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Auto-Rickshaw Row
Protesters damage HR bus; 18 held
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The ongoing strike by auto-rickshaw operators of the tricity took a violent turn after some members of the agitating auto-rickshaw union allegedly damaged a Haryana Roadways bus here today. The Chandigarh police later arrested 18 members of the union.

A case under Sections 353, 186, 147 and 149 of the IPC and Section 31 (e) Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984 has been registered at the Mani Majra police station here.

The incident occurred around 11.30 am when some mysterious elements, reportedly part of the auto-rickshaw protest rally, stopped the Haryana Roadways bus (HR 68 3354) near the railway light point and damaged its windowpanes.

The bus driver, Rajesh Kumar of Bhiwani, lodged a complaint with the Mani Majra police station against the attackers.

Those arrested included Rahul Kumar, Ravinder Kumar, Pardeep Kumar and Umesh Yadav.

Confirming this, Mani Majra police station in-charge Kehar Singh said: “A total of 18 auto-rickshaw drivers have been put under arrest and a relevant case for damaging public property and preventing a government servant from performing his duties has been registered against them. It has been observed that some of the guilty auto-rickshaw drivers fled the scene.”

However, Chandigarh-Mohali-Panchkula Auto-Rickshaw joint action committee chairman Kamla Kant denied involvement of any auto-rickshaw driver in violent activities.

“It was some outsiders who damaged the bus and fled. Before our men could realise the situation, the police rounded them up.”

Meanwhile, a rally by auto-rickshaw drivers resulted in a traffic jam on the Madhya Marg this morning and the traffic police had tough time managing the traffic.

At circus ground, Sector 17, the auto-rickshaw unions of the tricity held an assembly and stressed that their agitation would continue for an indefinite period.

The auto-operators rued that the administration, on the Delhi pattern, had been forcing them to replace their existing diesel-run three-wheelers with those running on the LPG, whereas there weren’t sufficient LPG filling stations in the tricity.

“In 2003, the administration had banned auto-rickshaws plying for over 15 years in the city. We got financed diesel-run vehicles then, the installments of which are still pending. Now we are being pressured to buy LPG-run auto-rickshaws. This is not fair,” said Balbir Singh, secretary of the committee.

Auto-rickshaw drivers said on the one hand, the government was encouraging self-employment schemes, on the other hand, it was rendering them “out of job” by impounding auto-rickshaws.

The committee said while the administration had withdrawn the impounding operation for sometime, it should release already impounded vehicles without imposing penalty on them.

The operators also submitted a memorandum to this effect with Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Central) Capt PS Shergill in the afternoon. 

n Parents today grappled with the issue of dropping and picking their children from schools. They were forced to ferry their children to schools on their own

n Mohali and Panchkula residents wanting to visit places like the PGI, the PU, High Court had to wait for hours to catch CTU buses

n Some diesel-run Tata Magic cabs were spotted picking up passengers for Rs 10 per head from Chandigarh boundary

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When unqualified hands pick college principals
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
MLA and non-teaching employees select college principals in Punjab. Startled? But that is how Panjab University has selected over seven principals for various state-based colleges. In a complaint submitted to the Chancellor’s office, Tarsem Bahia, former senator, Panjab University, has highlighted blatant violation of selection norms by posting some “incompetent” persons in selection committees.

“I had filed an RTI application and asked the university to provide me with the academic details of the members of all selection committees constituted from April, 2007 to April, 2008. To my shock, overlooking selection committee norms and with the approval of the senate, the authorities had put certain persons on the selection panel who didn’t have teaching or research background. It is a question of authenticity of the composition of selection panel that by and large affects our education system. I have highlighted the same to the Chancellor,” said Bahia.

Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti said: “All senators are equivalent to professors. They must have gone as nominees, not experts.” However, on violation in terms of educational qualifications, he maintained that he would reply to the Chancellor’s letter as an when it came.

Under the norms, the selection panel for a college principal comprises five members, with two being from the governing body of college one being a college principal, another a professor and an eminent educationist. Their qualifications should not be less than that of a professor. In case of a college seeking government aid, two additional nominees from the DPI office are also present.

One of the names that has come under the scanner is that of KPS Rana, MLA from Nangal, who was in the selection committee for the principal of Khalsa College of Education, Kndhala Jatta. Similarly, sitting senator Ashok Goyal, who is a bank employee and whose educational qualifications have been reported to be Master of Arts preceded by a Bachelor of Commerce was on the committee for Lala Lajpat Rai Memorial College of Education, Dhudika (Moga), and Kamla Lohtia College of Education, Ludhiana. Similarly, another senator Prabjit Singh, who is an employee of Punjab DPI office and has just done BA, was on the panel for GPB Khalsa College of Education, Dasuha, Hoshiarpur.

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Smouldering Tinderbox-I
Motor markets —
A recipe for disaster
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The recent death of four persons in a devastating fire in Sector 22-B market has not been a reason enough for the administration to wake up to the high risk of fire accidents in city markets owing to deficient fire safety norms.

A visit to the motor market in Sector 48 and scooter market in Sector 43 reflects the sorry state of affairs when it comes to fire safety.

With highly inflammable material like petrol, diesel, lubricants, chemicals, thinner and paints spilt all over the narrow lanes of the Sector 48-C motor market, the place is just waiting for tragedy to happen.

While the last night’s fire incident in a Mani Majra showroom may not have resulted in the loss of life, it may not prove to be as lucky each time such an accident occurs.

With over 500 booths and shops in the Sector 48-C market, most of these storing hundreds of gallons of lubricants and other chemicals used in paint and repair work, not even a single fire extinguisher is installed in the entire market.

Says Gurpratap Singh, a mechanic: “This market has a major storage of chemicals but none of the shops has fire safety equipment. Nor have we received any notice from the authorities advising any safety provision.”

A similar situation prevails at the scooter market in Sector 43-B. With 69 wall-to-wall cluttered booths, this market has twice witnessed fire accidents in the past but is yet to learn its lesson.

“Last time a fire broke out in this market was when a temporary fiber roof caught fire. Then, the authorities gave us the permission to put lintel, which we had been asking for since for a long time. Even now after all these incidents, there has been no effort from the administration to guide us to protect our shops from fire,” says Salim, a mechanic.

While on the one hand, the administration does not seem to take the issue of fire safety in the city markets seriously, on the other hand, it is a matter of common sense that such precautions should be taken by shop owners for their own safety, which is also not being done.

When asked about the status of fire safety in this market, station fire officer of the area SK Gosain said: “ We can only recommend them to install fire extinguishers. Wherever there is any inflammable material, there should be adequate fire safety provision. It is for them to take care of the safety aspect.”

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Dying Charity
Down, but not out
Anuja Jaiswal
ribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Old habits die hard! This adage seems apt for city-based philanthropist Jagdish Lal Ahuja, who even after shutting down the langar that he ran outside the PGI and the GMCH-32 for nine years, distributed biscuits and fruits today to hundreds of people who came looking for a meal.

The usual containers of dal, chawal and roti were today replaced by huge quantities of bananas and glucose biscuits, which Ahuja handed over to the people who had lined up there. Disappointment was writ large on the faces of many poor people for whom standing in a queue and waiting for the food to be served by Ahuja had become part of their life.

“Aaj roti-chawal nahi hai kya,” asked a boy in his early teens, as Ahuja gave him a packet of biscuits. And when he was told that the langar would no longer be served, he said, “Bahut bura hua”, before walking away. His parting words were the essence of the feeling shared by many standing there.

And even Ahuja was one of them. “I don’t want to close down the langar but my circumstances don’t allow me to continue,” he said, while ruing the fact that the administration had still not come forward to help him.

Though offers of help have been pouring in for Ahuja from individuals after the publication of his plight in these columns today, “Charity dies on hospitals’ doorstep”, Ahuja’s “self-pride” is not allowing him to accept the same. “One of the persons who contacted me this morning was willing to donate five kanals of his land in the city so that the langar could go on, but I refused,” he said, adding that selling properties was not the solution.

“I have sold three properties already and can even sell my house in Sector 23, but for how long,” he said, adding that institutional support was the answer and an endeavour had to be made to make it self-financing to ensure that it continued without a hitch.

He reiterated that his proposal to the administration for allotting him a small piece of land near the PGI to run a low-budget dhaba to finance the langar was a “sound” one and could enable him continue “serving the people”.

Meanwhile, The Tribune received several calls during the day offering individual help to Ahuja.

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Army circumvents CIC ruling on releasing inquiry details
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Circumventing the decision of the Central Information Commission (CIC) asking the Army to supply a copy of the court of inquiry proceedings to the brother of a deceased soldier, the Army has referred the issue to the Ministry of Defence for legal opinion.

A few weeks ago, the CIC had directed the Army to disclose the recommendations and directions on the findings of a court of inquiry (COI) constituted by the Army, under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The deceased soldier’s brother, Gurdeep Singh, had sought information under the RTI from the Army about the case.

The CIC’s ruling was significant as the opinion or recommendations made by a COI and directions for further action issued on it are not released by the military authorities. Only the portion of the COI, containing evidence or statements made by witnesses during the proceedings, is disseminated to persons concerned for use in subsequent proceedings.

The College of Military Engineering, Pune, where the deceased jawan was posted, has now written to Gurdeep, a resident of Punjab, that an inquiry conducted by the Army is an internal affair of the organisation. As per Army rules, the college has no authority to hand over a copy of court of inquiry proceedings to any civilian.

The letter added that the matter had been referred to the Judge Advocate General’s Branch for advice and the directions of the defence ministry on the matter.

In another case, the CIC had ordered that a copy of the COI and related documents pertaining to the death of an Army captain posted in Jammu and Kashmir be released to his mother.

The Army, however, moved the Delhi High Court against the CIC’s order. The High Court has imposed a stay on the execution of the order.

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Retrieving money from Swiss accounts
Gandhi family causing delay: BJP wing
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Pegging the quantum of Indian black money in the Swiss banks up to Rs 70,000,00 crore, president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) Amit Thakar today accused the Gandhi-Nehru family of “pressurising” the Congress-led government in going slow on the issue of bringing back the money to India.

Despite the fact that LK Advani, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over a year back, the government was dragging its feet on the important issue, he said.

“The Gandhi-Nehru family’s pressure on the government was apparent as the kickbacks money in the infamous Bofors case came via the Swiss bank accounts,” he alleged at a press conference here today.

He claimed that the Swiss government had amended its laws, permitting nations to seek information on secret bank accounts. India should have followed the initiative of US President Barack Obama, who had sought information on the secret bank accounts, to bring back unaccounted money of corrupt politicians, businessmen, bureaucrats and anti-social elements, he said.

“If this money was brought back, India’s poverty will be a thing of the past and the country would witness unprecedented development,” he quipped.

Taking potshots at AICC general secretary and scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family Rahul Gandhi, Thakar raised questions about the authenticity of his M.Phil degree. “There are serious discrepancies in the degree obtained by Rahul from Trinity College in Cambridge University in 1995,” he alleged.

Rapping the Central government for its failure on all fronts, Thakar called upon the voters to elect the BJP-led NDA alliance at the Centre.

BJP candidate from Chandigarh Satya Pal Jain and national media convener of the BJYM Vineet Joshi were also present.

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Mock drill soon to check arrangements
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Chandigarh Election Commission held a special meeting with all Assistant Electoral Registration Officers (AERO) to review the arrangements regarding the forthcoming Lok Sabha poll scheduled for May 13. The meeting held here today was convened by RK Rao, Additional Chief Electoral Officer and Returning Officer of Chandigarh Parliamentary seat.

Sources informed that Chandigarh Election Commission had received directions from the Chief Election Commission to send a detailed report of the preparation and arrangements made by them for the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.

It was revealed in the meeting that the commission had received around 33,000 applications for preparing new voter identity cards, out of which 15,000 had been accepted and rest were rejected on the basis of fake residence addresses or incomplete forms submitted by the candidates. All the officials were instructed by the commission to ensure timely issue voter I-cards to the persons concerned.

Sources said that it was decided by the commission to organise a mock drill soon to check the election arrangements in the city.

Sources informed that polling station officers raised an issue as the commission had declared about 83 sensitive polling booths out of 422 in the city. Out of these, few booths needed change of location due to security reasons. On this the Additional Returning Officer assured them that he would take up the matter with the Chief Electoral Officer and if required they would make necessary changes.

Sources stated that the commission also informed the officials that if any polling booth had more than 1,200 voters then the staff deployed would be: one polling station officer and four staff members. However, if the voters were less than 1,200 then one polling station officer and three staff members would be deployed.

Sources said instructions were also given to all the AEROs that they should train their staff in the usage of electronic voting machine and inspect the polling booths personally.

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Voters without photo IDs
Produce document, cast ballot
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Voters who do not have the electors photo identity cards (EPIC) of the Election Commission can exercise their right to franchise on the production of a document establishing their identities.

According to a press note, the electoral roll of the Chandigarh parliamentary constituency prepared with reference to January 1, 2009 as qualifying date has been published.

The claims and objections received during the period of summary revision have been incorporated in the Photo Electoral Roll 2009.

The EPICs of all electors registered in the electoral roll have been prepared and distributed to the electors concerned.

Under the directions of the Election Commission, EPICs issued by the election department will be used during the coming general election.

The electors will have to produce their EPIC to establish their identity at the time of polling in the constituency on May 13.

However, following documents will also be considered for establishing identities of voters, provided their names appear in the voters’ list.

The document include passport, driving licence, PAN card, service identity card issued to its employees by state/central government, PSUs, local bodies or public limited companies with photographs, passbook issued by public sector banks/post office and kisan passbook with photograph (accounts opened up to February 28, 2009), property documents such as “patta”, registered deeds, etc. with photograph, SC/ST/OBC certificates issued by competent authority with photograph (issued up to February 28, 2009) and pension documents such as ex-servicemen’s pension book/pension payment order, ex-servicemen’s widow/dependent certificates, old age pension order, widow pension order with photograph (issued up to February 28, 2009).

Freedom fighter identity card with photograph, arms licence (issued up to February 28, 2009), certificate of physical handicap with photograph issued by the competent authority (issued up to February 28, 2009), job card issued under NREGA with photograph (issued up to February 28, 2009), health insurance scheme smart card with photograph (issued up to February 28, 2009) will also be taken as identity proof.

Besides, any of the above mentioned documents available only to the head of the family may be used for identifying the other members of the family, provided all members come together and are identified by the head of the family, the press note added.

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700 take part in science seminar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
To commemorate the World Biomedical Laboratory Science Day today, biomedical laboratory technologists of Chandigarh and its adjoining states organised its Vth Chandigarh Chapter and scientific seminar-cum-CME at PGI here today.

More than 700 delegates attended the conference.

The day has a special significance to provide scientific information and resource in virtually all aspects of laboratory, medicine relevant to patient’s care, health promotion and disease prevention.

Prof KK Talwar, director, PGIMER, inaugurated the function. Dr Raj Bahadur, director, GMCH-32, Chandigarh, Dr MS Bains, director HS&FW, Chandigarh, AR Deshmukh, national president, AIMLTA, Manindra Choudhury, IFBLS council member, were the guests of honour.

Manindra said about the global perspective of accreditation in biomedical laboratory sciences and its momentousness in health care as the International Federation of Biomedical Laboratory Science (IFBLS) observer.

Deshmukh in his presidential address asserted that advances in medicine for the past decade had been due to advances in the biomedical technology services, including diagnostic clinical laboratory.

He also highlighted the present unabated mushrooming of illegal paramedical institutes, who neither have any infrastructure nor any qualified staff.

Under such circumstances it becomes a moral responsibility of the institutes like PGI to assert on the issue.

On this occasion, central executive committee member, Rocky Daniel, said the lab technologists were the backbone of these services, which through their expertise and dedicated work not only assisted physicians but also directly helped to alleviate misery of the suffering mankind. 

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Mega projects: Home secy meets CVC officials
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The much-publicised Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) inquiry into the controversial mega projects of the Chandigarh administration, which saw the slugfest between the UT Administrator and his adviser Pradip Mehra reaching a point of no return, is finally gathering momentum.

In fact, UT Home Secretary-cum-Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) Ram Niwas today held at a high-level meeting with the top CVC officials reportedly in connection with the ongoing inquiry into the mega projects, including Medicity, the Amusement Park, the Film City and the Prideasia housing project.

At the meeting, various issues regarding the pace of the ongoing inquiry into the controversial mega projects, touted to change the face of the city and develop it into a tourist hub, were discussed. The Home Secretary was reportedly apprised of the status of the inquiry by the CVC officials.

The administration had been advocating a faster CVC probe into the allegations of irregularities in the allotment of land for the mega projects to the major realtors. A dominant view in the administration is that the ongoing inquiry, being conducted under the criminal procedure code, had created an atmosphere of “uncertainty” in the minds of the stakeholders.

An early conclusion of the inquiry would go a long way in restoring confidence among the investors in the city. And today’s meeting should be seen as a step in the administration’s endeavours for a speedy probe into the matter, official sources asserted.

In the backdrop of the inquiry, the development work has come to a standstill on the projects. In fact, the Parsvnath has already sought withdrawal from the Film City project and it is reportedly having second thoughts on the ultra-luxurious housing project, Prideasia.

Mehra’s strong objections to Rodrigues’ pet Medicity project last year had set off a chain reaction with allegations of irregularities flying in the face of the administration in the allotment of the land for the mega projects. After a campaign launched by certain NGOs, public spirited people and the media, the CVC summoned all records related to the mega projects.

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Fiza gets raw deal from DGP office
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Anuradha Bali (now Fiza), the estranged ladylove and the second wife of Chand Mohammed, alias Chander Mohan, today accused the Punjab police of inaction on her complaint lodged against Chand.

Flaying the DGP, Punjab, whom she had come to meet at the Punjab police headquarters in Sector 9, here this afternoon, she accused him of doing injustice to her for not giving her an audience.

Fiza, flanked by her advocate Rohit Mahajan, Benson Messey, a SAD (Amritsar) Lok Sabha candidate from Chandigarh and Samson Vinod, SAD (Amritsar) candidate from Patiala, came to meet the DGP to inquire about the status of her complaint.

Though they had asked the media to come to the police headquarters at 12.30 pm, they came late by an hour, keeping the media persons waiting there. Mahajan told mediapersons that they had not taken any prior appointment from the DGP and he came there to meet him during the visiting hours from 12 to 1 pm.

He alleged that the staff at the DGP’s office made him wait outside his office for half an hour before telling him to come at 3.30 pm. Fiza and her two associates came outside the headquarters building around 2 pm.

Messey told mediapersons that if the Punjab police failed to take any action on Fiza’s complaint they would be forced to launch an agitation in several districts in Punjab.

Meanwhile, Fiza told mediapersons that if the police failed to deliver justice to her she would move to court. She said she had full faith in judiciary. When asked whether she would come at 3.30 pm, she said she would not come and meet him in the court.

Venting ire on the police she further said what would be the fate of the common people at the hands of such a police, which did not bother to take action on a complaint lodged by a former advocate general. Making a sarcastic statement she said she could understand the reason why Chand was not facing her, but she failed to comprehend the fact why the DGP, Punjab, was being elusive to her. 

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Wheat crop on 22 acres destroyed in fire
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 15
Wheat crop on over 22 acres, which was ready for harvest, was destroyed in a fire, causing a loss of around Rs 2.25 lakh to farmers of two villages here today.

The fire started around 1 pm due to a spark from power cables in fields falling under Bakarpur and Safipur villages and spread rapidly due to wind.

It was brought under control by people of nearby villages with the help of labourers working in the area at that time.

Three fire tenders, two from Mohali and one from Dera Bassi, were pressed into service. The fire tenders, however, reached the scene after the situation had been brought under control.

Villagers alleged that no firemen had accompanied the fire tenders, which were brought to the scene only by drivers. Fire brigade officials, however, denied the charge saying that firemen and a fire officer had gone with the engines.

Farmers who suffered the loss were in a state of shock as they saw their wheat crop being reduced to ashes. The fire also spread to areas where wheat had been cut by a combine recently.

Three acres of wheat crop belonging to Rashpal Singh, sarpanch of Bakarpur village, was destroyed in the fire.

The worst affected was Balbir Singh, who lost crop on 14 acres. The farmer fell unconscious after seeing flames engulf his harvest and had to be lifted back home.

He had hired around 10 acres of land for cultivation because he had a small landholding of his own.

Rashpal Singh said his brother, Mewa Singh, also suffered a loss, as crop on four acres was destroyed.

Crop on another acre of Mohinder Singh of Safipur village was also caught in the fire.

Tehsildar Shiv Kumar, who reached the scene after the incident, said since villagers had alleged that the fire had occurred due to a spark from power cables, the Punjab State Electricity Board would have to be involved in the case.

A report in this regard would be prepared and sent to the authorities concerned so that emergency relief could be given to the affected persons. The patwari concerned would try to ascertain the extent of loss tomorrow.

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Faulty planning poses health risk to society members
G.S.Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The “dream project” of the UT Administrator and Punjab Governor, Gen SF Rodrigues (retd), for rehabilitating slum-dwellers at Sector 49 in 4-acre land has virtually shattered the “dreams” of members of Goodwill Enclave Society-49, who want to live in good conditions.

To facilitate the housing project, undertaken by the Chandigarh Housing Board for providing rental accommodation to slum-dwellers, the engineering wing has blocked the natural flow of stormwater putting the lives of 81 members of adjoining Goodwill Enclave at health risk .

Consequently, in the wake of low-lying area of the plot, rainwater floods this plot and water remains there all the time. The members approached the UT engineering wing to point out this faulty planning.

The engineering department constructed a bridge on the adjoining V5 road to facilitate the flow of stormwater underneath.

Nevertheless, the members soon realised that it was a shortlived relief as the CHB had started constructing slum-dwellers’ flats on the other side of the road while virtually blocking the area beneath the bridge without bothering to work out for any alternative outlet for stormwater.

The members have now been running from pillar to post to rectify this faulty planning but none of the officials bothered to interfere into the matter. “We approached the UT engineering department which directed us to contact the Municipal Corporation. We knocked at the door of Chief Engineer SK Bansal and the XEN of the area, but none initiated to consider the problem”, said Harbans Singh, while showing the registered letters written to all.

UT acting Chief Engineer-cum-Chief Engineer, CHB, Surinder Pall showed concern. “If it is so then, it calls for immediate attention. I will get it inspected”, he said.

Since the water flow has been blocked, the stagnant water has led to parasites and mosquitoes, threatening the lives of the members of the society.

“We have also brought it to the notice of the health department but it too showed their inability to do anything.

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RLA auction defies recession
‘0001’ taken for Rs 4.86 lakh 
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Are Chandigarhians reeling under the effects of global recession? Well if one had a chance to witness the auction of “VVIP” numbers of CH 04 J series at the RLA today, they would answer it in the negative. For, there are still many in the city who are willing to pay the cost of a new Hyundai or a Swift car to claim a fancy registration number.

At today’s auction, the prized “0001” went under the hammer for a whopping Rs 4.86 lakh, almost double the price at which it was sold during the auction of the last series.

The number was taken for a black ‘S’ Class Mercedes owned by the MD of Sidak Automobiles, Tejwant Singh.

While Tejwant Singh was not available for comments, his son-in-law admitted that the family had fancy for “0001” number.

“We already have two cars — Opel Astra and Skoda — with 0001 numbers,” he said.

Another city-based industrialist, Jaideep Singh, shelled out Rs 3.1 lakh for “0005”.

On the other hand, Robin Saini, owner of Architects Atelier, spent Rs 62,000 for “0002” for his ‘C’ Class Mercedes. The Saini family, incidentally, also has a fancy for numbers and consider “2” lucky for them. They already have a BMW with “0007” number.

Numbers “0006” and “0009” also fetched high bids of Rs 1 lakh. Another number that drew a high bid was “0004”, which was purchased by Lieut-Col Ajit Singh Gill of Sector 34, for Rs 80,000.

The number “11”, touted to be a lucky number numerologically, as the year happens to be 2009, did not attract many, as it went for a meagre Rs 35,000 against the reserve price of Rs 15,000.

Stating that 39 registration numbers had been auctioned against the previous auction’s figure of 26, Neharika Rai of the Registering and Licensing Authority said: “The RLA had managed to auction CH 04 J series numbers well.”

Last time, the administration had earned Rs 7.19 lakh as compared to Rs 17.63 lakh this time.

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e wild wild web
Web 3.0: Next generation Internet
Anil Maheshwari

The web now has version numbers. About three years ago, amid continued hand-wringing over the dot-com bust or crash of 2001, Dale Dougherty dreamed up something called Web 2.0, and the idea soon took on a life of its own. In the beginning, it was little more than a rallying cry, a belief that the Internet would rise again. But it has become so strong that it succeeded in challenging the traditional (mainstream) media at least in the West. As the Web 2.0 is on way to percolate in India, the bloggers are already abuzz with talk of the Web’s next generation, Web 3.0.

To many, Web 3.0 is something called the Semantic Web, a term coined by Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented the (first) World Wide Web. In essence, the Semantic Web is a place where machines can read webpages much as we humans read them, a place where search engines and software agents can better troll the Net and find what we are looking for.

But some are sceptical about whether the Semantic Web will actually take hold. They point to other technologies capable of reinventing the online world as we know it, from 3D virtual worlds to Web-connected bathroom mirrors. Web 3.0 could mean many things, and every single one is a breathtaking proposition.

In fact Web 1.0 refers to the state of the World Wide Web and any website design style used before the advent of the Web 2.0 phenomenon. It is the general term that has been created to describe the Web before the ‘bursting of the dot-com bubble’ in 2001, which is seen by many as a turning point for the Internet.

Terry Flew in his 3rd Edition of New Media described what he believed to characterise the differences between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. He says: “Move from personal websites to blogs and blog site aggregation, from publishing to participation, from web content as the outcome of large up-front investment to an ongoing and interactive process, and from content management systems to links based on tagging.”

Flew believed it to be the above factors that form the basic change in trends that resulted in the onset of the Web 2.0 craze. The shift from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 can be seen as a result of technological refinements, which included such adaptations as broadband, improved browsers, and Ajax, to the rise of Flash application platforms and the mass development of wigetization, such as Flickr and YouTube badges.

Web 1.0 trends included worries over privacy concerns resulting in a one-way flow of information, through websites which contained ‘read-only’ material. Widespread computer illiteracy and slow Internet connections added to the restrictions of the Internet, which characterised Web 1.0. Now, during Web 2.0, the use of the Web can be characterised as the decentralisation of website content, which is now generated from the ‘bottom-up’, with many users being contributors and producers of information, as well as the traditional consumers.

Web 2.0 concepts have led to the development and evolution of web-based communities, hosted services, and applications, such as social-networking sites, video-sharing sites, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies. Tim O’Reilly described Web 2.0 as the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the Internet as a platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform. Tim Berners-Lee has questioned whether one can use the term in any meaningful way, since many of the technological components of Web 2.0 have existed since the early days of the Web.

Social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter continue to build populations surpassing those of many countries, the last of the Web 2.0 holdouts remain proud to be freewheeling free agents.

“I receive emails from friends and family requesting to join these networks almost daily. At first I did feel pressured to join, but I quickly got over that. I now reject every invitation to join and I don’t feel bad about it,” said a social worker in the US.

According to a March report from research firm Nielsen, two-thirds of the planet’s Internet population visit social networking or blogging sites.

Across the world, activity in “member communities” accounts for one in every 11 minutes spent online, the report said. In the United Kingdom, the average is one in every six minutes. In Brazil, it’s one of every four minutes.

Ki Mae Heussner says in abcnews, “The holdouts aren’t the only ones wrestling with the constant connectedness of a Web 2.0 world. Though it may pain the social media elite to hear it, some of the most connected among them admit that they sometimes near the verge of exhaustion.”

“I have this feeling that people are hitting that breaking point. There are too many choices, too many invitations,” said Dan Tynan, a technology journalist. Recently, he said he’s started to feel a little burnt out himself. “When I go on Facebook I feel like I’m at a cocktail party with everyone I’ve ever met in my life,” Tynan said. “But you can’t stay at a cocktail party doing that forever.”

The writer is an Editor with Instablogs.com. He may be contacted at anilm@Instablogs.com

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Power dept truck catches fire
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
A driver and a lineman of the UT electricity department had a miraculous escape today when the mini truck of the UT electricity department, they were traveling in, caught fire in Sector 21 here. The flames were doused within minutes by the fire tenders, which reached the spot.

According to fire department sources, the fire broke out in the engine of the moving vehicle around 7:20 pm near Government School in Sector 21.A fire tender was rushed to the spot, which put off the flames before it could spread further.

A fire officer said the fire apparently caused due to a shot-circuit in the engine. 

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CTWA mourns Umrao’s death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Executive committee members of the Chandigarh Tug of War Association have mourned the death of veteran Congress leader and sports administrator Padam Bhushan Umrao Singh.

Paying tributes of Umrao Singhfor his contributions, CTWA members said: “Sports activities, especially tug of war and athletics, have suffered a big jolt by the loss of an able sports administrator.”

Umrao Singh, 84, was associated with athletics for the past 50 years. He was president of the Athletics Federation of India and the Indian Tug of War Federation. 

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Tributes paid to Hindi litterateur
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, April 15
Noted literary luminaries from Tricity paid rich tributes to legendary Hindi litterateur, Padmabhushan Vishnu Parbhakar, at a commemorative function organised by the Haryana Sahitya Akademy here today.

Akademy president Desh Nirmohi lauded the pioneering contribution of the invincible author of over 50 publications, a rich treatise indeed. Eminent critic Ramesh Kuntal Megh and Dr Virender Mehndiratta, hailing his literary prominence in all genres acclaimed his novel “Ardhnarishwer” and his biography “Awara masiha”, as masterpieces of his creativity. 

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18 registered letters go missing
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, April 15
Thieves have not even spared a post office now. A theft was reported from the Dhakoli post office where bundles of posts were found to be missing on Wednesday. According to sources, postmaster of the Dhakoli post office, Raj Kumar, stated that he had locked the post office on Monday evening.

The post office was closed on Tuesday. He said on reaching the post office on Wednesday, the lock of the outer door was found broken and everything was scattered there. He informed that around 18 registered posts and 200 ordinary mails were missing from the box containing posts. The police has registered a case.

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Council grants Rs 3 lakh for workshops
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 15
Punjabi University’s NSS co-ordinator, Dr Paramvir Singh, has been assigned the task of organising five workshops on “Disaster Preparedness” in different districts of Punjab by the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (PSCST), Chandigarh.

The council has released a grant of Rs 1.85 lakh as first instalment out of the total sanctioned amount of Rs 3.08 lakh for the three-day workshop.

According to Dr Paramvir emphasis will be laid on such thrust areas as first-aid, earthquake management, clinical psychology, flood management, fire management and other natural calamities.

The PSCST has asked Dr Paramvir to generate help of NSS programme co-ordinators from GNDU, Amritsar; PAU, Ludhiana; and Panjab University, Chandigarh, for conducting the workshops. The workshops will include special lecture sessions, practical orientation sessions and distribution of literature, Dr Paramvir said.

Dates for the workshops will be notified soon depending upon the availability of the other NSS co-ordinators and participants from different organisations, he added.

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PU don to attend Queen’s reception
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Gaurav Gaur, a city-based Commonwealth Youth Ambassador for Positive Living, has been invited to attend Queen Elizabeth’s reception in Buckingham Palace, London, on April 28. The reception is being hosted in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Commonwealth.

Raj K Mishra, regional director CYP Asia centre, will also be attending the event. This honour for Gaurav, a lecturer in the Panjab University’s department of social work, has come in recognition of his work as an ambassador for Positive Living. For the past few years, Gaurav has worked tirelessly in disseminating information and creating awareness about HIV/AIDS among the youth and the community at large.

Gaurav will be one among four youth from 53 countries of the Commonwealth to have been invited to the reception. After hearing the news of his selection, he said: “I feel honoured that my work at the grass roots level has been recognised internationally. I also feel excited at the prospect of shaking hands with Her Majesty.”

Gaurav has adopted various innovative methods such as writing poignant messages about the HIV virus on his shaven-off scalp, painting his body and his car with similar messages and generating novel I.E.C materials.

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Update students with modern trends: Rodrigues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Punjab Governor and UT administrator SF Rodrigues while presiding over a meeting of board of governors of Punjab Public School (PPS), Nabha, here today called for involving students in the day-to-day management of the institution to enable them to imbibe qualities of good governance and ownership.

Emphasising that we should not be complacent with our achievements, Rodrigues asked the school management to ensure that students were updated with modern learning processes of international standards and brought on a par with global requirements by sharpening their skills.

He said: “We must give opportunity to the alumni to pay back to the school not in terms of financial assistance but also sharing their expertise and knowledge in giving a boost to various programmes undertaken by the Institution.

It was resolved to prepare a data bank, comparing the achievements of the PPS, Nabha, with other advanced educational institutions in the country and abroad to restructure and reorient programmes wherever required.

IL Sayal, headmaster of PPS, gave an account of various innovative programmes being introduced to upgrade the standards of education. He informed that indoor multi-facility sports complex has been completed in the school.

Prominent among those who attended the meeting includes Lt-Gen TK Sapru, GoC-in-C, Western Command, SC Agrawal, principal secretary to Punjab Government, Lt-Gen Vijay Oberoi, MP Singh, secretary to Governor and Brig Sukhjit Singh.

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