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Bid Fixing
CITCO in soup on auction
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
You must have heard of “match fixing”, but have you ever heard of “bid fixing”. This precisely seems to describe the auction by CITCO at Hotel Mount View today. While an auction of old articles, including furniture, was being held today, the same had to be cancelled due to CITCO’s own move.

According to sources, after a recent renovation drive in the hotel, an auction was kept for today for disposing off the old furniture. For this purpose, advertisements were given in newspapers a few days ago. For those who wanted to participate, Rs 50,000 was to be deposited as the earnest money. At the time of the auction, junk dealers and many others had gathered for taking part in the auction.

The sources claimed that with the connivance of CITCO insiders, for enhancing the bidding amount, a few CITCO employees were also allegedly made to sit in the auction for placing higher bids.

The sources further claimed that the corporation was hoping that this would at least raise the price by Rs 5 lakhs.

When other bidders stopped at Rs 4 lakh, a CITCO employee placed a bid for Rs 4.50 lakh. The dealers who were present on the occasion claimed that they got suspicious after prices began to be quoted speedily.

The moment the bid reached Rs 4.50 lakh, everyone present asked the officials to handover the articles to the bidder. At this, the CITCO employees and bidders entered into a scuffle and the security guards had to intervene. Later, it was revealed that the employees who took part in the auction had not even deposited the earnest money. The auction was cancelled thereafter.

When contacted, XEN Shiv Kumar, who was taking care of the auction in the absence of the general manager confirmed that a fracas did take place, following which the auction had to be cancelled. On being asked if the employee had deposited the earnest money, he could not reply.

When contacted, Mount View General Manger RP Singla said that as he was on three days leave he was not aware of the matter. Another higher official said they were not aware of any such happening but added that if on verifying any CITCO employee was found to be involved, due to which lakhs of rupees have gone waste, disciplinary action could be taken.

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Five students injured in brawl
Firearms, swords used in the clash

Tribune news Service

Panchkula, April 22
At least five students were injured when fire arms and swords were used freely in a group clash on the campus of Swami Devi Dyal Group of Institutes, Barwala, here today. The institute had hit the headlines in the newspapers recently also for not so good reasons when Amit Yadav, one of the former students, was arrested for robberies at a bank and PC Jewellers in Panchkula.

Following the incident the police arrested chairman of the institute Roshan Lal Jindal under Section 216 of the IPC for harbouring offenders. While Amit Gollen, one of the injured, was referred to Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh, the other injured, identified as Amit Kadiyan, a student of mechanical engineering (3rd year), was admitted at the hospital in the institute itself. Three others injured were identified as Dhiraj (Kaithal), Hemraj (Sonepat) and Varun.

Gollen, who was doing BTech in electronics, belonged to Pundri in Kaithal district, while Kadiyan was from Jhajjar. According to Gollen, it was around 4.30 pm when Kadiyan was in the main canteen of the college along with three of his friends. Around a dozen of students from the college accompanied by some outsiders attacked them, injuring Kadiyan seriously. “It was that time when I and some other students were shifting Kadiyan to hospital on the college campus. The assailants fired upon us and in the process of running from the spot I fell down, following which some of attackers were able to stab on my legs,” said Gollen while nursing his wounds at the GMCH.

After injuring the two, the assailants fled from the spot firing indiscriminately, said eye witnesses. At least five bullets were fired on the college campus while around same number of bullets were fired by the accused when they were fleeing towards the road, they added. Incidentally, a policeman, who was in the college at the time of the incident, informed his high ups who sent a heavy police force to the college to control the situation.

Following the incident, the students gathered outside the institution resenting the inadequate arrangements of security. The students in the college were under shock and tried to avoid talking to mediapersons, fearing backlash from the assailants in future.

On the condition of anonymity, one of the students said the clash was the one in a series of daily skirmishes between hostellers and day scholars from the region. A few months ago the same group was involved in a clash and one of the students was injured seriously.

“They (victims) were being threatened by some of the day scholars on their phones of dire consequences for the last many days and many of us even informed to chairman of the institute Roshan Lal Jindal yesterday and he assured us of sorting out the issue within a day or two,” said another student. SP Amitabh Dhillon, when contacted, said after the arrest of Amit Yadav the police came to know that the campus had become a haven for unscrupulous elements and the management was asked to tighten the security.

The police had booked Sandeep Sharma, Gagandeep, Mandeep, Praveen Rana and Noni, all MBA final year students, in the case. The police force would stay on the campus till the situation returned to normalcy, said Dhillon.

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PU hostels boozers’ paradise
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
The Supreme Court’s recent judgement citing rampant alcoholism the prime reason for the death of Aman Kachru at Tanda Medical College in Himachal Pradesh has once again raised concerns over the problem that has been plaguing the Panjab University (PU) campus since long.

The role of the authorities has also come under a scanner following suspension of nine students last week after they were caught drinking in hostel rooms.

If the claims of students and wardens are anything to go by, the PU hostels are fast turning into boozers’ paradise and most of the times, officials are not even aware of it.

“Everybody maintains a stock of liquor and drink regularly. We hardly have any surprise checks and even when there is a checking, the powerful inmates are let off,” said a student of hostel number 6.

“We do keep checks and act on tip-offs, but these students outsmart us. Most of the times we know that they are drinking, but it gets difficult to act against them due to their influence,” said a warden.

“Certain sections of hostels are too dangerous to tread at night. I had caught a boy in an inebriated state, but he was let off as he was from an influential family. After the incident, I was harassed by this group of boys like anything. If this is our plight, why should we be strict?” questioned another warden.

Dean, Students Welfare, PU, Naval Kishore, however, claimed the problem was being dealt with iron hand.

“Though we have a provision of fine of Rs 500 to 1,000, these students need to be dealt with strictly so we suspended them. The varsity is being strict and takes swift action on all such complaints,” he added.

However, his claims fail to satisfy many as a student leader, on a condition of anonymity, revealed, “A few days back, an affluent student leader smuggled chicken which is prohibited in the hostel, got it cooked in the mess and was caught drinking. Though we all saw security people raiding and catching him red-handed, no action was taken against him. The authorities pick and chose when to act and how.

The situation is no different in other institutions like PEC, the UIPS and the UBS. PEC for the matter of fact, shares its boundary with an ‘ahata’ and according to hostel staff, liquor inflow is huge and unchecked.

“Every other boy gets liquor everyday. Alcoholism is one of the major problems we face but even though we know everything, we cannot act because most of the students here have high connections,” said one of the hostel employees at PEC.

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298 cartons of liquor seized; 1 held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
The operation cell of the Chandigarh Police has arrested a person with 298 cartons of various brands of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) which was allegedly being smuggled from the city.

SSP S.S. Shrivastava said the liquor consignment had nothing to do with the forthcoming elections. “It’s too early to comment on it. Things will be clear only after the interrogation of the accused,” he said.

Acting on a tip-off, the Sector 26 operation cell team led by inspector Davinder Sharma laid a ‘naka’ near the Kisan Bhawan Chowk yesterday night and seized a huge cache of illicit liquor from a mini-truck (CH-03-A-0580).

The police has also arrested the driver, Darshan Singh, a resident of Patiala. A local court has remanded the accused in two-day judicial custody.

A case under Sections 61/1/14 of the Excise Act and 420, 473 of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 36 police station.

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‘Aya rams gaya rams’ much sought after
Small-time leaders change loyalty at the drop of the hat

Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
“Aya ram gaya ram”, the concept pioneered by former Haryana Chief Minister Bhajan Lal, seems to have taken the city by storm in the run-up to May 13 Lok Sabha elections.

The ensuing elections seem to be the perfect time for the “aya ram gaya rams”, derisively dubbed as turncoats, who are switching parties at the drop of the hat. While the party hoppers' influence on the voters is debatable, three mainline candidates -Pawan Bansal (Congress), Satya Pal Jain (BJP) and Harmohan Dhawan (BSP) - are going gaga over new entrants.

The three candidates lose no opportunity to parade the new members before the media, claiming that they will strengthen the party ahead of the May 13 poll.

While colony chieftains - capable arranging crowds for the big rallies - are the main attraction for the parties, "respectable" residents from the urban areas are also much in demand. The Congress has showcased the joining of the BJP’s colony cell leader Shashi Shankar Tewari's entry into its fold as a "moral victory" over the saffron party.

Only yesterday, the merger of NCP's local unit into the Congress was a big event for the party and its candidate Pawan Bansal, who is aiming for a hat-trick from the Chandigarh seat.

The BJP and the BSP are not behind in pulling certain prominent leaders of other parties into their fold.

Surprisingly, the reason given by the leaders for joining the new parties are similar. Their similar-sounding reasoning that they were feeling “suffocated” in their parent organisations hardly surprises the political observers.

While Dhawan claimed that it was BSP supremo Mayawati's social engineering formula which was attracting leaders of the other parties, Bansal and Jain asserted that it was their parties' ideologies which were pulling other leaders into their folds.

“When you are joined by prominent people of the area, your party's election campaign naturally gets a boost,” claims Pardeep Chhabra, Bansal's media coordinator, who is credited with engineering a number of defections from other parties.

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Passport Seva Project
Cop verification may come as a snag
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
The much awaited ‘Passport Seva project’, which would involve outsourcing of processing work to Tata Consultancy Service and help reduce the issuing time of the travel document in an unbelievable three days, has completed its conceptional stage and is all set to be implemented on ground. However, there are a few glitches, the most important being the inordinate delays in verification by the police authorities.

A billion rupee endeavour of the Ministry of External Affairs and Tata Consultancy Services expects the process of issuing a new passport to be completed in three working days, while passports issued under the Tatkal scheme will be dispatched on the same day, subject to address and police verifications of applicants.

While the idea may have interested many but the police verification part has being irking many a passport seekers from long. “ For all four members of our family, the police came at different time to verify. It is a mental harassment in addition to the tedious process of the passport office.” says Vijay Anand, a passport applicant.

Responding to this, UT SSP SS Srivastava said, “ The monitoring of these complaints involves physically going to the address and verifying all details. The applicant may or may not be present at his place. In order to ensure proper verification at least some time is needed.”

As a result of the Master Service Agreement that was signed between the TCS and MEA in New Delhi on October 13, 2008, the venture will be first initiated as a pilot project in Chandigarh and Bangalore.

Vitul Kumar, RPO (Regional Passport Officer) said, “The three centres in Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Ambala as a part of Phase-I activity of the project are likely to come up after elections. Along with the Tata staff, there will be our own employees at the centres. From the scrutiny of applications as well as the partial processing will be done at these centers. Only then the files will be sent to the passport office and the passport will be dispatched.”

Under the project, more than 70 passport centres will be started in the country increasing the number of counters from 345 to 1,250. Following Chandigarh and Bangalore, the entire country is expected to be brought under the blueprint of the venture by January 2010.

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Conflict between CTU, HR workers
Grid system faces policy roadblocks
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
In the absence of any policy decisions, conflicts between workers of the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) and their counterparts in Haryana over the new grid system, jointly introduced by the Chandigarh Administration and the Haryana government, has virtually run into the roadblock.

Questions are being raised on the issue that when both authorities-Chandigarh Administration and the Haryana Government officially entered into the inter-state agreement for plying specific number of buses on reciprocal basis, then under what authority the transport employees of both sides were stopping the buses midway thereby putting hundreds of passengers into inconvenience?

A probe into the matter revealed that the CTU workers objected that as per the administration’s policy, no outstation bus could be allowed to ply beyond the bus stands at sector 17 and sector 43, but the Haryana bus operators are flouting this norm.

Whereas, the Haryana transport workers alleged that when CTU buses could run beyond the bus stands in Panchkula then where is the justification of stopping them from plying on the Chandigarh routes.

Ram Niwas, Secretary (Transport), Chandigarh, said: “What ever may be the issue, the public convenience will be our major concern and the matter will be resolved in a day or two. Ours is not a commercial venture, our objective is to safeguard the public interest. I have also instructed the CTU director to take it primarily,” he added.

Nevertheless, a joint meeting between the CTU director and the general manager of the Haryana Roadways was organised for “amicably” resolving the issue, but except for rescheduling the meeting, hardly any concrete solution came out of this meeting.

Ironically, it was the passengers who are at the loggerheads, as at least 250 passengers daily commute between Panchkula and Chandigarh.

While CTU Director ML Sharma could not be contacted, General Manager of the Haryana Roadways KS Kalson revealed that April 24 had been fixed as the next date of meeting.

Till then, the bus service on the Chandigarh route No. 90 (From Panchkula to the PGI) had been suspended.

“When we have already a sufficient fleet of the CTU buses on this route then where was the necessity for allowing the Haryana fleet”, said Jagdish, president of the CTU workers.

Recently, about six Haryana Roadways buses were stopped outside Sector- 17 ISBT by the CTU workers and at least 200 passengers from Ramgarh were stranded midway.

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House rent of former DC exceeds Rs 11 lakh
MC to take up the matter at the general house meeting

Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, April 22
As the rent bill of an “obstinate” former Deputy Commissioner of Mohali has crossed a whopping Rs 11 lakh, a frustrated municipal council had now decided to take up the matter at the general house meeting scheduled for April 24.

Former Mohali Deputy Commissioner HIS Garewal had forcibly occupied a two-kanal house at the municipal complex in Phase V here in April, 2007. He was repeatedly requested by the council to vacate the house and also deposit the rent amount for the period of his stay, but to no avail. He owed rent to the tune of Rs 11,01,700 to the civic body till February this year.

In May last year, the Punjab government had even admitted in court that its own IAS officer had acted in the “most uncivilised manner” while “forcefully occupying” a house earmarked for the MC president. In an additional affidavit filed before Punjab and Haryana High Court, Special Secretary-cum-local bodies department director Samir Kumar had added that the occupation of the house by Garewal was a “case of highhandedness”.

Rajinder Singh Rana, president of the civic body, said the matter would now be discussed in the general house and he hoped all councillors would oppose the adamant attitude of the former Deputy Commissioner. He said if Garewal failed to vacate the house or deposit the rent, the council would be compelled to go to court to get justice.

Rana had earlier sought the help of the Chief Secretary, Punjab, to get the house vacated in the municipal complex. In a letter sent to the Chief Secretary, the council president had stated that the house (No. 1985) in Phase V had been occupied in an unauthorised manner by Garewal for quite some time and he had not vacated the house despite several reminders. Garewal was at present working as Secretary, Pensions and Grievances, Punjab.

Copies of this letter had also been sent to Principal Secretary (Personnel), and Principal Secretary (Local Government).

A similar request for getting the house vacated was also made by the executive officer of the council Amna Kumar Goyal in a letter written to the Director, Local Government.

The Punjab government had asked the MC in a letter dated December 17 to send a report in connection with the two-kanal house in the municipal complex which had allegedly been occupied by Garewal in an unauthorised manner.

Garewal had tried to take possession of the house amid high drama on April 14, 2007. Truck loads of belongings of both the Deputy Commissioner and the MC president reached the municipal complex. A dispute arose as to who would occupy the house.

A naib tehsildar had at that time stopped the men of the council president from unloading his belongings from the truck. Some councillors present at the scene had prevented the personnel from taking the DC’s property into the house.

The council president had argued that since the house was the property of the civic body, it was his right to shift to the municipal complex. The naib tehsildar had said since the house had been requisitioned by the DC, he should take possession of the building.

Grewal finally took possession of the house on April 17 and continued to live there even when he was no longer the DC of the Mohali district.

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Pay panel report
Punjab cheers up UT staff
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
The recommendations of the Fifth Punjab Pay Commission are set to bring cheers to over 18,000 UT employees.

With the Chandigarh Administration following the Punjab pattern in pays and perks for its employees, the recommendations will be implemented in the city also, official sources said here today.

The sources said the administration was waiting for a notification from the Punjab government following which the Punjab pay scales would be implemented for UT employees.

The pay commission yesterday recommended a 27 per cent hike in salaries of the government employees and increased the age of retirement from 58 years to 60 years. The report has been made public only after a go-ahead from the Election Commission.

Punjab, which pays one of the highest allowances to state government employees, would also double all existing allowances.

The sources said the clear picture would only emerge after the Punjab government notified the revised pay scales. If need be, the Election Commission's permission could be sought to implement the new pay scales for the UT employees, the sources added.

Meanwhile, Bhag Mal Rana, general secretary of the UT Employees Federation, said the Punjab report, which was patterned on the Central Sixth Pay Commission, would not benefit all employees proportionately. Besides, the recommendation for outsourcing the recruitment of the Class C and D were "anti-employee", he alleged.

The employees said the UT administration should remove certain "anomalies" in the Punjab report and see to it that certain categories' interests were not adversely affected.

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Jain terms Cong ‘anti-trader’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
BJP candidate from the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat Satya Pal Jain today assured the trading community that the draft of the Balanced Rent Act would be tabled in Parliament within six months of BJP coming into power at the Centre.

During his ‘padyatra’ at the Sector 26 market, Jain said during the last Lok Sabha elections, the Congress had promised the Balanced Rent Act but did not fulfil the promise during its five-year tenure, causing inconvenience to both the property owners and the tenants. Jain also termed the Congress as the “anti-trader” party.

On his arrival at the Sector 26 market, Jain was weighed against coins at several places.

Earlier, Jain went from door-to-door during his ‘padyatra’ at Sector 46 where he promised that if voted to power, the BJP would regularise all need- based internal modifications in the Chandigarh Housing Board houses.

Meanwhile, Jai Ram Joshi, a former BJP president, today appealed to the people to vote for Jain.

More support for Dhawan

The BSP candidate from Chandigarh Harmohan Dhawan today forecast the winds of change in his favour in the May 13 poll.

Addressing a gathering at his place, Dhawan said more and more people were joining the BSP due to its social engineering theory, which was striving for casteless and equality-based society.

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Change is indispensable now
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
The kind of atmosphere that has built up in the country is suffocating now. Poor man in the country is suffering a lot. The previous government at the Centre has not been able to do anything about the external and internal security. The main issue of the elections should be the security of the country.

We feel unsafe in our own country. By juggling with economic figures, public cannot be fooled. In my opinion, the main election issue should be refraining from caste politics.

Vote-bank politics has been a major issue that has damaged our country post independence. Also the most important issue to be dealt with is illegal immigration from Bangladesh, which the government has failed in doing so far. Same goes for the city, where a number of migrant labourers have disturbed the law and order of the city with crime on the rise and if it is not stopped in future it will get worse.

— Sanjay Chugh

Corruption far from parties’ agenda

Ironically none of the political parties have talked about curtailing corruption in the body politic. It is not exaggerating to say that in India development has become another name of corruption. Even the judiciary and defence forces are suffering from the stigma of corruption. Criminalisation of politics has become widespread. Public has become cynical of such happenings.

Failure to set and follow high ethical standards by political leadership would lead to erosion of public trust, diminishing community expectations and exacerbation of social divisions.

There is no dearth of upright, dynamic and visionary people having excellent record of public service. If India has to survive, we have to guard ourselves against the politics of deals and corruption in the governance.

— SK Khosla

Motivate public to vote

The main issue of the elections itself is bringing voters to vote. As a majority of the polling is done in the rural areas and people of rural areas, who cast their votes are either bought by the leaders or are forced to cast votes in their favour. But people of the urban areas do not bother to vote. They think it is wastage of time to go and vote.

The government on one hand spends a lot of money, manpower and time during the election period but people are least bothered. So the government should take steps to motivate people to cast their vote and elect the leader of their choice.

In my opinion, they may also take serious steps under which the voter card can be cancelled for not casting their vote. The government should add one more button in the voting machine in the name of the President of India. This button should be included so that if a person goes for voting but thinks that there is no capable candidate to be elected as the leader then they can vote in favour of the President of India.

If the majority of votes go in favour of the President than there should be President’s rule in that constituency. — RL Bajaj

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Vote for national integration
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
In my opinion, a strong party is needed at the Centre, a national party that brings strength to the nation and works purely for development. Also there should be a provision not to vote any party at all. Voting a party should not be a compulsion. Nothing has been done so far to make the country strong and terrorism free. I am voting for the first time and will vote for that candidate who promises to make the country integrated and imbibes a feeling of oneness.

Harinath Sharma

Casteism should not be criteria to vote

In my opinion the one’s who do not go and vote, have no right to complain later on. The right to vote is precious and all should use this opportunity responsibly so that only deserving people get a chance to govern the country. Caste or religious affiliations should not be the deciding factors. A candidate’s past record as a performer is the one on which I will base my decision of choosing him or her over others. In our country the political parties field candidates purely on their caste or creed associations so that they can exploit the religious or casteist sentiments to get maximum votes. This disturbing trend should be checked and youngsters by not supporting such parties can give a befitting reply to those who thing masses can be divided on these issues.

Amandeep Tarika

Past record of candidates important

The past record of the candidate is as important as that of the party. I will see if the candidate of my constituency knows the problems of the area well or not. Does he visits his constituency often or just comes after five years for seeking votes? That is to be seen. I will prefer a party that works for the economically weaker section. A strict no to vote-bank politics is my motto.

Puneet Aggarwal

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2 more independents file papers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
Surender Pal Chauhan, who polled a respectable over 3,000 votes during the last Lok Sabha poll in 2004, again filed his nomination papers today. Surender, who is the local convener of the Rashtriya Swabhiman Manch, a non-political body headed by Govindacharya, a former BJP ideologue, and is also the president of Chandigarh Marla Flats Welfare Association.

Talking to The Tribune, Chauhan said presently all mainline parties had cheated city residents by making false promises.

Lashing it out at the BJP, he said the top leaders of this party were non-serious about the city and this could well be gauged by the fact it had once again given the ticket to Satya Pal Jain, who had time and again been rejected by the people and even party workers.

In his affidavit filed today, he has declared immovable assets worth Rs 20 lakh and jewellery worth Rs 3.93 lakh.

Darshan Singh, another independent candidate, also filed his nomination papers today.

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Number of voters up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
In the coming Lok Sabha elections, the number of voters have gone up significantly. From 4.81 lakh registered earlier, it has now reached the mark of 5,22,545. After the elections were announced, 41,545 voters have increased.

In 2004, the number of voters was 5,32000.

The Election Commission has directed that all security guards posted at the polling booths will now be able to vote wherever they may be. This would include the Home Guards, policemen and para-military forces.

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Electrocution
PGI nails power division, issues warning
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
An inquiry conducted by the PGI authorities in a recent incident of electrocution of two women in its gynecology ward, has finally nailed the PGI electricity division.

According to PGI spokesperson, Manju Wadwalkar, committee found that the electric division of the PGI had neither maintained the preventive maintenance (regular check) nor taken up the maintenance work.

However, the PGI authorities have instead of taking any action against the department only issued a warning.

While the PGI authorities have directed electric department to undertake regular check no responsibility has yet been fixed against the recent lapse.

According to sources, the electrical wires in the Nehru Hospital have not been changed since its construction. Experts’ state that the maximum age of electrical wires is 25 years and the wiring went obsolete 20 years ago and there were no check or maintenance by the electric wing.

On April 16, two women patients had suffered electric shock after they came in contact with a naked wire.

The incident occurred following sparking in a wire hanging loose from a broken socket. As furniture was dragged closer to the open socket which started giving electric shock.

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Power conference for removing obsolete technology

Chandigarh, April 22
The 11th technical coordination committee (TCC) and the 12th Northern Regional Power Committee meeting began here yesterday.

Finance-cum-Power Secretary of Chandigarh Sanjay Kumar inaugurated the conference. Representatives from Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chandigarh and certain power utilities like the NHPC and PGCA are participating in the conference.

It was decided at the meeting to replace all obsolete electromagnetic type protection relays with state-of-the-art numerical relays to increase the system reliability in case of short circuit, a press note issued here said.

In his inaugural address, Sanjay Kumar said the UT Administration had been particular in fulfilling the vision of Ministry of Power to provide reliable, affordable and quality power for all users by 2012. — TNS

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Metformin causes osteoporosis in men: Doctor
Tribune News Service

Dr KP Singh Chandigarh, April 22
A recent study undertaken by Dr KP Singh, senior consultant endocrinologist, Fortis Hospital, Mohali, indicated that regular use of Metformin drug could cause osteoporosis in men, which is common in women.

Dr Singh recently presented the finding of the initial study at a joint International Bone Mineral Society 2009 and ANZBMS meeting held at Sydney, Australia.

It is a general belief that men do not get osteoporosis and only females are at risk but study indicates that all these beliefs may not hold true in the case of Metformin users as this drug is taken regularly by millions of diabetic patients.

Dr KP Singh said, “We discussed three cases of osteoporosis (spine and hips) among patients who were using Metformin regularly and had also been detected as Vitamin B12 deficient.”

Since we wanted to understand whether men could get osteoporosis, we deliberately selected three adult males (aged 49, 54 and 56 years), who had been on Metformin for the past two years for the treatment of diabetes, he added.

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Doctor feted

Chandigarh, April 22
Dr Kusum Sharma, assistant professor, medical microbiology, won the silver medal for her research work on the latest molecular diagnostic techniques for raid diagnosis of tubercular meningitis presented during the National Conference on Tropical Neurology ' TROPICON 2009' held at the PGI.

She presented her research work on the evaluation of two different techniques in the rapid diagnosis of tubercular meningitis, one of which has never been reported from India in this setting.

Tubercular meningitis is a potentially life-threatening infection of the nervous system, which, if not diagnosed early, can lead to death or severe impairment. — TNS

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Sahitya akademi scripts history
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
In less than three months of inviting contributions from endowed writers, it has translated talent into print by coming out with as many as four compilations. With this, the Ackademi has provided a platform to as many as 175 budding and renowned writers.

The anthologies of poems and short stories in Hindi and Punjabi are scheduled to be released by Advisor to the Chandigarh Administration Pradip Mehra on April 24. The function at the government museum and auditorium Sector10 is to be followed by a poetry session “A gathering of nightingales”. It is to be chaired by Dr Harinderjit Kaur, principal of Sector 26 Guru Gobind College for Women.

Offering the collections swathed in jackets of glazed paper splashed with cheerful colours symbolising literary passion and intensity, Akademi’s vice-chairman Dr DS Gupt says: Kavyanjali presents works of 89 poets in Hindi, while Kathalok offers short stories in the same language by 34 writers.

Gently polishing the covers with his palm, Dr Gupt asserts: Similarly Kav Rang contains works of 34 Punjabi poets, and Katha Sagar showcases short stories by 12 Punjabi writers. The collection is not very costly either, and already academicians are in touch with the Akademi for including them in the curriculum.

In all, four editorial boards of total 10 members practically sat under the dazzle of tube lights till late in the evening to come out with the compilations in record time.

“This is just the beginning,” says Gupt. His smile broadens as he says: “The Akademi hopes to come out with another compilation in English in the coming few months”.

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Radio taxis for Mohali too
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
Radio taxi service provider Mega Cabs has expanded its reach to Mohali from today.

With this service, it will be the first metered commuting in Mohali available within a radius of 40 km and will take passengers to places like Ropar, Sirhind and Lalru. The number to call the cab, however, would remain the same (4141414). Addressing mediapersons here today, Manish Dhariwal, director, Mega Cabs, said, “You can call anytime and within minutes, a metered air-conditioned taxi will be at your doorstep.

The charges will be from point to point which means that the passenger will be charged from their doorstep to their destination at Rs 15 per km.

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Importance of safety regulations stressed
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 22
The Mohali Industries’ Association organised an industrial training programme to stress on importance of safety regulations at workplaces here today. Training is important to avoid accidents at the workplaces.

Raminder Singh, labour commissioner and director of factories, Punjab, inaugurated the training session.

MIA president BS Anand said the industrial units had machinery and equipment, which required safe handling. Maintaining a safe and healthy working environment was not only an important human resource issue but also a law.

Employees working at various levels need to understand various types of risks, common safety standards and compliance procedures.

KS Mahal, general secretary, informed that safety of the worker was of utmost importance.

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Garments shop gutted
Tribune News Service

The readymade shop which was destroyed in a fire that took place
The readymade shop which was destroyed in a fire that took place on Wednesday. A Tribune photograph

Zirakpur, April 22
Goods worth lakhs of rupees were gutted in a fire at a readymade garments shop situated on the Ambala-Chandigarh National Highway here today.

According to sources, a fire tender from Dera Bassi fire station was pressed into service. It took two hours to bring the fire completely under control. The reason behind the fire, however, could not be ascertained.

The owner of the shop said he had closed his shop last evening after which some of his neighbours noticed smoke coming out of his shop and informed him. On reaching the spot he saw the clothes had caught fire after which he informed the Dera Bassi fire brigade.

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Earth Day celebrated in schools
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
“So long the earth is full of nature, human race is going to flourish”, adopting this theme given in Sanskrit scriptures thousands of years ago, World Earth Day was celebrated in the city schools with zeal and full enthusiasm today.

Sacred Heart

Earth Day was celebrated in the school by organising various activities, including inspirational speeches, and ballet performance depicting mother earth in the clutches of pollution, over-population and deforestation, losing its life bit by bit. Apart from this, poems were recited by students and various colourful posters and quotations were displayed on the school premises.

MRA Modern Public

During the Earth Day celebrations in the school students from classes VI to VIII had participated. Various competitions like painting, slogan writing and essay writing were conducted with active participation from the students. Vijay Behl, in charge of the Eco Club of the school, explained the students about the importance and awareness on environmental conservation.

AKSIPS-45

AKSIPS-45, Chandigarh, celebrated Earth Day as an awareness programme for the students. The students involved themselves in various projects like slogan writing on the topic “Save the environment”, card-making using dry flowers, twigs, etc. and cleanliness drive.

Maharishi Dayanand Public

The Eco Club of Maharishi Dayanand Public School, Daria, Chandigarh, celebrated Earth Day in collaboration with the environment department, Chandigarh. Essay-writing competition was organised in which about 100 students participated. Students got the message through this competition that the conditions favourable to support life are found only on earth.

Shivalik Public

World Earth Day was celebrated by the Eco Club, Prakriti, to lay stress on the importance of restoring greenery of earth. Posters and slogans were displayed in the campus. Paper bag making competition based on resolution “Say no to polybags” was organised. A pledge to contribute to the cleanliness and greenery of the earth was taken by the students.

Govt Model, 37-B

To solemnise World Earth Day in a befitting manner the school organised various activities. A special morning assembly was held, speeches on impact of global warming on earth and step to contribute toward reducing environment pollution with emphasis on how to cope up with climate change; were delivered by the students.

Nature Observatory

Earth Day was celebrated with religious fervour at the Nature Observatory, Sector 26, Chandigarh. The event was organised by the Environment Society of India (ESI). More than 200 students and teachers from St Kabir School, Government Model High School, Police Line, Sector 26, and Gian Jyoti Public School, Mohali, joined in the celebrations. ESI president released a booklet “Dharti Ki Pukar”, a collection of poems and short stories in Hindi, English and Punjabi, penned by Usha Garg.

Manav Mangal

Earth Day, a day marked to show love, care and concern towards our Mother Earth, was celebrated at Manav Mangal Smart School here today. Various activities were organised to commemorate the occasion.

Children of pre-nursery to KG took part in “Seed to Sapling” where they were made aware of the concept of germination. Each child was given a small earthen pot in the class with gram seeds wrapped in cotton. They had been watering the seeds from their water bottles for the past one week and were observing it grow into a sapling. Classes I to IV made pen and magazine holders from used cartons under the theme “Recycle and Reuse”. Classes V to VII took part in “Zero Carbonicity” where the children offered practical solutions to the environmental problems. Students of Classes VIII and IX formed a human chain. They were holding placards with remedies of preservation and conservation written on them. They also distributed paper bags among passers by in Phase X market.

School’s director Sanjay Sardana said it was our responsibility to put an end to wastage of resources and conserve these for the next generation. Children must be involved in this, he added.

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Earth Day celebrated at CSIO
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
To inspire awareness and appreciation for the environment, Earth Day was observed at the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation here today. A lecture on “Snow and Avalanches” by Dr Piyush Joshi from the DRDO’s Snow and Avalanche Studies Establishment, marked the event. Speaking on the occasion, Dr NS Mehla, CSIO’s senior-most scientist highlighted the importance of preserving the environment. A painting competition was also organised.

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Home Secy inspects govt schools
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
Home Secretary Ram Niwas along with officials of various wings today raided various government schools in the city, only to find insufficient books in the libraries and computer labs, unhygienic drinking water facility and stinking toilets etc.

The DPI (School) was directed to make special scheme for the upgrading the existing libraries in government schools and fill teachers’ posts under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan.

“I have observed that there was acute shortage of rooms in most of the schools and a few running in three shifts were catering to more than 2,000 students each. I have also directed the architect department to submit estimate at the earliest and engineering wing to take care of the civil jobs”, said Ram Niwas.

At Government High School, Kaimbwala, the Engineering Department was directed for rectifying the seepage problems in the toilets and to install barbed wire on the boundary wall of the school. The department was also directed to ensure the proper levelling of the playground and install two searchlights on the school premises for its safety during night. The post of principal was found to be vacant in the school. The Home Secretary called a meeting of the departmental promotion committee immediately after the code of conduct for filling the post.

After noticing acute shortage of rooms at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 26, he directed construction of an additional floor on the top of the school building.

The team also visited Government High School, Colony No. 4. Officials of the engineering department of the Chandigarh Housing Board were directed to prepare fabricated rooms and deploy three additional security guards and one sweeper through outsourcing. Meanwhile, he also inspected Government High School, Sector 29-B, and the one in Mani Majra.

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PU Notes
Cleanliness drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
The World Earth Day was celebrated on the PU campus today. Research scholars, students and staff of the department of environment studies, department of social stuies and department of geology participated in large number. A cleanliness campaign under the leadership of Vice-Chancellor was launched on the campus at 8.30 am. An exhibition on the environment awareness was also inaugurated by the VC at the student centre.

Grants

The University Grants Commission has approved and sanctioned a sum of Rs 5 crore for the establishment of Networking Resource Centre in the department of pharmaceutical sciences, Panjab University.

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