C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Airlines draw up contingency plan
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
In order to cope with unprecedented problems posed by persistent fog at the Chandigarh airport, all four airlines operating on this route have drawn up contingency plans for the convenience of passengers. These include refund, hotel accommodation for outstation passengers, arrangements in alternative airlines or taxi service in case of passengers booked for the city-Delhi route.

Four airlines are operating flights from Chandigarh. These are Air India, Kingfisher Airlines, Jet Airways and GoAir. The services of all these airlines have been affected for the past week with thousands of ticket cancellations.

The passengers have no idea how they would get a refund as for most airlines, it remains a tedious task. However, the airlines sought to allay their fears, saying that they have been refunding the amount on time. John, manager of GoAir, maintained that a full refund was being given to passengers who wanted to cancel their tickets.

Suresh Kumar, assistant traffic controller, Air India, said it had been endorsing passengers’ tickets to any other airline willing to accept those. Kingfisher maintained they transferred passengers to airlines with whom they had an interline agreement, which at present was Jet Airways.

In case of cancelled flights, the airlines have been providing one-way taxi fare to passengers on the city-Delhi route.

Furthermore, for the comfort of the passengers, the airlines have developed contingency plans to tackle delays, including updating customers through SMS and providing refreshment in the event of delay in flight and free connectivity to other flights.

As far as the accommodation is concerned, Air India has the most liberal hotel accommodation policy with the exception of outstation passengers or on executive class. Kingfisher and Jet Airways provide hotel accommodation to outstation passengers only.

Regarding delayed flights, the airlines have been providing regular updates on the flight status through SMS or personal calls. In case of extensive delays, the passengers are being provided with tea or coffee only and accommodation to outstation passengers was being provided in case of cancelled flights.



Cold wave likely to abate during next 2 days
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
The bone chilling cold sweeping across the city and adjoining Punjab and Haryana during the last fortnight further tightened its grip today as the minimum temperature dropped to 3.4 degrees Celsius, while the maximum rose to 15.4 degrees C with fog blanketing many areas in the region.

The fog has brought visibility down to zero during the night and early morning, disrupting road, rail and air traffic.

Although there was a slight increase in maximum temperature, there was no respite from the fog. Ambala, Ludhiana and Patiala remained under the influence of the biting cold, with these places recording respective minimum temperatures of 4.3, 6.2 and 6.8 degrees C.

Snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh brought down the temperature in the city, the met department said. Icy winds blowing from the snowcapped mountains in northern states added to the chill with most people preferring to remain indoors.

Fog engulfed the city skyline in the morning, reducing visibility to just 50 metres. The met department’s forecast said there might be fog in the morning tomorrow with the maximum and minimum likely to hover around 19 and 5 degrees C, respectively.

As the thick blanket of fog continued to envelop the region, travellers faced the same chaotic situation at the rail station as several trains were delayed or cancelled today. Flights also remained cancelled for the seventh day running.

Chilly winds blew across Haryana and Punjab as the pale yellow sun occasionally peeped through the skies, affording little warmth to the people.

And those who depend upon backbreaking, menial jobs for a livelihood, searching for work on a day-to-day basis, are also finding it hard to cope with the hostile weather. A group of such workers, who had not found any work today, was huddled around a bonfire near the Zirakpur overbridge to beat the cold and gossip.

The cold wave conditions prevailing in the region are expected to abate in the next two days, according to the weather office here.



Even condom machines not spared by thieves
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
Everyone has heard about attempts to rob ATM machines in the city, but thieves trying to break into condom vending machines? That certainly sounds strange. But, frankly, when it comes to getting their hands on money crooks seem to be prepared to go to any extent and it does not matter even if the machines they rob dole out latex condoms instead of hard cash.

Even though one finds it difficult to believe, the 20 odd condom dispensers in the city have been targeted more than once by robbers, albeit unsuccessfully.

According to the State Aids Control Society (SACS) six to seven such incidents happen every month in the city and almost all the machines have been vandalised. A SACS official told The Tribune on condition of anonymity that no official complaints had been filed as the thieves had so far been unsuccessful in getting away with anything.

And, since the condom vending machines are under an annual maintenance contract, no one bothers about the breakage. As a part of an HIV/AIDS Prevention programme, almost 20 condom vending machines have been put up by Hindustan Latex Ltd (now HLL Lifecare Ltd) across the city three years ago in 2007 under the guidance of the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO).

However, no formal complaint regarding attempts to break into the machines has been registered. And what is surprising is that such bids to vandalise condom dispensers are not restricted to any particular area.

Machines in ‘upmarket’ locations such as the Sukhna Lake and Fun Republic have been targeted too but officials say these could be the handiwork of “spoiled brats” rather than any thieves.

PK Vinod Kumar from HLL Life Care Ltd, who deals with the annual maintenance contract, confirmed incidents of such vandalism. Admitting some of the machines could have been targeted by petty criminals on the lookout for some cash, he said the ones in the upmarket localities are usually damaged by people who attempt to take out condoms without putting in the cash. He said they visit each machine almost every second day for refilling and if any is found damaged, the same is repaired.

Each machine costs Rs 14,000 and is filled with 42 packs of condoms. There are three types of condoms available in these machines - one ‘economy’ pack of three condoms sold under the brand name ‘Ustaad’, for Rs 5.

The machines are proving to be of great help to people who are shy to go out to chemist stores to buy condoms, according to Kavita Chavan, officiating project director of the Chandigarh State AIDS Control Society.



PUTA for ‘evaluation’ of syndics, VC
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
When it comes to faculty development at Panjab University, the new catchword seems to be ‘evaluation’ On the lines of the ongoing discussions over implementing teachers’ evaluation, the Panjab University Teachers Association is now considering a new proposal for a similar evaluation of all ‘decision makers’ - senate and syndicate members along with the vice chancellor.

According to the proposal all members of the PU senate and syndicate should be evaluated for their participation and contribution towards the policy making process and their individual achievements as members or heads of various committees.

Similarly, the vice chancellor will be evaluated for implementing various projects or plans that have been announced. However, what actually makes this entire proposition interesting is that this evaluation report would be submitted to the varsity’s chancellor.

“Rather than calling it evaluation I’d like to term it as a feedback process. The decision taken by these entities decide the fate of over a thousand students and varsity employees, so why shy away from it? We shall very soon formulate all details and, like teachers’ evaluation, bring it to the syndicate or senate,” said PUTA president Manjit Singh.

The association also wants to involve representatives of all affiliate colleges of the university in the process to make it more widespread and fruitful.

“This will actually strengthen a two-way communication process and ensure the decision makers will look after every single issue,” Manjit added.

Meanwhile, the proposal, though still at an incipient stage, has received full support from the student council as its advisor, Brinder Dhillon, says: “Anything that ensures transparency in the system will get our backing. This type of evaluation will give students’ representatives a bigger say in the decision making process and in articulating the needs of students.”



Minor deposes in favour of “rapist”
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
A day after the apex court said in a significant judgment that an Indian girl would not lie about sexual assault and courts must believe her, a 13-year-old girl shocked everyone in the court, including her parents, by siding with her “rapist”.

She sent the prosecution theory for a toss when she stated in the court that her parents had threatened her to depose against the accused.

The case was registered on July 28, 2009, at the Sector 31 police station, against Bhupinder under Sections 363, 366 and 376 of the IPC for raping her. The police had filed a challan in the case on November 19, 2009.

She stated before the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Ravi Kumar Sondhi, that she had deposed in favour of the accused against the wishes of her parents. She also said she did not want to go with her parents as she now apprehended threat to her life.

She also said she wanted to be with the accused, whom she had married in Hindu tradition.

The court observed that in the light of the circumstances and the development that took place in the courtroom itself, it would be in the interest of the girl if she was kept at Nari Niketan until further orders. The case has been adjourned till January 28.


Road safety week remains a farce
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
The annual road safety week has become a ritual with the same events being held year after year, with almost the same list of guests. Though the traffic police is observing the ongoing national road safety week and is trying to spread the message of safe driving, it has failed to reach the target audience.

Residents feel that in the absence of any evaluation criteria to consider the impact of the awareness programmes on road users, the idea of the road safety week has been rendered insignificant.

“The very first thing which goes against the road safety week is its timing. The union ministry of roads, transport and highways has fixed the first week of January for road safety, when it is very cold,” quips Harman Sidhu, a road safety activist.

“Youngsters, considered to be an important category among road users, are engaged in studies and are not responsive to road safety tips. Crores of rupees are spent on the safety week, but it fails to yield the desired results as no one is serious about spreading the message. The theme is given at the national level, while the ground realties pertaining to traffic vary from city to city,” Sidhu stated.

Every year, workshops are conducted for roadways drivers, rickshaw-pullers, autorickshaw and truck drivers, besides school principals and students. Around 200 to 250 road users from each category participate in the workshops.

“See the results. There is no change in the behaviour of roadways drivers, especially CTU drivers. A majority of bus stops remain unused as the drivers do not stop buses there, rather they stop buses near rotaries, blocking the traffic,” Ravinder Pannu, a Mohali resident, claimed.

The traffic police should devise strategies after analysing the traffic scene of the city and should fix goals to improve traffic. “The police has ignored traffic rule violations, including wrong lane driving, right of way and giving way to pedestrians. The police should educate motorists throughout the year,” advised Yogesh Tewari, a government employee.

Even the events during the road safety week are the same and are staged by the same persons. “A majority of people who attend the functions are senior citizens, members of resident welfare associations and traffic marshals. They are a small number among road users and are sensible drivers, while the youngsters, considered reckless, avoid these shows,” another resident added.



Workshops on road safety
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
The Chandigarh traffic police today organised three workshops in different parts of the city as a part of the ongoing 21st National Road Safety Week.The police said over 100 drivers in the Chandigarh Police took part in the workshop conducted at the Children Traffic Park.

A written and practical test of the drivers was conducted. Similarly, as many as 200 truck drivers participated in the workshop organised in the Transport Area where a free eye testing camp was also organised by the Eye Hospital, Sohana.

The police had also organised the workshop for school bus drivers at the Children Traffic Park later in the day.

As the traffic police is busy celebrating the Road Safety Week, violations are back to normal outside the district courts here. Wrongly parked vehicles were seen on the roads near the district courts today where the traffic police had conducted special weeklong drive to clear the wrongly parked vehicles a month ago.

Not only this, the traffic police had failed to restore order and clear the road in front of Mehfil restaurant of the illegally parked four wheelers.

Besides this, the parking contractors in Sector 17 are openly flouting the rules by parking the vehicles in the no-parking zones and drives ways. The traffic police is turning a blind eye to these gross violations being carried in an organised manner.



Laying of pipelines from Kajauli waterworks
UT stakes claim, GMADA differs
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, January 6
While Mohali heads for water rationing as early as March again due to shortage of water, the deadlock between GMADA and the UT administration over the laying of two pipelines from Kajauli waterworks has not been broken even at the level of the Punjab Chief Secretary.

As Mohali residents go thirsty, especially during the summer months, the battle over the right to water between the two agencies has stalled the prestigious project. The finance secretary and secretary, Urban Development, Chandigarh, has even gone to the extent of saying that GMADA can lay its own independent pipeline to augment the water supply in Mohali.

However, the chief administrator of GMADA is firm on the view that the fifth and the sixth phases of the pipeline project will be exclusively for Punjab and the UT will not be given any share of water out of these.

The prestigious water project had already been hanging fire for the past about six years as GMADA had not bothered to place it on the priority list and now with the Chandigarh administration staking its claim on the two water pipelines, the execution of the project was likely to get delayed still further.

A meeting was held under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary, Government of Punjab, on December 1 to discuss the issue related to Kajauli waterworks, which was attended by senior officials of various departments.

The chief administrator, GMADA, pointed out at the meeting that the land for transmission mains from Kajauli was acquired by the Punjab Government and its two-third cost was shared by the UT. Punjab was getting 10 million gallons a day (mgd) of water out of a total of 80 mgd being availed by the UT from the Bhakra main line from the four phases that had already been executed.

He said, “The fifth and the sixth phases of the pipeline will be exclusively for Punjab. The UT will have no share of water in these pipelines. By the year 2012, the gap in water supply and demand in Mohali shall be 24 mgd.”

However, Roshan Sankaria, Commissioner, municipal corporation, Chandigarh, said at the meeting that the project for the transmission of 40 mgd raw water from Kajauli waterworks to Chandigarh had been approved by the Government of India under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

He further informed that sharing pattern from Kajauli waterworks amongst different beneficiary states shall be as decided at the meeting held on July 7, 1983, in the office of the Home Minister, North Block, New Delhi.

Endorsing the views of the Commissioner, Sanjay Kumar, finance secretary and secretary, Urban Development, UT, said to meet the water requirement of Mohali, “a separate independent supply line could be laid from Kajauli waterworks by GMADA and this project could be got funded under the JNNURM”.

PS Aujla, Principal Secretary, water supply and sanitation, Punjab, pointed out that per capita water supply in Chandigarh was much more than the national norms approved by the Central Public Health & Environmental Engineering Organisation and as such the UT should bring down its requirement.



New services at sampark centres
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
The IT department of the Chandigarh administration plans to add some new services to those offered at sampark centres in the coming months.

These include issuing PAN and ration cards and domicile, character and caste certificates and payment of property tax. The new centres are likely to come up in Sectors 35-D, Sectors 37-D, 39-D, 49-D and 56.

The department is in the process of selecting a new system integrator, which is a third-party agency providing manpower for sampark centres.

The department has created a portal to involve citizens of Chandigarh in improving the work of sampark centres. Residents of the city can mail their suggestions and feedback at sampark@chd.nic.in or visit http://chandigarh.gov.in/smpk-suggestion.asp to improve the functioning of the centres.

In an attempt to make governance more accessible and more open, the administration had launched the sampark project in 2004.

The administration had taken this initiative as part of its strategy to bridge the digital divide and to provide an efficient information dissemination system to the citizens for availing themselves of government services.

The sampark project under had completed five years, in which it had been able to provide a one-stop shop for 23 government-to-citizen and business-to-citizen services.

Since its launch in September 2004, government revenue amounting to Rs 2,374 crore had been collected in 80.7 lakh transactions and around 2 lakh transactions per month were being recorded from the centres.



Fire dept flouts recruitment rules
Physically challenged persons for field duty
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
Ignoring the Chandigarh fire and emergency department recruitment rules, the authorities are all set to recruit physically challenged personnel not only on ministerial posts, but also on field duty of the emergency services.

The fire department has advertised a post of watch room duty operator, which is considered a field duty post, but interestingly, they have invited applications from physically challenged candidates only for it.

Sources revealed that in December, 2009, the fire department had decided not to consider physically challenged candidates for the post of driver, fireman and watch room duty operator as these were field jobs and required active staff.

The sources said in the recruitment policy, the department had mentioned categorically that those candidates who would apply for these posts would have to run a distance of 100 yards carrying a weight of 60 kg in one minute and climb a rope between eight and 10 feet in height.

Even the Punjab Fire Brigade Rules, 1977, mentioned that physically challenged candidates would not be considered for the watch room duty operator as on intimation of a fire call, rescue call or any other special service call, the person in charge of the watch room would have to immediately switch on the alarm system and mobilise the appropriate fire units to the scene of occurrence.

The Union Home Ministry also had reservation and concessions in rules for government service, with only ministerial posts being be considered for physically challenged candidates.

The sources revealed that there were 288 vacant posts, of which 15 were in ministerial category, to which physically challenged candidates could be appointed.

After a Supreme Court ruling, the Chandigarh administration had issued directions to all departments to fill vacant posts of physically challenged persons, but how could the department invite applications from physically challenged candidates for field duty posts was the question.



Braille’s birth anniversary observed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 6
“Not only the government even the society must come forward to encourage the disabled persons. They don’t need sympathy as they accept challenges and therefore, they need positive attitude and cooperation of the people.”

Speaking this here today, Subh Ram Vashisth, controller of printing and stationery department, Haryana, said: “We must accept the fact that disabled persons have more diligence and genius than a physically fit person.” Vashisth who was addressing a gathering on the occasion of the 201st Louise Braille birth anniversary organised by the National Handicapped Welfare Council, Haryana, in Sector 12-A, Panchkula, praised the efforts of the council in establishing the National Institute for the Disabled.

Commenting on the demands, he assured the council of the state government support by way of recognising its courses, giving regular aid and absorbing its trainees in the government jobs. He assured the council for providing book binding to the institute.

KC Wadhawan, senior vice-president of the council and director of the National Institute for the Disabled said presently more than 100 disabled persons of different categories are taking technical and vocational training in various streams. He said in the Ist year of its start, out of 30 trainees 10 had been absorbed in various public and private sector jobs. He said the institute had started Indian sign language courses for the deaf students and in future more foundation courses in other categories would also be taken up to make them self-reliant in their respective fields. In order to boost the morale of disabled persons an award “Chanauti” would be given from next year, he added.



Private buses operate illegally at Phase III-A
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Illegally parked private buses at a make-shift bus stand in the Phase III-A market of Mohali.
Illegally parked private buses at a make-shift bus stand in the Phase III-A market of Mohali. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, January 6
The local chapter of a human rights group has drawn the attention of the Punjab government towards illegal operation of the private tourists’ buses playing between Mohali and different destinations in Punjab.

Not only are the buses operated illegally, the operator book passengers from an illegal bus stand running from the Phase III-A market, adjoining the UT border. “They also fleece passengers on the pretext of dropping them to Chandigarh. But their final halt is at Mohali, as the UT has banned their entry,” said Dr Jagmohan Singh Sarao, a human rights activist.

Some of the buses operate on stage carriage permit and others operate on contract carriage permits. To prevent legal action, some of the operators have appointed sub-agents to camouflage their illegal activity and evade tax to the tune of lakhs of rupees. On the other hand, the stage carriage buses have to operate from the bus stand.

The affected shopkeepers of the market have been highlighting the illegal activity, but to no avail. Some transport officials did challan some of the buses but the drive was left midway. The bus operators enjoy political patronage and none of the officials dares to check them. “Even repeated assurance by Punjab transport minister Master Mohan Lal at public functions failed to make any impact. So, one can imagine the clout enjoyed by the operators,” said one of the shopkeepers.

Explaining the illegality involved in the operation, officials in the transport department revealed that private buses, be it stage carriage or tourist permit, could not be operated from the Phase III-A market.

An effort was made to allow the stage carriage buses from Phase VIII bus stand. But it did not work. Another effort was made to run the buses from the Mohali railway station. That, too, did not materialise. The DTO, Mohali, Karan Singh, said a suitable site was being identified for the bus operators.

The operators also harassed the Chandigarh bound passengers. After dropping the passengers at Mohali, the passengers were forced to make their own arrangements to reach their destinations in Chandigarh. The activists highlighted one of the cases in which an Amritsar-based tour operator, Chowdary Travels, had booked pilgrims to travel in a bus.

Though the passengers were charged Rs 300 each for the journey between Amritsar and Chandigarh, they were dropped at Mohali and told to make their own arrangements to reach Chandigarh.



Irregularities in auction of parking lot
Vigilance registers case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
The UT vigilance department today registered its first case of the year against market committee members and officials for allegedly committing irregularities in the auction of a parking lot.

Confirming the development, vigilance SP Madur Verma said a case of cheating and criminal conspiracy, along with provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, had been registered against market committee officials.

The sleuths would check the role of those involved in the auction of the parking lot, in which a loss of Rs 4 lakh had been caused to the state exchequer.

The role of the committee chairmen from 2007 to 2009 would also be examined during the probe. The case assumed significance as Babla, facing two cases, had also been chairman in this period.

Verma said a vigilance team had seized certain documents pertaining to the auction of the parking lot since 2007 to 2009 during a check and found anomalies.

Sources said the parking lot from the Subzi Mandi area to the petrol station originally belonged to the UT administration.

The administration had leased out the piece of land to the municipal corporation for Rs 13 lakh and the MC had given it further to the market committee.

Committee officials had given the land to parking contractors for Rs 9 lakh. Verma said they would investigate the matter and ascertain the role of those involved in the matter.

He said the case was not registered by name and role of the members of the committee, including its chairmen, would be explored.



Academic session at PGI begins today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
The 2010 academic session of the PGI will begin tomorrow. Dr VM Katoch, Secretary, Department of Health Research, Government of India, and Director-General, Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi, will inaugurate the session at the Bhargava auditorium.

He will address residents on ‘Expectations and opportunities for persons specialising in different medical and biomedical disciplines’. According to a press note, 109 candidates will join the MD/MS course in anaesthesia, medicine, nuclear medicine, gynaecology, paediatrics, microbiology, psychiatry, orthosurgery, radiodiagnosis, general surgery and pathology.

Thirtytwo students have joined the DM/MCh course in cardiology, gastroenterology, nephrology, neurology, cardiovascular surgery, neurosurgery, paediatric surgery, plastic surgery, urology and surgical gastroenterology. Eight students will begin their PhD. Three students have joined MSc and another three have joined MHA.



Suicide bid at police HQ
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 6
A woman today tried to commit suicide in front of the state police headquarters, alleging that the police failed to take action against the accused who attempted to murder her son last year. Lakshmi Devi belonging to Hansi in Hisar claimed to have been earning her livelihood in the garb of a eunuch.

On November 27 Lakshmi Devi complained to the DGP that Sonu, son of another eunuch, shot at her son, injuring him in the arm. Though she lodged a complaint with the police, no action was taken against the accused. The police was harassing her, she alleged. Lakshmi reached the police headquarters around 3.30 pm today and insisted on meeting the DGP. The staff on duty did not let her meet the DGP and she consumed DDT. She was taken to the General Hospital, Sector 6, by the police.

Sources claimed that Lakhmi Devi used to visit the houses of people in the garb of eunuch and had a property dispute. She had filed complaints against two eunuchs and the matter was investigated by the Fatehabad police, which found no truth in her allegations. Her condition is stated to be stable.



Car catches fire, one injured
Tribune News Service

The car that caught fire near Lohgarh village on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway on Wednesday.
The car that caught fire near Lohgarh village on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway on Wednesday. A Tribune photograph

Zirakpur, January 6
A car accidentally caught fire near Lohgarh village at the Zirakpur-Patiala highway leaving driver of the car with minor burn injuries today. The car was gutted in the accident.

According to sources, the incident took place around 11 am when Harbans Singh, a resident of Savitri Apartments, was moving towards his apartment in his Esteem car (HR-26-A-0054) after withdrawing Rs 45,000 from the bank.

While Harbans reached near Lohgarh village, he saw smoke coming out from the car’s engine and he immediately stopped the car. Suddenly the car caught fire, which was followed by a blast. He sustained minor burn injuries, the sources added.

In his statement Harbans told the police that a laptop and Rs 45,000 were also in the car.

A fire tender from the Dera Bassi fire station was pressed into the service. The fire was brought under control in 15 minutes. A fire official stated that the exact cause of fire was yet to be ascertained.



Ruchika’s Expulsion
Report to be submitted today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
With the UT administration concluding its inquiry against the Sacred Heart School, Sector 26, for the expulsion of Ruchika Girhotra, allegedly under pressure, the report will be submitted by tomorrow evening.

Putting an end to all speculation of the administration buying time on the issue, Home Secretary Ram Niwas today asserted that they were not under any pressure.

Answering a media query during a press conference, he said, “It took time because I wanted a transparent and honest examination of everything.

“It was a sensitive matter and so, all facts had to be thoroughly looked into.

“The administration is not under any kind of pressure and we have done our best to ensure impartial proceedings.”

The inquiry committee had not only reviewed all school records concerned, but also interrogated the principal, a couple of students, some of Ruchika’s teachers, her father and her friend’s mother Madhu Prakash during the course of the inquiry.



Nabha gets woman empowerment centre

Manpreet Kaur Dolly inaugurates a woman empowerment centre at Nabha village in Zirakpur. A Tribune photograph

Zirakpur, January 6
Manpreet Kaur Dolly, daughter of late former Akali leader Capt Kanwaljit Singh, today inaugurated a woman empowerment centre at Nabha village. The centre was a part of Mai Bhago Scheme of Punjab cooperative department. It was started by Capt Kanwaljit Singh.

Dolly said women would get self-employment under Mai Bhago Scheme. She said the state government had started various schemes for benefits of women, but they did not have proper knowledge about these schemes. “I will go village to village and inform women about the benefits of these schemes,” she added. — TNS



Encroachments demolished
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh January 6
A team of the enforcement staff of the Chandigarh Housing Board conducted a demolition drive in Sectors 29 and 47 here today.

According to official sources, 10 religious structures, eight pucca platforms around ‘peepul’ trees and two temple structures, were removed during the drive.

The SDM (East) and the SHO of the Sector 31 police station supervised the drive, conducted to get encroachments removed from government land.

The drive would be conducted on a regular basis in the remaining areas to keep a check on such encroachments, the sources added.



Verification drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
The District Magistrate, Brijendra Singh, has asked people who have engaged contract labour or labourers on daily wages for petty services to provide details of such persons to the respective SHOs.

The order is being issued to curb criminals and anti-social elements, who seek refuge in unorganised sectors.

The order would come into force on January 7 and would be applicable till March 7.




MOHALI: Fortis Healthcare Limited announced the appointment of Col Harinder Singh Chehal as the director of its flagship Fortis Hospital at Mohali on Tuesday. After 25 years of service in the Armoured Corps of the Indian Army, Col Chehal joined the Fortis Network as head (administration), Fortis Hospital, Noida, in April, 2008. He completed his military training from the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, and Indian Military Academy, Dehradun. — OC



Presentation on saving Sukhna

Chandigarh: A private company, AMP Solutions, today made a presentation on an alternative and economical method for saving the Sukhna lake. JP Kundra, chief engineer, said instead of the expensive desilting method of the administration, they had a very economical and functional plan in place to submit to the administration. Kundra said the lake might dry up in 10 years at the current rate and their plan would ensure desilting within six years. — TNS



From Schools
Rs 4,514 lakh aid for secondary education
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
After a long delay, Rajkiya Madhyamik Shiksha (RMSA) seems to be finally on tract now. UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas today proposed a budget of around Rs 4,514 lakh for providing universal access to secondary education under the project this year.

The proposal was part of the budget for 2010-2011 amounting to Rs 45 crore to be used under the prospective plan for 2010-2020.

It has been proposed that Rs 3,314 lakh will be spent for construction of additional classrooms in the existing and upgraded schools, new composite labs, libraries, staff room, medical room, furniture and fixtures etc. Around 637 lakh has been proposed for additional posts of teachers for upgraded and existing schools, in service training, interventions for improvement of classroom process and strengthening of academic support structures.


Dr Harmesh Kumar, founder of Therapeutic Residential Services Agency in Bay area, USA, delivered a lecture on “Reducing suffering among human beings” in psychology department, Panjab University, here today.

Dr Kumar focused on the transformation among human beings from synthetic behaviour to sensitive behaviour so that the sufferings of human beings could be lessened. The lecture was attended by the faculty members and the students of various departments.


A basic computer and English-speaking course for the female wards of Class IV employees of Panjab University was inaugurated in the department of women studies and development today.

While Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti appreciated the effort as an important endeavour in strengthening PU employees, the department chairperson Rajesh Gill, asserted that these courses were part of the outreach programmes of women’s studies as mandated by the UGC.


Prof Arindam Chaudhuri, management guru and Dean Centre for Economic Research & Advanced Studies at IIPM, conducted a seminar titled “See the world through a keyhole, or open the doors with an MBA” today.

The aim was to help students realise the benefit of specialising in management. As many as 1,500 students attended the seminar.

Prof Chaudhuri said: “Every one has a diamond within and management education helps one to discover that diamond. Management is one such field where everyday one would enter a class and learn something new.”

Employment fair

Career Weavers Consultants will conduct an employment fair in the city on January 22.

The day-long job fest to be conducted at Hotel Piccadilly, Sector 22, will be this year’s first such event to be held in the region.

For free registration contact 0172-4695000 or jobs@careerweavers.co.in.



Varsity hostels get Rs 2 crore
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
In a major move, the university has allocated a budget of about Rs 2 crore for a revamp of its hostels. The move marks the onset of much-promised makeover of university infrastructure.

“We have got funds for revamping the entire campus. Nothing can be better than hostels to start with. The money will be used to renovate bathrooms, rooms and dormitories and touch up the mess and common rooms with better facilities,” said an official.

An amount of about Rs 14 lakh had also been allocated to replace the copper wiring of the university’s wi-fi with optical fibre. The Vice-Chancellor also held a meeting of all chairpersons to acquaint them with latest devised computer modules.



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