C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Vienna Backlash
VIP buses parked at Police Lines
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 25
It pays to be a bus operator connected with a ruling political family. So, when today, violence spread in several parts of Punjab in retaliation to the murder of Sant Rama Nand of Dera Sachh Khand Balan in Vienna, the Mohali administration was quick to provide “shelter” to AC buses of bigwigs.

Most of these buses, including those belonging to the Badals, run from the Inter-State Bus Terminus at Sector 43 at Chandigarh.

All this while, there was no security for buses of the state transport authority at the Mohali bus stand, though later in the afternoon, security was provided at various places where public and private buses were parked.

Officials denied any special favour to the buses of their political masters, but facts spoke otherwise. The low-floor buses were accommodated at the Phase 11 Police Lines. “Security could have been provided at the bus stand itself and assistance should have been provided to harried passengers,” a transport official pointed out.

Police officials claimed that as a security measure, the cops had been posted at various points in the city. Transport officials did not rule out similar shelter being provided to VIP buses in other districts of Punjab.

There is shortage of space at police stations and even then, space was created for the VIP buses. Security at the Police Lines is always more, a police official remarked.

Later, the buses were moved to other locations.

It is not the first time that government officials have come forward to oblige their political master.

Last year when the same buses started from the ISBT, Sector 43, under the inter-state transport agreement between Punjab and Chandigarh, Punjab transport officials were seen running around to ensure the smooth run of the buses as these belonged to the ruling political family.



Bloody clash at Dadu Majra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
Over a dozen persons were injured in a bloody clash between two groups following an old feud at Sector 38 Dadu Majra here today. The situation got worse when about eight of the injured were brought at the Sector 16 Government Multi Speciality Hospital, where both groups reached and clashed using hockey sticks and swords.

Attendants at the hospital were also injured. Seeing the gravity of the situation, the police closed the door of the emergency ward. Shaam, one of the victims who was seriously injured, was admitted to the PGI.

According to sources, the clash began at about 8 pm when about 30 persons with sharp-edged weapons and sticks led by Tarsem allegedly attacked the Sudhir group and passersby.

They also forced the closure of shops and attacked those shopkeepers who resisted.

Following this incident, the other group also retaliated.

The SHO of Sector 39, Janak Rana, said both groups had a history of clashing with each other.

A large number of police was deployed in the area, fearing that the clash might be a fallout of the Vienna incident.



Rape at Nari Niketan
Medical board says girl mildly challenged
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, May 25
Contrary to doubts being raised by certain officials of the social welfare department on the veracity of the claims of the teenaged girl who was raped at Nari Niketan, a medical board of the GMCH-32 today examined her and concluded that she was only a case of mild mental retardation.

The board, comprising a psychologist, a special educator and a psychiatrist, also concluded that she was capable enough to comprehend what had happened to her and was aware of her surroundings. But the board members were also of the view that the girl was not capable of thinking about future.

The board’s conclusion, which official sources claim implies that the girl’s statement regarding the circumstances of her rape could well be true, may come as a setback to certain officials of the department who were trying to brush the happenings under the carpet by claiming that whatever was being said by the girl could not be taken for granted because of her mental state.

Despite her repeated statements to various officials, including the Home Secretary and the Press, the police has yet not taken action against Kamla, a safai karamchari at Nari Niketan who had allegedly abetted the crime.

This was being reportedly done at the behest of a certain senior official of the social welfare department, who was said to be “confident” about the character of Nari Niketan staff and was not willing to believe the girl on the grounds that she was mentally challenged.

The said official, during an official meeting, had even suggested that the girl could have been raped at Aashreya, where she was shifted from Nari Nikatan on March 13. The board’s report also belies the claims of a police official who had claimed that the girl’s versions could not be trusted completely as she was “incoherent” and “confused”. The Tribune had carried an interview with the girl and though her voice was not clear, it could be comprehended.

According to sources, the board was specifically constituted to put an end to the blame game going on in some circles and the confusion by repeatedly raising doubts on the girl’s mental state and the veracity of her statement. Body protests sending ‘normal’



Rape at Raj Bhawan Three convicted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
Exactly a year after charges were framed against two police personnel of the Haryana police posted at Haryana Raj Bhawan and an electrician, the court of the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Ravi Kumar Sondhi, today convicted them of raping a 40-year-old woman in the high security zone.

Holding suspended commando Vijendra Singh, constable Dinesh Kumar of Haryana Armed Police and Situ guilty of rape, the court put off the decision on the quantum of sentence to February 27.

According to the prosecution, the victim was returning home late on the intervening night of February 20 and 21, 2008, with an acquaintance after doing some catering work at Rock Garden when they were stopped by the accused near Raj Bhavan.

The victim and her acquaintance were in a three-wheeler. The cops asked for a matchbox, which they said they did not have. On this, the cops started beating them up. She alleged that she was taken inside a government quarter and raped by three persons. The accused then dropped her at Mohali.

A number of catering service waiters, who worked with the woman, gathered outside Raj Bhawan in the wee hours the next morning and protested.

During the trial, the victim stated before the court that she was raped by eight to 10 men, but failed to identify them when the accused were produced before her.

On the basis of a DNA report, the accused were nailed by the prosecution.



IIT Results Disappoint
Top positions elude tricity
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
There is nothing much to cheer in the IIT-JEE examination results this year as the top 10 positions have eluded the city.

Though over 100 students managed to figure on the merit list, out of a total of 10,000 who appeared for the test in the tricity, there is disappointment as the top positions went to Delhi and southern region of the country.

Rohan Sharma of Chandigarh topped in the tricity with an all-India rank of 17 followed by Yudhistar (41).According to information, tricity students got the third and fourth rank last year. In 2007, a tricity student was placed sixth. The first, fourth, sixth and seventh positions were bagged by tricity students in 2006.

However, this year girls have fared better compared to previous years. Last year, the rank of the girls began from 1200 whereas this year, Astha Dua, a Chandigarh girl, has secured 815th position, topping girls from the tricity.

According to Ganguly of Ganguly’s Chemistry Academy, the results are “very disappointing”. A major reason behind this dismal performance is that most institutes have batches of 150 to 200 students, where a student may not get personal attention. There is need to restructure the method of preparation for students for competitive examinations, he says.

Sangeeta Khanna of Chemistry Coaching Circle says this year’s results depict that students in South were taking more interest in it as they had got good ranks. Even though the performance of girls was better than last year, the overall result was disappointing because every year tricity students have figured among the top 10 students in the competition.


Vienna Backlash
Protests peaceful, security stepped up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
Protesting against the killing of Sant Rama Nand of Dera Sachh Khand Balan in Vienna, followers of the sect and other similar religious organisations held a peaceful demonstration in the city seeking action against the killers.

The devotees of the Sri Guru Ravidas Gurdwara in Sector 30 held a march from the gurdwara to Tribune Chowk in the evening.

They raised slogans demanding action against the killers. The protesters initially insisted to block the road but after the intervention of the DSP (East) they agreed to hold a march.

Earlier, the representatives of the sect held a meeting at the gurdwara.

The local police remained on its toes throughout the day in the wake of large-scale violence reported from various parts of Punjab.

The police teams were deployed outside the Sector-30 gurdwara besides intensifying the security around religious installations across the city.

Similarly, a group of protesters belonging to Guru Ravidas Naujawan Sabha also held a protest at Mani Majra in the evening. The protesters raised slogans. The police said the protest passed off peacefully.

Talking to the TNS, Sector-30 gurdwara president DR Summan said they held a meeting and condemned the killing of the Sri 108 Sant Ramanand and attack on Sri 108 Baba Naranjan Dass, who is undergoing treatment in Vienna.

They requested the Chandigarh administration to take up the issue with the Union Government for bringing the culprits.

Among others Dr BR Ambedkar Study Circle, Sector 37, Sri Guru Ramdas, Guru Ravidas Parchar Sabha, Phase I and II, Ram Darbar, Sri Guru Ravidas Maha Sabha, Vikas Nagar, Mauli Jagran, Sri Guru Ravidas Samaj Sudhar Sabha, Sector 52, Sri guru Ravidas Jagriti Manch, Haryana Pradesh and Sri Guru Ravidas Maha Sabha Maloya participated in the meeting.

Sources in the police said senior officials had convened meetings with members of religious organisation asking them to maintain peace in the city.

The religious leaders had also reportedly assured the police that they would hold peaceful demonstrations in the city.

Summan told the TNS that their followers would follow the path of peace to fight for justice.

Meanwhile, thousands of passengers remained stranded at the ISBT in Sector 43 as buses bound for Punjab could not ply due to curfew being imposed in various parts of the state.

A senior police officer said all station house officers had been given additional reserve force to tackle any untoward incident. Security of religious places and other important installations in the city had been stepped up.

UT SSP SS Srivastva told TNS that they had already reviewed the security situation in the city and had made adequate arrangements.

Meetings had been conducted with religious leaders who had assured the police that they would remain peaceful.



Vienna Backlash
Rail, bus passengers stranded
Tribune News Service

Passengers come out of Malwa super fast train after it terminated at Rajpura railway station on Monday.
Passengers come out of Malwa super fast train after it terminated at Rajpura railway station on Monday. Tribune photo: S. Chandan

Mohali, May 25
In the wake of widespread violence in different parts of Punjab against the assassination of Sant Ramanand of Dera Sach Khand Balan in Vienna, security was beefed up in the district. Rail and bus passengers were stranded at different places in the region due to cancellation of trains and buses not being run due to fear of violence.

In Mohali, strong police posse was deputed at public places, including bus stands. SP (city) SS Gill said all SHOs had been asked to remain alert to avoid any untoward incident.

Throughout the day, the town was agog with rumours that followers of the sect were creating disturbances here and there and that curfew was imposed in the city. However, the police officials denied any such report.

The police remained on its toes throughout the day to keep the law and order under control. The police teams were deployed outside different gurdwaras besides intensifying the security around religious installations across the city.

Thousands of passengers remained stranded at the Phase VIII bus stand and the Phase VI bus stop as the buses bound for Punjab could not ply due to curfew being imposed in various parts of the state.

Rajpura: Hundreds of passengers faced inconvenience at the Rajpura railway station due to cancellation of trains following violent incidents in parts of Punjab.

Due to cancellation of trains at a short notice, the passengers were taken unaware. According to railway officials, a train passing through Rajpura to Jammu was cancelled. Taking protective measures in the wake of attacks on a train in Jalandhar, senior authorities cancelled the trains.

Sources said instructions for cancelling and holding up trains in view of attacks on trains have been issued by the DRM, Ambala division.

Taking a benefit of cancellation of trains, some local taxi drivers rushed to the railway station and charged double rates from the passengers. Ashwani Khanna, a resident of Indore, alleged that he hired a taxi on double rate, as compared to the previous rates, to move back to Delhi.



Now, mega projects under MHA scanner
Central team initiates special audit
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
After the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), controversial mega projects and the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP) today came under the scanner of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

A team of the MHA, headed by chief controller of accounts and deputy secretary, today initiated a special audit for the allotment of land to the IT Park projects and the status of other mega projects - Medi City, Film City and Theme-cum-Amusement Park.

Complying with the April-1 MHA directive, the team asked for records of various projects under the line of fire from various quarters, including the Media and the UT farmers.

The mega projects, which are currently under the CVC scanner, had already generated a lot of dust for alleged irregularities in the allotment of the land to them and IT firms in the IT Park.

Sources said the audit would involve issues of inadequate compensation to farmers on land acquisition, complaints about exemption, violations where land was sold to private buyers or companies with reference to prevailing rules, allotment of land to IT Park projects and the status of the mega projects.

In fact, the April-1 directive had asked the administration to put on hold further land acquisitions under the Land Acquisition Act.

While UT officials dubbed the audit “routine”, UT farmers whose lands had been acquired allegedly for peanuts attached special significance to the audit, as they expected that administration’s various acts of omission and commission would come out in the open.

“If properly done, the audit would blow the lid off the mega scams in the garb of land acquisition for mega projects,” Angrej Singh Badheri, president of the Pind Bachao Committee, said demanding that the affected farmers be consulted by the team.

Besides the special audit, the MHA wanted an institutional mechanism for land acquisition saying that it should be vetted by the co-ordination committee and the Administrator’s Advisory Council (AAC) having representatives of the Ministry of Urban Development and the MHA.

The administration should implement the National Rehabilitation and Re-settlement Policy, 2007, and get its policy also vetted from the ministry concerned, the MHA directive had advised.

Interestingly, UT Administrator SF Rodrigues’s recent decision to recast the AAC should be seen in that light.



Body protests sending ‘normal’ girls to Ashreya
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
The Parvasi Nepali Sangh Bharat today organised a candle-lit march at the Red Cross in Sector 16 in protest against the authorities for sending mentally stable girls to Ashreya, an institute for mentally challenged children in Sector 47.

The Tribune had highlighted the issue that raised a question mark over the working of such homes run by the administration wherein two girls out of the 13 shifted from Nari Niketan in Sector 26 to Ashreya three months ago were found mentally stable after tests.

Expressing shock at the episode, an activist, Narian Prasad Wagle, said: “It is unfortunate that a mentally challenged girl has been raped and is pregnant in an institute run by the government. It’s shocking that institutes built to provide shelter to destitute women are probably the place where they are the most vulnerable.”

Meena Pokhral said: “Why are mentally stable girls being sent to these institutes? On the one hand we talk of development and on the other such incidents still occur.” Another protester Savitri Sharma said: “It is a barbaric act. If such shelter homes cannot be managed by the administration, then close them instead of ruining the lives of girls.”

Organisation secretary Meena Gautam asserted: “Nari Niketans have been made for the safety of women. We are holding this march to ensure that these incidents are not repeated.”

According to sources, 13 girls were shifted from Nari Niketan, two on February 27 and the rest on March 13, to Ashreya and the medical records of only four carried details about their mental condition (IQ levels).

Despite the fact that the record of the rest of the girls had no reference about their mental state or social behaviour and only mentioned their names and age, they were still marked as “MR” (mentally retarded) and shifted to Ashreya.

The teenage expectant girl, who has accused Bhupinder Singh, a sweeper of Nari Niketan, of raping her was among the group of 11 girls shifted to Ashreya on March 13. They said the tests conducted on nine girls had revealed that Usha (25), a Nepalese citizen, and Krishna (30), were normal.

Dr Vani Ratnam, in-charge of Ashreya, said: “We will conduct a test on the two girls again and if the results re-establish that the two are mentally stable then they will be sent back to Nari Niketan.”



Drug de-addiction centre opened at GMSH
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
As part of the endeavour to make society free from the ill-effects of the drug menace, Punjab Governor and UT Administrator SF Rodrigues today inaugurated a drug de-addiction and treatment centre at Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, here today.

The 12-bed indoor residential treatment unit has been equipped with latest techniques to cure persons suffering from various substance/drug dependence problems, with follow-up programmes to make them good citizens.

Accompanied by Jean Rodrigues, the Administrator went around the facility, interacted with senior functionaries of the health department, members of the NGOs and inmates for tackling the problem by adopting multi-prolonged strategies.

He asked Director Health Services (DHS) Dr MS Bains to evolve a responsive institutional mechanism for running the centre through preventive and therapeutic treatment, awareness and educative measures with follow-up counselling programmes of vocational training and ultimately the rehabilitation of the reformed drug abusers as productive members of society.

He also asked Dr Bains to conduct a check of the drug de-addiction centres being run by the government agencies and voluntary organisations in the city with a follow-up of corrective measures in case of inadequacies.

Rodrigues observed that the problems of drug abuse and other related issues had reached alarming proportion in the region and most of the people fell pray to the menace with the instigation of anti-social elements.

He asked the Home Secretary to find out the source and linkages for the supply of drugs to innocent people by enhancing vigil and breaking the nexus through legal and administrative measures.

He also emphasised the need for collective action by the community as a whole, especially the NGOs and retired people, for sparing their time and effort for generating awareness, counselling of drug addicts and bringing them into mainstream.

During his interaction with members of alcoholic and narcotics anonymous groups present, Rodrigues asked them to prepare a programme for expanding the endeavour of tackling alcohol and other intoxicants problems in the region.

He sought their help in giving counselling to drug addicts through personal experience.

Giving details about the treatment plan at the centre, Dr Bains said two or three week indoor residential treatment programme would be carried out for providing physical and psychological treatment with suitable medicines along with detoxification measures according to the needs of patients.

Besides complete surveillance of patients, daily counselling session and yoga classes would be conducted.

Senior officers present included secretary to Governor MP Singh, Home Secretary Ram Niwas, Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar, senior medical professionals and members of the NGOs.



Ex-servicemen help family get body
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 25
Members of various bodies of ex-servicemen gathered at Fortis Hospital here today to get the body of a defence personnel released who had died at the hospital. According to reports, warrant officer Baldev Raj (64) died at the hospital, but the management was allegedly not handing over the body to members of his family because the pending payments were not cleared.

Col SS Sohi (retd), president of the Ex-Servicemen Grievance Cell, said he had gathered members of other bodies to press upon the Fortis management to release the body as members of the family of the deceased were already under agony.

He said he had received a phone call from the daughter of the deceased who told him that the hospital was not releasing the body of his father as bills amounting to about Rs 2.57 lakh had not been cleared. However, after ex-servicemen argued with the authorities concerned the body was released without clearing the dues.

A press release of the hospital stated that Baldev Raj came to Fortis Hospital on May 14 in a critical condition. After an angiography he was diagnosed with critical cardiac disease, for which he was immediately wheeled in for a lifesaving cardiac surgery despite the attendants having no money to deposit. This was done in order to save his life. At this juncture, the family did not inform Fortis that Baldev Raj was an ex-serviceman.

The attendants had promised money within four hours of the surgery, but were unable to do so. However, they did deposit part of the payment in small fractions over the next three days.

The release further said after three days of the surgery, they presented a newly made ECHS benefit card and requested the case be converted to ECHS from cash paying.

Fortis asked them to get permission for the conversion. The family tried to get approvals for the conversion from the Command Hospital, but the approvals were denied as it was not permissible post admission. To help the patient’s family even the hospital authorities tried to get the approvals, but did not succeed.

The patient’s critical condition was explained to the family on daily basis. On May 24, the doctor called the daughter of the patient and told her that the patient was very serious. He passed away at 2.30 pm and the daughter was informed immediately. She requested that the hospital to keep the body in the mortuary for the night and said she would take it away in the morning after clearing the bills.



Seminar on HR policies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
The key challenge for the human resource professionals in the turbulent economic scenario is to manage and retain talent, and motivate the professionals to help organisations sustain their operational efficiency.

Managing director of a Japanese multi national company, EISAI Pharma, Sanjit Singh Lamba, stated this during a seminar organised by the Punjab chapter of the National Institute of Personnel Management (NIPM).

Lamba, who was the chief guest, expressed concern over the dwindling motivation of the employees.

Based on the theme of emerging human resource challenges, the seminar was attended by a large number of practitioners from across the country.

Dr AK Balyan, director human resource, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and national president of NIPM, said the economic slowdown had brought to the fore numerous human resource issues that had direct bearing on the efficiency and efficacy of an organisation’s existence.

The human resource practitioners must devise strategies to keep the motivation levels high and retain its people, he said.



Railway Reservation
Consumers’ body demands counter at post office
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 25
The Consumers Protection Federation has demanded that a railway reservation counter be opened at the post office in Phase I for the convenience of Mohali residents.

In a letter written to the post master general, Sector 17, Chandigarh, PS Virdi, president of the federation, said chief master general Prithi Raj Kumar had held a press conference in Chandigarh on October 10 last year where he had said reservation counters for railway bookings would be opened soon in various post offices in the Union Territory and Mohali.

Later, in December Karam Singh, senior divisional commercial manager, Ambala division, had assured early implementation of the decision saying that railway reservation counters would be set up in post offices in Chandigarh and the Phase I post office in Mohali.

He said the population of the town had increased over the years and residents were finding it very difficult to go to Chandigarh or the railway station at Phase XI, here, which was away from the main town.

Virdi said more than six months had passed, but no progress was witnessed as far as railway booking was concerned even when officials of both the postal department and railways had assured an early implementation of the proposal.



CITCO staff work out way to stay fit
Seek gym at Parkview using dumped equipment
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
Term it a fitness call but the CITCO employees’ union has demanded a gymnasium for the staff. They have asked the authorities to use the health equipment lying dumped at Hotel Mountview in setting up a gymnasium at Hotel Parkview.

They contend that the equipment can then be utilised both by guests and employees.

The existing equipment at Hotel Mountview gymnasium was replaced with the new one after its gymnasium was handed over to a private company. Now, CITCO is mulling auctioning the old equipment lying dumped at the hotel.

The union recently submitted a letter to the CITCO managing director requesting him to set up the equipment at Hotel Parkview instead of auctioning it.

Union chairman Kashmir Chand and president Yashwant Singh said the previous CITCO MD had assured them of setting up a gymnasium at Hotel Parkview.

They said a proposal was also readied at that time for the same after a meeting with the union.

The two said due to some reasons, the equipment could not be bought for employees.

The union leaders told the managing director that the old equipment lying at the hotel could be utilised by employees.

The leaders also reasoned that as the UT administration had given gymnasium facility to its employees in various departments like the Deputy Commissioner’s office, the MCC, CITCO should also follow suit.

They added that space had already been earmarked for a gymnasium at Hotel Parkview.



Peace march tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 25
Guru Ravidas Sabha will be taking out a peace procession from Guru Ravidas Bhavan, Sector 15, on Wednesday. The president of the sabha, Balbir Singh, said a meeting was held at the bhavan today where all members condemned the incident in Vienna.

The procession scheduled to be started at 11 am would be concluded at the residence of the Deputy Commissioner, Pankaj Yadav, where a memorandum would be presented to him, he added.

Meanwhile, the security had been beefed up in the city and a vigil was being kept on the sensitive areas to check any untoward incident, Pankaj Yadav said.

Total eight buses that left from here today for Amrtisar, Ludhiana and Dera Beas did not return. Similarly, two buses that left yesterday could not return and the authorities had failed to inform about those buses.



Those who could not vote

Name Address

Mange Ram Sharma H.No 289, Sec 32-A, Chd

Seema Sharma ”

Veer Bhan Sharma ”

Sheelwant Kaur 1125, Sec 21-B, Chd

Gurbax Singh ”

Jatinder Singh ”

Satinder Singh ”

Vijay Pal 3161, Sec 46-C, Chd

Kanchan Lata ”

Pooja Gupta ”

RP Malhotra 1333, Sec 44-B, Chd

Saroj Malhotra ”

Amba Datt Papnoi 106-A, Sec 51-A, Chd

Deepa Papnoi ”

Surjit Kumari 3419/2, Sec 40-D, Chd

Prem Chand ”

RK Sharma 3119, Sec 38-D, Chd

Roshan Lal Kapur 348, Sec 15-A, Chd

Prem Kapur ”

Praveen Malhotra ”

ON Tikku 2973/1, Sec 42-C, Chd

Raj Dulari Tikku ”

BK Tikku ”

Nimmi Tikku ”

Priya Tikku ”

DL Duggal 3197, Sec 40-D, Chd

Rama Duggal ”

Sanjay Duggal ”

Geeta Duggal ”

Prehlad Chand Katoch 5747, Modern Housing 
Complex, Mani Majra

Santosh Katoch ”

Dhrub Chand 5633, Modern Housing 
Complex, Mani Majra

Sarla Devi ”

VPS Duggal 1041/1, Sec 39-B, Chd

Dr Gagandeep Singh ”

Rajeev Prashar 3060-A, Sec 52, Chd

Ranju Prashar ”

Baldev Krishen Prashar 3057-A, Sec 52, Chd

Sushma Rani ”

Sanjeev Prashar ”

Jyoti Prashar ”

Prem Nath Wadhwa 2528, Sec 37-A, Chd

Ashok Kumar Wadhwa ”

Kalawati ”

Shashi Bala ”

Anil Kumar Wadhwa ”




Evolving print media with Net

Warren Buffett, the legendary US billionaire, who ranks first among the richest persons in the world, seems to have lost his lifelong love of newspapers, predicting a decline for US publications. The issue bears resemblance with the unending debate between environmentalists and developmentalists. Both accuse one another even as both are complement one another. Similarly, the new media and the existing mainstream media are compatible.

Speaking at the annual meeting of his company recently, Berkshire Hathaway, the cult investor who started his career as a newspaper delivery boy, painted a bleak picture of the industry. “For most newspapers in the US, we would not buy them at any price. They have the possibility of going to just unending losses,” he said.

As long as papers were essential to readers, these had been essential to advertisers and thus attractive investments, but these had lost their relevance with the proliferation of other news sources such as the Internet, he said. It was a sobering outlook from a lifelong newspaper devotee who is the largest shareholder of The Washington Post.

Phile Meyer, a journalism professor, has already claimed in his book, “The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age” in 2004 that the last print edition of a newspaper would be published some morning in April 2043.

However, for the speedy decline of the print media, particularly in the US and Europe, blogs and Internet are not the main reason. It is the targeted advertising which has hit the print media hard. Mainstream media (MSM) has been described as dinosaur media by some Web enthusiasts. But its extinction is not imminent as the print media provides fodder to online journalism. Comments are made on news and information published in the MSM.

That is why Kirk LaPointe, managing editor of Vancouver Sun (Canada), has remarked that the newspaper business isn’t dying, it’s evolving.”

The audience has been turning to former print-only newsrooms, transformed into an all-day, web-first multimedia operations in conversation with its fast-growing audience of online consumers and contributors. Newspaper site traffic is growing.

Little wonder, the print online audience is larger for most legacy media journalism than at any time in the last decade. Newspaper-based websites are the largest local news sites. The Internet is not a newspaper’s threat to survival, but an opportunity to flourish.

The evidence at this stage of online development is heartening for newspapers in another respect: Online isn’t replacing the paper as much as it’s complementing it. The arrival of any new medium doesn’t wipe out an old one, but it prompts change.

The old process of generating newspaper journalism usually went: Call the experts, write for the end of the day deadline to get it to the audience for the next morning.

The new process for the multiplatform era is: Deliver what you know immediately through a blog or the web, use social media like Twitter and Facebook to develop the story and an audience, post more online as you learn, involve readers at every step through their comments and expertise, publish repeatedly until the story loses steam, fix what’s wrong on the fly, and leave it there as a permanent resource.

Along the way, publish one version - the best one - in the paper.

The old form: An article, photograph or news graphic.

The new form: An article with several links, photo gallery, animated graphic, blog, audio file, video report, podcast, searchable database, PDF of key records, email alerts and headline lists, RSS feeds, interactive quizzes or maps or material.

Old: Only professionals can be journalists.

New: Experts come from all walks of life.

Old: A newsroom does everything. parparparlineNew: A newsroom does what it does best and links to the rest.

In new journalism

n The consumer is a participant who is able to comment and review content. This is the first medium in which there are as many creators as consumers.

n The monologue of a newsroom directing its journalism to its market is becoming a dialogue with contributors to produce a “pro-am” mix of content from users. Access to expertise is easier, as is expert access to the newsroom.

n The creator is more powerful because blogs, podcasts, social media and other web vehicles enhance the individual’s identity and build a greater connection with communities of common interest.

n The newsroom remains powerful, but it is relinquishing its traditional gatekeeper role. Instead it’s an authenticator of information, applying the valuable discipline of verification to purported facts.

Despite the challenges of the technology and the need to fuel many platforms, this is the most stimulating time to be in the craft because the story-telling tools are more versatile. It is on a new journey and mission, one far more inclusive and responsive, and democracy should celebrate this.

Anil Maheshwari is an editor with Instablogs.com. He can be contacted at anilm@instablogs.com



City Scope Letters
Voters’ magic worked for Cong

There are several factors that have contributed to the sweeping victory of the Congress in the recent elections. People were saturated with blackmailing tactics of the junior partners of the coalition government in the 14th Lok Sabha elections and the Left, which supported the government for the past four years.

The Left hindered almost every pragmatic policy that the government contemplated in the interests of the nation. The agenda of economic reforms was not allowed to be taken to its logical conclusion. Though the BJP was not against the Nuclear-Deal ideologically, it opposed the deal for the for the heck of opposing it.

Now, it can be safely expected that the BJP would play the role of a constructive Opposition in the future. A vigilant and constructive Opposition is crucial for the success of a democracy. The Congress’s decision to fight elections on its own in some states has also resulted in retrieval of several lost constituencies. The middle class and the youth are the biggest factors that turned the tide in favour of the Congress. Over-reaching ambitions of some of the regional leaders of myopic vision also made an average voter aware of his responsibility to put an end to such unrealistic proclamations. The results have turned the table on the regional/smaller parties which wanted to accommodate the Congress on a minimum number of seats in pre-poll parleys but are now clamouring to extend an unsolicited support. The mandate given by the electorate to the Congress demands that the ruling party should not rest on its laurels but strive hard to inventing a new thrust area to take the country to new heights.

Lajpat Rai Garg, Chandigarh


It is rightly said that the Congress and the UPA won the battle but the war was actually won by the Indian voters. The mandate given to the Congress by the voters belonging to all segments of the society is evident that the voters care for the stability and progress of the country.

The mandate outrightly rejected the regional parties, which tried to blackmail the UPA government for their selfish motives rather than based on policies of development and pro-people programmes. The voters also discarded the derogatory, below the belt mudslinging, personal attacks, using foul language against opponents. People like Narender Modi, Parkash Karat and Varun Gandhi caused damage to their parties than by unscrupulous utterances, filthy language in their poll rallies. Our politicians must learn to behave if they want to survive in the system where there should be no place for communalism and a negative propaganda.

In the general elections, the voters have not made any distinction, rather they voted for performers ignoring their affiliations, likings or disliking and for the stability of the government which was not possible without a clear strong mandate.

The voters have also rejected the criminals, who were made candidates by various parties in the elections. The people have given a clear message to the government to take up poll reforms and bring the required legislation to debar the entry of the anti-social elements in the elections.

The whole election procedure must be overhauled to curb the misuse of this system; right to recall must be brought in to discipline the politicians. A glaring trait of some politicians came to light that they dis not have the courage to call a spade a spade. The Left parties and the BJP never appreciated the reforms and policies of the UPA that were appreciated by the people. In a strong democracy, there must be a powerful Opposition party to act as a watch dog, but our parties have worked as a mad dog.

Indian voters have become aware and rational to use their rights judiciously and rationally. ‘Long live our democracy, long live the Indian voter’.

Capt Amar Jeet Kumar (Retd), Mohali


It has been rightly pointed out that the Congress has it. It were youngsters, urban voters who supported and voted for the right party. In 2004, catchy agenda for the NDA was a feel-good factor. In 2009, people have implemented this factor into action. And this year the voters are actually feeling good to have chosen the right party. Media has played a significant role. Basically, it is the salute of our democracy to the dedicated, committed and honest Manmohan Singh who has been supported by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

KNS Sodhi, Chandigarh


Mr Thukral has rightly said that the Congress has it. I would like to mention that Dr Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi’s recent triumph has a lot to do with the RTI Act, 2005. Dr Manmohan Singh helped getting the Act passed in the Lok Sabha, it has proved a boon for a common man. I had personally benefited from the Act as some information sought by me helped clear my name, which was being maligned by certain vested interests.

Narinder Singh, Chandigarh



PU: Malika Goel tops CET
Tribune News Service

Malika Goel, who topped the CET examination.
Malika Goel, who topped the CET examination. Tribune photographs

Chandigarh, May 25
Malika Goyal, a student of Bal Niketan, Sector 37, has topped the Common Entrance Test (CET) conducted by Panjab University on May 17. She has expected herself to be in the first 10 positions but topping the examination has surely come as a sweet surprise to her.

“I was sure of a good position but first rank has surely came in as a surprise. I credit my success to my parents and teachers,” said Malika.

Surinder Singh of Ferozepur has bagged the second position.

Sanya Gupta, a Sector-24 resident, who stood fourth in the examination, held consistency and smart work a key to success.

“Its surely a great feeling to have attained the success. I am thankful to those who have guided me and its regularity that did wonders for me,” she asserted.



Rayat Bahara signs MoU with IBM
Training programme for engg students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
Rayat Bahra Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IBM India and Karrox Technologies Ltd (IBM training partner) to offer a training programme to engineering students.

The programme aimed at enhancing professional skills and chances of employability of the students.

Under this model, the students studying in BTech 2010 batch at Rayat Bahra Group Colleges will get an opportunity to undergo specialised training on IBM technologies under the IBM Career Education in IBM Software (CEIS) programme.

Keeping in mind the increased demand by the industry for skilled practitioners on new and latest technologies, the CEIS is a concentrated effort by IBM to fill in the gap.

Under this programme, the students would be trained by Karrox Technologies on five IBM software brands- Tivoli, DB2, Lotus, WebSphere and Rational.

The training duration would be 140-200 hours, which would also focus on enhancing the soft skills of the students to help them improve their chances of employment in the industry.

IBM is also opening a Centre of Excellence (CoE) at Rayat Bahra with the aim of providing world-class skills to the students on IBM technologies.

The centre would provide an opportunity for the students to learn new skills on the latest technologies and IBM products.

According to Nitin Singhal, head South Asia Pacific, Software Services Group, IBM Global Services, stated that the students would gain from the programme structure that combined industry-oriented course curriculum, hands-on training methodology and a deliberate focus on imparting soft skills.

S Gurvinder Singh Bahra, vice-chairman, Rayat Bahra Group, said the gap between the industry and academia needed to be bridge and there was more than one way to do it. 



IIT-JEE Results
Rohan gets first position in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
Hard work and positive attitude is the success mantra for IIT-JEE toppers from the tricity. “A positive attitude, relaxed preparation, regular hard work and determination worked for him,” stated BR Sharma, father of Rohan Sharma, who secured 17th rank in all-India ranking in IIT-JEE and topped the city.

“Coaching institutions also help prepare for the competitive examinations because one need a planned input instead of a broad outlook,” he added.

Yudistar came next in the merit list, clinching 41th rank in the all-India ranking and second place in Chandigarh.

“My message to all those students who have been putting their best to get a berth in engineering colleges by getting through such competitions, is that they should prepare with devotion and without tension. They should have deep understanding of each subject and must keep themselves away from cramming. They should have that level of confidence, where they must feel that they can do it.”

Vakul Jindal stood third in the city and got the 50th rank in all-India ranking. “When you have got relevant material for the preparation of any competitive exam, then you are not lacking in anything,” he observed.

Astha Dua, a Chandigarh girl, who has secured 815th position in all-India ranking and a topper among girls from the tricity decided to become an IAS.

Some other successful candidates are Sham Upadhaya (113), Jayant Sharma (151), Sahil Singhal (221), Prathmesh Kumar (660).



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