from the next session. As number of members objected to this proposal and, finally, it was decided that the Chancellors of all three universities would decide about it.

The sources in the university revealed that representatives of the colleges had heated argument on the issue that the universities giving affiliation to the colleges without monitoring the availability of infrastructure, faculty and number of students getting admission in that college.

The members of the colleges revealed that only 10 per cent of colleges affiliated to the universities had regular principals and rest were running by the representatives of the management which was very objectionable.

The members raised the issue as to why the university authorities were not framing strict norms for such colleges which were not fulfilling the terms and condition of the universities even after years of their functioning. They stated that it had become a regular feature of the university authorities to constitute a committee to monitor the functioning of the colleges but nothing concrete had come out of it so far.

The sources said the examination department informed the college representatives about the reforms in the examination system which they were going to execute from the next session.

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Need for more women in police: Dean
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
A special lecture on professional training for police officers organised at MA police administration at Panjab University today. Prof D J Singh, Senior Deputy Director and Dean, Social Sciences, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, delivered the lecture on this occasion.

Prof Singh emphasised on bringing about a paradigm shift in training from physical development to mental development.

Reiterating the need for better sensitisation of police personnel vis-à-vis human rights and women, he emphasised on the need for recruiting more women in the police.

He opined that training academies alone could not bring about change in police personnel, but the society also had a major role to shape their mindset. In the end, he said the immediate benefit of the Phillaur Academy being given the status of the university would come to the pool of skilled students graduating from Panjab University’s police administration course.

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Lecture on Hindi literature
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
Panjab University, department of Hindi, organised a public lecture on “vichardhara aur sahitya” today.

Fellow of the department stated its a misconception that ‘vichardhara’ is only concerned about ideas. In fact, “Our senses and emotions are too part of literary ideology. Even language itself is a part of ideology and in a big way.”

It was also stated that modern Hindi poet, Nagarjun, had an ideology. Literature and art are good mediums of ideology, as these are also good mediums of human desire. Ideologically, art and literature can be partisan, but not partial.

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Vibha tops informatics olympiad
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 24
Vibha Talwar, a student of Class VI of Manav Mangal School, has bagged the first position at International Informatics Olympiad 2008 organised by the Computer Literacy Foundation , New Delhi.

Another student of school Sherry Mangla of Class VI stood third at the national level and second in Haryana. Nine other students from the school stood first in the state. The students are Rohit, Adinath, Mansi, Himanshi, Megha, Ananya, Shubham, Nikita, Nishtha. Out of 31 students who appeared for the final round, 22 students of Manav Mangal have bagged top three positions of Haryana.

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College lecturers seek new pay scales 
Our Correspondent

Kalka, March 24
Great resentment prevails among college cadre lecturers regarding non-implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission to the university and college cadre lecturers in Haryana.

They resented that the pay scales of the Pay Commission had already been awarded to all categories of the state government.

TN Saini, president of the local unit of Government College, Kalka, said the college cadre lecturers were the worst sufferers. He said the university and

college lecturers took out a demonstration at Jantar Mantar on February 23 and had a talk with the Chief Minister and Education Minister many a time.

Despite that nothing concrete has been done till date. He also told that the HRD Ministry had already notified on December 31, 2008 regarding the implementation of the Pay Commission.

Also the UGC has already directed all state governments to implement the same and pay 40 per cent arrears before March 31. The UGC has also clarified that the implementation of this has nothing to do with the code of conduct.

The college cadre lecturers have urged the Chief Minister to intervene in this matter and do justice with the teaching community.

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Students apprised of cultural heritage
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
The British School (TBS) organised a cultural programme to apprise students of our rich cultural heritage and history.

The theme of the programme was patriotic achievements. Around 200 students from classes I to VII participated in the programme. Tiny tots enjoyed depicting bravery of our freedom fighters in the form of patriotic songs, speeches, poems, skits, posters, slogans and a power point presentation.

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