C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


College director booked for molesting girl
Suspended; internal probe marked

Tribune News Service

Students of Doaba Group of College during a protest against college director in Kharar
Students of Doaba Group of College during a protest against college director in Kharar on Monday. A Tribune photograph

Kharar, April 6
Amule Raj, director of college of pharmacy, Doaba Group of Colleges, was today booked for molesting, threatening and illegally confining a fourth-semester student of pharmacy.

Acting on a complaint by victim’s cousin, Nirmaldeep Singh, a resident of Dasmesh Nagar, the police booked Amule Raj under Sections 354, 342 and 506 of the IPC.

According to police officials, the girl was a hosteller and her parents were living in Canada.

On Friday evening, Amule Raj took her to a secluded place on the college premises and allegedly molested her.

She told her roommates about the matter but could not report the matter to the college authorities for the next two days — Saturday and Sunday — owing to holidays.

When she went to the college this morning, the teacher allegedly made obscene gestures to her. She brought the matter to the notice of her family members, including the cousin and sister, who were local residents.

Thereafter, Nirmaldeep visited the college, where he had a verbal duel with Amule Raj. College authorities, however, alleged that Nirmaldeep assaulted Amule Raj.

A large number of students of the college raised slogans against the teacher and went on a strike, demanding exemplary punishment for the accused. Later, the police reached the campus and took away Nirmaldeep.

The victim and her relatives then went to the Kharar police station, where they gave statements against the teacher in writing.

Jeet Singh, chief administrator of Doaba Group of Colleges, said Amule Raj had been suspended with immediate effect. An institutional inquiry into the case had been marked and handed over to the women grievance cell of the institute.

He, however, alleged that the victim’s cousin had manhandled Amule Raj on the college campus. “We have forwarded a complaint to the police in this regard too,” he added.

Amule Raj, who hails from Tamil Nadu, had joined as director of the college just two weeks ago.



Drugs in City
Chemist shops junkies’ hotspot
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Procuring addictives like smack and opium from “local disguised suppliers” or Schedule-H drugs from chemist shops is as easy as buying a candy
The blue tablet, nicknamed ‘Neelay’ in junkies’ lingo, is available at a chemist store in Sector 41, Chandigarh, without prescription
The blue tablet, nicknamed ‘Neelay’ in junkies’ lingo, is available at a chemist store in Sector 41, Chandigarh, without prescription. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, April 6
If the experience and personal account of inmates of various de-addiction centres are to be believed, the city is a “junkies’ paradise”.

Interestingly, allopathic medicines that are being used as addictive substances have also acquired “desi” names like “neelay”, for blue Proxy 1 tablet, and “goli”, “maggi” and “masti” for others.

Procuring various addictives like smack and opium from “local disguised suppliers” or Schedule-H drugs from chemist shops is as easy as buying a candy, thus validating the story on the open sale of Schedule-H drugs in Ram Darbar by The Tribune recently.

While the “khaki brigade” pleads innocence about any such instances in the city, almost every nook and cranny has the desired “high” for those searching for it.

“At Dadu Majra, an ‘auntie’ sits in one of the allies. She used to provide me with ‘stuff’ (smack). And only her regular trusted customers are given smack at Rs 200-350 and if an unknown person tries to hover around or ask for it, she immediately raises the alarm and calls the police. The police then puts that person behind bars rather than take action against her. Everyone knows there is a mutual understanding between the woman and the police,” says a junkie brought to the re-habilitation centre with a history of 10 years of drug abuse.

Even officials admit being called by the woman many a time, but why has no action been taken against her yet is anybody’s guess.

This is not an isolated case. A widow operates from one of the houses behind the Sector-56 dispensary, near the slum.

Various liquor shops like one in Sector 32 has a full stock of smack for its niche young customers.

In areas like Maloya, where opium tops the preference chart and is being sold at Rs 800 to Rs 1,500, many small-time agents are operating and most of them are teenagers.

But the most disturbing fact is that apart from these agents, various chemist shops like one in Sector 41-D and another in Sector 40-D are the most sought-after joints for allopathic options like N-10 and Proxy 1, which are delivered to regulars.

Strangely, while residents of these areas not only confirm this but also have intricate details of venue and price, the otherwise vigilant UT police is yet to figure this out.

This further validates the speculation of a strong cop-peddler that finds the young school-going kids as its prime target. When confronted, UT SSP SS Srivastava claimed the police to be vigilant enough, though culprits dodged them using technology.

“We do keep a check on these peddlers time to time. These days, they run most of their business through mobile phones.” he added.



Booze, absenteeism plague city cops
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Booze and absenteeism have taken their toll on the Chandigarh Police. If official records of the past five years are any indication, a large number of policemen have been found guilty and many face departmental inquiries for indulging in alcoholism and absenteeism.

The fact came to light after a Mohali resident sought information under the Right to Information Act from the Chandigarh Police. As per the information provided by the police, in all 242 police personnel of various ranks have been placed under suspension in the past five years for various offences. The department has stopped around 100 increments of the 86 policemen of different ranks for truancy and for being caught under the influence of liquor on duty.

The total amount of withheld increments is around Rs 50,000 per month. In other words, these police personnel are saving thousands of rupees of the administration, which it had to pay, said a police officer.

Sources in the police say the department had, since January 1, 2004, withheld one to four increments of around 64 policemen for lifetime after they were held guilty of serious lapses while discharging their duties. Similarly, as many as 67 policemen found absent from their duties had also been deprived of their increments for dereliction of duty.

A senior police officer said the action does not restrict to withholding of increments only, but under some circumstances, the guilty cops were even dismissed from their services.

Giving exemplary punishment, the police has terminated services of nine constables and a head constable for remaining absent from duty without informing their superiors.

Consuming alcohol on duty has cost dearly to an assistant sub-inspector (ASI), six head constables, and constables, who have been deprived of their increments. Not only this, 16 policemen are facing departmental inquiries for being allegedly caught drunk on duty.

Citing an incident, a police officer said in 2006, ASI Nafe Singh, allegedly in inebriated condition, was arrested after he rammed a police control room Gypsy into a stationary car at Panjab University while allegedly under influence of liquor. A home guard jawan had rammed his Gypsy on the campus into an electricity pole disrupting the power supply.

Similarly, in 2007, a constable created ruckus in the Gazetted officers’ colony in Sector 39 and slapped his colleagues who took him to the police station after he was caught by the security guards there.



Poll Code Violation
Notice to Bansal for opening swimming pool
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The UT unit of the Election Commission has issued a notice to Union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal for inaugurating a swimming pool at the Press Club in violation of the model code of conduct.

The BJP gave a verbal complaint in this regard on April 4 and the action was taken on the basis of the news reports.

Congress spokesman Pardeep Chhabra said Bansal had not received any notice from the commission in this regard.

On the complaint of burning of Bansal’s effigy by BSP panchayat of Daria village, the Chandigarh election commission sent a video recording of the incident for the comments of Election Commission, New Delhi, today. The step was taken on a complaint filed by Bansal, Bhupinder Singh and Satinder Bassi.

An official of the commission said the burning of effigy of any political leader by any party was a major violation of model code of conduct. The official said if any political party was found guilty, the commission could take stringent action against it.

A notice was also served to Congress councillor and Chandigarh Marketing Committee Board Devinder Singh Babla for misusing official vehicle.

The commission received a reply on the issue of extension of two years given to PGI director KK Talwar, in which the deputy director stated that the decision was taken by Union Home Ministry and it was no fault of Dr Talwar.

The commission is yet to receive the reply from the authorities of Panjab University about the extension of Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti.



Flight Delay
Kuwait Airlines to pay Rs 70,000 penalty
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Holding Kuwait Airlines guilty of harassing two complainants, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the airlines to pay a compensation of Rs 70,000 (Rs 35000 each) for delay in the departure of a flight.

The forum has also directed the airlines to pay Rs 2,320 expenses towards telecard along with Rs 8,120 as taxi fare.

The complainants, Col D.S.Bindra and Satinder Bindra, resident of Sector 46, stated in the complaint that they booked their tickets from New Delhi to Frankfurt (Germany) through Thomas Cook India Ltd. They were to travel by Kuwait Airlines to meet their daughter in Germany from April 11, 2007, to July 9, 2007.

According to the complainants, the flight of Kuwait Airlines was scheduled to leave Delhi at 5:55 a.m. on April 11, 2007. But it left at 7:35 a.m. - late by two hours.

As a result, they missed their connecting flight of Kuwait Airlines from Kuwait Airport to Frankfurt.

They landed at Kuwait Airport at 9.30 a.m. on 11.04.2007. They were kept at the airport till 1 p.m. with an assurance that they would be sent to Frankfurt directly by Lufthansa Airlines. The complainants, accordingly, conveyed to their daughter and son-in-law that they would be reaching Frankfurt at about 3 p.m. They spent Rs 2,320 for purchasing the tele-card. However, to their surprise, all of a sudden they were asked to check in a hotel as their departure through Lufthansa Airlines could not materialise.

The complainants were kept at Kuwait Airport till 2 p.m. under the impression that they they would be sent to Frankfurt directly through Lufthansa Airlines. However, at about 2 p.m, they were told that instead of going to Frankfurt directly, they would have to go to Rome by Kuwait Airlines. No explanation for the deviation of the departure schedule as told earlier was given to the complainants. Ultimately they left Kuwait for Rome at 2:20 p.m. on April 12, 2007.

While deboarding at Rome, all passengers except the complainants were given the boarding passes of Lufthansa Airlines for Frankfurt. However, the authorities of Kuwait Airlines handed over two transit slips of Alitalia Express to the complainants for their journey to Frankfurt. They were assured regarding confirmation of their seats in Alitalia express. The complainants were shocked when Alitalia express staff put them on a standby list instead of confirmed list.

In the reply filed by airlines, it was stated that due to an unforeseen technical snag in the aircraft, the flight had to be unfortunately delayed for the rectification of the problem, which led to the scheduled time for departure being extended by two hours. The airlines mentioned that they had provided hotel in Kuwait for the night and on the next day they were offered another connecting flight for Frankfurt via Rome.


Pre-poll jitters for Cong, BJP
Colony cell chief joins Congress

Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
With chairman of the colony cell of the BJP Shashi Shanker Tiwari throwing in his lot with the Congress, the focus has turned on the turncoats who are giving the BJP and the Congress jitters ahead of the May 13 elections.

In fact, Tiwari is not the only colony chieftain who has switched sides in the run-up to the parliamentary poll. Earlier, Shambu Banerjee, chairman of the colony cell of the Congress, has given the party a jolt by joining the Trinamool Congress.

Sources said switching sides during elections is nothing new in the "highly-commercialised" slum politics in the city. In fact, elections seem to be the right time for colony leaders to extract their pound of flesh from the mainline political parties.

The plea for switching loyalties is always the neglect of public interest by the political parties. Tiwari also alleged that he was upset with the BJP's "anti-people" policies though till today he was the part of the BJP establishment and was considered to be the right-hand man of BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain. "I was getting suffocated in the vitiated BJP atmosphere," Tiwari quipped.

Tiwari, who joined the Congress along with several top leaders of the colony cell, including vice-president colony cell Gyan Chand Singla, district president, colony cell, Rajinder Sharma and yuva morcha ex-general secretary Satish Bhardwaj, wields a considered influence among slum dwellers.

Earlier, Tiwari was flirting with the BSP and the top BJP leadership had a tough time in persuading him to remain in the BJP. Though the loss of the BJP and the BSP had been the Congress' gain, questions are being raised over the timing of Tiwari's defection from the BJP as his "concerns" were addressed by the party.

In the last elections, the BJP had trailed the Congress by nearly 43,000 votes in the colonies and the villages and Tiwari's somersault just before the elections should be the alarm bells in the BJP camp. These colonies leaders are supposed to be the crowd pullers for the big rallies and vote catchers for the parties as the colonies record high percentage of votes during the elections.

Meanwhile, welcoming the BJP leader into the Congress fold, Pawan Bansal cautioned Congress workers against malicious propaganda of the opposition.

During the past few days, the BSP and the BJP have been hell bent on vitiating the political atmosphere for the fear of losing political ground. "Elections should be contested within democratic norms," he added.



Dhawan throws housing bait
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
After Satya Pal Jain (BJP) and Pawan Bansal (Congress), it is BSP candidate Harmohan Dhawan, who has taken to populism.

Seeking to replicate the UP Chief Minister and BSP supremo Mayawati's social engineering formula in Chandigarh, Dhawan today promised houses to poor of the city under the Garib Awas Yojana on the pattern of the UP government.

Terming housing a basic need, Dhawan said the poor had contributed a lot to the development of the city and were living homeless in the city.

He further stated that out of 22 villages of the UT, Hallo Majra was the filthiest and no councillor either from the Congress or the BJP had taken this into consideration. He further stressed on the need of proper compensation for the acquisition of land by the UT administration on Punjab pattern.

Meanwhile, the BJP colonies cell’s general secretary Rajendra Prasad Jain and vice-presidents Dinesh Joshi and Mohan Lal today accused the Congress of total neglect of the colonies in Chandigarh. In a statement, they alleged that though Bansal had been an MP for 10 years and won with the support of colony residents yet he had given a raw deal to the colonies.

Meanwhile, BJP president Kamla Sharma, general secretary Sanjay Tandon and former state BJP president Yashpal Mahajan today accused Pawan Bansal of being totally incompetent as an MP and minister.



Master Plan
Slums to make way for EWS houses
GMADA to develop 16,674 hectares
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 6
Removing slums and building houses for the economically weaker section on the area will be the priorities of GMADA while implementing the recommendations in the master plan 2006-2031 for the SAS Nagar local planning area.

In the recently approved master plan, 16,674 hectares has been earmarked for development in phases. In the phase 1 of development, new industrial areas to be set up will serve as a catalyst for development of the local planning area of Mohali.

The prominent developments that will part of phase 1 are aerotropolis, an urban area extending up to 25 kilometres from the proposed international airport, knowledge city and business and hitech parks. An official disclosed that there would be development of two commercial city centres in Sectors 62 and 87.

In the master plan prepared by Singapore-based consultant Jurong Ltd, special and detailed controls for the city have been advocated. “After Ludhiana and Mullanpur, Mohali was the third city to get a legal master plan approved from the Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Board”, said official.

In May, 2005, the board had approved the outline master plan of local planning area of Mohali and directed the planning agency to prepare the comprehensive master plan. However, after amendment in the Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Act, 1995, the planning agency was published on December, 2006, to invite public objections.

The official said apart from talking about road connectivity to the upcoming international airport, a detailed plan of the central business district (CBD) in Sector 62 had also been prepared. The consultant had highlighted strengths of the region, saying that it was located next to Chandigarh and residents here had the highest per capita income. The area is cosmopolitan where over 68 per cent population is literate.

Factors like strong economy, availability of highly skilled workforce, growing number of regional tourists and spill over from Chandigarh and Delhi have also been highlighted. Stating that total investment in the Greater Mohali area in 2007-2011 is expected to be Rs 40,000 crore, the consultant has laid down a blueprint of economic development of the region.



Sector 17 police fails to register FIRs
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Despite a number of rulings by the Supreme Court and other courts, getting a First Information Report (FIR) registered is still a difficult task. Two city residents are making rounds of the Sector 17 police station for the past over four days with the officials turning them away on one pretext or the other.

While Sanjiv Kumar of Darua was asked to wait for a nod from the SHO after four days of his reporting the matter, the other resident, Shivender Singh of Sector 23, was instructed to come along with his landlord, who had not submitted the servant-verification report.

Shivender, a BA-II student of DAV College, said he had already furnished information in the servant verification form to his landlord, who might have failed to submit the same with the police. However, he failed to understand the link between his stolen motorcycle and the servant verification form.

Narrating his story, Sanjiv Kumar told The Tribune that his 18-days-old son was admitted in Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, following a problem after his birth. On April 2 around 10.30 pm, when he was about to go home from the hospital, he found his Bajaj Caliber motorcycle (CH-03-K-3458) punctured. He boarded a rickshaw and went home leaving his motorcycle in the parking lot front of labour room. Next morning around 7.30 am, he found his motorcycle missing. He reported the matter to the police, which was dilly-dallying over the issue.

Sanjiv alleged that sub-inspector Onkar Nath had told him to wait for a few days. Today, Nath told him that the case would only be registered after getting a nod from the SHO and did not tell him as to how long he had to wait.

Similarly, Shivender alleged that his Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle (HR-31-E-2117) was stolen from outside his rented accommodation in Sector 23 during the night intervening April 1 and 2. He alleged that the policemen were harassing him on one pretext or the other for the past four days.

Inspector Ramesh Chander, the SHO of the Sector 17 police station showed ignorance about the cases and said he would pull up the official concerned for not registering the case.



Inter-Bank Transactions
Smaller banks fail to synchronise ATMs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Even six days after inter-bank ATM usage was made free, the benefit continues to elude most bank consumers.

Since April 1, consumers have been facing harassment, as several smaller banks have not yet fallen in line to effect inter-bank transactions at their ATMs. Though most of the larger banks have been able to remove the glitch, smaller banks are yet to synchronise their ATMs to take more hits than they were taking before April 1.

Vikrant Sharma, a city resident, said he was unable to withdraw cash from his HDFC ATM card, if used in ATMs of other smaller banks.

“Since the RBI directions regarding free-of-cost inter-bank transactions were issued well in advance, banks should have ensured that their ATMs were properly synchronised,” he rued.

Banks said they were trying to remove the obstacles for smooth inter-bank ATM transactions. “It will take three to four days before banks are able to ensure smooth implementation of the transactions,” said a senior official of the SBI.

The RBI had made inter-bank ATM usage for cash withdrawals and balance enquiries free from April 1.

Earlier, customers had to pay charges ranging from Rs 20 to Rs 50 per transaction.

Customers were also paying anything between Rs 10 and Rs 20 to making balance enquiries through inter-bank ATMs.



Skimmed Milk Powder
Dairy industry for revival of exports
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The dairy industry in Punjab and Haryana is looking at a revival of exports of skimmed milk powder (SMP), with the steady gain in international price of SMP over the past two months.

According to sources in the dairy business, exporters have now started getting export queries. With the major milk exporting countries slaughtering cattle to correct the demand-supply imbalance, their SMP production has been hit. As a result, Indian exporters are now seeing a huge opportunity.

Braving under a situation of supply exceeding demand and falling prices of SMP, the dairy industry in the region had been witnessing a slowdown in exports of SMP for almost one year.

High input costs for converting milk into SMP and a high subsidy of 25 per cent offered to manufacturers in Europe (as against five per cent export subsidy to Indian manufacturers) has ensured that it is the Europe made SMP that is flooding the global market. The Indian manufacturers, who were exporting to countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and other countries in West Asia have been unable to meet the European manufacturers’ price points and, thus, exports from the region have taken a hit.

So much so that at least two casein (a milk protein manufactured by coagulating SMP) manufacturing facilities in the region - one at Karnal and another at Dera Bassi- have been forced to shut operations this year. Interestingly, two years ago when the government had banned export of SMP to increase milk supply in the domestic market, many private dairy players found a way to flout this ban by converting SMP into casein and then exporting it.

“For the past four months, there is no demand for SMP or casein. So, manufacturers have had to either curtail their production or start manufacturing and exporting other milk products,” says Vinod Dutt, managing director of Khanna-based Chanakya Dairy Products.

A senior official in Milkfed, Punjab, however, says though export queries were coming their way, mismatch in the SMP price in domestic and international market was playing the spoilsport.

“Last year, too, the export of SMP was negligible because of the mismatch in price. As against a price of $2,100 per tonne for SMP manufactured in Europe, our price is around $2,300 per tonne, making exports unviable. We will wait till the prices of SMP gain further, before exports can be re-started,” he says.



Barnala’s ‘Meri Do aur Betian’ released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The Urdu version of “Meri Do aur Betian”, the latest work of Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala, was released here today. The book sums up Barnala’s fatherly affection towards two girls Naseem and Kiranjot who were from Kashmir and USA, respectively, and unfortunately died of different ailments.

The relationship, according to Barnala, was unique in a sense that it blossomed out of sweet nothings in both cases.

“I had met Naseem in 1949 in Kashmir when her entire family was not keeping well and shortly after her parents’ demise she also died but wrote a letter saying ‘chhote abbu mera aakhari salaam.’ The salutation made me her father. Similarly, Kiranjot met me in Amritsar where she insisted to call me her father and I agreed reluctantly and when she died of cancer I realised it was not just some moments but emotions that bonded us,” said Barnala.

Haryana Governor AR Kidwai, while releasing the book, appreciated the humane aspect of this unique memoir. HK Dua, Editor-in-Chief, The Tribune, considered it to be a unique initiative in a region where sex ration was skewed due to female foeticide.

“I am yet to lay my hands on this book but the very idea of this unique bond with two girls of diverse cultures is truly touching. The speculated array of emotions is bound to inspire many to treasure and love their born and unborn daughters,” he said.



Justice Majithia is head of newspaper wage boards
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
It is for the first time that the Central government has appointed a legal luminary from this part of the country as the chairman of the National Wage Boards for Journalists and non-Journalist Newspaper Employees.

The honour has gone to Justice GR Majithia, a former Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court as well as the Bombay High Court. He stays in Sector 9 here.

Justice Majithia was enrolled as an advocate of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 1960. As Deputy Advocate-General of Punjab, he successfully argued the famous Punjab budget case in which the constitutional validity of the Punjab Appropriation Acts was challenged. Former Chief Justice of India M. Hidayatullah described this case as “a distinguished case” in his autobiography.

He was elevated to the Bench in 1988. After serving the Punjab and Haryana High Court for six years, he was transferred to the Bombay High Court in 1994. Justice Majithia specialises in constitutional, civil, election and company and labour laws.



Rain paves way for pleasant weather
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Intermittent rain since morning gave way to a cool and pleasant weather in the city today providing relief to the residents from the hot and sultry weather prevailing in the town for the last fortnight. As heavy rain is expected to lash the city, temperature is expected to dip further in the next week.

Meteorology department recorded maximum temperature of 31.6 degrees Celsius and minimum 17.2 degrees Celsius, which is going to dip another two degree tomorrow. The dust blanket, which had engulfed the town, is settling with the alteration of weather phenomena. There was night like conditions in the evening when dark clouds accompanied by high velocity winds began storming the city. The motorists were seen driving their vehicles with lights on at that time. Heavy rain led to disruption of power supply in many sectors of the town.

Telephone lines also lay in disarray and many trees were uprooted. Many areas of the city were plunged into darkness following high speed winds and rain. Reports of water logging problem was received from the low lying areas of the colony number five. Scooterists were seen taking shelter from the rain the bus sheds in many parts of the town.

Weather experts attribute these phenomena to the formation of a cyclonic circulation over north-east Pakistan adjoining Punjab and western disturbance in Pakistan and adjoining Jammu and Kashmir. The cyclonic circulation led to high velocity winds and rain in this part of the region. The conditions are expected to prevail and the forecast is that thunderstorm and showers will continue tomorrow also.

As per the records of the met department the average rain recorded in the city during the month of March and April is around 53 mm, last year the rain recorded was 33.2 mm and this year till date the department recorded around 20mm rain in the city.

The maximum temperature recorded by the met department last year on April 6, 2008 was 25.2 degree Celsius whereas it touched 30 degree Celsius this year yesterday.



Stray dogs caused fatal accident
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 6
It was stray dog menace that led to the death of Gurtaj Sandhu (26) in a road accident here late last night.

Gurtaj, a student of MDS at National Dental College, Dera Bassi, was killed after he tried to prevent running over two dogs near Red Bishop and lost control of Scorpio. The vehicle hit the pavement and overturned.

Another youth, Pushpinder, who was accompanying Gurtaj at the time of the accident, also suffered minor injuries.

Pushpinder, in his statement to the police, said they were returning from Chandi Mandir cantonment after meeting some friends there around 11 pm.

As soon as they reached Red Bishop, two dogs came on to the road. In order to save them, Gurtaj who was on the wheel, took a sharp turn and lost control of the vehicle.

The vehicle hit the pavement and overturned before landing on its side. The neck of the victim got entangled in the window, he stated.

Pushpinder, who received minor injuries, managed to come out of the vehicle and call people for help.

The staff of Red Bishop helped pull Gurtaj from under the vehicle, an employee said.

Meanwhile, heartrending scenes were witnessed at the residence of director, National Dental College, Dera Bassi, Lieut-Colonel Gurbir Singh Sandhu (retd), who is the father of Gurtaj.

Gurtaj was the youngest and only son of his parents, with two of his sisters married, said Maj-Gen GS Grewal, a relative.

The body of Gurtaj was cremated after the post-mortem examination was conducted at the General Hospital in the afternoon.



e wild wild web
India has more than 8 crore Internet users
Anil Maheshwari

India, with 81 million internet users, has made long stride. It stands fourth in the world. Contrary to the common belief about the penetration of Internet, a recent report by the “Internet Governance Forum” has revealed that number of people with internet access in India and all over the world has been growing rapidly. The number of users - those who report that they have online access, though many of them may not themselves subscribe to an online connection - was 6.93 users per 100 inhabitants.

At the end of 1997, only 1.7 per cent of the world’s population -70 million people- had access to the Internet. A decade later, that number has risen to an estimated 1,348,572,040 users. Asia has the highest number of internet users, with an estimated 568.7 million people, followed by the Americas, with 377.9 million. Europe comes third with 335.9 million while Africa and Oceania close the rank with 51.8 million and 14 million users respectively.

As far as the Internet connectivity in India is concerned, India has yet to figure in top 10 “Broadband Connected Countries”. By the end of the preceding year, there were about 13.5 million Internet subscribers in India, representing 1.15 per 100 habitants. They included Broadband subscribers who accounted for over 3.1 million of these, or 0.27 per 100 inhabitants.

Giving a clear indication of poor broadband penetration in the country, India has been ranked 115th among 223 countries in terms of average internet connection speeds. This poor state of Broadband connectivity is in the latest quarterly study by Akamai Technologies, the US-based internet content distribution giant.

According to Wikipedia, Akamai Technologies, Inc), is a company that provides a distributed computing platform for global Internet content and application delivery, headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The company was founded in 1998 by then- MIT graduate student Daniel Lewin, along with MIT Applied Mathematics professor Tom Leighton and MIT Sloan School of Management students Jonathan Seelig and Preetish Nijhawan. Leighton still serves as Akamai's Chief Scientist, while Lewin was killed aboard American Airlines flight 11 which was crashed in the 9/11 attacks of 2001. Akamai is a Hawaiian word meaning smart or intelligent.

India, says the report, has an average internet connection speed of just 772 Kbps compared with the global average of 1.5 Mbps. And, at the end of 2008, approximately 19 per cent internet connections around the world were at speeds greater than 5 Mbps -- a 21 per cent increase over the average global connection speed at the end of 2007. In line with their average connection speed of 15 Mbps, and their appearance at the top of the list for the prior three quarters, South Korea once again ranked as the country with the highest percentage of connections on high broadband (greater than 5 Mbps).

India ranks 93rd globally for broadband adoption (with 3.74 per cent connections at speeds over 2 Mbps) and is positioned at 55th globally for narrowband adoption (with 25.8 per cent of connections at speeds below 256 Kbps).

South Korea, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway had more high broadband IPs ( Internet addresses) per capita than in the prior quarter studied. This is consistent with what would be expected from the initiatives to bring higher-speed connectivity, including fibre-to-the-home efforts, to consumers in these countries, notes the Akamai report.

The report, however, also shows India to be progressing in these matters. "The average connection speed will be an interesting number to track in the coming quarters and gives us a clear indication of the growing broadband adoption in the country," added the report.

"We continue to see strong trends that point to ever-improving internet penetration figures in India, with observed unique IPs growing 43 per cent year-on-year and average connection speed well above 750 Kbps."

The report also notes that the number of unique IPs from India grew 42.91 per cent year-on-year, to 2.63 million. Globally, the number of unique IPs grew 20 per cent. In terms of broadband penetration, India had 0.0001 broadband IPs per capita.

India ranked 17th globally on another parameter called attack traffic -- a measure of rogue activity on the Internet, such as DNS attacks, bots, spam activity and hackers.

During the fourth quarter of 2008, Akamai observed attack traffic originating from 193 countries around the world -- up nearly 8 per cent from the third quarter count of 179 countries.

In the last quarter of the preceding year, the US moved into first place for the first time in 2008, after placing second to either China or Japan through the year. Through 2008, the US, China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan were consistently among the top 10 countries that generated the highest percentages of attack traffic.

Anil is an editor with Instablogs.com. He may be reached at Anilm@instablogs.com



Foreign youths meet Rodrigues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
A delegation of 23 foreign youths of Indian origin, under the "Know India programme", called on Punjab Governor and UT Administrator SF Rodrigues.

The programme was organised by the Central Ministry of Overseas Affairs, with a view to creating awareness among the youths about the phenomenal transformation taking place in India and strengthening their linkage with their motherland.

Rodrigues said Asia and India had to play a pivotal role in meeting the global requirements of professionals and technocrats. The process of evolution had already started with the re-modelling of policies, programmes and institutional structures, incorporating innovative strategies to meet global requirements.

Vikas Partap, Commissioner, NRI affairs, and DN Srivastava, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Affairs, were also present.

Later, the Administrator heard the grievances of the people at the UT Secretariat, adhering to the schedule of the public hearing session on the first Monday of this month.



MES union protest against delay in disbursement
Tribune News Service

Members of the MES Workers Union stage a protest at Panchkula
Members of the MES Workers Union stage a protest at Panchkula on Monday. A Tribune photograph

Panchkula, April 6
Thousands of members of the Military Engineer Service (MES) Workers Union staged a dharna protesting against the delay in disbursement of allowances pending since Operation Prakram at Chandi Mandir here today.

Demonstrators from different parts of region, including Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, reached here to protest.

While addressing the members, union general secretary Om Prakash Vashisth said they were not being paid allowances since 2003 while the same allowances had already been disbursed to supply depot, ordinance.

Later the union leaders claimed that a delegation of the union had a meeting with officials and they were assured of the solution within one month.



Protest against clean chit to Cong leaders
Tribune News Service

Protesters burn the effigies of Congress leaders in Sector 17, Chandigarh
Protesters burn the effigies of Congress leaders in Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Monday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, April 6
Accusing the Central government of adopting the double standards, president of the Chandigarh Akali Dal Gurpartap Singh Riar, along with his supporters, today condemned the CBI for giving the clean chit to alleged perpetrators of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

The protesters, donning black robes, assembled at the Plaza in Sector 17 and raised slogans against the CBI for giving the clean chit to Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar.

They also said the government, led by the Congress, had rubbed salt on the wounds by giving tickets to Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Delhi.

Meanwhile, representatives of the Akali Dal 1920, Chandigarh, announced that they would also stage a protest at Plaza tomorrow.



Two run over by trains
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Two city residents were killed in separate mishaps after being hit by trains in various parts of the city today.

Kailash Chander (70) was killed after being hit by a train near railway crossing in Mani Majra this morning, while Sanju, in his late 20s, was killed on elevated railway track on Chandigarh-Ambala road in evening.

According to the sources in the Government Railway Police (GRP), the first mishap occurred around 8 am when the victim was crossing the track during morning walk. He was thrown off the track and sustained severe head injuries after he fell down on the pebbles. He was rushed to the Government Multi Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, where he later died during the treatment.

The police said the victim had weak eyesight and could not judge the speed of the approaching train.

About the other accident, the police believed that it could be a case of suicide also. The victim, a resident of Hallo Majra, was mentally upset. His father told the police that he had admitted him in the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, from where he fled without informing anyone. They were searching for him and found him dead on the railway track.

The body was badly mutilated after being crushed under the train.



398 accident cases registered in one year
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 6
As many as 398 cases of road accidents were registered in 2008.

The increase in accidents was mainly due to factors like alarming increase in the number of vehicles on the road, people disobeying traffic rules and lack of knowledge of prompt and effective first-aid. This was stated by Swarandeep Singh, DSP, Ciyt-II, while speaking at a workshop on “Basic life support and first-aid” organised at Fortis Hospital here today. He said the car pooling should be made compulsory to reduce the traffic load and ambulance services should be readily available. Internationally accreditated hospitals should be set up which are well-equipped to handle emergencies and ensure prompt first-aid.

Over 80 police personnel attended the workshop to celebrate the World Health Day. Dr Parvinder Chawla, head, emergency services, and Amarjit Kaur, supervisor, nursing education, at Fortis Hospital addressed the policemen and explained the importance of prompt and timely management in emergencies.

Dr Ashish Banerji, director of the hospital, said: “By empowering the police personnel with knowledge on how to deal with emergencies, precious lives can be saved.”



Undisclosed income worth Rs 306 cr detected
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The rate of detection of undisclosed during the income tax surveys has seen manifold rise this year as a total of undisclosed income of Rs 306 crore was detected within Chandigarh this year.

A press release of the department stated that a total of 99 surveys were conducted in the area this year. Last year the amount of undisclosed income was merely Rs 80.20 crore while the number of survey conducted was 136.

Similarly the collection of income tax from the North West comprising Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh has witnessed a substantial jump and Rs 10,275 crore were collected during the year exceeding the budget limit which was fixed at Rs 9,314 crore.



Training session for poll staff

Chandigarh, April 6
The official machinery is gearing up for the May 13 Lok Sabha polls in Chandigarh.

A training session for election officials was held at Punjab Engineering College to apprise them about the poll process. The session included the training of the election officials about working of the electronic voting machines besides other other duties.

An official said more such training programmes would be organised for the staff to make them aware about the election-related work and ensure free and fair poll. The interaction was well-attended by the officials, who posed several queries related to their duties. — TNS



Water scarcity in Sec 28

Chandigarh, April 6
Residents of Sector 28 here have been facing acute shortage of water for the past three days. Residents complained that they had not been receiving regular water supply since Saturday morning. They have been complaining to the authorities for the past two days and officials assured them of taking necessary action but so far there have been no improvement in the water supply.

However, officials in the corporation revealed that there was problem of water supply for a day but after that normal supply was started. — TNS



Department store challaned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Officials from the prevention of food adulteration department of the administration challaned More Departmental Store for selling goods without having licences issued by the health department here today. The team headed by Dr Rajesh Dhir also lifted samples of eatables from the store.

Sukwinder, official in the team, said they got a complaint from a resident of Sector 48 alleging that he found the taste of biscuits bought from the store was bad. The complainant said while he felt uneasiness after consuming the biscuits purchased from the store, the date of manufacturing on the pack was also not legible.



Records from MC, Estate Office seized
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Sleuths of the CBI today conducted searches and seized records from the Estate Office and the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh pertaining to 20 plots in Sector 52, which were illegally sold.

DIG Mahesh Aggarwal told TNS that records were seized from the corporation and the Estate Office and would be examined in the coming days to unearth the scam.



Tent dealers demand godowns
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
A delegation of the Chandigarh Tent Dealers’ Society today submitted a memorandum to SF Rodrigues, UT Administrator, regarding their demand for godowns for the tent houses, which were functioning in the city.

The memorandum said as these houses had to store a large quantity of furniture, bamboos, “ballis” and pipes, which were not adjustable in the present SCFs and SCOs, they should be included in the upcoming warehousing complex in the city.



Fee refund eludes 650 NRI students
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
If the claims of PU students are to be believed, around 650 NRI students are yet to receive the long-promised fee refund amounting to several lakhs for the reasons better known to the authorities only.

Last year, following a hike of 10 per cent in the fee of the NRI category of all department, 5 per cent of it was was rolled back and students were promised a refund or adjustment in the consecutive fee. However, even after 10 months of the declaration, various students of departments like UIET, UIPS, law and many more are yet to receive anything.

“We don’t understand what is the issue. While in many departments, the accounts have already been settled but in our department, we are yet to get any refund or adjustment,” claimed a student of the law department.

“We took up the matter with the authorities many time but none of them could give us any satisfactory answer. Even when the rollback was declared, we were made to pay the full fee on a plea that they were yet to receive any written communication. However, we were promised a refund or an adjustment but nothing has been done so far,” asserted another student of UBS.

Meanwhile, SS Bari, Registrar, PU, claimed that there was no such issue.

“If students of other department have got the refund, they will also get it. Those who are passing out will get refund and others will have adjustments if not today then tomorrow,” he said.



GMCH gets more MD seats
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has granted permission for three seats in MD transfusion medicine and two seats in MD psychiatry at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Chandigarh, from this session.

The permission followed by the recommendation of the Medical Council of India regarding it. The GMCH will conduct the counselling for nine postgraduate seats (MD/MS) tomorrow.

The counselling for these additional four seats will be done in the second counselling where two seats will be dealt at the GMCH and while the other two seats, one for transfusion medicine and one for psychiatry, will be dealt at all India-level.



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