C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Auto-operators’ strike hits tricity commuters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/Mohali, April 13
The Chandigarh Administration’s much-talked-about “Uniform Corridor Scheme”, introduced to ease conveyance in the tricity, seems to be suffering a setback, as auto-rickshaw operators of tricity today intensified their agitation by holding a “chakka jaam” at Chandigarh, Zirakpur and Mohali, putting passengers to great inconvenience.

The administration, on its part, said that since the outstation auto-rickshaws of Haryana and Punjab had been plying in the UT without any valid permits, these had been banned to operate in Chandigarh.

It is to be mentioned that close on the heels of inter-state reciprocal agreement with Punjab, the administration, in association with the Haryana government, had initiated to sign an agreement on same pattern under the “Universal Corridor System”.

Under the new agreement, to facilitate public convenience, the auto-rickshaws from Haryana, under specific limit, besides buses, taxis above 999 CC (both AC and non AC), would be directly allowed to carry passengers to their destinations in Chandigarh and vice-versa.

Also, the administration has set August 31, 2009, as the deadline for phasing out diesel/petrol-operated auto-rickshaws.

Meanwhile, DS Jaspal, Principal Secretary, Government of Punjab, today wrote 

A letter to Home Secretary Ram Niwas, asking him to reconsider the decision. DS Jaspal has mentioned that the immediate implementation of the ban on the plying of autos in Chandigarh had created not only great inconvenience to the travelling public but had also forced the auto-drivers to go on strike.

“The phasing out of the existing diesel/petrol-driven autos requires more time to enable the auto-operators to switch over to LPG and CNG-driven ones.” The letter further says “The Punjab government has instructed the State Transport Commissioner, Punjab, to direct all auto-rickshaw owners who ply their vehicles between Chandigarh and Mohali, to convert them into LPG and CNG before August 31. Therefore, the existing petrol/diesel driven autos be allowed to ply without any restrictions till the deadline set by the Chandigarh Administration.”

The Auto Committee pointed out that the administration had been allowing the registration of diesel-run Tata Magic cabs, but was disallowing the diesel-run auto-rickshaws on city roads.

Auto-operators also alleged that the STA officials had been impounding the outside autos just to enhance their figures in the books. An auto-driver Sunil Kumar alleged that his auto (PB-65-H 7216) had been confiscated by an STA team from his house in Kajheri. Arvind Kumar said that this auto (PB-65-E-6410) had been impounded when it was parked in Sector 34 yesterday. Similarly, Suresh alleged that his auto (PB-65-E 6823) has been taken away yesterday when it was parked at parking lot of the Sector 17 bus-stand.

Auto-drivers rued that they had been out of job for two days and in the absence of any earning, they had been unable to pay the medical expenses or the tuition fee of their children. “We want solution. But, if the administration went on harassing us, we would bring along our families to join us in our strike and block roads.” Denying all allegations, administration officials asserted that if there was any loss to public property or vehicle, stern action would taken as per the law. 



Daylight burglary at Sec-18 house
500 gm gold ornaments, Rs 4.5 lakh gone
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
In a daring act, burglars struck at and ransacked a house right next to the Sector-18 residence of a Punjab-cadre Assistant Director General of Police (law and order) in broad daylight yesterday.

The unidentified thieves allegedly decamped with gold ornaments weighing around 500 gm and around Rs 4.5 lakh in cash from the house of Lachhman Singh.

A case has been registered.

Interestingly, a police assistance booth and two security pickets housing around 20 guards, who cater “exclusively” to the house of ADGP, are located on an adjacent ground.

Investigating officer Ram Gopal of the police station denied that there was any “police assistance booth” near the house, but a visit to the scene suggested otherwise. The booth was, however, found to be unmanned.

According to the house owners, the burglars apparently stayed in the house for hours, as the entire house was in disarray and every almirah and storage space was ransacked.

Burglars reportedly pried open the rear courtyard iron grill lock and through a toilet broke open another adjoining door lock to access the room where a steel almirah containing the cash and jewellery was kept. Thereafter, they broke the lock of another steel almirah and took away whatever they could.

The house owners said the house usually remain unoccupied during the daytime from 11 am to 9.30 pm.

“Around 9.30 pm when my daughter, wife and I returned from our medical store in Mansa Devi Complex, we found all almirahs ransacked,” said Lachhman Singh. His daughter, Dr Sonu, said she inquired from the guards posted outside the adjoining house of the ADGP but they feigned ignorance.

“The guards instead retorted that they had the responsibility to safeguard ADGP’s house alone and weren’t concerned about the goings-on in adjacent houses,” said Dr Sonu.

An outhouse in which these guards stay during their duty hours shares the common wall at the backyard of both houses. Also, a “dhobi” works at the rear of the house during the day.



MC to go tough on buildings flouting norms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
After the death of four persons and huge loss of property in the recent fire incident in Sector 22, the Municipal Corporation authorities have woken up and decided to declare those buildings as unsafe which do not adhere to proper fire safety norms.

At a special meeting held under Corporation Commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria, it was decided that a campaign would be launched to check the congested markets of Sector 15, 17, 19, 22, labour colonies and other fire-prone areas.

It was also decided to check the preparedness of the fire-fighting equipment on a regular basis and a weekly report would be sent to the Additional Commissioner and Chief Fire Officer to the Commissioner. Also, the staff would be given training in which visuals of fire fighting would be shown to update their knowledge regularly.

Members opined about the need for better coordination between the fire and emergency department, police department, especially the traffic police, health and electricity department during any major fire incident in the city.

Fire committee chairman MPS Chawla discussed important points that need to be focussed while tackling such incidents.

The members further said a standard fire-fighting kit should be available in each vehicle, which should be checked by the officials concerned personally. More water reservoirs should be constructed at each fire station.

It was then decided to purchase two life detectors, a victim location camera, grill snatchers to pull out a grill or glazing to save victims and two smoke exhausters.

It was also decided that the advanced rescue tender should carry the inflatable light tower so that there is no visibility problem at night in evacuating fire victims.

The members decided to fill up all vacant posts of firemen and equal opportunity would be given to women, if the recruitment rules allow. A public address system will be fitted on every fire tender to pass safety instructions to those trapped in the fire and also to pass instructions to the onlookers, the chairman said. Besides, a flying squad of the enforcement wing to assist the fire department in the removal of encroachments at the place of incidents. The said squad will be assisted by a recovery van, he added. The health department was asked to keep an ambulance equipped with the emergency equipment to be sent immediately on the call of the officer concerned to deal with any kind of emergency. The authorities concerned would also request the Estate Office for resumption proceedings against the violators. 



Three die after consuming liquor
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 13
Three persons died after allegedly consuming alcohol at Rani Majra village near Mullanpur Garib Dass late last evening. The deceased, Balbir Singh, his father Harbans Balbir and Ranjit, had together consumed liquor and reportedly consumed some other substance. One of them died on way to the PGI while others died before that.

Though the police did not confirm whether the liquor was adulterated, the bodies had been sent for postmortem. SHO, Mullapnpur, HS Bal said postmortem of the deceased had been done and the exact cause of the death would be known after the report. Action under Section 174 of the CrPC had been initiated.

As per the version of the family members, the trio had come after consuming liquor and slept after having food.

Inquiries revealed that the three, who were said to be addicts, had consumed liquor at Balbir’s house and started showing signs of complication after few hours. The police had not been able to recover the liquor bottle from which the liquor was consumed. While Balbir worked as a security guard at a private institution in Togan village, Ranjit was a rehri driver.


Grain market body backs Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
Hundreds of members of the Chandigarh grain market association today offered support to Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal.

They thanked him and the party for their efforts towards improving the conditions of markets in the area, which included better lighting and earmarked parking zones.

Bansal said the grain market had prospered in the past few years.

Meanwhile, greeting members of the New Furniture Market Association at Sector 53-54 on the occasion of Baisakhi, Bansal today said he was aware of their problems and soon these would be solved.

He added that their market would be one that could they be proud of even if they had to go to an alternative site.

“The Congress was always pro-poor and pro-economic weaker section and was arranging for affordable homes,” he added.

Dhawan’s visit

BSP candidate from Chandigarh seat and former Union Minister for Civil Aviation Harmohan Dhawan today visited Khudda Ali Sher village. Addressing a gathering, he lamented that Congress MP Pawan Kumar Bansal had ignored the demands of the villagers for the past 15 years.

He said the houses built outside “lal dora” had been demolished, while Bansal had been assuring them for the past many years that these would not be demolished. When these houses were demolished, Bansal was just a mute spectator, he said.

Dhawan promised that on winning the elections, he would get the houses outside the “lal dora” regularised and provide compensation for the land acquisition at the rate at least Rs 1.5 crore. He further promised the extension of “lal dora”.

BJP raps Cong

BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain today said the development of the city had been stalled for the past five years because of the clash of egos of Congress MP and MOS Finance in the Union Government and Chandigarh Administrator and officials of the Chandigarh administration.



Bringing ‘change’ to city
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
He is contesting Lok Sabha elections from the city as an Independent candidate and is “confident” of a win, for, inspired by Barack Obama, he claims he is the “change” this city desperately needs.

Ask him where he belongs and he is quick to tell you that he has houses in Chandigarh, Delhi and Kurukshetra and has lived in almost all cities one can dream of i.e. Moscow, Washington DC, New York, Cyprus, Copenhagen and London. He may not have a “definitive” city connection but like a seasoned politician he surely knows where to start with.

These days he is busy with his “foreigner wife”, Dr Mariya, and a camera crew, who claim to be making a documentary on “Indian politics” and trailing his “campaign” in colony Nos. 4 and 5, and Rajiv colony.

In between his campaign, they also claim to go and capture other candidates as well for a “comparative-qualitative analysis”.

He says he connects with the masses “naturally” and in the past one week “people from colonies have come up to me and spoken about their problems, how they are so worried about their children’s future and say, “Bahut ho gya”, referring to the “need for change”.

That is a another thing that he wants to win over the “sleeping vote” — 50 per cent educated Chandigarhians who don’t go and vote.

Meet Ajay Goyal, 44, a London-based film financier, investor and media owner, born in Kurukshetra and brought up here.

Wearing chic white khadi, like a “true blue” politician, he speaks of his three-point agenda — education, education, education — for that is all the India of today needs and for rest of the problems he has “solutions” at hand.

“With a city where the budget is over Rs 600 crore surplus, politicians have just been thinking about themselves. Otherwise why would the city lack basic needs? They (leaders) have delivered a ‘zilch’. After I become a Member of Parliament, I will first get basic facilities like clean surrounding and drinking water put in place and bring investments worth millions to the city,” he claims.

Referring to leaders as “shameless power grabbers”, Goyal says its time to give them “shock therapy” and that will happen when people like “him”, with “development oriented ideology” and “centrist” come to power.

And this, he says, will happen in the next five years. India will have “clean”, “corruption-free politics”, for all it takes is “one man to make a difference, mobs and crowds cannot bring about change”.



Underdogs by no means
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
Expect the unexpected seems to be the mantra for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections on May 13, for its all about twists and turns.

While the battlelines drawn between the old archrivals — the BJP, the Congress and the BSP — this is no deterrent for the underdogs to take a “poll plunge”.

Besides Pawan Kumar Bansal, Satya Pal Jain and Harmohan Dhawan, there are three more candidates in the fray, including Anwar-ul-Haq of the Rashtriya Janta Dal, Ram Pal Hans of the New Congress Party and Ajay Goyal, an Independent.

While campaigning for the first three has been on from some time now, for the rest it’s yet to pick up.

While the RJD may not have a stronghold in the city, Haffiz Anwar-ul-Haq, who is the president of the IQRA foundation of minorities, is campaign by all means — holding rallies, public meetings and doing door-to-door canvassing.

However, Ram Pal Hans is yet to register himself in people’s minds. As for the Independent, Ajay, he has been campaigning in colonies for 10 days now and will soon be heading towards the urban sectors.

Meanwhile, in continuation with his campaign, Anwar today took out a “lantern” procession, which incidentally is also his party symbol, in the evening at Sector 24 with hundreds of supporters to garner votes.



Ailing Mayor not to join work yet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
The illness of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation Mayor Kamlesh would restrict her to attend the office and campaign for the Congress in Lok Sabha elections for some more days. Though she accepted the invitation to be the chief guest of the Martyrs Day function at fire station, Sector 17 tomorrow, it seems that her indisposition will not allow her to attend the office.

“I am going to attend the Martyrs Day function for few minutes tomorrow as it will not be possible for me to attend the whole function,” stated Kamlesh while talking to The Tribune today.

She stated that she was getting treatment from the PGI, but the doctors had not been able to detect her disease so far and neither had she got any relief from the medical problem. She said until she fully recovered from the disease and became physically fit it would not be possible for her to attend office.

As Kamlesh had not been attending the office for the last more than one month, various rumours were being spread in the Congress and the corporation office about her.

In the corridors of the party circles, there were rumours that Kamlesh was not in the good books of the party high command now, as she had a controversy with the Congress councillors regarding the appointment of committee members. Due to this reason she had been asked to stay away from the campaign of the Lok Sabha elections.

Even the Congress councillors made allegations against her that she had started her second tenure as the most controversial Mayor of the corporation, which had strained her relations with the councillors and officials.



Polls: Regular power supply back in Mohali
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, April 13
Elections have come as a boon for residents of Mohali with the power supply being regular even as shortage of water has begun to pinch people in certain areas of the town.

Residents, who had faced long power cuts even during winters, have heaved a sigh of relief as far as the supply of power is concerned. However, availability of adequate water, especially during summers, has still remained a matter of concern for them.

Though not many complaints have been received from residents regarding shortage of water so far, they are likely to face a tough time ahead because the demand of water is much more in the summer months as compared to the availability of water.

The water supply and sanitation wing of the department of public health has already gone in for rationing of water supply from March 1 to meet the shortage. Residents in most parts of the town are now being given water supply to fill their overhead tanks on alternate days.

Areas which face shortage of water are Phases III A and VII, Sector 70, Shahimajra and Matour villages and a pocket of Phase XI. The supply of water being given to Sectors 66 to 69 by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) is also not satisfactory.

Former municipal councillor Manmohan Singh Lang, who lives in Phase VII, said his area was facing shortage of water for the past many years, but the problem had not been solved so far. He said that water was not available to those living on the second floor and adequate supply of water was not being given to fill the overhead tanks even on alternate days.

Manoj Kumar, living in Sector 68, said residents had been facing shortage of water over the years as the area was getting supply only from tubewells. The problem would not be sorted out till canal water was provided. Residents collected water in underground tanks which was then pumped up to fill overhead tanks.

Inderjit Singh Kang, executive engineer of the department of public health, said demand of water in the summer months was 23 mgd (million gallons a day) against the availability of only 13.4 mgd. Mohali was getting only 10 mgd of water from Kajauli waterworks and the rest of it was got from tubewells. He said 39 more tubewells were needed to meet the water shortage and the Municipal Council had been asked to get these sunk at the earliest.

Sunil Kansal, executive engineer with GMADA, said the demand of water rose by nearly 50 per cent in summers and it was difficult to provide so much of water from tubewells. He said additional tubewells were sunk to increase the water supply.

Council president Rajinder Singh Rana said the sewerage board had sunk one tubewell in the Phase IX industrial area while the work on another tubewell was nearing completion.

He said the civic body had approached the Secretary of Local Government to take approval for sinking 12 tubewells, but the sanction had not been given so far. Work would start only after the approval was provided. The council would not be able to sink all the 39 tubewells as demanded by the department of public health due to shortage of funds.



Mohali fire brigade cries for staff, equipment
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, April 13
The Mohali fire brigade cries for updated vehicles, hi-tech equipment and adequate staff to deal with fires even as public safety is kept at a stake in the town which is expanding rapidly and where high-rise buildings have been planned for the future.

The local fire brigade is ineffective to tackle a major blaze and every time there is a big fire in the town and surrounding areas, tenders have to be requisitioned from Chandigarh and other places to bring the situation under control.

As the fund-starved Mohali Municipal Council is unable to replace fire brigade vehicles, it had approached the government and GMADA authorities to provide financial help, but to no avail.

Executive officer (EO) of the civic body Amna Kumar Goyal has once again brought to the notice of the Principal Secretary, Department of Local Government, Punjab, through a letter dated April 6 that the fire brigade faced shortage of staff and had outdated vehicles.

In the letter, Goyal said the fire brigade had three fire tenders, one water bouser and one fire jeep which were 15 to 20 years old and could not give satisfactory service in case of any emergency. As such it was very important to purchase new vehicles. Correspondence in this regard was carried out earlier as well.

The letter further stated that the staff available at the fire brigade at present could only attend to one fire tender at a time and second fire tender could not be moved out in case of emergency or VIP duty due to shortage of employees. As such approval for making fresh recruitments should be taken from the authorities concerned. As part of temporary arrangements, surplus staff from other fire brigades should be shifted to Mohali keeping the importance of the town in mind.

The authorities concerned had asked the civic body to transfer the octroi staff to the fire brigade after the abolition of octroi, but the employees doing clerical work were not ready to join the fire brigade wing.

Sources said fire brigade officials had sent a proposal to the civic body for the purchase of new vehicles as according to the recommendations of the Standing Fire Advisory Committee, it was necessary to replace 10-year-old vehicles in view of the safety of the life and property of people.

The proposal was put up in the House at a meeting held on October 23, 2007, and was unanimously cleared. It was later sent to the office of the director, Local Government, for approval that was given but the council was asked to arrange funds at its own level.

The EO, however, requested the director for granting funds to the tune of Rs 20,82,636 for the purchase of chassis for the three vehicles. The council would, however, manage to arrange funds for the fabrication of the vehicles.

GMADA was also asked to release a sum of Rs 40.87 lakh for the purchase of fire brigade vehicles as the authority did not give any share of the income it earned from clearing building plans in the town to the civic body.

The demand for a skylift to tackle fires in high-rise buildings has also not been entertained as the cost of the vehicle is about Rs 5 crore. The government had decided that the vehicle be purchased jointly by civic bodies of nearby towns, but the plan had failed to materialise as it was reported that other civic bodies were reluctant to contribute funds for the skylift.



Emergency repair of airfields
CSIR develops new procedure
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
A cost-effective procedure for emergency repair of bomb craters during war has been developed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The process involves use of recycled materials.

Preliminary field trials, based on laboratory studies, were carried out by the Centre for Road Research Institute at IAF’s Hindon Air Base in Ghaziabad. The best formulations that emerged from these trials have been tried at Jaisalmer airbase in Rajasthan.

The filling of central crater and adjacent area has been recommended by the use of recycled pavement aggregates of different sizes in layers. Bomb craters are filled with stabilised granular layers, followed by a topping of cold mixes using cationic bitumen emulsion.

The new procedure assumes significance, as emergency repair of airfields is required to be carried out in very short time and at utmost priority. New developments in weapon technology, with deep strike capability and increased demand in aircraft operations, make existing crater repair procedures inadequate, according to a CSIR in-house bulletin.

CSIR laboratories are also working on the feasibility of using waste material generated from construction, renovation of demolition of buildings and civil structures for construction of roads, embankments and pavements. Construction and demolition is one of the largest sources of waste generation and requires an effective management strategy. 



Discharge of untreated sullage into Mohali rivulets declines
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 13
Protests by residents of Mohali over Chandigarh discharging its untreated sullage into seasonal rivulets have started paying off.

For the past over 10 years, nauseating smell, emitted by the untreated sullage, has made life miserable for residents. But now, the level of the discharge into the rivulets has suddenly decreased. The decrease in the flow is visible, especially in the leisure valley choe that transverses through sectors 61, 62, 63, 64, and 67. After blocking the flow of sullage downstream, the UT was pumping it back into the underground sewerage system, said sources.

After residents’ protest, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) took up the matter with its counterpart in the UT, and March 31 deadline was fixed for checking the discharge. The UT was discharging the untreated sullage at different points along the choe.

A senior GMADA official said the UT MC officials had promised to make the discharge Zero at a meeting held between secretary-level officials of the UT and Punjab. A survey would be conducted to ascertain the ground reality.

Sources said though total success had not been achieved, the level of discharge had gone down. The MC has put one such blockade near Kajheri village and was pumping the sullage back into the sewerage system.

VK Garg, Executive Engineer, MC, claimed that 90 per cent of the sullage had been checked and the remaining would also be checked.

Pumping stations at 50 different points had been put that lift the sullage and pump it back into the storm water drain connected with the Diggian sewage treatment plant.

It may be mentioned the residents under the banner of the Citizens Welfare Council are once again grouping on the issue. In case of contempt in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, regarding failure to check the sullage menace, the UT and Punjab authorities, had in 2006, submitted a blueprint and the time-frame in which various steps were being taken to the control the problem. The high court had dropped the contempt proceedings, seeing the initiatives being taken by the authorities. But with the UT authorities taking the initiatives, the residents are a happy lot. 



Product weight misleading, complains customer
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 13
A customer at the discount retail shop of Amartex Shoppers World, RK Garg, was shocked when he realised that he had paid for purchasing 245 gm of tea leaves when the actual quantity in the packet was 215 gm.

“I was lured by the company’s marketing mantra of being a discount store. However, I was cheated by the company, which had put its sticker claiming the weight of leaves as 245 gm, whereas the weight printed by the manufacturer was 215 gm.

The shop authotiries, however, termed it as a technical error.

Marketing head of Amartex Shoppers World Vishvajeet said it was the weight of packets being supplied by the manufacturer earlier and the company forgot to make the changes in the new packets. “Still the price charged against the product was less than the MRP. Moreover, the outlet is known for “selling les than the MRP”, he added.

“I purchased grocery and Taaza Leaf tea of Brooke Bond, vide bill no. 3T40000001386 dated April 12, for Rs 822.50, whereas I was charged for 245 gm instead of 215 gm,” Garg said. 



‘Missing’ shopkeeper to return today
Was in Rajasthan to visit Balaji temple
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 13
Raj Kumar, a resident of Sector 19, who was missing from his home since Saturday morning, has reportedly gone to visit the temple of Balaji in Rajasthan. His family members said they received a phone call from him this afternoon.

The family of Raj, who runs a crockery shop in Baltana, lodged a complaint at Sector 19 police post stating that he left his home for shop, but did not return. The keys of the shop and his mobile phone were also found on a sofa at home.

Dinesh, a cousin of Raj, said he received a phone call from Raj today around 2 pm who told him that he was at Balaji temple in Rajasthan and would be back home by tomorrow.

Raj was facing some financial problem and feeling depressed for the last few days, he said.



City among top 5 healthy cities in India
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
According to a survey conducted by a private soap manufacturing company, Chandigarh comes at the fourth rank as per child health quotient. The city beautiful closely follows Lucknow and Kolkata, both cities at the top place, and Bangalore at the second place.

Though the mothers in Chandigarh are perceptibly happy with their child’s growth, immunity and resistance, which incidentally scores higher than Delhi, they have shown dissatisfaction with the weight gain parameter. The city, however, slipped to the fourth position on the factor of cleanliness of surroundings as just a couple of years ago Chandigarh was ranked the cleanest city in the country during a survey conducted by the same company in 2007.

The mothers of 17 state capitals were surveyed to gauge the perception that mothers have with regard to the health of their children. The mothers in the cities of Lucknow and Kolkata were most satisfied with the health of their child with CHI of 109 which is way above the national average of 100.

Following closely are Bangalore with Chi of 108 and Chandigarh with CHI 107.



Companies do brisk business
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
The four-day exposition on air-conditioning and refrigeration — Coolex 2009 — concluded on a buoyant note here today. The exposition reportedly generated business worth Rs 17 crore and attracted a large number of visitors.

An official release from the CII, which was the organiser of the exposition, said the fair determined a new customer trend. Consumers showed preference for “star-rating” series in air-conditioners.

The exposition presented a wide range of products in refrigeration and air-conditioning, with varied cooling solutions to counter the soaring mercury levels.

Visitors were not just spoilt for choice with 18 companies participating in the fair, but they also got special discounts and freebies on purchases.

The principal sponsor of this edition of Coolex was Voltas, whereas Hitachi was the associate sponsor.

Other companies that took part this year were Samsung, LG, Videocon, Onida, Mitsubishi Electric, Panasonic, Carrier, Whirlpool, ETA General, Fedders Lloyd, Godrej, Sidwal Refrigeration and Symphony.



Ghazal evening for senior citizens
SD Sharma

Panchkula, April 13
The delicacy of feeling and melodic expression in the velvety voice of music composer and singer Deepak Sharma brought alive the romantic aura of ghazal during a live concert at Senior Citizen Council hall here today.

The event organised by the council in collaboration with Saraswati Kala Sangam and NZCC commenced with an invocatory item before Deepak spelt the magic with “Pyar ka pehla khat likhne mein”. The audience enjoyed numbers like “Hosh mere uda dijiye”, “Apni aankhon ke” “Hosh waalon ko” and many more.

Trained in classical music by Guru Jawahar Lal Sharma, Deepak had recently performed in Italy, Germany, Holland and Denmark on his private concert tour.

Earlier, academician poet Dr SC Sharma set the pace by defining and analysing the literary aspect of the ghazal while conducting the soiree. Accomplished set of musicians Dr Raheja, JS Jaggi, Narinder Gogi, Naresh Raheja and Hakam Singh accompanied the lead artist. The council chairman Col. BM Talwar and senior members honoured the artistes.



Classical vocalist Surinderpal Singh honoured
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 13
Amrit Kirtan Trust and Punjab Arts Council teamed up to organise a felicitation ceremony to honour the legendary classical vocalist Surinderpal Singh popularly known as Singh Bandhu with the “Shiromani Sangeetkar award -2009” at the Randhawa auditorium here today.

PAC chairperson Harjinder Kaur, Guru Yashpaul and Amrit Kirtan Trust president Dr Jagir Singh presented a shawl, memento, citation and cash award of Rs 31,000 to the maestro.

An impressive deliberation by the music wizard Surinder Singh gave a complete index of his spiritual and musical competence.



Dolly Guleria enraptures audience
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, April 13
The grandeur of Punjabi musical culture and patriotic fervour marked the Baisakhi celebrations as singer Dolly Guleria added melodic fragrance to the function held here today. 

Being a venture of the ‘Punjabi Bhaichara Mahasabha’, the function holds a lot of significance. Secretary-general SK Nayyar explained the salient features of the organisation. 

The programme witnessed participation of diverse segments, including students of Satluj Public School, poet-cum-comedian Sufi Jagjit, singer Sudeep Kumar besides Dolly Guleria who shared her birthday celebrations with everyone. 

Commencing with Sufi utterances of Shah Hussain, she sang the best hits enrapturing the audience.

Sabha chairman VK Sood talked about the significance of the festival and honoured the participants.  Sabha patron Arun Grover, president Rajinder Kakkar and senior members participated in the function.



PNB celebrates foundation day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
The foundation day of Punjab National Bank (PNB) was celebrated by its employees at the Sector-17 branch today.

A medical check-up camp was also organised at the bank by a team of doctors headed by Dr Anurag Sharma of a Panchkula hospital.

Addressing the staff members, NC Jain, chief general manager, PNB, said the bank was founded on April 13, 1895 on Baisakhi by a group of foresighted patriots and social reformers.



Sankirtan Sammelan concludes

Chandigarh, April 13
The 41st Hari Naam Sankirtan Sammelan, which was organsied at Pracheen Mandir Sidh Shri Baba Balak Nath and Maa Vaishnao Guffa at Sector 31, concluded on Sunday. 

The four-day function started on April 8 with jagran. Parmatand, Swami Dayand Saraswati ji Maharaj, Kamlesh Bhanji, Swarupa Nand Ji Maharaj, Deepak Bhai Bhagwat Acharya ji, Pandit Ramsagar and Charanjit ji graced the occasion. — TNS



PU drags feet in cheating case
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
When it comes to taking decisions on important matters, forming committees seems to be Panjab University’s first choice. The university according to sources has once again formed a committee to decide on the further course of action in the matter of production of a fake certificate by a Ludhiana-based girl.

The matter came to light last month when the PU authorities detected a discrepancy in the detailed mark certificate attached along with examination form submitted by this girl who was doing her BA from the PU through distance learning.

While the certificate declared her pass in the first year according to the PU records, she had not only failed to clear her main exams, but also in the reappear exams.

According to officials, the girl, who is believed to be a relative of a high-profile media professional, confessed to having procured the forged certificate from a local computer centre for Rs 5,500.

Even after this, in what appears to be a bid to hush up the matter, the authorities did not lodge an FIR as per the rules and formed a committee once the matter was reported in media.

However, according to AK Bhandari, controller examination, PU, “The committee is not newly formed, but was made the day the matter was reported. The candidature of the girl has been suspended and we are investigating the matter and shall register a police complaint by next week.”

The response though has infuriated many like this senior professor who accuse authorities of evading from taking apt action. “When the girl has confessed what deferred the lodging of an FIR? Are our officials trying to do the work of the police to investigate? We have clear cut laws laid in black and white, but forming a committee like this on every single matter from hostel food to UMCs proves that nobody is ready to act and take the responsibility. The fate of their committees is quite evident from the fact in many cases as old as 5 years where these panels are yet to give their recommendations,” he said.



Laptop theft: PU expels accused
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
Arvind Kumar, prime accused in the Panjab University hostels’ laptop thefts case was expelled from the university today.

The action was taken in the wake of the arrest of Arvind of MSc Biochemistry and an inmate of hostel no. 6 along with his brother Robin, a Sector 15 resident, a few days ago.

Arvind was nabbed along with his brother from Sector 15 market while he was trying to sell two stolen laptops. According to police, the duo during their preliminary investigation confessed of having stolen more than 15 laptops from the PU hostels.

Meanwhile, the last stolen laptop belonging to Jitender, an inmate of hostel no. 7, was found abandoned near a temple near the PGI. This recovery along with other reports about the accused hinting about involvement of some more students has sparked the rumours about a nexus operating not only in PU but institutes like PEC, UILS and UIET as well. However, the police is investigating and has refused to confirm anything.



Imparting education commercially?
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
With commercialisation hitting on every field, “imparting education” has become a major source of income for literates. Various coaching classes, private and even government colleges have started taking high fee especially in the name of “NRI” category.

Among various institutes that have started from the scratch and have become brand names in the field of education are Chitkara, Career Launchers etc. There is a list of premier institutes in the city that have been asked by the consumer courts to compensate for lack of services.

On the commercialisation of education, former president of UT Disputes Redressal Commission asserted, “One of the biggest examples of commercialisation of education is that schools don’t provide students with the concession to be provided by the government. Various facilities like submitting fee, providing free books and discounts to poor students are not being given and these students can knock the doors of the consumer courts.”

The Panjab University has been asked several times to refund fee deposited by the students for a course that they have not pursued. For instance the forum had asked the PU to refund tuition fee of Rs 1,10,274 to a student, Shallu Garg. Shallu had taken admission in the department of Biochemistry MscI (Hons) under Industry Sponsored Seat for the year 2006-07 but surrendered the seat within 15 days. A resident of Patiala, Shallu Garg stated in the petition, that the classes for the course started from July 2006 and had taken admission in the 2nd week of September 2006. Thereafter, she got herself admitted in M.Sc.I (Anatomy) at Government Medical College, Patiala, and requested the authorities concerned to refund the fee but the fee was not refunded. 

In another case the university was directed by the forum to refund the fee mounting to Rs 69,000 to a student who first took admission and then withdrew from the course without attending any lecture. The complainant Tarun Kumar Jhinjharia had taken admission in LLB in the Session 2006-07 and he was allotted a seat in PURC, Ludhiana. 

Towards which he paid the full fee of Rs 69,600. He then intimated the authorities in July 2006, that he will not be able to join the course. He requested the authorities concerned to return his original certificates and to refund the fee. The letter was forwarded by PURC, Ludhiana. He said the certificates were returned to him but the fee of Rs 69,650 has not been refunded.



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