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Tearful adieu to Kanwaljit
Ramanjit Sidhu/Amit Khanna

Chandigarh, March 30
Emotions poured out on the road, with a large number of people from all walks of life attending the last journey of Captain Kanwaljit Singh here today. Traffic enroute to the cortege virtually came to a standstill.

The procession started from the Sector 9 residence of Kanwaljit Singh around 1 pm. His body was draped in the Tricolour and placed in a Punjab Police’s open mini truck decorated with flowers. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal accompanied the procession and was seated in the vehicle.

The procession was followed by a large number of vehicles carrying supporters of the late Akali leader. Traffic around his residence remained clogged for hours as a large number of vehicles were parked in the area creating congestion. Long queues of vehicles were witnessed on Madhya Marg. Traffic from the PGI to the transport lights was moving at a snail’s pace.

Though the traffic police had made elaborate arrangements for the smooth passage of the cavalcade and diverted traffic, motorists remained stranded for over an hour.

The procession took the road separating Sectors 8 and 9 and then took a turn from the Sector 4, 5, 8 and 9 rotary toward PEC, from where it headed toward the cremation ground in Sector 25.

Earlier, at the house of the departed leader, senior politicians from Punjab and others states, bureaucrats, workers and supporters from his constituency paid their last respects to him. Politicians cutting across party lines came to offer their condolences to the bereaved family.

People from across the state started converging there from early morning and waited for hours in a queue to have a last glimpse of their leader. The police had put up barricades and frisked visitors before they entered the house.

“He never treated us like voters. He was a father figure to us. He had visited our house many times. We have lost not only a leader, but also a family member,” a group of youngsters from Banur stated.

“I have lost everything. Capt sahib was a messiah for us. He had helped us financially to marry off our daughters,” an inconsolable Bhagwati Devi, who had come from Samana, said.

Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal, Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala, MP Patiala Parneet Kaur, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, and Satya Pal Jain were among those who visited the house.

Describing it as a personal loss, Sukhbir Badal said: “He was not only a politician, but also an astute administrator who was loved and respected by all. The void created by his unfortunate demise can never be filled.”

“We may have had ideological differences, but there was never any personal difference between us. He was a politician with a clean image and he commanded respect outside his party also. We have lost an able leader and a good human,” Rajinder Kaur Bhattal said.

“He was like a brother to me. I have fond memories of our association. This is a huge personal loss,” Upinderjeet Kaur, Minister of Education, Punjab, said.

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Poll Freebie?
Cops go soft on traffic violators
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 30
The number of erring drivers being challaned has registered a sharp reduction. The number of challans has come down from 40 per day to less than five.

“This is attributed to the election season. The moment we stop some erring driver, he immediately calls up local politicians and we are ‘directed’ to leave that person,” said a traffic constable at Sirhind, pleading anonymity.

He added that the politicians did not want to irritate any section of society. This had made roads more chaotic as such drivers went unchecked. It had became free for all on busy intersections at the GT Road, at lights and in markets of Fatehgarh Sahib, Rajpura and Khanna.

“We used to challan at least 40 motorists in a day when the new SSP joined around three months ago. This figure has now been reduced to a mere two to three challans a day,” added another traffic official from Rajpura.

Traffic cops at Samrala and Machhiwara of the Khanna police district, Sirhind and Bassi Pathana of Fatehgarh Sahib expressed similar views and said that the process of awarding challans had slowed down due to election ‘season’.

“Motorists boast of their connections with one political party or the other. At times, they even threaten us,” added an official at Khanna.

Since all the political leaders were now easily accessible, the motorists bully cops with their newly developed links with influential people of the area. Cops rued that motorists show their mobile phones like a gun and they are left with no option but to oblige.

“Now we have decided not to award any challan and instead we request them to drive carefully next time,” said a senior traffic police official.

There was hardly any special naka these days as the police department had been told not to “harass” voters of the area by awarding challans, said a shopkeeper, Manminder Singh, a resident of Khamano in Fatehgarh Sahib.

The cops claimed that now the challans were awarded only to those people who committed blunders on roads or were heavily drunk during the day time.

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Bansal too on IT bandwagon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Congress candidate Pawan Bansal has finally woken up to the need of harnessing information technology for his election campaign. In a bid to connect better with voters, specially the generation next, Bansal today launched his website, www.pawanbansalforchd.com --- an effort viewed as a last-ditch effort to blunt the hi-tech campaign of his rival BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain who already has a website and a blog.

The website, which includes an interactive blog, projects under way for Chandigarh and funds spent from the MPLAD scheme would give a bird’s eyeview of the professional and personal lives of the minister, nominated MC councillor Arshad Khan said.

The president of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee, BB Bahl, claimed that the website would open a new chapter of transparency in public life as everything about the minister had been put on the website.

Bansal claimed that there was no need for a separate local manifesto and the Congress manifesto released by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took the development agenda to the next level. The website would have interactive sections under which the users could post their comments that would be selectively replied to by Bansal.

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... And liquor flows out of UT
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, March 30
With the election scene hotting up, smuggling of liquor from Chandigarh to various states has gone up. Boozers are having a field day as political parties are leaving no stone unturned to woo voters.

Cheap liquor bought from Chandigarh is making waves in Rajasthan, Nagpur, Punjab and other states. Most of the smuggled consignments find their way out of the UT through Ambala.

On the way, consignment vehicles pass through Rajpura. In the past week, the Rajpura police seized 797 boxes of liquor and arrested five persons in this regard.

Liquor is cheaper in Chandigarh. Also, liquor contractors here are authorised to store large quantity of liquor, unlike their Punjab counterparts. Easy availability of cheap liquor from the UT makes it a soft target for smuggling.

“The culprits, in connivance with some liquor vend owners in Chandigarh, buy liquor in bulk. The same is then sold in Rajasthan, Nagpur, Punjab and other states at higher prices,” SP (detective) Gurdeep Singh Pannu said.

The CIA in charge of Rajpura, Bikramjeet Singh Brar, said the interrogation of the accused revealed that a bottle of liquor was being bought at Rs 200 and was being sold at Rs 400. He rued that liquor vend owners at Chandigarh were allowed to stock liquor in large quantities.

Sources said a consignment of 500 to 600 liquor cases was smuggled in a truck, which would fetch about Rs 6 to 7 lakh.

The police today seized 165 cases of vodka, whisky and Imperial brand and arrested two persons. The accused have been identified as residents of Nagpur. The accused had hidden the liquor cases under packs of ceiling fans in a truck, which was also impounded.

A case under the NDPS Act has been registered against the accused. A few days ago, the police had seized the largest-ever liquor haul at Rajpura with 632 cases of liquor.

The police has also booked two Chandigarh-based liquor vend contractors from Sector 19-C and Sector 42 in this connection.

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Accused in assault case untraceable
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 30
While the police continues to dilly-dally with investigation into the alleged confinement and thrashing of businessman Bhupinder at a house in Sector 21 here on Tuesday last on the pretext that the house number provided by the victim was incorrect, The Tribune team has managed to locate the house.

The house (776) where Bhupinder was allegedly detained and beaten up is owned by Ravi Arora, a resident of Chandigarh. According to Arora, the house had been rented out to two youths, Amit Thakur and Verma, in June through a property dealer.

When this correspondent visited the house, its gate was locked and enquiries from neighbours revealed that the youths had not been seen for the past couple of days. None of them had any inkling about the antecedents of the youths, but they described them as “shady looking characters”.

They also said the house remained locked most of the times and several financiers had been frequenting the place to collect their dues from the two. “They had apparently got some vehicles financed and had not paid the instalments,” a neighbour said.

Even Arora was not able to give much information about the duo as he claimed that he had been introduced to them by a Panchkula-based property dealer, Radhey Shyam, telling him that both were employed with a company at Mohali. He also claimed that the youths had not even paid him rent for the past four to five months.

Asked why he hadn’t approached the police, he said he was hesitating since he had rented the house without tenant verification. “I have been trying to get in touch with them, but their mobile numbers are no longer available,” he said, adding that both had been frequently changing their numbers. “They must have changed at least 10 numbers since they rented the house,” he admitted.

Bhupinder, a cloth merchant, told the police that he was beaten up seven persons with hockey sticks and a baseball bat. He fractured his leg in the process. The incident was the outcome of an old property dispute and his captors made him sign some blank documents at gunpoint, he said.

Nursing his wounds at the General Hospital, Sector 6, he said he had informed the police about the location of the house. “I told the police that one of the accused, Sukhdev Singh, was spotted with his relatives when they used to visit court on hearings of the case,” he said.

The police in its report has not mentioned anywhere that the accused had a revolver with them, Bhupinder said.

The in charge of the police post, Sector 21, Mahmood Khan, said the complainant had not told them the exact house number and had not identified the accused.

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Xenon lights have Admn dazed
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
The traffic police has urged the Union Ministry of Surface Transport and Highways to make amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act to ban xenon lights in vehicles.

The police has termed these bright lights as a traffic hazard as these dazzle motorists coming from the opposite direction. The Chandigarh police had recommended the UT administration to take up the issue with the ministry to direct manufacturers of vehicles not to fit these lights in vehicles. The issue is reportedly pending with the ministry, which seeks opinion from others states before introducing any amendment.

The IGP (Police), in his letter to the administration, said the beam of xenon lights was three times brighter than the normal lights and dazzled the vision of the driver of a vehicle coming from the opposite director from 100 metres. Certain luxury cars are fitted with these lights. In the absence of any provisions under the Motor Vehicles Act to proceed against offenders using such lights, the traffic police can only book drivers using these lights on high beam. These lights are a nuisance even on low beam. A senior traffic police officer said as per the Act, the police could only book drivers for using spotlights, search lights, dazzling lights and fog light. In the case of xenon fittings in dual headlamps, there was a lacuna in the law which was being widely exploited by miscreants.

A shopkeeper selling car accessories said these lights gave high intensity output and enhanced peripheral vision. The bulbs lasted 10 times more than the halogen lamps and used 65 per cent of power used by halogen lamps. 

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City Scope Letters
Encroachments go unchecked

This is with reference to the article “This endless land-grabbing mania” published in Chandigarh Tribune dated March 23 written by Raveen Thukral. It is surprising that Chandigarh administration is not able to handle the encroachment when there is no political hindrance, as compared to states. Religious place too don’t need any leniency on encroachments and must be handled like others. Chandigarh is known for beautiful planned city in India as well as abroad and its eccentricity must be maintained at all cost.

OP Garg, Patiala

II

The desire to encroach land encroachment has been prevalent in all segments of society since long. The legal system has a lot of space for manipulation and land encroachments go un checked.

The political leaders are more liable than the executive, who convenes and allows the situation to deteriorate in the name of public welfare. Recently, it was alleged that Rs 5,000 each were demanded from those who had reportedly encroached on a Haryana highway and after few days of such allegations the construction on both sides of that road was regularised. Thanks to the prevailing activism of Judiciary that the correct action has started. The provisions contained in the Section 2(47) of the Income Tax Act 1961, which allows transfer of assets under certain conditions, high cost of acquisition, easy provisions to purchase of property on GPA and existence of Benami transactions, high rates of stamp duty on registration deeds and selective ban and registration in certain areas, deemed sale/purchase etc, resulting in huge profiteering. The system should be reviewed and any encroachment should be handled strictly.

But the whole idea of controlling the land encroachment seems to be vague till the time the executors continue to be lured.

R K Garg, Chandigarh

III

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has taken a right decision that the administration will pay and rehabilitate for the demolition of houses to widen the Pinjore road. The people have stranded for hours in the traffic jams there. It is strange that 200 acre land has been encroached in the city and more than 8,000 acres has been encroached in and around the city. The people have made serious violations of the Periphery Act and the city bylaws.

The Chandigarh Tribune has brought in the notice of the administration that rehri markets have been encroached by the shopkeepers.They openly said they gave money for encroachments. The politicians, bureaucrats and police officials helped for these encroachments and all have nexus. They encourage illegal activities and the land mafia never bothered about the government.

Sahil Garg, Chandigarh

IV

I agree that government officials whether they belong to the Municipal Corporation, estate office, patwaries' office or the police department, who initially took bribes and allowed encroachments on the government land should be traced and brought to justice. They should be punished even if they have retired by now. This is a widespread illegal practice in India. It has become a flourishing business in our country.

By saying that he finds excuses for avoiding to drive on the Indian highways, Thukral has reflected the feelings of the common man, as the roads are full of encroachments and potholes.

RK Kapoor, Chandigarh

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Sons e-campaign for fathers
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
While three candidates for the only Lok Sabha seat here may not be facing each other for the first time, yet this election can boast of various firsts, like the young sons of three fathers.

Manish, son of Pawan Kumar Bansal, Dheeraj Jain, son of Satya Pal Jain, and Bikram, son of Harmohan Dhawan, are nowadays busy wooing voters through the internet and are leading their fathers’ e-campaigns.

While Pawan Kumar Bansal’s 30-year-old son Manish Bansal is a practising lawyer, he is seen accompanying his father for the rallies garnering support from the young residents of the city.

The same is the case with 28-year-old Dheeraj Jain, Satya Pal Jain’s son, who also happens to be a lawyer.

While the fathers may be believing in old methods to wooing the voters with a microphone and door- to-door campaigning, it’s the sons who are making use of the web to gain support.

Manish, who is taking care of Pawan Kumar Bansal’s e-campaign and is busy finalising the website for him, said: “ We are almost done with the website after uploading all necessary information about him, his profile, works so far. Apart from sending SMS, we will be sending e-mails also”.

Not believing in launching a public campaign, he is chalking out a personalised e-campaign on the web.

Whereas, Dheeraj Jain has started a blog satya pal jain.com to starting canvassing, inviting suggestions and seeking support of the voters. While his website already existed but the same is being done again with all details of his accounts and previous expenditure in MP LAD finds.

“We are going to put a party manifesto soon and the blog will be interactive with suggestions from the bloggers”, he says.

Even Bikram Dhawan, son of Harmohan Dhawan, is busy launching his e-campaign as well.

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Round-up
Jain offers ownership rights to GPA holders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Close on the heels of promise of extra floors on residential and commercial buildings, BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain today promised that if voted to power at the Centre, the NDA government would ensure ownership rights to those who have purchased property on general power of attorney (GPA).

Addressing public rallies at Sectors 38 and 44, he hit out at the Congress alleging that the party was responsible for notices and demolition of houses. Meanwhile, BJP activists belonging to Colony No 4, Sanjay Colony and Sector 29 organised a protest against reduction in kerosene quota from 30 lt to10 lt per family. Addressing workers, BJP president Kamla Sharma dubbed the Congress “anti-poor”.

Door-to-door drive

Congress candidate Pawan Bansal today started his door-to-door campaign at Mauli Jagran. Bansal said it was their priority to improve the sanitation conditions of the area. He said he believed in work and not promises alone.

RJD campaign

Hafiz Anwar-ul-Haq, RJD candidate, today organised public meetings in different parts of the city, including Colony No 4, Dadu Majra, Kajheri, Sector 41, Indira Colony, Ram Darbar, Dhanas and Colony No 4.

Dhawan’s gesture

BSP candidate Harmohan Dhawan today suspended election campaign for a day as mark of respect to Capt Kanwaljit Singh.

Dhawan also placed a wreath at the body of the leader at the cremation ground in Sector 25.

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DBA Polls
2 contenders make way for Mittal
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
After last year’s high-voltage drama during elections to the District Bar Association (DBA) at the district courts, the elections this year seem to be more subdued. Perhaps for the first time in the history DBA elections, two contenders for the post of president have withdrawn their candidature with an intention to let their third opponent win unanimously.

Until yesterday, three lawyers — current president NK Nanda, Ashok Chauhan and Mukesh Mittal — were in the race.

In a quick turn of events today, seven-time winner to the post NK Nanda and Ashok Chauhan withdrew their candidature. Soon after the withdrawal, jubilation was witnessed at the courts complex with lawyers congratulating Mukesh Mittal.

However, returning officer Harsh Tandon said: “Mukesh Mittal has not been officially declared as president of the DBA, as elections are to be held on April 17.”

Expressing happiness, Mittal said: “We have worked together and are best of friends. This year we will ensure that the issue of chambers is resolved.”

Ashok Chauhan said: “We have taken the decision for the sake of the Bar. The main agenda for lawyers is the allotment of chambers, which has been hanging fire.”

Nanda said: “The decision has been taken for the welfare of the Bar and the decision is in our hands. Mittal and I have been friends.”

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Monitoring panel set up

Chandigarh, March 30
The Chandigarh administration has constituted a monitoring committee for coordination with the Election Commission of India, the UT chief electoral officer and the Cabinet Secretariat, an official spokesperson of the administration said. The committee would also sort out outstanding issues and expedite clearances for various schemes. 

The chairman of the committee would be the Finance Secretary while the members would include MC Commissioner, chairman of the Chandigarh Housing Board, Director of Rural Development, and the chief engineer. The Finance Secretary would also be the nodal officer for the purpose. — TNS

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Irregularities in Pancham Society
Deputy registrar accused of delaying probe
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 30
The deputy registrar, Ropar, and assistant registrar, Mohali, have been accused of dilly-dallying the inquiry into the serious wrongdoings by the managing committee of the Puncham Cooperative House Building Society, Sector 68 here.

At least 70 members of the society in a written complaint to financial commissioner (cooperation), Punjab, BC Gupta and registrar of cooperative societies Dr G Vajralingam, said while the deputy registrar was calling the complaining members to the office of the assistant registrar, Mohali, he was not directing the president of the managing committee to be present in the inquiry. Instead, an inspector of the department was being asked to produce the record.

The inquiry official never visited the society. The officials are postponing the dates on one pretext or the other. The members said the entire record of the society was in possession of the president of the managing committee. The record was never presented before the joint registrar, Patiala, who was inquiring into the election held in October last year and again no record was provided to the auditors from the cooperative audit department.

They alleged that the last batch of members got possession of their flats in the first quarter of 2006 and the members were assured that all pending works would be completed by March 31, 2006. Two years have passed but the works are still pending.

The society owes Rs 7.77 crore to GMADA (Rs 4.46 crore as the principal amount and Rs 3.32 crore as the penal interest). Though the amount was charged from the members, the society never paid even the principal amount to GMADA. In some of blocks, the money for lifts had been charged but the same were never provided.

In the complaint to the RCS, the members alleged that the officials of the RCS, who were deputed for the conduct of the election, remained mute spectators.

It is learnt that on the basis of the complaint, the financial commissioner has directed to conduct the audit and speedily complete the inquiry into the complaint of the members.

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Kandahar hijacking convict claims implication
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
The CBI wants death sentence for Abdul Latif, but the convict in the Kandahar hijacking case says he has been implicated because he is a “religious person”

In an appeal filed before the high court, Latif has added he was drawn in also because the CBI wanted to tell the world it had solved the case.

“Voluminous evidence has been provided by the CBI, but there is no cogent evidence on record to link accused Abdul Latif with the hijacking of the aircraft,” his counsel has added.

Latif’s conviction has also been challenged on the ground that there was no test identification parade. The petition was today admitted by the Bench of Justice KS Garewal and Justice Nawab Singh.

Convicted for his role in the hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 from Kathmandu to Delhi, he was sentenced to life on February 5, last year.

In December 1999, the flight carrying 179 passengers and 11 crew members was hijacked. The aircraft was taken to Lahore, then to Minhad airbase in Dubai before being taken to Kandahar in Afghanistan by five militants. The aircraft and the hostages were released in exchange of three militant on December 31, 1999. The CBI has, all along, been asserting the objective was to hijack the aircraft in order to get their leader Maulana Masood Azar released from a jail in India. 

Born in Gujarat, Latif allegedly joined Pakistan-based militant outfit Harkat-ul-Majahiddin in 1995 to launch jihad. He was, allegedly, directed by organisation’s leader Fazal-ur-Rehman Khalil to work with Maulana Masood Azar’s brother-in-law Yosuk Azhar for getting him released.

The CBI had claimed Azhar, in September 1998, gave his passport in name of Mohammad Salim to Abdul Latif for obtaining visa from Bangladesh embassy in Delhi.

The prosecution had also claimed a phone call from Pakistan, asking Latif to contact a TV reporter in London to give out the demands of the hijackers, had led the police to the conspirators. 

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Scribes must have positive outlook: Sobti
A correspondent

Chandigarh, March 30
Panjab University Vice-Chancellor Prof RC Sobti today accused the media of indulging in too much of “negativism” and urged journalists to have a positive outlook.

Visibly upset over the negative stories appearing in certain section of media on the alleged mismanagement of the university’s convocation function yesterday, Sobti, who spoke on “Media that Matters-an Industry-Academia interface”, said reporters should not just criticise, but also look at the positive developments of any institution. He also emphasised the importance of industry (print, broadcast and radio) and academia to come together and help students become exceptional journalists and serve the society.

In his keynote address Prof BK Kuthiala, director, Institute of Mass Communication and Media Technology, Kurukshetra University, delved into the premise of journalism education vis-à-vis the requirements in the media. “Study of journalism has moved on to communication study as new technology has initiated a new system of communication,” he said.

Senior journalist and Associate Editor of The Tribune, Uttam Sengupta, added a different dimension to the discussion and said academicians sounded as confused as journalists. He laid emphasis on the fact that there was a difference between ‘for the job’ and ‘on the job’ training.

“Most media schools are preparing students for the job. Moving from academic institutions into the profession brings some changes and hence learning, relearning and unlearning is a natural process. Every student who is studying communication need not end up being a journalist as there are other professional fields,” he said.

Jayanth N Pethkar of School of Communication Studies, spoke on the relevance of the session, both for the academicians and professionals. Also a part of the event was Professor Radhey Shyam Sharma, founder Vice-Chancellor of Makhan Lal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism, Bhopal, who chaired the first technical session as the moderator. Dinesh Kumar of The Tribune suggested that teachers of communication needed to go for internships with media organisations on a regular basis.

The seminar was organised by the School of Communication Studies, PU, in collaboration with ICSSR (north-western region). Other speakers included Hardeep Chandpuri, Renuka Choudhry and Dr Mohanmeet Khosla.

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Lt-Cols’ pay hike stuck with finance ministry
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Even though political activity has largely relegated issues related to the armed forces personnel on the backburner, some matters pertaining to anomalies in the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations continue to be on the government’s agenda.

While the resolution of the defence ministry to increase the pay of lieutenant colonels and equivalent appears to be stuck in the ministry of finance for final approval, the matter concerning hike in lieutenant generals’ pay is yet to be resolved. The lieutenant colonels’ matter was sent to the finance ministry 5-6 weeks ago.

“The issue of grant of higher administrative grade - plus (HAG) pay band to some lieutenant generals is under our consideration,” defence minister A.K Antony has stated in a letter addressed to Rajeev Chandrasekhar, member of the Rajya Sabha, last week.

Consequent to the downgradation of lieutenant generals vis-à-vis their civilian counterparts in terms of pay and allowances, the armed forces had sought parity of lieutenant generals and equivalents with directors-generals of police.

It is being considered that at least some lieutenant generals holding specific appointments be moved into the HAG-Plus category.

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Pollution Act being defied: Seechewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
To create awareness among masses about natural water resources getting polluted by dirty influx of towns, villages and factory wastes, renowned environmentalist Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal today held a brief at Rajasthan Bhavan, Sector 33, here.

Sant Seechewal said dirty flow of water from cities like Jalandhar, Phagwara and Ludhiana got drained into the Sutlej through Sanghya drain, Chitti Vehi and Budha Nullah.

“This water is further directed to Malwa and Bikaner through Harrike Head Works. The matter of concern is that natives of this region have been compelled to drink this water, which is seldom treated,” he said.

Sant Seechewal said the Water Prevention and Control of Pollution Act, 1974 , which was formulated to prevent and control of water pollution, was being defied but state governments were least bothered to pay any attention towards it.

To raise awareness on deteriorating conditions of rivers and rivulets in the state, Sant Seechewal will undertake a 10-day awareness march from April 1 along the banks of Kalsingia drain, Chitti Bein and Buddha Nullah and then to Bikaner in Rajasthan.

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Kanwaljit’s driver still critical
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
The driver of the car in which Capt Kanwaljit Singh met with fatal accident is still struggling for life at the PGI. Doctors attending on him said the condition of 21-year-old Parminder Singh was still critical.

Parminder was driving the ill-fated Hyundai Elantra car that met with an accident at Khanpur in Kharar. He suffered serious injuries and was admitted to the PGI.

Parminder, who was employed with Prem Singh, sarpanch of Dhakoli, had been driving the car for the past few months as Prem Singh, a staunch supporter of Capt Kanwaljit Singh, had given his car along with the driver for elections to the leader.

However, Rattan Singh, personal security officer (PSO) of the minister who was sitting on the rear seat of the car and was injured in the accident, was stated to be stable.

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Shopkeepers condole Captain’s death
Tribune News Service

Mohali/Zirakpur, March 30
From observing a two-minute silence to closing the business establishments, residents of Mohali, Zirakpur, Dera Bassi and Lalru expressed their solidarity with the family of Punjab Cooperation Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh who was killed in a road accident at Kharar yesterday.

In an emergency meeting of Mohali Industries Association here today, BS Anand, president, and all members of the Executive Committee expressed their grief over the loss on the demise of Capt Kanwaljit Singh.

The Mohali Press Club laid wreaths on the mortal remains of Capt Kanwaljit Singh and decided to close the activities of the club for three days as a mark of respect for the leader.

Punjab ex-servicemen community said it had lost a guardian friend. In a message, the Punjab league of the ex-servicemen movement expressed shock over the sudden demise of Capt Kanwaljit. The minister had saved the veterans’ Polyclinic in Mohali, worked to install the Zila Sainik Board and also made funds available for Sainik Sadan’s progress at Mohali.

The Mohali Senior Citizens Association has also expressed deep shock over the sudden demise of Capt Kanwaljit Singh. President of the Citizens Welfare Forum Albel Singh Shyan and vice-president of the Citizen Welfare Federation PS Virdi observed a two-minute silence over the demise of the great soul.

The Mohali Property Consultants Association has also expressed its shock and condolences on the sad demise of Captain Kanwaljit. The funeral van donated by the association was used to carry the mortal remains of the Cooperation Minister to the Sector 25 cremation ground.

The Punjab Virsa Cultural and Welfare Society also expressed its grief for the leader. Joginder Singh Dhaliwal, president of the society, said Capt Kanwaljit was a leader of the masses.

Hundreds of shopkeepers and residents went to the cremation ground to attend the funeral.

Residents said that Captain Kanwaljit was a man who had developed the area with his hands and also led the Zirakpur, Dera Bassi and Lalru on the country map. They also called him a man of god who was always ready to help the needy.

In a condolence message, NK Sharma, president, Municipal Council, said the cooperation minister was a leader with a great vision and clarity of ideals. Krishan Garg, president of Lions Club, Zirakpur, Vijay Aggarwal, president of Dera Bassi Crusher Union, and Kuldeep Singh Bittu also condoled the death of Captain Kanwaljit.

Banur: The shopkeepers at Banur today closed the main market mourning the death of Captain Kanwaljit Singh.

Reminiscing the moments spent with him, Kishori Ram said Captain had an excellent memory. “He remembered the names of not only the party workers or shopkeepers like us, but also never forgot to ask about the well-being of our children and family members,” he added.

He was also known to appreciate government employees for their good work and did not hesitate to utter a word of appreciation in public. Captain had worked for the upliftment of his constituency and was responsible for bringing many developmental projects to the area.

Capt Kanwaljit was elected MLA for third term from Banur assembly constituency.

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Bank Heist
Police yet to recover booty
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 30
The two accused of PC Jeweller heist Pawan Saini and Amit Yadav were handed over to the Rohtak police on production warrant after their police remand ended here today. However, after the interrogation of the accused the police could not recover the jewellery looted from the shop on January 27 by the robbers.

The Yamunanagar police arrested two of the accused early this month following which the Panchkula police managed to nab two of their accomplices. After their interrogation police teams were sent to various areas for the recovery of the stolen jewellery. But all that could be recovered till date in the case is a gold chain.

The police said major part of the booty was taken away by other members of the gang that includes Sunil Malik, a resident of Gannaur in Sonepat, Rajesh alias Badri, a resident of Bahadurgarh, and Sunder alias Kala of Rohtak.

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PEC in soup again
Accounts not audited for three years
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Punjab Engineering College (PEC) has run into troubled waters once again for allegedly not getting its accounts audited for past three years.

The matter came to light today when the representatives of the PEC employees’ union approached Ram Niwas, Home Secretary, who according to the sources, directed Manoj Dutta, director of the college to get the audit done and submit the report.

“Ever since we became deemed there has been no audit. This is unconstitutional, so we took the issue to the Home Secretary, who directed both the technical education department and the college to get the audit done,” said Hari Mohan, president PEC employees’ union.

Meanwhile, Prithi Chand, director technical education, admitted of no audit since the conversion of the college to a university but held Finance Ministry responsible.

“Under the Society Registration Act, the college must have held its own internal audits. How can one justify that institution never cared to review how were the funds worth crores being spent? The department chose to overlook this violation and hope that Home Secretary’s order will do some justice,” asserted another union office bearer.

Surprisingly, on being confronted Manoj Dutta, director of the college refused to comment.

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Panel discusses ragging woes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
The Rotary Club, Sector 18, organised a panel discussion on the problem of ragging in educational institutions. Justice Hemant Gupta who was the chief speaker opined ragging to be a social problem rather than legal.

On curtailing ragging, Justice Gupta said: “Ragging is a failure to inculcate respect for the human rights and lives among youth during their school days. The judicial system of our country has laid stringent directives to curtail ragging, the problem can be uprooted only when we are able to stir the sensibilities of our youth to obey laws not just from the fear of punishment but also as a respect to humanity.”

Meanwhile, other guests and members also shared their experiences.

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PG course in healthcare mgmt announced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Chitkara University announced a tie-up with Fortis Healthcare for medical education at a press conference here today. The two have joined hands to commence a postgraduate management degree programme in the healthcare management.

Among those present were Brig RS Grewal; pro Vice-Chancellor Chitkara University, Ashish Bhatia; Regional director (North) Fortis Healthcare and Dr AR Banerji director Fortis Hospital.

The course fee for the MBA degree is about Rs 5 lakh with 60 seats. Also graduate courses are offered in medical lab technology, operation theatre technology and radio and imaging technology with 40, 30 and 30 seats respectively.

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From Schools & Colleges
Capt’s death irreparable loss to Punjab: VC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
The Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, RC Sobti, condoled the death of state’s cooperation minister Kanwaljit Singh, who died in an accident near Kharar yesterday.

Describing him as a seasoned politician and an able administrator, Sobti said it was a great loss to the university and loss to the Panth, Punjab and the SAD. He was always ready to help the and his contributions to the society would always be remembered. It is an irrepairable loss to the family, state and the society.

A two-minute silence was observed in his memory and the university was closed for the second half of the day. The university authorities exempted the examination branch in view of the approaching examinations.

PATIALA: A condolence meeting of the staff of Gian Sagar Medical College and Hospital staff was held today to mourn the death of Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Punjab Co-operation Minister, in a road accident, near Kharar, yesterday.

The management of the Gian Sagar colleges decided to keep all colleges of the group closed today, as a mark of respect to the departed leader.

Dr AS Sekhon, Dean of the Gian Sagar colleges, described Capt Kanwaljit as a true politician and a man of impeccable integrity. He said the void caused by his death would remain unfulfilled.

The Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, expressed shock and grief over the untimely demise of Capt Kanwaljit. While describing him as an honest and dignified politician, he said Captain commanded love and affection of everyone, including people and politicians.

Course concludes

A four-week long training programme for in-service lecturers of colleges and universities conducted by the UGC-Academic Staff College, Panjab University, concluded here today.

Prof S K Sharma, director, academic staff college, motivated the teachers to share what they had learnt during the course with students.

The course included sessions on development of teaching, writing and presentation skills and awareness regarding the Right to Information Act, consumer rights and health issues.

Lecture

A lecture on Intolerance and Freedom of Expression: The Case of MF Husain, was organised by the department of political science, Panjab University, in the memory of Prof Pradeep Kumar who was a student and teacher for many years at the department today.

Prof Peter Ronald de Souza, director IIAS, Shimla, delivered the fourth Pradeep Kumar memorial lecture at the Gandhi Bhavan, PU.

Prof de Souza addressed the issue of freedom of expression in a multi-cultural society using MF Husain as a case study. The lecture raised numerous questions, including what does art reflect especially in a democratic society, does art have any limits, who sets the constraints, how those constraints are to be implemented, what is legitimate protest and so on.

The three themes around which the lecture was woven included the issue of deepening of democracy, cultural policing and the case of M F Husain. The Indian democracy was one of the most plural societies in the world and was in the process of creating a political community.

The space for dissent and non-conformism must be kept alive, said Prof de Souza.

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