C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Contractual teachers held, denied bail
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

A contractual teacher who fell unconscious at police station being take to hospital.
A contractual teacher who fell unconscious at police station being take to hospital. Tribune photos: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, June 19
The contractual teachers who have been protesting for the past four days, demanding the regularisation of their services, probably learnt the worst lesson of their life here today.

The journey that started from cleaning vehicles has landed them in jail, where they spent the whole night for want of bail.

Seventy five odd contractual teachers of the Chandigarh Education Department, who staged protest at Matka Chowk in continuation of their ongoing protest, were forcibly taken to the Sector 17 police station late in the evening here, with all of them humming the famous Hum Honge Kamyaab number. Incidentally due to lack of space, many of them were later shifted to other police stations.

According to the police, the teachers were booked under Section 107/151 of the CrPC and no bail has been granted to them. This denial infuriated the relatives of the teachers who turned up at jail and even retorted to fist fights with the jail authorities demanding their immediate release.

“How can they resort to using force to curb our voice. They arrested my wife and are not releasing her. I have been forced to leave my nine-month-old child with some relative and she is wailing in hunger,” said a worried husband.

The situation turned worse, as in one case, a man, demanding the release of his wife, was also arrested, leaving their 10-year-old child crying outside the police station.

“It is ridiculous what treatment the administration has meted out to teachers of the city, which incidentally is know as the education hub all over,” said Navjeet Singh.

SSP SS Srivastava stated that the act was justified, given the fact these people were holding the city to ransom even after repeated warnings. We have not denied them their right to protest but they should protest in Sector 25, and not at any place they want.

Meanwhile Home Secretary, Ram Niwas stated that their acts are unacceptable and shall be dealt with iron fist. “Based on the video recording of the incident, we will file a suit against them. Also their leaders’ services will terminate with immediate effect,” he said.

It may be further noted earlier this morning the teachers assembled before the estate office and planned to broom it, but the police did not allow them as that area comes under Section 144.

According to their representatives, the Home Secretary’s denial to meet them when they wished to hand over the memorandum forced them to protest at Matka Chowk.



Bank Safety
Guards at the mercy of security agencies
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 19
Bhupinder Singh (name changed) was in the eighth hour of his duty outside an ATM at Mohali and had another four hours to go before he could call it a day, as he was working overtime from the past three days. But he is ready to work for another eight hours as a private security guard.

Strangely, there are many security men like Bhupinder who are running against the time in guarding the property of customers by risking the lives of bank employees and customers in tricity.

After a brief quizzing, Bhupinder was ready to narrate his tale of woes. While his employer, a Sector 35-based security agency, charges around Rs 8,000 from a client bank, while he is paid just Rs 4,500, including overtime. “I have not received salary for May and this is a routine. The security agency pays salaries almost after a month,” said Bhupinder.

His suffering does not end here, to keep his kitchen running, he often does double duty by working privately. As the dawn sets in, the overworked guard reports for his next eight-hour shift at a private bank in Phase VII.

Two days after the robbery bid at the Bank of Maharshatra here, investigations by The Tribune revealed that the security of bank employees and customers was in the hands of underpaid and over worked security guards, who were exploited by security agencies.

The Central Act, the Private Security Agencies Regulation Act, 2005, makes no mention of minimum wages or working hours.

However, Deputy Commissioner Prabhjot Singh Mand said: “I will take strict action if any such complaint comes to me.” Enquiries reveal that in a 24-our shift, the security agencies save money and manpower by deputing only two guards on 12-hour shift instead of three guards. “While company charges around Rs 24,000 from the client, it pays just Rs 9,000 to the security guard. From monthly salary some money is deducted and salaries are paid only after 20 days,” said a security guard outside a bank in Phase XI.

Partap Jacob, Assistant Labour Commissioner, said: “We receive individual complaints of guards not being paid salaries. Certain amendments are awaited in the Private Security Agencies Regulation Act, 2005. Following the amendments, the minimum wages of the guards (depending upon the schedule) will be fixed.” However, the minimum wages for unskilled was Rs 3,300 per month.

Most of the security guards prefer to do the night shift at ATMs as it is less tiring compared to the day duty. Similarly, in case of armed guards, the wages are higher. An armed guard gets anything between Rs 7,000 and Rs 8,500 per month. The main qualification is that the guard has to have his own arms licence and a weapon.

While security agencies charge around Rs 12,000 for an armed security guard, the guard is given Rs 8,000. Also, there is a distinction between ex-servicemen armed guards and civilian armed guard.



Working without licence
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
The recent spurt in bank robberies in tricity has exposed the chinks in the security services hired by financial institutions on one hand and on the other have brought to fore, the fact that most of these agencies are unregistered, putting a question mark on their so called “professionalism” and the “security”.

Though the fact that comes to light is the untrained manpower provided by the security agency, however, the problem is much deeper.

While it is mandatory for security agencies to be registered with the local authorities and to have a licence to operate under the Private Security Agencies Resolution Act, 2005, and the Chandigarh Administration private security agencies rules 2006, but out of nearly 70 security agencies operating in the city, only a handful are registered.

Earlier, Deputy Commissioner’s office that issued license had set a deadline for registration by May 25, 2009, has now set a deadline of June 30, for agencies to get registered or face penalties as per the Act.

As per the Act, “An agency must hire security guards who have been trained by the training agencies authorised by the controlling authority.”

Besides, 100 hours of classroom training, the security guards are also required to undergo 60 hours of physical training and should be equipped with knowledge of fire fighting, weapon handling, first aid and public dealing. They should also know the offences under the IPC, including those pertaining to self-defence, besides, other mandatory conditions.

While the stringent conditions as laid down for registration may sound impressive, in reality their implementation remains a far cry as neither the agencies follow them for making more money, nor the authority bothers to ensure guidelines.

“We are expected to get the trained manpower and pay them the wages as mentioned in the Act, but when it comes to hiring, the lowest bidders are allotted the tenders. How can you expect us to provide the quality with the pittance that we get in return?” questioned one of the security agencies owners.

However, several government departments, including hospitals and many nationalised, private banks in the city have hired these unlicensed agencies for security.



Nari Niketan Rape Case
Nurse arrested for destruction of evidence
Menstrual records of inmates go missing
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
The police today arrested Maya, a nurse-cum-attendant, for allegedly destroying records pertaining to the menstrual cycles of the inmates, which could have provided vital leads for the investigations. She has also been booked for allegedly abetting and facilitating the rape of the mentally challenged victim.

Confirming Maya’s arrest, fourth in the case, SIT in charge DSP Kulwant Singh said she had been booked for destruction of evidence and under Section 120-B of the IPC (conspiracy). He said searches conducted at the Nari Niketan yesterday had revealed that a register for maintaining the menstrual cycles of all the inmates was missing.

Subsequent inquiries revealed that Maya had allegedly destroyed the register, he claimed. He revealed that investigations had indicated Maya’s “active” involvement in the rape of the mentally challenged girl.

“She used to stand guard outside the toilet, situated outside the security guard’s room, while the accused, Jamuna Kamar, used to rape her,” he said. The DSP said Maya had been working at the Nari Niketan for the past over four years.

According to sources, a police party had raided the Nari Niketan premises last evening and had seized several records. However, the register, which could have provided the dates of the victim’s last recorded menstrual cycle for corroboration of the timing of her pregnancy, was missing.

Sources also claimed that Maya’s name had figured in the investigation earlier also, but the police had no evidence against her.

Besides the main accused, the police has already arrested Kamla and Jamuna Kumar for their alleged involvement in the crime.

Meanwhile, this expose is a serious setback to the officials of the Social Welfare Department, who were till now raising doubts about the place of occurrence of the crime and putting the blame on Aashrey, where the victim was shifted on March 13.

“Why would anyone try to destroy record if they have nothing to hide,” said a senior police officer, admitting that much more may come out if investigations go on professionally. More heads may roll as Maya could not have destroyed the evidence on her own,” said an officer, indicating the involvement of some more people in the cover-up bid.


Sec 49-D awaits police post
Sandeep Rana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
It has been nine months since a proposal for setting up a police post at Sector 49-D was cleared by the UT administration, but the work is yet to begin on it.

Notwithstanding, the frequent complaints of residents of the southern sectors, comprising Sectors 48 to 51, of increasing incidents of crime, like snatching, theft and eve-teasing in their area.

The work for the setting up of a police post is yet to be processed.

With the passage of time, these sectors have become very populated, as many building societies have come up in the area.

The incidents of snatching and theft have become common here. “Our sector comes under the jurisdiction of the Sector 31 police station, which is very far from here,” said Ram Mohan, a resident of Sector 48.

Kesar Singh, who was running Vita booth in Sector 50, told The Tribune that he had to sell off his shop, following repeated incidents of thefts in his shop.

The residents feel that as Mohali is about one or half km away from here, it makes it easy for criminals to flee after committing the crime. The Sectors are divided between Sectors 34 and 39 police stations, which have failed to maintain law and order situation under control as overburdening these police stations is not conducive to providing immediate police help to the residents, feel the residents.

“The Sector 51 and 48 police posts are always close and sight of a cop here is very rare. The Sector 48 police post is on the border of Mohali and Chandigarh, so it does not really solve the purpose, while the Sector 51 police post is never open,” said Satish Chandra Sharma, general secretary, Chandigarh Social Welfare Council.

“Despite the fact we had raised the issue of increasing police presence in the locality with the UT SSP several times, he always showed helplessness citing staff crunch as a major problem,” he added.

On the other hand, the SSP said, “The frequency of patrolling and number of nakas has been increased in the city after the Mumbai blasts. In every beat box, two policemen are deployed. Of course, shortage of the staff is there, but we are trying our best to maintain law and order.”

The meeting to set up a police post was held in October last year, which was attended by the UT finance secretary and the then SSP. However, even after a lapse of nine months of the meeting, the police is yet to find a suitable site for the police post.

The UT SSP, SS Srivastva said, “It is a long process and we have to take permission for plot from the administration and fulfil other formalities also.” The SSP refused to have any idea of how much time it would take.



Tribune Impact
Colleges directed to submit “processing” fee in govt account
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
Taking cognisance of concerns raised by The Tribune on the fate of “processing” fee collected by colleges this year from the sale of forms for the post of lecturers through its report “Colleges fail to submit money in govt account”, dated June 18, 2009, UT administration has finally directed the colleges to submit the collection in a government account.

It may be noted that The Tribune, through a series of reports, had revealed the alleged mismanagement of “collection” as colleges did not submit the same in any government account and did not even file form 16. The information received under the RTI revealed huge disparities in the expenditure of lakhs of rupees collected last year at the rate of 250 per application for the post of contractual lecturers in arts and science colleges.

The colleges, in a bid to save face, claimed to have spent the money on organising interviews by attaching inflated bills in most of the cases.

While the revelation could have made anybody foresee the future of this year’s collection, the department, somehow, failed to issue any instructions to colleges till The Tribune raised concerns over its attitude.

The collection, this year, has run into lakhs as according to unofficial figures, Government College, Sector 46, has sold 180 forms and Government College for Girls, Sector 42, around 325.

While the commerce college has sold something around 120 forms, the GCG-11 and Postgraduate College, Sector 11, top the list with sale of 358 and 380 forms, respectively, at the rate of 300 each.

The colleges will now have to submit the money in government account and according to some unofficial reports, they have also been guided on maximum money to be spent on “lavish” lunches and refreshments.

Meanwhile, DK Tiwari, DPI, Colleges, could not be contacted for his comments.



IT raids on property dealers
Undisclosed income of Rs 30 cr detected
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
In a late-night swoop, the income tax department unearthed an undisclosed income of Rs 30 crore from five Mohali-based property dealers, who had sold off land to Emaar MGF Company for the construction of the Mohali hill complex.

According to income tax officials, property dealers have admitted to having concealed the income to the tune of Rs 13.20 crore during the survey.

IT sleuths began the surveys at various places of the Mohali-based real estate developers Praveen Kaushal, Mohit Gawari, Preetinder Singh, Harinder Singh and Jetinder Singh yesterday. The investigations, that were on till late last night, revealed Rs 30 crore of undisclosed income in case of sold-off property to Emaar MGF Company, said income tax officials.

Sources said Praveen and Mohit were directors of Modage Housing Developer Pvt Ltd, Mohali, and Harinder and Preetinder own Royal Properties in Mohali.

The department decided to conduct surveys on property dealers based on returns filed by them in year 2006-07, which made officials suspicious, as they had sold off their land in year 2005-06. Sources said they had earned huge money  in this deal.

Department officials seized books of accounts and other records of these property dealers during the survey.

Several teams of the income tax department comprising more than 20 officials and supporting staff conducted the surveys under the supervision of Joint Commissioner of Mohali Range, Manjeet Singh. IT sleuths said the property dealers from which the undisclosed income had been detected had to bear tax liability after a survey report will be prepared.



Missing Property Dealer
Family to meet Haryana CM
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 19
Feeling disappointed with the delay in the tracing of whereabouts of Deepak Rai Saggar, the missing property dealer, his family has decided to meet Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

The police had failed to get any breakthrough in the case even after 19 days of the incident despite they had named the four suspects in the beginning, said Samir Saggar, son of the property dealer.

Deepak (54) disappeared, along with his Skoda car (HR03F-9765), when he went to meet his friend Vinay at Maheshpur village in the town on June 1.

He reportedly stayed there till 9 pm, never to return his house at Kendriya Vihar in Sector 14, Panchkula, following which the family informed the police late same night.

“Now fed up with the slow investigation by the local police, we have decided to seek an appointment with the Chief Minister. Earlier, we had sent letters to the Chief Minister as well as the President of India, Prime Minister and Haryana Governor, requesting them to hand over the investigation to some other competent agency,” said Samir.

With every passing day, the risk to the life of my father has been increasing while the police did not bother to act except a casual questioning of two local suspects in the case.

In fact, we had named four people, including two of them from Delhi, having their offices in Gurgaon with big real estate projects in Haryana, Punjab and Mumbai, he said, adding that in Punjab, the two suspects were dealing through my father and they had purchased land near Rajpura and he also invested crores of rupees in the project.

Though I did not know the exact figure of amount, however, it was certainly more than Rs 5 crore and after the disappearance of my father, these people were the only beneficiaries, alleged Samir.

“We named them as suspects, when they started avoiding our phone calls after the incident,” he added.

Meanwhile, the police, following registering a case of kidnapping against unidentified persons, questioned the two real estate dealers from Delhi at Sector 14 police station today.

Earlier, a reward of Rs one lakh was announced to the person who would provide any kind of information, helping in tracing of Saggar.

Inspector Aman Kumar, SHO of the Sector 14 police station, said they were looking in every aspect and a scrutiny of accounts of suspects would be conducted to verify the claims of Saggar family.



For foreigners, beggars turn choosers
‘Learning a few words of French, English and Spanish does the trick for us’
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
“S'il vous plaît donnez-moi un peu d'argent” or “por favor dame un poco de dinero.” This may sound Greek to you but for the “new age beggars” these words are their daily bread as they just mean, “please give me a little money” in French and Spanish, respectively.

Evoking pity from bystanders in the name of God is passé. Even asking for paltry sums like Rs 2 and Rs 5 is out fashioned. The “new age beggar” is skillful enough to emote, generate sympathy and will not compromise on anything below Rs 20 for his multi-lingual beggary.

A visit to Sector 17 Plaza or Sector 35 market and one finds child beggars roving all over the place. Watching these children beg proficiently in English, French and Spanish being the latest leaves one astounded. “Just rote- learning a few words does the trick for us,” said Rukha, a beggar.

At the traffic lights, outside sweets shops, on pavements and almost everywhere in the city, beggary seems to be at an all-time high in the “city beautiful”. It is equally shocking how the practice is becoming highly specialised. Have a look around to find that most child beggars are always within earshot and visual range of adult beggars who tutor them and set targets for them.

“I was surprised how these young children asked for money in French and even refused when I gave Rs 5. Nothing less than Rs 50, he told me,” said Danielle, an architect from Paris. Similar incident happened with a group of researchers from Europe while shopping 
at Sector 17.

Meanwhile, last month while hearing a petition on the growing number of beggars in Delhi, a High Court bench observed the right formula would be to “eliminate poverty” from the streets, and not “hide” them in a city busy “dressing up” to host the 
Commonwealth Games next year.

Reports of beggars preparing for the Commonwealth Games in 2010 have certainly surprised many.



Fiat auto unveils ‘Grande Punto’ 
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 19
Fiat India Automobiles Ltd and Tata Motors Ltd today unveiled its latest offering in the B plus premium hatchback segment, Grande Punto, at Hind Motors in the Industrial Area, Phase II, here.

Grande Punto’s sporty and muscular styling is attributed to the car designer of the century, Giorgetto Giugiaro. Subodh Marathe, country head (Fiat Product Group), Tata Motors Ltd, said, “The launch of strong character of Grande Punto is defined by a sleek and aggressive nose, which conveys an incredibly real dynamism.

The rear end is softer and rounder and it balances aggressive front end. The hatchback has produced and already sold 1.6 million units across markets. The high level of localisation would be brought to 85 per cent by December 2009.”

The car is being manufactured at the company’s state-of-the-art Ranjangaon plant near Pune. The car is available in India with two petrol engines (1.2 and 1.4 fire) and one diesel (1.3 multijet).

Grande Punto comes loaded with features and will be available in three versions known as active, dynamic and emotion for both petrol and diesel 

Additionally, a fully loaded emotion option pack will also be available.

Patiala: Fiat India Automobiles Ltd and Tata Motors Ltd today unveiled its latest offering in the premium hatchback segment, Grande Punto.

Local dealer Sanjeev Goyal of M/s Goyal Motors Pvt Ltd said the launch of Grande Punto marked a new milestone for Fiat in India.

The car arouses strong emotions with its sleek, aggressive lines and conveys an impression of elegance and compactness.

The strong character of Grande Punto is defined by a sleek digressive nose, which conveys an incredibly real dynamism.

Goyal further said the car was agile and probably delivered the most enjoyable drive in its segment. This brilliance is derived from the state-of-the-art fire (Fully integrated robotised engine) and multijet engines, which combine superb performance with low fuel consumption.

To add to it, these engines are also environment friendly and Euro-4 ready.

Speaking on the occasion, Subodh Marathe, country head (Fiat Product Group), Tata Motors Ltd, said, “The launch of Grande Punto marks a new milestone for Fiat in India, as we bring the quintessentially Italian design of India shores. Our previous launch C plus Sedan, Linea, has met with tremendous response and we are confident that our latest premium hatchback offering will also excite our customers.”

He said the company had come out with the model in both petrol and diesel priced at Rs 4.02 lakh (Grande Punto Active), Rs 4.68 lakh (Dynamic) and Rs 5.09 lakh (Emotion) all petrol version and Rs 4.87 lakh (Active) diesel version (ex-showroom, Patiala).



Garbage Dumping
MC, GMADA lock horns
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, June 19
A controversy has once again arisen in connection with the dumping ground as the Mohali municipal council has been asked to stop dumping garbage at the present site and instead use a site owned by the civic body, which is too small to contain the town’s garbage.

It is learnt that by giving reference of a decision taken at the Punjab Chief Minister’s office, the GMADA authorities sent a letter to the civic body today, stating that the garbage dumping should be stopped at the present site by June 30, after which it should be dumped in an area owned by the civic body.

The civic body wrote back to the GMADA authorities, pointing out the problems that would be faced if the decision was not reversed.

Sources said the GMADA had been asked to construct a boundary wall around the vacant area under council’s possession so that it could be separated for dumping garbage. But the work could not be started for the past two years as the civic body staff was reluctant to use this part of the land as dumping ground.

The orders issued by the GMADA have led to a lot of resentment among council officials, who are of the opinion that it would be difficult to dump the town’s garbage, about 50 tonnes daily in a vacant area, which measured only about an acre.

About 2.81 acres of land in the industrial area, Phase I, is in the possession of the civic body, where it has set up a slaughter house, a sterilisation centre for dogs, a cattle pond and a store. There was a proposal to use the vacant land for gaushala.

Former president of the council, Harinder Pal Singh Billa and president of the Mohali Industries Association, BS Anand met the Chief Administrator, GMADA, and told him that the present site selected for dumping garbage was not appropriate as industry would be adversely affected.

It was also pointed out that the site was very close to the ultra-modern bus stand planned for the town and also near the entry point of Mohali from the Kharar side. Billa said the CA showed his helplessness in the matter as the orders had come from the government.

Earlier, 13 acres of land were acquired by the PUDA and then handed over to the council for dumping garbage in 2003. As soon as the council had started dumping garbage, residents living in the Phase VIII Industrial Area had started opposing it, because garbage dumping led to unhygienic conditions in the area, forcing the civic body to change the dumping point.



STA to introduce single-window system
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
On the lines of the registering and licensing branch, the UT State Transport Authority (STA) is introducing a single-window system at its office in Sector 18.

A proposal to this effect was submitted to the Chandigarh administration today. Disclosing this, Secretary, STA, Vandana Disodia said: “We plan to have the computerised single-window system in place by August-end. The civil work is nearing completion and computers have been arranged.

The department also plans to provide ramps for the disabled and adequate parking and sitting arrangement for the public. The building will be totally air-conditioned and a generator set will also be in place to provide for failure of electricity.”

The proposal draws strength and outlines from a study conducted by the Pricewaterhouse Coopers which assessed that the STA needs to use information technology and should avail itself of the benefits of information and communication tools to bring about paper-free office culture.

To be implemented in a phased manner, the project has been divided into three phases - conceptualisation, business case development and project implementation.

The move gets impetus from the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) that aims at creating a citizen-centric environment for governance. The Planning Commission has also allocated funds as additional central assistance to all the States and UTs for assessing their capacity building needs and for preparing e-Governance and capacity building roadmaps. 



Development Works
Admn told to ensure people’s participation
Tribune News service

Mohali, June 19
The Mohali administration would ensure the participation of people while carrying out all development works in the district.

A direction to this effect was given by Commissioner Patiala Division Jasbir Singh Bir while presiding over a meeting of senior officials and members of the Residents Welfare Association of Mohali. Bir categorically said that no development work could be carried out successfully without the proper and healthy involvement of the people concerned.

He said that as Mohali was being developed as an IT and education hub of the country, it becomes our foremost duty to work together for making the town clean and green. He called upon NGOs and other social organisations to come forward to facilitate the local administration in maintaining the parks and other public places. 



Room shortage in PU hostels hits students
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
If one goes by pending figures of the last year, around 30 per cent of applicants will have to go without hostel accommodation in Panjab University this year with the fairer sex being the worst hit.

The university currently having 13 hostels (seven boys and six girls) has an accommodation capacity of around 7,000 students while it is thronged by as much as 15,000 applications every year, a large number of them being from the girls.

“The university gets the students from not only far off places like Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, etc. but also from far Northeast like Assam and Mizoram. The boys while most of the times have no issue in staying at the paying guest accommodations but the girls prefer to living in the hostels, but given to the large number of requests we cannot accommodate everybody. It will not be wrong to say we have already pushed our accommodation capacity to its limits,” commented one of the wardens.

It may be noted that last year, the university had to virtually transform one of its guesthouses into a girls’ hostel given to the lack of accommodation.

Though reportedly as per the norms, first-year students have to share a twin accommodation and second and third-year students generally are entitled to single rooms but everybody is living in a twin accommodation and some rooms are even having three beds, thus the blocks originally built to accommodate around 300 students are having 500 inmates.

The outgoing students council had recently approached the authorities with the demand of single rooms but nothing could be materialised.

It is not only the huge demand that creates crunch but also illegal inmates in each hostel that has worsen the scene. If unofficial figures provided by the wardens are anything to go by then every hostel have not less than 10 per cent inmates, who have taken admission in a course for namesake to procure accommodation in the hostels.

Recently the university had issued a notice that hostellers not appearing for exams have to vacate the hostel, but how many turned out was anybody’s guess. Not only this, the university from this session has declared to deny the hostels to those switching courses on the pretext that many students after completing their schedule studies take admissions in an easier stream to continue in the hostels.

However, this policy according to many would not be effective as a warden puts it, “The students cannot be deprived of freedom to choose the course of their choice so it won’t work.”

While the university is coming up with two new girls’ hostel, one does wonder that what bars it from getting squatter out by a regular inspection?



Sarod maestro’s death mourned
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, June 19
Music lovers in the city plunged into gloom after having learnt the demise of the sarod wizard Padma Vibhushan Ustad Ali Akbar Khan (88) due to a prolonged kidney ailment.

He breathed his last at San Francisco where he was running Ali Akbar College of Music with several branches, including one in Switzerland.

Ustad Ali Akbar, the most illustrious son and disciple of great music genius Baba Allaudin Khan Saheb of Maiher gharana, emerged a colossal music genius in sarod playing on the world music scene.

He also scored music for films like Satyajit Ray’s “Devi”, Chetan Anand’s “Andhiyan”, “House Holder”, “Little Budha”, “Khudita Pashan” and many more during his formative years.

“He introduced the Indian classical music to the West and took it to spectacular heights at the International level,” opined Kamal Tewari, chairperson, Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademy. “An era ends with the demise of 
Ali Akbar, the absolute genius,” claimed Agra gharana maestro Pandit 
Yashpaul, recalling his association with the maestro.

The AIR station director MR Chandla, said the purity of raga and planting the swara as delineated in his sarod recitals was the rare of the rarest.

Dr Arvind Sharma of Panjab University music department recalled his innovative methods in playing technique and winning over the audience. “In India he stuck to absolute purity while in the West he took liberties of improvisation during his recitals.”



20 piles patients operated in a day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
Twenty patients suffering from piles travelled their journey to smiles within a matter of few hours with the help of advanced minimal invasive stapler surgery performed at Cheema Medical Complex, Mohali, here.

Five doctors, who are pioneer in piles treatment all over the country, performed these surgeries free of cost at this first of its kind surgical workshop.

The department of minimal invasive surgery headed by Dr Harsh Kumar performed these surgeries. Dr Nareen Sehgal from Delhi, who is a pioneer in the surgery, was also present to supervise.

“Only one patient was operated at a time by the team of five eminent surgeons, who operated all 20 patients in a single day,” said Dr Harsh.

The patients were discharged within a few hours of the surgery feeling comfortable and satisfied.

“Traditional surgery is notorious for level of postoperative pain patient must endure, coupled with a long recuperation period. The pain factor dissuades nine out of 10 piles patients from opting for a surgery and usually they end up visiting quacks. Taking advantage of fear of pain, quacks offer treatment that are unsafe, untested and at times dangerous,” cautions Dr Harsh.



Woman with swine flu symptoms in PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June19
Another suspected case of swine flu (H1N1 influenza) was reported today at the PGI. A 22-year-old woman, with symptoms of the flu, was today admitted to the isolation ward of the PGI. She is a resident of Sector 38, and had come back to city from a trip to Singapore on June 14.

“The samples taken from the woman had been sent to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases laboratory in Delhi,” said HC Gera, nodal officer, UT.

“We will get the report in two days,” said a hospital official of the PGI. She reached the hospital where doctors, finding the symptoms similar to those of swine flu, shifted her to the isolation ward, said Gera.

Meanwhile, the UT health officials informed that sample of the 70-year-old woman, who was admitted in the isolation ward of the GMCH-32 yesterday, was found negative.



Notice to Health Secy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
A human rights organisation has filed a case against Ram Niwas, Secretary (Health), and head of the department of psychiatry at Government Multi Specialty Hospital, Sector 16, for allegedly harassing one Pardeep Kumar.

According to the petition, the complainant is a student of class IV and is working with the respondent. The government had circulated some pamphlets, showing its achievements. However, the respondents have intentionally shown picture of the complainant, depicting him as a drug addict, while he was he was just sitting there to take hospital dress for washing.



Mohali police ups security at banks
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 19
Three days after the robbery attempt at the Bank of Maharashtra in Phase XI here, the Mohali police today sprang into action by beefing up security outside the banks in the town.

Based on threat perception, the patrolling pattern of PCR vehicles has been rescheduled, and now these would remained stationed outside the banks from 8 am to 9 am to keep a vigil on suspicious persons and vehicles.

A senior police official said since there were 60 odd branches of financial institutions in the city, the presence of the PCRs had also been increased, especially around the banks, with focus on Phase VII and Sector 70 markets.

PCR in charge RD Sharma today visited all banks and issued strict guidelines to the bank authorities and also briefed the security guards. The banks have been asked to plug all security-related loopholes. 



Entrance test on July 15

Chandigarh, June 19
The admission in Master in Public Health is based on departmental entrance test, to be held on July 15, 2009, at 9 am at Academic Staff College, first floor, RRC Building (adjacent to Boys’ Hostel No.7) on PU campus.

The test will comprise of 100 multiple choice questions, to be attempted in 90 minutes. The questions will be from areas of current awareness in sciences, social sciences, medicine and biological sciences. There will be negative marking also. — TNS



Social networking sites scramble to lure users
Anil Maheshwari

A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) specifies where an identified resource is available and the mechanism for retrieving it. In popular language, a URL is also referred to as a web address.

The registered domain name or IP address gives the destination location for the URL. The domain google.com or its IP address, is the address of Google's website. It was created in 1990 by Tim Berners-Lee, the founder of the Internet.

With a number of social networking sites springing up and becoming popular among the netizens, the Twitter introduced the ‘URL shortening services’. Twitter messages are limited to 140 characters.

If someone mentions a URL in a Twitter message a lot of the available characters are already taken. To overcome this problem, Twitter in its web interface for creating messages converts sometimes-long URLs into TinyURLs. In a TinyURL, the "long" URL is being replaced by a shorter URL of the form <http://tinyurl.com/????>?? where ?????? Is an automatically generated combination of letters and digits.

How could the Facebook, the rival of the Twitter could be lagged behind. A few days ago, it introduced the ‘vanity URL’ for its users or subscribers. Within no time it became a grand success. Within seven minutes of the launching of the service, as many as 345,000 users grabbed one. Within 15 minutes, over a half million had, claimed a spokesperson of the Facebook.

Located at Palo Alto, California in United States, Facebook.com was founded in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg. Within no time, it attracted funding to the tune of US $ 716 million. It was a huge hit.

A pre-release post on the home page of the Facebook said,” Your new Facebook URL is like your personal destination, or home, on the Web. People can enter a Facebook username as a search term on Facebook or a popular search engine like Google, for example, which will make it much easier for people to find friends with common names. Your username will have the same privacy setting as your profile name in Search”

Soon, there was a mad rush for the Facebook URL. The best was grabbed by Christine Shipley of San Francisco. Rather than go for facebook.com/christine.shipley or even facebook.com/shipley she went with facebook.com/default.aspx Yes, her name could easily be confused as the default-landing page for Facebook.

Assetize, a net service, assures to enable users to buy and sell the Facebook URL much like one can with regular website addresses on so-called domain name after-markets.

It already provides the same service for a variety of other accounts, such as Twitter, Gmail and Ning, and will now be adding Facebook to its roster.

Interestingly, people are already trying to sell their Facebook vanity URLs as well. Assetize already has several accounts for sale but the best price is not more than US$1250. The accounts listed included: cotman, pokerbook, sexybook and shekhar. But none has any bid so far.

But according to the service, one name has already been sold, though it seems to be a bogus one or sham. Not everyone is happy with the grabbing of Facebook URLs. Michael is one of the unlucky ones who did not get the name he wanted, even though he claimed he originally broke the story about the Facebook URL. Knowledge, it seems, isn’t always power.

As Facebook noted in its blog post announcing the upcoming availability of the unique addresses, it’s not possible to change or transfer vanity URLs. This doesn’t pose a problem, says Assetize, because you’re still able to buy and sell ‘access’ to the account, i.e. your login credentials.

But a post informs: Has anyone noticed that one can put a “.” or “-” anywhere in one’s name and the URL still works?

“SocialToo’ is jumping on the Facebook vanity URL bandwagon too, by offering its users a way to get a bunch of analytics on their Facebook profiles, like which browsers visitors to the account are using, where they’re located, and where they’re clicking from (if available). 

All a user would need to do is register for the service, click on the link to get a special code from Facebook, provide the code along with a SocialToo username and password (the username will be what their vanity URLs will be based on), and click submit. Next time the user log in and can see a new “SocialStats” tab with statistics for their URL.

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



PU fails to start hi-tech info centre
Gaurav Sharma

Chandigarh, June 19
Panjab University’s much-vaunted declaration of setting up a hi-tech information centre, equipped with LCD screen, has come out to be a cropper, much to the disappointment of the applicants.

Though the university had promised to make the same functional by today, the students who has thronged the old UIET building in huge numbers to escape queues and trouble in obtaining information, were greeted by a single official designated to guide students.

“We came here, expecting to meet professors, wardens and get information from LCD screen, but were shocked to find a huge queue outside a single window with just one official,” said one of the applicants.

“If we had known this earlier, we would have gone to students’ help desk, as they make you feel more comfortable. When we asked the person here when would be the facilities available, he showed ignorance,” added another.

It may be noted that AK Bhandar, examination controller, PU, had yesterday claimed that this centre would open today and would have professors and wardens, in addition to LCD display of information. However, when contacted today, he claimed that the set-up would be operational in a couple of days.



Biotech gaining support from students
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 19
Biotechnology, though in its nascent stage in India, is emerging out as one of the hot favourite courses among students. Being a recent development in the field of science and technology, it is a combination of biology and technology.

Biochemistry, genetics, microbiology, chemistry and engineering are some of the subjects, which have wide areas of application in the fields of agriculture, animal husbandry, development of medicines and vaccine, treatment of prolonged disease, pollution control and waste management and ecological conservation, energy production and conservation and as a result bio-tech is a preferred career option among youngsters.

The course has myriad job opportunities for the students who are set to pursue the course. Pharmaceutical companies, chemical, agriculture and allied industries are some of the avenues, which required trained manpower. Research laboratories whether run by government or corporate sector are the preferred destination for many bio-technologists. When the issues like global warming are on top of the list of global scientists, the students can also be hired as environmental specialist by various government agencies and private institutions.

Rupinder Tiwari, chairman biotechnology department, PU, says “Biotechnology is a good subject tailored cut for those seeking recognition through research. Though it is a money-intensive programme but bright students can make the most out of it. Research and development is an area where various jobs opportunities await for the students.”

There are several undergraduate courses like BSc, BE and BTech and postgraduate courses like MSc, MTech in biotechnology available in India. For BSc, BE and BTech courses minimum qualification is class XII with science. Selection into these courses is made through entrance exam conducted by the universities concerned. JEE is conducted by IITs for admission into BE and BTech courses. There are separate entrance exams at national and state level. For postgraduate courses, all sciences, engineering, technology and medicine graduates are eligible. The selection to these courses is also done through entrance exam conducted by the institutions concerned. 



Bio-physics dept denies missing of awards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
Reacting to the reports of around 40 awards of MSc in nuclear medicine department having gone missing, the bio-physics department has claimed that there is nothing to panic or worry.

In a written statement, they have claimed that the awards for the MSc-I (nuclear).

Medicines are in the office of the department of bio-physics and as such have not yet been sent to the examination branch of Panjab University.

Similarly, regarding MSc-II, the result has already been notified.

It may be noted that the examination branch employees had reported the afore mentioned award sheets to have gone missing yesterday and AK Bhandari, examination controller, had even promised an enquiry into the matter.



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