C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Cholera Threat Will tricity authorities ever learn?
Tribune News Service

Rajiv Colony, Panchkula in July 2008

Chandigarh, June 22
When it comes to prevention of water-borne diseases, the administrations of the tricity are always found lacking. Detection of five cholera cases in Chandigarh and the death of five children due to cholera in Mohali and Panchkula last summer has failed to move the authorities.

The Tribune team did a reality check of all the colonies in the tricity in the wake of the diarrhoea outbreak at Mohali village yesterday. There was an outbreak of water-borne diseases in these colonies last year and there is every chance of a similar outbreak this year if timely action is not taken.

Colony No. 4, in July 2008

It is shocking to see the authorities doing nothing to check the outbreak. Unhygienic conditions prevail even now, as does filthy surroundings and water taps continue to be surrounded by stinking water. In Chandigarh’s Colony No. 4 and Colony No. 5, where four cholera cases were reported last year, the condition is just as bad.

All one sees is heaps of garbage, stray animals, children playing in stinking water and chocked drains. “If not the same, it is now worse than last year. No one has come from the health department,” Ram Kumar, a resident of Colony No. 4 said.

At Mauli Jagran, Bapu Dham and Dadu Majra, it appeared that no sanitation drive had been carried out for long.

In Panchkula, the district administration did swing into action after a cholera death was reported at Rajiv Colony, but the act was limited to a few days and things are now back to square one. The situation is similar at Indira Colony and Azad Colony.

In Mohali, the health authorities have woken up to the threat after yesterday’s outbreak of diarrhoea.



Conversion fee doesn’t matter to CITCO
Fails to pay Rs 30 cr as charges; plans new hotel
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
While CITCO is all gung ho over its plans to set up a “modern” hotel on a 2-acre plot (earlier an industrial plot) at Phase I of the Industrial Area, it turns out that it has failed to pay the mandatory conversion charges running into crores of rupees.

The move of the CITCO’s board of directors to go ahead with their plans for constructing a hotel (stars yet to be decided) on an industrial plot without paying the whopping amount of Rs 30 crore smacks of the double standard of the UT administration, which has otherwise made industrialists pay through their nose for changing the land use of their plots.

The administration had been charging Rs 29,700 per sq yard as conversion fee from anyone opting for change of land use of industrial plots.

Going by the same rates, the conversion cost of CITCO’s iron and steel stockyard, where the proposed hotel is to come up, would touch Rs 30 crore.

While the CITCO MD, DK Tiwari, claimed that the conversion formalities would be taken care of at a later stage, the administration’s policy for allowing change of land use of industrial plots had elapsed in September 2008. Unless the administration changes the rules again or allows relaxations, the conversion cannot take place, reveal insiders.

Inquiries by The Tribune revealed that CITCO’s plot on the Chandigarh-Ambala road is at present being used as an iron and steel stockyard. The land is now proposed to be used for the construction a hotel, for which talks are reportedly on with some bigwigs in the hospitality industry.

Sources said while deciding to construct a hotel, CITCO directors apparently overlooked the fact that they would have to pay the conversion charges and that the scheme had been closed. Since the plot is on lease with CITCO for 99 years, its any other use requires payment of conversion fee as stipulated by the administration.

Before fulfilling the conversion formalities, sources said CITCO had already started working on the modalities to establish a five-star hotel or a budget hotel on the site and was on the verge of inviting expression of interest from major hotel chains, probably under public private partnership.

Sources in CITCO said talks were on with major hotel chains, including Hilton, ITC, Marriott and Radisson.

“We are on the look out for a consultant and would proceed as per his opinion. We will later see how to go about the conversion formalities and decide on what pattern the hotel would be viable,” Tiwari said.

Insiders reveal that the conversion formalities could not be materialised in time because of the tussle between the administration and CITCO over who would construct the hotel on the prime plot. The administration was “eyeing” the plot for construction of a five-star hotel while giving an alternative site to CITCO for shifting its steel stockyard. On the other hand, CITCO was staking its “right” to construct the hotel. The move has also invited the ire of industrialists who had paid crores as conversion fee. “The double standard of the administration is not acceptable. After paying crores, we were still running from place to place to complete the formalities while CITCO is taking it easy,” they said.



Water coming from illegal tubewells
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, June 22
After yesterday’s diarrhoea outbreak at Mohali village here, the district health authorities have woken to yet another problem.

A number of residents of the village are consuming unhygienic water from illegally operated tubewells, sunk at various locations across the village. This could be one of the reasons of the outbreak.

The impure water, with high content of nitrate, is being sold at least two sites in the village. Right under the nose of MC officials, certain persons are openly supplying unsafe water for various purposes, including social functions. Not a single person has been challaned so far.

Two tubewells at a distance of about 3 ft have been sunk on the outskirts of the village. A number of tankers are stationed there to transport water.

Officials of the public health department and the health department have collected samples of the water.

Inderjit Singh Kang, executive engineer of the public health department, said the water had higher nitrate content that rendered it unfit for drinking.

Public health employees suspect that the water must be finding its way into slums and “chabeels” and since it was not chlorinated, it should not be used for drinking purposes.

However, Darshan Singh, who had sunk the two tubewells, said the water was being supplied through tankers only for industrial purposes, for construction work and functions, where water was needed for washing utensils.

Asked if permission was taken to sink the tubewells, he said he had sunk these in the land falling in the village. He said several other residents in the village were also availing the facility of submersible pumps. The executive officer of the municipal council, Amna Kumar Goel, said nobody was allowed to sink tubewells. Photo P4



16-yr-old student found dead
Tribune News Service

Kharar, June 22
Sixteen-year-old Karam Singh, a student of Baru Sahib Academy in district Sirmaur, Himachal Pradesh, was found dead on Sunday at 3 pm under mysterious circumstances.

The child’s father, Mehar Singh, a resident of Bhanjouli village in Kharar, told the police that he got a call on Sunday at 3 pm that his son was serious and was being rushed to the PGI, Chandigarh. After 20 minutes, he got a call saying that his son had passed away.

Mehar Singh, a kanungo at Mullapur, said the Baru Sahib Academy officials told them that Karam had committed suicide by hanging himself in school toilet using his belt. Authorities at Baru Sahib Academy brought the body of child to his house in the village by 8 pm.

Today morning, when the family members were putting on clothes on Karam’s body and were about to take it for cremation, they noticed a long mark on his neck and few scratches of nails on his chest.

The family members immediately informed the police and suspected a foul play in their child’s death. The police took the body in its custody and sent it to the Kharar civil hospital. However, a post mortem of the body cannot be conducted at the hospital as the death did not happen in police’s jurisdiction area.

The police then sent a facsimile to the police, informing about the incidence. ASI Shiv Ram from the Sara police station, district Sirmaur, reached today afternoon and said the Baru Sahib academy did not inform the Himachal Pradesh police about the death.

“When we asked the Baru Sahib people about this, they accepted that it was a failure on their part not to inform the police,” said the police sources at Kharar.

Meanwhile, parents of Karam Singh have moved an application before the Mohali Deputy Commissioner, requesting that his body’s post mortem be conducted at Kharar itself.



Hottest day of month
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
The city today reeled under torrid weather conditions with the mercury shooting to 43.2 degrees Celsius. As per the records of the Met department, it was the hottest day of the month today.

The days ahead are likely to be hotter, with the mercury touching 45 degrees Celsius. In 2007, the maximum temperature in the city had touched 45 degrees Celsius.

The dry northwesterly winds had caused a sudden rise in temperature. According to the department, the maximum temperature was five degrees above normal while the minimum was recorded at 28.8 degrees Celsius.

According to the forecast, there would be strong hot winds with dusty storm tomorrow which could increase the day and night temperatures.

Met department director Chhatar Singh said the city usually received monsoon by June 29, but this year, there could be some delay. He said by the end of this week, people could get relief as there were chances of light showers in the city.


Fire at Haryana PR office
Files, records destroyed; cigarette butt apparent cause
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
A smoldering cigarette butt led to a fire at the office of the information and public relations department, Haryana, Sector 17, gutting a huge stock of files this afternoon.

Interestingly, smoking has been banned at all public places, including government offices, in the city after it was declared the first smoke-free city.

The incident exposed rampant violation of smoke-free status of the city, especially in government offices.

Though, timely detection of fire helped in controlling the blaze from spreading further, files containing court cases and records of employees, including their service books, personnel and administrative records, were reportedly destroyed.

Contrary to official claims that the files, for which they were seeking permission to destroy, were burnt, employees stated that files containing current records, court cases and other important documents were also damaged.

The employees said they had recently shifted the records from their old building located in SCO 201-202 in Sector 17-C to this building. The fire broke out adjacent to the film division section of the office.

The fire department said they received information at 12.29 pm and two fire tenders were pressed into service.

The employees of the next-door urban local bodies office, Haryana, noticed the smoke first and raised the alarm.

They used water to fight the blaze under the supervision of their chief fire officer IS Chauhan till the fire tenders arrived at the scene.

Station fire officer, Sector 17, ML Sharma, while examining the scene, showed cigarette stubs, claiming that they were the apparent cause of the fire.

The employees used the corridor where files were stacked up to smoke, as was evident from a large number of empty packets and remnants to biris and cigarettes.

Meanwhile, joint director of the department BD Gupta submitted in writing to the police that it was an accidental fire and there was no need for an inquiry.

He added that the records were old and they had already initiated the process to destroy these.



Highway Robbery
Accused conducted recce of Sec-33 house
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
After kidnapping local businessman Lalit Behl, the highway robbers had sent their accomplices to his Sector-33 residence to judge his financial status. On learning that he was an affluent businessman, they proceeded towards Chandigarh to commit the robbery at his residence.

This was disclosed by two of the robbers, Rajiv, alias Raja, of Ludhiana and Bhupinder, alias Bhupi, alias Romi, of Ferozpore, during their interrogation, said sources. The two were produced before a local court, which remanded them in two-day police custody here today.

The sources said the accused told the investigators that they had initially planned to rob someone of his car. They spotted a Honda Civic and followed it. Finding a man (Behl) asleep in the backseat and his driver behind the wheels, they parked their Toyota Innova in Kurukshetra and chased the car from there.

They were accompanied by their third accomplices Chander, alias Chandu. After intercepting the Honda Civic, Rajiv snatched its keys from the car driver. Bhupinder sat with Behl on the rear seat, while Rajiv drove the Honda Civic.

They told Chandu to follow them in Innova. Later, they parked Innova at a petrol station in Shahbad Markanda and told their other accomplices, Ajaypal, alias Manjit, of Ferozpore and Gaurav of Sector 44 to conduct a recce of Behl’s residence to check his financial status and also to confirm the address given by Behl.

Manjit told them that Behl was an affluent businessman. After learning this, they headed toward Chandigarh.

Meanwhile, they contacted their sixth accomplice Jaipal and told him to come to Dera Bassi.Jaipal came in his Maruti Swift car and took some of them in his car to Chandigarh. Sources added that the robbers told the investigators that they sold the stolen articles to Tejinder, alias Teji, of Amritsar.

Teji is at large, while the Haryana police has already arrested his associate. The sources said the Chandigarh police would conduct raids on undisclosed places tonight.

The accused were brought to the city on production warrants and were produced before the duty magistrate.

The police initially sought 14-day police custody of Rajiv, alias Raja, and Bhupinder, alias Romi, alias Bhupi, but the court granted only two-day police custody.

The accused also refused to get themselves identified in the court and gave separate statements before the court.

Behl yet to get valuables

Lalit Behl told the TNS that he was yet to get his car, laptop and ornaments recovered by the Haryana police from the robbers. While his car and laptop were handed over to the police station-34 by their Haryana counterparts, the ornaments were yet to be given to the police. He added that the city police had told him to write an application to get his car and laptop



Bar Council rules debar Army men from law course
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
Rules framed by the Bar Council of India (BCI), specifying 30 years as the upper age limit for admission to the three-year Bachelor of Laws degree course, has adversely affected armed forces personnel. The matter has been taken up with the BCI by the Directorate of Sainik welfare, Punjab.

Serving as well as retired armed forces officers would not be able to take admission to law course either while in service or after post-retirement. Law is perused by military personnel to enhance their professional skills or for switching over the services’ legal departments or as a post-retirement rehabilitation avenue wherein they can practice in courts or get re-employment as legal officers.

“We received a copy of the Rules for Legal Education, 2008, through the state’s Education Department on June 15, following which we took up the issue with the BCI,” Brig IS Gakhal, Director, Sainik Welfare Board, said.

In a letter written to the chairman and secretary of the BCI, the directorate, while stating that education was a fundamental right, has strongly recommended that the age criterion be amended in a manner to make it eligible for ex-servicemen to undergo three-year degree course in law irrespective of age.

“The stipulated age criterion would debar all ex-servicemen from updating their knowledge skills or starting a second career,” the letter states. “The government spends considerable time effort and money in rehabilitating ex-servicemen, but in one stroke of the rules, ex-servicemen who have sacrificed their youth, have been eliminated from a possible rehabilitation as respectable citizens,” the letter adds.

A large number of retired armed forces personnel practice as advocates in lower courts, high courts and the Supreme Court. Owing to their background, many of them specialise in service matters related to the military, like courts martial, promotions, postings, statutory complaints, etc.



Hate crime in OZ
Parents seek probe into Razat’s death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
Glimmer of hope arose for the parents of the deceased Indian student, 24-year-old Razat Garg, who died in Australia in February this year, when the Supreme Court asked the Union Government to file an affidavit before it by June 26, on the steps being taken to ensure the safety of Indian Students in Australia and Canada after the increasing reports of the racial attacks there.

Mangat Rai Garg, father of Razat, told mediapersons here this afternoon that they wanted that the Indian government should enforce pressure on the Australian government to initiate an inquiry into the murderer of their son as they did not believe that their son died in an accident as claimed by the Australian police.

Garg said it was the responsibility of the Indian government to take stringent steps to ensure safety of the Indian students in Australia.

Garg stated that they had received a reply on their petition from the Prime Minister’s Office that appropriate action would be taken against the culprits. He also alleged that his son was thrown in front of the train, with the motive of “looting” and he did not met with an accident in Melbourne as reported by the authorities there.

“We did not find two gold rings, bracelet, $800, an international ATM card from the body of our son, which clearly establishes that our son was murdered,” he alleged.

He alleged an Australian resident named Carlos, who was ex-husband of Rose in whose Ice Cream factory Rajat was working, never liked his son and had threatened to kill him five days before his death as he did not like Indians. Garg charged that Carlos stole the wallet of his son five days before he was murdered. Parents of Rajat alleged that despite naming Carlos in connection with the death of their son, the police did not bother to investigate the murder charges. “They just closed our son’s case by labeling it as an accidental death,” he stated while being very emotional.



Water-Borne Diseases
Authorities fail to wake up
Gaurav Sharma

Chandigarh, June 22
Four cases of cholera reported last year and hundreds of diarrhoea patients rushing to the hospitals of the city this summer have failed to sound an alarm for the local authorities even as the monsoon is all set to arrive in the region, showering water-borne diseases once again for the slum dwellers.

Even as the city reported four cases of cholera last year and around one hundred cases of diarrhoea have already been reported this year from across the slums, the public health authorities are yet to wake up to the reality of the situation.

The city slums present a picture of total neglect with stinking pools of stagnant water, overflowing sewerage and drains and rotting garbage littered in the open and it seems that a tragedy is just in the waiting.

A visit by The Tribune found that the things in the slums of the city failed to sensitise the officials concerned and things remained the same for the full one year despite the tall claims of the administration of spending big amounts on providing basic facilities to this section of the city.

The dwellers of colonies no 4 and 5, living amid the heap of garbage and clogged drains, might have to cope up with the water-borne diseases, drains here are lying chocked and most of these are overflowing for several months.

Though the public health authorities repeatedly claim that they carry out regular inspections in the slums to maintain sanitation, the ground reality is different. Phool Devi of Colony No. 4 said, “The problem of stagnant water is affecting the health of our children and the medical facilities were not appropriate. The authorities are shirking their responsibility.”

As if this was not enough, the stench emanating from the human waste littered in the open from leaking mobile toilets made the atmosphere nauseating.

“During elections, many political leaders promised to improve the sanitary condition of this area. However, their promises are nothing, but an eye-wash.

It has been four months since not even a single employee of the MC has come to take stock of the situation of these drains,” said one of the residents, Irawati.

HC Gera, nodal officer, Chandigarh health department, on the other hand, was confident that things would not go out of control this time. “While not even a single patient of cholera was noticed this year, a recent survey had found that a number of diarrhoea cases reported from slums in the city was much less than that of last year,” claimed Gera.

In June, only 87 cases of diarrhoea were reported from the slums of the city till yesterday, while the number of patients during the corresponding period last year was as high as 189, he said.



Diarrhoea outbreak: MCs fail to learn lesson
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 22
Despite the death of four children in Mohali in the past two years, reportedly due to water-borne diseases, the authorities concerned have failed to take steps to ensure that it did not happen again. The colonies and the village present a pathetic picture with garbage lying around. The source of drinking water is surrounded by drains.

Diarrhoea outbreak has been witnessed once again. Though none of them has been referred to the PGI, Chandigarh, so far 69 persons are admitted to the Civil Hospital and are undergoing treatment. Most of them are from Mohali village, which has been deprived of adequate quantity of clean drinking water.

During the past two years, the Municipal Council has failed to provide clean drinking water in villages and slums falling under Mohali. In many localities residents depend on hand pump water, which had been declared unfit for drinking time and again by health authorities.

Residents of these areas are forced to live under unhygienic conditions. Sanitation is in a state of neglect and overflowing kutcha drains in the absence of sewer system is a common sight.

Two children of Madanpur village had died in July, 2007, as they had reportedly consumed water in the village, which was unfit for drinking. In August last year, two children of Balmiki colony had died due to diarrhoea.

Zirakpur: The town has also witnessed minor cases of diarrhoea like loose motions, vomiting and fever in Baltana and surrounding areas.

Subhash Sethi, a Baltana-based doctor, said routine cases of diarrhoea were reported. The patients, mostly children, were complaining of loose motions and vomiting.

When contacted, Dr Ram Kumar, SMO, Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi, stated that no serious case of diarrhoea had been reported. He advised the people to adopt preventive measures such as drinking boiled water, avoiding cut fruits and maintaining cleanliness of surroundings.

Arun Sharma adds from Panchkula: The district administration seems to be a hard learner from its past mistakes even when it is a matter of health and lives of the residents.

Rajiv colony, which witnessed first death due to cholera outbreak on July 16 last year, could face the same situation as things here failed to change for better. While the insanitary conditions near the drinking water taps as well as heaps of garbage with straying pigs persists in the area, Rs 18 lakh spent on the digging of a new tubewell to supply drinking water to the colony seemed to have been thrown into the drain as the pipelines carrying the water to taps were left exposed to the nullah flowing along the slum.

A girl had died in July last year and more than fifteen cases of cholera, along with thousands of patients suffering from diarrhoea, were reported from Panchkula immediately after the first heavy showers of monsoon.

The district administration at that time disconnected the water supply through the rusted supply line running through the nullah as it was observed that the sewage was mixed up with the drinking water in the pipelines going through the nullah, which resulted in the outbreak of the epidemic in the area. The administration supplied drinking water to the colony through tankers before a tubewell was dug up there.

A visit to the area by The Tribune today revealed that not only insanitary conditions had been persisting there even after one year, the pipelines supplying water to the colony were going through the same nullah leaving the residents exposed to the epidemic once again.

“It is beyond anybody’s senses that what was gained by digging a new tubewell in the colony when the same pipelines were to be used,” said Raghu, a resident of the colony.

“Though we were assured that the pipelines would not go through the nullah, nothing changed during the last one year,” rued Raju, another resident.

The SDO of the Haryana Urban Development Authority, Ram Singh, who is maintaining the tubewell and water supply on behalf of the Municipal Council, when contacted, said they had plans to elevate the level of pipelines before the monsoon arrived in the region.

Ravinder Rawal, the then Municipal Council president, who claimed to ensure a clean and problem free water supply to the colony, did not pick up his phone despite repeated efforts.



29 fresh diarrhoea cases
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 22
As many as 29 persons suffering from diarrhoea reached the Civil Hospital, Phase VI, for treatment here today taking the total number of patients to 101. Nearly 80 per cent of the patients were from Mohali village.

After an outbreak of diarrhoea yesterday, Punjab Health Minister Prof Laxmi Kanta Chawla reached the hospital today, along with director, health services, Dr SPS Sohal to meet the patients.

Though doctors at the hospital have not confirmed whether patients were suspected to be suffering from cholera, according to unofficial reports cholera bacteria is suspected to be present in the stool samples sent by the doctors of the Civil Hospital to the PGI, Chandigarh, for testing.

Sources said six samples of stool of children were sent out of which “mobility of bacteria” was found in six cases in preliminary investigations. However, official confirmation in this regard would be available after test reports were received from the PGI.

The hospital had a tough time attending to such a large number of patients due to shortage of infrastructure. Patients had to share beds. There was shortage of stands to administer fluids. In the emergency wing of the hospital fluids were seen being administered by tying bottles to tube light brackets. Women patients were also made to share beds with patients in the maternity ward exposing new born babies to infection.

Manpreet Singh from Mohali village said he had visited the hospital last night as he suffered from loose motions, but was not admitted due to shortage of space. His condition deteriorated overnight and he was admitted today. His brother Gurdeep Singh and sister-in-law Kulwant Kaur were also undergoing treatment at the hospital, he added.

District health officer Dr SP Surila said a camp was organised at Mohali village where 228 persons were examined by four medical teams. Only three persons suffering from diarrhoea were sent to the Civil Hospital. As many as 4,000 tablets of chlorine were distributed among residents. He said 12 water samples were taken yesterday and two today and sent for testing.

SMO in charge of the hospital, Dr HS Sarang, said 101 patients had visited the hospital since Saturday night out of which 69 were admitted. He said medicines were arranged and a washerman was hired to wash the bed sheets so that these could be disinfected. He ruled out that sharing beds could lead to infection as patients were not suffering from any air-borne disease.



Nightmare persists at food street
Amit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
Notwithstanding the recent measures taken by the authorities to ensure an incident-free dining experience for late-night eaters at the Night Food Street, nothing seems to be working.

Though there has been a visible increase in the police presence around the area, incidents of hooliganism, eve-teasing, passing of lewd comments and drunk youngsters engaging in brawls over issues like parking of vehicles have been continuing with an alarming regularity.

“After reading about the increased vigil, I decided to visit the place with my family yesterday but as we had just started eating we saw policemen running toward two groups of drunk youths, fighting and hurling abuses at each other. Things did not get out of hand but it left a bad taste,” shares Varun Duggal.

The administration’s much-touted project, which was started with an objective to initiate a culture of sophisticated night eateries in the city, is fast acquiring the sobriquet of safe haven for late-night lawlessness, scuffles and drunkenness.

The place is fast becoming reserved for men who are often in an inebriated state and end up vitiating the ambience of the area.

“To make amends, the police must start challaning those coming here drunk and disturb others. Their entry should be banned altogether,” adds Radhika Khatri.

The site outside the PGI was chosen because a large number of students were staying in the adjoining sectors.

Besides, staffers and those visiting the PGI at odd hours also needed an area where they could have food even late in the night.

In spite of attracting people from all walks of life owing to its unique concept — it being the first-of-its-kind in the city — the food street is fast turning into a den of lawlessness and rowdyism.

“Anytime you come, you can hear youths swearing at one another without caring for the fact that somebody else may be sitting with their family. This vitiates the atmosphere,” says Ashima Bathla, a Panjab University student.

Ravia Sandhu from the PGI says: “It often leaves a bad taste to see youngsters behave in such a manner. At times you feel scared. They seem to be having no fear of law. Girls cannot think of going there alone.”

The filthy surroundings around the eating place further add to the unsavoury experience. Though some improvement on the cleanliness front has been achieved, much still remains to be desired. Also, there is no definite place to dispose of the waste material.

The public conveniences built at Rs 24 lakh are hardly a convenience for people, as these remain in filthy condition.

“We have no other option. We keep piling up the waste here alone and clean it up in the morning. The administration, which charges huge rent from us, should provide for some alternative,” adds a vendor on condition of anonymity.



MC holds meeting on solid waste management
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
The Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, held its first meeting of the Partnership Initiative Programme in Solid Waste Management today. About 130 NGOs, resident welfare associations and representatives of various organisations attended the meeting.

The issues discussed in the meeting were to get involved in their area sanitation, to sensitising the residents for segregating wet food and bio-degradable waste and dry re-cyclable waste separately, bringing awareness among the residents for not littering the streets or burning garbage and dry leaves.

“Night sweeping” was desired as one of the means of sanitation, keeping in view the heavy movement of the public during daytime. The application of ISO certifications in the field of solid-waste management was also discussed in the meeting.

The volunteers stressed upon to make a change in the “social behaviour” by continuously striving and creating self-motivation in the community for ensuring proper maintenance of sanitation.



Colony No. 5
Group clashes, assaults order of the day
Sandeep Rana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
Hooligans are ruling the roost in colony No. 5 as incidents of group clashes and assaults continue unabated.

Even with a police post located in the locality, nothing much has changed on the ground as it has failed to act as a deterrent to hooliganism. Even the police prefers to hush up the matter until someone is grievously injured.

The recent incident of attack, which claimed the life of a laborer and left two persons injured in colony No. 5, has brought to the fore the prevalence of hooliganism and minor clashes in day-to-day life.

Residents of the area, which is divided into two blocks - K and B - said incidents of fighting were often witnessed in front of the police post but it turned a blind eye to these.

“If the matter is brought to the notice of the police, it just takes the troublemakers along and releases them after taking some money,” said Mohammad, brother of Alimudin, who was stabbed to death yesterday.

“The police has woken up from its slumber just because Alimudin died in a violent incident. Ahsan has been bullying around in the area for long but the police has done little to curb his activities,” added the friend of Alimudin.

A visit to the colony revealed that Ahsan had spelt terror in the area.

The relatives and brother of the victim alleged that Ahsan had a connection with a political party and had been going scott-free under its patronage. “He was arrested many a time but the matter was hushed up in the chowki itself,” said a resident.

“With 20-year-old Ahsan and a few of his gang members having been arrested, the police should check their recent mobile phone details. There must be a high-profile person behind these persons,” said an elderly.

Ahsan in police remand

Ahsan and Sher Bahadur were produced in the local court, which remanded them in one-day police custody. Ahsan’s mother Raisa, Virender, Raju, Sadam, Sonu, Abdul Rashid and Pawan, who were arrested last night, were remanded in judicial custody.



3 hurt in Ram Darbar clash
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
Three persons were admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, after they received injuries in a clash between two neighours of Phases I and II, Ram Darbar, here tonight.

The police rounded up six persons — Suraj, Bitu, Sunil, Ruban, Amrajit and Monu — in this connection.

According to the police, the incident took place after one group allegedly teased a woman. Following this, woman’s relative Amarjit and Monu clashed with Surajpal and his accomplice.

Both groups threw bricks at each other and used sticks in the clash.

Police station-31 SHO Bhupinder Singh said they would go strict on the culprits and interrogate those rounded up. The accused would be booked accordingly, he added.



Sohail Khan in city
Jasmine Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
Actor Sohail Khan proved the rumours of coming to the city for promoting his home production movie, Kissan, tomorrow wrong, as he turned up at Hotel Taj here today.

Sohail said: “I am here to promote my movie, which has been shot in the outskirts of the city at Palheri village, near Mullanpur. The rest of the star cast, including Diya Mirza, Nauheed Cyrusi and director Puneet Sira will come here tomorrow.

But, I chose to start here because major portions of the movie have been shot here. After this, we will be going to Jalandhar, Amritsar and Ludhiana for the promotion, he adds.

After Akshay Kumar, Sohail and Arbaaz Khan will be playing Sikh characters.



Powers withdrawn from Singhal
BJP demands fresh elections for MC chief
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 22
Irked over the withdrawal of powers of acting president from Municipal Council vice-president BB Singhal by MC executive officer OP Sihag, after an official communiqué from the urban local bodies department, local BJP leaders have demanded fresh election for the civic body president.

Terming the withdrawal of powers from Singhal as politicisation of the matter, senior BJP leader and councillor VK Sood said at a press conference that fresh elections for the president of Municipal Council should be held so that the residents of the city did not suffer.

On Wednesday, the director, local urban bodies, asked the Deputy Commissioner to withdraw his direction in this context. The directions also mentioned that the matter was subjudiced as Ravinder Rawal had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the decision of district and sessions court, Panchkula.

While the powers of signatory authority have been withdrawn from the acting president, majority of development works in the town have been lying pending, said Sood.

The vice-president acts as the president in the absence of the latter and in the absence of both fresh elections have to be conducted within 48 hours, said Sood, quoting the Haryana Municipal Council Act.

We had apprised of the situation to Haryana Governor AR Kidwai yesterday, he said.



Freedom fighters remembered
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 22
The local chapter of the Citizens’ Forum on Human Rights and Ehsaas Adabi Society, Panchkula, organised a seminar and a poetic symposium in a programme titled “Ek Sham Shahidon ke Naam” at the Government Museum Hall yesterday.

The speakers and poets presented verses glorifying the achievements of martyrs who sacrificed their lives for Independence. Forum president Sushil Gupta and poet BD Kalia Hamdam welcomed the chief guest, PK Sharma, Additional Commissioner, Municipal Corporation.

Delving deep into the life of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Dr MM Juneja elaborated upon certain facets of the great martyr.

Dr Juneja said as a child, Bhagat Singh was shy, introvert and an average student till he came in contact with revolutionaries at the DAV College, Lahore.

This association transformed his life into a man of resolute resolves and an ardent reader, having read 350 volumes of world class philosophy and literature books, Juneja added.

Poets, including Delhi-based Dr Sarswat Manishi, BD Kalia Hamdam, Kishore Vidrohi, Madhav Kaushik, SL Dhawan, S Rakesh, Saubhagya Vardhan and others also participated. Kishore Sharma and Madhav Kaushik conducted the programme.



Applications invited for communal harmony awards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
The Chandigarh administration has invited recommendations for the National Communal Harmony Awards instituted by the National Foundation for Communal Harmony, an autonomous organisation with the ministry of home affairs.

The awards in three categories are given annually for outstanding contribution to promotion of communal harmony and national integration in individual, organisation and students’ union categories.

The award consists of a citation in all three categories and cash prize of Rs 2 lakh in individual category, Rs 3 lakh in students’ union category and Rs 5 lakh in the organisation category.

A jury headed by the Vice-President of India will make selection for the awards.

The individuals/organisations/students union desirous to be considered for the said awards can apply in the prescribed application form along with the requisite documents by June 26.

The application forms are available free of cost at the office of director social welfare, Chandigarh administration, Town Hall Extension Building, 3rd floor, Sector 17, Chandigarh.



Aviation sector beckons
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 22
With the aviation industry taking off in the country, several avenues have opened up for students keen on making a career in this sector.

From customer support, ticket reservation, transportation of perishable cargo, regulation of traffic to cargo reservations, aviation administration to cockpit resource management, the aviation sector offers plenty of job opportunities. Even government or aviation regulatory bodies offer numerous job profiles related to this field.

A candidate with well-equipped training in flying can be hired by reputed airlines in India or abroad as pilots.

With the soaring demand for aircraft, manufacturers have been hiring aeronautical engineers for entry-level openings as well as senior positions. The vistas are bright for students having a degree in aeronautical science.

Aviation isn’t just about flying or piloting. It is an entire world beyond the cockpit. There is a demand for those people who are ready to travel and put in their best efforts. In lieu of hard work, they get handsome salary packages.

Customer satisfaction is the main priority for all airlines today. Customer service executives are entrusted with the job of looking after problems and requirements of clients.

Besides, one can also look out for job opportunities in administration, traffic regulation, cargo management, ground operations, aircraft maintenance and other areas related to this field.

Chanda Malhotra, general manager of an airhostess training institute, said: “This profession is in great demand. It includes a lot of travelling. You get to travel a lot and explore several destinations. Besides, lucrative packages attract fresh minds.”



Contract teachers to continue stir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
Around 252 contractual teachers of Chandigarh have decided to continue the protest against the Chandigarh administration till their demands were met.

Nearly150 teachers staged a protest on Maszid ground today, which was joined by various employees’ and workers’ unions.

Members of the Union said why the administration promised them to regularise last year when it did not have any such provision. They agitated that the department was appointing fresh teachers on a regular basis instead of regularising the contractual employees.

They demanded that they should be regularised against the sanctioned 536 posts, which had been advertised. They also demanded the release of enhanced salary of the contractual teachers along with arrears.

The also decided that the children of the contractual teachers would stage a dharna against the administration tomorrow.



Cancer detection camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
Ajay Swaroop, Chief General Manager, State Bank of India, Chandigarh circle, inaugurated a free cancer detection, mammography and screen camp at Community Centre, Sector 8, here.

The camp was organised by the Sahayta Cancer Sahyog, an NGO, in the memory of its founder, Neelu Tuli, on his birth anniversary.



100 undergo screening test for cancer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
More than 100 patients underwent mammography and screening tests in the cancer eradication campaign, being organised by the Sahayta Cancer Sehyog, in collaboration with Roko Cancer Charitable Trust, gathered momentum here today.

The campaign was inaugurated by Dr Raj Bahadur, director, GMCH-32, at Sahayta Cancer Kendra, on Sunday.

The camps assume significance in view of the experts’ warnings that the deadly disease was threatening to turn pandemic, especially in parts such as the Southern districts of Punjab during the next 10 to 15 years.



Twitter gains popularity

Twitter, the micro logging or the SMS of the Internet, has assumed more significance as a tool in the hands of democracy lovers. Information, today, has become a weapon.

In the recently concluded elections in Iran, where the US-basher president, Ahmedenejad, claims to be re-elected for another term of four years, there are protests in the streets of Iran, in which people are dying protesting over the “stolen” election.

Beijing is straining under a self-imposed digital dilemma: how to promote the Internet to boost economic growth and efficiency while allowing the Central government to maintain control over the Chinese society. A few days ago, the Chinese government issued a sweeping directive. Beginning July 1, every personal computer sold in the country must include new software that filters pornography and other content from the view of China’s 300 million Internet users.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Beijing aims to “construct a green, healthy and harmonious Internet environment, and prevent harmful information on the Internet from influencing young people”.

The software, called Green Dam/Youth Escort, is designed to keep web surfers from sites the government deems dangerous.

Beijing employs 30,000 persons to police the web, who try to shape opinion by flooding popular sites with positive comments about the Chinese Communist Party.

But, it is fascinating to watch the conflict in Iran on social media. A blogger ‘@ecomentario’, who seems to be right in all actions in Iran, tweeted earlier, “If you are outside Iran, change your Twitter profile time zone to GMT +03.30 Tehran, and your location to Tehran to confuse the government.”

The Iranian government is monitoring Twitter for identifiable information about protesters posting from inside the country. As a result, there are tweets calling for subterfuge by mangling the username or by asking non-Iranian twitter users to change their profiles to Tehran’s time zone though it is not an easy job.

Twitter defacto has postponed a scheduled maintenance that was due to occur on Monday night.

It is a smart move for Twitter, it shows they are listening to how their service is being used. But, it also sends a subtle message to its users and the world that Twitter is more than a website, an essential service, like water, electricity and google, that they will try to make available all the time.

When you sign up for a Twitter account, the home page has a top 10 index of topics that are being discussed on Twitter. In a glance, you can see what the “Twitter verse” is talking about and at present, the buzz is all about Iran, a blogger remarked.

While using Twitter, you can publish 140 characters of commentary and it has emerged as an efficient channel for the ground war in Iran. Students, protesters and reformers from Tehran are publishing messages via Twitter that point to cell phone photographs, blogs, videos and all kinds of information.

It takes a few seconds for hundreds of new Twitter comments to pile in on browser. As you refresh the screen, new details are keeping the major media sites tuned in as photographs of club-toting vigilantes on motorcycles beat citizens and life of journalists are at risks, as they attempt to cover this revolution.

Twitter’s growth has been in a meteoric upward graph for the last several months. Twitter is simple to use and available for free to anyone with a computer. With your account, you have access to real time information, as change comes to the desert in the Middle East and it is reshaping how news arrives to the social conscious.

The downside is accuracy and filters. Breaking stories, images and comments coming from cell phones are hardly reputable in many cases it is unpredictable that what is going to show up next. However, it does give us details and the media is consumed with this efficient method of street level reporting.

But, another post forewarns us: Right-wing Israeli interests are engaged in the Twitter attack with hopes of delegitimising the Iranian election and causing instability within Iran.

An analysis of people, accounting for 30,000 Iran related tweets in the past few days, revealed that

n They created their twitter accounts on 13 June, 2009.

n Each had high number of Tweets since creating their profiles.

n “Iran Election” was the most popular keyword

n Most of them were posting in English.

n Half of them had the same profile photograph

n Each had thousands of followers, with a few friends.

Comrade Mao used the propaganda during the ‘Long March’ when the book, “Red Star over China”, by Edgar Snow stormed the world to educate the Western audience about the great Communist leader.

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



Gurukul to start evening business school
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
In a bid to cater to the academic needs of professionals, Gurukul will be introducing an E-Business School with added features of evening business school on weekdays and a weekend business school.

The programme can be accessed anytime with an Internet connection through E-pass key and those, who are unable to attend week-day classes, can opt for weekend classes.

Manmohan Kumar Garg, CEO-cum-chairman of Gurukul Vidyapeeth, said: “The aim is not to help out working professionals with a study module crafted as per their needs, but also to assist the candidates in getting educational loans and scholarships for this programme.”



PU don for international conference
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
Dr VK Anand, librarian, Panjab University, has been invited to give a presentation on the Radio-Frequency Identification Technology (RFID) during RFID Europe-2009, a conference to be organised at Cambridge, UK, from September 29, 2009.

Representatives from more than 20 countries, representing system integrators, system suppliers, academics and investors will be attending the conference.

Technologies like RTLS (Real Time Locating Systems), active RFID, passive RFID, Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN), printed RFID etc will be discussed during the conference. Dr Anand, who is the only representative from India, will share his experiences of implementation of the RFID Technology at the AC Joshi Library in Panjab University.

Aptitude test

Aptitude Test for admission in first year of B.Sc in Fashion and Lifestyle Technology will be organised on 10 July at 10 am and an interview will take place on 14 July in the office of the University Institute of Fashion Technology and Vocational Development. Eligibility for the admission is 50 per cent in class XII, Dr Sween, coordinator, University Institute of Fashion Technology and Vocational Development, Panjab University.



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