C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


It’s curtains for Film City
Pradeep Sharma|
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
It is curtains on the ambitious state-of-the-art Film City project of the Parsvnath Developers Limited (PDL) at Sarangpur here. With UT Administrator SF Rodrigues giving final nod for the scrapping of the Rs 191-crore project, Chandigarh’s dream of emerging as the next cinematic tourism hub has been shattered, at least for the time being.

In fact, it is double whammy for the real estate giant Parsvnath, which not only lost the ambitious project, but also lost Rs 47.75 crore deposited with the Chandigarh Administration as the first instalment for the project. “Since there was no hope for the revival of the project, the Administrator’s nod was a mere formality,” sources told The Tribune.

Along with other mega projects, the Film City was one of the pet projects of UT Administrator SF Rodrigues. Recently, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), which was probing alleged irregularities into the mega projects, had recommended a CBI inquiry into the Film City and the Amusement Park.

Interestingly, the CVC recently sent the Film City file back to the Administration to decide the fate of the project “on merit”. The CVC had clarified that the decision on the project would in no way affect the ongoing probe by the commission into the project.

The Administration and Parsvnath were locked in a tug-of-war over the project since January, 2006, when project was awarded to Parsvnath in partnership with noted actor-director Satish Kaushik for Rs 191 crore. The project was intended to provide one-stop destination to filmmakers for the film production and post-production.

Parsvnath wanted withdrawal from the project on the grounds that the Administration had failed to provide “encumbrance-free” land to the developers.

Moreover, the project kicked off another controversy when UT Adviser Pradip Mehra, commenting on Parsvnath request for withdrawal, recommended a probe by a central agency into the project contending that the benchmark figure of Rs 175 crore was “grossly undervalued”.

Not only this, Parsvnath’s request for withdrawal from the project left technical director Satish Kaushik fuming, who later slapped a legal notice on the real estate giant for the “unilateral” decision.



UT shelves Rs 72-cr desilting project at Sukhna
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
The Chandigarh Administration has shelved the Rs 72-crore mechanical desilting project of Sukhna Lake, at least for now, as the files lie buried in various offices of the Centre for the past approximately three years.

Confirming the development, Pradip Mehra, Adviser to the UT Administrator, said, “The special desilting project, involving heavy machinery, is shelved, at least for now. The files are shifting between different chairs in the Centre for the past approximately three years and we don’t have any feeler for any development on that account at all.”

The latest administration update on the desilting project makes mention of afforestation and other modes being employed to reduce the silt inflow into the lake.

Mehra said “even otherwise, there are certain debatable issues in the UT plan. We will have to be prepared for a long closure of the lake for the desilting process under this scheme. We first need to decide whether we were prepared for the exercise of closing the lake”.

The UT had forwarded a Rs 72-crore project to the Government of India, sometime in 2007. The project was forwarded following the receipt of a project report from the National Ship Designing and Research Centre, Vishakhapatnam. The project agenda specified desilting, improvement of the catchment area and development of an aquatic park. The project was envisaged to be completed within four to six years with help from the forest department.

Sanjay Kumar, Finance Secretary, recently said “until recently, the danger of Sukhna Lake drying up looked for real. The lake had been swallowing sediments rapidly, constricting its storage capacity from 8,710 acre feet in 1958 to about 2,600 acre feet at present. Out to put a stop to the silt menace and save the lake, the Forest Department has constructed 190 silt retention dams, supplemented by more than 200 check-dams, spurs, revetments and brushwood structures, to conserve soil and retain the silt in the water bodies created behind the silt retention dams”.

He said the rate of siltation of the lake had reduced drastically from 156 metric tons per hectare per year to 5 metric tons per hectare per year. Ishwar Singh, Deputy Conservator, said, “Constructed in 1958, Sukhna Lake had a very high siltation rate during 60s and 70s because of the high rate of soil erosion. Up to 1988, 66 per cent of the original water holding capacity of the lake had been lost due to siltation. “In 2003-04, the depth of the lake decreased by 1 inch to 1.5 inches compared to more than 3 inches in the preceding years.”

It is worth mentioning that the spread area of water has reduced from the original 228 hectare metres to 148 hectare metres. Figures reveal that the average flow of water into the lake from 1958 to 1978 was 7,370 acre feet, while in 1999 it was 1,870 acre feet. In 2006, it was only 736 acre feet. Sukhna remains a very sensitive matter for the administration to answer to issues raised by the general public.

SP Malhotra, a resident of Panchkula, said, “The government plan for desilting of the lake at a cost of over Rs 50 crore is a technical blunder and needs to be dropped. The silt beds on the bed are a boon and not a curse.”

Dr GS Dhillon, a consulting engineer, said, “No engineer will support the way the lake’s catchment area has been managed. No check has been kept on how much storage through check dams was needed. Will someone look into why experts’ suggestions made over a period of time were never taken into account by the administration?”



‘Kidnapped’ twin girls recovered from Rock Garden
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
In a dramatic turn of events, month-old twin girls were recovered from Rock Garden within hours after they were allegedly “kidnapped” from their Sector 44 residence here this morning.

The police said it was taking the entire event with a pinch of salt due to certain glaring mismatches in the sequence of events narrated by Simran, the mother of the twins. Though the police has doubts over the incident, it has registered a case of kidnapping on a complaint lodged by Simran’s grandfather, Jagdish Kumar.

Simran, wife of Gaurav Babbar, who is employed with a private company, had given birth to twins about 38 days ago. Neighbours told investigating officials that she was depressed over the birth of the girls, said a senior police official.

Sources said Simran told the police that she was at her residence around 10 am, when her maid Sonia sought permission to go to meet her mother. She allowed her to go and soon, two unidentified women barged into her residence and bashed her up. The women “decamped” with the twins after knocking her out. She ran after them and gave them a chase.

On the other hand, the police claimed it received information about the recovery of two abandoned female infants from Rock Garden before getting information about the kidnapping. The police reached the spot near fountain in the Rock Garden and recovered the toddlers in naked condition wrapped in a warmer.

The babies were rushed to the Sector 16 Government Multi-pecialty Hospital where they were given instant medical aid.

The SHO of the Sector 34 police station said Sonia claimed that Simran sent her out of the house. Vipul, brother-in-law of Simran, stated that a dhobi in their locality, Raghu, told him that he saw Simran running out of the house carrying the girls in two bags. The police said Jagdish, in his complaint, stated that he came to know about the kidnapping from his neighbours. The police said no visible injury marks were found on Simran, thus she was not medically examined.

DSP (South) Jaswant Singh Khaira said though a case of kidnapping had been registered at this stage, they were conducting the investigation in an open manner.



House sanctions Babla’s exemption
Opposition stages walkout, says matter sub judice
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
The adage “majority is authority” was proved true by the Congress today in the general house of the Chandigarh Municipal Congress by granting exemption from the house meeting to the absconding councillor Devinder Singh Babla without even asking for the opinion of the house.

Interestingly, as the agenda of the request of Babla on exemption from the house till December 31 was tabled, Congress councillors in unanimous voice said “pass pass pass”.

All opposition councillors objected to its clearance and asked the Mayor to clarify the reasons on what grounds Babla had been given exemption. When the Mayor ignored their objection, the opposition councillors assembled near the desk of the Mayor and demanded discussion on this agenda in the house before approving it. But the Mayor ignored the objection of the opposition councillors and cleared the agenda.

On the approval of the agenda, councillors of the BJP, BSP and SAD staged a walkout and even four nominated councillors also joined them. They also sat in dharna outside the house and raised slogans against Congress and demanded dissolution the house.

The Congress councillors also did not allow the MC Commissioner, Dr Roshan Sunkaria, to speak anything on the issue. Dr Sunkaria had received a letter from Chandigarh SSP SS Srivastva, stating that the police is in search of market committee chairman Babla in the case of shed allotment.

The police has registered a case against him under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC and his bail application has also been rejected by high court. Despite Dr Sunkaria informing the house that the department had prepared a report on the Babla exemption case, the Congress councillors did not allow it to be tabled in the house.

BJP and BSP councillors objected that when the case against Babla is sub judice, why such exemption had been tabled in the house? Five nominated councillors, Pam Rajput, Brig Kuldeep Singh Chandpuri, Neelam Malik, Dr Amrit Bolaria and Resham Chandh Jakhu, stood up in support of Babla’s agenda.

BJP-SAD councillors demanded that the resolution passed for granting exemption to Babla should be rescinded and he should be dismissed from the membership of the house with immediate effect. Opposition councillors alleged that Mayor Kamlesh used National Anthem as a tool to adjourn the house.

Meanwhile, the police also deputed its personnel on the premises of the corporation to keep a check if Babla attended the meeting so they could arrest him.

Meanwhile, the MC house gallery was packed to capacity today with the local Congress leaders along with Babla’s wife and former councillors Harpreet Babla, his father Karma Singh and his son to keep a watch on the approval of the application of exemption. As the house approved the agenda, Harpreet Babla’s phone buzzed with the calls of congratulations.



Missing Realtor Case
HP police arrests 2 suspects
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 30
The Himachal Pradesh police has arrested two of the three suspects in the missing realtor Deepak Rai Sagar case.

The two suspects, Rajesh Thapar and Brijesh Kapoor, were arrested by a police team that had come from Manali in a case of forgery.

The relatives of Sagar had lodged a complaint of fraud against Rajesh Thapar, a resident of New Delhi, and Brijesh Kapoor, a resident of Gurgaon, at Manali, said the HP police.

The police team reached Panchkula when Thapar and Kapoor on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court were appearing before the Panchkula police.

The police team from Manali arrested the two after the CIA of the Panchkula police questioned them. Sameer Sagar, son of Deepak Rai Sagar, who was also present at the scene said his father and uncle, Udai Ram, were founders of Himpro Infra Pvt. Limited, Kullu, but the two suspects allegedly usurped the property by forging documents.



Outdated Hedge Bylaws
Deter residents from beautifying vacant spaces
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Outdated hedge bylaws continue to give an ugly look to the Le Corbusier's architectural wonder -Chandigarh.

Lack of coordination among the Chandigarh administration, the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh and the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) for the implementation of hedge bylaws discourages the residents from beautifying vacant spaces in front of their houses.

Since the implementation of the bylaws depends on the whims and fancies of the lower-level officials, there are different yardsticks for different people about beautification of areas outside their homes. With uniformity eluding the beautification and sprucing up of vacant spaces, the area in front of house lanes presents a shabby look.

As the enforcement wing takes strict action against beautification of vacant government land, terming it as encroachment, the residents are wary of developing vacant space adjoining their residences.

Surprisingly, residents of the northern sectors have beautified a large chunk of land around their houses, the residents of southern sectors do not enjoy these privileges. "We should have a uniform policy for the city about the areas to be beautified," demanded Ranjit Singh, a resident of Sector 41.

Currently, no fencing is allowed around the area to be beautified in front of the residential buildings. Similarly, a specified distance is to be maintained from road berms for the area to be beautified. While officials are yet to spare a thought for the uniform policy, residents are at the receiving end.

Anup Sharma, advertising professional and a resident of Sector 38 (West), recounts how he was harassed by the CHB officials for weeks for seeking permission to spruce up area in front of his house.

When he developed the space on his own after failing to get the permission, the officials continued to harass him for "violating" bylaws.

“Since a majority of residents wanted to landscape and beautify their surroundings, the authorities concerned should levy a nominal fee on the residents. While it would give a uniform beautiful look landscaped look the area, the administration would earn crores from it,” Sharma added.

Eminent horticulturalist Satish Narula opined that a uniform policy on the beautification of the areas around the residences was the need of the hour. If anyone wants to develop and beautify the area in front the row of houses, there should not be any problem. It will give the area a uniform beautiful look, Narula added.

Officials conceded said the beautification of the vacant space around residential building was still a grey area and lower-level official exploited the situation to their advantage.

(To be continued)


Councillors charge admn with bias
No need to seek permission from admn for study tours, says Mayor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
From now onwards, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation councillors will not seek permission from the administration for their study tours undertaken within the country, said Mayor Kamlesh.

Speaking during the MC House meeting held here today, Kamlesh said when the administration allocates the budget for the councillors’ study tour annually, what was the need to take permission from it again.

She also directed MC officials to send all the correspondence between them and the administration to her for information.

The councillors had raised the issue during the question hour that the Chandigarh administration was acting in a biased manner in approving perks and permission of study tour for them, whereas no objection is imposed on the perks and tours of MC officials.

In reply to a question raised by nominated councillor Pallav Mukherjee seeking details of the trips and expenditure of officials, a number of councillors raised objection that it was strange that the administration never rejects the request of the officials study tours but they keep on rejecting the councillors tour claiming that the purpose of the tour had no meaning for the city.

The councillors remarked that when the administration had sanctioned budget for the study tour of the councillors, why the authorities keep on rejecting it, whereas no special allocation were made for the tours of the officials but still they were never rejected. Similarly, if councillors asked to increase their perks, the administration always holds back the decision or rejects it and if the officials demand enhanced perks, these are approved without any query, they said.

Quoting an example, the councillors referred to hike in their telephone allowance, which was approved by the finance and contracts committee a long time back, but was rejected by the administration on the grounds that there was no need of hike. However, when a similar demand was sent for the officials, it was approved and implemented immediately.

Similarly, the budget for laptops to councillors had been sanctioned, but the officials got them even as no funds were approved for the same.

The councillors said this shows the step-motherly treatment of the administration towards the demands of the elected representatives.

MC Commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria said as the Act was not clear on the perks and privilege of the councillors, the authorities have to seek advise from the UT administration on it.

Congress councillor Anu Chatrath said: “After getting such a treatment from the administration, it seems that the councillors should attach their demand agendas with the officials to get it cleared.”

Congress councillor Pardeep Chhabra said what was the need for approval from the administration for study tours when they had already sanctioned the budget for the same.



5-yr action taken report discussed in 30 minutes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation today took only half-an-hour to discuss the five-year action taken report tabled in the House for the fourth time.

Leaving aside three to four councillors, almost all the others remained mum and did not raise any query on the report.

As the report was tabled in the House, the Mayor could not find even a single councillor seeking permission to start discussion on it. So, she decided to discuss the report ward wise, but interestingly no councillor raised any query on the project of his or her ward as stated in the report.

BSP councillor Jatinder Bhatia commenced the discussion on two projects, which were not mentioned in the report. Bhatia pointed out the delay in the tendering of sewerage treatment plant of 15 MGD capacity for third phase. MC commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria informed the House that they were yet to decide the technology which they were going to adopt for its installation, which was the main reason of the delay.

Interestingly, despite having no discussion on the report, the councillors still asked the officials to prepare the status report of non-development works and table it in the next House meeting for discussion.

Surprisingly, when the fresh agenda was tabled for the approval, the Commissioner requested the House not to approve the projects as the departments were already overloaded. To this, the councillors stated that they had no objection if the projects were delayed. However, they were later approved.

Dr Sunkaria informed the House that they have already cleared agendas for Rs 17 crore. However, the councillors ignored his plea and approved six more development agendas, which included paver block in Sector 18, Sector 51, concrete road around Hallomajra, widening of V6 road of Sector 11, V5 of Sector 9 and road gullies in Hallomajra.

Meanwhile, the House also approved the agenda of setting up of a fire academy in Chandigarh.



Admn nod to install security gates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Taking a step further to protect its residents, the Chandigarh administration has decided to allow installation of security gates at entry and exit points of V-5 roads in the sectors.

At a meeting held under the chairmanship of the Adviser to the Administrator, the installation of security gates was allowed in all the sectors. To start with, the security gates will be set up in Sectors 21 and 15. The respective resident welfare association will be given the task to install these gates. The chief architect will provide the location and the design of the gates.

Among others who attended the meeting included Ram Niwas, Home Secretary, SS Srivastava, SSP, Sumit Kaur, Chief Architect, and PC Sanghi, chairman Federation of Sector Welfare Associations, Chandigarh.



Whiskey has a long history of crime
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Davinder Singh Whiskey, the prime accused in the financer Harjinder Singh Dhillon murder case, has been active in the world of crime for the past over 17 years.

The police officials probing the case said Whiskey was involved in two murder cases, including a double murder case, in Punjab besides having association with a dreaded terrorist Bachittar Singh Lathewal.

So far the police has found that the Punjab Police had registered eights cases against him for various crimes. Besides murders, he was booked in a case under the Explosives Act, in which he was allegedly arrested with explosive material. He had killed two persons in Malerkotla in 1992 and plunged into the world of crime when he attempted to kill a man in Malerkotla.

The police said Whiskey had been identified as Davinder Singh, son of Gurnam Singh Tiwana, of Lasoi village in Sangrur district. He is said to be in his early forties and had undergone a bypass heart surgery.

The Punjab police had registered a case of murder against him when he allegedly killed two persons after kidnapping them. As per the police records, Whiskey had allegedly called Jarnail Singh of Lasoi and his relative Upinder Singh on the pretext that they were called by the police. He kidnapped the duo and later their badly chopped bodies were recovered from a canal.

The Punjab Police had registered a case on the direction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on a complaint filed by Jarnail Singh’s wife.

The Basi Pathana police in Fatehgarh Sahib district had registered a case of causing death due to negligence against Whiskey on July 19, 1997. Not only heinous crimes, Whiskey was reportedly involved in cases of thefts and misappropriations. The Khanna police had booked him in a case of theft on September 20, 2000, after the recovery of stolen articles from him. The Khanna police had also registered a case of cheating and also invoked provisions of the Arms Act against him on August 9, 2003.

The Chandigarh police had registered a case of cheating and forgery against him on April 20, this year before he was booked for killing Dhillon on November 25.

Meanwhile, the Chandigarh Police today announced a reward of Rs 50,000 on Whiskey to anyone providing a tip-off about his whereabouts. The police said he keeps changing his hideouts frequently to avoid arrest. He was declared a history-sheeter by the Malerkotla police station.



Traffic Jam
Commuters face hard time
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Commuters on the Udyog Path remained stuck in a traffic jam for over half-an-hour this evening.

Making the matter worse, the traffic police remained oblivious of the traffic jam.

It was around 6 pm when the commuters found the roundabout of Sectors 18, 19, 20 and 21 packed with vehicles, finding no space to move, resulting in the long jam.

Long queues of the vehicles were witnessed on the roads connecting to the marg. The situation at the intersections on the route was even worse in the absence of any traffic police personnel to regulate the traffic.

The two-wheeler riders in a bid to escape the chocking traffic rode on the roadsides and on cycle tracks, which further compounded the situation.

A commuter said the situation was aggravated due to the absence of any traffic policemen and also due to office rush hours.

Interestingly, the attendant of the Chandigarh traffic police helpline 1073 expressed ignorance about any traffic jam in the city saying they had received no such information.



Embezzlement Case
Three-year jail for ex-executive engineer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
The CBI special court of Darshan Singh today sentenced RD Joshi, a former executive engineer of the UT public health department, to three-year imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 30,000 in misappropriation of assets case after he was booked 16 years back by the CBI.

The special court had earlier convicted Joshi on November 26 under different sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

In 1993, the CBI had conducted a raid at the residence of Joshi after getting information about wealth and investments in property in his as well as his family members name, beyond his known sources of income.

The CBI had filed a chargesheet in the case in 1996 for the period from 1976 till 1993. The CBI had raided his house in September 1993 in connection with another case of fraud registered against him. Joshi was found to be in possession of a plot in Sector 17, Panchkula, in his name, agricultural land in Solan and an 18 kanal land in Mani Majra in his wife’s name besides a 16-marla plot in his wife’s name in Mani Majra. He had also constructed a house in Sector 17, Panchkula, again in his wife’s name.

He also had an industrial plot in Phase 1, Panchkula, in his son’s name, besides another share of a SCO in the name of his son.

As per the CBI, his annual income during the period from June 14, 1976, to March 24, 1993, was around Rs 11 lakh. His movable and immovable assets amounted to more than Rs 54 lakh.



Insurance firm told to pay Rs 30,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
The District Consumer Disputes and Redressal Forum has directed the New India Assurance to pay a compensation of Rs 30,000 to a complainant for causing him mental harassment and agony.

Kanwaljeet Singh, a resident of Sector 32, got his car insured with the company. The insurance policy was valid from August 11, 2007, to August 11, 2008. The vehicle met with an accident on April 5, 2008, at Sirhind. The complainant reported the matter to the police.

According to the complainant, he lodged the claim along with the documents with the insurance company and a surveyor was appointed. He visited the spot and assessed the loss. However, the claim was not paid for a long time. The complainant visited the office for a number of times but to no avail. Thereafter, the company repudiated the claim on the ground that the complainant had no insurable interest in the vehicle.

In the reply filed by the company, it was admitted that the vehicle was insured for Rs 2,20,000. It was pleaded that on receipt of the claim a surveyor and loss assessor was appointed.

As per its preliminary report, the damages caused to the rear portion of the vehicle did not tally with the cause of accident stated in the claim form as well as the facts mentioned in the DDR.

Subsequently, an investigator was appointed. As per the investigation report, the eyewitnesses confirmed that the car met with an accident in the first week of February 2008 and at that time the vehicle was being driven by Raj Kumar Chaudhary, who suffered injuries. So, the car was not damaged in the accident alleged to have occurred on April 5, 2008.



Mohd Rafi nite on Dec 6
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
The Yaadgar-e-Rafi Society, Chandigarh, will hold Mohd Rafi Nite on December 6 at Tagore Theatre, Sector 18, Chandigarh, from 5.30 pm.

Nearly 40 male and female singers from Himachal, Punjab, Haryana, UP and Saharanpur will sing melodious songs sung by Mohd Rafi and his contemoraries.

Shatrughan Sinha, a well-known actor and Member of Parliament, will give away Rafi awards to the winners.

Sh Manpreet Singh Badal, Finance Minister, Punjab, will preside ov er the function and Sh Ranjay Ahuja will be the guest of honour. Last year a popular playback singer Mubarak Begum had given away the awards.



Hold campaign to check drunken driving: Panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Members of the Central Traffic Advisory Committee today sought special drives against drunken driving, use of mobile phones while driving and proper use of slip roads to reduce road accidents in the city.

The committee members gave suggestions to improve transport system, introduction of multi-story parking lots, curbing drunken driving, construction of new cycle tracks, long-term planning for Sukhna Lake parking and introduction of pre-paid booths, registration of new vehicle only after the owner insures having proper parking space for vehicle, driver training programmes, speed surveys and yellow line discipline in parking lots. The meeting was conducted under the chairmanship of DIG (Headquarters) Mahabir Singh while SSP SS Srivastva, SP (Traffic) HS Doon, SP (Operations) RS Ghummna.



Night school inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
In a continued endeavour to empower the disadvantaged sections through education, Punjab Governor and UT Administrator SF Rodrigues and his wife Jean Rodrigues today launched a night school facility in the Rag Pickers Colony in Sector 56 here today.

Set up by the Durga Dass Foundation, the night school has enrolled over 30 students.

The couple also distributed ration cards along with food items to colony residents. Besides, they were also given winter clothes, garments, sweets and gift packets.

They also listened to the grievances of the inhabitants and asked the officials concerned to sort out their problems in a time-bound manner.



Seminar on diagnosis of tuberculosis
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 30
A three-day seminar on “Emerging trends in the diagnosis and experimental chemotherapy of tuberculosis” will be organised at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Mohali, from December 2.

Srikant Jena, union minister of state for chemicals and fertilizers, would inaugurate the seminar.

Ashok Kumar, secretary, department of pharmaceuticals, ministry of chemicals and fertilizers, Dr VM Katoch, secretary, department of health research, Government of India, and director-general, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and Prof Barry Bloom, a renowned academician from Harvard School of Public Health, the US, would be present.

The seminar being jointly organised by NIPER and Harvard School of Public Health, the US, would unfold the new aspects of tuberculosis diagnostics.

In addition, it would also encompass relevant and upcoming areas of basic and experimental research in tuberculosis.



Salesmen up in arms against exploitation
Stores challaned for staying open on weekly off
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 30
A large number of salesmen employed at shops in different sectors of the town protested against alleged suppression at the hands of their employers here today.

Following a meeting at Yavnika, the protesters held a procession in different markets and raised slogans against their employers as well as the labour department.

Following the protests, labour department officials issued challans to many shops that were found open on a day off.

The shops and other establishments that were issued challans included CTC Plaza, Reliance Fresh, Gulatis, The Mobile Store, Sports King, Vishal Mega Mart, Shivam Sarees, and Amartex.

The offenders were issued challans under Section 10 of the Punjab Shops and Commercial Establishment Act, 1958.

“Though we had been pleading with the labour department to take steps in this direction, they had not bothered to listen to our grievances, resulting in exploitation of salesmen,” alleged Dev Raj Sharma, chairman of the Shop Workers’ Association, Panchkula.

Salesmen were forced to work 14 hours a day without even getting a weekly break, he added.

Labour inspector Joginder Singh said: “The department had been issue challans to such offenders on a regular basis. However, the fine charged for opening a shop on a weekly off was as meager as Rs 100, which is hardly any deterrent for big stores.”



Experts dwell on entrepreneurial skills
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 30
BarCampers discussed entrepreneurial skills during a specially convened gathering at Fountainhead School of Business here. BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment.

Over 70 enthusiasts, including professionals from the industry and 20 entrepreneurs from various colleges, were part of the event.

Speakers shared their experiences of rising from introvert to confident and good public speakers.

BarCamp Chandigarh, the first event of its kind, was supported by OMBS group and Morpheus Venture Partners.

The event started with an ice-breaking session, where everyone introduced someone whom he/she had just met and the best introducer walked away with a prize.

Sameer Guglani of Morpheus Venture Partners spoke on entrepreneurship as a personality type.

Anoop Luthra dwelled on personality development and the way he raised from a small town of Punjab to a successful speaker today. The youngest entrepreneur of gathering, 14-years-old Rishabh Verma, spoke on data portability.

Mukul Sharma discussed nanotechnology with automobiles and gave an insight into the possible revolutions in automobile industry using nanotechnology.

The post-lunch session included discussion on websites, social media and blogging by Mohit Aneja.



Qawali on AIDS awareness
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 30
In a novel way to spread awareness of AIDS on the eve of World AIDS Day, Fortis Hospital’s ACTFAST, a voluntary AIDS Awareness group, organised an AIDS-related qawali and performed it at various locations in the town today.

After each performance, the group distributed literature on AIDS and condoms supplied by the UT and Punjab SACS to the assembled audience, which comprised truckers, mechanics, migrants, women and youth.

The 15-member group, travelling on a specially-created van, gave performances at Phase VII, Phase 3B 2, Phase V markets and at Phase 1A.

Dr Ashish Banerji, hospital director, said: “AIDS is a sensitive subject and people, especially women, tend to get shy or embarrassed talking or listening about the subject. We, therefore, decided to use music as a way of reaching out to them and from the response generated by ACTFAST we took the right decision.”



Woollens distributed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 30
Under the corporate responsibility project, Mahindra Finance distributed woollens and other items among students of Government School, Palheri.

Led by GM (north) Chandan Banerjee, the company officials donated a pressure cooker and other utensils for preparation of midday meal.



Tribune manager retires
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Harvinder Singh Dhaliwal, Manager Production (Pre-Press) retires today after putting in 40 years of service. During his service, Dhaliwal served the institution in different administrative and production departments.

He was given a warm farewell party by the managerial colleagues where Anil Pandhi, AGM, and Rajeshwar Chopra, AGM, among others, lauded the services rendered by Dhaliwal.

In the evening, a farewell party was also given by the press staff, which was largely attended.



CAT Exam
Confusion persists on Day 3
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Several complaints by students who could not access the latest schedule on the official website of CAT online exam, which was not upgraded, led to confusion on day three of the exam today.

After the incidents of system failure, slow servers and even non-functional labs on the first two days, the inconvenience being caused to CAT exam takers, who claim that the helpline numbers are of no use and the website is not even furnishing upgraded information, is now multiplying.

The official website of the CAT exam, till yesterday, was still showing the cancelled or rescheduled schedule of November 29, but had no latest particulars about today, leaving students, who had to travel to far off areas, clueless about any changes.

“Having read about the major breakdown of the system across the country in the past two days, when I accessed the website for information pertaining to my exam, it had nothing to tell about today’s schedule. When I called up the helpline number, the information provided by the woman online was vague and of no use,” said Geetanjali Tayal, a BSc final year student.

“The website is not even upgraded today. I tried to find out my schedule but in vain. What kind of management is being taught to us?” rued Rajan Sinha, a student from Kurukshetra.

In what may bring disgrace to the prestigious MBA institutes of the country who select students through CAT exam, the lessons of management are not even being implemented at their own end. “We are also receiving a lot of complaints from the students across the country, primarily saying that the helpline numbers are of no use and no concrete information is being given online. Not having upgraded the website, the students are not able to access proper information. The IIMs seem to have resigned to the situation,” said Akash Gautam, senior consultant, Career Launcher India Private Limited. While this time of the year clashes with the university exams, the situation has also become dicey for the students whose CAT exam is being re-scheduled. The parents, however, have already started raising their voices and planning to take the legal course of action. “It is unfair on the part of the IIMs to subject the students to such a tense situation. Worst of all none of the IIM official is coming on record to reassure them,” added Akash.



PU staff assn poll tomorrow
Representatives for 5 key posts to be elected
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Nearly 1,000 voters of the Panjab University’s Staff (non-teaching) Association (PUSA) will elect representatives for the five key posts of the association on December 2.

After a gap of seven years, the voters will elect the representatives of the association.

The reason for the gap is the unanimous selection of the candidates.

Right from finance department officials to superintendents to other lowest rank employees, everybody is eligible to vote in the election.

Meanwhile, out of 21 posts, 16 have already been filled up unanimously, while for the crucial posts of president, general secretary, secretary, finance secretary and publicity secretary, the election will be held on Wednesday. Subsequently, the counting will be done on December 3.

The list of candidates has been made public.

For the post of president, Dharampal Sharma, who is currently the staff representative, is contesting against Jai Narayan. For the post of general secretary, Namit Gupta and Om Parkash Sharma are contesting the election, while Lajja Ram and Ravinder will be contesting for the post of secretary.

Mandeep Singh and Balraj Sharma will be contesting for the post of finance secretary, while Raj Kumar Raju and Ravinder Pal will be contesting for the post of publicity secretary.

“For years, there has been no opposition against those who have been deciding matters behind the closed doors. But this time we have resolved to give them a challenge and stand up to contest the election,” Harcharan Singh, a PU employee.

As per the schedule, the candidates will take out a rally tomorrow afternoon. “The election are only for five posts, out of the total of 21 posts.

We will take out the rally at about 1.30 pm,” said Dharam Pal Sharma.

These elections have added another event in the jampacked week with the Syndicate meeting, Syndicate elections, dean’s elections and then the Senate, all on simultaneous dates beginning on December 4.



PU Syndicate Poll
Final candidates yet to be announced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
With just a few days left for Syndicate elections, permutations and combinations are being worked out at the Panjab University power lobbies.

Though the final names are likely to be kept under wraps till the last moment, speculations run high that GK Chathrath lobby is likely to clean sweep most of the seats.

According to sources, the lobby is contesting its candidates for all seats, which include three Syndicate seats each of arts, sciences, combined and two each of law, language and medical science making it a total of 15 seats.

Right from dinner diplomacy to hosting meetings to judge each other’s strength, all is part of this pre-Syndicate elections feast.

The names, which are likely to come up from this lobby are GK Chathrath, Ashok Goyal, Keshav Malhotra, Gurmeet Singh and Karamjeet Singh.

Besides these prominent names, certain other names that are likely to come up are Madhu Prashar, Rajwant Singh Gill and Mukesh Kumar.

Other names emerging in the present scenario are Ravinder Kaur and Jasbir Chahal.

Meanwhile, two seats are likely to be grabbed by candidates from DAV College, who are expected to get along with Chathrath lobby. The two names that are prominently being talked about are ML Aeri and Dinesh Talwar.

On the other hand, rotation group and the BJP group, as they are popularly known, are also claiming to fight tooth and nail. They have claimed to fight back hard and give a tough competition to the opposite group.

The names that are emerging from this side are NK Ojha, Rabindernath Sharma, RK Sharma, HS Gosal, PS Gill, Dhirender Payal, AV Vaid, VK Jhanjhi, Harpreet Dua, Manish Sharma and AK Saihjpal.

Out of these, three are expected to contest from sciences, three from combined and three from the arts faculty.

“Everybody wants to keep the names under wraps till the last moment. Things are still not clear. The process is on, they will sit and access, the strength,” said Dr Rabinder Nath.

Expressing disappointment on the date scheduled for the elections, he said six people had written to the Vice-Chancellor to change the date, but no heed was paid to it and no communication has been received.

“The dates should ideally have been December 7 and 8,” he added.



Seminar on higher education
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
The department of French, MCM DAV College for Women, Sector 36, organised a seminar on higher education and career opportunities in French. Christian Flores, director of Alliance Française, Chandigarh, and Nidhi Chopra, education adviser, Chandigarh, enlightened the students about the career opportunities available in India and abroad.

An interaction round was also held, in which the MCM students opened their queries to guests regarding higher education, careers and settlement in France and elsewhere.

The students of the department presented a few skits and a song performance in French, which was enjoyed by audience.



MCM bags best stall award in Chandigarh Carnival
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
MCM DAV College for Women bagged the first prize for putting up the best stall in the Chandigarh Carnival, 2009.

The stall, “MCM Navdrishti”, was awarded for vibrancy and variety, which it offered with various homemade and personalised products as well as enthusiastic and fun loving games.

The MCM stall remained the biggest crowed puller in the carnival.

The MCM stall offered customised cards, bookmarks in bright colours, beauty care products made by students and services like nail art, coloured mehndi, etc.

Sample testing for food adulteration, psychological personality analysis through various techniques, including graphology, were available for the visitors. Numerous games were also on board like “Designers puzzle”, “Light the candles with one match stick”, “Place the coin in right place”, “Sari tying in 30 seconds”, “Button the shirt with one hand in 25 seconds”, “Find the right key for the lock” and many more game, which were unique to the carnival with all its professionalism and creative touch.

Entrance test

The Geological Society of India will be conducting an objective-type entrance test to select about 20 students to attend a training camp in earth sciences at Bengaluru in May, 2010.

Four students will be finally chosen from among the training camp participants, who will represent India at the International Earth Sciences Olympiad (IESO), which will be held on September 19-20, 2010, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

The one-and-a-half hour objective type test would be held at 10.30 am on January 24, 2010, at various centres in India.

The syllabus (with weightage) covers geosphere (45), atmosphere (20), hydrosphere (15) and astronomy (20).

Detailed syllabus is available at the website<http://www.ieso2009.tw/home/2a_scient.html>

Students of Classes X and XI who were born between September 15, 1992 and September 15, 1995 are eligible to apply for the test.

Twenty students selected for the training camp in earth sciences will be awarded certificates of merit. The four students selected for competing at the IESO will be awarded the certificates of merit and cash prizes, according to Dean Students Welfare, PU.


A special lecture on “Corruption, ombudsman and governance with reference to India” by Prof Rajani Ranjan Jha, Banaras Hindu University, was jointly organised by the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA), Punjab and Chandigarh (UT) regional branch, and department of public administration, Panjab University, here today.

While delivering the special lecture, Prof Jha said the institution of ombudsman was an institution for combating corruption. It derives its strength from features like confidentiality, impartiality, inspiring public confidence, sue motto cognisance, informal procedure, law reformer, high powered authority, mediator and watchdog of human liberties.

In most of the European countries especially Sweden, Finland, Denmark and England where the institution of ombudsman started, he opined that its mandate was mainly to redress public grievances.

In India, the major thrust of the institution of ombudsman was to redress the public grievances especially related to corruption.

He, however, lamented that the institution of ombudsman could not reach the take-off stage in India, as desired, primarily due to the political apathy.

The lecture was followed by an interactive question-answer session, in which the participants included JC Verma, Dr Balwinder Singh, Dr Namita Gupta, Sanjeev Ranjan and Vinod.

In his presidential remarks, Prof RK Sharma, department of public administration, University School of Open Learning, Panjab University, called upon the need to refurbish the vital institution of ombudsman in India and establish coordination between various agencies involved in fighting corruption.

Prof BS Ghuman, dean, faculty of arts, Panjab University, and honorary secretary, IIPA regional branch, while proposing a vote of thanks emphasised upon the significance of fighting the menace of corruption particularly in the background of India’s poor record documented by the Transparency International in its various reports.

He opined that for eradicating corruption from India, the government’s policy initiatives should be effectively complimented by sustained efforts of civil society, people’s panel and media.

Earlier Dr Ramanjit Kaur Johal, while introducing the speaker stated that the institutions like Lok Pal and Lok Ayuktas and their resources have not been properly utilised for mitigating the corruption.

A large number of IIPA members, faculty members, including Sudhir Sharma, chairperson, department of public administration, Prof Pawan Kamra, Prof Anil Monga, Prof Swinder Singh; research scholars and students from various disciplines attended the lecture.



Nursery admissions a tedious task for parents
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
If one goes by the number of registration forms received for admission to nursery in various city schools, it seems just like last year, more than half of the applicants will not be able to make it to their dream school.

With the number of applications received in the most “sought after” city schools being four to five times as compared to the available seats, things are going to be difficult as compared to the last year when almost 75 per cent of the applicants were left out of their preferred options.

The city in all has around 5,000 seats at the entry level and last year it was over 15,000 students battling for the seats with the figure expected to be much higher this time.

“We have over 100 seats in our school and have already got 400 applications for same and the number rises everyday. When it comes to the nursery admissions, parents have their options clear in mind and they strive hard for it and with these options being same for almost everybody, few schools do get such a rush,” said HS Mamik, director Vivek High School.

“We witness this rush every year and with every season it increases. The schools makes selection through a fixed criteria but everybody cannot be accommodated,” he said.

“With every passing year, the rush increases and even though we try our best to accommodate as many kids as possible, the limited number of seats makes us helpless,” said Atul Khanna, director Strawberry Fields, as Madhu Bahl, principal KB DAV, added that this had become a regular feature and even the parents knew all situations and thus geared up themselves for the mission.

The nursery admissions prove to be nothing less than a tryst for the parents and students and according to many it’s the limited number of seats that causes the issue.

“With the nursery admissions you can’t judge a child on academic basis. Every child is unique and ready to be given a chance. The problem is that though the number of applicant increases, the so-called “good” schools remain same with same seats. As we are planning for Class XII, I think every school that has good infrastructure and resources should be asked to mandatory increase the seats and the administration run schools, if not all, should be brought to par so that the parents have more choice,” said a CBSE official.



Book fair at Millennium School
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 30
A book fair was organised at Millennium School, Mohali, in collaboration with Scholastic India.

Principal Komal Singh said the book fair aimed at motivating students to read more and more books.

Instead of reading books, students usually preferred reading text on computers and Internet.



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