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Food Poisoning
34 students taken ill
Farewell party at school goes sour
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
A farewell party held for a teacher of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 23, on April 28 turned unpleasant for 34 students of Class X as they suffered from severe food poisoning after eating snacks. And what is shocking is that the school authorities are feigning ignorance over the incident.

While most of the students are recuperating at their houses, the condition of at least one of them, Vivek, who is admitted to hospital, is stated to be critical still.

Despite the fact that the students have remained absent from school for the past three days, the authorities have not bothered to inform the education department about the incident. The reason for this is that they were busy organising another farewell that was held yesterday.

DPI (Schools) Samwartak Singh said the incident came to his notice today only and he had ordered an inquiry. He said the school authorities had informed him that they had allowed students to bring snacks from their home for the party, and no food from outside was to be served.

A student, Parminder, said they had organised a farewell party for their teacher and they had ordered 55 sandwiches from Grover Confectioneries at Sector 23. Most of the students ate these sandwiches in school while some took these home.

She said she took it home and her mother also ate it. Later, they both had high fever and diarrhoea.

Another student, Manish, who had bought the sandwiches, said all 34 students who ate those complained of vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach cramps and high fever. Even the sisters of two of his classmates who ate the sandwiches were not well.

The owner of the confectionery, Sanjeev Grover, claimed that his stocks were fresh and had been supplied to him the same morning from a bakery at Naya Gaon. He, however, refused to divulge the details of the supplier.

Manish said he also took some sandwiches home where his two sisters and mother shared it with him. Later, which too complained of stomachache and fever.

He said this afternoon the principal contacted him for drafting a letter to the food and supplies department, with the student’s medical report, in order to file a compliant against the shopkeeper. He said on April 29, about 21 students came to school, but left after they complained of headache or fever.

On a visit to the school, it was found that only 10 students were present in the class and the authorities had received sick leave of seven students. There was no information about the other students with the authorities.

The acting vice-principal, Harvir Anand, said he had no knowledge about the incident as he had joined the school after a long leave today.

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City has no stock of Tamiflu
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
Even as the administration “prepares” to deal with the pandemic threat of swine flu, the city administration neither has any stock of Tamiflu (the only known drug found to be effective against the virus as a precautionary measure), nor a standardised laboratory for the diagnosis of such cases.

Dr SK Verma, head of the internal medicine department at the PGI, said: “Test for this influenza is a serological one, requiring a standardised laboratory for diagnosis, which is not available at the PGI.”

Under the circumstances, blood samples of suspected patients would have to be sent to the National Institute of Communicable Disease (NICD), Delhi, he said.

The anti-malaria officer-cum-state nodal officer, integrated disease surveillance project, HC Gera, said there were no diagnostic facilities in the city and they had rely on the NICD or similar laboratories in Delhi, Bhopal and Pune.

The samples would be required to be sent to the NICD and it would take at least 24 hours for diagnosis. Experts said such a long duration could cause fatal for patients who came at a late stage.

While the WHO is moving closer to declaring a pandemic alert phase five for swine flu, just a step short of announcing a full-blown pandemic, the city has no stockpile of the antiviral drug, “Tamiflu”, which could also be used for other influenzas, including bird flu, doctors at the PGI said. “The Centre has the required stock and whenever we need, we will ask for it,” Gera said.

However, a press note by the administration claimed that all major hospitals in Chandigarh had been directed to ensure sufficient stocks of the drug.

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Admn plans comfy ride for govt students
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
Sparing a thought for government schoolchildren, the Chandigarh administration has decided to launch  a special economic scheme for ferrying them.

Named “Micro School Escort”, a fleet of mini buses would be used for the purpose. The expression of interest from transporters would be invited after the elections are over. The STA has been initiating the scheme with the education department to work out the exact number of buses required.

It would be a tripartite agreement between the State Transport Authority, the school and the transporter.

The agreement would be valid for a year and would be renewed after obtaining a no-objection certificate from the State Transport Authority.

Transport Secretary Ram Niwas said: “This arrangement has been done to monitor transport charges and fix accountability of the transporter and the school authorities just in case there is any deficiency in service. The charges would be worked out after the elections.”

“Our team would ensure that the buses are equipped with speed governors, first aid kit, drivers and conductors wear uniform and the vehicle should comply with the mandatory conditions for school transport,” Vandana Disodia, STA Secretary, said.

The scheme, the first in the northern region, would be started initially in model schools and later extended to government schools.

It would benefit around 18,000 students in the beginning.

Ram Niwas said: “It was observed that the bus capacity gets enhanced by almost one and a half times more if we count it for school children. Moreover, unlike 52-seater buses, these mini buses would be able to enter V6 roads, ensuring the safety and convenience of both children as well as parents.”

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Heat wave to persist
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The city sizzled today as the mercury crossed the 42 degrees Celsius mark, a good five degrees above normal. People had a tough time beating the heat with many trying to stay indoors or taking precautions if they had to venture outside.

Met officials predicted that similar weather conditions would prevail, with the maximum temperature continuing to hover around 42 degrees Celsius and the minimum settling around 25 degrees. The heat wave was likely to continue for another two days.

“I have been trying to avoid going outdoor, but because of the nature of my work, I have no option. I protect myself with a dupatta, shades and umbrella and sip water continuously, yet it brings little relief,” Yamini, a marketing executive, said.

“I don’t know how I will survive if the heat continues like this,” Preet Malhotra, a call centre executive, wondered.

The impact of the scorching heat was evident from the fact that roads were almost empty and there was thin attendance at movie halls, parks and tourist places. 

PU timings

The PU changed the working hours of the teaching and non-teaching departments today. From May 4 to June 30, the working hours would be 8 am to 2 pm without lunch break for six days a week. For the teaching department, it would be from May 25 to June 30 and the timings would be 8 am to 2 pm without lunch break.

Year Max Temp (May 1)

2001 41.0° C

2002 37.8° C

2003 35.8°C

2004 30.5°C

2005 35.8°C

2006 39.6° C

2007 37.2°C

2008 42°C

2009 42°C

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Kalka residents to dump candidates
To opt for Form 17-A
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Kalka, May 1
The demolition at Kalka may have made driving somewhat easier for commuters, but it is giving sleepless nights to politicians as most of the affected shopkeepers and residents have decided to exercise their right under Section 40-O of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, and not vote for any candidate.

Cutting across party lines, local businessmen have joined hands to make political leaders pay for their “indifference” when their shops were being razed. The banners put by the Kalka Vyapar Mandal, stating: “Vote mangkar sharminda na karen” (don’t embarrass us by asking for our votes), are enough to tell the mood of the voters here.

The general secretary of the mandal, Satish Bhatt, said he was feeling cheated by his leaders.

The chairman of the mandal, Vinod Gupta, of the BJP is also bitter. “No politician bothered to stand by us in our hour of need,” he said.

“The government had no will to protect them and the administration left no stone unturned to prove them encroachers before the court,” Prem Chand, a former president of the Youth Congress, said.

Politicians are aware of the mood and no party has dared to hold a public meeting here. Congress candidate Kumari Selja and BJP candidate Rattan Lal Kataria, who are on a whirlwind tour of the constituency, have not visited the town so far.

“Campaigning here used to start only after the candidates offered their obeisance at Kali Mata Temple. It is for the first time that the candidates did not even come to take the blessings of the Goddess,” Anil Aggarwal, president of the mandal, said.

“We had decided to boycott the elections, but now we would go to the polling booth and use Form 17-A to reject all candidates,” he said.

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Swine Flu
Isolation ward at Mohali hospital
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, May 1
Isolation ward is being set up at the Civil Hospital here as part of the precautionary measures being taken by the health department to deal with suspected cases of H1N1 virus even as SMOs of hospitals throughout the district have been alerted.

Dr Avtar Singh, Civil Surgeon, said here today that directions had been received from the higher authorities to remain alert in connection with the spread of the virus. The SMOs had been asked to keep suspected patients isolated until reports proved otherwise.

He said the virus could be brought by persons coming from abroad and landing at the Amritsar airport. Until now, there were no specific medicines for this virus, but it would be more clear in the next few days.

District Health Officer SP Surila said a meeting of the district surveillance committee was held yesterday where Deputy Commissioner PS Mand had expressed concern regarding the spread of the virus. He said the presence of the virus in India had not been confirmed so far.

The SMOs had been asked to maintain isolation wards in hospitals so that persons suffering from respiratory infections and had come from countries where the virus had spread could be admitted.

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Speed governors installed in CTU buses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The Chandigarh administration has installed speed governors in all the 171 local buses of Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU). The Automotive Research Association of India (ARI) certified equipments, costing Rs 9,232 each, have been installed in the CTU buses. The speed governor has been so set that the vehicle will not be driven at a speed in excess of 50 km per hour.

The speed governor is a device linked to the gearbox where sensors capture the vehicle’s movement and speed. If the vehicle exceeds the specified speed limit, the device automatically cuts short the fuel supply, thus bringing down the speed of the vehicle under the prescribed limit.

Secretary, Transport, Ram Niwas said: “It is for the first time that any government-oriented transport has installed such an equipment in its fleet. This would ensure the safety of the passengers.”

The State Transport Authority has started the process of sealing these newly installed equipments. The STA seals the equipment after physical verification of the vehicle. The Chandigarh administration is liable to pay the sealing fee of Rs 200 per vehicle.

Secretary, STA, Vandana Disodia said: “There is a four point-sealing embossed on the instrument, the fuel pump, filter and the speedometer. The final temper-proof sealing of all these sensitive points will be done by the STA.”

Ravinder Singh, Motor Vehicle Inspector, STA, said the sealing process would be over in a week’s time.

The Secretary, STA, said till date hardly any school bus operator had approached the office for physical verification of the vehicle.

It is pertinent to mention that the school bus operators had earlier said that since all the CTU buses were running without speed governors, they should not be held accountable for not installing the equipment in school buses.

Ram Niwas, however, said action would be taken against the violators after May 16. 

AC buses within week

The administration is all set to roll out its new fleet of 17 air-conditioned mini-buses within a week. The 37-seater buses will provide commuting comfort at Rs 10. The tentative route - from ISBT-17 to Railway Station, ISBT-43 to PGI via ISBT-17, ISBT-43 to IT Park via railway station, airport to PGI via ISBT-17, Manimajra to PGI, Ram Darbar to ISBT-43 via ISBT-17. 

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ITBP dismisses doc for impropriety
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
An ITBP veterinary surgeon, who had “intervened to rescue” a fellow officer allegedly being manhandled and detained by ITBP personnel, has been removed from service.

The surgeon, Assistant Commandant VN Thakur, was tried by a general force court (GFC) on three charges pertaining to violation of good order and disobedience of lawful command. The trial concluded at Ramgarh. The verdict is subject to confirmation by higher authorities.

ITBP sources said Thakur had earlier moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court, challenging the proceedings against him.

According to the petition, the vet surgeon was attending his duties in October 2007 at ITBP’s Basic Training Centre in Bhanu, when he was told that one of his colleagues, Dr Amitabh Kumar, a senior medical officer, was being manhandled and forcefully dragged by jawans into an ambulance. He contended that it was only upon watching the public derogation of a gazetted officer and a responsible and respectable officer that he intervened to rescue him.

He contended that his role in the entire incident was merely to help the medical officer but surprisingly he was charge-sheeted two days later. On the basis of the said charge-sheet, an officer was ordered to prepare record of evidence against him.

Thakur had also questioned whether ITBP authorities were justified in continuing the disciplinary proceedings against him where his commanding officer had not even heard the case against him, as was mandatory under rules.

The trial was initially stated to be held in Uttarakhand, but consequent to orders of the high court, the trial venue was shifted to the vicinity of Chandigarh.

Meanwhile, the ITBP has initiated proceedings to terminate the services of Dr Amitabh. A show cause notice issued to him stated that he had been absent from his duties without good reason for a considerable time and his whereabouts were unknown. Dr Amitabh, on the other hand, has apprehended threat to his life at the hands of ITBP authorities.

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IAF holds flight safety workshop
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
As part of its ongoing campaign on flight safety awareness amongst the public, the Indian Air Force (IAF) today conducted a workshop at Guru Nanak Vidya Bhandar Trust (VBT) Polytechnic College in Mohali.

The aim of this workshop was to make college students aware that disposal of garbage and food items in the open attracted birds, which could cause accidents involving aircraft.

Over 200 students attended the workshop, which included lectures and interactive sessions and screening of a motivational movie “Akash Yodha”. Another film on career opportunity in the air force was also shown. Aircraft posters, pamphlets, caps, notebooks and pencils carrying flight safety slogans were also distributed to the students.

Wg Cdr Pankaj Chopra, Station Flight Safety Officer, 12 Wing and Wg Cdr JS Minhas, Maintenance Safety Officer, highlighted the importance of flight safety and the role of every citizen towards enhancing flight safety, which would reduce the cases of bird hits.

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New LS will have less ‘criminals’: NGO
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
Dr Tirlochan Sastry, founder member of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), today said the new Lok Sabha would have a lesser number of MPs facing criminal charges as the number of candidates with criminal background had gone down in these elections.
Dr Tirlochan Sastry (left) founder member, Association for Democratic Reforms, with Jaskirat Singh, coordinator (North Zone), National Election Watch, in Chandigarh on Friday
Dr Tirlochan Sastry (left) founder member, Association for Democratic Reforms, with Jaskirat Singh, coordinator (North Zone), National Election Watch, in Chandigarh on Friday. A Tribune photograph

Sastry was talking to mediapersons during a press conference held here today. He said after the 2004 general elections, the Parliament had 128 MPs with criminal background. “In these elections, the number of candidates facing criminal charges has gone down from 24 per cent to about 12 per cent. This means that we should have not more than a 100-odd such MPs sitting in the Lok Sabha for the next five years,” he said.

Sastry, a professor at the IIM Bangalore, said ADR was spearheading the national election watch (NEW) a conglomeration of over 1,200 NGOs spread across the country.

“We are working on electoral reforms, improving democracy and governance in India. NEW is active in almost all states of India and has done election watch for all states and Lok Sabha elections since 2004,” he said.

He added that the ADR was a non-political, non-partisan whose PIL filed in December 1999 culminated in a Supreme Court order on March 13, 2003, requiring disclosure of criminal, financial and educational background of all contesting candidates.

“Though we have managed to get some success in reducing the number of criminals in the fray, we have not been able to achieve much in reducing the expenditure that is done by candidates during elections. This will be our main area of focus now,” he said

Hey added that the NEW had also launched an SMS and helpline campaign to enable voters get information on candidates’ background to help them make an informed choice while voting. The toll-free no: 1-800-110-440 can be called from Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 6pm for information regarding a candidate’s criminal records, assets, liabilities and education qualifications.

 

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Child Labour
Childline acts, admn mum
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
A day after The Tribune highlighted the plight of 12-year-old Shravan, who had been allegedly forced to work as a domestic help in adverse circumstances (Law against child labour fails to deter employers), the Childline of the PGI swung into action even as the administration chose to keep mum.

Amid high drama, the child and his father went “missing” till afternoon and it was only after the child was spotted at Good Beginnings School, an NGO in Sector 8, where he had been earlier studying, that he could be counselled.

When the team of the Childline, a 24-hour free emergency service for children in need and protection, went to investigate the matter at the Sector 10-A house where Shravan and his father had been staying, it could not find the father-son duo and the employers. It was only after the child was found at Sector 8 that the Childline team could investigate the matter.

“We had been hearing the wails of the child. He was made to work overtime by our neighbours. They had tactfully kept the boy’s father so they could exploit the child,” said Charanjit, neighbour of the employers.

One of the employers reportedly told the Childline team over phone that the child had been staying with them as his father used to work for them.

Meanwhile, the Labour Department pleaded ignorance about the issue. “It is not to our knowledge. We will take action once the office resumes on Monday,” said Assistant Labour Commissioner Mahinder Kaur. On being questioned, a Labour Department official replied: “It is for the police to see that the child is not ill-treated. Once a complain is filed, we will accompany the police to rescue the child.” Meanwhile, Sunita, the co-ordinator of the Childline, said: “Our team counselled the child and his father. We also talked to their employer.”

With a number of cases of child labour coming to light, strict enforcement of the Child Labour (amended) Act has come under a scanner.

Madhu P. Singh, a children rights activist and president of Helping Hand, an NGO, said: “Employing a child below 14 years of age is an offence under the Child Labour (amended) Act.” 

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UT to plant 1.5 lakh saplings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
Home Secretary-cum-Secretary Education Ram Niwas today held a meeting with heads of various departments regarding tree plantations during monsoon. Conservator of Forests, DPI (Schools), Chief Engineer (Municipal Corporation), Chief Engineer (UT) and Director Health Services attended the meeting.

The Conservator of Forests apprised the Home Secretary that overall plantation target for 2009-10 was 1,50,000 saplings. These saplings are to be planted by the Forest Department, the horticulture wing of Municipal Corporation and the UT Engineering Department.

Over 40,000 saplings will be planted in educational institutions through eco clubs and the environmental societies. The Home Secretary directed the DPI (Schools) to identify the schools, which require tree plantation, depending upon the availability of space there.

The Forest Department will provide saplings free of cost to all educational institutions, residents welfare associations, NGOs, religious institutions and health institutions during the monsoon season.

Chief Engineer of the Municipal Corporation stated that the horticulture wing would plant 40,000 saplings along the roads and in the gardens. Similarly, the UT engineering department will plant over 25,000 saplings along the roads as well as in the Leisure Valley and green belts owned and managed by UT administration. 

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Man awarded for nabbing snatcher
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
Gaurav, a resident of Sector 43-B, was awarded with a cash prize of 2,000 by Shanti Kumar Jain, IPS, Inspector General of Police, UT, at the police headquarters, Sector 9, for his courage in nabbing a snatcher.

He caught accused Kamal Bajaj, a resident of Sector 48, while he was running on scooter after snatching a purse containing Rs 520 and documents of Rama Kaushal, a resident of village Kiratpur, Ropar, near Sector 34/44 crossing and recovered the purse from his possession.

A case under Section 356/379/411 of the IPC was registered and was investigated in the Sector-34 police station.

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Banks twist customers’ arms for revenue
Sell insurance policies in lieu of lockers
Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
Want to hire a bank locker or avail of a personal loan? Be ready to shell out a couple of thousands to buy an insurance policy from the bank, from where you wish to hire a locker or take a personal loan.

It is not just the private sector banks but also the public sector banks who are offering personal loans or lockers on the condition of buying an insurance policy.

Most banks either have their own subsidiaries in the insurance sector or are serving as corporate agents of private insurance companies. Since the income avenues of most banks have been dwindling, they are trying to increase their fee-based income by selling insurance policies and earning high commission on it.

A Class I officer in a public sector undertaking, requesting anonymity, said he was forced to purchase an insurance policy from a leading public sector bank in exchange for a bank locker last month.

“I have been recently transferred to the city and needed a bank locker.

I approached at least two banks in Sector 35, where I was told that no locker was available, but something could be arranged for me if I became a ‘privileged insurance policy holder’ of the bank. I had no option but to accept the offer,” he rued.

Most banks are using these “arm-twisting” tactics to sell unit linked insurance plans (ULIP), as the commission offered to banks on these plans is 
quite high.

The deductions in the first year premiums are as high as 35 per cent, and insurance companies can pay a good commission to banks from these commissions.

Sources in the banking industry told the TNS that the pressure to sell ULIP was much higher in March - the end of the last fiscal. “Even for extending personal loans, some banks were asking borrowers to first take an insurance policy from them,” said a senior official in Punjab National Bank.

Till last year, most public sector banks were demanding a fixed deposit (FD) from customers for subletting bank lockers, so that interest accrued could be used as annual rent of the locker. The amount of the FD was so determined that interest earned through this was equal to the annual rent of the locker. Bank officials, when asked for reasons for such tactics to sell insurance policies, said subletting lockers was a value added service.

There is a shortage of lockers in most of the big bank branches. “Banks have been incurring huge losses because of huge locker rent arrears.

Hundreds of lockers have been allotted to customers, who do not operate these lockers and also stop giving the rent.

We already have space constraints and cannot add more lockers. With the sources of income dwindling, we are selling insurance policies to those who wish to hire lockers,” said a bank official.

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Greenhorns harp on development
Even as the candidates of main political parties promise the moon to the electorate, certain candidates seem to be focussing on real issues. Interestingly, the pathetic conditions in the city slums have pained two of the richest candidates contesting from the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat - RJD’s Hafiz Anwar-ul-Haq and Independent Ajay Goyal - who promise to uplift of the downtrodden if voted to power. The candidates, having contrasting campaign styles, with Goyal being tech-savvy and Haq more focussed at the grassroots level, talk to Pradeep Sharma about an array of issues in the run-up to the battle of the ballot on May 13.

Ajay Goyal
Ajay Goyal

Q. What is your agenda for the forthcoming elections?

Promotion of education, sports and yoga and provision of basic amenities in the slums will be my priorities. Promotion of sports and yoga and setting up of sector libraries will go a long way in keeping the youth away from drugs and alcoholism.

Q. Why should people vote for you?

Being a self-made man, I bring a high level of credibility to the Indian politics, which is must for restoring people's faith in democracy.

Q. How do you judge your opponents?

I do not judge my political rivals. In a democratic set-up, it is the people who judge the candidates.

Q. Your comments on the controversial mega projects in the city?

It seems the property dealers were influencing the decisions regarding the mega projects. Chandigarh needs smaller enterprises tailored to the community and not mega projects. In fact, the basic model of several projects, including the education city and the film city, was flawed.

Q. Do you want Chandigarh to remain a union territory?

Chandigarh should be retained as the UT. However, certain basic changes in the administrative set-up were needed to make the bureaucracy accountable. 

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Hafiz Anwar -ul-Haq
Hafiz Anwar -ul-Haq

Q. What is RJD's agenda for the May 13 Lok Sabha poll?

With the north-south divide widening, Chandigarh is losing its city beautiful tag. The development of the southern sectors, particularly the slums and villages, was the need of the hour.

Q. What is your USP and why people should vote for you?

I have attained my current status through sheer hard work and people should vote for me as being a 31-year-old, I represent the younger generation. A majority of the voters belong to the younger generation.

Q. How do you rate your political opponents?

The three main candidates - Harmohan Dhawan (BSP), Pawan Bansal (Congress) and Satya Pal Jain (BJP) - have vested interests. The real development will only be after these three parties are voted out.

Q. Your views on the future of Chandigarh?

It should remain as a union territory.

Q. Are mega projects necessary for Chandigarh?

The mega projects are a must for the city to bring in thousands of job opportunities for the unemployed youth. 

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ewild wild web
Twitter, SMS of Internet
Anil Maheshwari

Twitter - the micro blogging phenomenon - has now taken the world by storm. It’s power, which was discernible in the tragic incident of 26/11 and the US airline crash in Hudson river, has now spread worldwide, and more than 50 per cent of its traffic comes from the non-US followers.

So what is twitter? Twitter is a free service that lets you keep in touch with people through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question.

Wikipedia defines it as a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users' updates known as tweets. So, in place of witting blogs telling about what you found interesting or what you are doing, you just micro-blog in less than 140 characters (not words) or as they call "tweet".

Micro-blogging is a difficult thing to grasp, especially if you are in habit of reading unending articles, but that is its charm. When you are under the strain of saying in less than 140 characters, you are bound to cut unwanted details. If you blog, you will appreciate this better as you must have faced the complaint from your readers about not getting to the point fast.

Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length, which are displayed on the user's profile page and delivered to other users who have subscribed to them (known as followers). Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends or by default allow anybody to access them. Users can send and receive tweets via the twitter website, short message service (SMS) or external applications. The service is free to use over the Internet, but using SMS may incur phone service provider fees.

Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone and Evan Williams founded the whole concept in March 2006. Evan Williams not only invented the term blogger but also started the company blogger. Sensing the winds of change, and requirement of people, they realised that people want to tell about what they are doing or thinking, and equally wish to know about others and their friends.

While writing this article, I tweeted that I am writing such an article and my friends helped me in by sending certain helpful links and suggestions. All this happened in span of 30 minutes.

One link told about the first person to have following of millions on twitter, the actor Ashton Kutcher, star of the television series "That '70s Show" and husband of actress Demi Moore, telling about his victory on April 17 over the CNN, television news network, which was competing with him to reach the milestone of becoming the first twitter user to attract one million followers. Other link told about twitter being on Orpah Winfrey show, a famous TV show in US, making twitter a household name in the USA.

With celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher and Oprah Winfrey helping fuel twitter mania, the micro-blogging website is soaring to stardom around the world, according to Hitwise, the leader in online competitive intelligence.

Twitter's growth in Australia "has been nothing short of phenomenal," rocketing 1,067 per cent since the start of this year, reported Alan Long, research director at the Internet intelligence-gathering firm.

The number of visitors to twitter has more than tripled in New Zealand since the beginning of the year, and the website shot up 239 ranks in Singapore to score a place among the 50 most popular online destinations in the country. "In other markets, Twitter has a growth pattern similar to the US and UK, highlighting that Twitter is a truly global phenomenon," Long said in Hitwise findings. As of early this week, Twitter's share of online visits in the United States and Britain had increased by 570 per cent and 621 per cent, respectively, since the start of the year. "It is interesting to note that large jumps in share of visits have been sparked by a variety of events and news items at different times over the past three months," Long wrote.

US talk show megastar Oprah Winfrey made her debut on the micro-blogging service a few days ago and attracted more than 1,25,000 followers in just 24 hours. She now has more than 5,60,000 followers. Oprah is the latest celebrity to begin using twitter.

Other well-known users include British actor and playwright Stephen Fry, NBA star Shaquille O'Neal, Australian actor Hugh Jackman, and seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong.

Four gateway numbers are currently available for SMS - short codes - for the United States, Canada, India, and an Isle of Man --- based number for international use. There is also a short code for Vodafone users from the United Kingdom. Several third parties offer posting and receiving updates via e-mail.

Estimates of the number of its daily users vary as the company does not release the number of active accounts. In November 2008, Forrester Research estimated that Twitter had 4-5 million users. A February 2009 Compete.com blog entry ranks Twitter as the third most used social network ( Facebook being the largest, followed by Myspace), which puts the number of unique monthly visitors at roughly six million and the number of monthly visits at 55 million. In March 2009, a Nielsen.com blog ranked Twitter as the fastest growing site in the Member Communities category for February 2009. Twitter had a growth of 1,382%, Zimbio had a growth of 240%, followed by Facebook with a growth of 228 %.

(The writer is an editor with Instablogs.com. He can be reached at anilm@instablogs.com)

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Round-up
Traders’ bodies support Jain
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
Several market associations led by Anil Vohra, president, Market Welfare Association, Sector 44-D, today announced their support to BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain.

Addressing a press conference here today, Vohra and president of the Chandigarh State BJP Traders’ Cell Kailash Jain said the trading community was upset over the anti-encroachment campaigns in the city.

They said the building bylaws should be amended to permit business activities on all floors of SCOs and SCFs.

Permission for one additional floor in bay shops and booths, enforcement of a balanced rent act, rationalising power and water rates, modernising all markets are among the other demands of the community.

Taking the UPA government to task, Jain said the price rise was due to the wrong policies of the government.

Bansal woos workers

Congress candidate Pawan Bansal said resolving the problems of workers had always been the priority of the Congress.

Addressing workers at Sector 20, 20-C, 21 and 32-C, Bansal said over 2.25 crore children of the blue-collared section had already received education which underlined party's commitment to uplift the economically weaker sections of the society.

Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee president B.B. Bahl exhorted people to vote for the Congress.

Dhawan seeks support

BSP candidate Harmohan Dhawan today sought support from the members of the Bar Association. He promised land for the cooperative housing of the advocates and other professionals in the city.

RJD campaign

On the International Labour Day, RJD candidate Hafiz Anwar-ul-Haq promised better civic amenities to the residents of slums and labour class. 

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Poll arrangements reviewed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
A meeting for reviewing the poll and security arrangements for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections for the lone city seat, scheduled for May 13, was convened by Returning Officer RK Rao yesterday.

Besides all assistant electoral registration officers, DSPs and SHOs, the observers and the SSP were also present at the meeting.

The returning officer directed the assistant electoral registration officers and police officers to ensure that all polling parties as well as supervisory staff be trained for using EVMs during the rehearsal to be held on May 8.

The RO instructed that the videography of all sensitive polling stations be ensured on the polling day. The campaigning by all parties should be stopped with effect from 5 pm on May 11.

Rao said there shouldn’t be any advertisement material like posters, banners, flags and hoardings on display and booths of candidates should be 200 mt away from the polling stations. No booths should be allowed to be set up within 200 mt of any polling station building. The size of the tent should be 15x15 (head cover only) with two chairs and one table and a banner of 3x1.5 size only to be displayed.

A mock poll exercise must be held before the commencement of the actual poll, which will start from 7 am to 5 pm on, May 13. If any incident of poll related violence vitiates the polling process, it must be reported immediately.

Only two vehicles, which include one for the candidate and the other for his election agent or worker, are allowed on the poll day.

Rao told the officers that there should not be shortage of election material in the kit bags of the polling parties and supervisors should also carry spare EVMs along with spare election material. Besides, this the police personnel should not enter the polling stations unless they are called for by the presiding officer due to any untoward incident. 

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Trade unions observe May Day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The All-India Centre of Trade Unions (AICTU) organised a rally at Industrial Area, Phase I to mark the May Day celebrations and to recall the sacrifices of the people who gave up their lives for the cause of working class people. Hundreds of workers paid tributes to the martyrs.
Members of Chandigarh and Punjab Union of Journalists make a human chain to mark the May Day at Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Friday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan
Members of Chandigarh and Punjab Union of Journalists make a human chain to mark the May Day at Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Friday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Malkiat Singh, secretary of the AICTU, said the government had increased the prices of the food items.

Lakhwinder Singh, president, PGI Nurses Welfare Association, Hakam Singh, chairman, Periphery Milkmen Union, Ram Kumar, president, Rehri Phery Market Union, Zora Singh, state committee member, MCPI (U), and others also spoke on the occasion.

Scribes’ rally

Many journalists participated in a rally organised by the Chandigarh-Punjab Union of Journalists (CPUJ) on the occasion of May Day held at Sector 17 here today. The journalists formed a human chain to press their demands.

The rally was organised in the memory of the Chicago martyrs.

CPUJ president Vinod Kohli said the new chairman of the Wage Board for Journalists and Non-Journalists, Justice Majithia, had not called even single meeting. Instead, he had introduced a system, in which journalist and non-journalist members of the board would not be allowed to represent the employees’ case together.

The CPUJ urged Justice Majithia to restore the old system. Otherwise, a countrywide agitation would be launched against him, he said.

He also expressed the hope that the board would submit its final report within the stipulated time. Any delay would raise doubts in the minds of the newspaper employees.

Tributes paid

The Tribune Employees’ Union paid tributes to the Chicago martyrs by holding a rally here today. The speakers at the rally stressed on the need for forging unity among the workers. Anil Gupta, general secretary of the union, traced the history of the workers’ struggle, who laid down their lives for their fellow workers.

Jagtar Sidhu, former president of the union, said while the newspaper industry had earned huge profits over the past years, the workers were totally deprived of the profits. Surinder Singh, Haresh Vashisht, Ghanshyam Pandey and president of the union Balbir Singh Jandu also paid tributes.

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Construction on burial ground causes tension
Tribune News Service

Members of the Muslim community argue with Mohali administration officials over a burial ground at Phase IX, Mohali, on Friday.
Members of the Muslim community argue with Mohali administration officials over a burial ground at Phase IX, Mohali, on Friday. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, May 1
Tension prevailed at Phase IX, here, today when residents of the area opposed the construction activity by members of the Muslim community at a burial ground in the phase here this evening. While the residents alleged it was illegal, the leader of the community claimed that the burial ground was the land of the Wakf Board.

The residents of the community from Kumbra village use it to bury their dead. Mohammed Salim, an advocate and a member of the Kabaristan Action Committee, Punjab, said they had just come to clean the place as it had been littered by waste material. But when the residents objected, the members of the community got enraged and the officials of the district administration had to intervene.

SP (city) SS Gill and teshsildar Shiv Kumar had to come to the spot, along with force, to control the situation. At the spot, the members of the Muslim community were erecting a barbed wire around the eight-kanal plot and entry gate. “This was being done to ward off stray dogs and stop people from dumping ‘malba’ at the site,” said the community members.

Ultimately, the civil administration officials brought peace by agreeing to hold a meeting on May 5. The leaders blamed GMADA for not informing the residents about the presence of the burial ground. Such problem had occurred in Matour and Sector 56 also and GMADA had failed to take any permanent action. 

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MC seeks “malba fee” from GMADA
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, May 1
Debris lies on a footpath at Phase IV in Mohali. As the town is turning ugly with heaps of debris left over from construction work lying in various parts, the Municipal Council has taken up the cudgels asking the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) to transfer the collection of “malba fee” to the civic body as the authority had failed to get the debris removed despite collecting the fee from residents.

The council has also demanded that the completion certificates of buildings should not be issued by GMADA till the “malba” was removed by those who carried out construction activity. These certificates should be given only after the civic body issued no objection certificates in this regard, the council added.

Heaps of debris from construction and renovation activity can often be seen lying outside homes or other premises here marring the look of the area and turning it into a source of inconvenience and nuisance for residents. The “malba” usually lies for long periods after the construction work is over, obstructing footpaths, roads or even defacing parts of parks.

Taking a serious note of the situation, executive officer of the council Amna Kumar Goyal has written a letter to the chief engineer of GMADA stating that since “malba” was got removed by the civic body from various parts of the town, the fee being charged by GMADA in this regard should be transferred to
the council.

It was also stated that GMADA should give completion certificates in regard to newly constructed buildings only after a no-objection certificate was issued by the council.

In the letter dated April 20, a copy of which was also sent to the Chief Administrator, GMADA, Goyal stated that residents were charged “malba fee” at the time when the building plans of Mohali were cleared by the authority. But GMADA authorities issued completion certificates even when employees failed to get the debris lying on roadsides removed after the building was completed.

The “malba” was ultimately removed by the civic body because heaps of debris not only gave an ugly look to the area but also could lead to choking of road gullies.

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Common citizens to act as watchdog
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 1
The common citizens will act as watchdog for the Election Commission during the Lok Sabha polls to be held on May 7 and May 13 in the state. To ensure free and fair polls, the Commission, apart from using the official election machinery, will also rely on common citizens who have been appointed as ‘contact persons’ to get feedback about the conduct of polls in their respective wards.

In fact, officials from the Election Commission, State Electoral Office and the District Election Office have already started interacting with such persons.

Though the election commission has civil administration, polling officers and supervisors, getting feedback from the citizens would be crucial to the information gathering process, said an official on election duty.

“Basically, the name and contact numbers of apolitical eminent persons had been sent to the Commission. Such persons are often approached by affected voters and are known figure in their respective areas,” said the official.

One such contact person, Albel Singh Syan, a resident of Phase V, here, told the TNS that he had been receiving calls from the Election Commission. “I have been asked to be present in my area on the day of conduct of polls. I 
have also been asked to give feedback.”

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Property worth lakhs reduced to ashes
Tribune News Service

A fire-fighter tries to douse the flames at a factory, Phase II, Panchkula, on Friday.
A fire-fighter tries to douse the flames at a factory, Phase II, Panchkula, on Friday. A Tribune photograph

Panchkula, May 1
A factory involved in manufacturing water treatment instruments was gutted at the Induatrial Area, Phase II, here tonight. Property worth lakhs of rupees had been destroyed in the incident.

According to eye witnesses, the fire was noticed by the neighbours around 8 pm who informed the watchman at the factory who called the fire brigade. Four fire tenders were already exhausted while the fire fighting operation was still going on till the filing of this report.

The company, CWG, was in the name of Ritu Chopra at plot No. 291. A short-circuit was apprehended as a reason behind the incident.

Fire at Morni forests

Fire incidents were reported from three areas in the forests of Morni also.

According to eye witnesses, hundreds of hectares of the forest area was engulfed by fire at Morni, Bajroli and Thapli forests. While the employees of the forest department were trying hard to extinguish the fire, which broke out around 10 am, their attempts could not bear fruits till late evening.

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Household items destroyed in fire
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 1
Household items got destroyed in a fire that broke out at a house in Matour village here this evening. Pukhraj Singh, who worked as an electrician, and members of his family were not at home when the fire took place. Neighbours noticed some smoke coming out of the first floor accommodation, which Pukhraj had taken on rent. Soon they informed the owner of the house Tarsem Lal.

People gathered and broke the door of the room in order to bring the flames under control. The fire brigade was also informed about the incident.

According to fire brigade officials, a refrigerator, a TV set, a bed, clothes and other items in the room were destroyed. Short-circuit was suspected to have caused the fire.

Pukhraj earlier worked in the JCT factory and his wife stitched clothes to earn a livelihood.

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Officials deny attack by ‘wild’ animal
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 1
Wildlife officials have dismissed the possibility of any wild animal attacking residents in Sohana and Bhagomajra.
Mahinder Kaur, who was allegedly attacked by a wild animal, shows her wounds at Sohana village in Mohali on Friday.
Mahinder Kaur, who was allegedly attacked by a wild animal, shows her wounds at Sohana village in Mohali on Friday. A Tribune photograph

Following rumours of a wild animal, suspected to be a jackal, of attacking residents and cattle, the wildlife officials and police officials camped for the entire day in the area looking for the footprints and other clues.

Mohan Singh, a block forest official, said the footprints shown by the residents resembled a dog-like animal. He did not rule out the possibility of a jackal moving in the area. A similar rumour had troubled the residents of Kumbhra village about two years ago.

The experts have examined the injury marks on the hand of an old woman and other persons. Mohinder Kaur, a resident of Bhagomajra, who was allegedly attacked by the animal, said she was sleeping outside her house when the animal attacked her. She suffered injuries on her arm and head. A newly-born calf was also attacked by the animal. Villagers in the area are keeping a night vigil to ward off the animal.

The Sohana SHO said wildlife officials had examined the spot. But no trace of any animal had been found in the area.

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Recession
CITCO banks on food fests
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
Ensuing elections coupled with recent global meltdown has upset the applecart of the hospitality industry here with the tourism sector going through a rather slump phase.

The meltdown has adversely affected the business, especially in the tourism sector with the number of foreign and domestic tourists falling down in the last few months.

Moreover, with the enforcement of the election code of conduct from March 2 for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections on May 13, following which the projects and new proposals of various public and private agencies have been put off, has added another dimension to the low phase. Whereas, the CITCO is trying to attract tourists by organising various food festivals in the past few months.

“The idea behind the food festivals is not only to bring different cuisines to the tricity, but to push the business and give it a fresh start. In this way, we are able to offer something new to regular customers and attract new ones as well, ”, general manager of CITCO (Tourism) A K Malhotra said.

In a series of recent food festivals, the CITCO has organised an international food festival, South Indian food festival, Awadhi food festival, Arabian Food festival and Goa food festival is in the pipeline.

While the officials agree that the money pumped into organising these festivals is slightly on a higher side, nevertheless the returns are at par, if not more.

“The response to these festivals had been satisfactory even in the times of recession,” another official said.

“We are hoping that as soon as the elections are over and with summer vacation coinciding, the hospitality business would be back on the track within a few months”, Malhotra said.

Once known as the golden goose, the CITCO was in trouble a few years back owing to a decline in profits.

While the officials claim there has been an upward trend till the recession has hit this industry.

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Kin of deceased UK national ‘harassed’
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 1
Family members of Alan George (35), an England resident, who died in a road accident, had to undergo a lot of harassment when doctors at civil hospital, Phase VI, refused to conduct the postmortem of the body stating that his accident had taken place at Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh, and thus the postmortem could be conducted there only.

Alan had come to India on a tourist visa on April 25 and boarded a bus to go to Bilaspur. The bus met with an accident and he was admitted to a hospital at Bilaspur in a serious condition.

However, his friends, who were accompanying him, brought him to Cheema Hospital, Phase IV, Mohali, where he was declared brought dead by the doctors. While waiting for his family members, who arrived from England, his friends kept the body at Fortis hospital, Mohali.

When the brother of the deceased, Francis George, arrived to take the body he was told that it could be given only after the postmortem as it was an accident case. When he took his brother’s body to civil hospital, Phase VI, they refused to conduct the postmortem.

Francis then approached the British High Commissioner office and narrated the incident. The officer from British High Commissioner office told the DC, Mohali, about the incident who ordered the SMO, Mohali, for conducting the postmortem. The autopsy of Alan would be conducted tomorrow.

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Admn to modernise fire department
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The Chandigarh administration has decided to spruce up the Fire Services Department so as to prevent recurrence of the Sector 22-type fire incidents. Home Secretary Ram Niwas has decided to demarcate space for fire tenders in every parking lot as during the Sector-22 tragedy, fire tenders could not reach the spot due to haphazard parking of vehicles in front of the SCOs. 

The administration and the traffic police will identify and demarcate the space with fluorescent colour. Any vehicle found parked on these spots will invite fine. The access points to these parking lots will also be demarcated.

The Home Secretary also decided to purchase two bullet-proof jackets per fire tender. Thus, 20 bullet-proof jackets will be purchased for 10 fire tenders. Besides, firemen would also be given fire proximity suits. Twenty additional “smoke-breathing apparatus” would also be purchased for evacuating those trapped inside smoke-filled places. Smoke-image cameras would be purchased for locating those trapped inside the smoke-filled rooms. Besides, 44 vacancies will be filled once the code of conduct was withdrawn. Fire safety audit in the multiplexes, cinema halls, hotels, restaurants and other sensitive buildings will also be introduced. 

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Polythene carry bags are back
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
A visit to your nearest sabzi mandi or a peek into the local rehri markets will give you surprising glimpse of the “otherwise banned” plastic carry bags in the city. In the aftermath of the much-hyped ban on plastic and polythene carry bags in the city, the product seems to be back in markets.

After the initial rigorous anti-plastic bag campaign by the administration and various social organisations, that has eventually died down, the situation seems grim in smaller markets.

Even as big showrooms in Sectors 17, 22 and 35 continue to use paper or cloth bags, smaller markets in the city like the Sector-26 grain market and those in Sectors 15, 20, 22, 32, 44 have reverted back to the use of plastic and polythene carry bags.

Eshwar Singh, chief conservator of forests, said: “Under Section 5 of the Environment Protection Act, the ban was imposed on the use of plastic/polythene carry bags in the city. But even as the policies are in place, the implementation part is crucial. The administration cannot be held accountable alone as there is lack of public sensitivity.”

While small traders are tight-lipped on the issue, a few claim that the big shopkeepers can afford the cost of innovative paper or jute carry bags. However, they had no alternative but to charge for cloth bags, which badly affects business.

“Charging the customers for the cloth bag hampers the business. It is viable for big showrooms, but not for small traders in inner markets. This has forced them to switch back to plastic bags,” said Harjinder Singh Nagpal, a shopkeeper in Sector 22.

Earlier, the administration had directed the three SDMs - east, south and central zone - to issue challans to violators in their respective areas.

Sub-Divisional Magistrate (east) Niharika Rai said: “Though plastic carry bags have disappeared in most big shops, there is a possibility of the same being used in mandis, colonies and slums.”

Added SDM (central) Captain Shergill: “The small markets like Sector 15 are likely to use these bags again. Only strict action and fine can stop this practice.”

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Suit against ICICI Bank for charging penalty

Chandigarh, May 1
A city resident has slapped a case against ICICI Bank for illegally charging penalty on credit in violation of the RBI guidelines. The plaintiff has sought for directions to the bank to make a correction in his credit card statement and refund the amount overcharged. The plaintiff, a lawyer, is the holder of a savings account and credit card with the bank.

The plaintiff had been using the credit card for the past over four years whereas the savings account was started a year ago.

In the mini statement of the account issued on September 20, 2008, it was found that the bank had levied a late payment fee on September 8, 2008 and interest of Rs 349.

Moreover, he found that in the statement of August 21, 2000, an amount of Rs 400 had been charged as late payment fee on August 8, 2008 along with interest of Rs 264.06.

Also, a purchase made on August 16, 2008 as well as August 2, 2008 had been added in the statement although it was a stipulation in the terms conditions that any transaction done would be taken into account after a period of 45 days as per the undertaking and previous record.— TNS

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CHB Sec-63 Scheme
Floor-wise draw eludes applicants
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
Even after the passage of several months, successful applicants of the Chandigarh Housing Board’s Sector-63 self-financing scheme still await the floor-wise draw of lots to take place.

In spite of earlier announcement by the board officials that the draw for floors would take place by the end of last month, nothing happened on that front.

An official of the board claimed that the draw was caught in “election code of conduct” and that’s why the delay.

Unlike its earlier schemes, it is apparently for the first time that the board has kept the same price for all floors.

The board has already finalised the layout plan for the scheme and the process for environment clearance from the Government of India is on the move.

Earlier, the board had raised the elevation of the structure from four floors to six floors (ground +five), which led to an increase of 28 extra units in three categories (A, B and C).

This had raised the total number of units from 1,976 to 2,004. However, the 320 flats in the economically weaker sections (EWS) category would be built as per the earlier plan having a four-storey altitude.

Though, the board was silent on disclosing the policy of selling these extra units, sources said the administration was devising a “separate strategy” to auction these units.

The officials said no direct “monetary” benefit would be offered to the existing allottees but the amount to be generated by selling these extra units would, in turn, be ploughed back to provide “add-ons” to the plan.

The administration, now, has promised better ambience, including more open space, ample parking lots, green space and elevators in the housing scheme.

With this, decks have been cleared for the construction work of the project site. However, even after completing the formalities and other processing required before the draw of floors, it will take another 18 to 20 months to complete the construction job, said an official.

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From Schools & Colleges
City don to deliver lectures in Japan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The College of Science and Technology, Nihon University, Japan, has invited Prof VK Rattan, chairman University Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Panjab University, as a visiting research scientist for short-term research study and delivering lectures.

Magazine released

A law magazine "MAGLAW" was release yesterday at Panjab University. MAGLAW is the students’ magazine in which LL.M. and LL.B. students contributed on various current legal topics. Journal of the University Institute of Legal Studies was also released on this occasion.

Annual day

K V Air Force Station, High Ground, Chandigarh, celebrated its annual day today. Gp Capt RKS Shera, chairman VMC, and Station Commander AFS, High Ground, was the chief guest.

Thereafter, Dr SP Shergill, principal presented the annual report highlighting the activities for the academic session 2008 - 2009. Jaspreet Shera, president (AFWWA) gave away prizes to students for excelling in academics, sports and co-curricular activities.

The toppers of CBSE Board Examination 2008, Deepika of Class X, Neeraj Dhankar of Class XII Science and Shweta Yadav of Class XII humanities were honoured.

Fusion of the East with the West was depicted in a dance based on the latest popular number Jai ho! The Hindi play, entitled ‘Rishwat Fund’ exposing the bribery in our society, was highly appreciated.

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London varsity VC visits IET Bhaddal
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 1
Prof Michael Driscoll, Vice-Chancellor of Middlesex University, London, visited IET Bhaddal, here, today. He said Indian students had potential to grow but all they needed was an opportunity to show their capabilities.

Prof Driscoll was on a scheduled visit. He was accompanied by Joe Victor, regional director of South Asia, Middlesex University.

He examined the entire infrastructure at IET Bhaddal and talked to faculty members and students.

He also interacted with the rural students studying at GCS Collegiate School. Prof Driscoll ensured that he would continue the relations with IET Bhaddal and arrange for exchange programmes.

He emphasised on giving opportunities to those students who had the capabilities but never got a chance. He said to cover up these students, the Middlesex University had started joint ventures with universities and institutes in different countries.

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Students examined at medical camp
Our Correspondent

Bassi Pathana, May 1
A team of doctors led by Dr Inder Mohan Dua of the Gian Sagar Educational Charitable Trust, Banur, organised a medical camp at Holy Heart Public High School here on Wednesday.

Municipal Council president Kulbhushan Malhotra inaugurated the camp while it was presided over by president of the District Bar Association Amardeep Singh Dharni.

Dr Dua said the Gian Sagar Trust was running a multi-speciality hospital-cum-medical college at Banur.

A speaker appreciated efforts of the school management for organising the medical camp.

School principal Simardeep Kaur extended a vote of thanks to the Gian Sagar Trust for organising the camp. She assured parents that the school management would take care of students in all aspects.

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Annual day at Air Force School
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
Air Force School, 3 Base Repair Depot (3BRD), celebrated its annual day in the depot auditorium here today. Air Commodore SC Luthra, a commanding Air-officer, 3BRD, was the chief guest.

The programme commenced with Saraswati Vandana followed by the school’s annual report being read out by principal Kiran Datta. She highlighted the achievements of the students in academic as well as co-curricular activities.

Tiny tots dressed up in colourful costumes danced to the tunes of various rhymes. An English play, “The Bishops Candlesticks”, and a skit, “Diversity”, were the centre of attention.

Air Commodore Luthra complimented the staff and students for their achievements in academic excellence.

He said self-discipline, hard work and punctuality were the keys to success.

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