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Commissioner-Mayor standoff
Admn for institutional mechanism
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
In the backdrop of the standoff between Commissioner of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation Roshan Sunkaria and councillors, led by Mayor Kamlesh, the UT Administration has recommended setting up an institutional mechanism to suggest ways and means for better coordination between elected representatives and officials to ensure speedy development of the city.

In his report to UT Administrator S.F. Rodrigues, Secretary, Home and Local Government, Ram Niwas today recommended setting up of a committee comprising experts from a cross section of the society to break the deadlock between the officials and the elected representatives.

Official sources said the ball was now in the Administrator's court who in all probability constitute a committee comprising officials, elected representatives and experts to study the gamut of official-councillor relationship.

The tug of war between the officials and councillors was a routine affair, affecting development works. The committee would suggest measures for the smooth functioning of the MC, the sources added.

Yesterday, 22 councillors, cutting across party lines, including Mayor, had met Ram Niwas and seriously objected to the "attitude" of the Commissioner.

The councillors took serious objections to recent two letters of Sunkaria, in which he had reportedly said that the Mayor could not call review meetings of the officials. While the councillors had pleaded that the Mayor had every right to call the meetings of the officials as per the Punjab Municipal Act, Sunkaria had quoted a provision in the Act, which reportedly said the Mayor could not call the review meetings.

The current crisis of relationship between Sukaria and Kamlesh stems from different interpretations of the Act, with both the sides were interpreting in their own way to score browny points.

While important development agenda hangs fire for lack of coordination between the Commissioner and the Mayor, the apparent ego clash between two top functionaries of the civic body is blamed for the current standoff.

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Mohali police fails to set own house in order
2 CCTV cameras at district administrative complex out of order
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 2
Don’t practise what you preach. This seems to be the motto of the Mohali police, which has been going all out asking the banks and jewellers to install close circuit television camera (CCTVs), with its own house not in order.

For the past over two years, two CCTVs installed at the district administrative complex in Phase I here are out of order. Purchased at lakhs of rupees, the cameras were installed around the offices of police officials functioning from the Phase I building.

The cameras, installed on the front and rear side of the complex, were meant to only focus on areas around the offices, but also watch those waiting areas outside the offices. But these are lying un-operational, as the LCD, purchased to view the recordings of the cameras, has been dumped in one corner of the complex.

Enquiries revealed that several lakhs were spent during the tenure of a former Mohali SSP, Naunihal Singh, as part of high-tech communication system. The cameras enabled the officials to monitor the security at the district administrative complex Inquiries revealed that the cameras stopped working after senior police officials swapped their offices at the first floor of the district police headquarters.

Sources said the state government, especially the police department, has been stressing on installing the cameras at vital locations, including government buildings and public places. After the recent robbery attempt at a bank in Phase XI, the police has been pressing upon the private establishments to install the cameras.

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Negligence case against resort
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, July 2
The police today booked the management of AKM resorts for negligence leading to grievous head injuries to a six-year-old boy who had come to attend a marriage function along with his family members on June 29.

The police said Vishal Garg, father of the injured, had reported to the police that he had come to the resort to attend a marriage ceremony along with his son Partish Garg. When they were sitting under a Gazebo tent and talking with relatives, a power breakdown occurred and the tent collapsed.

He alleged that the tent iron rods were not fixed properly and fell on the head of the boy, seriously injuring him. The injured was immediately rushed to Panchkula-based hospital, where his condition was said to be critical.

Vishal also alleged that his car was blocked in the resort parking and the resort management had not arranged any ambulance and did not provide any first aid to his son.

SHO Zirakpur Sukhwinder Singh said a case had been registered and further investigations were on.

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Engineer killed in road mishap 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
Vikrant, an engineer in his late twenties, died in an accident after his car collided with a mini-truck at transport light point in Sector 26 here early this morning.

The car got mangled with the impact of the collision and it took about an hour to take the victim out of the car during the rescue operation. The police had to call up the fire department to get Vikram out of the car.

Two emergency tenders were pressed into service and the victim was taken out in about 10 minutes.

He was later taken to the PGI where he was declared brought dead.

According to the police, the incident happened around 2 am when Vikrant was heading towards Panchkula in his car and a speeding Swaraj Mazda (HP51-B-4459), which was going towards Grain Market, Sector 26, rammed into the car.

The mini-truck, carrying vegetables, was coming from Delhi.

The driver of the mini-truck, Lokesh Thakur, a resident of Shimla, was arrested under Sections 279, 337, 427 and 304-A of the IPC.

Vikrant was staying with his friends at Sector 2 in Panchkula.

He hailed from Chennai and his family members have been informed. 

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Ban on trucks ferrying pilgrims
Tribune News Service

Ropar/Anandpur Sahib, July 2
Ferrying pilgrims to Naina Devi on trucks during sawan Navratras from July 20 to 31 has been banned here. The SDM, Anandpur Sahib, today passed orders banning the entry of trucks carrying pilgrims. Officials in the police department, too, have been directed to deal the violaters.

These orders have come in the wake of accident, wherein, several pilgrims, travelling in a truck, met with an accident. Maximum casualty was caused due to over loading.

Naib tehsildar Sadhu Singh has been deputed as the mela officer. Police has been directed to keep in touch with Himachal Pradesh police to avoid confusion.

Non-governmental organisations also have been directed to be prepared. Sale of drugs and intoxicants during holy fest has also been banned.

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Gays rejoice legal boost to their pride
Gaurav Sharma

Chandigarh July 2
With the pronouncement of the Delhi High Court verdict on legalising homosexuality in the country, winds of change seem to have blown in the tricity. A large number of homosexual assembled to congratulate each other on the jury’s decision, which they dub as a “victory” of homosexuals in the city.

Being a house of over 30,000 homosexuals, the city is yet to get reaction from the authorities concerned. While the judgement has brought a sense of relief to homosexuals, it can help curb the spread of HIV in the community.

It is to be noted that among the entire populace of gays and lesbians, nearly 4.5 per cent are HIV affected.

Hailing the step, Neelam Mansingh, a theatre artiste, said: “Homosexuality does exist and it is visible. You cannot harm the person if he or she is deviant of biological orientation. These people are subjected to discrimination in our country. I am proud of the judiciary which did not gloss over the subject. 

I think we have to have tolerance for those who have born the brunt of homosexual which considered as a stigma. If you happen to visit the temples of Mahabalipuram and Khujraho, you would find same-sex cuddling idols.”

While gay rights advocator Neelam Mansingh praised this step, certain religious leaders strongly disapproved of the High Court’s judgement and found difficult to stomach it. “The verdict is wrong. We condemn the verdict. It is something against the nature.

The act of homosexuality is sinful. These people are fulfilling their carnal desires in the guise of natural desires. No religion will approve of it.” rued Father Thomas of Vicar General Church, Shimla Chandigarh Diocese.

Lamenting at the judgement, Ajmal Khan, one of the clerics at the Jama Masjid said: “Our society seems to have forgotten all the morals values. This not acceptable to us and we strongly condemn the decision. I am astonished at the High Court’s decision.”

However, the condemnation of religious outfits seemed like water off a duck’s back to the gathering of homosexuals, who had assembled at the Family Planning Association of India at Panchkula. The euphoria appeared to have engulfed the entire ambience wherein these people danced and chanted songs. 

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House is supreme: Punjab Mayors
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The ongoing ‘power’ struggle between Mayor Kamlesh and Municipal Commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria may be new to the city, such tussles remain a hallmark of almost all the municipalities in Punjab, with incumbents there too indulging in a seemingly unending war of one-upmanship.

While Kamlesh found support from her counterparts in Jalandhar and Amritsar, who too claimed that the “Mayor was supreme”, the bureaucrats in the state do not seem to agree with it.

However, these bureaucrats, on condition of anonymity, admit that the key to the peaceful existence of both - the Mayor and the Commissioner - lies in the harmony and not inflated egos.

Talking to The Tribune, Amritsar Mayor Shawet Malik said if bureaucrats were following the Act in such a true spirit, then how could they ignore that according to the Act, House was the supreme and the mayor was the head of the house. He claimed that it was the duty of the Commissioner to follow the instructions of the Mayor and execute the decisions made by the House for the development of the area.

Malik revealed that the Mayor had the power to call any officer to know about the progress of the project.

Jalandhar Mayor Rakesh Rathore said the Act nowhere defines that the Commissioner was the head of the corporation. He is only appointed as executive head to execute the instructions passed by the Mayor. He said that Mayor was the elected representative of the people. As per the Act, every official of the corporation was under the jurisdiction of the Mayor and even answerable to him.

However, a former Commissioner doesn’t agree with this. He said if one goes by the Act, there was no confusion that the Commissioner was the executive head of the corporation as all the powers to exercise, supervise or control proceedings of the officers was with him and he was the head of all the wings. Whereas Mayor is considered to be the figurehead of the corporation and the House is the only domain of him.

A serving commissioner referring to the Act stated that how can a Mayor go beyond the provisions of the PMC Act? As per Section 53 of the Act, the Mayor can only ask the Commissioner to produce report of the project to know its status, but no official is accountable to the Mayor.

The Act clearly states that calling for a meeting of the officials to discuss particular project is beyond the jurisdiction of the functions and duties assigned to a Mayor.

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Drunken driving major cause of mishaps: Study
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
If the data collected by the PGI authorities about accidents on the city roads is any indication, drunken driving continues to be one of the major causes of mishaps.

With 58 per cent of the road accident victims reporting to the PGI’s emergency under the influence of liquor, it’s poor reflection of the UT Police’s claims of having a “zero tolerance” policy to drunken driving.

A recent socio-demographic study on patients of road accidents admitted to the trauma ward of the PGI, carried out by staff nurse Amita Agarwal under the supervision of Dr Sukhpal Kaur and head of orthopaedic department Prof M.S. Dhillon, revealed this sad sate of affairs.

The study, which included 100 patients, revealed that half of the victims of such accidents were in age group of 20-40 years and more than 50 per cent had no valid driving licence at time of the mishap. Surprisingly, 86 per cent of the victims were aware that the law does not permit driving under the influence of liquor.

Talking to newsmen here today, Dr Dhillon said the hour wise arrival of trauma cases showed that the highest number of accidents in the tricity had occurred in evening between 3 pm and 8 pm, with two-wheeler riders being the majority of victims. “The study showed that 68 per cent of the victims were two-wheeler drivers,” said Dr Dhillon.

Location-wise statistics of accidents revealed that the maximum number of total road accidents occurred in the city and surrounding areas.

Although India has the highest number of road accident fatalities in the world, rash and drunken drivers often go unpunished because of serious loopholes in the prevailing system, rued Dr Dhillon.

Procedural delays of a few years in the courts, witnesses turning hostile, weaknesses in the law and attempts to suppress or distort the facts, make it difficult for victims or their relatives to get justice, say legal experts and road safety activists.

Many road accident victims and their relatives find it shocking that rash and negligent drivers, who may have killed and maimed innocents, not only get released on bail immediately, but also manage to escape punishment.

Dr Dhillon said there was dire need to plan strategies to decrease risk of accidents in this vulnerable group and to counter the fact that driving under the influence of liquor, not using protective equipment and not having a valid driving licence were major reasons for a majority of serious accidents.

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Assault on councillor’s sons
DC suggested to seal Sector 9 house
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
A day after The Tribune exposed misdeed going on in the Sector 9 house, which was raided by the police in connection with the assault on a nominated councillor’s sons on Monday night, the Chandigarh Police today recommended the deputy commissioner (DC) to seal the house.

Confirming the development, UT SSP SS Srivastva told TNS that they had sent a report to the DC office to seal the house by invoking Section 133 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Even as the owner of the house, Sukhjeet Singh Gill, shot off a letter to the administration and the Chandigarh Police highlighting the nefarious activities going on from his place, the SSP said he was yet to receive the letter. He, however, added that they would take appropriate action on the basis of the letter after examining it.

Gill told top UT officials that nefarious activities had been going on at his house for a long time since former SAD MLA Inderjit Singh Zira’s son Prabhjot Singh Zira sneaked into his house posing as a tenant.

Talking to TNS over the phone from the USA, Gill said his elderly and ailing parents had been making repeated pleas to the police to intervene as their lives were at stake, but it failed to move the police.

It was only after the incident of attack that the police swung into action and arrested Zira’s son.

Gill said Prabhjot had posed as a Panjab University student to his parents and took the house on rent. However, later his parents realised that he was head of a gang known as “Zira Gang” comprising his friend Davinder Singh of Ferozepore and others. They operate from their other hideouts in Sectors 8, 10 and 11 from an underground base in Mohali.

Gill further alleged that once his parents went to Delhi. In their absence Zira forcibly entered the portion of their house after breaking open the locks and illegally occupied it.

Gill in his letter to the home secretary said his father had tried to speak to Inderjit Singh Zira several times, but the latter refused to admit his son’s involvement in any such activity. One day Zira himself stayed in the house and next morning was confronted by his father and requested him to vacate his premises. Zira ignored him and his gang members dragged his father inside the house and told him to keep his mouth shut.

He requested to the home secretary to do something to curb this gang, which was operating fearlessly in the city and target lonely senior citizens.

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CHB diluting RTI Act: Applicant
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) seems to be diluting the RTI Act if the experience of Manpreet Singh, a Sector 27 resident, is any indication. Miffed at the CHB's attitude, Manpreet Singh today shot off a representation to the Central Information Commission(CIC), alleging the board was delaying the process of providing information sought by him under the RTI Act.

On June 22, Manpreet Singh had sought information on 11 points in public interest. However, instead of providing information as per the Act, the Central PublicInformation Officer(Enforcement) wrote back on June 30, saying "your question is not clear".The CPIO also wanted the applicant to attend his office on any working day between 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

There is no provision under which an applicant can be called to the CPIO's office and this is just delaying tactics on part of the board, Manpreet alleged.

In fact, a perusal of the RTI application filed by Manpreet shows that there is no apparent ambiguity in the point-wise information sought by the applicant. Information on such public matters as total number of encroachment complaints filed by public with the CHB in the past 10 years, total number of building violation complaints filed by public with the board in the past 10 years and total number of building violation cases in the past 10 years in which proceedings were initiated by the CHB on its own has been sought.

Besides, the information on important matters, including total number of court cases being pursued by the board with regard to the encroachments and building violations, total number of demolition notices issued by the board and enforcement set-up of the board, has been sought.

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Lalit Kala Akademi to pay up Rs 25,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
Holding the Lalit Kala Akademi guilty of deficiency in services, the consumer disputes redressal forum has directed the Akademi to pay a compensation of Rs 25,000 to an artist after his painting got damaged during an exhibition organised by them.

The complainant, Parminder Singh, a resident Khudda Ali Sher, stated in the petition that he was an artist from the College of Arts, Sector 10, Chandigarh. The Lalit Kala Akademi organised an art exhibition, which was an annual event, at Bhopal from December 14-28, 2006.

After completing the formalities, he was told that the jury had selected his exhibit for display and he was asked to handover the same duly packed. He was also assured that the value of each insured article was fixed at Rs 25,000.

Accordingly, he sent the same through courier. After the exhibition was over, the work of the complainant was couriered on January 10, 2007. However, he was shocked to receive the same in a broken condition.

He immediately sent a letter dated January 24, 2007, to the Akademi explaining the whole position.

In April 2007, a surveyor was sent by the Akademi to the residence of the complainant who clicked some photographs and assured that the claim would be released shortly.

In its reply, the Akademi stated that the complainant’s work reached the venue of exhibition in a broken condition because of improper packing.

Pronouncing the orders the forum observed, “The Akademi, however, has not produced any document to suggest if the art object was received by them in broken condition. This ground appears to have been concocted by the opposite party subsequently after the object was damaged in their office.”

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Development works approved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
Ten proposals lying pending with the Chandigarh Administration’s Chief Architect Department have been approved in a joint meeting of officials of the administration and Municipal Corporation held today.

Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar chaired the meeting. The proposals which were cleared in meeting were construction of bay parking on V-5 road in front of Shiv Mandir Sector 19, widening of V-4 road in Sector 35, construction of bay parking in Sector 22, development of parking along the V-3 road from Madhya Marg to St Kabir School, Sector 26, construction of additional parking on vacant land along service road in Sector 26, community centre in Sector 15, extension of existing community centre in rehabilitation colony Maloya, earmarking of site for community centre in Sector 32, increase in area of green belt Sector 39.

The Chief Architect department assured to clear the pending 15 projects at the earliest. MC Commissioner 

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C Forms
Tax lawyers allege harassment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
In a joint statement issued here yesterday, office-bearers of the District Tax Bar Association, Mohali, and Income Tax and Sales Tax Bar Association, Chandigarh, have appealed to the Punjab government to give sufficient time to collect the remaining C forms and those, who are in possession of these forms, should be allowed to submit as per the decisions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and VAT tribunal to avoid unnecessary litigation and undue harassment.

They said it would cause no loss to the state if the C forms being submitted now, were taken into consideration.

They appealed to all trade and industries’ associations to join hands in helping those who had to suffer due to indifferent attitude of the senior officers of the excise and taxation department.

The members said the Punjab government was harassing them on the issue of the C forms by illegally imposing taxes and penalties, which was against the orders of the court.

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Councillors, Commissioner head for showdown
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The ongoing tussle between MC councillors and the Commissioner over the issue of powers of the Mayor appears to be heading for a showdown, as the latter seems to be in no mood to relent.

Even the fact that 22 councillors cutting across the party lines have got together and submitted a representation to Home Secretary Ram Niwas yesterday against the Commissioner’s uncooperative attitude, Commissioner, Dr Roshan Sunkaria, is unwilling to call a truce.

He has even reportedly ignored the “sane” advice of some of his superiors to settle the matter by calling the councillors for talks.

Sources who were privy to the meeting of the councillors with Ram Niwas claimed that he had subsequently made a “personal” call to Sunkaria advising him to settle the matter amicably.

While Ram Niwas was unwilling to say anything on the issue except that he will forward the memorandum to the Administrator with his comments, Surkaria told The Tribune that he was merely following the MC Act and hence there was no need for any special dialogue with the councillors on the issue.

“I am only following the Act in its letter and spirit,” he said claiming that under Section 52 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, the powers to exercise, supervise or control the acts and proceedings of the officers will rest with the Commissioner only, who will be the head of all wings of the corporation.

When asked if he had been asked to call a meeting of the councillors, Sunkaria said he had received no such written instructions and maintained that officers and councillors were interacting regularly in the meetings of committees and House.

Meanwhile, the councillors, who met the Home Secretary were in an agitated mood and demanded that the authorities should either ask the Commissioner to change his attitude or be removed from his post.

Though the ongoing controversy has its genesis in yesterday’s house meeting during which Mayor Kamlesh publicly stated that, “she is powerless”, as no officer listened to her, this isn’t Sunkaria’s first confrontation with the city councillors.

His tenure has been marked by several controversies and he has had tussles with earlier Mayor too. 

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Demonstration against power cuts
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 2
Workers of the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Haryana Janhit Congress (B) demonstrated against power cuts and irregular supply in the district at mini secretariat here today. They presented a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner I this regard also.

According to Anil Pangotra, a leader of the HJC, the local leaders of both parties, including Deepak Sharma, Dalbir Singh Pankaj Sharma, and Sanjiv Sharma, along with hundreds of workers, reached the mini secretariat and raised the slogan against the irregular power as well as drinking water supply to the residents of Kalka, Pinjore, Raipur Rani and Morni areas.

They also resented the price hike in the fuel prices.

City magistrate Ritu Chaudhary on behalf of the Deputy Commissioner received the memorandum.

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Pipes to be cleaned every 15 days
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 2
As the supply of water by the Municipal Council to Mohali village is suspected to be one of the reasons for the spread of cholera and diarrhoea in the area, the Deputy Commissioner today ordered the cleaning of the supply pipelines at 15-day intervals and action against persons sinking tubewells illegally.

The four-member committee set up by Deputy Commissioner Prabhjot Singh Mand to probe the reasons that led to the spread of water-borne diseases in Mohali village submitted its report yesterday in which it was stated that water supply by the civic body, shallow handpumps and tubewells, chabeels and filth in the village were the reasons suspected to have caused the outbreak of cholera and diarrhoea.

To chalk out the future course of action in order to prevent the spread of such diseases, Mand held a meeting with the officials concerned today. The civic body authorities were told to clean the water supply pipelines after every 15 days and also take action under the relevant sections of the Punjab Municipal Act against persons who had sunk tubewells and handpumps in violation of the norms.

The DC said samples collected from tap water soon after the spread of the diseases had failed the potability test while samples collected after the pipelines were cleaned were declared fit for drinking.

The committee, however, has failed to detect the source of contamination of water. The Mohali SDM, the Civil Surgeon, the Executive Officer of the council and the executive engineer of the Public Health Department were members of the committee formed by the DC.

Residents of the village blame the civic body in this regard and said pipelines had never been cleaned over the past many years. And when the work of cleaning was started by council employees, dirty water flowed from these pipelines.

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Water tanks unused despite shortage
Kulwinder Sangha

Underground water tanks in a bad condition at Phase IX, Mohali.
Underground water tanks in a bad condition at Phase IX, Mohali.Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, July 2
Even as residents suffer due to shortage of water, two underground water storage tanks, built nearly three decades ago, which were never used, stand out as examples of bad planning and waste of public funds.

The tanks were built by the Department of Public Health in Phase IX and X about 29 years ago funds for which were provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The aim of constructing these tanks was to store water discharged by tubewells and then pump it up to the overhead tank for further distribution in the two phases, which faced shortage of water.

According to sources, these tanks could never be used because funds for installing machinery were not provided. Some years later, the town was provided canal water after which officials forgot about these tanks which slowly turned into ruins.

As Phase IX is facing the shortage of water, the municipal councillor of Parkashwati has now demanded that underground water storage tank should be built in the area to meet water shortage.

She said her ward was provided water from Phase X which was not adequate and residents were facing problems. She said she had told council officials to either construct a new underground water tank for Phase IX or repair the one constructed earlier but a storage facility was a must.

Inderjit Singh Kang, executive engineer of the Public Health Department, said these tanks were beyond repairs as the base was badly damaged.

Manmohan Singh Lang, former municipal councillor, said these tanks, each measuring 100 ft by 150 ft, were constructed in 1980 at a cost of Rs 8 lakh.

After the canal water was given to Mohali around 1990 , the authorities concerned forgot about these tanks which could not be used because the housing department failed to release funds for installing machinery.

These tanks which were now in a dilapidated condition not only exposed the bad planning of the officials concerned but also their indifferent attitude to use of public funds which had now gone down the drain, added Lang.

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Madanpur village faces sewer woes
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 2
Sewer water entered streets in Madanpur village causing lot of resentment among residents of the area.

The village does not have any sewerage system and open drains which have overflown has created a scare among residents of the spread of diseases. A child of this village had died due to diarrhoea two years ago.

Munna Lal, a migrant from Uttar Pradesh, said some drain must have got blocked after which overflowing started. He said it had become difficult for people in that area to enter their houses.

Residents said they had been deprived of the basic facilities by the Municipal Council. There was no provision for supply of drinking water and unhygienic conditions prevailed in the village due to open drains but the council had failed to solve the problems faced by residents.

President of the council Rajinder Singh Rana said he had not been informed about the problem by any resident today. He said he would ensure that the needful was done tomorrow. 

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DGP Virk appears in Mohali court
Tribune News Service

Maharashtra DGP SS Virk at the Mohali court on Thursday.
Maharashtra DGP SS Virk at the Mohali court on Thursday. A Triune photograph

Mohali, July 2
The Maharashtra DGP, SS Virk, today took a dig at the Akali government for adopting dual policy, while appointing the Punjab DGP’s. Mentioning the appointment of PS Gill, a Jammu and Kashmir cadre office, as Punjab DGP, he said on his appointment, the Akalis had stated that it was injustice to Punjab cadre officers.

The former Punjab DGP had appeared before the local court in connection with an FIR lodged against him by the vigilance. He has been accused of allegedly doing business while in service and harbouring a person wanted by law and the Prevention of Corruption Act in September, 2007.

The court was adjourned to August 1 after the public prosecutor could not come. The challan in the case was presented in the court on May 31, 2008.

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Regularisation of buildings
Panel formed to speed up process
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 2
In order to expedite the process of regularisation of the buildings raised along the scheduled roads and bye-passes in the district, a committee comprising of the district town planner, the representative of Deputy Commissioner and the executive officer of the municipal council has been formed by the district administration.

The persons who had raised buildings or other structures before January 3 at the Ambala-Kalka road, National Highway-73, New State Highway, the Jagadhari-Panchkula road, Schedule Road-33 Naraingarh-Raipur Rani-Barwala, National Highway-21-A - Pinjore-Nalagarh up to state border and the Panchkula-Morni road, have been advised to submit their application, along with requisite documents, to the district town planner, Panchkula.

Earlier, the state government amended the Punjab Scheduled Roads and Controlled Area Restrictions of Unregulated Development Act, 1963, to regularise all those buildings that were constructed within 100 metres on either side of the road reservation of a bypass and 30 metres on either side of a scheduled road before the date of issue of the ordinance four months ago in March, provided their owners paid the prescribed fee.

The regularisation fee was fixed as Rs 500 per square metre for the structures located on national highways while Rs 300 per square metre were to be charged for the structures located on scheduled roads.

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DC wants orders against P’kula MC chief quashed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The Panchkula Deputy Commissioner and sub-divisional officer want the orders of the election tribunal and the district judge to be quashed in the municipal council president removal case. The district election tribunal had set aside Ravinder Kumar Rawal’s election as the MC president. Subsequently, the district judge upheld the orders.

In a joint plea, the DC and the SDO termed the order as arbitrary and illegal.

The mere apprehension of disclosure of voter identity without positive evidence could not be a ground for setting aside the election on the pretext of alleged breach of secrecy, the petition said.

It was further submitted that rule 85 of the election rules provided for punishment for non-maintenance of secrecy of votes by an employee or an agent. It could not be a ground for setting aside the election itself.

Taking up the matter, Justice Permod Kohli summoned the record pertaining to the orders of the election tribunal and the district judge. Notice of motion was also issued notices for July 22 to the respondents, including V.K. Sood, on whose petition Rawal’s election was set aside.

The other respondents include Rawal and the election tribunal. They have been asked to file the replies to the present petition within a week. The petition filed by Rawal during the summer break, seeking directions to quash the orders of the tribunal and the district judge, too has now been adjourned to July 22.

Acting on an appeal filed by ousted president Rawal, Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia has already issued notice of motion to the state of Haryana. The state has also been asked to inform the court why the removal order should be not stayed.

Civil Judge (senior division)-cum-judge of the municipal election tribunal, Anshu Shukla, had declared Rawal’s election void on May 4.

Following the orders, Rawal filed an appeal, seeking the quashing of tribunal’s order, but it also dismissed on June 8 by the session court, compelling Rawal to approach the high court.

In his appeal, Rawal asserted his election to the post was conducted in accordance with the the rules and regulations of the Haryana Municipal Act.

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Poll officials appointed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh July 2
UT Land Acquisition Officer Hargunjit Kaur has been appointed as Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer-cum-Scrutinising Officer and Assistant Controller (F&A), Estate Office, Jit Singh as Assistant Electoral Registration Officer and Assistant Returning Officer for ward number 10 of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh for the forthcoming by-election.

Assistant Commissioner Kamlesh Kumar has been appointed as Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer and Assistant Controller (F&A), Chandigarh Housing Board, Vijay Kumar Vij as Assistant Returning Officer and Assistant Electoral Registration Officer for the forthcoming by-election in the each gram panchayats of Behlana, Kaimbwala, Raipur Kalan and Sarangpur.

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Programme on female foeticide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
“For improving sex ratio and curbing sex selective foeticide, there is a need to ensure that no sex determination test is carried out by ultrasonologists of registered ultrasound centres and provisions of the PNDT Act are implemented seriously,” said Ram Niwas, UT Health-cum-Home Secretary, at a sensitisation programme on female foeticide here.

It was organised under the partnership initiative programme at the Family Welfare Bureau in Sector 22 here yesterday.

The interactive session was attended by 68 participants, including ultrasonologists and representatives of various NGOs.

The Health Secretary expressed his concern over female foeticide and stressed on implementation of the Act. He urged to make ardent efforts, both as professionals and human beings, to curb the menace.

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Advertising helps online media’s growth

The online advertising helps the online media to grow at a phenomenal rate of growth. In it, the advertiser has to pay only when prospective customers click on his ads.

But the “enterprising” websites are quick to resort to the click fraud since the online marketing has become a way of life way back in 2003. The spreading scourge poses the single biggest threat to the Internet's advertising gold mine and is the most nettlesome question facing Google and Yahoo, whose digital empires depend on all that gold.

Google and Yahoo insist that there is no reason to fret. They say they use sophisticated algorithms and intelligence from advertisers to identify the vast majority of fake clicks. They claim to filter out most questionable clicks and either do not charge for them or reimburse advertisers that have been wrongly billed. Determined to prevent a backlash, the Internet ad titans say the extent of click chicanery has been exaggerated, and they stress that they combat the problem vigorously. "We think click fraud is serious, but a manageable issue," says John Slade, Yahoo's senior director for global product management.

"Google strives to detect every invalid click that passes through its system," says Shuman Ghosemajumder, the search engine's manager for trust and safety. "It is absolutely in our best interest for advertisers to have confidence in this industry." Google, he says, does a better job than Yahoo of screening for fraud. But neither seem to be adequately protects marketers.

Spending on Internet ads is growing faster than any other sector of the advertising industry and is expected to surge from $12.5 billion in 2005 to $29 billion in 2010 in the US alone, according to researcher eMarketer Inc. About half of these dollars are going into deals requiring advertisers to pay by the click. Most other Internet ads are priced according to "impressions," or how many people view them.

Google and Yahoo are grabbing billions of dollars once collected by traditional print and broadcast outlets, based partly on the assumption that clicks are a reliable, quantifiable measure of consumer interest that the older media simply does not have any alternative. But the huge influx of cash for online ads has attracted armies of con artists, whose activities are eroding that crucial assumption and could eat into the optimistic expectations for online advertising.

Most academics and consultants, who study online advertising, estimate that from 10 per cent to 15 per cent of ad clicks are fake.

Randall S Hansen, a professor of marketing at Stetson University in Deland, Fla, sees a larger lesson in tales of this sort. "We are just beginning to see more and more mainstream advertisers make the Internet a bigger part of their ad budget, and move dollars from print and TV," he says. "But if we cannot fix this click-fraud problem, then it is going to scare away the further development of the Internet as an advertising medium. If there is an undercurrent of fraud, then why should a large advertiser be losing $1 million, or maybe not know how much it is losing?”

Now the Facebook, founded on February 1, 2004, with a updated funding of US $716 million too is also in race with websites to monetise the Internet information circuit, including social media networking sites. With such a heavy investment, it has to earn money like any other business venture. It has a big revenue target this year, $550 million.

That is nearly twice 2008 revenues of $280 million.

A big part of that revenue comes from cost-per-click advertising from small self-serve advertisers. And right now, those advertisers are not very happy. They have been complaining about click fraud of up to 100 per cent for weeks, and the situation does not seem to be getting any better.

Advertisers are complaining of massive click fraud. These are not the standard click fraud complaints that advertisers have levelled against search engines for years. They are alleging that Facebook is recording and charging for clicks that does not exist at all, even from bots. Their tracking software shows one set of numbers, which is 20 per cent -- 100 per cent lower than what Facebook is recording.

But a spokesperson of the Facebook says that we take click quality very seriously and have a series of measures in place to detect it. We have large volumes of data to analyse click patterns and can identify suspicious activity quickly.

He adds that over the past few days, we have seen an increase in suspicious clicks. We have identified a solution, which we have already begun to implement and expect, will be completely rolled out soon. In addition, we are identifying impacted accounts and will ensure that advertisers are credited appropriately.

Anil Maheshwari is an editor with Instablogs.com. (anilm@gmail.com)

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Counselling for Class XI
More takers for science on Day 1
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The first day of admissions for around 11,000 Class XI seats at government schools started on a brisk note today at GMSSS-10 with around 1,200 students, who secured above 85 per cent, taking admissions.

The counselling that will continue till July 14 as per the schedule saw maximum students opting for science stream on the first day as a result of which the admission of general category in the stream were declared closed at GMSSS-35 at a cut off of 88.6 per cent and in GMSSS-16 at 86.2 per cent.

As many as 923 science stream seats have been filled out of a total of 3,218. The department officials expect a similar response for the remaining 2,295 seats.

Meanwhile, commerce and humanities had a relatively lesser number of takers with 131 out of total 1,560 for commerce and 12 out of 4,875 for arts being filled so far. Over 17 seats were filled for the vocational courses.

In addition to the candidates having secured more than 85 per cent, admission to sports quota seats was also completed.

The students having graduation certificates were admitted in various schools. Around 75 students were admitted in this category and around 19 students were having grade-B certificate.

Meanwhile, the education department expedite the whole admission process with the assistance of DOEACC. Merit lists were displayed at different places for the convenience of the public and even merit wise time slots were allotted in order to prevent chaos and wastage of time.

Announcements were made to facilitate the uninterrupted conduct of admissions. Around ten counters were made with a separate one for sports quota candidates to speed up the process and a large number of teachers and principals were on the duty to maintain the decorum and make the exercise hassle free.

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NIPER gets approval for lab practices
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 2
The National Toxicology centre, established at National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Mohali, has been approved for the good laboratory practices compliance by the Department of Science and Technology.

The centre has become the first government-approved facility with GLP certification. The certification has been given after three-round of vigorous inspection. Based on the inspection report, it has been confirmed that the test facility at NTC is capable of conducting various toxicological and mutagen test/studies.

The certification will facilitate in the testing of new chemical entities for regulatory submission by different pharmaceutical industry and academia, apart from making use of the facility in internal research projects and hands-on training of research students.

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