C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Plundering of forest cover begins
De-listed land may be denotified from Act
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Jyanti Majri (Mohali), October 11
In anticipation of land prices going up after the de-listed forest land is denotified from the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA) on the periphery of Chandigarh, “outsiders” have started levelling hillocks, uprooting trees and changing the nature of the land at Jyanti Majri, Gurdha, Perch and Karondewala villages.

Those who have bought the land are damaging the eco-fragile Shivalik Hills, which is not bona fide agricultural land. The provisions of the Forest Act prohibit any kind of quarrying, uprooting and cutting of trees.

Villagers, on the other hand, lament that despite their land falling under the category of bone fide agricultural land, they still have to get the benefit given by the union ministry of forest and environment.

Landowners are using tractors to level the land. “The cover-up by the violators to escape action is that they start planting saplings. They level the hillocks and then plant saplings. It needs to be probed,” a forest official said, adding that the de-listing had been done on the condition that the land would be used for only bona fide agricultural and related activities to sustain the livelihood of the owner. The commercial use of the land has been banned by the Central government.

Divisional forest officer, Ropar, Amit Mishra, said he was not aware about the violation. “The levelling of hillocks is not allowed and I will look into it,” he said.

However, certain forest officials have been visiting the area and are aware of the violation. Challans had been issued for cutting trees.

A forester of the area, Satwant Singh, was aware of the violations, but the activity has not stopped. Enquiries in the belt revealed that land was being sold for anything between Rs 2.50 lakh an acre to Rs 5 lakh an acre depending on the location. Those who have bought the land are VIPs, property dealers or influential persons.

At Karondewala village, a Chandigarh-based landowner had engaged a tractor to level the hillocks for commercial exploitation. Though a large chunk of hills had been bought several years ago, the levelling started only a few months ago.



Light travel heavy on coolies
A few apply for post advertised by Railways
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Changing lifestyle and people’s preference to travel light has hit the earnings of the coolies hard with only a few takers for the new vacancies advertised by the Railways.

According to sources, number of porters at the local railway station has reduced to half over the past few years and there are hardly any takers for the vacant posts the applications for which have been invited by the Railways.

They said presently there were about 18 coolies and the Railways had invited applications for 17 posts lying vacant so as to facilitate the passengers or the local businessmen who had to send the consignments to other destinations.

The reason behind this seems to be changing lifestyle and people’s preference to travel light, which has taken toll on the earnings of the porters.

Station Superintendent, RK Datta, said only a few boys had applied for the post, the last date for which had been fixed for October 16.

He claimed that the work for the coolies had gone down considerably as most of the passengers travelling by trains like Shatabdi were carrying lighter baggage.

One of the porters Sukhram while talking to The Tribune said they were getting Rs 15 per trip from platform No.1 to 4. The Railways fixed this amount about four to five years ago.

He said he work at the station had also reduced considerably as people were not carrying heavy luggage like bedding or trunks. Only those belonging to affluent class or the migrant women use their services for carrying the luggage.

He rued that the recent hike in the prices of essential commodities had added to their woes and it had become impossible for them to make both ends meet.

Commenting on the new vacancies at the station Sukhram said sons of two colleagues Kaka and Cher Singh, coolie Nos. 26 and 21, respectively, had applied for the post sometime back but were not aware of the fate of their applications.

Most of the porters were illiterate. They were also not aware of how to fill the form and whether the posts have been reserved for general categories or Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes, he added.



Assembly Election
No one holds sway
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

A supporter of Harinder Singh Saini, an Independen
A supporter of Harinder Singh Saini, an Independen
Tribune photo: S Chandan

Panchkula, October 11
Even as the campaigning for the Assembly elections ended with rallies and road shows at Panchkula here today, none of the candidates seem to have made any impact on voters.

The parties were bereft of issues pertaining to the local population, and the opposition seems to have failed in cashing on the dissidence among the local Congress cadre over the fielding of an outsider.

While the dissidents are still in arms against DK Bansal, the party candidate, the rivals also seem to have failed to put themselves in a comfortable position.

The Chief Minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who went to address a rally for party candidate Satwinder Sing Rana at Kalka also did not bother to give any “visible” support to Bansal who is largely depending on the support of some union ministers, MPs and MLAs from Punjab only.

The only consolation for Bansal is that the party polled 33,688 votes from this segment during the parliamentary elections held in May, when union minister of tourism Kumari Selja defeated her Rattan Lal Kataria. 

BJP supporters participate in a road show at Panchkula on Sunday
BJP supporters participate in a road show at Panchkula on Sunday. Tribune photos: S Chandan

Though the infighting in the Congress may please BJP candidate Gian Chand Gupta, it would not be easy for him to bridge the gap to clinch the seat from the Congress after its break up with the INLD which constituted more than 25 per cent of the votes polled to Kataria. 

Shashi Sharma, Haryana Janhit Congress candidate who joined the party following the denial of ticket from the Congress, has emerged as a strong contender in the last phase of the campaigning.

Sharma, who remained the in charge of campaigning for the Congress during the last 11 elections, was able to rope in many Congress dissidents. Though the dissidents avoided coming out in the public with him, a few of them could be seen during dinners thrown for supporters by the HJC.

The INLD candidate, Yograj Singh, is expecting to take on his rivals, but with no local issues in hand, he seems to be far behind the target. The vote bank of the party falls in this segment, with more than 50,000 votes in the municipal area where the party has little impact.

The Bahujan Samaj Party, which got only 7,240 votes in the Lok Sabha elections, is relying on its social engineering formula. Its candidate, Sanjiv Bhardwaj, also could not make any impact.



Former employee of factory held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Two days after the sensational heist at a plot in the Industrial Area, the police today arrested a former employee of the factory, who is said to be behind the daring crime.The police said Mahinder Kumar of Darua, who is in his mid-30s, was arrested following a tip-off. The manager of the factory (Avon Ispat and Power Limited) had expelled him about six months ago when he was caught stealing.

DSP (East) Jasbir Singh Cheema said Mahinder could not give satisfactory answers to queries. He was asked about his whereabouts on the day of the crime, but he tried to mislead the police. Sources said he would be questioned about the robbery after taking his police remand.

The factory manager had reported to the police on Friday that around 18 armed persons wearing masks forced their entry into the factory in the wee hours. They tied up the security guards and detained another one in a room. They took away around 2.5 tonne of nickel, Rs 1.16 lakh and a computer in a mini truck.



Rahul’s rendezvous with NSUI activists tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Members of the National Students Union of India (NSUI) will interact with AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi on October 13.Buoyed by the success of the “Rahul brigade” in the recently held Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi will meet hundreds of party workers during an interaction at Panjab University.

No agenda seems to have been drafted for the interaction, which coincides with the Assembly elections in Haryana. “It is part of the AICC’s programme to reach out to the common man, particularly the younger generation, whose interest in politics has waned in recent years,” HS Lucky, president of the Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress , said here today.

In the absence of any agenda, the questions would include an array of issues like politics, economics and the state of the nation. Questions on his marriage plans would also be posed to him, Lucky said.

Recently, the Indian Youth Congress (IYC) had organised a nationwide talent hunt for people under its flagship “Aam aadmi ka sipahi” (AAKS) programme to bridge the gap between the government and the common man.

The youths selected under the AAKS have been working as the IYC’s interface with the public and making people aware about various schemes like the Right to Information Act, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, the midday meal scheme, the old-age pension scheme and the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan.

Though the October 13 interaction is not a part of the AAKS programme, the essence remains the same, organisers stated.


Workshop on respiratory support to kids
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
A workshop on the advantages of “Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)”, a technique that provides respiratory support to newborn babies, was held at the Advance Pediatric Centre, PGI, today. Former PGI doctor Prof ON Bhakoo was the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony.

Commencing the day’s proceedings with a talk on the scientific rationale behind CPAP, Dr Praveen Kumar, head of the ‘Newborn Unit’, said, “CPAP is a much simpler and safer modality of providing respiratory support, in which oxygen is provided to babies under pressure through a small device attached to the nose”.

Dr Kanya Mukhopadhyay elaborated on the scientific evidence in favour of the technique. She said for premature babies with breathing difficulties at birth, the use of early CPAP resulted in quicker recovery. Any expensive and invasive form of respiratory support was not needed either.

Apart from these lectures, three “mini-workshops” were also conducted. While one was on an interesting modality called “Bubble CPAP” in which oxygen is allowed to bubble through water to generate the required pressure to be delivered to the baby, another mini-workshop dealt on the various devices and equipments used for giving CPAP.

The third was on the interpretation of X-rays and on supportive care to babies receiving CPAP. Sister Neeraj, a nurse in the Newborn Unit, delivered a talk on the nursing care of babies on CPAP, which requires a high degree of nursing support and skill. A book and a CD on the event were released on the occasion.



Experts discuss architectural trends
Tribune News Service

Delegates at a seminar on global architecture, in Chandigarh on Sunday.
Delegates at a seminar on global architecture, in Chandigarh on Sunday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh,October 11
An international conference on global architecture was held here today. The aim was to discuss the significance of modern architecture in India and the world and to celebrate World Architecture Day. Conrado Tostado, a Mexican diplomat, who was the guest of honour, spoke about bilateral relations between Mexico and India and its influence on modern architecture.

Balbir Verma, chair of practice, Commonwealth Association of Architects, spoke about the number of architectural issues being faced by Indian architects vis-a-vis global architects.

Surinder Bahga, chairman of Chandigarh-Punjab Chapter of Indian Institute of Architects and principal architect of Saakaar Foundation, said, “The modern building material and technologies have made a tremendous change in today’s architectural scenario. Since the modernism is penetrating into India at a very fast rate, it is high time to underline future strategies for development.”

Architect Eduardo Terrazas from Mexico gave a presentation on his projects. He discussed about the urban design of Karachi and Islamabad, as well as for low-income housing projects in India, for which he was the consultant.

Gerald Steyn from the Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa, related the architecture of South Africa with that of Indian subcontinent.

The third technical presentation was by Stefano Boeri, an architect from Milan, Italy. The presentation of works by Stefano was structured around the theme of architecture and politics.

The technical sessions were chaired by architect Jit Kumar Gupta, director, College of Architecture, Bhaddal, Dr SS Bhatti, former Principal of the Chandigarh College of Architecture, and Renu Saigal, former Chief Architect of Chandigarh.

In the panel discussion, Prabhjot Kaur, head of the Department of Architecture, Giani Zail Singh College of Engineering and Technology, Bathinda, and Archana Chaudhary, an architect with the Housing Board, Haryana, expressed their views on the advent of modern architecture in India.

The conference was organised jointly by the Embassy of Mexico in India, the Indian Institute of Architects, Chandigarh-Punjab chapter, and the Saakaar Foundation, Chandigarh.



Engineer Regiment treks to Karakoram
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
As part of its 45th Raising Day celebrations, the 268 Engineer Regiment conducted a trekking expedition to the Karakoram Pass, which connects India with China. The pass is located at an altitude of 18,175 feet and the region has some of the highest peaks in the world.

Led by Capt Saikat de, the team comprising 15 members began the 20-day expedition from the 14 Corps headquarters. They walked along the freezing Shyok river and crossed it several times en route to Daulat Beg Oldie, the world’s highest airstrip located just 8 km from the Line of Actual Control.

Thereafter followed a steep climb to the Karakoram Pass, which is marked by a structure adored with skulls of horses and mules that died on the trail.

Part of the ancient silk trade route, it was so notorious for claiming lives that it has come to be known as the skeleton trail. The area is characterised by high-velocity winds and temperatures as low as -30°C.

The team also crossed the 18,680-foot-high Khardungla Pass, the highest motorable pass in the world. It also passed through the Saser La Pass to reach Murgo, which means (in local parlance) gateway of death. It was used as a camping ground by traders in the days of yore.

Based somewhere in the western sector, the regiment, part of the Bombay Sappers Group, also has the distinction of having launched a number of expeditions to Antarctica besides Mamostang Kangri, Nanda Devi, Panchuli and Satho Panth peaks.



Commonwealth Games
Demand for tourism professionals goes up
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
With less than a year to go for New Delhi to host the Commonwealth Games, demand for tourism and hotel management professionals in Chandigarh has shot up drastically.

Experts claim that only five per cent of the people are trained in the industry (in and around Chandigarh) and the same has raised concerns by the National Council for Hotel Management under the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, which is now opening up avenues.

The most recent being the sanction of Rs two-crore grant to Panjab University’s UIHMT (University Institute for Hotel Management and Tourism) by Central government, which has already started its first batch.

A visit to the institute’s site divulges that fast construction work with an in-house training restaurant is being constructed to train the students.

“The demand of nearly 2,10,000 professionals in the tourism and hotel management sector is yet to be met in the country. Also there is a great demand of professionals in Chandigarh due to the upcoming Commonwealth Games. It is a cause of concern for the city, since it’s a favourite tourist destination and there is a dearth of man power,” said Naveen Nanchachan, principal, Dr Ambedkar Institute of Hotel Management (IHM), Sector 42.

To meet the deficiency of trained professionals, IHM has even started a special two-month course for the school dropouts, on the national council’s directions.

Having received financial aid and UT administration’s support, the Panjab University has also signed a MoU with IHM to conduct practical classes in their institute till PU is ready with its own infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the first batch of BSc in hospitality and hotel administration (60 seats, all full) and in BSc tourism (30 seats, with 21 full) has already started.

Students who have qualified Class XII examination with any subject combination are eligible to seek admission in these courses.

The university will also be conducting its own entrance exam from next year for admissions to UIHMT.

“The work is in progress and the UT administration is also supporting the initiative of the university. To ensure quality, PU will conduct its own entrance from next year,” said Prof LK Bansal, coordinator, UIHMT.

“With the coming up of five star hotels in the city, the demand has gone up,” he added. 



Santoor spell by Suddhashil
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, October 11
Santoor is regarded as the most complex Indian musical string but certainly not for the Kolkata-based young maestro, Suddhashil Chatterjee, who with his innate aesthetic potential and expertise defined the melody in a scintillating santoor spell at the Pracheen Kala Kendra here today.

The foremost disciple of Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and holding allegiance to Senia Miahar ghrana, Suddhashil opened up the baithak concert skillfully, unfolding the melodic character of raga Madhuwanti through an elaborate alaap, rhythmically enriched jod and intricate meticulous patterns in jhala.

The raga composition (gat) in jhap tala displayed the unique way of executing vistaar with soothing layakaris keeping the melody metre intact in a purely artistic manner.

Suddhashil then moved on to present a Madhya laya, teen tala composition, wherein fast taans fixed a niche of the raga making the madhya laya composition interesting. Suddhashil produced some swift sequences with arrested resonance of the strings. It sounded pleasant, as evidenced by applause from audience.

After raga Madhuwanti, Suddhashil delved deep to bring alive the pensive mood of raga sohini, with dexterous meend work, otherwise a difficult endeavour. His santoor vadan both in gayaki and tantarkari ang showed the range of the instrument and its versatility in both the realm of classical and regional folk music.

Avirbhav Verma gave him brilliant support on tabla. Kendra registrar kathak guru Shobha Koser honoured the artistes.



Villages to slug it out with Admn
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The steering committee of the Chandigarh Sanjha Morcha, under the chairmanship of Brig K. S. Kahlon (retired), today met at Khuda Ali Sher here to evolve a strategy to “fight the onslaught of the UT Administration and the dictatorial and indifferent attitude towards UT villages”.

Brigadier Kahlon questioned the wisdom of UT planners to concentrate so-called development projects like Education City, MediCity, Film City and IT Park in Chandigarh itself. Conceived for a population of five lakh, the population had already crossed 10 lakh.

All these additional projects would choke the city as it would mean an additional strain on public utility services and infrastructure. It would also affect the ecology and green cover of the city. The Sukhna Lake was on the verge of drying up, he said.

Mam Chand, a former sarpanch of Maloya, said the UT Administration had announced giving Rs 50 lakh per acre for about nine acres of marshy and barren land of the village this year. Last month, in the same village, about 167 acres of fertile land was acquired at Rs 30 lakh an acre.

Many speakers lambasted the Administration for ignoring the development needs of the villages and the lack of educational and medical facilities. Among those who spoke were Gurdial Singh, a former sarpanch of Khuda Ali Sher, Prem Singh, H.S. Dhamija, H.K. Verma and Naseeb Singh.

Certain youth leaders, in particular, reminded the political leadership of their failure to fulfil their promises made to the villages prior to parliamentary elections.

The house unanimously decided that a delegation of the morcha would meet the Prime Minister, the Chairperson of the UPA, and Pawan Kumar Bansal, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, to explain to them the non-implementation of the National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy 2007, which was a blatant violation by the UT Administration. It was also decided to urge the UPA government to instruct the UT Administration to denotify all land acquisition proceedings and stop the demolition of houses outside the ‘lal dora’.

The morcha urged the UPA government to make public the outcome of the CVC inquiry proceedings and audit report carried out on behalf of the Ministry of Home Affairs.



Rs 14 crore for power
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The Chandigarh Administration will spend about Rs 14 crore in the current financial year for the upgradation of power infrastructure in the city. Of this, about Rs 9 crore will be incurred on works of 33 KV and above while Rs 5 crore will be incurred on works of 11 KV and below.

In order to maintain continuous power supply in the city, the Administration spent nearly Rs 35 crore in 2008-09 for the upgradation and setting up of new infrastructure in the power sector.

UT Finance-cum-Engineering Secretary Sanjay Kumar said in August 2009, a 66 KV substation in Sector 56 was commissioned to provide uninterrupted electric supply to southern sectors.

Conscious of growing demand at some sites where economic growth and business activities were more, the Administration had decided to upgrade the substations in Sector 34 and IT Park.

The Engineering Department had installed new transformers of higher capacity at Kishangarh, Sector 18, Mani Majra and Industrial Area Phases I and II.



Society offers Rs 1 lakh scholarship for students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The Yogoda Satsanga Society of India announced the setting up of the Paramhansa Yogananda Centenary scholarship for first and second year engineering, medical, dental, and agricultural students in Chandigarh.

The total amount of scholarship is rupees one lakh, which will be given in four instalments of Rs 25,000 each.

The successful candidate will get Rs 25,000 for the first year soon after passing the test and will continue to get the same amount for another four years provided his/her academic performance and behaviour is certified to be satisfactory by the principal of the concerned college.

The aspiring students for the scholarship will have to appear in a selection test based on questions from autobiography of a Yogi, a book by Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952), which is presently being used as a text and reference book in over 100 universities and colleges in India and abroad.

A question bank comprising of 15 questions will be given in advance to the students. Out of this five questions will be asked in the competitive examination. The students will have to answer all questions and each answer should be around 600 words.

Brochures and forms are available at Yogoda Satsanga Dhyana Kendra, Sector 28-D, Chandigarh, on any working day between 9 am and 4.30 pm or on Sundays between 11 am and 12.30 pm.

The last date for entries is October 31.



DAV-8 best in skit contest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Hosts DAV Senior Secondary School, Sector 8, won the skit competition in the ongoing all-India inter-school cultural competitions being organised here.A team comprising of Shubham and Somya of DAV Public School, Sarabha Nagar, Ludhiana, won the trophy for the Mahatma Hansraj Hindi debate competition.

The first prize went to Shubham while Somya won the second prize and the third prize went to Kohika of DAV School, Kurukshetra.

In the Giani Jominder Singh Memorial Punjab poetry competition, the overall trophy went to Amandeep and Chetna of M.R.A. Public School, Sector 7, Panchkula.

The first prize in the contest went to Harkanwal Kaur of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 35-D, Chandigarh, and second prize to Charnjot Kaur of DAV Public Senior Secondary School, Phase X, Mohali. The third prize went to Rajni Murari of Government Model High School, Sector 37-C, Chandigarh.

In the Milkhi Ram Mahajan Memorial Kavita Path recitation contest, the overall trophy was bagged by Gitanjali and Kirti of DAV School, Kurukshetra. Gitanjali also won the first prize while Kirti of DAV School, Kurukshetra, walked away with the second prize. Angad of St Soldier International Convent School, Phase VII, Mohali, won the third prize. Chanchal Singh, UT DEO, was the chief guest.



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