C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Businessman shot at Sector 20 office
Tribune News Service

An employee of the victim being taken to his office.
An employee of the victim being taken to his office.Tribune photo: Vinay Malik  

Chandigarh, November 25
Five unidentified persons shot a businessman at his office in Sector 20 here this evening and reportedly fled in a car parked at a busy market.

The police said the deceased had been identified as Harjinder Singh Dhillon (in his mid-30s), a resident of Phase VII, Mohali. He had been divorced and was living with his mother. His neighbour said he was also running a transport business, besides a telecom franchise in Sector 20.

The police suspected that a dispute over the finance of a car could be the reason behind the murder.

Harbans Singh, a shopkeeper, said pieces of glass fell from the first floor in front of his shop. He went to see what had happened and heard a woman crying for help at Dhillon’s office. He, along with others, rushed to his office and heard a gunshot. They saw Dhillon lying on the floor, muttering something. They took him to the GMCH in a car.

Eyewitnesses said they saw five youths, including one with turban, rushing down the staircase. They ran to the rear of the market through a vacant plot and fled.

Dhillon, who was reportedly shot in the chest, was declared brought dead at the hospital.

The police received information about the incident at around 7.30 pm.

Dhillon was sitting in his office with his employee, Simmi, when the youths arrived. They had a discussion over some issues, including a Ford Fiesta belonging to Dhillon. The arguments took an ugly turn and a youth manhandled him. His turban fell off and one of the youths fired a shot.

Simmi accompanied Dhillon to the hospital and was later brought to the spot and questioned. She reportedly told the police that she had seen the youths earlier also as they used to visit him. The police has dispatched teams to trace the accused. 



5 held for credit card fraud
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 25
The local police today arrested five people, including a resident of Coimbatore, for fraudulently misusing credit cards of foreign tourists by imprinting their CVC numbers (card security codes) on forged cards. Officials investigating the matter said whenever a cardholder used his or her card at a store or a hotel the suspects, in connivance with shopkeepers and hotel staff, retrieved their CVC numbers and used them to make purchases on fake credit cards.

“After copying down the security code of a credit card they imprinted it onto another credit card that they then used for conducting fraudulent transactions”, said Fatehgarh Sahib SSP Kaustubh Sharma.

He added the gang’s main targets were tourists who would not be able to trace the culprits after returning their countries. The gang members used to steal the code from various stores and hotels with the help of shopowners and hotel staff.

Once they got the code they used to pass it over to an illegal credit card manufacturer in Kolkata, who supplied them fake credit cards with the original codes of cards stolen from foreigners.

Police officials investigating the case said the suspects have made purchases amounting to lakhs of rupees in Patiala, Khanna and Amritsar during the past six months. They have also prepared fake driving licences and other documents to produce before shopkeepers to make purchases of more than Rs 50,000. Fake identity cards and driving licences have also been recovered from their possession. The suspects admitted they had purchased fake credit cards in lieu of Rs 1.11 lakh from the Kolkata manufacturer.

The five suspects have been identified as Mohammad Javed of Coimbatore, Harmandeep Singh alias Sambha, Gaurav Kumar, Gurvinder Singh Bopi, all residents of Batala and Sandeep Singh of Verka in Amritsar. They all were traveling in a Honda City car near Mandi Gobindgarh and were arrested following a tipoff. Various MasterCards and VISA cards issued by ICICI Bank, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank and Citibank have been recovered from their possession.

The police said it had registered a case against the five men in this connection and they would be taken into police remand for further investigation. Police officials said more arrests are expected in the coming few days after the suspects are interrogated.



Vehicles set ablaze at Mauli Jagran
Residents protest police inaction
Tribune News Service

A car that was set afire by miscreants at Mauli Jagran, Chandigarh, on Wednesday.
A car that was set afire by miscreants at Mauli Jagran, Chandigarh, on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan Another photo P5

Chandigarh, November 25
Residents of Mauli Jagran today staged a protest outside the police post in their area after some miscreants set afire some vehicles in the locality last night.

They raised slogans against the police for its failure to check rowdy elements. They said incidents of robbery, assault, snatching and setting afire vehicles and property had become a routine.

The miscreants burnt three autorickshaws, two cars and a jeep at around midnight. When people came to know of it, they tried to douse the flames and informed the fire brigade at 12.40 am. A fire engine was pressed into service. The vehicles were parked in various parts of the colony.

A police officer said political rivalry could be a reason behind the incident while another added that the miscreants did not set afire all vehicles. A car seemingly went up in flames due to a short circuit and they were examining it.

The DSP (East), Jasbir Singh Cheema, reached the spot and assured the protesters of a fair probe. He said the culprits would be arrested soon and six persons had already been rounded up.

Earlier also such incidents had been reported in the city, but the police was not been able to track the miscreants.



Deep Nursing Home Case
Court summons DDA, SHO
Next hearing fixed for Nov 30
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 25
The UT administration’s deputy district attorney (legal) has landed himself along with a police SHO in the dock in connection with the Deep Nursing Home case. Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain of the Punjab & Haryana High Court today summoned both to the court on the next date of hearing following the failure of the authorities concerned to make clear their stand on the submission of a ‘challan’ in the matter.

The Chandigarh police had registered a case against the nursing home’s owners, Dr Kanwarjit Kochhar and her husband, Dr Gurdeep Singh Kochhar, following allegations of medical negligence leading to the death of a patient and her child. Both had also been accused of fabricating false evidence in the judicial proceedings.

An FIR was filed in the case about two months after the Chandigarh State Consumer Commission had slapped a fine of Rs 20 lakh on the owners.

The Chandigarh branch of the Indian Medical Association, which has already come out in support of the nursing home, has urged the inspector-general of police to withdraw the case on the ground that the medical board constituted by the UT administration had not found any negligence on part of the two doctors.

As the doctors’ petition for quashing the FIR came up for hearing before justice Jain, counsel for the administration stated on the next date of hearing the bench would be informed about the specific stand on whether the ‘challan’ was to be submitted.

Counsel for the petitioners, on the other hand, asserted a stand had not been taken even though over a year had lapsed. Responding to the assertion, the UT’s counsel added on instructions from a police official that legal opinion had to be given by the deputy district attorney (legal) and, thereafter, further action would be taken by the police.

Taking on record the assertion, Jain directed the police station house officer as well as the DDA to be present in the court, while fixing November 30 as the next date of hearing in the matter. The first information report in the case was registered on March 1, 2007 and the doctor couple have all along been claiming implication.



Rapist uncle convicted in 10 days
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 25
Setting a new example, in a speedy judgement delivered in 10 days after the onset of trial, a resident of Manimajra was convicted of raping his minor niece today.

The accused, Baldev, has been sentenced to seven-year rigorous imprisonment by the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Raj Shekhar Attri. A fine of Rs 12,000 was also imposed on him.

The case was registered in November last year, when a 15-year-old girl was “recovered” by the police with the accused at Sukhna Lake. He had taken her to Nepal where he raped her for five months. He then returned with her and the police nabbed him from the lake.

The girl told the police that she willingly went with him, but in court she deposed that she was given an intoxicant before she was kidnapped and was then taken to Nepal where she was raped by her uncle — her father’s cousin.

During trial, 10 prosecution witnesses were examined. 



Fake ID Cards
 PU pulls up Ludhiana college
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 25
Panjab University today sought an explanation from GGM Khalsa College, Ludhiana, pertaining to “forging identities” by students in the youth festival.

The information was communicated to The Tribune via the public relation department of the university by the department of youth welfare which is responsible for coordinating such festivals.

The VC, Prof RC Sobti, also expressed his disappointment on the issue during the UGC principals’ meeting today. “Students cannot seek admission at two places and it is against the rules. Migration certificate and other important documents are needed at the time of admission and it is the responsibility of the college to check these. If it is found that the PU authorities have been cheated, strict action would be taken against the guilty, be it the college or the students,” he said.

Khalsa College had earlier issued identity cards to eight students of the bhangra team, attesting that they were bona fide students of the college.

Later the students gave an affidavit to the PTU that they were students of the university and not the PU. This happened when a controversy cropped following a complaint by other participants to the PTU, saying that thesePU pulls up Ludhiana collegestudents had participated in both PU and PTU inter-zonal festivals and had won the first prize in both.

Meanwhile, the college authorities have called an urgent meeting of its faculty to discuss the case. “We are meeting tomorrow to discuss the issue and I will be able to comment only when we find out the facts,” RP Singh, officiating principal, said. The former principal, Prof Inderjeet Singh, who had issued the ID-cards, is now the registrar at Guru Nanak Dev University.


Pension parity likely for pre-2006 disabled soldiers
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 25
Pre-2006 disability pensioners may have something to look forward to. During the 5th CPC regime, disability pension of the defence personnel was calculated on the basis of a slab-system, while civil disability pensioners got it on the percentage basis.

The defence personnel were granted disability element at the rate Rs 2,600 for officers, Rs 1,900 for JCOs and Rs 1,550 for other ranks for 100 per cent disability, while civilians were granted a disability element of 30 per cent of basic pay. The slab system was beneficial for some lower ranks of the forces but was not quite congenial to the overall scenario.

Recognising this anomaly, the 6th CPC recommended that even defence personnel should be placed on a percentage system of calculating disability element. However while accepting the new dispensation, the government made it applicable only to post-2006 pensioners, while retaining the old slab system for pre-2006 pensioners.

This resulted in a great disparity between pre and post-2006 disabled personnel. For example, a General, who may have retired on December 31, 2005 was entitled to a disability element of Rs 5,880 per month, while a General who retired a day later with the same disability on January 1, 2006 was entitled to Rs 27,000 as disability element.

But now there are indications that the new stipulation is going to be extended to pre-2006 disability pensioners in the near future. Personnel, who retired prior to January 1, 2006, would then also be placed on a percentage system for calculation of disability element. This would be subject to a minimum grant of Rs 3,100 as disability element for 100 per cent disability.



IAF evacuates stranded civilians in J&K
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 25
IAF transport aircraft evacuated about 1,300 civilians over the past two days who were stranded between Srinagar and Kargil due to heavy snowfall. Snowfall during the past week in Jammu and Kashmir had led to the closure of Zojila Pass, suspending road communication between Kargil and Srinagar along the strategic National Highway 1-A.

Following a request from the state government, the IAF pressed into service two IL-76 heavy lift aircraft from Chandigarh yesterday. Both aircraft, flown by Wg Cdr Narula and Wg Cdr Deepak carried out six sorties between Leh and Srinagar to airlift the affected locals.

IAF aircraft based at Chandigarh, including IL-76, AN-32 ad the MI-26, have provided regular succor to the people in J&K, flying in relief material in times of natural calamities and airlifting casualties and stranded civilians. 



Trust road signs at your own risk
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 25
Road signs in different parts of the city apparently convey different meanings, thanks to the non-compliance of guidelines laid down by the Indian Road Congress (IRC).

These road signs throw trusting motorists into confusion, misleading them to not only wrong directions, but also in the net of traffic police personnel, who then refuse to buy the logic and prefer to issue a ticket.

Interestingly, when an alert motorist, after being challaned by the traffic police for obeying a ‘wrong’ road sign at an intersection, pointed out the ‘mistake’, nobody from the authorities had come forward so far to take responsibility.

Two months on, they have failed to give a reply to a query filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Harman Sidhu, president of the city-based road safety NGO ArriveSafe, who pointed out the anomaly, said he was travelling in his car on August 5 last when his driver was issued a ticket for taking a wrong U-turn at the traffic lights on the road separating Sector 31 and the Industrial Area.

The officer on duty continued booking motorists for the offence even as the road sign installed at the location was a ‘Compulsory keep left’ sign, with ‘No U-turn’ being carried beneath it.

As per the IRC manual, ‘U-turn prohibited’ is a prohibitory sign. It is a circular white board with a red border and a cross over it.

“The sign shall be erected at the start and at intervals along the section of the road on which the controlling authority has enforced the prohibition. The spacing between any two successive signs should not exceed 120 metres on each side of the road.”

The ‘Compulsory keep left’ sign is a blue disc with an arrow. “The sign is frequently used on bollards or islands and refuges in the middle of a carriageway and at beginning of central reserves of dual carriageway. It should not be used at breaks in an otherwise continuous central reserve.”However, at the particular location, both these road signs are joined into one and are installed at a ‘point of no-return’.

“What can a driver do in that situation? Either he brakes hard and reverses the vehicle, putting himself and others at risk, or takes a U-turn and pays the fine,” Sidhu asserted.

The matter did not end here and the authorities concerned kept on forwarding the query from one wing to another.

“I filed an RTI query with the municipal corporation on August 21, which said the section of the road was with the CP Division No II, Construction Circle. Subsequently, a letter was sent to the CP Division No II, which marked it to the CP Division No I, showing that the MC and the engineering department were not clear about who took care of which section of the road or about the road signs,” he said.

An RTI application was filed to the Executive Engineer-cum-CPIO, CP Division No I, on September 2, seeking information on whether the road sign was as per IRC norms, whether it had been installed at a proper place and who was liable to pay for the challan issued by the traffic police. Sidhu had been waiting for a reply from the authorities till date.



Meat waste guidelines to be enforced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 25
Dr Roshan Sunkaria, Municipal Corporation Commissioner, has ordered the Medical Officer, Health, to direct mutton, chicken and fish sellers of Chandigarh to follow guidelines regarding the disposal of waste material.

In case of violation of these guidelines, the authorities will challan and fine the sellers.

As per provisions, separate dustbins and containers with lids should be placed in the markets for the disposal of mutton, chicken and fish waste.

The dustbin or container should be fitted with a removable plastic bag so that the waste collected can be disposed of along with the bag.

The waste should be disposed of through the service providers, which are private, and should not be thrown in the municipal bins of the area.



KK to perform on November 29
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 25
The musical mega-nite during the two-day cultural extravaganza, the Chandigarh Carnival, will be organised on November 29.

Bollywood singer Krishnakumar Kunnath, popularly known as KK, will perform. The award-winning playback singer has given his voice in 19 films, including ‘Love Aaj Kal’, ‘New York’, ‘Ajab Prem ki Gazab Kahani’, ‘Tum Mile’, ‘All The Best’, ‘Do Knot Disturb’, ‘Raaz’ and ‘Dil Bole Hadippa’.

The first nite will bring doses of laughter, with Bharti Singh, known as Lalli, a participant of the Great Indian Laughter Challenge, performing on stage.

Banwari Lal Johal and Bollywood actress Upasana Singh will also perform. Teams from Jordan, Hungary and France will showcase special features of their respective countries.

Sixteen troupes of folk dancers from these countries are expected to participate in the carnival to make the event more lively and global.

A film city will be set up by the ITFT Institute to promote Chandigarh as a destination of cinematic tourism. Another attraction will be the carnival parade.

It will go around the city, especially the Rock Garden, decked with funny floats and colourful tableaus of different cultures made by students of the Chandigarh College of Arts. The participants will sport carnival caps.



Nari Niketan
Inmates’ mental status to be reviewed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 25
The Chandigarh administration today decided to review the mental status of inmates of the Nari Niketan in Sector 26 here.

This was stated during a meeting of the review committee for various welfare institutions under the chairmanship of Home Secretary-cum-Secretary, Social Welfare.

Dr BS Chavan, professor and head of the department of psychiatry, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, would depute a team of doctors for the purpose.

Meanwhile, with a view to provide a balanced and nutritious diet to the inmates, the quantity of milk, curd and cereals was being increased.



Rs 10,000 penalty slapped on info officer
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 25
The State Information Commission, Punjab, has imposed a penalty of Rs 10,000 on the public information officer (PIO) of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) for causing delay in providing information. The penalty has been imposed under Section 20 (1) of the RTI Act.

The commission has ordered that the penalty amount be deducted from the salary of HS Sodhi, Superintending Engineer-cum-PIO, GMADA, and be deposited in the Treasury by December 10.

Coming down heavily on the lacklustre approach of GMADA, Lt Gen PK Grover (retired) , State Information Commissioner, stated that he had carefully gone through all the documents placed on record and it was seen that the response was provided in instalments over a period of 11 months. Even the initial response was provided after about eight months. He said “ Even though the PIO had to get information from various sections, I am of the view that his response has been totally insufficient. He did not submit an affidavit as had been ordered on September 29.”

The PIO also did not avail the opportunity given to him to explain his stance. Grover observed that the total approach of Sodhi had been lackadaisical and the case was stretched to seven hearings.

The Coordination Committee Against Paying Guests through its chairman PSVirdi sought the information on October 13, 2008, on eight points regarding shifting of paying guest business from residential areas of Mohali since commercial activity of any nature was prohibited in residential areas.

The information was not provided within the stipulated time under the RTI Act but was given after 11 months and that, too, when the coordination committee preferred a second appeal through its advocate Ranjivan Singh .

The information provided to the committee revealed that though GMADA had framed a policy in August , 2007, making it mandatory to get registration of PG accommodation running from residential premises, only two PGs had been registered so far. One was in Sector 70 and the other in Sector 68. The PG accommodations were mushrooming in the town but GMADA was not taking any action against violators. 



Patrolling system revampedin Panchkula
Tribune News Service

The ransacked house of Praveen Singhal that was robbed inSector 2, Panchkula.
The ransacked house of Praveen Singhal that was robbed inSector 2, Panchkula. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Panchkula, November 25
Feeling let down with the spate of thefts and dacoities in the town during past one week, the newly appointed superintendent of police Manish Chaudhary has revamped the patrolling system of the local police.

All Deputy Superintendents of Police and Station House Officers would be on patrol duty on rotation in the evening and as well as at night.

Earlier their was no patrolling in the town during evenings as most of the snatching incidents were reported at dusk.

The robbers also made at electiricty board office in the Industrial Area their target on Monday.

Chaudhary directing his staff said all DSPs and SHOs would take care of patrolling in the town. With this the strength of patrol party would also get doubled, as the 13 vehicles attached with these officials would be available for patrolling. These would be in addition to the 14 police control room (PCR) vans.

Similarly, the police officials attached with all the police stations and police posts in the town have been asked to keep a check on the houses locked for days together. The police officials have been asked to remove newspapers found accumulated outside such houses so that miscreants could not get any clue about them.

There were thousands of houses in the town, which remain locked for days together providing clue to the thieves.

Meanwhile, the thieves have taken cash and valuables worth Rs 2. 75 lakh from a house in Sector 2, locking the inmates in their bedrooms last night.

According to the police, owner of the house Praveen Singhal said he was sleeping with his family in the night when thieves entered his house and locked all the members in their bedrooms and took away Rs 25,000 cash and jewelry. The theft was noticed when the family got up in the morning.



First swine flu death in Mohali 
Vivek school boy tests positive
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 25
Mohali has witnessed its first death due to swine flu when about 50-year-old woman died at the GMCH, Sector 32, Chandigarh. Another student has tested positive for the H1N1 infection. The swine flu death toll has now reached 17.

Dr Deepak Bhatia, Punjab Nodal Officer, said here today that Prem Lata, who lived in Sector 68, here, was first admitted in Indus Hospital and later shifted to GMCH, Sector 32, Chandigarh, when her condition deteriorated. She had been tested positive for the H1N1 fever. Dr S.P.Surila, District Health Officer, said that the ICU of the Indus Hospital was sealed for three days and would be made functional only after proper sterilisation was done.

Patients had been shifted from the hospital. A list of 32 persons, who had come in contact with Prem Lata, both at home and at the Indus Hospital were being given the required medicine.

He said that Gaurav (9), a resident of Phase III A and student of Vivek School, was tested positive for swine flu today. 



PNB organises MSME meet

Mohali, November 25
The Punjab National Bank, Lead Bank Office, Mohali, falling under circle office, Ludhiana, organised a MSME meet here. Presentation on various schemes for entrepreneurs was shown on slides.

The function was presided over by GS Chauhan, DGM, circle head, Punjab National Bank, circle office, Ludhiana. In his inaugural address, Chauhan said that the PNB had strived to reach each entrepreneur for his financial needs with wide range of schemes. The bank had made schemes for both manufacturing and service sector enterprises on attractive rate of interests and simplified the procedure for processing the loan proposals through specialised SME branches. The SME meets were being held in every district to create awareness among the prospective entrepreneurs. — OC



Workshop to improve Punjabi syllabi

Mohali, November 25
Punjab School Education Board Chairman Dr Dalbir Singh Dhillon today inaugurated a workshop of schoolteachers held to finalise plans for improving the syllabi of Punjabi language for various classes.

Addressing the inaugural session, Dhillon said that the workshop which was being attended by leading subject experts of the board and teachers from various schools shall draw the guide lines for future projects of the board.

The workshop was being conducted jointly by the Directorate of Academics and Punjabi Vikas Kendra. The workshop shall conclude of November 30. — OC



IT in Industrial Area
Scheme fails to elicit response
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 25
Over three months after official permission, not a single industrialist has applied to change his current production house into an information technology venture.

Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar confirmed that the administration had allowed industrialists to change their existing trade into IT ventures. It had, however, been clarified that those going in for the change would only be allowed software and hardware projects and . would not be allowed to carry out business process outsourcing (BPO) ventures which were also categorised as information technology enabled service or ITES.

Anyone wishing to opt for the change was only required to inform the estate office. The decision was taken following a meeting with the industrialists in the presence of the UT administrator.

Estate officer Hargunjit Kaur confirmed that till date they had not received a single application. The Finance Secretary said the industrial area did not have sufficient space to allow BPO ventures because any change would impact the water and power demands, besides infrastructure. Also, it would not be able to cater to the BPO rush.

HS Mamik, an industrialist, said: “Not allowing BPOs is only a mockery of introducing change. The administration has been fiddling with schemes to suit the whim of officials. First, they allowed conversion for plots in more than four acres, then an acre and later even lesser. They did not allow IT ventures here keeping in mind the IT park and now the change is allowed, but it holds little meaning if the BPOs are not allowed.” The administration on the other hand feels that those wanting to pursue ITES or BPOs could shift to the IT park.

Another industrialist added: “BPO primarily refers to outsourcing of services and is largely used for back office outsourcing. The work areas could include human resources, finance, accounting and contact centre services. These are also contracted outside a company’s country called offshore outsourcing. This area has a huge attraction for new entrants.”



Upper storage limit for essential goods soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 25
A meeting was convened under the chairmanship of Home Secretary on the issues of hoarding, black-marketing and price rise.

The meeting was attended by the Deputy Commissioner, the Joint Director, Food and Supplies, the DFSO and SDMs.

It was decided that an upper storage limit would be fixed for various items like pulses, edible oil, rice and sugar for which a notification would be issued soon.

Based on the storage limit, a special inspection drive would be carried out on the premises of suspected hoarders and black-marketeers.

The Home Secretary also directed the SDMs to inspect the premises of fruit and vegetable stores and cold storages to ensure that there was no stocking of food and vegetable items.



Licence needed to store over 10 quintals of sugar

Chandigarh, November 25
The Chandigarh administration issued the Chandigarh Food Articles Licensing and Control (Amendment) Order today as per directions received from the Government of India. The licensing on edible oils, edible oil seeds, pulses and rice would remain in force up to September 30 next.

Persons storing more than 10 quintals of sugar, 5 quintals of edible oil, 30 quintals of edible oil seeds, 10 quintals of pulses and 4 quintals of rice were required to obtain the requisite licence from the Food and Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department under the order.

As regards sugar, which was inserted vide the control order, no recognised dealer of sugar would hold any stock of vacuum pan sugar or ‘khandsari’ (open pan sugar) for a period exceeding 30 days from the date of receipt of such stock and would not stock sugar in excess of 2000 quintals at any time. — TNS



Availability of LPG at filling stations discussed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 25
A meeting to assess the availability of LPG in the city was convened under the chairmanship of Home Secretary yesterday.

It was attended by representatives of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Deputy Commissioner, SDMs and Secretary, State Transport Authority. The IOC representatives stated that the existing LPG stations in the city had the capacity of providing gas to around 1,800 vehicles every day.

The IOC had already installed two additional units at Sector 34 and the LPG stations alone could cater to around 1,600 vehicles.

In addition, the Bharat Petroleum is also providing LPG from its filling station in Sector 22. The IOC representatives said shortly another LPG station would be set up at Sector 21 for which drawings had been approved by the architecture department.

Another LPG station would be set up at Sector 38 (West) by CITCO. The STA Secretary said so far 1,800 LPG-run auto-rickshaws were on roads as a result of sustained efforts of the transport department to convert non-LPG auto-rickshaws into LPG ones.

She added that permission for the purchase of 2,600 more LPG-run auto-rickshaws had been issued. The Home Secretary directed the SP (traffic) and the STA Secretary to launch a drive against those auto-rickshaws running without meters or those with faulty meters.

The special drive would target non-LPG auto-rickshaws because LPG auto-rickshaws were already fitted with electronic meters.



Kisan Bhavan chowk to get lights by New Year’s Eve

Chandigarh, November 25
Various proposals to discuss pending road engineering works were discussed at a meeting held here under the chairmanship of the home secretary. It was stated that the installation of high-mast tower lights and floodlights at the Cricket Stadium chowk, the Kisan Bhavan chowk, the Bhaskar chowk, the chowk separating sectors 3, 4, 9 and 10, the Piccadilly chowk and the Batra chowk would be completed by December 31.

It was also pointed out that free left turns would be provided for motorists on all traffic lights, T-points and intersections in the city by March 31 next. On the setting up of a traffic engineering centre here, the Municipal Corporation Commissioner was asked to nominate one executive engineer for follow-up with the authorities concerned.

The work relating to the synchronisation of traffic lights from the Transport chowk to the Tribune chowk would be completed by March next. The widening of the Himalaya Marg (road separating Sectors 8 and 9, 17 and 18, 21 and 22, 34 and 35, 43 and 44, 51 and 52) up to the YPS chowk would also be taken up while the section separating Sectors 8 and 9 would be completed by March 31, 2010. — TNS



Weights & Measures
Flying squad formed to catch offenders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 25
A meeting to discuss complaints pertaining to the sale of underweight goods by traders, especially fruit and vegetable sellers, and dealers in various markets of the city was convened under the chairmanship of Home Secretary.

The Home Secretary constituted a flying squad consisting of controller, weights and measures, secretary, market committee, and assistant food and supplies officer (AFSO). The flying squad will randomly take weight and measure of fruit and vegetable and other commodities from various vegetable and fruits markets, where such complaints had been received.

A penalty of up to Rs 5,000 could be imposed in case of first default under the Act.

However, if a seller was found committing the malpractice twice, a criminal case would be registered against the vendor in which punishment of imprisonment up to 1 year could be imposed.

The Home Secretary said the flying squad would conduct surprise inspections regularly in various markets and submit its report to the director industries on a weekly basis. The Home Secretary also requested consumers to come forward with complaints concerning the issue and submit these to Vandana Disodia, controller, weights and measures, 39, Industrial Area, Phase-II, Ram Darbar, Chandigarh (Phone 2679007, 2679348).



Junket fever catches up with councillors again
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 25
Mayor Kamlesh and some councillors are planning to visit Mumbai for a live demonstration on a multi-media laser even though no company has been allotted the work at Plaza in Sector 17 here.

Well-placed sources confirmed that a request letter had been sent to the secretary, local government, for permission.

Senior officials of the administration, however, questioned why the corporation was seeking permission for a junket on the project that had not even been allotted to any company so far? When the presentation of the show had already been made to the councillors, what would they see in Mumbai? They said it would have been better if the councillors visited the venture of the company to whom the project would be allotted.

In the past four months, presentations had been given by a company to the coordination committee of the administration and the MC and another to the councillors so that the project could be cleared.

The Home Secretary had approved the proposal and asked CITCO (Tourism) GM to prepare a proposal and forward it to the ministry of tourism for the release of funds.

The agenda for the approval of the project was tabled in the house in July, but was deferred on the plea that the councillors had not seen the presentation which could give them an idea about the mega project.

A presentation was then organised for the Mayor and the councillors, but till date the tenders were not floated since the project was not approved in the house.

The sources revealed that in last month’s coordination committee meeting of the administration and the MC, the Mayor said all members of the finance and contract committee wanted to visit Mumbai for a live demonstration on the project. 



Autonomous Status
VC moots new courses in colleges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 25
Principals of various colleges affiliated to Panjab University were today advised by Vice-Chancellor Prof RC Sobti to apply for an autonomous status. The VC urged them to start new courses in their colleges and design improved teaching techniques.

The UGC-sponsored principals’ meet was organised by Academic Staff College at the ICSSR Complex today.

Nearly 60 principals from across the state attended the meeting.

Chief guest Prof Sobti said colleges should impart education as per the local conditions by becoming autonomous.

In a crucial dialogue with principals, he said colleges should come forward and conduct their examination without any fear.

“Opening new colleges is a welcome move, but the need to strengthen the system is equally important. This can happen if institutes are autonomous,” he said.

He added that presently there was no coordination between different stages of education. “With more than 480 universities, 23,000 colleges and lakhs of schools, we have still not reached the level where we can compete with the developed countries,” added the VC.

Prof MM Puri, former Vice-Chancellor, PU, said, “There is a difference between education and literacy and the two should not be confused.”

Other speakers included Prof Shelley Walia, director, Academic Staff College, Dr Kavita A Sharma, director, India International Centre, New Delhi, Prof VK Tewari, principal, DAV College, Jalandhar and Prof Dinesh Gupta, chairperson, University Business School.

Adding that colleges should work towards generating better students and teachers, the VC said it was hard to find good teachers in the fields of science and technology.

Some principals also brought to the notice of the VC that three colleges affiliated to PU had applied for an autonomous status, but the government of Punjab has asked for an undertaking that they should not ask for grant in that case. To this, the VC replied that the colleges should generate funds on its own.



Teachers’ assn defends Dean
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 25
Coming to the rescue of the Dean University Instructions, the Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) has issued a press release today stating that the allegations levelled against the DUI are being blown up out of all proportion by the media.

The association claimed that the cases, which were brought to light by the media, were not of a “serious” nature. It has also termed signing of the controversial files a “routine exercise”.

In one such major case, a file of exemption to a PhD candidate from entrance test was signed by the DUI in VC’s absence. Later, a probe committee comprising senior functionaries of PU and senate members recommended cancellation of the admission.

“The files came from a lower scale with remarks on them, so the DUI is not the only person to be blamed for, since every file comes through a route,” argued Akshaya Kumar, general secretary, PUTA.

Members of the association said the issue had shocked them and they did not want the authority of the Vice-Chancellor’s office to be subverted. 



Student leaders lock departments
Clerks refuse to deposit fee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 25
In a serious security lapse on the Panjab University campus today, SOPU leader Brinder Dhillon and Amit Bhatia, president, student council, forcibly locked the university departments. The leaders were protesting against the refusal of department’s clerks to deposit fee.

Amid high drama, breach of security by council members was stretched to nearly 
an hour.

Earlier, on the issue of depositing fee in various departments, bank officials had claimed that in case of self-financing courses and several other courses, where the fee was more, a huge sum of money was collected and kept in the departments, but due to shortage of staff in the bank, they were not in a position to collect fee.

Despite simplifying the process of depositing fee by making it online, students still prefer the conventional way of standing in long queues at the bank counter each time.

Though the student council president later deposited keys of the locks to Prof Naval Kishore, Dean, student welfare, a meeting has been called by Vice-Chancellor Prof RC Sobti with the council members tomorrow.

The DSW was not available for his comments, while council president Amit Bhatia and student leader Barider Dhillon had earlier told the Tribune that they would not give any statement to the paper, since the paper had highlighted the differences between the council members and lapses on part of the council.



From Schools
‘Noor 09’ begins with fervour
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 25
A four-day annual cultural fiesta “Noor 09” began with great vigour at Manav Mangal Smart School, Mohali, here today .

Tiny tots of pre-nursery and nursery spread the message of conservation of wildlife through a dance “Hakuna Matata”. Students of the kindergarten came up with the message of saying no to dowry with a song and dance medley. The little ones looked cute in their colourful and ethnic outfits. Next item was a presentation highlighting the role of some of the great Indian men and women. The performance was an ensemble of all great men and women, who have left a mark of distinction in the fields they pursued and excelled. King of pop Michael Jackson, a distinct musician, vocalist, song writer, dancer and an entertainer was remembered. Children paid tributes to him through an entertaining performance on his popular pop numbers.

Students honoured

As many as 25 students of Swami Vivekanand Group of Institutions, who got jobs through campus placements were honoured at a function held here today. Students were picked up by companies like Tech Mahindra, Bebo Technologies, Blue Beacon Technologies, Blue Star Technologies, We Excel Software Pvt Ltd and Navy. They were presented mementos by RS Ghuman, SP, Chandigarh.



3-day colloquium on algebra at PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 25
Eminent mathematicians of national and international repute gathered at the department of mathematics, Panjab University, to participate in a prestigious colloquium on “Recent Trends in Algebra and Algebraic Number Theory” here today.

Sponsored by the department of science and technology, the three-day event aims at providing a platform for young researchers to interact with nearly 80 eminent mathematicians from across the country and abroad.

PU Vice-Chancellor Prof RC Sobti inaugurated the colloquium and shared the stage with leading algebraist Prof IBS Passi, eminent mathematician and former Vice-Chancellor of PU Prof RP Bambah and Prof R Sridharan.

Prof Bambah presided over the function and Prof Sridharan delivered the first lecture of the session.

Appreciating the contributions and efforts of Prof Passi in the field of mathematics on his 70th birthday, Prof Bambah said, “He is a mathematician, who cannot only see various aspects of the subject, but can also relate each other remarkably.”

VC Prof RC Sobti thanked Prof Bambah for contributing immensely to his life and encouraging him to start the biotechnology department at PU.

Mathematicians from international institutes like University of Hawaiii the USA, Steklov Mathematical Institute, Moscow, Sobolov Institute of Mathematics, Novosibirsk (Russia), TIFR Mumbai, CMI Chennai, IIT Bombay, HRI Allahabad attended the conference.

Lectures were delivered by Prof R Sridharan, Prof Ron Brown from University of Hawaii, Prof R Sujatha and Prof Roman Mikhailov from Steklov Mathematical Institute, Moscow.

Young researchers, including Dr Manoj Yadav from HRI Allahabad, Anuj Bishnoi and Harpreet Kaur of the department gave presentations.



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